Tuesday, 24 March 2015



"Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee."
(Proverbs 4:25)


Years ago, the Lord impressed this important truth upon me with this particular verse. With eyes open, we look ahead so we can properly move forward, and with eyelids closed in an attitude of prayer, our focus is still to be on what is in front, and not on what is behind. Scripture records Jesus' own blunt and uncompromising teaching on this issue:

"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
(Luke 9:62)

This is such a basic Biblical truth, but one which is now being challenged and overturned by a practice called SOZO, another "must-have" American Charismatic import which is taking the Church by storm here in the UK. We really do need to have a closer look at this phenomenon.


SOZO (Greek for saved, healed, delivered) is essentially the practice of (supposed) "inner healing and deliverance" and emanates from that epicentre of counterfeit Christianity, Bethel Church in Redding, California, feted by the foolish for its gold dust, angel feathers and "glory cloud" manifestations. At hyper-Charismatic Bethel, absolutely anything goes, from the weird and the whacky to the downright disturbingly occultic. Their slogan is, 'On Earth as it is in Heaven' but these photographs should surely convince any TRUE follower of the Faith that Bethel is far more a reflection of HELL than of Heaven!

Above, we have Beni Johnson, a Senior Pastor at Bethel and wife of leader Bill Johnson, engaging in "GRAVE-SUCKING" at C.S. Lewis's grave in Oxford. Never heard of "grave-sucking?" It is the practice - which can only be properly described as sick and Satanic! - of supposedly soaking up the perceived "anointing" of the deceased through physical contact with their graves! I kid you not! Necromancy is quite "normal" for Bethelites! Here's a group of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry students on a Mission Trip to Moriah Chapel in Loughor, South Wales, sucking up Evan Roberts' "anointing" from his grave! Enough to make him turn in it, if he was actually there!

From writers to revivalists, no late well-known man or woman of ministry - no matter how correct or how questionable that ministry might have been in reality - can expect to have the resting place of their mortal remains undisturbed by these ghastly, impartation-seeking, mantle-grabbing, ghoulishly foolish grave-suckers.

Unsurprisingly, they have a great predilection for sucking at the graves of (in)famous "Christian" healers like John G. Lake, Aimee Semple McPherson and John Alexander Dowie. An emphasis on healing is, of course, a prized central plank of Charismania, and I trust that the above underlines just how far Bethel, Redding has strayed from both Truth and sanity in its perverted, experiential and utterly fleshly approach to the things of God.


SOZO is a product of Bethel. Just that very fact in itself should set loud alarm bells ringing in the brain of a true believer that it is something to be given a very wide berth! If, on the other hand, you've sent your brain on a long vacation to a distant land and packed up any last shreds of discernment in an old kit bag, and you're into things like fire tunnels, 528 Hz tuning forks, prophetic art and waking up sleeping angels, then SOZO should present no problem at all to you...

SOZO is another example of Bethel's approach to healing. Healing as they see it, that is. Not necessarily the way God sees it, but why should a little insignificant detail like that get in the way? After all, they have a quite remarkable insight into the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, do they not? Just consider this quote, if you will, from the lips of Bethel Senior Worship Pastor, Jenn Johnson (who just happens to be Bill and Beni's daughter-in-law):

"I view the Holy Spirit like the genie from Aladdin. And He's blue... And He's funny, and He's sneaky..."
(Jenn Johnson)

Hmmm. Well, what can you say to that? We might venture to inform Jenn that a genie is a djinni, a supernatural creature of Islamic belief, created by Allah and frequently mentioned in the Qur'an. (But never once in the Bible). Or that this particular cartoon character is a creation of 33rd. Degree (Luciferian) Freemason Walt Disney's fantasy factory. But somehow I don't think she'd want to listen. Wrong type of information for itching ears. As Scripture warns concerning the Last Days:

"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
(2 Timothy 4:4)

So the Third Person of the Trinity as painted here (blue!) by a Bethel leader is just waiting for us to let Him out of His lamp and grant us our wishes. Like a SOZO session, perhaps. Some inner healing and deliverance. That is to say, the healing of and deliverance from bad memories and negative emotions. So we can move forward. By going back. Back to hurts of the past, so they can be dealt with. One wee problem here though. As was emphasized at the start of this article, IT'S LOOKING THE WRONG WAY! And to cap it all, it's also very subtly QUESTIONING THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE CROSS! Does not the Word of God unequivocally declare:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

This quite clearly teaches that when a person becomes a born-again believer, EVERYTHING in his or her past has been dealt with, once and for all. NOTHING remains to be addressed at a later stage in one's Christian walk.  The Cross of our Lord is absolutely and utterly sufficient to wipe the slate completely clean. No ifs. No buts. The NEW creature NEVER needs to re-visit the OLD creature, for healing or anything else! The butterfly spreads its wings and flies. Its experiences as a caterpillar are left far behind. It has become a new creature. And so it is with us.

