Lois Putnam of Learn to Discern Granny has a quote from Roger Oakland women should heed: “In fact, in many churches … books replace the Bible altogether. Rather than teach verse-by-verse … the leader of the women’s study teaches page-by-page through a book that is very appealing to the flesh and provides additional revelation to the Bible. When a discerning woman in the study goes to the pastor and expresses her concerns, she is often chided for being divisive, or her concerns are totally overlooked.” Putnam offers some good advice to women and men alike:
Not long ago a dear friend wrote me an e-mail that she titled: “Yet Another One.” In her note she wrote that a former pastor’s wife had just messaged many on Facebook touting “Jesus Calling.” Now this seasoned pastor’s wife seemed to have absolutely no clue, or discernment, that there were any problems with Sarah Young’s devotional Jesus Calling. Sadly, she had never read Warren Smith’s classic critique: Another Jesus Calling.
Some Are Unaware
This made me think of many other ladies, often seniors, I had already encountered that thought Jesus Calling the very best devotional ever. There was the friend of my friend, a Bible study leader loved by many, who promoted Jesus Calling. There was the senior lady to whom we mentioned Jesus Calling as problematic who immediately asserted it was wonderful. There was the lady at an apologetics meeting who confessed to the attendees she’d been in a group who used it as a Bible Study. And there was the lady at a luncheon who couldn’t get over the fact it could be dangerous. Now, mind you, all these women were sincere, and assumed to be mature Christians. Yet, all were hooked on Jesus Calling having no idea it was birthed out of the channeled book: God Calling.
Some Are Not Discerning
Why are these ladies so easily led astray? I believe one of the biggest reasons is their intense fascination with something more, and something new rather than as Peter admonished, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (I Peter 2:2)
And is often the case, few, if any, have warned these believers that they themselves should research, and ask questions about these daily devotionals, and so-called “Bible Studies.” In most instances, not even their pastors have looked into the studies either, much less warned about them. Pastors too, like many others, have bought into the notion we should not be critical of any one especially those who declare themselves Christians. Maybe, it is like one church where it’s assumed that they are all so solidly biblical, that few false teachings will ever seep into their pews. Oh, how they are mistaken!
When one realizes there is deception within these studies and says something, those offended turn away angrily, or give huffy reasons why these books just have to be good. And if one goes to her pastor to question a particular study often the answer is: “I trust Mrs. ….. she is such an astounding prayer warrior, and just an amazing Bible teacher.” Meantime, the studies go on and on and there is always “Yet Another One” to fall victim to their teachings.
Yet Many More Will Be Deceived
Now, it was just a week ago in our Sunday bulletin, that I noticed an announcement of another tantalizing Ladies Bible Study “Uninvited” by New York Times best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Having recently been asked about Lysa by two of my discerning friends I knew I must do more research. Who is Lysa? Is Lysa’s ministry a good one to buy into? What church is Lysa associated with? What conferences does Lysa speak at? Is Lysa’s color book quote in Waterbrook’s popular color book Whatever Is Lovely a good thing? What is concerning about all Lysa’s personal quotes? These are just a few of the questions I set about to uncover.*
* For answers please read my upcoming blog.
Roger Oakland, in The Good Shepherd Calls: An Urgent Message for the Last Days Church, so graphically describes what I have encountered when he writes, “One of the most effective ways for contemplative mysticism, … to creep in is through recommended books for the women of the church in the ‘Ladies Ministry.’ Millions of women are reading books like Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and books by Beth Moore are read and studied more than the Bible.”
Roger adds, “In fact, in many churches their books replace the Bible altogether. Rather than teach verse-by-verse … the leader of the women’s study teaches page-by-page through a book that is very appealing to the flesh and provides additional revelation to the Bible. When a discerning woman in the study goes to the pastor and expresses her concerns, she is often chided for being divisive, or her concerns are totally overlooked.”
Roger is spot on when he observes, “One of the problems is this: often the pastor’s wife is the leader of the women’s study. He may or not recognize that his wife is off track.” (p.212) And I would write, “How very true!” Continue reading
Training for Future Discernment Blogger LOL – literally
This is the worst of the worst, this guy is a poster child with what’s wrong……….
