Posts Tagged ‘thomas nelson’

Letter to the Editor: What is LT’s Take on “The Voice” “Bible”?

To Lighthouse Trails:

What is “The Voice” translation of the Bible and what do you think of it?

Our Comments:

Our answer (from a 2007 LT article):

According to an article in Christian Today, “New Bible Project for Young Generation Launched”, Thomas Nelson’s 2006 “Bible” project called The Voice is going full speed ahead. The project, announced by TN last spring, is a “re-telling of the Bible that consists of creative voices from historians to poets, storytellers to songwriters,” and is for young people who are “searching for new ways to explore the Bible, or who are seeking to read it for the first time.” The project will be a combination of books, music CDs, artwork and an interactive website. With the largest Christian publisher backing the project, there is little doubt that The Voice will reach countless young people and have a significant impact in many lives.

Unfortunately, the project turns out to be an emerging church creation, thus the foundation of it is marred from the beginning. Because mysticism, New Age ideology, and a return to Rome, are the building blocks of the emerging church, The Voice is going to be a spiritually dangerous conduit for adherents. Some of the emergent leaders involved in the project are Chris Seay (project founder), Brian McLaren, Lauren Winner, Leonard Sweet, and Blue Like Jazz author, Donald Miller. In last year’s press release by Thomas Nelson, Erwin McManus was also listed.

This month’s new release (the third book in the project) is called The Voice of Matthew, written by emergent/contemplative Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath).

Chris Seay, the founder of The Voice, is pastor of Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas. A mission statement on the website illustrates the theology of the emerging church:

We believe that the Gospel impacts every area of a person’s life and culture. We reject unfounded categories that divide the world into uniquely sacred or purely secular. God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.

We believe that the church exists for the world and not for herself – she is to introduce and usher in the Kingdom of God into every part of this world.

Saying that all of creation (e.g., all humanity) is redeemed is in direct opposition of the teachings of Jesus who said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). And the belief that the church will usher in the Kingdom of God as opposed to Jesus Christ ushering it in with his literal return to the earth is indicative of the contemplative/emerging mindset. (It is also classic dominionism.)

The contemplative affinities of the contributors of The Voice will assure that mysticism will be an integral part of this project. This new version of the Bible has the potential to lead thousands, and possibly millions, of young people away from the words of Jesus Christ who said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. (John 10: 1-4)

We contend that The Voice is not the voice of the Good Shepherd, nor is it the Word of God that says:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (I John 5:12-13)

To understand more about the emerging church and the new missiology, read Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone.

NEW BOOKLET: 10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: 10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract.  The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of 10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book, click here.

rp_BKT-WS-10-RS-3-lg.jpgBy Warren B. Smith

10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)

On November 12, 2015, Religion News Service posted an article titledJesus Calling and the Policing of Theology.”1 It was a quick response to an article that reformed pastor and popular blogger Tim Challies had posted just the day before.2 The author of the RNS article, Laura Turner (a regular contributor for Christianity Today’s “Her.meneutics” blog), used her superficial criticism of Sarah Young’s best-selling book, Jesus Calling, as a smokescreen to actually express her disapproval of people who were issuing serious warnings about Young’s book. In a strange stab at free speech, Turner stated that “theology policing is a job best left to the Holy Spirit, and then to people who we know.” But in her effort to undermine Young’s critics by redefining spiritual discernment as “theology policing,” she does the very thing she accuses others of doing. Her entire article is a thinly disguised attempt to “police” those who don’t agree with her own take on Jesus Calling. After minimizing and marginalizing most of the issues that have been raised about Jesus Calling, Turner concludes that Young’s book is “a net positive” and “has been a tool through which many people have gotten closer to God.”

In her obvious endeavor to whitewash the many problems found in Jesus Calling, Turner is especially upset with Tim Challies. She goes out of her way to single him out and take him to task for describing Jesus Calling as a “dangerous” book. But in her rush to isolate and discredit Challies, she overlooks the fact that he is not alone in coming to that conclusion. There are many of us who completely agree.

Not Careful About What We Read?

The Bible exhorts believers to be workmen who are not ashamed of what they believe because they are “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Scripture further instructs us to “search the scriptures” to see if the things being presented in a book like Jesus Calling are really “so” (Acts 17:11). Yet Laura Turner writes, “Should we be careful about what we read? I’m not convinced.” But in taking this attitude, she does her readers a great disfavor. While everyone should be free to read what they want to read, what they read should be read very carefully with great discernment—particularly with books that bring alleged “messages” from Jesus Christ Himself. Turner’s article overlooks every warning in the Bible about the danger of being deceived by false Christs and false teachings. While the apostle Paul expressed his “fear” that the Corinthian church could be deceived by false Christs (2 Corinthians 11:3-4), the true Jesus Christ warned that before His return, many would be deceived by false Christs (Matthew 24:3-5).

Free and Open Exchange

In an effort to support her position, Turner ironically links to an article that actually supports the complete freedom of expression that she attempts to discourage in her own article. The article she links to was excerpted from a book written by her “friend,” Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior. Prior frames her piece with numerous and pertinent quotes from John Milton’s 1644 anti-censorship tract, Areopagitica. She writes that “Milton argued passionately in this treatise that the best way to counteract falsehood is not by suppressing it, but by countering it with the truth.” Prior states that the crux of Milton’s argument is that “truth is stronger than falsehood; falsehood prevails through the suppression of countering ideas, but truth triumphs in a free and open exchange that allows truth to shine.”3 Exactly! It is in this “free and open exchange” that Laura Turner has the right to say whatever she wants about Jesus Calling, but so does everyone else—even if they don’t happen to be “people who we know” and even if what they are saying and believing is that Jesus Calling is a “dangerous” book. The following are ten scriptural reasons explaining why so many of us believe that Jesus Calling is, in fact, a dangerous book.

10 Scriptural Reasons

(1) New Age Book Described as “a Treasure”
(Matthew 6:21)

In 2004, in one of her rare, carefully staged interviews, Sarah Young was asked by the Christian Broadcasting Network “How did you learn to ‘dialogue’ with God?” She answered that it was from reading the book God Calling:

My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they “listened.”4 (parenthesis hers)

Also, in the original introduction to Jesus Calling that stood from 2004-2013, Young specifically praised God Calling as “a treasure to me.”5 However, The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs published by Christian publisher Harvest House, describes God Calling as a channeled New Age book that was spiritually dictated by a deceptive spirit pretending to be the real Jesus Christ.6 In their lengthy Encyclopedia chapter on channeling and spiritual dictation, Christian authors/apologists John Weldon and John Ankerberg explain that channeling is a form of New Age “mediumship” which the Bible clearly defines as a “forbidden” practice (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).7 Under a subheading titled “Impersonations of Christianity,” the authors describe God Calling as a New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching”8 that “subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ’s personal guidance . . . and often misinterprets Scripture.”9

Removing God Calling

Soon after Sarah Young’s endorsement of this New Age book was widely publicized in 2013,10 all references to God Calling were completely removed from all subsequent printings of Jesus Calling. Like the missing 18 ½ minutes from Richard Nixon’s Watergate tapes, God Calling suddenly disappeared from Young’s book. There was no explanation, no apology, no anything. But what was even more disturbing than their obvious damage control, was that Young and her publisher expressed absolutely no concern for the countless people who had already read or were currently reading God Calling because of Young’s previous endorsement. Nor was there any expressed concern that—thanks to Young—God Calling had been resurrected from semi-obscurity and had become a best-selling book in its own right. It was being printed in multiple editions by multiple publishers and was frequently featured alongside Jesus Calling in Christian bookstores and other retail outlets.

Young’s Silence

To this day, Sarah Young has yet to publicly renounce, much less even acknowledge, her previous involvement with and endorsement of God Calling. The Bible says we are to admit our mistakes—not cover them up (Psalm 32:5). And this is especially true when millions of people have been affected by those mistakes. We are to reprove and expose books like God Calling—not just edit them away without any explanation (Ephesians 5:11). Scripture makes it clear that in regard to issues like God Calling, we are to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no” and that it is “evil” to try and avoid the matter by refusing to clarify one’s position (Matthew 5:37).

The Bible Warns About What We Treasure

The fact remains that Sarah Young has stated that she was inspired by God Calling to receive her own messages from “Jesus” and described the channeled New Age book as “a treasure to me.” Until she clearly specifies otherwise, we can only assume that where her treasure is, her heart is also.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)

(2) Changing Jesus Calling
(Proverbs 24:21)

The removal of any mention of God Calling from Jesus Calling was not an isolated incident. It was obviously part of a concerted plan to evade some of the questions being raised about the legitimacy of Young’s book. For example, in all the post-2013 printings of Jesus Calling, what Young had originally described as “messages” she received from “God” were suddenly being presented as her own “writings” and “devotions.” This change in wording seemed to remove any suggestion that Young was doing the same kind of channeling that is described in God Calling. Yet Young made it clear in her original introduction to Jesus Calling that this was exactly what she was doing.

“Be a Channel”

Young writes that “Jesus” told her he was “training” her “to be a channel of My loving Presence.”11 Young made it clear in her original introduction that Jesus Calling was comprised of the “messages” and “directives” she claimed to “receive” from “God.” She wrote:

I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. The more difficult my life circumstances, the more I need these encouraging directives from my Creator.12 (emphasis added)

In regard to spiritualism and someone being “a channel,” Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word “channel” as follows—“to serve as a medium for (a spirit).”13 The word “directive” is defined as “a general instruction or order issued authoritatively.”14 And this is what Sarah Young originally said she was doing—being “a channel” for “personal messages” and “encouraging directives” from a spiritual “Presence” that presented itself as “Jesus.” After receiving these “messages” and “directives,” Young arranged them in the form of a daily devotional like God Calling. But just as her original references to God Calling were edited out of all the new printings of Jesus Calling, so were all of her previous references to “messages” and “directives.” This convenient “now you see it, now you don’t” editing eliminated the entire paragraph indented and footnoted above. Thus, the original “personal messages” and “directives” she “received” from “listening to God” became her own “writings” and “devotions” she had “gleaned” from “being still” in her “quiet moments.” In the two paragraphs that follow, note how the words in her original introduction were replaced by the words in her new printings. What has been cut and pasted and inserted into her new introduction gives entirely new meaning to her “listening” process—a process that, if not for the creative editing, is identical to the occult listening process described in God Calling.

