Agnes Sanford and her Unbiblical Inner Healing method's
Certain people have a great influence in the era of modern Christianity, some are not a good influence. One of them is Agnes Sanford. She was born in 1897, the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary in China, and the wife of an Episcopal rector. She is considered to be one of the principal founders of the inner healing movement and one of the more influential shapers of the modern charismatic movement. She introduced to the body of Christ numerous non-Christian teachings, philosophies into the Church through the 1960’s to about 1980, and though she is gone she is still is an influence today. She was also a promoter of the Manifest sons of God heresy found in the Latter Rain movement by William Branham.
She wrote many books in her religious career, you can literally find the same ideas she wrote of in mystical and new age literature that has been written prior.
Sanford is most known by her first book, “The Healing Light”, ( old over half a million copies since 1947 when it was originally published), and ending with her last book, “The Healing Gifts of the Spirit” which contained a mixture of metaphysical concepts and Mind Science.
She included an endorsement in the front of her last book “The Healing Gifts of the Spirit” by “The American Theosophist.” They wrote: “... an inspiring handbook for developing one’s own capabilities for richer living and giving .” Theosophists are Spiritist’s who are part of the New Age Movement, they are not a good endorsement.
She believed what we hear from so many others today,that Christians today should do the same miracles that Jesus did ( Sealed Orders, pp. 13, 26).No doubt many who say this have read her books.
In her book “Sealed Orders,” she says she read everything she could about “spiritual healing,” and the Metaphysical Movement, including the literature of Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science. She says of “Christian Scientists,” that she is “grateful to them” for recovering the doctrine of healing (Sealed Orders, p. 113).
The complete name of the book is “Sealed Orders The Autobiography of a Christian Mystic.”
What she describes as a child is revealing, of her going into a Buddhist temple alone where she wondered if the idols had any power, this was a desire to assure herself that her parents (Christians) were right. She recalls playing in the Temple of Buddha in China as a child and even climbing up into the Buddha’s folded legs.
“What would happen if I myself were to worship the great Buddha? … “I folded my hands together, bowed before the serene gilded idol, who apparently paid me no attention whatsoever, and murmured “O-me-to-fu” as the monks did.”
She then writes what would be describe as demon oppression (or possession) by Christians, “ Nothing happened. Or did it? I wonder. For gradually there came to be within me another voice, sneering, despising, scorning ,
as I grew older there appeared two voices, one of which continually denied or derided the other one.”
“ Other readers may wonder whether my real trouble may have been demon possession.
It occurred to me long afterward this may have been one of the troubling factors.” Mrs. Sanford then remembers her Buddha experience when she was a child. “Perhaps some Chinese “kwei” (spirit) did take advantage of that crack in the armor of Jesus around me and slipped into me. ”
“Would it frighten you if I were to tell you I saw a sort of Chinese demon behind you?”“No,” she said, having been brought up with the knowledge of Chinese demons. “But if it’s there you’d better tell it to go away.” “When they are seen, they always go away,” said this remarkable medical doctor. And I knew that he had dismissed whatever shadow might have followed me from China. ”
She reveals some important factors that took place in her early life. What becomes obvious is that this is not the way to rid oneself of an evil spirit. The Bible teaches that whenever an unclean spirit enters, it must be driven away, exorcised, as they do not give up their territory by other means.
She also describes herself going to a “Séance`” with a “Quaker gentlemen.” She then being attracted to the mysterious attended the Séance again, alone, she writes “I went once, carefully keeping an open mind, for I sincerely desired to understand this matter and to rid me from any prejudice concerning it.”
Attending a séance` Sanford She opened the spiritual door for an evil spirit to enter her life. The only way to be freed of this influence is to confess it as sin, renounce and repent of this. There not to be found a description of Sanford ever having been delivered from her occult experiences.
Sanford’s inner healing concepts have influenced many. Her “memory-healing” are a mixture of metraphysics and psychotherapy presented in Christian terminology.
“ In the very practical course in psychology, I learned the basis of those methods of study which to this day I use ” (Sealed Orders, p. 42).
