The False light of Inner Healing


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The False light of Inner Healing - The continuing Influence of Agnes Sanford

Some people think that if you are healed or benefit in a “positive manner” that it must be of God. God does good therefore all good is God. That we can use whatever spiritual practice works no matter what its origin or source is. As much as some think this is Christian view, acceptable in Christianity, it is not. It is really pragmaticism overruling clear Biblical guidelines. The Bible has many instructions on avoiding spiritual practices that are not from God and can be harmful, but at first looks good. Just like the fruit Eve was tempted to eat, it looked good, she was told it would benefit her greatly and she followed this instruction even though her conscience knew what God had already said. That is the majority of people that are willing to experiment beyond the clarified guidelines in the Bible.

Agnes Sanford’s was a child of missionary parents who taught her the Bible but this was not sufficient and she was not satisfied that this is what God had to say. Sanford began dabbling in Tao (the force) when she was young.

Agnes Sanford was a universalist and the founder of the spiritual field of healing of memories that began in the 40’s. Her book “The Healing Light” was first published in 1947. Sanford taught that the principles of both prayer and healing are included in all religions, yet transcend all religions. She believed there is a spiritual energy, that is greater than the information contained in the Bible, this power is what she claimed to use. As with all mystically incline seekers, her experience shaped her theology.

Her healing was done through meditation, visualization, imagination and positive confession. She said that if she spilled hot oil on her hand in the kitchen, she would positively confess: “I’m boss inside of me. And what I say goes. I say that my skin shall not be affected by that boiling fat, and that’s all there is to it. I see my skin well, perfect and whole, and I say it’s to be so” (The Healing Light, p. 65).

While Kenneth Hagin is attributed to be the Father of this wayward reality, she can be called the mother.

Sanford taught that everything is a matter of thought vibrations which if "negative" make us ill, and if "positive" heal us. Indeed, "positive thought vibrations" projected upon sinners can even turn them into Christians. So her teaching was an rudimentary accompaniment of the word faith teaching of today. Yet she had a metaphysical basis that accompanied healing, "every cell in the body has a rudimentary mind and will hear your words."

Sanford's occultic teachings are often attributed to her pastor, Morton T. Kelsey, who studied at the C.G. Jung Institute near Zurich, Switzerland, and who became a Jungian psychologist.

One cannot define Sanford’s inner healing without Kelsey who was an influential Episcopalian priest who had communication with and guidance from the dead (Kelsey, Christo, p. 39, 148-49; see also Kelsey, Afterlife: The Other Side of Dying.)

Kelsey equated shamanistic psychic powers with the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Supernatural, pp. 120-43), and said “Jesus was a man of power. He was greater than all shamans.”

As the old saying goes, error begets error.

Although Agnes Sanford is no longer with us, she died in 1982, her books are sold are in Christian bookstores and therein is the danger. And new inner healing practices are formed from her basis. For example Theophostiic counseling is another inner-healing technique that came from of Agnes Sanford’s teachings. She taught that one should visualize a past situation, and then envision Jesus coming into the memory to solve the problem. This being used in a number of healing methods, including Richard Foster.

In the Healing Light On pages 21-22 four steps are given for tapping into this "God-force," the second being " She taught of a "God-force" can be turned on by simply saying to it, "Whoever you are whatever you are come into me now!" She admits to invite into her something she cannot identify, but assumes its God.

Sanford accepted whatever way was offered to enabled one to tap: into what she called "this flow of energy," this "high voltage of God's creativity. (Sanford, Light, p. 146.) Claiming that "we are part of God," (Ibid., pp. 10, 34-35.) Sanford also called God "primal energy" (Ibid., p. 30.)

Sanford called God "the very life-force existing in a radiation of an energy . . . from which all things evolved." She declares that "God . . . made everything out of Himself and somehow He put a part of Himself into everything." (Agnes Sanford, The Healing Gifts of the Spirit (Fleming H. Revell, 1966), p. 22,27. This is pantheism.

To support her Science of Mind, she quotes a scientist: "a vibration of very, very high intensity and an extremely fine wavelength, with tremendous healing power, caused by spiritual forces operating through the mind of man, is the next thing science expects to discover" (p 32). She goes on: "The love-vibrations and the faith vibrations of God and His saints [she includes dead "saints" "there is no death" (p. 143)] enter through our thoughts of life and love. In the same way, the destructive thought-vibrations of mankind, and of 'Satan' [whoever or whatever 'Satan' may be; her metaphysical system requires no personal devil] enter through our thoughts of illness, hate and death" (p 43-44).

She even taught that one could forgive another's sins through visualization (Ibid., pp. 63-64, 68, 112)

Here is how she describes Jesus and the atonement:

“God's love was blacked out from man by the negative thought-vibration of this sinful and suffering world.... So our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane undertook the great work we call the Atonement—the at-one-moment which reunited man with God.