From the Original Introduction to Jesus Calling

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.15 (emphasis added)

From the New Introduction to Jesus Calling

This practice of being still in God’s Presence has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the writings I have gleaned from these quiet moments. In many parts of the world, Christians seem to be searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace. The devotions that follow address that felt need.16 (emphasis added)

However, in Young’s Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, the word “messages”—at least as of January 2016—had yet to be removed from the children’s edition. And it is in this original kid’s version that Young makes it clear that her “devotions” are, in fact, “messages” that she claims to have personally “received” from “Jesus.” In the introduction, she writes:

The devotions in this book are some of the messages I have received.17 (emphasis added)

The Bible Warns About Ungodly Change

The 2014 booklet, Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control For a False Christ, documents some of the subtle—and not so subtle—changes that have been made to the original text of Jesus Calling by Young and her team of Thomas Nelson editors.18 It is almost unheard of that an author and a publisher would go to the seemingly unethical lengths they have to completely change the original meaning of their text—and to do so with absolutely no explanation or apology to their readers. The Bible warns us to stay away from those who are given to this kind of manipulation and change.

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? (Proverbs 24:21-22)

3) Serving Two Masters
(Matthew 6:24)

Sarah Young’s “Jesus” frequently contradicts the true Jesus of the Bible. For example, in two separate messages—January 28th and October 15th—her “Jesus” states that the “last words” he spoke after his resurrection and before his final ascent to heaven were “I am with you always.” But these were not His last words. These particular words were spoken on the Mount of Galilee as recorded in Matthew 28:16-20. His last words were actually spoken from the Mount of Olives as recorded in Acts 1:7-12 when He told His disciples they would be His “witnesses.” It was after speaking these words that the Bible records He was “taken up” and ascended into heaven.

After these unbiblical statements in the original Jesus Calling were publicized in 2013,19 Sarah Young’s “Jesus” changed the wording of his two statements in a special Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition published in 2014.20 Compare the original January 28th and October 15th “messages” that had been in Jesus Calling since 2004, with the replacement words that were inserted into the 10th anniversary edition in 2014. Notice how the two phrases “These were the last words I spoke” and “My final statement” have been removed and “after My resurrection” has been inserted in their place.

January 28th Statement in the Original 2004 Edition of Jesus Calling

I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.21 (emphasis added)

January 28th Replacement Statement in the 10th Anniversary Edition of Jesus Calling

I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. I spoke these words to My disciples after My resurrection. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.22 (emphasis added)

October 15th Statement in the Original 2004 Edition of Jesus Calling

TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My final statement just before I ascended into heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.23 (emphasis added)

October 15th Replacement Statement in the 10th Anniversary Edition of Jesus Calling

TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. After My resurrection, I assured My followers: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.24 (emphasis added)

The Bible Warns About Serving Two Masters

The author and her publisher might say that Young must have heard it wrong because Jesus never contradicts Himself. But if that were the case, Young would have had to hear it wrong on two separate occasions because this factually incorrect teaching is found in two separate “messages” that have distinctly different wording. Sarah Young is serving two different masters—the false Christ “Jesus” who delivers unbiblical messages like the two cited above and the Bible’s Christ Jesus who she purports to be following. But the two cannot be treated as if they are the same Jesus. They can’t be the same because the true Jesus does not contradict Himself and therefore has no need to correct Himself as her “Jesus” does. If Sarah Young and her readers continue to listen and hold fast to the false Christ of Jesus Calling and his teachings, it may be only a matter of time before this other “Jesus” gets them to despise the true Christ and His teachings.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

4) Author of Confusion
(1 Corinthians 14:33)

The special 2014 Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition attempts to rectify the factually incorrect January 28th and October 15th “messages.” However, the original unbiblical statements about Jesus’ “last words” and “final statement” can still be found in all the twenty or so other varied editions of Jesus Calling as of January 19th, 2016. This includes the new Jesus Calling: Morning and Evening edition published in October 2015—published nearly a year after the corrected 10th anniversary edition.25

The Bible Warns That Confusion is Not From God

If all the changes, contradictions, corrections, and inconsistencies found in the various and sundry editions of Jesus Calling seem to be confusing—that is because they are confusing, and yet God’s Word tells us:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

5) The Voice of a Stranger
(John 10:4-5)

Sarah Young’s “Jesus” says he wants to be the “boss” so he can “control your mind,” “reprogram your thinking,” and “take full possession” as he seeks to “invade more and more areas of your life.” Pray for wisdom and then ask yourself—do the following statements sound like something the true Jesus Christ would really say?

Approach this day with awareness of who is boss.26

Let Me control your mind.27

My main work is to clear out debris and clutter, making room for My Spirit to take full possession.28

Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.29

While you relax in My Presence, I am molding your mind and cleansing your heart.30

Your relationship with Me is meant to be vibrant and challenging, as I invade more and more areas of your life.31 (emphasis added in all the above quotes)

The Bible Warns About the Voice of a Stranger

If truth be known, it is more likely that the Devil and his evil spirits are the ones who want to “control your mind,” “take full possession,” “reprogram your thinking,” and “invade more and more areas of your life.” The true Jesus stated that His sheep know His voice and do not follow the voice of a stranger. The voice of Sarah Young’s “Jesus” is that of a stranger.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (John 10:4-5)

6) Flattering Words
(1 Thessalonians 2:3-5)

Sarah Young’s “Jesus” uses flattery to seduce undiscerning readers of Jesus Calling. The true Jesus Christ never used gratuitous flattery in relating to others. Pray again for wisdom and ask yourself if the following statements sound like something the real Jesus Christ would say to His followers:

When you trustingly whisper My Name, My aching ears are soothed.32

When you walk through a day in trusting dependence on Me, My aching heart is soothed.33

I am aching to hold you in My everlasting arms, to enfold you in My Love.34

When you seek My Face in response to My Love-call, both of us are blessed.35

As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you.36

Feel your face tingle as you bask in My Love-Light.37

Look into My Face and feel the warmth of My Love-Light shining upon you.38

When your Joy in Me meets My Joy in you, there are fireworks of heavenly ecstasy.39

The Bible Warns About Flattery

The Bible states that “a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Proverbs 26:28). Scripture warns of those who speak with “flattering lips” (Psalm 12:2) and that we are to have nothing to do with them (Proverbs 20:19). The prophet Daniel warned three separate times about flattery in regard to the ultimate false Christ—Antichrist. Daniel said that Antichrist would “come in peaceably” and that he would “corrupt” and “obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21, 32, 34).

For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness. (1Thessalonians 2:3-5)

7) A Lot of Leaven
(Galatians 5:9)

The New Age/New Spirituality/New Worldview teaches that we are all “One” and “we are all God” because God is “in” everyone and everything. For example, prominent New Age/New Spirituality leader Neale Donald Walsch also claims to have had conversations with God. In fact, his Conversations with God books have been frequent New York Times best-sellers. Walsch writes that “God” told him that “Oneness”—“God in everyone and everything”—is the “Foundational Truth” of a “New Spirituality” that can save the world. In regard to this heretical New Spirituality, Walsch writes:

[W]e see God in everyone and everything. Including our divine selves.40

Oneness is the message. It is the Foundational Truth of the New Spirituality.41

The true Jesus Christ never taught that God was “in everyone and everything.” However, the July 8th “message” from Sarah Young’s “Jesus” presents this same false teaching that God is “in” everything—that God is “in all.” Her “Jesus” states:

I am above all, as well as in all.42 (emphasis added)

The true Jesus Christ teaches that God—in the Person of the Holy Spirit—is sent to indwell all those who truly believe and follow Him (John 14:23). But He never taught, nor would He ever teach, that He is “in” everyone and everything—that He is “in all.” Psalm 39:5 makes it abundantly clear that “every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” Some of the many other Bible verses that refute this false teaching that God is “in all” include Ezekiel 28:2, Galatians 6:3, Psalm 9:20, Isaiah 31:3, Romans 1:21-23, 25 and John 2:24-25.

The Bible Warns About Leaven

The Bible warns that “a little leaven, leavens the whole lump,” and there is more than a little leaven in Sarah Young’s book. However, this particular God “in all” leaven that is in Jesus Calling and other “Christian” books—if left unchecked—could eventually shift the church to a New Age/New Worldview and into complete apostasy. Scripture exhorts us:

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (Galatians 5:7-9)

8) Not Testing the Spirits
(1 John 4:1)

There is no indication that Sarah Young ever applied the biblical “test of the spirits” to see if the “Jesus” she claims to be getting “messages” from is the real Jesus Christ (1 John 4:1). Young references nearly a thousand Scripture verses in Jesus Calling, but the 1 John 4:1 test cannot be found. What is found is a completely unbiblical test suggested by her “Jesus.” He is quoted in the March 3rd “message” of Jesus Calling as saying—“You must learn to discern what is My voice and what is not.”43 But instead of directing her to 1 John 4:1 and what the Bible teaches about trying and testing the spirits, he says—“Ask My Spirit to give you this discernment.” This advice is not only unscriptural, it defies common sense. If the “Jesus” Sarah Young is listening to is a deceptive spirit pretending to be “Jesus,” you obviously don’t ask a deceptive spirit to give you discernment. If she followed his advice—which she seems to do on all other accounts—instead of biblically testing the spirit, she would already be trusting the deceptive spirit she should be testing. Thus, this suggestion by Sarah Young’s “Jesus” is self-defeating as it immediately protects a false Christ from being detected. The fact that Young’s “Jesus” teaches this unbiblical test is further proof that Sarah Young’s “Jesus” is not to be trusted.

