The blockbuster book Jesus Calling has sold more the 15 million copies. Jesus Calling was published in 2004 and has remained on bestseller lists ever since. According to the book’s publisher, “After many years of writing her own words in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and begin listening for what He was saying. So with pen in hand, she embarked on a journey that forever changed her—and many others around the world. In these powerful pages are the words and Scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart.”
The Jesus of Scripture? Really?
Not according to blogger and pastor Tim Challies. “Far and away the most troubling aspect of the book,” says Challies “is its very premise—that Sarah Young hears from Jesus and then dutifully brings his messages to her readers. Jesus Calling makes the boldest, gutsiest, and, to my mind, most arrogant claim of any book ever to be considered Christian.”
It’s shocking that a dangerous “Christian” book has become a cottage industry. As a result of its popularity we now have various studies, devotionals, children’s books and the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible.
In 2014 Warren B. Smith tackled the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible in a booklet he wrote. In it he lays to rest the notion that the voice Sarah Young hears is that of the Jesus Christ of Scripture. Smith’s booklet can be found on My Word Like Fire — a must read!
One of the many spin-off products from Sarah Young’s best-selling book, Jesus Calling, is the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. It is a New King James Bible filled with “messages” Young claims to have “received” from Jesus Christ. In the original Introduction to her book, Jesus Calling, Young describes the nature of these messages:
My journaling had changed from monologue to dialogue. Soon, messages began to flow more freely, and I bought a special notebook to record these words. 1
I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. 2
This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the messages I have received. 3
In the Introduction to Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, she describes the “joy of listening to Jesus with pen in hand”:
After many years of writing in prayer journals—and then discovering the joy of listening to Jesus with “pen in hand” — I believe all of this more than ever today.
She describes the difference that this “listening to Jesus” has made in her life. She writes:
What has made the difference? The practice of listening to Jesus and letting Him speak to me. This practice has done more to increase my intimacy with Him than any other spiritual discipline. And the words of assurance and instruction that He has “spoken” to me over the years are what I have shared in my devotional books. 5
Young Believes that her “Messages” from “Jesus” Belong in the Bible?
Young’s personal “messages” from “Jesus” occupy some 250 separate full pages of her Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. Young claims that the placement of her messages and writings alongside Scripture is a “natural place” for them — and that she feels honored to have them there.
Since my writings are rooted in the infallible, unchanging Word of God, having them appear alongside the biblical text would seem to be a natural place for them. It is an honor to have devotionals from two of my books, Jesus Calling and Jesus Lives, included in this volume. 6
However, as I pointed out in “Another Jesus” Calling, many of Sarah Young’s “messages” in Jesus Calling are clearly not rooted in the “infallible, unchanging Word of God.” And now, a number of these problematic “messages” have been placed throughout the pages of her Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. Continue reading
The Danger in Women’s Ministries by Aimee Byrd
10 Scriptural Reasons Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book by Amy Spreeman
Knock, Knock RUN!…It’s Jesus Calling–Herescope
H/T John Lanagan