He literally lowered His thought-vibrations to the thought-vibrations of humanity and received into Himself man's thoughts of sin and sickness, pain and death.... So He cleansed the thought-vibrations that surround this globe.... (The Healing Light p.125, 1947)

The atonement did not happen in Gethsemane, any Bible student would know this and it certainly did not have to do with thought vibrations, a concept found in the new age movement.

But she goes even further into a metaphysical explanation ‘His blood, that mysterious life-essence.. .remains upon this earth, in plasma form, blown by the winds of heaven to every land beneath the sun, exploding in a chain reaction of spiritual power.... (ibid.)

She explains “I have learned to combine the sacramental with the metaphysical approach... [but] not everyone has the open mind and the visioning faculty necessary if one is to use the metaphysical methods. (The healing light pp,125 1947, The healing gifts of the spirit 1982 pp.140-41: Quoted in Seduction of Christianity Dave Hunt and Tom McMahon).

In her book The Healing Light, she presents a false "God" who is the "life-force" in everyone and in everything. It is a form of "energy" like electricity: "the original force that we call God (p 30)....we are part of God (p 34)....He's in nature, and He is nature (p 35)....I was conscious of oneness with God, and therefore with the snake which God had made" (p 69). Her pantheism and panentheism is clear.

She claims her book will be a step by step guide on how to use the healing gifts for yourself and others. Hardly feasibly in light of what the Bible teaches on the gifts of the Spirit.

These gifts she taught were within everyone:

Now in the speaking with tongues, this power latent in the unconscious mind of all people is.. . quickened, so that the unconscious may make rapport with the unconscious mind of someone else living anywhere upon this earth or of someone who has lived before or of someone who will live in the future or even of someone from heaven. (Sanford, Light,p.152 underline mine)

After understanding her basis of operation we can better understand statements like, "A new age is being born...when love-power [projected] at the command of ministers [and others] is sufficient to change hearts....we [have] an inner source of power that can be tapped at will." (Agnes Sanford, The Healing Light (1947 ed.), 21-22, 60, 75.

Sanford delved deeply into New Thought, Jungian psychology, and other forbidden territory. She taught that there is a “spiritual body” within the physical body from New Thought teacher Emmet Fox (Sealed Orders, p. 115), this is Kenneth Hagin’s (word faith) concept of the spirit man.

Agnes Sanford, accepted Jung’s statement that the “child had a psychic life before it had consciousness” (Jeremiah Abrams, ed. Reclaiming the Inner Child (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1990) p. 293.

Sanford taught that the individual should ask Jesus to go back through all of the stages of his or her life and heal everything, even to birth and beyond.

Follow the soul of Your child all the way back to the hour of birth and heal the soul even of pain and the fear of being born into this darksome world. ... And if even before birth the soul was shadowed by this human life and was darkened by the fears or sorrows of the human parents, then I pray that even those memories or impressions may be healed, so that this one may be restored to Your original pattern, the soul as free and as clean as though nothing had ever dimmed its shining” (The Healing Gifts, pp. 122, 123)."

First of all no soul is born free but is in held to its human nature, which is no sinless but fallen. If this affected everyone born like she assumes we would all be in far worse shape

Clearly this not Christian teaching, it is something foreign. It is Jungian psychology overuling biblical Christianity.

In fact she uses Jungian terms to define the gifts of what she thinks is of the spirit.

“For now we know that we have within us another mind than the conscious, and this unconscious mind is not disconnected from life but is connected with the mind of the race: the collective unconscious. Therefore we can ‘pick up’ thoughts and impressions from another or from life outside ourselves, or from memories of the race”(Agnes Sanford, Healing Gifts of the Spirit (Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincot, 1966) p. 136)

Have you heard of those teach about picking up others thoughts? They have probably read her book. This is all spiritual mumbo jumbo that should not be taught to anyone.

Sanford’s influence can be seen with Rita Bennett, Richard Foster, Bill Vaswig, Ruth Carter Stapleton, Rosalind Rinker; all took some of her concepts.

Bill Vaswig (of Renovaré) wrote: “Perhaps the most important thing Agnes Sanford taught me about prayer is that it has to do with the imagination.”