One is to probe the “unconscious” for forgotten memories which are the cause of one’s current ills. An occultic technique of visualization is used that is similar to “creative visualization” practiced in the New age movement.
In this technique one recreates a childhood scene that was painful. An “image” of Jesus is conjured up so that one may have a personal encounter to be healed. This image of Jesus communicates to the person what they need to do to have healing. Any “Jesus” that is summoned and appears in one’s mind or in a vision must be questioned as being authentic visualizing would be a quick way to have a demon spirit appear and masquerade as a helper.
Orell Steinkamp writes: in her book Abusing Memory: The Healing Theology of Agnes Sanford, by Dr. Jane Gumprecht,
She “shows how Sanford distorted Christianity to make it fit her ideas and turned Jesus into a ‘Time Traveler’ who supposedly guides people back in time to meet their so-called inner child, to remember the pain of their past, and to have Jesus heal the pain. She also shows how Sanford "affirmed the Freudian doctrine ...that the unconscious is a powerful dark force which rules our conscious lives" and used teachings about the inner child from mystical traditions and Jung’s Child Archetype.”
While the entire book is filled with evidence that should discourage every Christian from participating in inner healing, Gumprecht’s chapters ‘Inner Healing and Memories,’ ‘The Inner Child,’ and ‘The Source of the Unconscious’ are especially helpful. They give a clear overview of the practice of inner healing, of its unbiblical foundations, and of the dangers of inner healing as it is used by people today. Inner healing techniques are used by many Christian counselors, some of whom may not even call what they are doing ‘inner healing.’ Thus, Christians need to be warned and armed with the kind of warning and documentation found in the book Abusing Memory.
Mrs. Sanford does not describe in her books the Biblical concept of becoming Born Again by the atonement through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ... she describes the New Age concept of “rebirthing.” She writes: “God sent A man to open my mind to the possibility of a rebirth.”
He was not a minister but a doctor and a “seeker after truth.” He believed it possible that a flash of light from God could somehow awaken in us a center of light and a perception of God in such a way as to transform us completely; to accomplish, as it was a sort of spiritual mutation.”
She is claiming this is from God/
When it came to the atonement she had it distorted to her own predilection.
“God's love was blacked out from man by the negative thought-vibration of this sinful and suffering world. The sins of man had created a thunder-cloud, as it were, that shut out the free shining of God's love. So Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane undertook the great work that we call the Atonement—the at-one-ment 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. And as He was the Son of God and therefore able to transcend time, He took into Himself all of the sinful thought-vibrations of all humanity, past, present and future .” (P.134 The Healing Light)
One cannot find this mystical explanation, atonement is not “at -ne - ment,” it is payment for sin by his blood and life, not a uniting by thought vibrations. And the atonement did not happen in Gethsemane but by the crucifixion, by Jesus being the Passover Lamb. Her presentation not only shows she does not understand the Bibles record but she reinterprets it using a mystical view that she herself held to CHANGE IT.
“His life, the very essence of His being, nearer to Him than His robe . . ., and instinct with His power and His love. It is indestructible. This moving energy was at first encompassed in the visible flow of blood and water. Very soon the water evaporated. . . . Very soon the clotted blood dried into dust, and was disseminated by the wind and mingled with all life. . . . But the life in that blood is indestructible and still remains, an invisible current of a heavenly energy, an ACTUAL energy, a PERCEPTIBLE energy, an EFFECTIVE energy. (Sanford, Touch, p113. Block capitals are hers.)
Sanford has Christ’s blood remaining on earth, and in the air. The actual atonement described in the Bible is disregarded and replaced by a mystical interpretation.
Having a mystical experience by a lake she describes what happened to
This is not a Bible type experience but an Occultic one. And many others describe these metaphysical experiences today.
She experienced a series of mystical insights during her teen years that is common with occultists. She saw and felt herself to be one with the universe.