“The Ridiculous Emphasis Christians Place On The Bible
I bring all this up to make one simple point: the modern-day church places a ridiculous amount of emphasis on studying the Bible.
It’s obvious, from historical observation alone, that one can be a sold-out, fully devout, willing to die a martyr’s death follower of Jesus and spend next to no time practicing the spiritual discipline of Bible study.
Do we think it’s any coincidence that the period of the church’s greatest growth and expansion (33 – mid 300’s ad) occurred during the time when there wasn’t (1) a Bible in every Christian’s hand and (2) an obsessive preoccupation with Christians clustering to study it word by word, line by line, and page by page?
Most Christians today assume that to be a Christian means to have a personal relationship with the Bible instead of the risen Jesus.
To be consumed with it.
To obsess over its details.
To memorize curiously meaningless trivia about it.
To study its root words and the historical data underpinning every sentence, every chapter and every book.
But what if we’re totally missing the point?
What if one of the reasons we’re so spiritually dead and the church is abysmally failing at its mission is not because we study the Bible too little, but too much?
Instead of being out and about extending the works of the kingdom, Christians are wasting precious time excessively “studying the Bible” in groups and feeling quite content that if they’re practicing the “spiritual disciplines” at home that they’ve done their duty and can call it a day.
Who gives a crap if I never open my mouth and share my faith today? Or forgive those who mess me over? Or share my money with those in need? Or my house with the homeless?
All is good.
I read my Bible “
I used to attend ladies Bible studies, including Beth Moore. Not any more. I used to read books by celebrity authors, including Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen. Not any more. I used to believe everything the pastor said, for I believed he was wiser than me. Not any more. I discovered I’d been taught much error and false doctrine all my life. I didn’t even like Moore’s studies and workbooks…I just attended to be a part of the group. I threw all my books in the dumpster. They taught their own ideas, exalting themselves, appearing to be super-spiritual. The last pastor was preaching, he said, to a more “general” audience and Sunday School class was where one was to learn the deeper truths. God was gracious to lead me to websites of authors of old and current, unknown preachers who proclaim His truth boldly. It was there that I finally learned who He REALLY was, not who man wished Him to be. I discovered the truth of the hard, deep doctrines of Christ, which was nourishment for my soul, growing me into maturity. That’s what feeds my spirit now. True Christians will crave the truth of Christ and will discern and “spit out” poison.
Amen, Sheryl. God has been good to lead us to the real sustenance of the Word and away from the junk food we were being fed.
There’s Martha and then there is Mary. Martha was cumbered about much serving, but Mary chose the good part—at the feet of Jesus. Better to reside at His feet.
Luke 10:38-42New King James Version (NKJV)
Mary and Martha Worship and Serve
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[a] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus[b] answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
For a while, I listened to a popular “Christian” music station until I started to listen to the “encouraging words” that were featured in between songs. I realized that the music and speakers they were featuring were representative of the broader popular Christian culture, including music from Hillsong and Jesus Culture and speakers like Lysa TerKeurst. Not any different than the fare that is popular in Christian books and in most churches.
I do like Jesus Calling and believe that I have been gifted with discernment and prophecy and am able to interpret it on a different level because I am in touch with the Holy Spirit. This is the new evangelization- mysticism and I enjoy reading from mystics like Thomas Merton. Richard Rohr and Peter Nouwen. I believe the only one lacking discernment you- perhaps because you only know the information on a head level and have a hard time connecting to it on a feeling level. If the church wants to attract and retain mature believers- itt needs to have humility, an open mind and constant discernment. There are real dangers out there, but it’s also important to allow for people to understand and express their faith differently.
To Kfox. Dear writer. I am not sure why such as Thomas Merton is good for you to read. He was a sad mixed up man searching for something he never found. And although dead and gone his writings confuse and mislead more people. Catholic Buddhist monk who venerated Mary.. Thought by some to be the father of the New Age movement. Does the Holy Spirit really lead you that way?
Kfox, the people who don’t think they can be deceived are the most vulnerable to be deceived. Consider all the warnings in the Bible, including those by Paul the Apostle and Jesus Christ. The “new evangelization-mysticism” are the old pagan practices revived, which God forbids His People to use. It is idolatry/adultery to a Holy God. God’s admonitions have nothing to do with your feelings.