Here is where we see ideas of Yonggi Cho tell one to imagine what they want not just use words. Cho states “we can incubate that which we want God to do for us.... We should always try to visualize the end result as we pray. If you have not visualized clearly in your heart exactly what you hope for, it cannot become a reality to you.... (Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimension, Volume One (1979), 9-35; vol. 2, 18-33) “Through visualizing and dreaming, you can incubate your future and hatch the results” (P. Yonggi Cho 4th Dimension p.44, vol.2, pp.25-28, 68)

When we hear Richard Foster say that Agnes Sanford is one of mentors we should understand there is a symbiotic relation of their teaching. Richard Foster wrote, "I have been greatly helped in my understanding of the value of the imagination in praying for others by Agnes Sanford .... This advice... [of] prayer through the imagination . . . pictur[ing] the healing . . . and much more, was given to me by Agnes Sanford. (Foster, Celebration, pp. 36.136.)

Sanford saw the Creator and the created as the same.

“Having quieted our nerves and minds by sitting in the most comfortable position and by relaxing, let us now open our spirits to receive the abundant life of God. How easy this becomes when we realize that God is not a far-away sovereign, but is actually the medium in which we live the very breath of life! . . . For as we tune in our thought-vibrations to the thought-vibrations of God, we expose ourselves, as it were, to His eternal shining and so receive His image upon ourselves.”

This kind of teaching is prevalent in the new age movement and it is fast becoming accepted in the church that does not exercise Biblical discretion.

Sanford said, “It is no longer possible for me to do this work [of prayer] individually, person to person, for the field has grown too wide. The Lord has therefore guided me to a broader and more subtle way of prayer.

It baffles me in a way, because I cannot tell what my spirit does and whither it goes. But that it does travel and that God does work through my spiritual body even when my mind is quite unaware of it, becomes more and more apparent.”

(Quote from Robert L. Wise, Healing of the Past (Presbyterian and Reformed Renewal Ministries International, 1984), p. 30

Here we have the occult teaching of soul travel better known as astral travel in new age circles. There is not Bible justification for this.

She went on to say, “Spirits of those [dead] for whom we have prayed on earth are working through us.....One conveys that healing force to the inner being [of the sick] through the law of suggestion ...He [the person doing the healing] has made a thought-track between his spirit, subconscious mind and body; the body, the subconscious mind and the spirit of the patient ... (Sanford, The Healing Light. pp.98-113,142-43.)

This is about spiritually dangerous as it can get. Among the many false teachings she introduced saying spirits of the dead work through us is as close as one can get to demonism defined in the Bible.

Speaking of someone whose repressed memories failed unaware they were buried

So I thought, ’I will repent of them in her name’ I will say to Jesus Christ, ‘Let the grown woman free, for I will take the responsibility for her sins of fear and hate. Since she cannot see them herself to repent of them herself, I will repent of them in her name and so open the door for the forgiveness of Jesus Christ ” (Agnes Sanford, Healing p. 120.)

And here we find the concept that so many practice today on reconciling people, groups and nations, this is especially found in YWAM. That we can stand in the gap and release people

She taught that the Great Tribulation is in the past; we are now in the Millennium and Christians must, through Science of Mind techniques, take dominion over this earth, even removing the effects of the Fall without the return of Christ. (Creation Waits, Logos, 1978)

Abusing Memory: The Healing Theology of Agnes Sanford by Jane Gumprecht may be a helpful book in understanding what this actually is

The Sanford energy goes on and on…

John and Paula Sandford said of Agnes Sanford, "for all of us the forerunner in the field of inner healing . . .[and] our own first mentor in the Lord, our friend and advisor...."

In 1961 John met Agnes and said of this, "I knew by my psychological training that Agnes was praying for the inner boy [his inner child] from conception to thirteen whom I could not reach. It worked. I was healed" (The Transformation of the Inner Man p. 4).

The “child within" is found throughout Sandford's teaching, and is from the teachings of Sanford and Jung, who certainly was not a believer but had ties to the occult.

John and Paula Sandford began Elijah House as a deliverance and memory healing center. No relation to Agnes except the similarity of ministry practices that they attribute to her influence. And have influence in the theophostic prayer, and the Healing Rooms another type of inner healing ministry.

Like Agnes Sanford Sandford says Memories need to be healed. In fact he goes further, "Memories need to be healed in animals as well as in people. Demons must be cast away, but not without removing their access by healing the memories" (p. 235 Healing the Wounded Spirit)

He says, “the same principles hold true for the deliverance and healing of animals as for people. … we can meet an animals spirit and read its character as we can with humans…” (Deliverance and Inner Healing by John Loren Sandford, Mark Sandford 2008)

I have to say that this is beyond speculation and enters fantasy.

Sandford described himself in one of his books as a "super-spook mystic always having dreams, seeing visions, and having far-out experiences" (Healing the Wounded Spirit, p. 255).

So many who have an inclination toward mysticism end up in the same place.

John and Paula attended Chicago Theological Seminary and in 1958, John was ordained in the Congregational church.

Within a few months of ordination the Holy Spirit fell on John while he was sleeping, and he woke up speaking in tongues.”