In the first of these she “ entered into a state of indescribable dreamy bliss wherein I was one with the tall crisp grass, and with the tiny creatures that lived within it, and with the high blue sky ...” (Sealed Orders, p. 33).
The second experience she “ entered into a state of high ecstasy” and sensed God “flowing into me from bamboo and from rock, from ferns and moss and tiny orchids hiding in the grass ” (ibid. p. 33).
Her third experience occurred while she was lying on a ship’s deck at night. “I was one with the stars--I was one with the universe. I felt in me the life of the strange creatures within the sea and beneath the waves and flying above the waves.” (ibid. p. 40).
This pantheistic metaphysical experience is commonly shared by many (including Forrest Shaklee, see www.letusreason.org/Nam62.htm )
She was also influenced in the most crucial of doctrines in Roman
My own most effective way of receiving Christ is at the communion
service, for I have learned to receive Him through the sacraments of
the church as well as through my own meditation. In other words, I have
learned to combine the sacramental with the meditative approach
” (The Healing Light, p. 167).
There is nothing spoken of this in the Bible. She describes of being in an army hospital meeting a Catholic soldier. Instead of giving the gospel to him, she told him: “I’ll ask my friends the Sisters to pray for you every morning at the Mass. And that Life will go from the Mass right through their prayers into your spine. You’ll see! ” (p. 127).
Life from a manmade wafer will transfer into him? She was what is called a sacramentalist.
She even admits this as she states “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 the Seduction of Christianity Dave Hunt
and Tom McMahon).
In her book The Healing Light, a new age concept of "God" Sanford presents to the reader a universalism. A 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). Pantheism has been a great influence to many– William Branham said the same of God is in nature and is nature.
We find the same techniques used today we promoted by her. The quieting meditation methods found in Yoga that is used to enter into transcendental states, bodily relaxation, controlled breathing, visualizing the quieting of the body, which is the exact way contemplative prayer is conducted.
“ We may be conscious of an inrushing current of energy, like electricity. ... But before we have learned to perceive these physical sensations, we will be conscious of His entering into us upon the footsteps of peace .” (pp. 27).
Relating to an iron not working, “ we look to the wiring of the Iron, the cord, or the house/ we do not stand in dismay before the iron and cry,”oh electricity please come into my Iron and make it work.” We realize the whole world is full of that mysterious power we call electricity, only the amount that flows through the wiring of the Iron will make the iron work for us.”
“The same principle is true of the energy of God. The whole universe is full of it, but only the amount that flows through our own beings will work for us.” (p.6 The healing light)
She compares the natural (the creation) to the spiritual to convince people they are equivalent, when they are not. She describes the energy as prana of Hinduism, that is within and without you.
Ray Yungen writes, “ Reiki practitioners depend on this "spirit guide" connection as an integral aspect of Reiki. In fact, it is the very foundation and energy behind Reiki.”
This energy is described and used in the same way Reiki healers use it, she believed the universe is made up of “the creative energy of God” and we can connect with this energy and channel it to others by the laying on of hands.
“ One does not need to be a saint or a scientist in order to do this
” (The Healing Light p. 21).
“The flow of energy that we call the law of love is the rhythm for which our beings were created, the thought-vibration in which we live and move and have our being.” (p.52)
“our bodies are made of His own energy and full of His own light!” (The Healing Light p.35)
The very chemicals contained in the body—the "dust of the earth"—live by the Breath of God, by the primal Energy, the original force that we call God . (p.22 )
She called them a “ powerful light-vibration shining from the Father of Lights,” that come as spiritual waves of healing power.
Sanford's healing and prayer techniques were not from the Bible but from various other religious influences. Sanford taught visualization, repetition of words, channeling God's power, and the power of thoughts to banish illness, among other New Thought principles.
She became the very example of Marilyn Ferguson’s new age occultism that would be an influence in the Church, 'The radical Center of spiritual experience seems to be knowing without doctrine ... the teacher does not impart knowledge but technique. This is the 'transmission of knowledge by direct experience .' (The Aquarian Conspiracy, pp.371, 377).
