Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, has characterized her book as "first-person messages from Jesus." In fact, the devotional reads in a conversational manner, albeit a one-sided conversation, in which "Jesus" is purported to be communicating directly to the reader through daily devotionals.
Sarah Young, the author of Jesus Calling, describes the unusual way in which this book came about in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network:
"My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930's 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. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but this was one-way communication: 'monologue.' I knew that God communicates through the Bible (and I treasure His Word), but I wondered what He might say to me personally on a given day. So I decided to 'listen' to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I sensed He was saying. Of course, I wasn't listening for an audible voice; I was seeking the 'still, small voice' of God in my mind/heart." (Q and A with Sarah Young, CBN)But the Bible does not tell us to sit quietly and attempt to hear words from God. In fact, what is being described above by Sarah Young is an extremely occultic practice known in occultic circles as "automatic writing." Wikipedia describes this practice thusly:
"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." (online source)We know from God's word that He detests any form of divination, which is what this practice is.
"When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God." (Deut 18:9-13)Now, it is true that God communicated through words in ages past through the prophets of his choosing, but in Hebrews 1:1-2, we are told that:
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe."What this means is that God's communication to us found its complete and final and greatest fulfillment in the final Prophet of his choosing, his own Son, Jesus Christ. After Jesus's earthly ministry, death and resurrection, the biblical office of prophet was forever closed. Could any human prophet after Christ add to his perfect, prophetic ministry? Absolutely not. And yet, there have been myriads of those over the centuries who have claimed to receive revelation from God, and to speak authoritatively (prophetically) on his behalf. That is the case with Sarah Young, though in some interviews, there has been waffling on this when she has been pinned down. Well, she can't have it both ways. Either Jesus is speaking authoritatively through this book to us, or he is not. Which is it? And, if he is, then we all need to get out our Bibles and start stapling these prophetic utterances to the backs of our Bibles, right after the end of Revelation. Does anyone else see the problem with this? I, for one, most certainly do. I see the problem, in fact, in the final words of Revelation:
"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll." (Rev 22:18-19)
The "Voice" of the "Jesus" in Jesus Calling
The following question was asked in a thread on our Facebook ministry page in which the bestselling book Jesus Calling was being discussed. I thought it was a great question, and I also think it's one that (rightly) occurs to believers when trying to evaluate whether battles are of the flesh/mind or have a more spiritual/demonic component to them. I have therefore written this standalone article highlighting the question and our answer, in the hope that this exchange is edifying for anyone who might have also had this question. Also, I have posted a number of entries from the Jesus Calling devotional that need to read only with great discernment.
QUESTION: How do you distinguish between something fabricated by an overactive imagination and something truly demonic?
OUR RESPONSE: That's a great question, and one that ultimately we can't really know the answer to. However, when I see the ferocity with which professing believers defend the false "Jesus" of Jesus Calling, I tend to strongly suspect that there is a demon or Satan involved, and thus a spiritual component to the battle. Spiritual warfare is a battle of words, concepts and propositional truths, and those who want to defend the false "Jesus" of Jesus Calling are arguing AGAINST Bible truths with worldly concepts (like pragmatism....."It 'worked' for me!") for the right to cling to their false "Jesus."
Also, the "voice" the false Jesus speaks in is remarkably similar to the demonic spirits I was in touch with while in the New Age. Deception isn't always obvious. In fact, I think it's rarely obvious......else, it wouldn't be deceptive, right? When I was communicating with demons as a New Ager, they (obviously) didn't identify themselves as such. 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.")
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).
"Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor 11:14)
"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." (2 Cor 11:3-4)
"Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Tim 4:3)[NOTE: I have posted below a number of entries from the Jesus Calling devotional to show how often the false "Jesus" of Jesus Calling urges the reader to trust him. Please pray before reading these, and please exercise discernment while reading these entries]
Warning About Popular Book Jesus Calling (Sola Sisters)
Former New Ager Warren Smith Explains That The "Jesus" of Bestseller Jesus Calling Is Not The Jesus of the Bible (Sola Sisters)
Tim Challies Reviews Jesus Calling (Challies.com)
Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young's Jesus Calling (Critical Issues Commentary, Pastor Bob DeWaay)
Beth Moore Recommends Jesus Calling Book (Apprising)
"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)
Bestseller "Experiencing God" Misleading Christians With "Soft" Mysticism? (Sola Sisters)
Interviews With Sarah Young
Q and A with Sarah Young (Christian Broadcasting Network) (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 Discussions