The problems with Jesus Calling have been addressed over and over, it is unscriptural, it was channeled and most likely automatically written.
1. She speaks for God. Far and away the most troubling aspect of the book 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. The publisher describes the book in this way: “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. Words of reassurance, comfort, and hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His presence and allowed her to enjoy His peace (italics mine).” There is no way to avoid her claim that she is communicating divine revelation, a claim that raises a host of questions and concerns, not the least of which is the doctrine of Scripture alone which assures us that the Bible and the Bible alone is sufficient to guide us in all matters of faith and practice.
Jesus Calling only exists because Sarah Young had a deep desire to hear from God outside of the Bible.
2. She proclaims the insufficiency of the Bible. Jesus Calling only exists because Sarah Young had a deep desire to hear from God outside of the Bible. In the introduction she describes the book’s genesis: “I began to wonder if I … could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.” In those few sentences she sets up unnecessary competition between her revelation and what we are told of the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Biblically, there is no category for what she provides as the heart and soul of her book. Biblically, there is no need for it and no reason we should expect or heed it.
3. Her deepest experience of God comes through a practice God does not endorse. Young does not only endorse her practice of listening, but goes so far as to elevate it as the chief spiritual discipline. “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. In many parts of the world, Christians seem to be searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace. The messages that follow address that felt need.” Notice that her solution to addressing the desire for Jesus’ Presence and Peace is not Scripture or any other means of grace, but the very messages she provides in her book.
4. She is inspired by untrustworthy models. In early versions of Jesus Calling, Young tells of her discovery of the book God Calling and the way she modeled her practice of listening on it. She describes it as “a devotional book written by two anonymous ‘listeners.’ These women practiced waiting quietly in God’s Presence, pencils and paper in hand, recording the messages they received from Him. This little paperback became a treasure to me. It dove-tailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence.” It is worth noting that recent versions of Jesus Calling have been scrubbed of this information. God Calling is an equally troubling book that saw much success beginning in the 1930s and has seen a revival of interest in the wake of Jesus Calling. It is at times subbiblical and at other times patently unbiblical. And yet it is a book she regards as a treasure and a model for her own work.
5. She provides lesser revelation. Young admits that her revelation is different from the Bible’s (“The Bible is, of course, the only inerrant Word of God; my writings must be consistent with that unchanging standard”), but does not explain how her writings are different. Jesse Johnson says, “She does grant that the content of Jesus Calling should be measured against Scripture—but that is true of Scripture as well. In the end, there is no substantial difference in how Young expects us to view Jesus’ words to her, than how we are to view the Bible. I mean, Jesus’ words to Sarah are literally packaged into a devotional, so that we can do our devotionals from them every day.” If her words are actually from Jesus, how can they be any less authoritative or less binding than any word of Scripture?
6. She mimics occult practices. The way in which Young receives her revelation from Jesus smacks of the occult. “I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believe He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. It was short, biblical, and appropriate. It addressed topics that were current in my life: trust, fear, and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my prayer journal.” This is not a far cry from a practice known as “automatic writing” which Wikipedia describes as “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.” Her inspiration was God Calling where it is even clearer that the authors allowed their minds to go blank at which point they supposedly received messages from God. This practice is very different from the giving of biblical revelation where God worked through the thoughts, personalities, and even research of the authors.
7. Her emphasis does not match the Bible’s. Young’s emphasis in Jesus Calling is markedly different from the emphases of the Bible. For example, she speaks seldom of sin and repentance and even less of Christ’s work on the cross. Michael Horton says, “In terms of content, the message is reducible to one point: Trust me more in daily dependence and you’ll enjoy my presence.” While this is not necessarily an unbiblical or inappropriate message, it hardly matches the thrust of the Bible which always pushes toward or flows from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Horton adds, “The first mention of Christ even dying for our sins appears on February 28 (page 61). The next reference (to wearing Christ’s robe) is August 9 (p. 232). Even the December readings focus on a general presence of Jesus in our hearts and daily lives, without anchoring it in Jesus’s person and work in history.”
The Jesus of Sarah Young sounds suspiciously like a twenty-first century, Western, middle-aged woman.
