- Healing of
the memories, or inner healing, or healing of the emotions has its roots in the
teachings of anti-Christian and occultist, Agnes Sanford. It was carried on after her
death by those she influenced, such as lay therapists Ruth Carter Stapleton (deceased
sister of Jimmy Carter), Rosalind Rinker, John and Paula Sandford, William Vaswig (of
Renovaré fame), Rita Bennett, and others. John Wimber, David Yonggi Cho, Robert Schuller, and Norman Vincent Peale
are some of the well-known pop psychological practitioners of inner healing, but it has
spread widely in so- called evangelical circles in a more sophisticated form through such
"Christian" psychologists as David Seamands, H. Norman Wright,
and James G. Friesen, as well as a number of lay therapists like Fred and Florence
Inner healing therapies are offshoots of Freudian and Jungian theories rooted in the occult. They have destructively impacted secular society for decades and are now taking their devastating toll within the professing Church. A variety of "memory-healing" psychotherapies are masquerading under Christian terminology and turning Christians from God to self. Among the most deadly are "regressive" therapies designed to probe the "unconscious" for buried memories which are allegedly causing everything from depression to fits of anger and sexual misconduct, and must, therefore, be uncovered and "healed."
- The basic teaching of inner healing is the theory that salvation or healing comes through the uprooting of negative memories or "hurts" caused by others in early childhood that are supposedly buried in the "subconscious" from where they tend to dictate our behavior without us even knowing it. Thus, the blame for one's bad behavior (a.k.a. "emotional problems") in the present is placed upon others (who are perceived to have sinned against us in the past) rather than upon ourselves where it belongs (cf. Ezekiel 18). In order to "heal" these "diseased memories," the occultic technique of visualization (which is in reality a type of sorcery or divination which has been used by shamans, witchdoctors, and sorcerers for thousands of years, and is specifically forbid by the Bible) is frequently used to recreate the distressful childhood scene, "image" Jesus (if one is a professing Christian), bringing Him into the past situation as a "spirit guide"/"healing agent," and then causing Him to sanctify the event, forgive the person who supposedly caused the hurt, and in most cases, even alter the reality of the situation in the subject's mind, all so that the subject might be "delivered" from the "crippling emotional pain" associated with the past negative experience that supposedly "diseased memory" in the first place. (Charismatic Roman Catholic memory-healers employ the same techniques, but generally substitute Mary for Jesus as the "healing agent" whom the subject meets in the fantasy.)
In actuality, 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.
- David Seamands is professor of Pastoral Ministries at the liberal Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is known as one of the pioneers of the type of counseling known as healing of the memories -- two of his books, Healing for Damaged Emotions and Healing of Memories, are considered the "inner-healer's bibles" in today's psychologically-oriented pulpits. Seamands claims to use prayer, imagery, identification and clarification of past hurts, and positive visualization. In reality, his practice of inner healing uses one or more psychological and/or occultic techniques, such as regression, visualization, guided imagery, dream analysis, and the various Gestalt therapies consisting of primal scream, ventilation, role plays, etc. Seamands rationalizes that the imagination is used: (1) to "recreate the painful memory ... [to] visualize it as it once took place," and (2) to "visualize Christ present at the time of the painful incident." This is justified, he reasons, because Christ "is the Lord of time -- past, present, and future ... He transcends all time and space." Seamands completely ignores the dangerous occultic influences to which he is subjecting his counselees.
- Like Rita Bennett before him, Seamands builds his ideas on a foundation of anecdotes and interesting tales about the faculty of memory, rather than deriving them from Scripture. Of course, Seamands claims that his methods are Biblical. In a chapter entitled "Biblical Foundations for Memory Healing" (in Healing of Memories), Seamands declares that it is of the utmost importance to understand that these methods have a "solid foundation" in the Scripture. Yet, he immediately launches into a heated criticism of people who reject his methods because they are not described in the Bible.
The entire chapter on "Biblical Foundations ..." manages to raise no more than four Scripture passages, none of which even remotely justifies these techniques. One of these is 1 Cor. 13:11, where Paul speaks of putting away childish things. This text is promptly wrenched from its context and made to say that Paul felt a need to be freed from childish memories which had held him in bondage! The use of such a passage to justify visualizing and fantasizing is not merely absurd, it is to be condemned as willful spiritual and intellectual dishonesty.
