Reader Beware

Jesus CallingI’m going to admit it straight up—if you’re a fan of Sarah Young’s devotional Jesus Calling this post may not be well received. My sweet aunt gave me a copy of this book more than two years ago, and until recently, I read it daily. There were times when some of the wording Mrs. Young used made me slightly uneasy, as if the Holy Spirit was tapping me on the shoulder, but I chalked it up to my somewhat critical nature—a byproduct of being a writer.

However, I continued to not only feel uneasy, but reading this devotional day in and day out made me question my own walk with Jesus. If Sarah Young received these 365 messages from Jesus, why was He silent with me? Was I not spiritual enough, quiet enough or mature enough? Or, maybe there are only a select few that He speaks to in such a manner.

And then I read the book The Ambassador’s Guide to the Voice of God by Greg Koukl—one of my husband’s favorite theologians. What I learned in this quick read is that those who claim we aren’t doing our walk right if God’s not speaking to us (we’re putting up a wall, too busy to listen or not mature enough) are spreading false doctrine. Hearing God speak directly to us as individuals is not biblical. He doesn’t claim it’s not possible, just not probable.

This got me thinking about Jesus Calling and it motivated me to do a little research. What I found was much theological criticism of this devotional—at best these critics claim Sarah Young is manipulating her readers. At worst, she is conversing with Satan, rather than Jesus.

In Pastor Mark Barrett’s Precautionary Review of Jesus Calling he writes: There are a few things happening here that need to be addressed. First, is the method by which Mrs. Young received this book. It is important to note that the book that inspired Sarah Young i.e. God Calling, is occultic, and the method by which this book came into being is dangerously occultic. “Automatic handwriting” is a very ancient practice used by occultists to receive messages from other-worldly entities, which the Bible clearly identifies as demons.  John Weldon, author and Christian expert on the occult, remarked: “God Calling is spiritistic literature; a demon makes the ranks of evangelical best-sellers!” What is Mr. Weldon saying? God Calling is demonic.

The practice of automatic handwriting is absolutely foreign to scriptural instructions on how we hear from God and communicate with God. This alone should make any biblically literate Christian leery of Sarah Young’s book. The means by which Mrs. Young received these “messages” is exactly the same as the two anonymous “listeners” who wrote God Calling, and this is alarming.

Bob DeWaay wrote an article—Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling for Critical Issues Commentary: A Biblically Based Commentary on Issues that Impact You. It’s packed with comments such as: Jesus Calling promotes mystical devotion to God and is based on words from Jesus beyond Scripture. As we shall see, Young puts New Age, panentheistic ideas into the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself. Like many such works…Jesus Calling presents a romantic, sensual relationship to Jesus that is entirely inappropriate. In the book Young has Jesus repeatedly saying, “whisper my name.” The romanticism and sensuality evidently appeals to many readers, since the book is a best-seller.

I understand the popularity of Sarah Young’s devotional, but a strong following doesn’t make it biblically accurate. We live in confusing times—and Satan will use any means to draw us away from truth. You may find the mystical, romantic use of her words as encouraging, but the only true God-inspired work out there is the Bible. We are commanded in scripture to test what we hear and read against scripture. It seems Jesus Calling fails the test. I urge you to search the truth for yourself.

One thought on “Reader Beware

  1. Well said Jennifer no agree this book is not okay and unfortunately I have given it to several friends as gifts. Recently my 8 yr grandson showed me his ‘kid’ copy designed for children. I was uneasy but didn’t want to discourage him from establishing a devotional. Upon reading your blog, I think I will approach this with my son. Thanks for sharing. We can’t be too careful.

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