The Bible Warns to “Try the Spirits”

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)

9) Adding to God’s Word
(Proverbs 30:5-6)

In the original August 23rd “message” in Jesus Calling, Sarah Young’s “Jesus” attempts to give a new distorted description of Abraham. He states that Abraham, in regard to his son Isaac, was guilty of “son-worship,” “undisciplined emotions,” and “idolatry.” Many believers rightfully recoiled at these bizarre extra-biblical remarks. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that what Young’s “Jesus” is saying is in any way true. After these defamatory and derogatory references to Abraham were widely publicized in 2013,44 the whole Abraham and Isaac scenario was completely removed from all subsequent printings of Jesus Calling. The italicized words below show how “Abraham and Isaac” were edited out and “Joseph and Jacob” were cut and pasted into that otherwise same paragraph.

August 23rd “Message” in the Original Edition (2004-2013)

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. 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.45 (emphasis added)

August 23rd Replacement Message (2014-Present)

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.46 (emphasis added; bold is emphasis in original)

This toned-down replacement “message” from Sarah Young’s “Jesus” is yet another example of how Young and her publisher have had her “Jesus” change his original “message” in an obvious attempt to escape legitimate criticism.

The Bible Warns Not to Add to God’s Word

The original “message” depicting Abraham as a son-worshiper and idolater was a prime example of how adding to God’s Word can end up twisting and changing God’s Word. The Bible is sufficient unto itself as we are “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We are clearly admonished not to add to God’s Word:

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

10) Laughing at the Future (Luke 6:25)

Sarah Young’s “Jesus” contradicts the warnings of the true Jesus Christ in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and the whole Book of Revelation when he states—“The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future!”47 In contrast, in the Bible, the true Jesus makes it clear that the future is no laughing matter. He goes to great lengths to describe the serious events that will transpire at the end of time. He tells His disciples to “be not troubled” by these future happenings, but He does not tell them to laugh at these events or to take them lightly. Rather He tells them to “watch” and “be ready” and to “not be deceived” by the false Christs and false prophets that will come in His name (Matthew 24:3-5, 24, 42, 44).

The Bible Warns About Inappropriate Laughter

The Bible says there is a “time to weep, and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

The real Jesus makes it clear that the future is not something to laugh at or laugh about. Rather, He warns of the increased hatred and persecution of Christians that will be taking place—that we may even be killed for our faith. Only a false Christ would tell us to laugh at the future.

Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. (Luke 6:25)

Conclusion

For the above ten—and for many other scriptural reasons—it has become increasingly evident to growing numbers of believers that Jesus Calling is a deceptive and dangerous book. To those like Laura Turner (author of the Religion News Service article) who condone books like Jesus Calling as “a net positive,” former Moody Memorial Church pastor Dr. Harry Ironside argued just the opposite. He reminds us there is no such thing as “a net positive” with books like Jesus Calling. He warned that when “truth” is “mixed with error,” it “is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous.” He said that “God hates such a mixture!” and it must be exposed and repudiated. He further warned that “to condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word” and “treacherous” to those “for whom Christ died.”

Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.48

In 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, the apostle Paul was able to honestly say—“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Unfortunately, Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson cannot say the same. Through unethical editing practices, they have, in essence, made a mockery of the truth (Jeremiah 9:3). By evading legitimate questions regarding their best-selling book, they have fallen victim to covetousness and greed, coveting what was best for continued book sales but not what was best for the church (Luke 12:15). In short, they pleased themselves—not God (Galatians 1:10). With feigned words and clever editing, they have made merchandise of their trusting readers.

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you. (2 Peter 2:3)

Jesus warned that great deception would characterize the last days and that the deception would come in His Name. The “Jesus” of Jesus Calling is not the true Christ. He is actually one of the false Christs that the real Jesus warned us to watch out for. For that reason—and that reason alone—Jesus Calling is a dangerous book.

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)

To order copies of 10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book, click here.

Endnotes
1. Laura Turner, “Jesus Calling and the Policing of Theology” (Religion News Service, November 12, 2015; http://lauraturner.religionnews.com/2015/11/12/jesus-calling-and-the-policing-of-theology/).
2. Tim Challies, “10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling” (November 11, 2015, http://www.challies.com/articles/10-serious-problems-with-jesus-calling).
3. Karen Swallow Prior, “Promiscuous Reading” (Posted at The Well, an InterVarsity online outreach to women, http://thewell.intervarsity.org/arts-books-media/promiscuous-reading).
4. “Q&A with Sarah Young, Author Profile” (The Christian Broadcasting Network, http://www.cbn.com/entertainment/books/jesuscallingqa.aspx).
5. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. Xl (12 13 14 15 16 RRD 52 51 50 49 48).
6. John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), pp. 79-112.
7. Ibid., p. 80.
8. Ibid., p. 103.
9. Ibid., p. 104.
10. Warren B. Smith, “Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer (Eureka, MT; Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2013), pp. 24-26, 52-53.
11. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 94.
12. Ibid., p. Xll.
13. Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, Webster’s New World Dictionary: Third College Edition (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1988), p. 234.
14. Ibid., p. 389.
15. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. Xlll.
16. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, 10th Anniversary Edition (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004, 2011, 2014), p. xviii, (14 15 16 17 18 DSC 5 4 3 2 1).
17. Sarah Young, Adapted by Tama Fortner, Edited by Kris Bearss, Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids (Nashville, TN; Tommy Nelson, 2010), pp. vii-viii, (13 14 15 16 17 RRD 5 4 3 2 1).
18. Warren B. Smith, Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control for a False Christ (Eureka, MT; Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2014).
19. Warren B. Smith, “Another Jesus” Calling, op. cit., pp. 59-61 (“Jesus Contradicts Himself?”).
20. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., pp. 29, 302.
21. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 29.
22. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. 29.
23. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 302.
24. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. 302.
25. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Morning & Evening (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2015), pp. 56, 596.
26. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 21.
27. Ibid., p. 116.
28. Ibid., p. 326.
29. Ibid., p. 200.
30. Ibid., p. 329.
31. Ibid., p. 50.
32. Ibid., p. 203.
33. Ibid., p. 182.
34. Ibid., p. 377.
35. Ibid., p. 239.
36. Ibid., p. 216.
37. Ibid., p. 262.
38. Ibid., p. 278.
39. Ibid., p. 199.
40. Neale Donald Walsch, Happier than God: Turn Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary Experience (Ashland, OR: Emnin Books, 2008), p. 207.
41. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2004), p. 167.
42. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 199.
43. Ibid., p. 66.
44. Warren B. Smith, “Another Jesus” Calling, op. cit., pp. 76-79 (“Abraham Guilty of ‘Idolatry’ & ‘Son-Worship’?”).
45. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 246.
46. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. 246.
47. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 16.
48. Dr. Harry Ironside, “Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile?” (TBC Extra, April 2008, posted on The Berean Call website, (http://www.thebereancall.org/content/tbc-extra-30).

To order copies of 10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book, click here.

One Year Later – No Response From Thomas Nelson on Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control for a False Christ

One year ago, we released the booklet, Changing Jesus Calling: Damage Control for a False Christ by Warren B. Smith.To date, Thomas Nelson, the publisher for Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling has yet to publicly respond to the behind-the-scenes changing of Jesus Calling. We are reposting the article below because we continue to receive frequent phone calls at the Lighthouse Trails office where callers tells us many people they know are reading Jesus Calling. Before reading the article below, consider the following three questions:

  1. Why aren’t Sarah Young and her publisher Thomas Nelson being held accountable for the manipulation of Christian readers around the world in the name of Jesus?
  2. Why aren’t Christian pastors and Christian leaders warning Christians about this deceptive book and the practices surrounding this book?
  3. If Sarah Young stands by the  practices she and her publisher have undertaken to protect her book, why is she not available for interviews regarding what they have done?

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailChanging “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ

By Warren B. Smith

Publisher Problems
What if you are a major publisher like Thomas Nelson and you suddenly discover that your  mega best-selling book Jesus Calling was inspired by a channeled New Age book? And what if you find out that some of the “messages” your author “received” from her “Jesus” weren’t really from Jesus because they contradict what the real Jesus Christ says in the Bible? And what if your best-selling author has introduced a host of other problems in her book that your usually sharp editors had somehow overlooked? What do you do given these issues are already in of ten million previously published books? If you want to be fair to your readers, you deal honestly with these problems as they are brought to your attention. However, if you are more interested in protecting your product rather than in protecting the truth, you do everything in your power to make these problems disappear. One thing is for sure. Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have made some of their problems suddenly disappear in recent editions of Jesus Calling—most especially in a special 10th anniversary edition of Jesus Calling released on September 30, 2014.

Like the Watergate Tapes
Perhaps taking their cue from the missing eighteen-and-a-half minutes from Richard Nixon’s Watergate tapes, Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have been systematically deleting controversial material from Jesus Calling. Adding, subtracting, cutting, pasting, and completely eliminating problematic words, sentences, and even whole paragraphs, Young and her editors do not hesitate to put words in the mouth of their “Jesus,” even as they take others away. But like the Watergate tapes, the missing evidence and their in-your-face tactics are doing more to expose their problems than cover them up.

“Another Jesus” Calling   
In the fall of 2013, my book “Another Jesus” Calling was published by Lighthouse Trails Publishing. I was not the first person to express concern about Jesus Calling, but not much had been written up to that point. As our concerns were publicized, Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson obviously became aware of our objections. Without a word of explanation to anyone, significant alterations have been made to recent editions of Jesus Calling. With “now you see it, now you don’t” editing, some of their major problems suddenly disappeared from the pages of Jesus Calling. To illustrate the lengths to which Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have gone to protect their book and their multi-million dollar Jesus Calling industry, I will provide five specific examples—and there are many others—to demonstrate how readers of Jesus Calling are being managed and manipulated. Make no mistake about it—damage control is in full swing at Thomas Nelson, and it is especially evident in their special 10th anniversary edition of Sarah Young’s book.

