Tag Archives: Jesus calling

“Jesus Calling” is still being recommended by people who should know better

Tim Challies has a great post called 10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling.   There are two very disappointing things about that book:

  1. That people are so biblically ignorant and/or desperate that they can’t see what a fraud Sarah Young is.
  2. That church leaders are equally fooled and/or too cowardly to tell their flocks how awful the book is.

In one of the many reasons you should not trust CBN (home of Pat Robertson), look what book they put at the top of their recommended “Christian” best seller list.

Walk into a Christian bookstore and you will be greeted with shelves and shelves of faith-based novels and Bible teaching books. Log onto an online store and even more titles are at your fingertips. So how do you know what to buy?

Take a look at these best-selling Christian works. They are ones you should definitely keep in your book collection at home.

1. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Missionary Sarah Young shares uniquely inspired spiritual insight in memorable, thought-provoking daily devotionals. Jesus Calling is written from Jesus’ point of view in a touching first-person format that enables readers to experience the Savior speaking directly to them through scripture.

“It felt a little awkward the first time I tried it, but I did receive a short message. The content was biblical, and it addressed themes that were current in my life: trust, fear, and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my journal as usual; at that point my journaling changed from monologue to dialogue. Day by day, messages began to flow more freely.” – Sarah Young, on beginning a “dialogue” with God

A leader at my former church (one of the reasons it is my former church) though it was a good book and read it often.  Sad.

Please share Challie’s link and help educate people on how to improve their discernment.

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Video: The Bible, Decision Making and Hearing from God

This is one of the most practical lessons you can ever learn.  Everyone makes decisions every day and lives with the good and bad consequences of prior decisions, and they help guide others to do the same. How can you make sure you doing that in the right way? Does God tell you how to make each decision, or has He given a different method? And is it normal for Christians to get messages from God outside the Bible?

This is especially important when considering how popular books like Jesus Calling and its sequel are.

 

The Bible, Decision Making and Hearing from God from Eternity Matters on Vimeo.

Beware of Christian bookstores

And that goes double for newer Christians.

Why?  Because the more popular the book, the more likely it has lousy theology and the more likely they will sell it.  Lifeway, etc. are businesses.  They are sort-of Christian in that they sell Bibles and some good books, but mostly they’ll see anything with a Jesus veneer.  People gobble up the “I went to Heaven” books and other fads, not noticing that they disagree with the Bible and with each other.

Another example: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which I’ve written about previously, is a wildly popular book.  Here is the type of content that book has (the author is claiming to quote Jesus here, putting her book on a par with scripture).  Via Book Review and Serious Warning: Sarah Young’s ‘Jesus Calling’

When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. . . When you realize this has happened, whisper My Name; this tiny act of trust brings Me to the forefront of your consciousness, where I belong. (May 2)

Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me. . . . There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My presence. (May 24)

For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope. All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms. . . I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. (June 14)

That sure doesn’t sound like Jesus.  If you read the Bible much at all you should recognize how made-up her claims are.

While she tries to deny that she is putting her words on a par with scripture, the accusation stands. The title itself claims that Jesus himself contacted her.  How can she then deny that she was claiming to quote him?  Does the King of the universe make contact and then not speak clearly?  And just look at the quotes above.  They are unusually specific, telling Young about the number of dimensions in the universe.  So Jesus either really told her those things, or she made them up (or a demon told them to her).

As the link explains, there is one entry after another with New Age nonsense like that.  Any resemblance to the Bible is coincidental, but there is a strong correlation to what Young writes and what New Age mystic Eckhart Tolle writes (Oprah loves Eckhart’s teachings, if that tells you anything).

This is why understanding Decision making and the will of God is so important.  Those who claim special revelation from God are making the same type of statements that Young does, namely that God spoke to them directly with a personalized message.  While He could do that, it isn’t normative, and the burden of proof is on those who claim to have received his messages.

Avoid that book, warn others, and pretty much avoid any best-sellers at Christian bookstores (if you must go there).  Try to read more older, established books than the trendy ones.

About that “Jesus Calling” book . . .

Jesus Calling is an extremely popular book by Sarah Young.  That is sad, because it is transparently un-biblical.  You should be very skeptical of anyone who claims they got special revelation from God.  Those are nearly certain to be mischievous at best.

As always, as Justin Peters says, if you want to hear from God, read the Bible. If you want to hear from God audibly, then read the Bible out loud.  Trust God that his word will be sufficient for you, just as He promised.

Here is part a worthwhile review of Jesus Calling by Tim Challies.

We cannot miss this. As I have spoken to others about the book, I’ve heard some people say that this book is written as if Jesus is speaking to the reader. But it’s important to know that Young makes a far more audacious claim—this is Jesus speaking, through her. The messages he has given her, she now passes on to us.