It was as if he prophesied to himself when he wrote:

Whoever then would come in the power of Elijah must divest himself of visions of grandeur. The prophet of the New Testament is not the miracle worker, not the healer, not the teacher, not the evangelist. He does not stand in the limelight.

“The prophet is the enabler, the spark plug who gets other people going. The New Testament prophet bows his spirit to prayer, unbeknownst to the rest of the body, and others find themselves healing or teaching or speaking.”

Shades of William Branham … So are we to believe that Elijah in the Bible used these methods as a prophet? His definition of a prophet is hardly described in the Bible as an enabler, as many of the prophets were rejected by the people

John Sandford believes himself to be a prophet of God, a modern day Elijah with an Elijah type ministry whose purpose is transformation, bringing the entire body into the fullness of Christ so that the body will be without spot or wrinkle before the father. The Sandfords taught the bride must go through the tribulation. He says;

"God does not intend to jerk His own out of the world so He can beat up on everyone else who has not received him. It is the opposite! He must send in reaping for what we have sown... It is not, "God so hated the world that He pulled His son out of it." Shame on man for perverting proper understanding of God's word and of His nature. He is still sending His son (church) that when men reap the horrible destruction they deserve, His church may be there, in the midst of tribulation.. to spread a canopy of protection... to be an umbrella of protection a mother hen under which the frightened chicks can run for cover." (Transformation, pp. 405-406)

In 1973, the Sandfords to move to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho where Elijah House began.

We had no idea what we were getting into,” John told Charisma. He says they knew only that they were called to an Elijah task: “to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and children to their fathers in the spirit of repentance” and “to restore all things in preparation for the return of the Lord.” (Healers of the Wounded Soul Julai Loren 2005 Chraisma)

John Sandford has written a number of books, Deliverance and Inner Healing;

Transforming The Inner Man: God's Powerful Principles for Inner Healing and Lasting Life Change (Transformation) which ass sold over 300,000 copies.

The Elijah House Ministries' website states, a "key principle of prayer ministry will always include looking for the root causes that lie beneath the surface of most problems."

The root cause of all problems is sin. Our trespasses against one another and God.

In Sandford's view, Everyone is a victim therefore everyone needs deliverance. They use the past that you may or may not remember (or did not happen) to implement their unbiblical method of inner healing, a blend of psychology and distorted scripture interpretations.

Greg DesVoignes, apologist and founder of Christian Research Ministries, in Spokane, did a critique on Sandford’s book, Transformation of the Inner Man.

DesVoignes says: "Sandford teaches that as part of transformation, the counselor must take a person through visualization, back into their childhood, even back into the womb, to contact their inner child, find out what the problem was at that time, speak to it, and this will allow changes to be made in the present life."

I ask where is this in the Bible? I guess if you think you have an Elijah ministry you can teach what is not Scripture but for those who know the Scripture that is insufficient justification for using any kind of Christianized psychology and occult practices.

John Sandford teaches that one can repent for another’s sins. Which is not possible logically or Biblically.

“I go into the Garden (Gethsemane) as often as I need to. There I identify with the pain in the other, with my part in that pain, my part in tempting someone to wound me. I experience the other's pain, and God's pain, and am devastated - because their pain becomes my own. Feeling such anguish, I can forgive, or deeply repent, either for myself or on behalf of the other." (Elijah House, Workbook. p.1-67.)

It’s no surprise that Peter and Doris Wagner of Global Harvest Ministries says “John and Paula Sandford are true pioneers in the fields of inner healing and deliverance,” John Paul Jackson, founder of Streams Ministries, and James Goll, founder of Encounters Network, credit the Sandford's with influencing and shaping their ministries.

John and Paula Sandford have cut back their ministry at Elijah House in recent years to focus on their larger mandate of “restoring all things.” In the last decade, they have moved into reconciling the hearts of Catholics and Protestants, Native Americans and Caucasians, Jews and Gentiles, youth and elders.

Richard Twiss of Wiconi International was also influenced: “John and Paula have been avid supporters of God's work to bring healing to our First Nations people through the presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ in culturally relevant ways to our people. As an Osage leader, John was … at the inaugural World Christian Gathering on Indigenous People in New Zealand [in 1996], like an apostolic father affirming his commitment and blessing as we danced, drummed and sang our prayers to the glory of God.”


If the “inner healing” teachings of Agnes Sanford is the root which is corrupt. The teachers that follow in the same vein, would their teachings not be corrupt as well? Did not Jesus say this exact thing when he said “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matt 7:17-20)

You cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit with Jungian psychology and methods that are not found in Scripture that are of the Occult and contrary to it. This is a mixture that man may use, but God does not use.




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