What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

posted by David Y.

I recently discovered a newsletter article with some information about the dangerous inner-healing program called TheoPhostics that is sweeping through a lot of churches right now. This information has also been added to the previously-posted article on this subject. Also, beware of other programs that come out of the Elijah House Prayer Ministry and similar programs such as Sozo.



Elijah House Prayer Ministry

– being sued

Editorial Comment: Some time back CWM issued a warning about Theophostic Counseling which had been adopted by “DUNAMIS” (Brisbane, pastors Shawn Hanson and Trevor Chandler) and by others. We believe that the following report justifies our warning:

Go to: www.lyingspirits.com/news2006.html — for an interesting summary of law suits originating in British Columbia, Canada, involving the so-called “Christian prayer counseling” ministry of Elijah House, founded by U.S. residents John and Paula Sandford.

They use “inner healing” techniques drawn from occultism, especially the “recovery” of repressed memories in order to heal those memories (as they say). This is sometimes called “Theophostic Prayer Counseling” (TPC). Elijah House counselors are, among other things, taught to help people recover emotional wounds and hidden memories in order to “apply the healing power of Jesus” through prayer. In my book True to His Ways6 I compared this practice with kundalini yoga (which is actually orthodox Hinduism). In yoga, practitioners uncover repressed memories and then apply the healing power of kundalini (i.e., the serpent).

Eastern thought, not the Bible, is the source of such practice.

In the early 1990s a Canadian lawyer, under the tutelage of John Sandford, left her law practice to head up Canadian operations for Elijah House. However, they closed down the Canadian offices in the early 2000s. Around that time a man sued for divorce, saying his marriage was torn apart as a result of counseling that caused his wife to have false memories of sexual and satanic abuse. Recently, the wife apparently realized that she had been deluded and she sued Elijah House. More information is in linked statement.

In 2005 one of the leaders of Elijah House personally told me they were planning to send representatives to carry their teaching into individual churches, especially in the USA, having decided that they need to take their practices directly into church congregations.

Source article posted on www.christian-witness.org from an Australian newsletter called True To His Ways. (Original document is in PDF format)

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7 Responses to Update Re: Dangerous Inner-Healing Program (TheoPhostics)

  • I recently found out that my church is ofering Sozo prayer. I have been researching sozo and praying about how to present the truth to my church. I appreciate your web site.


  • Dave, this sozo stuff just gets crazier! I too was a victim of this practice, although they didn’t call it that at the time. One of the main leaders of it came to my house one day and told me that the Holy Spirit had revealed to her that I was raped by four of my cousins as my parents watched. She also told me my dad wasn’t my real dad (non of this was true and I had no memories of anything she told me). She said these were “repressed memories” in my subconscience and until I accepted them as truth I would never get better. She brainwashed me into believing so much crap,

    When she told me these things my life seemed to drain out of me, for I and this lady had become close and I wanted to believe she really was sent from God to help me (as she claimed). Besides I thought this would explain the many problems I and my parents had always had.

    She was also “making merchandise” of me. She was also an herbalist and was supposedly trying to help me thru a sickness that doctors couldn’t figure out. I was throwing up constantly and noone could find out why—except her of course. She seemed to have all the answers at her fingertips.

    I was at the end of my rope and desperate. I bought hundreds of dollars worth of herbs from her and she did iridology scans on my eyes and put me on a foot detox program, plus many other “purification” rituals I won’t go into—it’s all too crazy. I found out later thru research that many of the herbs she had me on, were sending me into what’s called a “thyroid storm.” I was a nervous wreck and kept getting sicker and more mentally vulnerable to the lies. I was going down hill quick and so was my family life.

    Anyway, when she told me this about my past, I went into shock (never underestimate the power of suggestion)—-but God’s power was stronger. He pulled me out of all that, but only after I followed this lady to several different churches that were into the sozo thing.

    In one prayer group I was put thru the wringer—literally. It was so painful I thought I might die. But after they broke me down, I thought things were starting to look up because they began to prophecy over me that I was going to go into the “inner healing” ministry.

    Right after that I left the prayer group to volunteer at a local pregnancy center where they were slipping in sozo on clients. I was even sozoed there also, but was also in line to become a sozo minister myself. I would even practice on family and friends— until God changed all that. My conscience began to kill me, plus my marriage and home life was in total chaos due to all this, That’s another story, but God is faithful and brought me out, saved my marriage, healed my mind and body, healed the anger I had toward my parents, and gave my kids their mother back.

    God also strengthened and prepared me to confront the leaders at the pregnancy center and God showed me what the root of all this was…..a faulty view of salvation.

    So the next board meeting we had, I told them all God had shown me about how sozo was the logical outcome of a perverted view of the gospel. I showed them throughout the Bible about how it was actually divination and an abomination against God and that it made Jesus out to be a guru rather than a Saviour.

    You can guess their response. I began to be severely interrogated and manipulated to comply over the course of a year until I finally told them I could no longer in good conscience go along with what they were bringing in to such vulnerable clients.

    There’s so much that happened it’s hard to go over it all, but I praise God that He is the faithful shepherd that always brings His sheep out of all the messes they seem to get themselves into.
    Hope this helps someone else escape too.


  • I would just like to say that I have been “sozoed” but having now looked back on the event, I am without the negative connotation that the other comments pose. But that is not to discredit the damage that their authors have suffered. I only wish to share my experience.