Did not Jesus Himself teach concerning such things:

"No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."
(Matthew 9:16-17)

Let's say it as it is. SOZO is founded on a LIE. It is simply a side-tracking and self-focused DECEPTION! It is, when all is said and done, a re-packaged "Christianity-compatible" form of Freudian psychoanalysis. It has zero basis or sanction in Scripture, but rather, as we have seen, it flies in the face of correct Biblical teaching, being a complete contradiction of what the WORD unambiguously declares. It muddles up the very meaning of salvation and sanctification, taking a person down a muddy path that is littered with very real dangers, like the use of visualization, an openness to suggestion and leading in thoughts and perceptions, and False Memory Syndrome. Not least, whilst claiming to be Holy Spirit-led, its occultic methodology can actually open doors for false spirits to take full advantage of. A former SOZO minister, who through the grace of God came to see it for what it is, succinctly defines the practice thus:

"What is being taught as inner healing/healing of memories is nothing but basic sorcery, which is an attempt to manipulate reality in the past, present, or future, and denies God's omnipotence by implying that He needs our "creative visualization" in order to apply effectively His forgiveness and healing, while simultaneously, sets us up as gods who can, through prescribed rituals, use Him and His power as our tools. In fact, inner healing/healing of memories is nothing but "Christianized psychoanalysis" that uses the power of suggestion to solve so-called problems, which the technique itself has many times created."


In the name of healing things supposedly hindering one's personal connection to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, such a connection can actually be seriously undermined and damaged. Relationships with others can similarly be very adversely affected, due to the apparent re-surfacing of buried memories of hurts and abuses which may never have actually happened! In this context, it is most noteworthy that Bethel Sozo UK strongly recommends that participating churches have applicants for SOZO ministry to sign a legally binding waiver, viz:

"I (name)  _  do hereby release the Bethel Sozo Ministry of (Insert Name of your church) and its volunteers from any liability for any harm, resulting from my voluntarily receiving of the sozo ministry on this and subsequent visits."

Wow! These are undoubtedly people with great faith in God and in their marvelous methods of "inner healing and deliverance" - NOT! Yes, friend, you might just be harmed rather than healed, but don't even think of blaming the SOZO Team - you did sign a disclaimer, did you not?

Interestingly and revealingly, the downloadable "suggested template" for the application form itself, as found on Bethel Sozo UK's website, contains the following, in bold print:

"In order for us to resource and develop this ministry there is a suggested donation of £15-£30, if you are able."

And again, in their general overview of SOZO, the point is emphasized:

"There is a suggested donation per session which can be sent in with the application and release form, or the donation can be brought the day you have a ministry session."

This is actually an extremely subtle form of SIMONY. Let us note that all God's gifting is free, and cannot be bought. The term comes of course from Simon Magus, who tried to do just such a thing and incurred the righteous wrath of the Apostle Peter. (See Acts Chapter 8). Is anyone seriously NOT going to cough up the "SUGGESTED DONATION?" Fact is, money changes hands in order to receive this "Christian ministry." Dress it up as you will, but the bottom line is that it's still SIMONY. Just in disguise.

N.B. Individual participating churches may be found to be much less inhibited in such matters, and to have set their own costs and conditions. For example, Bath City Church's application is far less subtle than Bethel Sozo UK's own suggested template for the form as quoted above, containing as it does the following terse clause:

"Please note that there is a cost of £35 attached to this ministry. Please contact us in advance if payment is a problem, otherwise please ensure payment is included with this application. We regret that on-line applications and payment on the day cannot be accepted."


SOZO is a sad symptom of what we might perhaps call 'Lot's Wife Syndrome.' Looking the wrong way!