Five  Problems
(1) Jesus Calling was inspired by a channeled New Age book
Jesus Calling was inspired by the book God Calling.1 In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, author Sarah Young said that her journey with Jesus Calling began with the book God Calling. She stated:

My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they “listened.” About a year after I started reading this book, I began to wonder if I too could receive messages during my times of communing with God. . . . So I decided to “listen” to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I sensed He was saying.2 (parenthesis in original)

But Sarah Young and her editors somehow missed the fact that God Calling is a channeled New Age book. God Calling is a collection of channeled messages presented in the form of a daily devotional. The messages were channeled through two English women in the 1930s and could easily have been titled Jesus Calling because it was reputedly dictated by “The Living Christ Himself.”3

The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, published by Harvest House Christian publishers, specifically describes God Calling as a channeled New Age book. In their lengthy chapter on channeling and spiritual dictation, authors/apologists John Weldon and John Ankerberg explain that channeling is a form of New Age “mediumship” and according to the Bible it “is a practice  forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).”4 Under the subheading titled “Impersonations of Christianity,” the authors describe God Calling as a New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching”5 as it “subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ’s personal guidance . . . and often misinterprets Scripture.”6 Yet Sarah Young wrote that it was God Calling that inspired her to receive her own messages from “Jesus.” In her original introduction to Jesus Calling, Young praised God Calling as “a treasure to me”:

During that same year I began reading God Calling, 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. The messages are written in first person, with “I” designating God. While I was living in Japan, someone had mailed this book to me from the U.S. I had not read it at that time, but I had held onto the book through two international moves. Six or seven years later, this little paperback became a treasure to me. It dove-tailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence.7 (bold added)

The Damage Control
In recent editions of Jesus Calling—including the 10th anniversary edition—the preceding paragraph regarding God Calling has been removed from the author’s longstanding introduction. No explanation. No apology. Nothing. Suddenly and completely gone is any mention of God Calling—how it had inspired her to receive her own “messages” from “Jesus” and how it was a “treasure” to her. Her previous praise of God Calling had become problematic as it had drawn obvious New Age comparisons to her own book. It had also become apparent that her original endorsement of God Calling was helping to popularize this New Age book among believers! While Christian leaders have been strangely silent about Jesus Calling, it was the secular media that took Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson to task for changing and deleting problematic material in their best-selling book. Ruth Graham, writing in The Daily Beast, a popular online American news reporting and opinion website formerly associated with Newsweek magazine, wrote an article questioning the changes being made to Sarah Young’s original introduction. Graham wrote:

The latest edition of Jesus Calling includes some important changes. The paragraph about God Calling has been deleted, and references to received “messages” have been changed to the less mystically inflected “writings and devotions.” In a passage in which Young recounts her early attempts to write down what God told her, the new version characterizes this as “focusing on Jesus and His Word, while asking Him to guide my thoughts.” Thomas Nelson refers to the book as “Sarah’s prayer journal,” emphasizing that Young is not claiming to speak for Jesus. A skeptical reader, comparing the two introductions, would see an effort by a publisher to bring an increasingly controversial but lucrative best-seller into line with mainstream evangelical orthodoxy.8

In that same article, Ruth Graham also questioned the explanations offered by Thomas Nelson publicist Katie Powell:

In an email responding to my questions, the book’s publicist at Thomas Nelson, Katie Powell, wrote that the reference to God Calling was never meant as more than “a nod,” and it was deleted because it had “created some confusion.” “The book’s theology has always been sound,” she wrote. “The changes were made to make the introduction easier to understand, especially since Jesus Calling is now being read by such a wide variety of people.” Thomas Nelson did not call attention to the changes, Powell wrote, because the introduction’s “content did not change” between editions. But it’s hard to square that with the similarities between Young’s book and God Calling—right down to the title.9

Graham’s skepticism was right on target. And contrary to the statement by the Thomas Nelson publicist, the content of the introduction has changed in recent editions. The unexplained changes have caused many former supporters of Jesus Calling to stop using the devotional. Christian online newspaper WorldNetDaily (WND) picked up on the controversy and published two articles,“Top Christian Bestseller Accused of Heresy”10 and “Is Hit Book ‘Jesus Calling’ Pushing New Age?”11 Charisma magazine followed up with a similar article that noted the growing controversy. It was titled “Critics Accuse ‘Jesus Calling’ of Mixing Truth With New Age Error.”12

Note: For Sarah Young to not have initially recognized God Calling as a New Age book should raise some serious red flags. For her to praise God Calling as “a treasure to me” should raise those red flags even further. But for Sarah Young and her publisher to remove all references to God Calling without any explanation or apology to her millions of readers is perhaps the reddest flag of all.  It is the height of spiritual irresponsibility for Sarah Young to pretend it is no big deal after her original endorsement of God Calling re-ignited the sales of this blatant New Age book, especially when God Calling—thanks to her—now sits alongside Jesus Calling in thousands of bookstores across the country—including countless Christian bookstores.

(2) Sarah Young originally wrote that she “received messages” from “Jesus” Himself  
Because of Sarah Young’s stated affection for the channeled “messages” in God Calling, the “messages” she was receiving from “Jesus” were immediately suspect.

The Damage Control
In recent editions of Jesus Calling, all ten references to the words “message” and “messages” have been deleted from her otherwise longstanding introduction. What were originally described as “messages” she “received” from “Jesus” are now being described as “writings” and “devotions” that she “gleaned” in her “quiet moments.”

Sentences in Her Original Introduction
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.13 (bold added)

Replacement Sentences in Recent Editions
This practice of being still in God’s Presence has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the writings I have gleaned from these quiet moments. In many parts of the world, Christians seem to be searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace. The devotions that follow address that felt need.14 (bold added)

In the example immediately below, observe how “messages” again become “devotions” in the replacement sentence now found in recent editions. Also note how the phrase “with your Bible open” has been added to the original wording to make things appear more biblical.

Sentence in Her Original Introduction
These messages are meant to be read slowly, preferably in a quiet place.15 (bold added)

Replacement Sentence in Recent Editions
The devotions in this book are meant to be read slowly, preferably in a quiet place—with your Bible open.16 (bold added)

Note: In the not yet damage-controlled original introduction to Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, Sarah Young makes it abundantly clear that what she calls “devotions” are in fact “messages” she has “received” from her “Jesus.” She writes:

Since then, I have practiced listening a lot. Usually I write His messages in a notebook, but sometimes I just spend time with Him for a while—and write nothing. The devotions in this book are some of the messages I have received.17 (bold added)

Summary: Changing the “messages” she “received” to the “writings” and “devotions” she “gleaned” in her “quiet moments” attempts to counter any suggestion that Sarah Young might be getting deceived by a seducing spirit that is presenting itself as the real Jesus (1 Timothy 4:1, Matthew 24:4-5).

3) Sarah Young’s “Jesus” contradicts the Bible’s true Jesus Christ
In two separate messages, Sarah Young was told by her “Jesus” that the last words he spoke after his resurrection and before ascending into heaven were “I am with you always.” But this statement made by the true Jesus Christ on the Mount of Galilee were not His last words before ascending into heaven. His last words were spoken from the Mount of Olives as recorded in Acts 1:7-9, 12. The two “messages” Sarah Young received from her “Jesus” contradict the words of the true Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible. What her “Jesus” said was totally unbiblical.

The Damage Control  
Since this unbiblical contradiction was brought to light in my book “Another Jesus” Calling, Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have eliminated this obvious contradiction in their 10th anniversary edition. In other words, they had their “Jesus” correct himself. Compare the original January 28th and October 15th statements that have been in Jesus Calling for the last ten years, with the replacement statements now inserted in the new 10th anniversary edition.

January 28th Original Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.18 (bold added)

January 28th Replacement Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.  I spoke these words to My disciples after My resurrection. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen.19 (bold added)

October 15th Original Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.20 (bold added)

October 15th Replacement Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. After My resurrection, I assured My followers: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.21 (bold added)

Note: One of the 250 “messages” Sarah Young included in her yet-to-be-corrected Jesus Calling Devotional Bible (NKJV) is the original October 15th “message” from Jesus Calling—“My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always.” Given that this statement is clearly unbiblical, Young’s justification for her messages to be included  “alongside the biblical text” falls a little flat. She writes:

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.22

Jesus Corrects Himself?
Sarah Young might argue that because Jesus never contradicts Himself, she must have heard it wrong. But if that were the case, she had to hear it wrong on two separate occasions because the unbiblical statement is in two different messages. With this in mind, an important question must be asked. Who was Sarah Young listening to when she “received” these two “messages?” Obviously the real Jesus does not contradict himself—much less correct Himself in regards to His own words and actions.

And for those who might argue that there is no longer a problem because this contradiction and other problematic areas have been corrected, several more questions must be asked. What about the ten million readers who have trusted these unbiblical messages over the last ten years? Do you just pretend it never happened? Aren’t they owed some kind of explanation as to how Sarah Young’s “Jesus” could make mistakes of this magnitude. But perhaps most importantly, how can an author and publisher—or anyone for that matter—believe they have the right to put words in and out of the mouth of Jesus Christ like He is some kind of literary device—and most especially when it is for the purpose of damage control?

Regardless of whether Sarah Young has been listening to a deceptive spirit (1Timothy 4:1) or to her own confused thoughts (1 Corinthians 14:33)—or a combination of both—she is deceived and is, in turn, deceiving others (2 Timothy 3:13) whether she realizes it or not. Believers must search the Scriptures to see if the things they are being told are really true (Acts 17:11), and they must test the voices they are listening to “because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

4) Sarah Young’s “Jesus” stated that Abraham was guilty of  “idolatry” and “son-worship”
Sarah Young’s “Jesus” said that Abraham was a man of  “undisciplined emotions” and was guilty of “son-worship” and “idolatry.” Many believers have recoiled at these strange, extra-biblical remarks.

