Friday, March 13, 2015

Problems With Bestselling Book "Jesus Calling"

Posted by Christine Pack

 Did Author Sarah Young Write Jesus Calling Using Occultic Practice of Automatic Writing? 

The bestselling book Jesus Calling was almost surely written through the occultic practice of "Automatic Writing." A shocking claim? All right, then, I will grant that some of the book could have come from the author's own imagination. However, I also believe it is entirely possible that the book is truly from the spiritual realm; only, it is not the Jesus of the Bible with whom the author got in touch, but rather a demon. And I'm saying this not as just a Christian researcher, but as a former New Ager who practiced Automatic Writing. I should also point out that Christians don't get to flip some switch somewhere and turn occultic practices into biblical practices just by adding biblical terminology to what they are doing.

Automatic Writing is an occultic practice that is a form of divination, a practice that is expressly forbidden by God (see Deut 18). Author Sarah Young recounts how she decided to write the book Jesus Calling:
"My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they 'listened.' About a year after I started reading this book, I began to wonder if I too could receive messages during my times of communing with God. . . . So I decided to 'listen' to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I sensed He was saying." (from a Question and Answer session with Sarah Young, CBN)
Now compare Young's description about how she decided to write Jesus Calling to the practice of Automatic Writing as written about in Wikipedia*
"Automatic writing or psychography is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words are claimed to arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source." (source)
* NOTE: Don't be hating on me for using Wikipedia. I didn't want to link to a New Age source, and sometimes Wiki actually does get things right, as they do in this instance.
Nowhere in Scripture are Christians told to do as Sarah Young did when writing her book, and that is to sit with pen in hand waiting for a form of channeled dictation from "Jesus." We are to read the Bible, seek to understand it in its proper context, believe it, accept it by faith as truth, and and pray for the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience where we are commanded to take action. But no zoned-out trance states seeking a "fresh" word from God, no. A thousand times no.

For more on the practice of Automatic Writing in Jesus Calling, please read this article by Marcia Montenegro. Like me, Marcia is a former New Ager (she was a professional astrologer). Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Religion from Southern Evangelical Seminary, is now a born again believer in full time apologetics ministry.

You can also read more about this in our article here - Sarah Young's Bestseller Jesus Calling: An Overactive Imagination or a Demon?
“When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.” (Deut 18:9-14)
 "Another Jesus" 
"The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don’t know the voice of strangers...... My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:3-5, 27, my emphasis)
The "voice" of the "Jesus" in Jesus Calling does not match the "voice" of the Jesus of the Bible. It just doesn't. And Christians who are very familiar with Scripture know this. If you're not sure about this, just pick up the Bible and read through any one of the gospel accounts. If you do so, you will realize that the "Jesus" of Jesus Calling is not the Jesus of the Bible.......he is "another Jesus," one that the Apostle Paul warned us about receiving and accepting in the second book of Corinthians:
"For if someone comes along and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or should you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you are all too willing to listen." (2 Corinthians 11:4)
In fact, not only is the "voice" of the "Jesus" in Jesus Calling not the "voice" of the Bible's Jesus, but it speaks in a way that is remarkably similar to the demonic spirits I was in touch with while in the New Age. Satan is the father of lies, and has been from the beginning, which means that he, and his demonic legion, have no moral constraints about lying and deceiving those playing around in the supernatural realm, as I was. What this means is that when I was communicating with demons as a New Ager, they didn't identify themselves as demons. Spooky music didn't start playing, and green smoke didn't ooze under the door when they showed up, like we see in the movies. They had beautiful names, and they professed to me to care for me, and to desire to help me grow spiritually. They had a very smooth, soothing way of communicating. (The more Bibley term for that would be 'ear tickling.')

When these demons communicated to me, they would often say 'Trust me' or 'Trust us,' a phrase ('Trust me') that is also often used by the false 'Jesus' in Jesus Calling. If you read through the book, you will see that phrase used repeatedly, yet that is not something that Jesus uttered on a regular basis during his earthly ministry or elsewhere in the Bible, even though we are to trust in the Lord. I think the repetition of this phrase is used by demons to lull humans into, well, trusting them, since their obvious aim is to deceive us and confuse us as they are in the process of communicating to us things that are contrary to what the Bible teaches us about Jesus and God. Their ultimate goal, obviously, is to turn us away from the Jesus of the Bible. And to do this, they often masquerade, as we are told they would, as 'angels of light' (2 Cor 11:14)."

 What's Missing From Jesus Calling? 

Jesus's mission was not social justice, nor was it primarily to model to us how to live a good life (i.e., the social justice "Jesus," the emergent "Jesus," the liberal "Jesus," the Jen Hatmaker "Jesus").

Jesus's mission was not to give us our best life now, or to give us practical life skills in order to enhance and enrich our lives (i.e., the Word of Faith "Jesus," the seeker sensitive "Jesus").

Jesus's mission was not to give us ooey-gooey feelings about Him or about ourselves (the Ann Voskamp "Jesus," the Beth Moore "Jesus," the pop-psychology "Jesus").