SOZO makes you look THREE wrong ways:
1) Backwards rather than forwards.
2) Inwards rather than outwards.
3) To the methods of men rather than the Cross of Christ.

The Christian walk is a matter of where we're going TO, not where we're coming FROM! Running the race to receive the prize means aiming single-mindedly at the finishing line in front of us, not back-tracking past the starting-blocks and even the changing-rooms, to where we sat at the kitchen table eating our morning cornflakes! If we're to follow faithfully where the Lord leads, we're to look ahead. To Him. Always.

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
(Proverbs 14:12)

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
(Colossians 2:8)

Some further recommended reading on SOZO:
(The very informative blog of an ex-SOZO minister who came to see it for what it is).
(Helpful, indexed site of the Bethel Sozo Research Group)
("Climbing Up Another Way" - an excellent discerning article on SOZO practice)
(Stark testimonies of persons damaged by SOZO)


  1. Rob, you may be interested to know that the disclaimer, it is not legally valid in the UK. Unlike America (where it probably originated), UK law does not allow all-encompassing disclaimers.

    In particular, liability for negligence causing death or injury cannot be waived (Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977). Note that psychological injury isn't the same as physical injury in law - it is a complex and somewhat controversial subject (google "nervous shock" if you want to learn more).

    But more generally, if you pay for something, then the law requires it is done to a reasonable standard, and limitations on liability for negligence are only valid if they are reasonable in the circumstances (details would have to be decided by a court).

    Obviously if someone is just being prayed for then the chance of something going wrong are remote, but if they are offered guidance, "prophecies" etc then there is a potential for harm to be done. But in all cases the law is clear that you cannot simply avoid all responsibility by getting someone to sign a disclaimer.

    This would definitely apply in the case of Bath City Church, where they say there is a "charge" for Sozo.

    If something is free, or provided for a donation that is genuinely voluntary and optional, the legal situation will be different and I don't know what it is. Which leads on to my own disclaimer - I am not a lawyer!

    1. Hi David!

      Thank you so much for writing in and sharing your pertinent observations about the assumed validity of the SOZO Disclaimer document. It would be very interesting to know if it has indeed ever been legally challenged by someone provably harmed by the practice. It is well worth noting that damage can be caused not just to the SOZO recipients themselves, but also to their families. SOZO can cause - and has caused - massive upset, due for example to sessions giving rise to false "recovered" memories, and I quote here this extremely sad testimony of just such an instance:

      "My daughter attended a Sozo session at Bethel eight years ago. While in that session she experienced a so called “Recovered Memory” that I had molested her from the age of three to thirteen. That was the end of our relationship and almost the end of my life. Her mother and siblings know and have testified that it is completely false, but the damage is done. None of us in our family will ever be the same."

      I have now added a link on the article to the webpage where this and other sobering testimonies can be found. (See 'Some further recommended reading on SOZO').

      Thanks again, and every blessing to you in Jesus' mighty Name,

  2. Isaiah 65v4,5......who sit amongst the graves.............like smoke in My nostrils.........old Jimmy page loved the "Zoso" he had an occult shop in London too !!! Zoso was all about the world coming to an end , which we are in........the beginning of sorrows..........a nice bit of internet searching on this could free a few people up. The devil likes to copy the old testament cos he can't accept the NEW ! The man thrown into Elisha's tomb popped back to life.....let's copy that one is it ??? DON'T be DECEIVED.....Holy Spirit does a new thing.......just like when we get to Heaven .....changed from Glory into Glory....from Revelation to Revelation..........we'll be kept busy amazed at HIM for Eternity.......the cost has been paid....JESUS......Accept,Repent,Learn of HIM and LIVE......God Bless you wonderful creations of The Most High God......Carl

    1. Hi Carl!

      Thank you for sharing these thoughts! As it says in Isaiah 65 v2, ""I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts."

      But we hold to our Great Redeemer, and His inerrant Word which prophetically proclaimed, "And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. (Isaiah 65:9)

      In the midst of our straying, the Shepherd is always true!

      Every blessing, in His Name,

  3. Hi Rob,

    Oh my gosh this is awful.A wicked corruption of the Gospel. Sozo IS A DISGRACE AND VERY DANGEROUS. Thank you Rob for sharing this and warning people. We love you Brother

    God Bless.