The Damage Control
Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have attempted to make this particular problem disappear by deleting all references to Abraham and Isaac in the August 23rd message in Jesus Calling.” As they eliminate Abraham and Isaac, they are simultaneously cutting, pasting, and inserting Jacob and Joseph in their place. Compare the original August 23rd entry with the one that has replaced it in recent editions.

August 23rd “Message” in the Original Edition
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. 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.23 (bold added and signifies material that was deleted)

August 23rd Replacement Message
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.24 (bold added and signifies material that was added)

Note: Sarah Young and her editors obviously made a determination that substituting a toned down Jacob and Joseph entry would be more plausible than the original Abraham and Isaac message. However, the obvious cut-and-paste damage control has resulted in bringing more attention rather than less to their extra-biblical problem.

(5) “Jesus” complains about the night of his birth
Creating considerable controversy and confusion, the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling said he was born “under appalling conditions” in a “filthy stable” and that the night of his birth “was a dark night” for him. To many readers, this did not sound like the voice of their Savior—it sounded like the voice of a stranger (John 10:5) and that Satan—not Jesus—would be the one describing the night of Jesus’ birth as “that dark night for Me.”

The Damage Control
Compare the original December 25th message with the one that has replaced it in the 10th anniversary edition of  Jesus Calling. Notice how the controversial statement—“That was a dark night for Me”—was deleted and quietly replaced by the less controversial statement—“There was nothing glorious about that setting.”

December 25th Sentence in the Original Edition  
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable. That was a dark night for Me, even though angels lit up the sky proclaiming “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.25 (bold added to highlight what was deleted))

December 25th Replacement Sentence
Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory, so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable. There was nothing glorious about that setting, though angels lit up the sky proclaiming, “Glory!” to awe-struck shepherds.26 (bold added to highlight what was added)

Jesus Corrects Himself Again?
The complaints made by Sarah Young’s “Jesus” don’t square with Scripture inspired by the true Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us “to be content” in whatever circumstances we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11). Obviously succumbing to the mounting criticism regarding the “dark night for Me” remark, Sarah Young’s “Jesus” corrects himself—again—with no apology or explanation.

Summary
Intrigued by the channeled messages of God Calling, Sarah Young was apparently not satisfied with the sufficiency of God’s Word. In her original introduction, Young stated: “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.”27 While this statement—along with many others—has been deleted in recent editions, it is clear the author of Jesus Calling “yearned for more,” and more is what she got. As a result, she received “messages” from a “Jesus” that has proven himself to be one of the false Christs that the real Jesus Christ warned us to watch out for (Matthew 24:4-5, 23-24). Wanting a word from God more than the Word of God, Sarah Young ended up getting deceived. “Deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13), she has taken millions of Jesus Calling readers along with her.

The Bible describes those who love and respect the power and authority of God’s Word as those who tremble at God’s Word (Isaiah 66:2). The Bible also describes those who do not tremble at God’s Word but rather use and manipulate God’s Word for their own selfish purposes (2 Corinthians 4:2).

There is no nice way to say it. Jesus Calling is a gross affront to our true Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And the self-serving effort by Sarah Young and her publisher to cover up some of the many problems found in Jesus Calling is a gross affront to the body of Christ. It is one thing for Sarah Young to be deceived, it is quite another for her to be the author of deception herself.

The five examples provided in this booklet typify the unprincipled damage control that the author and her publisher have undertaken to preserve their multi-million dollar Jesus Calling industry—all at the expense of people who have put their trust in Sarah Young and her “Jesus.” To those who would argue that there is a lot of truth in Jesus Calling and that the book has comforted many people, former Moody Memorial Church pastor Dr. Harry Ironside warned that “truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous”:

Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.28

Jesus warned that great deception would characterize the time of the end and that the deception would come in His name. I am absolutely convinced that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling is not the true Christ. Rather he is one of the false Christs that the real Jesus warned us to watch out for.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:3-5)

To order copies of Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ, click here.
 
ENDNOTES
1. Two Listeners; Edited by A.J. Russell, God Calling (Grand Rapids, MI: A Spire Book published by Jove Publications Inc., for Fleming H. Revell, 2005), p. 5.
2. Q&A with Sarah Young, Author Profile, The Christian Broadcasting Network (http://www.cbn.com/entertainment/books/JesusCallingQA.aspx).
3. Two Listeners; Edited by A.J. Russell, God Calling, op. cit., p. 5.
4. John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), p. 80.
5. Ibid., p. 103.
6. Ibid., p. 104.
7. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. Xl,  (12 13 14 15 16  RRD  52 51 50 49 48).
8. Ruth Graham, “The Strange Saga of ‘Jesus Calling,’ The Evangelical Bestseller You’ve Never Heard Of” (Daily Beast, 02/23/14).                                                      (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/23/the-strange-saga-of-jesus-calling-the-evangelical-bestseller-you-ve-never-heard-of.html).
9. Ibid.
10. Jim Fletcher, “Top Christian Bestseller Accused of Heresy” (WorldNetDaily, http://www.wnd.com/2014/05/top-christian-bestseller-accused-of-heresy).
11. Jim Fletcher, “Is Hit Book ‘Jesus Calling’ Pushing New Age?” (WorldNetDaily (http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/is-hit-book-jesus-calling-pushing-new-age).
12. Gina Meeks, “Critics Accuse ‘Jesus Calling’ of Mixing Truth With New Age Error” (Charisma News, http://www.charismanews.com/culture/43855-critics-accuse-jesus-calling-of-mixing-truth-with-error).
13. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. Xlll.
14. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, 10th Anniversary Edition (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004, 2011, 2014), p. xviii, (14 15 16 17 18 DSC 5 4 3 2 1).
15. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. XlV.
16. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. xix.
17. Sarah Young, Adapted by Tama Fortner, Edited by Kris Bearss, Jesus Calling for Kids: 365 Devotions for Kids (Nashville, TN; Tommy Nelson, 2010), pp. vii-viii, (13 14 15 16 17 RRD 5 4 3 2 1).
18. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 29.
19. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. 29.
20. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 302.
21. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. 302.
22. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling Devotional Bible (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson, 2011), p. vi, (11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18—RRD—8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1).
23. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 246.
24. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. 246.
25. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 376.
26. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit., p. 376.
27. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. Xll.
28. Dr. Harry Ironside, “Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile?” (TBC Extra, April 2008, posted on The Berean Call website, http://www.thebereancall.org/content/tbc-extra-30).

To order copies of Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ, click here.

Letter to the Editor: Looking for Good Bible Based Children’s Curriculum

Illustration of Kids Standing Happily in Front of a ChurchTo Lighthouse Trails:

I am coordinator of my church’s children & youth ministries, and I am looking for solid, Bible-based children’s and youth curriculum.

I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.  I am so skeptical of much of the curriculum out there now especially with so much of the emergent ideas creeping in.

Thank you for any input you can offer.

Our Comment:

The publishers on the following list are Christian publishers that have been publishing contemplative and emergent materials for several years: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/publishers.htm.This list includes Zondervan, NavPress, Thomas Nelson (and Tommie Nelson), and InterVarsity. Baker Books and Multnomah publishers are also on the list as they too now publish that type of material. If curriculum is used from any of the publishers in this list, there will most likely be threads of contemplative/emergent ideas woven throughout much of their material.

The list of publishers on this page –  http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/publishersgood.htm – do not publish contemplative, emergent material to our knowledge. However, many of them are smaller publishers and may not have study curriculum. We do mention Harvest House and Barbour publishing on this list; however we include them with a cautionary note. Sadly, we removed Moody Publishers from this list some time ago.

As with all things, use discernment and weigh all things against Scripture. As Christians, we must “Test all things” and “Try the spirits” through the screen of Scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).

Christian Booksellers’ Implosion

HarperCollins Headquarters in the UK

By Jim Fletcher
Free-lance writer for WND

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What was once a fine idea – the first five minutes someone had it 60 years ago – has become one of those classic scenes you want to look away from, but can’t.

I’m speaking of the slow destruction of the American Christian book industry.

From scandalous books offered in Christian bookstores, to the recent bankruptcy of Family Christian Stores, the whole affair reeks of mismanagement and greed.

I’m not talking, of course, of the many individuals and publishers who have contributed greatly to the education of Christians. And there are still very fine publishers doing quite well. Harvest House, for example, comes to mind. . . .

Engaging readers has long been the hallmark of the agenda behind the Christian Bookseller’s Association, which was founded in 1950. The association bears little resemblance to those halcyon days. Predictably, by the 1980s, corporate business models and corporate types were infiltrating CBA. In the ’90s, the first clear signs of the association being sidetracked were full blown. After that, New York houses gobbled up Christian publishers like Multnomah and Howard, and began staffing them with folks who probably wouldn’t identify as evangelical. Click here to continue reading.

