Encounter Community Church, a church a few minutes from Las Vegas in old Henderson, is having an upcoming training called “sozo” on September 21-22, 2012.
What is sozo?
They explain that sozo is the Greek word for “saved, healed and delivered”. While it might sound nice on the surface, Christians are to dig deeper because Jesus commanded that Christians “test” the spirits, teachings and practices.
The Greek word for test is dokimazo. The Strong’s Concordance defines test as to put to prove, discern and examine. The Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines test as to scrutinize to see whether a thing be genuine or not (as metal). Why must Christians test teachings and practices? Isn’t it enough to be sincere?
If we sincerely love the Lord and do not want to be deceived, we must test and obey the command from the Holy Spirit to test everything instead of blindly following others into practices that might not be Biblical. Jesus never told us to follow someone or something because it feels nice or provided a good experience.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
According to Encounter Community Church, sozo is a prayer ministry that began in Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding, California just a few years ago, and has spread throughout the world. It was created by Dawna DeSilva and Teresa Liebsher. They explain that these sozo inner healing sessions can help you “walk in the destiny to which you have been called”.
Who is Bill Johnson?
Bill Johnson is the lead pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California. He has a huge following (Luke 6:26) and you can see on his Facebook page that many follow him from around the world. You can see all of his questionable friendships on his public ministry page here.
|Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. 1 Tim. 5:22
Johnson admits on his ministry page that he is friends with John and Carol Arnott of the Toronto Blessing Movement. In fact, they are partnering this month in August 2012 in the UK to host a conference called the Revival Alliance Conference. The Arnott’s and Johnson seem to have no problem with holy laughter manifestations, animal manifestations, and getting drunk in the spirit.
A few questions to ponder:
Did sozo exist in the previous centuries and was this something practiced by earlier Christians or recorded in the Bible? The website claims that sozo was invented in the 90’s. This is a new practice! The Bethel sozo website explains,
“there is a suggested donation per session” and a “release form”.
Could this indicate that this practice may have potential harm involved? In the Bible, Jesus and His disciples healed/delivered others without monetary charge. “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). There was no release form needed because there was no danger in their practice.
Did the apostles schedule appointments for several healing sessions with people who needed help, and did that healing take several hours (or even days via multiple sessions)? Bethel Church explains that each session takes 2 to 3 hours. However, in scripture, Jesus and the disciples healed quickly! “And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ makes you whole: arise, and make your bed. And he arose immediately” (Acts 9:34). “And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:9).
Did the disciples or Jesus ever use any tools to heal? According to Bethel Church, the tools needed are the ‘Father Ladder’, ‘Four Doors’, ‘The Wall’, ‘Trigger Mechanisms’ and ‘Divine Editing’. Divine editing? Sounds drastic. Unfortunately, none of these terms were ever used by our Lord nor His disciples. These are man-made doctrines. “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceitful spirits, and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
To conclude, we must not blindly follow any practice or teaching simply because it is called a Christian name or looks good on the surface. There are many things that go on in Christian circles in today’s world that are not of God. “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). The above is only a short examination of the sozo inner healing practice.
Are all “inner healing” practices Christian and Godly? No, they are not. In fact, the devilish healing practice will always be disguised. Remember, the devil masquarades as an angel of light. That is the essence of deception. Take a look at this new age healing practice here. This man charges an hourly fee for his “inner healing”. He does not give God any glory or credit for being such a healer. I have personally spoken to this man, and he and said he believed in Jesus. This is the essence of deception – it will usually be clothed with sheep’s clothing. Another example is this website here. As one can see, this website supports the Dalai Lama, psychic practices, reiki, new age spiritual healing, hypnotherapy, eastern meditation, shamanism, wicca, mysticism and more – and feathers falling out of nowhere (just like at Bethel Church). In sozo, I was asked to close my eyes and there was some visualization involved. This is not found in the Word of God.
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The Encounter Community Church endorses the Four Square Church. Please research this church. See link on the bottom right side of their web page at http://www.encounterlv.com.