Jesus Calling – Really?
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Jesus Calling is a best-selling devotional read by thousands of Christians who find its content encouraging.
Nevertheless, there seem to be several issues with this book. The author, Sarah Young, alleges that the messages in the book are from Jesus, yet there are clear contradictions between the content of some of the messages and what the Bible teaches. Jesus never contradicts himself, and the author actually altered the text in the tenth edition of the book, thereby implicitly acknowledging the problem.
However, these changes undermine the validity of the book.
Furthermore, when it turns out that the author found inspiration in another book, God Calling, a major New Age piece written using automatic writing (a method through which the writer writes without using his or her conscience), all the doubts pertaining to the authenticity of the messages as coming from the Lord Jesus evaporate. The Jesus at hand is not the real Jesus.
Some will say that reading the book made them feel good. This may be the very reason behind the success of the book — it tells the reader just what he or she wants to hear.
The quotations in this book come from the 2004 edition, published by Thomas Nelson.
Warning: in this article, we include links to articles whose content can be somewhat dubious, in which case the link is preceded by this sign ⚠. If you feel that you are not firmly established in your faith or simply don’t want to be exposed to occult websites, we recommend not visiting the websites.
The article can be downloaded here (pdf).
Jesus warned his disciplines on the Mount of Olives,
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24
When someone pretends to be Jesus or to have received a message from Jesus (as in Sarah Young’s case), we must heed the Lord’s warning and be diligent.
Sarah Young claims to have received messages directly from Jesus himself, and she passes them on. Who is this Jesus — is he the real Jesus, or a false christ?
Let’s begin by looking at where this book originated. In the introduction, Young describes in detail how she came to write the book. She says,
I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. (p. 13)
It can be misguided to “yearn for more” than what God has already given us.
She explains that in 1992 she started reading God Calling. Notice the similarity between the book that inspired Young’s book with her own work, Jesus Calling.
She goes further, talking of God Calling.
. . . this little paperback became a treasure to me. (p. 13)
In Matthew 6:21, we read that “. . . where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Therefore, reading up about God Calling before exploring the content of Jesus Calling seems well-advised. Indeed, the Bible tells us that “every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:17).
2. God Calling
God Calling was allegedly written by two anonymous women. She stated that their message had been communicated to them by Jesus himself. The way they received that message was by sitting down, pen in hand, and mindlessly writing words, unaware of their meaning. If those women actually existed and did so, they must have been influenced by J. A. Russell, who edited the book. Russell was a proponent of such writing techniques.
Many have observed similarities between the teachings and terminology of God Calling and those used by the Oxford Group.
Automatic writing is regarded as an occult practice and widely used in the New Age movement. Nowhere in the Bible does one find encouragements to engage in such a practice. On the contrary, biblical meditation implies reflecting upon Scripture. Furthermore, as we will discuss later, the analysis of the content of the book will demonstrate that it does not come from the real Jesus.
Still, Young found inspiration in a book written using automatic writing and actually wrote her book using the same technique.
I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. It was short, biblical, and appropriate. (p. 13)
A “classic” in automatic writing is A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman. This book is widely promoted within the New Age movement and recognized as a major work. By no means is it considered to be a Christian book, despite the author’s claim that she received the content from Jesus.
This is more than a book; it is an actual course. The basics of the philosophy laid out in the Course in Miracles is the following:
- we are in no way guilty;
- reality is an illusion;
- guilt (and thus sin) does not exist;
- judgment does not exist, and thus, in order to live without judgment or guilt, we need to learn…
Alice Bailey, who is viewed as one of the founders of the New Age movement, had most of her books dictated to her by a “Tibetan Master,” via telepathy. She wrote many esoteric books, which she published through her publishing company, ⚠ “Lucifer Publishing Company.” “Lucifer” was later changed to “Lucis” so as to hide the true nature of the books. In passing, it is interesting to note that another foundation, ⚠ ” Lucis Trust ,” still exists, with offices in Geneva, New York, and London, and is recognized as an NGO by the United Nations, where it has “consultative status.”
These examples serve to show that automatic writing is common in occult circles, even when pretending that Jesus is at the origin of the messages.
This is no surprise to Christians who know the Bible, as Jesus warned us long ago that others would try to usurp his identity.
Let’s turn to God Calling again and examine some of its teachings.
Here are a few quotations from the book:
You do well to remember your friends in the Unseen. (September 6)
I cannot bless a life that does not act as a channel. (January 26)
Be channels both of you. (January 3)
The book is filled with New Age terminology, such as Supreme Being, Spiritual Consciousness, Initiation, and Universal Spirit.
Along those lines, see this quotation:
Remember that Truth is many-sided. (March 4)
However, the Bible tells us that that there is but one way.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
The book also teaches, like New Age doctrine, that God is in everybody (regardless of whether they are converts) and that we simply have to look inwards to find him.
We also find the teachings of the Word of Faith, which permeates the teachings of many churches, Bethel Church being one of them.
Command Your Lord. (May 22) *
Claim big things. Claim great things. (May 4)
Be not afraid, health and wealth are coming to you both. (December 26)
*We can ask God to act, not command!
Here’s an example of a “message.”
September 6 – Your Loved Ones
Your loved ones are very safe in My Keeping. Learning and loving and working, theirs is a life of happiness and progress. They live to serve, and serve they truly do. They serve Me and those they love. Ceaselessly they serve.
But their ministrations, so many, so diverse, you see no more than those in my time on earth in human form could have seen the angels who ministered unto Me in the wilderness.
How often mortals rush to earthly friends who can serve them in so limited a way, when the friends who are freed from the limitations of humanity can serve them so much better, understand them better, protect better, plan better, and even plead better their cause with Me.