Related Articles:

Washington Post: “Rick Warren’s Weight-Loss Plan Named Christian Book of the Year”

Warren B. Smith on Stand Up For the Truth Radio – Regarding Thomas Nelson and Sarah Young: Whitewashing Jesus Calling

Christian Bookseller to Publish Pro-Homosexual Book from Singer Jennifer Knapp

WARNING: Modern-Day “Bible” Versions Used to Promote Liberal Agenda

 

2014 LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS YEAR IN REVIEW—Final Part: Top 10 Articles by LT Editors

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: The New Age Implications of “Jesus Calling”

The New Age Implications of Jesus Calling by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The New Age Implications of Jesus Calling, click here

New-Age-Implications-of-Jesus-CallingJesus Calling: The New Age Implications

By Warren B. Smith

In my book “Another Jesus” Calling, I describe many problems regarding Sarah Young’s best-selling book Jesus Calling. In particular, there are some serious New Age implications to what her “Jesus” is presenting in his “messages” to Young and her countless readers. Nevertheless, Laura Minchew, a Senior Vice-President at Thomas Nelson publishers, adamantly defends Jesus Calling and defiantly denies that the book has any New Age implications. She told World Net Daily, “I will tell you that should anyone hint of New Age teachings in Jesus Calling, they would be sorely misinformed.1

But Minchew’s statement is both ironic and untrue. It is ironic because even as she was issuing her denial, Thomas Nelson editors were busy deleting some of the very New Age material in question. I’m not sure what Laura Minchew’s understanding of the New Age is, but as a former New Ager, I can assure you there are many New Age implications—both direct and indirect—in Jesus Calling In this booklet, I am going to present ten of them.

New Age Implications: Ten Examples

1) The New Age Book God Calling
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sarah Young said she was inspired to receive “messages” from “Jesus” after reading the book God Calling. She stated:

My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they “listened.” About a year after I started reading this book, I began to wonder if I too could receive messages during my times of communing with God. . . . So I decided to “listen” to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I sensed He was saying.2

Unfortunately, Sarah Young and her Thomas Nelson editors missed the fact that God Calling is a channeled New Age book. The “messages” received by the two women appear to be legitimate to the undiscerning reader because they are presented in the form of a daily devotional. Ironically, God Calling could have been titled Jesus Calling because its messages were reputedly dictated by “The Living Christ Himself.”3 It is worth noting that Jesus Calling is similarly titled and similarly presents its reputed “messages” from “Jesus” in the form of a daily devotional.

In The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs published by Harvest House Christian publishers, authors John Weldon and John Ankerberg provide ample evidence as to why God Calling is a channeled New Age book. In their chapter on channeling—under the subheading of “Impersonations of Christianity”—the two respected apologists describe God Calling as a book “replete with denials of biblical teaching”4 as it “subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ’s personal guidance . . . and often misinterprets Scripture.”5 Citing a number of passages in God Calling that are unbiblical and have New Age implications, the two authors explain that channeling is a form of occult mediumship and according to the Bible “is a practice forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).”6 Yet Sarah Young stated it was God Calling that inspired her to receive her own “messages” from “Jesus.” In her original introduction to Jesus Calling, Young went out of her way to praise God Calling as “a treasure to me.”7 Sadly, her lofty endorsement greatly popularized this New Age book within mainstream Christianity. As a result, God Calling is now commonly found in great numbers in various editions in both secular and Christian bookstores. In fact, it is often shelved alongside Jesus Calling.

Note: Young’s only response to criticism of God Calling has been to quietly remove all her previous references to God Calling from the new editions of Jesus Calling. No explanations. No apologies. No anything. Like the missing 18½ minutes from Richard Nixon’s Watergate tapes, God Calling has disappeared from the pages of Young’s book.

2) Channeled “Messages” from “Jesus”
Ruth Graham, writing about Jesus Calling in The Daily Beast—a popular online news organization formerly associated with Newsweek magazine—reported that Thomas Nelson had specifically requested that she not use the word “channeling” to describe how Sarah Young was receiving her “messages” from “Jesus.” Graham wrote:

Thomas Nelson specifically requested I not use the word “channeling” to describe Young’s first-person writing in the voice of Jesus—the word has New Age connotations—but it’s hard to avoid it in describing the book’s rhetorical approach.8

In Jesus Calling, Young writes that “Jesus” told her “to be a channel of My loving Presence.”9 Obliging his request, her book is filled with channeled “messages” and “directives” she claims to have received from God. In her original introduction, she wrote:

I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. The more difficult my life circumstances, the more I need these encouraging directives from my Creator.10 (emphasis added)

Regarding this type of spiritualism, Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word “channel” as follows: “to serve as a medium for (a spirit).”11 It defines the word “directive” as “a general instruction or order issued authoritatively.”12 And by Sarah Young’s own description in her original introduction, this is exactly what she is doing—being “a channel” for “encouraging directives” from a spiritual “Presence” that presents itself as “Jesus.” After receiving these “messages” and “directives,” she arranged them in the form of a daily devotional—just like God Calling.

Note: The paragraph cited above—where Young originally described how she has “continued to receive personal messages from God” and “encouraging directives” from her “Creator”—has been completely removed from the new editions of Jesus Calling.13

3) Visualization
Sarah Young engaged in the occult/New Age practice of “visualization” when she “pictured” her family “encircled by God’s protective Presence.”

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. I lost all sense of time as I experienced God’s Presence in this powerful way.14 (emphasis added)

In the same Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs that described God Calling as a channeled New Age book, a specific chapter on visualization warns about the spiritual dangers of this New Age practice:

“Visualization” and “guided imagery” have long been recognized by sorcerers of all kinds as the most powerful and effective methodology for contacting the spirit world in order to acquire supernatural power, knowledge, and healing. Such methods are neither taught nor practiced in the Bible as helps to faith or prayer.15

Sarah Young just assumed that the “light” she visualized enveloping her family and herself was from God. But one cannot assume anything in regards to spiritual experiences and spiritual encounters—especially after engaging in the occult practice of visualization. Because “many false prophets are gone out into the world,” we are told to “try the spirits” to see “whether they are of God (1 John 4:1). The apostle Paul warned of deceptive “seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1) and how Satan can come as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Also, Jesus specifically warned us to beware of a light that appears to be light but is actually darkness (Luke 11:35).

Note: Recent editions of Jesus Calling have attempted to subtly demystify Sarah Young’s mystical New Age “prayer” process. The phrase “looked like golden light” and the trance-like sentence “I lost all sense of time as I experienced God’s Presence in this powerful way” have both been deleted from recent editions of Jesus Calling.16 However, even with these deletions, Young—at least for now—continues to include her visualized prayer in the newer editions of Jesus Calling.

4) Meditation
Jesus Calling readers are led to equate Sarah Young’s contemplative prayer process with biblical meditation. But to “make your mind like a still pool of water” as you passively wait “to receive whatever thoughts” Young’s “Jesus” may “drop into it” is much more akin to Eastern/New Age meditation. Biblical meditation, if you will, is an active attentiveness and thinking upon Scripture. Eastern/New Age meditation is more subjective and open to spiritual suggestion. In his August 5th message, Sarah Young’s “Jesus” promotes this New Age form of meditation and contemplative prayer:

Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it.17

Stilling and quieting one’s mind may seem to be peaceful and godly, but passively stilling the mind (i.e., putting the mind in neutral) can provide an opening for seducing spirits to communicate with an undiscerning meditator—all in the name of “Jesus,” “God,” and the “Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:27, 1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:4). Sarah Young describes how she receives these “thoughts” as “messages” and “directives” as she meditates on “Jesus”:

I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. The more difficult my life circumstances, the more I need these encouraging directives from my Creator.18 (emphasis added)

But this kind of spiritual activity is not scriptural, and it is not biblical meditation. This is Eastern/New Age meditation. This type of meditation is what New Age channelers do to make contact with the spirit world.

Note: It bears repeating that the above paragraph containing the words “meditate,” “messages,” and “directives” has been deleted from recent editions of Jesus Calling.

5) New Age Terminology
Throughout Jesus Calling, Sarah Young’s “Jesus” casually introduces New Age terminology in his channeled messages. Not that long ago terms like co-create,19 divine alchemy,20 Love-Light,21 Light-bearer,22 supernatural plane,23 living channel,24 paradigm shift,25 true self,26 ultimate reality,27 universal presence,28 etc., were sure indicators of someone’s metaphysical/New Age orientation. But now these terms are commonly found in “Christian” books like Jesus Calling and are rapidly becoming part of the everyday language of the church.

Sarah Young’s “Jesus” also makes indirect reference to two of the mega best-selling New Age books of the last thirty years—Shirley MacLaine’s Out on a Limb and M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled. Young’s “Jesus” invites her millions of readers to “go out on a limb” with him and to take “a road less traveled”:

Be willing to go out on a limb with Me.29

You, however, have been called to take a “road less traveled.”30

Note: Obviously, these two phrases can be used in other contexts. However, the true Jesus Christ is quite aware of these groundbreaking New Age books, and it defies reason that He would make any reference—direct or indirect—to these hugely popular metaphysical books. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). And He is not going to introduce anything that might stumble someone—like nonchalantly referring to two New Age books that have already stumbled the millions of people who have read them and been influenced by them. (1 Corinthians 8:9).

6) Divine Alchemy
Regarding other overlapping New Age terminology in Jesus Calling, Sarah Young’s “Jesus” states:

I can glean Joy out of sorrow, Peace out of adversity. Only a Friend who is also the King of kings could accomplish this divine alchemy.31

However, the term “divine alchemy” is an ancient, mystical, occult/New Age term that raises multiple spiritual concerns. The word “occult” is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as follows:

. . . designating or of certain alleged mystic arts, such as magic, alchemy, astrology, etc.32 (emphasis added)

The Oxford Classical Dictionary underscores the fact that the “art” of alchemy has serious New Age implications. The very first sentence of the definition states:

Alchemy in antiquity was a mixture of chemical, metallurgical, and glass technology, Greek philosophy, mystical and syncretist religion, and astrology.33 (emphasis added)

The same Oxford Dictionary explains the occult/New Age underpinnings of alchemy itself:

The art is distinguished from the pure science of chemistry by its mixture of mystical and magical elements with the technology . . . Alchemy in late antiquity was born of the confluence of three streams: (1) technology . . . (2) theory . . . (3) occult religion.34 (emphasis added)

By Googling divine alchemy on the Internet, one will see countless references to the occult. The term divine alchemy is frequently found in the teachings of New Age leaders such as Marianne Williamson. She uses the term divine alchemy to reference the same practice of meditation Sarah Young’s “Jesus” is advocating. She writes:

Meditation is time spent with God in silence and quiet listening. It is the time during which the Holy Spirit has a chance to enter into our minds and perform His divine alchemy.35 (emphasis added)

The Oxford Classical Dictionary describes the origin of alchemy and how it is linked to other occult sciences:

The inventor was said to be Hermes [Trismegistus], and alchemy is linked with other occult sciences in the Hermetic literature of the first three centuries A.D., along with neo-Pythagorean, Neoplatonic, and Gnostic ideas.36

Note: Once again, it is inconceivable that the true Jesus Christ would ever use a term like divine alchemy that is so highly identified with the occult. This is yet one more troublesome New Age aspect to Jesus Calling and one more reason to question the validity of Sarah Young’s “Jesus.”