Sanford tells an unbeliever in God and Christ ‘I explained to Sammy that there was a healing energy in him that the doctors called "nature," that this same healing life was in the world outside of him too, and that he could receive more of it by asking for it. Ask that Something to come into you. Just say 'Whoever you are or whatever you are, come into me now.” (The Healing Light p.28)
She believed this "God-force" can be turned on by simply saying this to it. She assumed what she invited into her is 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, Healing Light, p. 146.) Claiming that "we are part of God," (Ibid., pp. 10, 34-35.) Sanford also called God "primal energy" (Ibid., p. 30.)
Visualization for healing
One of the quickest ways to open one self to spirits is by using imagination spiritually, picturing a reality to change in your body or world, called visualization.
Sanford's pastor was Morton Kelsey who believed in the occult technique of visualization as the key to inner healing. One first visualizes a situation of pain in the past, then visualizes Jesus coming into the picture to solve the problem. Often this "Jesus" of the imagination comes alive and moves and speaks on its own. Contact of the genuine Jesus Christ is not taking place but a counterfeit.
She would “visualize her patients well or they would not be healed . “... unless you can learn to see them well, you only fasten the sickness upon them ” (Sealed Orders, p. 164).
“ we learn to cure our diseased bodies by seeing, in our own flesh, God ” (p. 61). Quoting Job. 19:26, “in my flesh shall I see God,” her interpretation removed it from its context, making an inaccurate application. Job was talking about the future resurrection!
In her book the Healing Light, on p.156- 157, Sanford describes a visualization exercise for healing others by not seeing them sick; see them in your mind well, “when you pray for someone, you must learn to see him well.”And the voice within me said, “That’s right.” That “the subconscious mind is sending forth the power of prayer.” She would exercise her visual faculty, that part of the creative imagination that is most like God.” She then prayed “seeing the whole body radiant free and well,…I would raise them in my mind from off a hospital bed and see them walking, running, leaping. By an act of the will I would hold this picture in my mind until it outshone the picture last suggested to me by my eyes or by letter. I would hold this picture in my mind Until it came to me spontaneously and naturally….I would see him well instantly, not by an act of the will but by the joyful and triumphant belief it was so.”
Her explanation was “As he fills us with himself there comes to us more and more the inner sense of his authority, so that we dare say in his name,”I direct and command the forces of the body to throw off this disease and be well…””And the spirit within us knows when that word shall accomplish the thing whereto we send it, and shall not return to us void” that we “listen “for the return- messages of their spirits into ours”
Sanford promoted human to human spirit communication like spiritists and occultists, she even used Isa.55:11 like metaphysicians use it, Isa 55:11, says from My mouth (Gods mouth); It shall not return to Me void (back to God), not man.
Much like in Christian Science Sanford even claimed that believers could “ live above death and above the illness and pain that lead to death ” (The Healing Light, p. 72).
Her mind over matter metaphysics was the theme for her healing.
When her children misbehaved she would “ in my mind the picture of the child as he was at his best” and “ make in my mind the image of a child at peace and project it into reality by the word of faith ” (pp. 54, 55).
I can quote numerous people who are involved in the occult, but I think there is none more concise and precise than Shakti Gawain, a witch. She describes, one of my earliest experiences of the synergistic things that happen when we trust our inner guidance and follow the flow of our energy.”
Your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it (Shakti Gawain Creative visualization) Many say you are channeling the energy of your higher self. Shakti Gawain: “imagine golden, healing light energy all around your body . . . feel it . . , sense it . . . enjoy it…, healing energy to that part of you.”
“Our physical universe is not really composed of any "matter" at all; its basic component is a kind of force or essence which we can call energy.” The occultist is one who contacts and manipulates this unseen energy. It can be called by various names, and controlled and manipulated in numerous manners. This is what shamans have done for millennia. The fact is if you were to read creative Visualization or the hundreds of books like it, you would find Sanford’s words, descriptions and experiences in them. Are we to believe that witches and Occultists practice Christian healing? Or is it better suited that Sanford was practicing their belief of healing.