    I recognize the danger of it: the client puts himself in a vulnerable position to “experts” and said experts are free to manipulate however sinful human nature drives them to. That is, if not carefully checked and rechecked within the truth of the Salvation of Jesus Christ and His already finished work.
    For me, it was a positive experience. I was wary of others putting ideas in my head because the so called “voice of God” has wounded me deeply as it (supposedly )has come from a human being’s mouth. We are such twisted things, we humans.
    But like I said. Positive. However, any positive effects would have disappeared immediately if my mentor had suggested things of her own will or thought process. But no. We were both accountable to others about our actions and purpose and we were both focused on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
    [Allow me to take a moment to present the idea that God is alive and He speaks. But when He does, it is not necessarily 100% of the time literal. In my relationship with Him, He has proven to be very metaphorical. That may be where sozo-ers have an issue. Literal or not? Hearing what they want to hear or not? Interpretation of a word from the Holy Spirit? Is it correct? Has it been weighed with scripture before wholeheartedly being accepted? Etc.]
    Back to it: My mentor and I established that I was capable of hearing from God myself, so she was uninclined to do any hearing for me. I think that is a safe guard from manipulation. Besides, if she had insisted on hearing God FOR me I would have instantly backed out saying something like “I have a mediator, thank you. His name is Jesus. Back off, lady.” But I had no need to do that. She merely waited as encouraging company as I sought answers from the Lord. She created an environment where I was free to come into God’s presence, and allow Him to work in my heart as He showed His outrageous love for me. Her patient style allowed me to relax physically, and if I felt I had gotten some revelation from the Lord, we weighed it with scripture together. That’s why we have community, right? Because we can’t do everything on our own. At least…I know I can’t.

    I understand the dangers. Brainwashing is a real thing. Psychology and Spiritual Warfare look very similar at times. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I think if applied in small doses with vision focused on giving God the glory, and checking things with scripture, sozo can indeed be beneficial to people. That doesn’t make it flawless because humans are flawed. That’s what the weighing and accountability is for. But it certainly doesn’t make sozo a cure-all either.

    Or maybe, people just need a friend to sit with and listen and to check and balance ideas with.
    Do you think we could get back to realizing how important relationship is? Isn’t a method or a system just like dead religion, but a relationship that is God-honoring…isn’t that what it’s about? Doesn’t relationship heal things?

    Sozo, I do not believe is entirely in err. But nor is it the answer. Jesus is the answer. God ordained relationship and He has perfect relationship within his 3 persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Relationship with man was broken at the fall where man rejected perfect relationship with God for death. Sin plagues the human race. Humans need saving. Jesus saves. Jesus doesn’t ignore things that need healing. But waiting for his timing for it and going about it in a manner that is safe and filled with the light of the truth is, of course, the best way to go about receiving healing.

    Just a thought. Thanks for allowing me to post a comment.


  • I understand these points from a logical standpoint, but from a spiritual standpoint we must remember that Sozo is man-centered rather than gospel-centered. In fact, it implies a different gospel altogether.
    It’s true that it would be nice if this sozo thing was all about true caring and godly relationships with mutual respect, but that is not the case, especially when sozo counselors are getting donations and an ego boost by always—-and I mean always—-being in a position of “one up-manship.”
    These are the types that are attracted to the position of “sozo counselor” or “seer,” etc. They usually want control over vulnerable people.
    However, I can see in the above case that this was not a vulnerable person, but rather someone whom they obviously knew they couldn’t mentally mess with.
    I wasn’t so fortunate. Probably because I was vulnerable, gullible and passive. At least now I know my weaknesses better and am more able to discern opportunists. I’m better, not bitter. I just think it’s so important to warn other vulnerable people that they should never underestimate the power of suggestion, even if it comes from a friend and to always be aware of their own weaknesses in order to keep from being manipulated by unbiblical practices.
    And that is the bottom line, Sozo is an unbiblical practice that is closer to divination than it is anything else found in Scripture. We can’t begin calling evil good, even if some results are seemingly good or neutral. That is modern pragmatism and has nothing to do with the gospel.
    As I stated above, a faulty view of salvation (man-centered rather than God-centered) is the root of Sozo type ministries that lead into a thousand other delusions.
    Sure, just like eating food that is contaminated, it might not hurt you, but why take that chance? Why do something that dishonors God, something that has no pattern in Scripture, something that has damaged so many and has perverted the gospel of God???


  • Well stated Lee Anne! Thanks for your post. 🙂


  • Inner healing is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It brainwashed me and left me tormented by devils. I had false memories of things that never even happened to me and i ended up in a psychiatric hospital 3 times because of it. I’m still waiting for the Lord to heal my mind from the damage that was done to it. I’ll never forget the nightmare that i went through with inner healing. I know that some people call it sozo, some call it inner healing, some theophostics and some call it regression therapy. It doesn’t matter what name you give it, it’s the same evil thing. I’d like to warn everyone against this garbage. You’ll be sorry if you mess with it. It has destroyed many lives, i have read countless stories of people who have falsely accused parents of sexually molesting them because a trained inner healer or therapist suggested it to them. When you go to these people they will tell you that you have been raped or molested by someone in your family but that you have repressed the memory. Inner healing ruined my mind and there’s no way i would mess with it again.

    Campbelltown Sydney Australia.


  • I had one brief encounter with a sozo person here in Denver. I had left a message for someone to call me back, as I was interested in inner healing for some stuff I’ve been dealing with for a long time. This woman called me back one evening a short time after I left the message. She almost immediately began with a very judgmental attitude, and then began to accuse me of things that were not true. She then started accusing me of being angry, which I was not. I was observant and called what I thought was true or not true. I think this challenged her, and possibly threatened her. and she went on the offense. (Best defense is an offense….maybe). She started with “correcting” my thinking, and started again with accusation. I hung up on her. Thankfully, I’ve NEVER heard from them again. Nothing like a red flag to immediately warn me of the danger I could have gone into. Had this woman been nice to me, I cannot imagine what would have happened to me. Jesus is faithful!


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