Elijah House Ministries, of Post Falls, Idaho, has announced the purchase of a 7,500 square-foot two-story office building in Spokane Valley, Wash., a sizable suburb of Spokane, Wash. Elijah House was founded in 1974 by John and Paula Sandford, who are avid proponents of inner healing prayer. For more than two decades, Elijah House has published a collection of books by the Sandfords that advocate many of the same concepts Ed Smith teaches in his Theophostic Prayer Ministry training materials.

According to the Elijah House Ministries’ website, a “key principle of prayer ministry will always include looking for the root causes that lie beneath the surface of most problems.” A prayer minister helps locate these “bitter roots” and encourages the person to forgive the offender….

John Sandford has referred to himself as a “super-spook mystic always having dreams, seeing visions, and having far-out experiences” (Healing the Wounded Spirit, p. 255). One of those experiences included healing the traumatic memory of a cow that had been shocked by lightning — a story Sandford relates in A Comprehensive Guide to Deliverance and Inner Healing (p. 231-232). He says: “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). This idea that hurtful memories provide access to demonic inhabitation, which Smith applies to Christians, and not animals, was heavily promoted in Smith’s writings over the years.

The Sandfords are self-admitted disciples of Agnes Sanford (no relation), who is considered the mother of the healing-of-the-memories movement. John Sandford opens his classic work on inner healing — The Transformation of the Inner Man — with the story of Sanford, whom he met in 1961. He says, “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” (p. 4). He then goes on to describe a dream about Sanford, which he said God showed him was all about “turning on lights in [Sandford’s] ‘tower of knowledge’” (pp. 4-5).

Agnes Sanford is credited with bringing visualization into the church, and is considered by many apologists to have espoused heretical beliefs, including the belief in a pre-conception existence. (For an excellent analysis of Sanford’s beliefs, see Jane Gumprecht’s book, Abusing Memory: The Healing Theology of Agnes Sanford, Canon Press, 1997.) [To order Abusing Memory, see the PAM Study Materials sheet.]

Greg DesVoignes, a Spokane apologist and founder of Christian Research Ministries, in Spokane, critiqued the Sandford’s book, Transformation of the Inner Man, in his commentary, “Transformation Of the Inner Man — And Inner Healing Philosophies.”

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.”

DesVoignes “found that most of their philosophies followed the teachings of Carl Jung,” whose ideas, he said, “have entered the church in a large way, mainly through the late Agnes Sanford who was a studier of Jung, and a mentor to John Sandford, through John and Paula and other psychologists in and out of the church.”

I am currently working on a review of the Sandfords’ books, which will soon be posted on the Lying Spirits website. Although Elijah House’s version of inner healing is not exactly the same as Ed Smith’s Theophostic, it is obvious from reading the Sandfords’ books that Smith drew many of his ideas from the Sandfords, who, in turn drew much of their philosophy from Agnes Sanford…..

[The above is excerpted from Jan Fletcher’s full article, which can be read on her web site: www.lyingspirits.com.]

(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, May-June 2006, Vol. 14, No. 3)