This is a delicate subject, and I am a little nervous to write about it, as I know many people have found comfort through Sarah Young's book 'Jesus Calling.' I'm hoping you take the time to really think about what I'm sharing here and have an open mind to what Jesus is really saying to us through His Word.
I first heard of Sarah Young's popular book through Tim Challies review ... and he did not recommend it.
I also found Tim Keller's wife, Kathy strongly urging others to not read the book... HERE
This put red flags up for me and I began to think about it more deeply. Here are three options for 'Jesus Calling'
1. Sarah Young actually heard the voice of Jesus Christ (of the Bible) and wrote down what He said. (This is what she claims)
Sarah Young says here:
"I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day. I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying."
2. Sarah Young wrote down her own thoughts and claimed them to be of Jesus Christ (of the Bible).
3. A false spirit spoke to Sarah Young and she wrote down what it said to her.
I was glad to have found this book, 'Another Jesus Calling' by Warren B. Smith, as it cleared up some concerns of mine and explained what needs to be looked at more closely in Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling."
Some of my concerns about Sarah Young's book were:
1. Why would the Jesus of the Bible use so much 'new age' terminology as Sarah Young's Jesus does? Terms like: co-create, divine alchemy, Love-Light, Light-bearer, supernatural plane, living channel, paradigm shift, true self, ultimate reality, universal presence.
The truth is Jesus never used any of this terminology, it is all from the new age.
2. Would the Jesus of the Bible promote a new age book called 'God Calling,' channeled by two mystery women as Sarah Young's does? (The publishers have since removed Sarah's Young's praise for this book as well)
Sarah Young says of the new age book 'God Calling'... "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."
It doesn't make any sense for Jesus to promote 'God Calling.' Warren B. Smith uses the first part of his book to explain the new age teachings within it.
3. Why did the publishers change some of the book in the past year or two?
I believe the reason for this was to remove the controversial things, so they could make more money from the book. They are a business.
Here is one example that worries me about Sarah Young's Jesus:
In Proverbs 30:5-6 it says:
"Every word of God is pure:
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
In 'Jesus Calling' Sarah Young's Jesus says on page 233:
"My Word is a lamp to your feet. My Presence is a Light for your path."
This contradicts Psalm 119:105 which says:
"Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path."
This verse does not say His presence is a light for your path, but rather His Word is a light to your path.
This really disturbed me. Sarah Young's Jesus seems to be lying, according to the verses in Proverbs 30:5-6 as she adds her own words.
Who is this Jesus who dictated to Sarah Young?
That's where this book, 'Another Jesus Calling' comes in. Author Warren B. Smith was heavily involved in the new age movement many years ago before coming to the Lord and he explains the many similarities to what Sarah Young's Jesus teaches.
He breaks his book into two sections. The first section has 10 chapters on the book 'God Calling' that influenced Sarah Young. The second section is about 'Jesus Calling' and has 20 chapters. He also includes 3 appendix:
- Ten Basic Warnings About Deception
- The Gospel of the True Jesus Christ
- Ten Ways to Be More Discerning
In one chapter, he talks about the worldwide misuse of Psalm 46:10 within the Church and the new-age movement. 'Be still and know that I am God' which is also misused in 'Jesus Calling.'
This verse is not a call to meditation or contemplation. This is not a call to sit in silence, but rather as the author of 'Another Jesus Calling' states here:
...the real meaning of this verse has nothing to do with sitting in silence, practicing the presence, or any meditative practice. In reality, God is rebuking the nations of the world and telling them to 'Be still' and to know that He is God.
It's not only a call to God's people, but also a call to His enemies...
Matthew Henry in his commentary says here of Psalm 46:10:
(1.)Let His enemies be still, and threaten no more, but know it, to their terror, that He is God, one infinitely above them, and that will certainly be too hard for them; let them rage no more, for it is all in vain: He that sits in heaven, laughs at them; and, in spite of all their impotent malice against His name and honor, He will be exalted among the heathen and not merely among His own people, He will be exalted in the earth and not merely in the church. Men will set up themselves, will have their own way and do their own will; but let them know that God will be exalted, He will have His way will do His own will, will glorify His own name, and wherein they deal proudly He will be above them, and make them know that He is so.
(2.) Let His own people be still; let them be calm and sedate, and tremble no more, but know, to their comfort, that the Lord is God, He is God alone, and will be exalted above the heathen; let Him alone to maintain His honor, to fulfill His own counsels and to support His own interest in the world. Though we be depressed, yet let us not be dejected, for we are sure that God will be exalted, and that may satisfy us; He will work for His great name, and then no matter what becomes of our little names. When we pray, Father, glorify thy name, we ought to exercise faith upon the answer given to that prayer when Christ Himself prayed it, I have both glorified it and I will glorify it yet again. Amen, Lord, so be it.
It is a call to 'be still' and know that He is God, in order to glorify His Great Name, not a call to open our minds and hearts to the supernatural world.
