In our past three issues we revealed five errors of the inner healing movement. We listed those errors as to how inner healers understand and use the unconscious, the past, memory, emotions, and imagery, which is potentially the most dangerous of the five. We said that these are the very techniques (practices) used by mental alchemists (occultists) to manipulate reality with the mind. They are:
- Thinking—positive mental attitude or changing circumstances by thought.
- Speaking—mantra or positive confession.
- Visualization or imagery—picturing in the mind.
The most powerful of these three occult practices is that of imagery or visualization.
A feature article in the May 2007 Charisma titled “Surprised by the Spirit” says that “Ned Graham, the youngest son of evangelist Billy Graham, recently discovered a new direction for his ministry when he was filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.”1 Ned Graham founded East Gates International in 1992 as a ministry to China. The December 1, 1999 Calvary Contender reported:
Within the last year, East Gates Ministries saw a string of board members and staff leave. This began soon after the wife of East Gates President Ned Graham, son of Billy and Ruth Graham, sued her husband for divorce a year ago. Early 1999, East Gates quietly resigned from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (11/6 World). East Gates works in cooperation with Red China’s official China Christian Council and Amity Printing Co. Ned Graham is said to have built good relations with these Communist Party religion-control officials. Carol Graham accuses her husband of infidelity, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse. His church stopped supporting East Gates and revoked his ministerial license.2
The Charisma article says:Like his brother, Franklin, Ned suffered through tumultuous teen years, displaying his rebellion through a love for fast cars, drinking and girls. But unlike Franklin, who abandoned his rebellion early, Ned struggled for 30 years with this before he came face to face with the issues that had contributed to it.3
Charisma reports that Ned married Christina “Tina” Kuo, a director at East Gates International, who supported Ned during his divorce,4 and says:
Through Tina’s urging, Ned began meeting with inner-healing minister Rita Bennett, who led him through about 15 sessions of soul-healing prayer. Ned says he let go of bitterness, anger and resentment, and allowed Jesus to bring healing.
Then one morning he knew the time had come for him to be fully delivered. He called two friends, who had been present during his healing sessions with Bennett, and arranged to meet them at a church. While traveling the freeway to meet the men, he had to pull over to vomit several times, almost wrecking his car.
“The deliverance was difficult because what afflicted me since childhood was extremely powerful and there was an apparent hierarchy [of demons],” he says. But several hours later, he says he was laughing and giggling and praising God. “I was a totally different man,” he confesses.
Ned says he was also immediately delivered from the addictions that had plagued him for years, as well as some long-term health problems.5
In our May-June 2007 issue of PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, we mention Rita Bennett as a popular promoter of inner healing. Bennett would be guilty of all five of the psychoheresies involved in inner healing and especially that of visualizing or imaging. Bennett encourages those who come to her to “visualize the scene” from the long ago, personal past and to see, taste, hear, smell, and even feel through the early life experiences. The person in need is led to believe that the visualized Jesus, imagined for the purposes of healing, is the real Jesus.
In confronting this heretical occult practice, Alan Morrison says in his book The Serpent and the Cross: Religious Corruption in an Evil Age:
This confusion of an imagined Jesus with the actual Person of Christ is the fatal flaw in the entire psychotherapeutic visualization process…. How convenient it is to invite the Jesus of your own imaginings into scenes where sins can be forgiven without repentance—not only those of others who have wronged you, but also your own!6
In such a setting there is a movement away from a Word orientation to a feeling orientation, away from the Word as the foundation of faith to feelings as a basis for belief.
What’s Wrong with Inner Healing?
In such claimed healings the question arises as to what’s wrong with inner healing if it can produce such a dramatic change? Based upon the arguments and evidence presented in our three-part article, we conclude that the inner healing ritual is not biblical. Many cases have been reported of supposed inner healings where the individuals are worse off and one case, known to us, of a woman who was hospitalized for a “psychiatric disorder” soon after undergoing inner healing.
A couple visited us with the wife speaking to Deidre and the husband speaking with Martin in a nearby room. The wife reported on a “dramatic inner healing” she had experienced, which “cured” her main problems. The husband in the next room, who could hear what his wife was saying, told Martin, “She’s just the same. No difference.” It is often the case where one family member claims inner healing while the rest of the family only see and hear the old behavior and words, with no evidence of the claimed healing.