8. Her tone does not match the Bible’s. It can’t be denied: The Jesus of Sarah Young sounds suspiciously like a twenty-first century, Western, middle-aged woman. If this is, indeed, Jesus speaking, we need to explain why he sounds so markedly different from the Jesus of the gospels or the Jesus of the book of Revelation. Nowhere in Scripture do we find Jesus (or his Father) speaking like this: “When your Joy in Me meets My Joy in you, there are fireworks of heavenly ecstasy.” Or again, “Wear my Love like a cloak of Light, covering you from head to toe.” And, “Bring me the sacrifice of your precious time. This creates sacred space around you—space permeated with My Presence and My Peace.” Why does Jesus suddenly speak in such different language?
9. She generates confusion. By fabricating the spiritual discipline of listening and elevating it to the first place, she generates confusion about the disciplines that God does prescribe for Christians. Michael Horton addresses this one well: “According to the Reformation stream of evangelicalism, God speaks to us in his Word (the arrow pointing down from God to us) and we speak to him in prayer (the arrow directed up to God). However, Jesus Calling confuses the direction of these arrows, blurring the distinction between God’s speech and our response.” What she models and endorses is both confusing and unhelpful.
10. Her book has been corrected. Most people don’t know that Jesus Calling has undergone revisions, not only in the introduction where she removed references to God Calling, but also in the words she claims to have received from Jesus. This, of course, casts even further doubt on the trustworthiness of the revelation she receives. After all, why would words from Jesus need to be revised? Did God lie? Did he change? Did she mis-hear him? There is no good option here, other than to doubt all she has ever claimed to receive. This comparison from CARM highlights one significant correction to the text:
Jesus Calling Comparison
The point is clear: Jesus Calling is a book built upon a faulty premise and in that way a book that is dangerous and unworthy of our attention or affirmation. The great tragedy is that it is leading people away from God’s means of grace that are so sweet and so satisfying, if only we will accept and embrace them.
What one likes, or thinks outside of scripture, is irrelevant. Your own admission of reading mystic material from mystics proves you’re not in touch with The Holy Spirit, as God will not have anything to do with pagan Eastern ways or demonic false religion.
Isaiah 2:6 You, LORD, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs
“The Jesus of Sarah Young sounds suspiciously like a twenty-first century, Western, middle-aged woman.”
That sounds like the same “god” of The Shack, probably the same demonic spirit influenced both writers.
Oh, and yes there are real dangers out there in Churchianity, my friend you’re deep in the middle, get out while you can. Reading mystic (demonic influenced) material is a serious and dangerous matter, I would get rid of all those books and ask God to forgive you.
Here’s another source you might want to check out:
“This method of listening with pen in hand is reminiscent of an occult practice called automatic writing where a person empties his/her mind and waits for contact from the spirit world that guides the hand while writing down messages. It is a formula for deception. What makes things worse is that Sarah was influenced by the book “God Calling” which was written by two women in the article who received it via automatic writing. The quote verifying this was removed from later versions of The Jesus Calling Introduction. Is that a concern? You bet it is. However, I’m not saying Sarah is participating in automatic writing. It is just that the connection is too close for comfort, especially when we find out that she was influenced by a book that was received in just that way.”
There is no interpretation on a “different level.” The proper way to interpret scripture is to understand what the original authors were intending to say, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Scripture does not allow for private interpretations, thus twisting and confusing its meaning. Don’t expect a new “prophetic word from the lord.” God has spoken it all through scripture. There is no “new evangelization.” As someone so accurately said, “The new is not true, and the true is not new.” Christianity is on the “head level” because it is a religion based on facts found in scripture and the Holy Spirit leads true believers into the truth of those facts. The Holy Spirit does not lead one into a “feeling level” of emotionalism which can easily confuse and deceive its victims. Its the wrong emphasis. An “open mind” is exactly opposite of Christ’s teachings. Crowds deserted Him because of His “hard sayings.” Christianity is very exclusive – Jesus is the only way to the Father, do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, love not the things of the world, let those who preach a different gospel be accursed, etc. The so-called church today is not interested in mature believers who will point out their false doctrine and worldliness – they just want to entertain those who have tickling ears to be taught myths and have rejected the doctrines of Christ. Its an organization instead. There is only one understanding of the faith of Jesus as described in scripture – a different understanding is a false gospel with no saving power. True Christians will have discernment of the Holy Spirit to understand, for He resides within us to lead us into all truth and His workings are undetectable, but made evident by our good works acceptable to God. We are never commanded in scripture to be “in touch with the Holy Spirit.” He takes up residence within those He regenerates unto salvation and points us to Christ. There is a lot to learn studying the doctrines of Christ, and that’s what a true believer feeds on. If you’re seeking experiences from mysticism, Satan will accommodate you all day long. That is dangerous ground to tread upon.