Here is Psalms 46 in context:
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
The Jesus of 'Jesus Calling' twisted Psalm 46:10 in these and many other quotes:
"Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking." (pg. 200)
"Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it." (pg. 228)
"Let me control your mind." (pg. 116)
Where does Jesus say things like this in His Word? Reprogram your thinking? Drop thoughts in your mind? Control your mind?
This is scary stuff, because the Jesus of the Bible never said any of it. And yet Sarah Young is saying He said it to her.
Randy Alcorn in his book 'hand in Hand' says:
"Meaningful choice is essential for genuine love."
I agree. God does not control our minds, but rather has given us meaningful choice to love Him genuinely.
In Luke 10:25-27 a lawyer questioned Jesus to test Him. The lawyer asked:
"Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered with a question:
"What is written in the Law? How do you read it?"
The lawyer answered:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
"You have answered correctly, do this, and you will live."
Was Jesus trying to control this lawyers mind? Of course not! He was allowing the man to use his own mind to work out the truth so that he could choose genuinely.
God does not control our minds or reprogram our minds, but rather wants us to make a genuine choice to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others the same way.
Sarah Young's mind-controlling Jesus plainly contradicts the Jesus of the Bible.
Many Christians are being deceived into practicing 'The Presence' and this is not from the Bible, yet Sarah Young's Jesus talks about 'The Presence' over 300 times!
We are called to seek God, not practice Him or His presence.
The real Jesus said:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matt. 7:7-8
And in the book of Revelation Jesus said:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Rev. 3:20
What He is saying here is, all who come to Him asking for forgiveness in humility and repentance will be saved.
Everyone who asks, seeks and knocks on the door.
These verses are about coming to Christ and surrendering our lives, not about opening the door to the supernatural world or practicing any presence.
Here is a little test for you...
Go to a Bible app site (Blue Letter Bible) or any other, and search 'practicing the presence', or 'practice presence' you will find absolutely nothing in the Bible referring to this.
The simple truth is 'practicing the presence' was introduced into the church by a mystic Catholic monk named Brother Lawrence in the 17th century, and is a practice used by new-agers today. Why is it practiced by new-agers today? Because it is a ancient pagan practice. It was never part of the church, only introduced into it.
Don't be fooled by supposed new things man brings into the church, even by those who are sincere, but instead wholly depend on God's Word.
"Wherever the soul is, I am. Man has rarely understood this. I am actually at the center of every man's being, but, distracted with the things of the sense-life, he finds Me not."
This is an outright lie.
This is pantheism and pantheism is...
"the belief that the Universe (or Nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god."
The dictionary says of pantheism:
But there is and He is Holy.
GOD IS HOLY
R.C. Sproul in his book 'The Holiness of God' describes God's holiness here:
"When the Bible calls God holy, it means primarily that God is transcendentally separate. He is so far above and beyond us that He seems almost totally foreign to us. To be holy is to be 'other' to be different in a special way."
And he defines God's transcendence here:
"The word transcendence means literally 'to climb across.' It is defined as 'exceeding usual limits.' To transcend is to rise above something, to go above and beyond a certain limit. When we speak of the transcendence of God, we are talking about that sense in which God is above and beyond us.
Transcendence describes His supreme and absolute greatness.
The word is used to describe God's relationship to the world. He is higher than the world. He has absolute power over the world. The world has no power over Him. Transcendence describes God in His consuming majesty, His exalted loftiness. It points to the infinite distance that separates Him from every creature. He is an infinite cut above everything else."
It is also important to distinguish between 'practicing the presence' and Biblical meditation.
As I shared above 'practicing the presence' is basically pantheism, but Biblical meditation is, as Warren B. Smith says in his book:
"Biblical meditation is different. We are to meditate on - think on - His word. His precepts, His law, His attributes, His statutes, His testimonies, and His works."
There are so many other interesting things Warren B. Smith shares in his book. Things that Sarah Young's Jesus said to her that contradict Scripture. The new age similarities really upset me. I can guarantee you will not be able to put it down. I highly recommend it to those who are seeking the truth in these matters.
I'll conclude with this. Warren B. Smith says of his book:
"In this book, I have done my best to raise some of my questions and concerns. I am sure my conclusions will upset a great many people who are devoted to Jesus Calling. Obviously, what you do with these conclusions is completely up to you. but I couldn't imagine not bringing what I discovered to your attention. Hopefully, you will consider what I have presented here."
This is how I feel as well. I hope my thoughts and concerns give you something to ponder and to pray about.
Be assured, there is nothing new in theology except that which is false. —C.H. Spurgeon
*Note: My intention here is not to discourage anyone from reading devotionals. I know there are some wonderful ones out there. Here are a few I've read that were really good:
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
We Shall See God by Randy Alcorn and Charles Spurgeon
Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman
My Daily Pursuit by A.W. Tozer (This one I haven't read yet, but it's next on my list! I love Tozer) : )
Buy it HERE on Amazon