7) Co-creation
Sarah Young’s “Jesus” also introduces the key New Age concept of “co-creation.” This is a New Age evolutionary concept that falsely teaches that because man is God, he can therefore co-create with God. But man is not God.

The New Age “Christ” has a plan. He is promising the world that Armageddon can be avoided and world peace can be achieved if everyone collaborates and “co-creates” with him. Speaking through top New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard in her book The Revelation, the New Age “Christ” uses the terms co-create, co-creation, co-creative, co-creator, and co-creatorship over 100 times. This is because co-creation is a key element in the New Age Christ’s counterfeit plan of salvation for Planet Earth. At one point Hubbard’s “Christ” states:

Here we are, now poised either on the brink of destruction greater than the world has ever seen—a destruction which will cripple planet Earth forever and release only the few to go on—or on the threshold of global co-creation wherein each person on Earth will be attracted to participate in his or her own evolution to godliness.37 (emphasis added)

New Age author Neale Donald Walsch has been taking spiritual dictation from his New Age “God” for many years now. Soon after the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, “God,” speaking through Walsch, proclaimed that “the era of the Single Savior is over.” He said:

Yet let me make something clear. The era of the Single Savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined effort, collective co-creation.38 (emphasis added)

In Jesus Calling, Young’s “Jesus” introduces the idea of co-creation in conjunction with the term “collaborating.” Webster’s New World Dictionary’s sole definition of a collaborationist is “a person who cooperates with an enemy invader.”39 Sarah Young’s “Jesus” plays right into this New Age collaboration when he talks of humanity collaborating and co-creating with him:

This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have deigned to co-create with you.40 (emphasis added)

Co-creation is a crucial New Age concept that entails the necessity of man recognizing he is God and then acting as God to affirm, visualize, envision, and to ultimately co-create with God a positive peaceful future. Thus, there is a definite overlap of terms as Sarah Young’s “Jesus” similarly teaches that humanity can partner with God through the co-creation process. Barbara Marx Hubbard’s New Age “Christ” refers to a future world peace that can be visualized and co-created by mankind. This co-created world peace is referred to as the “alternative to Armageddon.”41 But the prophet Jeremiah warned about a peace that seems to heal but is, in reality, no peace at all (Jeremiah 8:11).

Note: This “alternative to Armageddon” peace process is described by New Age leaders as an important part of God’s Dream for the world. Not surprisingly, “God’s Dream” is another New Age concept that is introduced in Jesus Calling.

8) God’s Dream
Consistent with many of the other New Age implications contained in her channeled messages, Sarah Young’s “Jesus” introduces the New Age idea of “God’s Dream” in Jesus Calling when he states:

I may infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach.42

In Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, the January 6th message/devotion is titled—and has “Jesus” telling the children—“Dare to Dream My Dream.”43

“God’s Dream” is a Deceptive Scheme
The term “God’s Dream” is yet another part of the overlapping New Age language streaming into the church. God’s Dream is a vague, loosely defined New Age metaphor that attempts to unify different religions and faith groups in an unbiblical effort to attain world peace. However, the true Jesus Christ warned that deception and the coming of Antichrist—not a “God’s Dream” peace movement—will be what actually precedes His ultimate and glorious return (Matthew 24:3-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5). The prophet Daniel warned that Antichrist will “destroy wonderfully” and “by peace he shall destroy many” (Daniel 8:24-25). In the future, what may appear to be a “wonderful” worldwide revival and a “wonderful” world peace will actually be a false revival and a false peace—the kind of peace that Daniel said will be associated with the coming of Antichrist, not the true Christ.

The New Age concept of God’s Dream was introduced at least as far back as 1916 by New Age theosophists in their Theosophical Path Magazine.44 Since then it has been used by numerous New Age sympathizers that include Oprah Winfrey,45 Wayne Dyer,46 former United Nations Indian guru Sri Chinmoy,47 and African bishop Desmond Tutu.48 The concept of God’s Dream was introduced into the church in the 1970s by former Crystal Cathedral pastor Robert Schuller49 and later adopted by Rick Warren,50 Brian McLaren,51 Joel Osteen,52 Bruce Wilkinson,53 Leonard Sweet,54 and many other Christian figures. The overlap factor is very apparent when comparing statements made by Oprah Winfrey, Joel Osteen, and Sarah Young’s “Jesus” :

Oprah Winfrey: God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can dream for yourself.55

Joel Osteen: God’s dream for your life is so much bigger than your own.56

Sarah Young’s “Jesus”: Dream your biggest, most incredible dream—and then know that I am able to do far more than that, far more than you can ever ask or imagine. Allow Me to fill your mind with My dreams for you.57

Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, and Leonard Sweet all used the God’s Dream metaphor to stress the urgency of achieving world peace—but at what compromised New Age cost?

Rick Warren: This weekend, I’ll begin a series of five messages on God’s dream to use you globally—to literally use YOU to help change the world! I’ll unvail our Global P.E.A.C.E. plan, and how God has uniquely prepared you for this moment of destiny.58

Brian McLaren: That in itself is an act of peacemaking, because we’re seeking to align our wills with God’s will, our dreams with God’s dream.59

Leonard Sweet: The time to save God’s Dream is now. The People to save God’s Dream are you.60

“God’s Dream” is a False Dream
“God’s Dream” may seem to be inspirational and have a godly feel to it, but there is nothing in Scripture to even hint, much less substantiate, the New Age concept of God’s Dream. God doesn’t dream in any way, shape, manner, or form. God’s Dream is definitely one of those crossover terms like “co-creation” and “divine alchemy” that attempt to “shift” everything into a New Age context and towards the universal acceptance of a New Age/New Worldview. Sarah Young’s “Jesus” plays right into this clever conditioning when he introduces the concept of God’s Dream in Jesus Calling and in no less than three of Sarah Young’s other books.61 The prophet Jeremiah warned about those who prophesy and present false dreams like God’s Dream:

Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:32)

Note: Because so many Christian leaders have adopted the concept of God’s Dream, it has become a popularly accepted “Christian” term and is now virtually indistinguishable from its New Age origins.

9) God “in” Everything
The New Age teaches we are all “One” and we are all “God” because God is “in” everyone and everything. This belief is referred to as panentheism and is the foundational teaching of the New Age movement. In my 2004 book Deceived on Purpose, I describe how long-time New Age evangelist Benjamin Creme, speaking on behalf of the false Christ Maitreya, presents the concept of “God in everything” as the bottom line teaching of the coming New World Religion. Creme said:

But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—outside of His creation—and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—in man and all creation.62 (emphasis added)

But the true Jesus Christ never taught that God was a universal Presence that is “in man and all creation.” He did not teach that God is “in” everything. Yet the July 8th “message” that Sarah Young said she received from her “Jesus” definitely presents this false New Age teaching:

I am above all, as well as in all . . . 63

The true Jesus Christ knows that the foundational false teaching of the New Age/New Worldview is the concept of immanence—God “in all.” The true Christ teaches that God—in the Person of the Holy Spirit—is sent to indwell those who believe and follow Him (John 14:23). But He would never teach that God is “in man and all creation” or “in all” as Sarah Young’s “Jesus” states in Jesus Calling.

Note: Many Scriptures refute this idea that God is “in” all—Ezekiel 28:2, Galatians 6:3, Psalm 9:20, Isaiah 31:3, John 2:24-25, etc. Psalm 39:5 makes it very clear that “every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” Man is not God or a part of God because God is not universally “in” everything—God is not “in all.”

10) Sarah Young’s New Agey Mystical Moonlight Conversion
In the original introduction to Jesus Calling, Sarah Young described how it was a walk in “God’s glorious creation” that led to her mystical moonlight conversion—that her “heart” was “converted” to “Jesus” when she “felt” “enveloped” by the “warm mist” of His “Presence.” Her account is reminiscent of how many of us fell prey to deceptive spiritual experiences rather than heeding warnings from the Word of God about “another Jesus,” “another gospel,” and “another spirit.” (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-7; 1 Timothy 4:1). Note how Young clearly transitions right from “it was God’s glorious creation that helped me open my heart to Him” into her walk in the “snowy mountains” with its “cold moonlit beauty.” It is a continuous flow from one paragraph to the next. Young wrote:

It was the intellectual integrity of Francis Schaeffer’s teaching that had drawn me to that pristine place. Though the quest that had taken me there was a search for truth, it was God’s glorious creation that helped me open my heart to Him.

One night I found myself leaving the warmth of our cozy chalet to walk alone in the snowy mountains. I went into a deeply wooded area, feeling vulnerable and awed by cold, moonlit beauty. The air was crisp and dry, piercing to inhale. Suddenly I felt as if a warm mist enveloped me. I became aware of a lovely Presence, and my involuntary response was to whisper, “Sweet Jesus.” This utterance was totally uncharacteristic of me, and I was shocked to hear myself speaking so tenderly to Jesus. As I pondered this brief communication, I realized it was the response of a converted heart; at that moment I knew I belonged to Him. This was far more than the intellectual answers for which I’d been searching. This was a relationship with the Creator of the universe.64 [emphasis added to indicate what has been removed from the most recent editions of Jesus Calling].