    1. Hello, my friend!

      Yes, this is awful indeed! And so many folks are happily drinking from this poisoned chalice that is Bethel Church, Redding!

      I am just finalizing a piece about Bill Johnson coming to the UK next month as the special guest of Elim's Metropolitan West Division, at their 2015 Rivercamp Leadership Conference.To welcome this wolf into the fold is Elim's idea of good Christian leadership? It beggars belief that discernment has so died a death in British Pentecostalism!

      Every blessing to you, sister, in Jesus' Name,

  4. Rob,
    Was there ever "discernment in British Pentecostalism"? The so-called modern Pentecostal church was errant from day one when it was born in Azusa Street. But, surely you know this?
    I came out of Pentecostalism, and became a pre-millennial cessationist (to cut a long story short), however, that is NOT to say that God doesn't have His Elect in this errant movement. We know there is great apostasy in the Reformed Churches. But let us not forget the Reformation WAS a mighty move of God, and sadly so many speak lightly of it today.
    The wild excesses, however existed from day one in Azusa Street!
    God bless

    1. Hi, and thanks for your comment!

      The answer to your question is "Yes!" There has always been discernment within British Pentecostalism, This blog is all about discernment, and I would count myself as a British Pentecostal! In fact, one of the best arguments for the continuation of the REAL gifts is that the Enemy, who cannot create but only copy, is at such pains to COUNTERFEIT them! I would agree that probably the great majority of what passes itself off today as being of the Spirit is not of the True but a lying spirit, but this does not negate such things, only twists them into something grotesque, which is what Satan does with all things that God intended for good!..

      Best wishes, in Jesus' Name,

  5. My testimony is that I was verbally, physically, sexually and emotionally abused growing up. My fathers an alcoholic & my mother had a terrible car accident when I was 11 yrs old when a drunk driver ran into her, soon after she had breast and ovarian cancer and then later lung and liver cancer and died when I was 20. I nursed her until she died. From the age of 13 to 35 I had nervous breakdowns, couldn't hold a job down for longer than 2 years and by 35 was suicidal. At this point in my life Christ saved me... born again... spirit filled. I love the word of God, consume the bible, pray, and I am a new creation but after 35 years without the Godhead i have some ingrained behavioural issues, some serious lies and wounds which I am now daily renewing my mind and taking every thought captive and taking back the ground that the enemy stole from me and inner healing is essential for people like me with a testimony of overcoming and living in victory. Born again yes, butterfly yes, have I looked back? Yes but only to forgive and be forgiven, my past is not going to hold me back, I have an inheritance, a destiny to fufill. I was living in was yet God saved me, delivered me and healed me outside of the churches of Wales. It's about time the Great Physician was allowed back in the church

    1. Hi, and thank you for writing in.

      Jesus alone is the Answer to all of our issues, whether we are churched or unchurched. Period.

      Trouble is, it is a counterfeit Christ that is so often being presented and embraced. Only the real One counts!

      Best wishes in Him,

  6. Hi

    I went to a sozo near where I live in UK as was told they were really gGood about 4 years ago.

    Paid the £15 and sat with couple who started going through the process.

    They keep asking what I saw in my mind.

    I didn't see anything

    They kept on so I made up I could see a lake.

    The woman immediately said " A lake is an area of confinement and I believe you father didn't portrait a right representation of God and confined your understanding of who God is and you need to forgive your dad"

    I nearly hit the roof!

    My dad passed away in 1976. He was 59 and I was 21. He was the most godly man I know who really loved the Lord. He had some testing times in early life and had to stand before a tribunal during the War as he was a was not prepared to take life and joined the Non Combatant Corps.

    He brought me up in a godly home where I came to believe in the Lord Jesus as my savior.

    I was so angry that this woman should infer that I needed to forgive my dad just because I had said I had seen a lake to shut her up.

    The session ended then and it was a waste of £15

    Stay away from sozo

    Its a money making con

    I know because I got conned

    Your brother


    1. Hi Martyn, and many thanks for this sobering testimony to the spiritual fraudulency of Sozo.

      When all is said and done, it is divination dressed up as legitimate Christian ministry, which it most certainly is not! Just another seduction and deception and money-making scam.

      Thank you for your honesty and openness about your personal experience of Sozo, and may your words reach and touch somebody who will in consequence not subject themselves to this counterfeit "Christian" counselling.

      With best wishes in Him,