This is a very good time to pause and consider this claim. Sarah is claiming some kind of new revelation from God. She is saying that God speaks to her and that she then passes these messages to others. Immediately we need to ask what she believes about the Bible. Is she claiming that these messages are equal to Scripture? That they trump Scripture?

She makes no such claim; not directly, anyway. At one point she says, “I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but they were helping me grow closer to God.” Later she says “The Bible is, of course, the only inerrant [without error] Word of God; my writings must be consistent with that unchanging standard.” But this is all she says. While she clarifies that her writings must be subservient to the Bible, she does not actually tell us what they are or how we are to regard them. Are they authoritative? Are they in any way binding on her or on us? If they are not inspired and not inerrant, what exactly are they? There are no answers forthcoming because immediately Young begins to share those words of God as daily devotionals, saying “I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. The more difficult my life circumstances, the more I need these encouraging directives from my Creator.”

Young teaches that though the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it is insufficient.

James Montgomery Boice once said that the real battle in our times would not be the inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture, but its sufficiency—are we going to rely on the Bible or will we continually long for other revelation? In Jesus Calling we see this so clearly. Young teaches that though the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it is insufficient. It was not enough for her and, implicitly, she teaches that it cannot be enough for us. After all, it was not reading Scripture that proved her most important spiritual discipline, but this listening, this receiving of messages from the Lord. It is not Scripture she brings to us, not primarily anyway, but these messages from Jesus.

On this basis alone this book is very suspect and needs to be treated with the utmost care. Young offers us words that she insists come straight from the Lord. But she gives no proof that we should expect the Lord to speak to us this way; all she offers is her own experience of it. At this point we are left with a few options. We can stop reading altogether, we can continue to read while rejecting her claims that these are words from the Lord, or we can read and take her at her word. Personally, unless reviewing the book, I would abandon it immediately. If she claims to be speaking Jesus’ words, I am no longer interested. However, for the sake of reviewing it, I continued to read.

WHAT SHE SAYS

Young offers a years’ worth of devotionals, all of which are written in the first person, as messages from Jesus. Each of them is followed with a few Scripture passages. Here is the first half of the devotional for January 8:

Softly I announce my Presence. Shimmering hues of radiance tap gently at your consciousness, seeking entrance. Though I have all Power in heaven and on earth, I am infinitely tender with you. The weaker you are, the more gently I approach you. Let your weakness by a door to My Presence. Whenever you feel inadequate, remember that I am your ever-present Help.

It is interesting that the majority of the devotionals are affirmations rather than commandments which means that the book tends to be more descriptive than prescriptive. It is less about Jesus telling how we are to live, but more about who he is, who we are, and how to enjoy his Presence. It is notable that these affirmations span only a very narrow range of the Christian experience. It is equally notable that many of Jesus’ words sound very little like what he says in the Bible. For example, “Let the Light of My Presence soak into you, as you focus your thoughts on Me.” And shortly after, “Learn to hide in the secret of My Presence, even as you carry out your duties in the world.” I do not even know what that means or how it might be applied. There is no clear command there for me to obey and no clear word about who Jesus is.

CONCLUSION

Jesus Calling is, in its own way, a very dangerous book. Though the theology is largely sound enough, my great concern is that it teaches that hearing words directly from Jesus and then sharing these words with others is the normal Christian experience. In fact, it elevates this experience over all others. And this is a dangerous precedent to set. I see no reason that I would ever recommend this book.

One of my all-time favorite lessons to teach is Decision Making and Will of God.  It also addresses these alleged revelations from God.

If you really want to hear from Jesus, read the Bible.  It is open 24×7.

Update:

Some quotes from the book that prove the points above.

“Smith writes, “When looking at these quotes of ‘Jesus’ from Jesus Calling, ask yourself–do these statements sound like things our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would say?” [1]

According to the fake “jesus” in the Sarah Young book:

“When you trustingly whisper My Name, My aching ears are soothed.” [2]

“When you walk through a day in trusting dependence on Me, My aching heart is soothed.” [3]

This is creepy. Let’s go on to a couple more quotes from the fake “jesus.”

“Feel your face tingle as you bask in My Love-Light.” [4]

“Let My gold-tinged love wash over you and soak into the depths of your being.” [5]

“Unlike the ‘Jesus’ of Jesus Calling who does so excessively, Jesus Christ never flattered people,” writes Warren B. Smith. [6]

I am going to review Smith’s full book, but I probably will have short articles along the way. ‘Another Jesus’ Calling is an important book as the popular Jesus Calling seems a product of spirit dictation, like its predecessor of the 1930s, God Calling.

 

Endnotes:

1. Warren B. Smith, ‘Another Jesus’ Calling, pg. 64

2. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, pg. 203

3. Ibid., pg. 182

4. Ibid., pg. 262

5. Ibid., pg. 310

6. Warren B. Smith, ‘Another Jesus’ Calling, pg. 65