But after nine years of publishing the mystical conversion account above, this original account has been suddenly replaced by a different, more traditional conversion account that Young now claims to have had prior to her moonlight walk. Instead of “God’s glorious creation” transitioning into her mystical moonlight conversion, now it’s her new conversion account that transitions into her considerably toned down walk in the moonlight. The new account reads:

Shortly after I settled into the home I shared with other students, I met a gifted counselor who had come from the Swiss branch of L’Abri to talk with some of us. I went into the room where she was waiting, and she told me to close the door. Before I even had time to sit down, she asked her first question: “Are you a Christian?” I answered that I wasn’t sure; I wanted to be a Christian, but I didn’t really understand why I needed Jesus. I thought that knowing God might be enough. Her second question was: “What can you not forgive yourself for?” This question brought me face-to-face with my sinfulness, and immediately I understood my need for Jesus—to save me from my many sins. Later, when I was alone, I asked Him to forgive all my sins and to be my Savior-God.

One night I found myself leaving the warmth of our cozy chalet to walk alone in the snowy mountains. I went into a deeply wooded area, feeling vulnerable and awed by cold, moonlit beauty. The air was crisp and dry, piercing to inhale. After a while, I came into an open area and I stopped walking. Time seemed to stand still as I gazed around me in wonder—soaking in the beauty of this place. Suddenly I became aware of a lovely Presence with me, and my involuntary response was to whisper, “Sweet Jesus.” This experience of Jesus’ Presence was far more personal than the intellectual answers for which I’d been searching. This was a relationship with the Creator of the universe—the One who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6 NKJV)65

This new conversion account immediately begs the question of why Young didn’t include this recent conversion account in her original writing. For nine years she described how her “heart” was “converted” in the “cold moonlit beauty” of “God’s glorious creation.” Now we are being told that her heart was converted previous to her walk in the moonlight after talking with a L’Abri counselor. The skeptical reader might see the author attempting to do some quick damage control—especially in light of the fact that a number of the controversial statements from her original conversion account have been completely deleted from the most recent editions of Jesus Calling. Gone is the original statement that transitioned to her mystical conversion—“it was God’s glorious creation that helped me open my heart to Him.” Gone is the “warm mist” that “enveloped” her. Gone is the “utterance” that was “totally uncharacteristic of me.” Gone is her being “shocked” to hear herself “speaking so tenderly to Jesus.” Gone is her realization that her “response” was that of “a converted heart.” Gone is “at that moment I knew I belonged to Him.” More succinctly—gone is her whole mystical moonlight conversion and gone are the New Age implications of what she actually experienced. Also gone for many of us is any real credibility for an author and publisher who are trying to edit their problems away without any explanation or apology to anyone—much less the millions of readers who read her original version.

CONCLUSION
It seems a bit disingenuous for Thomas Nelson Vice President Laura Minchew to deny the various New Age implications of Jesus Calling—even as they are deleting much of the very material that substantiates the New Age implications charge. A rose by any other name is still a rose. Same with the New Age. Like an octopus that shoots ink at its perceived adversaries to cloud the waters, Minchew’s attempt to intimidate critics and to dispel legitimate criticism is not credible. Laura Minchew, Sarah Young, and Thomas Nelson editors must know this or they wouldn’t be removing so much controversial material from their new editions of Jesus Calling.

When the author and her Thomas Nelson team choose to protect their multi-million dollar Jesus Calling industry rather than the truth, they betray the countless readers who have put their trust in Sarah Young’s “Jesus.” Nevertheless, some will still say—“but there is so much truth and so much Scripture, and I was so encouraged by Sarah Young’s book.” Or, “Hey, so what if they changed things. They were just trying to make it right—so what’s the problem? But it is a sad day when avowed Christians find themselves encouraged by a deceptive mix of truth and New Age error. And when an author and a publisher make significant changes to spiritually controversial material, they should provide some kind of explanation as to why those changes were made.

This much is for sure. The true Christ doesn’t mix truth with New Age teachings. This is what a false Christ does. When asked by His disciples what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the world, the true Jesus Christ said that deception would be the sign—that many would come in His name and pretend to be Him (Matthew 24:3-5). And while this might be hard for some people to accept, His warning specifically applies to false Christs like Sarah Young’s “Jesus.”

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Endnotes
1. Jim Fletcher, “Top Christian Bestseller Accused of Heresy” (World Net Daily, http://www.wnd.com/2014/05/top-christian-bestseller-accused-of-heresy).
2. Q&A with Sarah Young, Author Profile (The Christian Broadcasting Network http://www.cbn.com/entertainment/books/jesuscallingqa.aspx).
3. Two Listeners; Edited by A.J. Russell, God Calling (Grand Rapids, MI: A Spire Book published by Jove Publications Inc., for Fleming H. Revell, 2005), p. 5.
4. John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), p. 103.
5. Ibid., p. 104.
6. Ibid., p. 80.
7. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson, 2004), pp. Xl-XII, Printing 12 13 14 15 RRD 49 48 47 46.
8. Ruth Graham, “The Strange Saga of ‘Jesus Calling,’ The Evangelical Bestseller You’ve Never Heard Of” (The Daily Beast, 02/23/14), http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/23/the-strange-saga-of-jesus-calling-the-evangelical-bestseller-you-ve-never-heard-of.html).
9. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 94.
10. Ibid., p. Xll.
11. Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, Webster’s New World Dictionary: Third College Edition (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1988), p. 234.
12. Ibid., p. 389.
13. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling; 10th Anniversary Edition (Nashville, TN; Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004, 2011, 2014), Printing 14 15 16 17 18 DSC 5 4 3 2 1.
14. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., pp. X-Xl.
15. John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, op. cit., p. 578. Quoted from Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon, The Seduction of Christianity: Spiritual Discernment in the Last Days (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1985), p. 123.
16. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, 10th Anniversary Edition, op. cit.
17. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 228.
18. Ibid., p. Xll.
19. Ibid., p. 362.
20. Ibid., p. 260.
21. Ibid., p. 139.
22. Ibid., p. 214.
23. Ibid., p. 241.
24. Ibid., p. 303.
25. Ibid., p. 85.
26. Ibid., p. 381.
27. Ibid., p. 209.
28. Ibid., p. 5.
29. Ibid., p. 360.
30. Ibid., p. 313.
31. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 260.
32. Webster’s New World Dictionary; Third College Edition, op. cit., p. 937.
33. Edited by N.G.L. Hammond and H.H.Scullard, The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, Second Edition, 1970), p. 36.
34. Ibid., pp. 36-37.
35. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. 281.
36. Edited by N.G.L. Hammond and H.H. Scullard, The Oxford Classical Dictionary, op. cit., p. 37.
37. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1995), p. 174.
38. Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2002), p. 157.
39. Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, Webster’s New World Dictionary; Third College Edition, op. cit., p. 273.
40. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 362.
41. Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation, op. cit., p. 264.
42. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 6.
43. Sarah Young (adapted by Tama Fortner), Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids (Nashville, TN: Tommy Nelson, 2010), p. 7.
44. Katherine Tingley, Editor, Theosophical Path Magazine, Volume X, February 1916, p. 159.
45. Ann Oldenburg, “The Divine Miss Winfrey” (USA Today, May 10, 2006, http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-05-10-oprah_x.htm).
46.Wayne Dyer, You’ll See it When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation (New York, N.Y.: HarperCollins, First Quill Ed., 2001), p. 108.
47. Sri Chinmoy; late resident Indian guru at the United Nations (http://www.yogaofsrichinmoy.com/god_the_author_all_good/mangod).
48. Desmond Tutu, “Archbishop Desmond Tutu Speech” (March 18, 2004, Bender Arena at American University, http://wwwl.media,american.edu/speeches/desmondtutu.htm).
49. Robert H. Schuller, Your Church Has Real Possibilities (Glendale, CA: Regal Books Division, G/L Publications, 1974), pp. 176-179.
50. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church e-mail, October 27, 2003, “GOD’S DREAM FOR YOU—AND THE WORLD!”; Warren Smith, Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2004), pp. 131-142.
51. Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Nashville, TN: W. Publishing Group, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2006), p. 161.
52. Joel Osteen, “God’s Dream for Your Life”—Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 28 July Monday” (http://devotion.wedaretobelieve.com/2014/07/gods-dream-for-your-life-joel-osteen.html).
53. Bruce Wilkinson, The Dream Giver (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2003), p. 77.
54. Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami: Sink or Swim in the New Millennium Culture (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), p. 34.
55. Ann Oldenburg, “The Divine Miss Winfrey” (USA Today, May 10, 2006, http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-05-10-oprah_x.htm).
56. Joel Osteen, “God’s Dream for Your Life-Joel Osteen Ministries daily devotional 28 July Monday,”
57. Sarah Young (adapted by Tama Fortner), Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids, op. cit. p. 7.
58. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church e-mail, October 27, 2003, “GOD’S DREAM FOR YOU—AND THE WORLD!”; op. cit.
59. Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, op cit., p. 161.
60. Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami, op. cit., p. 34.
61. Sarah Young, Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2007), pp. 68-69; Sarah Young: Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009), p. 124; Sarah Young (adapted by Tama Fortner), Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids, op. cit., p. 7.
62. a) Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (London, England: The Tara Press, 1980), p. 88, Cited from Deceived on Purpose (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2nd ed., 2004), p. 156. b) Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul, The Reappearance of the Christ, Chapter 6—“The New World Religion” (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://netnews.org), http://web.archive.org/web/20070220093122/http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/reappearance/reap1025.html).
63. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 199.
64. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (original introduction), op. cit., pp. Vll-Vlll.
65. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (revised introduction), (10th Anniversary Edition), op. cit., p. xiv.

Editor’s Note: Our attempts to speak with Sarah Young about the problematic issues in Jesus Calling have been to no avail. Thomas Nelson has repeatedly stated that she is not available for interviews.

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