For those of you that denegrate, belittle or minimize the scriptures, the only way we even know who God is and what he requires of us, is is through the written word. Below is a brief explainaition of what those who were so close to God that he entrusted them to write his words on paper for us, said about the eternal voice of God transmitted to us via the Bible:
Fascinating recount of Thomas Merton
As for Kfox’s Richard Rohr:
“Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.”
“As Merton before him, Henri always stressed the relational. He writes very directly about our contemporary longings for meaning, belonging, and intimacy and, at the same time, integrates this with a powerful vision of service and social justice. Fr. Nouwen often used the three core themes of solitude, community, and compassion to help people enter into a fresh vision of the spiritual life.”
All these men, Rohr, Merton, Nouwen………. Demonically inspired. Kfox your fascination with Roman Catholic mystics tells me you must be a Roman Catholic, and you aspire to become a mystic or have mystic experiences, well, let me tell you….these men were and are playing with a realm they don’t understand, obviously scripture isn’t enough for them, the whole counsel of God is not enough for them, so they turn to the occult to satisfy the lack of The Holy Spirit in their lives, not satisfied with God, they have turned to Eastern Mysticism, it’s nothing less than satanism. Kfox, I would plead with you to flee from this!
Finding “common ground” with one another is so fashionable, even required, in “church” circles today. There are two (no doubt many more) commonalities found in the names of those mentioned in the article and the comments. One: the Lord Jesus Christ is not good enough for these men & women, hence their need to change Him to their liking and/or image. Classic idolatry. Catholics keep their “Jesus” on a cross and murder him afresh with every ‘celebration’ of their mass and the demons that inspire this garbage laugh at all who have fallen for this lie. All these naysayers have said in their heart, mind and mouth that “we will not have this man to reign over us” Luke 19:14. In their abstinence and false humility they will not “fall on the Stone” and so their fate awaits them: they will be ground to powder. Luke 20:18.
Two: They hate His Word and go to great lengths to “prove” that it is a lie, or outdated, or unnecessary, or whatever other nonsense their listeners will cherish. They are consistent in their hatred in that they hate the Lord Jesus who is the Word of God, John 1:1 & 14. Since they have no liking for the Sovereign Son of God and seek to change His image to one that suits them, it follows suit that they must change, downgrade, even delete the written Word of God into something they can call their own. Their efforts to do this have been extremely successful over the centuries—at least in their minds—as multiplied millions have and continue to follow their lies. Instead of delighting in the Word of God they seek other means to satisfy their lust for absolution from their sins. Romans 1:18-24 indicates that these men and those that follow them know exactly what they are doing, refusing to bow their knees to the God and relishing in their wicked ways. Thus, they have no excuse and that is why God “gave them over” not once, not twice, but three times to their own lusts. So the next time someone tells you how unnecessary the written Word of God has become and that there is a better way to hear God’s voice via your mind or spiritual ear or whatever term they use to deceive you, remember that the root of such a person is pure evil.
One of the biggest lies that the “church” has swallowed hook, line, and sinker is that if a person claims to be a “Christian” then he must be one and it is unloving, judgmental, and not “Christ-like” to say otherwise even when the evidence from their own mouth screams out that they are charlatans. Such a mindset is an open door to the wicked one for further and greater deception. No wonder there is a dearth of discernment today, people are too busy finding someone new to tickle their ears so that can justify themselves in their idol worship.
Amen Darrel, amen…….the Apostasy keeps unfurling! This is why these mystics will approve of, marvel after and worship the antichrist, it is their “cosmic christ.” They will accept he who comes in his name. The RCC has been instrumental in preparing the world for an ecumenical single world religion.