Jesus's mission was not to lend his name to the vague New Age term "Christ consciousness," which in the New Age, is the term used to describe a person who is evolving spiritually on their own, through various New Age practices. (i.e., "Robert developed his 'Christ consciousness' through meditation, vegetarianism and learning to avoid bad relationships.")

The Jesus of the Bible is the eternally existent God-man who chose to leave his glory above and be born of a virgin into this sin-sick world in order to undertake a very particular mission, a mission for which "He set his face like flint" (Luke 9:51) in order to accomplish it. His mission was to fulfill all righteousness on the behalf of sinners, and then to offer up his perfect life, by dying on a Roman cross, as a sacrifice for sin. This was his mission, and it is anchored in history both by the historical accounts in the Bible and by extra-biblical accounts form historians living at the time of Jesus. Jesus was a real person, and he incarnated for a very specific purpose, and that was to save sinners.

Proclaiming God's holy, righteous wrath against sin and sinners, and calling sinners to repentance and saving faith in his finished work on the cross was the primary focus of Jesus's earthly ministry.

All of these things are important to bear in mind when evaluating any ministry, any website, any book or any teacher. How is Jesus talked about? What about the cross? What about the gospel message, of how it is that sinful man is reconciled to a high and holy God? Is this front and center in the ministry? Or is it barely mentioned, a sidenote, a cameo?

All that to say this: God's righteous wrath against sinners and the cross do have a cameo appearance here and there in the book Jesus Calling, but only in the way that, say, a movie studio might heavily advertise a well-known actor who has a cameo in a movie. Did you blink? You might have missed his screen time. Well, that's how much screen time sin, God's righteous wrath against sinners, the cross and the atonement get in Jesus Calling. Don't blink, or you'll miss it.

 Final Thoughts 
"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor 11:14)
We've written before about the fact that deception is, well, deceptive. Isn't that the whole point of deception? Deception doesn't announce itself, and give warning that something is afoot. Spooky music won't be playing in the background. Deception can take place anytime and anywhere. It can happen:
......while you are sitting in the cozy nook of your favorite Bible study area in your own home; 
.....through a book recommended by your best friend or Bible study teacher;
...... in Christian bookstores, because the same bookstores that carry Bibles and wonderfully edifying Bible commentaries and study guides also carry books by false teachers who preach "another Jesus" (2 Cor 11:4) and "another gospel" (Gal 1:8, 2 Cor 11:4).
Deception is tricky......cagey......clever.....beguiling: deceptive. We must remember that we are in a spiritual battle, and that Satan is a roaring lion, prowling the earth seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We must therefore study the Bible diligently in order to present ourselves approved unto God as those who are able to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). This means that we must be prepared to hold up all things taught in the name of God to the actual word of God. And these biblical exhortations to test all things include even runaway bestsellers like Jesus Calling. Christian women, be on guard.

 Additional Resources 

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young: WUI (Writing Under the Influence) (Marcia Montenegro)

Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young's Jesus Calling
 (Critical Issues Commentary, Pastor Bob DeWaay)

Sarah Young's Bestseller Jesus Calling: An Overactive Imagination or a Demon? (Sola Sisters)

Warning About Bestseller Jesus Calling
 (Sola Sisters)

Tim Challies Reviews Jesus Calling (Challies)

Beth Moore Recommends Jesus Calling Book (Apprising)

Justin Peters on Jesus Calling (10 minute YouTube video)

What Is Automatic Writing? (Wikipedia)

What Does the Bible Say About Channeling? (Got Questions?)

What Does the Bible Say About Divination? (Got Questions?)

"Another Jesus" Calling (book by former New Ager Warren Smith)

Thomas Nelson Publishers Creatively Edit Jesus Calling (Stand Up For The Truth)

Is Jesus Calling A Wrong Number? A Book Review (Stand Up For The Truth)

Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control For a False Christ (Stand Up For The Truth)

Jesus Calling: Whitewashing The Red Flags (Stand Up For The Truth)

Is Deception Calling? A review of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (Stand Up For The Truth)

 Interviews With Sarah Young 

Question and Answer Session with Sarah Young (Christian Broadcasting Network-CBN) (more about God Calling here)

Meet Sarah Young (Christian Retailing, Aug 18, 2010) (Young cites the New Age book God Calling as influential)

Sarah Young: Amid Suffering, Devotion (Publishers Weekly, Nov 14, 2012)

 Sola Sisters Facebook Wall Discussion Threads 

False "Jesus" flatters in Jesus Calling - Dec 14, 2013

The demonic "voice" of Jesus Calling, friends don't let friends read Jesus Calling - Mar 11, 2015

Jesus Calling, occultic practice of Automatic Writing - Mar 11, 2015

Jesus's mission - Mar 12, 2015

The "voice" of the "Jesus" in Jesus Calling vs. the "voice" of the Jesus of the Bible  - Mar 13, 2015