Would you want to refer someone to a healer whose results could be mostly negative? These inner healers fly under the radar of the scientific method. Remember, Jesus sent the ten lepers to the priests, who were the ones to examine whether they were healed and to pronounce them clean (Luke 17:12-14). These inner healing results have not been verified by scientific examination, but solely promoted by personal testimony. It has been said that the first sign of a quack is “proof by personal testimony” absent scientific verification. If there were an FDA requirement for such claims, inner healing would merit a “black box” warning.
Why does Ned believe he has been healed? In Freudian psychology a person, through the free association method of reporting whatever comes to mind, will revisit an early life traumatic experience and relive it in words, feelings, and actions. A common term often used is “catharsis.” In Part Two of the recent Inner Healing series, we explain the theory of “cognitive dissonance.” The theory is simply that, because people cannot live in a state of conflict (dissonance) between a belief (a cognitive idea) and a behavior or an emotional experience, something has to give. And, what gives is usually the belief. The brain needs to maintain consistency for behavior and it will generally do so by conforming its belief to its behavior or emotional experience. In other words, Ned’s “difficult deliverance” and the involvement of “an apparent hierarchy” of demons “since childhood” provided a catharsis, which resulted in believing he had been healed and then giving public support for the practice of inner healing.
Some will conclude that, since it worked in Ned’s case, it must be good. However, does the end justify the means? Many in the occult obtain supposedly similar results. Also, one needs to be able to follow Ned’s life for some time after the supposed inner healing. Will he still be married to Tina? Will he revert to his former problem state? Or, will some new personal dysfunctions simply replace the old ones? Besides this possibility of the quick cure, short-term change with later failure, there is the possibility of symptom substitution. For example, those who are relieved of migraine headaches through hypnosis may end up with ulcers. A study conducted at the famous Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago revealed the strong possibility of symptom substitution. They found that of those migraine patients who had learned to control headaches through biofeedback, “two-thirds reported the development of new psychosomatic symptoms within five years.” 7
In their book Psychic Healing, John Weldon and Zola Levitt say, “We would expect that most if not all of those who are occultly healed are likely to suffer either psychologically or spiritually in some way.”8Kurt Koch, in his book Demonology: Past and Present, says that in occult forms of healing:
The original organic illness is shifted higher into the psychical realm, with the result that while the physical illness disappears, new disorders appear in the mental and emotional life of the person concerned, disorders which are in fact far more difficult to treat and cure. Magical healings are therefore not really healings at all, but merely transferences from the organic to the psychical level.9
Koch believes that the power behind occult healing is demonic, that such healing serves as an impediment to a person’s spiritual life, and that the damage is immense. Weldon and Levitt also point out that occult practices do provide healings but that the cure is often worse than the original illness. They say:
In conclusion, psychic healing is not a part of the natural or latent capacities of man. It is a distinctly supernatural, spiritistic power and carries grave consequences both for those who practice it and for those healed by it. Those who practice it may have no indication that spirit entities are the real source of their power, but that does not reduce their own responsibility for the spiritual and psychological destruction of those they heal. There is always a high price to pay when contacting forces alien to God.10
Because of the hyperbolic testimony by the son of the world-famous Billy Graham, many will be flocking to Bennett’s door to obtain similar results, but the results they receive may not be what they expect as they enter the darkened doorway of such occult inner healing. As we said in our previous article, if we give in to experience, our experience will create our theology. We will have another Christ (created through mental imagery), another spirit (emotional sensations), and another gospel (salvation from victimhood and sanctification through catharsis).
God, save us from such folly!
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, July-August 2007, Vol. 15, No. 4)
1 Sandra K. Chambers, “Surprised by the Spirit,” Charisma, May 2007, p. 55.
2 Jerry Huffman, “Ned Graham Loses Wife & Board Members,” Calvary Contender, Vol. 16, No. 23, <http://home.hiwaay.net/~contendr/1999/12-2-1999.html>.
3 Chambers, op. cit., p. 56.
4 Ibid., p. 56.
5 Ibid., pp. 58, 60.
6 Alan Morrison. The Serpent and the Cross: Religious Corruption in an Evil Age. Birmingham, UK: K & M Books, 1994, pp. 40, 41.
7 Nathan Szajnberg and Seymour Diamond. “Biofeedback, Migraine Headache and New Symptom Formation.” Headache Journal, 20:29-31.
8 John Weldon and Zola Levitt. Psychic Healing. Chicago: Moody Press, 1982, p. 195.
9 Kurt Koch. Demonology: Past and Present. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1973, p. 121.
10 Weldon and Levitt, op. cit., p. 110.