Another of Seamand's texts is Hebrews 13:8, which reads, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." Seamands argues that because Jesus is the Lord of time, He will happily enter into our visualizing games and thereby heal our past hurts. It should be clear to all unprejudiced readers that this text in no way describes or justifies visualizing or fantasizing Jesus into existence, and anyone who uses such a text to justify these techniques can hardly be recognized as a person who takes seriously the message of Scripture.
Seamands goes so far as to say that counselors may dispense forgiveness like priests. He says:
"We Protestants have reacted against the Roman Catholic misuse of the confessional and the granting of absolution by priests. In doing so we have given up one of the greatest privileges of our priesthood -- being temporary assistants to the Spirit as His instruments to bring forgiveness."
Seamands claims that Matt. 18:18-20 gives authority for this (a clear indication of his
lack of genuine evangelical convictions) and tells us that he keeps handy consecrated
communion elements for the purpose of bestowing forgiveness!
What is wrong all of a sudden with direct prayer? Why can God no longer heal "emotional wounds" in answer to prayer? Why should 1 Pe. 5:7 no longer be good enough ("Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you")? Why should the fiction world of fantasizing, role-play, and pretense be elevated above believing prayer? And why should God have waited 2,000 years to reveal a "better" method of healing to Seamands and company? (Adapted and/or excerpted from Peter Masters, The Healing Epidemic, pp. 172-177.)
- Seamands, in an interview with Christianity Today in September of 1987 (p. 21), said:
"The point is that it's possible to have sin cancelled and for it still to have power over you. People can accept Christ, be on their way to heaven, and yet there's hurt and sin in the past that has power over them. It's got to be broken, and if it's not broken they cannot live faithfully" (cf. Rom. 6:4-7; Heb. 2:4). (Emphasis added.)
Seamands then goes on to defend the "inner healing of memories," not the
cross, as the appropriate way to accomplish this!
- Seamands believes that some people just can't appropriate God's grace without the "inner healing" of past victimizations (Healing for Damaged Emotions, p. 85):
"The realization of grace cannot be maintained in some people without an inner healing of the past. God's care cannot be felt without a deep inner reprogramming of all the bad conditioning that has been put into them by parents and family and teachers and preachers and the church." (Emphases added.)
- Seamands is also a believer in the humanistic concept of self-love/self-esteem. Approximately one-fourth of Healing for Damaged Emotions covers this "problem" (which Seamands describes as "Satan's deadliest weapon"). Seamands claims that most of our enemy's weapons are "psychological," rather than spiritual in nature: fear, doubt, anger, hostility, worry, guilt lingering on after a Christian receives God's forgiveness, and finally, inferiority, inadequacy, low self- esteem or self-worth. Seamands' teaching, found nowhere in Scripture, albeit dressed-up in a Christian facade: "... it is technically true to say that we are not actually commanded in these Scriptures [see below] to love ourselves." He then goes on to state that Scripture assumes we have a healthy self-love, a proper sense of self-worth, and thus we have been enabled to respond to Christ's command in an appropriate way (Healing Grace, pp. 141-142):
"The plain inference in every one of them [Lev. 19:18,34; Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mk. 12:31,33; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; Js. 2:8] is that a proper kind of self-love is the normal basis of relating to others. It is not commanded, but it is assumed." (Emphasis his.)
The word "assumed" is the standard eisegetical wedge that so-called
"Christian" psychology brings to Scripture to allow it to bring Scripture around
to conform to its view. Seamands is right that Scripture assumes we all love ourselves,
but it does not assume that our self-love is appropriate, normal, or proper.
Scripture assumes we love ourselves because it is the unavoidable expression of our sin
nature! And never does Scripture assume that being "in Christ" is the sanctifier
of self-love (as Seamands obviously believes), but instead, being in Christ, we have been
redeemed from this self-idolatry.
- When one considers that achieving the self-esteem Seamands is talking about can only be truly gained through much memory healing (victimization) counseling, one can only wonder why our Lord ever invited us to abide in Him so that we might have His joy in us -- yet never made any mention of these things:
"Jesus said that we should love God with our whole hearts and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Love for self is as necessary for maturity and wholeness and holiness as is love for God and for other people. Indeed, loving God and loving my neighbor requires a measure of self-acceptance and self-love in which I hold my own selfhood in esteem, integrity, identity, and respect" (Putting Away Childish Things, p. 114). (Emphasis added.)