You do well to remember your friends in the Unseen. Companying with them the more you live in this Unseen World the gentler will be your passing when it comes. Earth’s troubles and difficulties will seem, even now, less overwhelming as you look, not at the things that are seen but at the real, the Eternal Life.
“And this is Life Eternal that we may know Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.”
Learning to know Me draws that Kingdom very near, and in Me, and through Knowledge of Me, the dear ones there become very near and dear.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
This is nothing less than an encouragement to pray to the dead, and even to communicate with them. Remember that Young considers this book to be a treasure to her! There seems to be a lack of discernment. Just like one would not ride a car whose driver cannot read “stop” and “danger” signs and traffic lights, one should probably not seek to be influenced by the messages “given by Jesus” to a person who fails to recognize what comes from the occult.
Il y aurait encore beaucoup à dire sur ce sujet (vous trouvez d’autres d’informations sur internet), mais passons maintenant à « Jesus Calling ».
3. Jesus Calling
As stated by Young herself, God Calling, an occult book, was the starting point for Jesus Calling. She was also driven by a desire to receive more than what the Bible — which was written for us and inspired by the Holy Spirit — has to offer and sought experiences beyond grounded theology.
Young thus proved to employ little discernment, knowing that she considered God Calling to be a treasure.
She also said that she used a visualization technique, also known in occult movements, which consists in visualizing what one wishes for so that it comes to pass.
One morning as I prayed, I visualized God protecting each of us. I pictured first our daughter, then our son, and then Steve encircled by God’s protective Presence, which looked like golden light. When I prayed for myself, I was suddenly enveloped in brilliant light and profound peace. (p. 11)
3.2 Changes in more recent editions
Many critical voices were heard against the book, and some were hardly debatable and became embarrassing. This was a best-selling book, with millions of copies sold, that brought in colossal revenues to its author, editor, and distributors, none of which wanted to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs.
The solution was thus to change the controversial parts of the text.
In the United States, the media (both Christian and secular platforms) was surprised at this “adaptation.” First of all, the introduction no longer mentions God Calling. Nevertheless, removing it does not mean that the inspiration changed. Next, in the introduction still, certain words were changed. Instead of speaking of messages received from Jesus, which sounded conspicuous, Young now speaks of “writings and meditations” that she gathered during her “quiet moments.”
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.
. . . I want to share some of the writings I gleaned from these quiet moments.
Another interesting change is the following.
These messages are meant to be read slowly, preferably in a quiet place. (Emphasis added)
The devotions in this book are meant to be read slowly, preferably in a quiet place – with your Bible open.  (Emphasis added)
This is just the beginning. Some of the supposedly Jesus-given messages were also modified. Critiques had indeed noted blatant contradictions between the Word of God and Young’s messages. What explanation is there for Jesus contradicting himself?
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS . These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven. (Emphasis added)
Texte modifié :
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS . These were the last words I spoke after my resurrection. (Emphasis added)
A similar text, with the same correction, can be found under the October 15 entry.
Obviously, the second version is biblically accurate, while the first is not.
“I am with you always” is found in Matthew 28:20 and were indeed spoken after his resurrection, but those were not his last words (those are found in Acts 1:7-8).
Did Young mishear the words on two occasions, did the Lord make a mistake, or was it a different Jesus that was speaking to the author?
Another example follows.
Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac. I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father’s undisciplined emotions. I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love. (Emphasis added)
This is an unbiblical statement that does not correspond to the other passages that talk about Abraham in the Bible.
ENTRUST YOUR LOVED ONES TO ME; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one—as well as yourself. Joseph and his father, Jacob, suffered terribly because Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons and treated him with special favor. So Joseph’s brothers hated him and plotted against him. Ultimately, I used that situation for good, but both father and son had to endure years of suffering and separation from one another.
I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love, so beware of making a beloved child your idol. (Emphasis added)
A biblically-undefendable statement about Abraham and Isaac is suddenly replaced by Jacob and Joseph so as to make it more plausible.
After this, one can wonder whether it is wise to give credibility to Young.
It is evident that the messages do not come from our Lord Jesus Christ. Either they come from Young’s imagination, or they were dictated by a demonic power.
This being said, it does not seem necessary to analyze the content further. Beyond the fact that the author sought to mislead the readers by telling them that the messages were from Jesus, the substance of the book is highly dubious, given its New Age influence:
- The author seems to rely on mystical experiences and yearns for more than the words spoken by God in Scripture, whereas God gave us the Bible precisely so that we would be guided by him;
- The book stays away from the real issue, namely man’s sin;
- It presents God as a vending machine for unlimited blessings, rather than as the One who is with us in all our circumstances. The book is all about me and how God is interested in me;
- It places experience above the Word of God.
This book is dangerous, because it instills in our spirits words that we take as coming from our Lord Jesus Christ, whereas they do not come from him. Those words are sweet and may do us well in the moment, as Satan knows very well how to ensnare human beings.
Young features Bible verses under her “messages;” Satan himself cited the Word when tempting Jesus.
It is well-known that “all that glitters is not gold,” much like all that bears Jesus’ name does not necessarily come from the Lord Jesus Christ.
This article can be downloaded as a pdf here.
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To learn more about the topic, here are helpful resources:
We recommend Warren B. Smith’s website, a man who spent many years in the New Age movement before he eventually encountered the real Jesus.
His book Another Jesus Calling goes in depth, and he also published the following brochures on Kindle. If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the app for free.
 See also the Wikipedia page about the movement. The foundation seeks to establish world peace by gathering people from all religions as well as unbelievers. It seems to have been dissolved, as all the links to their websites no longer work.
 Having an open Bible is not enough — one ought to read it.