Posts Tagged ‘Warren B. Smith’

Understanding the Difference: Biblical Atonement or New Age At-One-Ment?

by Warren B. Smith

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

In 1965, Columbia University Professor of Medical Psychology, Helen Schucman, heard an “inner voice” saying, “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”1 Schucman’s initial resistance was overcome when the “inner voice,” identifying itself as “Jesus,” told her the purpose of the course:

The world situation is worsening to an alarming degree. People all over the world are being called on to help, and are making their individual contributions as part of an overall prearranged plan. Part of the plan is taking down A Course in Miracles, and I am fulfilling my part in the agreement, as you will fulfill yours. You will be using abilities you developed long ago, and which you are not really ready to use again. Because of the acute emergency, however, the usual slow, evolutionary process is being by-passed in what might best be described as a “celestial speed-up.”2

Baffled by her assignment, but nevertheless obliging, the skeptical Schucman diligently took dictation from this “inner voice.” In the seven and a half years of cumulative dictation that became A Course in Miracles, Schucman’s “Jesus” presents a whole new way of looking at the world. Using Christian terminology, sophisticated psychology, and convincing authority, Schucman’s “Jesus” teaches a completely different gospel than the one found in the Bible. His New Age/New Gospel wholly contradicts the Bible’s Gospel of Jesus Christ. Schucman’s “inner voice,” while claiming to be Jesus, actually opposes everything for which the Bible’s Jesus stands.

In brief, A Course in Miracles teaches that all is love. And while the Course teaches that the opposite of love is fear, it explains that fear is just an illusion based on wrong thinking. It states that the world we see is merely the projected manifestation of our own illusive, fearful thoughts. As each one of us learns to correct our fearful, wrong thinking, it will change not only how we see the world, but also change the world we see. The purpose of the Course is to facilitate this change in perception.

According to the Course, love is all there is. And because God is love, God is therefore in everyone and everything. It states God is sinless, perfect, and “at one” with all creation and that we, as a part of God, are also sinless and perfect in our “oneness” with Him. It teaches that man’s only “sin” is in not remembering his own perfect, sinless, divine nature. The only “devil” is our illusion that we are separate from, and not a part of, God. The Course tells its readers that a “sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need correct.”3

The Course also teaches that while “Christ” is in Jesus, so “Christ” is in everyone—and that the “Christ” in everyone is their divine connection with God and with each other. The Course further teaches that a “slain Christ has no meaning.”4 It states that wrong thinking has produced the misperception that man is a “sinner” and that he needs an external Christ to save him from his “sins.” The Course teaches that salvation has nothing to do with Jesus’ death on the cross. Salvation comes from what the Course calls the “Atonement” (“at-one-ment”) process.

This “Atonement,” or “atoning,” is when each person remembers and affirms and experiences their “oneness” (at-one-ment) with God and creation. The “Atonement” is the Course’s key to undoing “fear” and dispelling the illusion that man is “separate” from God. The Course stresses that the healing of the world is dependent upon each person’s fulfilling their Atonement “function” to teach this “oneness” to the world. When everyone comes to understand that “all is love and all is God,” then “inner peace” and “world peace” will finally happen. Only “fear” and the illusion of “separation” stand in the way of man’s attaining this peace for himself and his world. (For more on this and the “false christ,” read False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?

Notes:
1. Robert Skutch, Journey without Distance: The Story behind “A Course in Miracles” (Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1984), p. 54.
2. Ibid., p. 60.

Related Articles:

Social/Political Activism and the New Age by Ray Yungen

The Angel of Light’s “Plan” for World Peace by Tamara Hartzell

Makes No Sense for Contemplatives to Celebrate Easter

On Jesus Calling: Contemplative Prayer, the New Age, & Psalm 46:10

By Warren B. Smith
(author of “Another Jesus” Calling)

Countless references to meditating, being quiet, being still, relaxing, resting, letting go, and reciting Psalm 46:10 are found throughout God Calling and Jesus Calling. They are all suggested ways of entering into the silence to experience God’s presence.

The New Age/New Spirituality likewise places great emphasis on these same ways of entering the silence in order to experience God’s presence.

The reason so much emphasis has been put on stillness and invoking Psalm 46:10 in the New Age/New Spirituality is because stillness has provided a “channel” for supernatural communication. What I came to realize years ago was that the silence allowed deceptive spirits to establish contact with those of us who were naive and undiscerning “listeners.” The conditions of stillness, openness, and receptivity were ideal for deceptive spirits to inject ungodly thoughts and understandings into our minds. And now the same thing is going on in the church which sees no need to test the spirits. Along with testing the spirits, Scripture also warns us:

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)

There is good reason why the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling wants those he calls to “Come to Me with your defenses down” and “Relax”1:

Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it.2 (emphasis added)

Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.3 (emphasis added)

Let Me control your mind.4 (emphasis added)

The “Jesus” of God Calling says:

Remember that I can work through you better when you are at rest.5

Similarly, the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling says:

I can do My best handiwork when you sit in the stillness of My Presence, focusing your entire being on Me.6

The “Jesus” of God Calling urges readers to “cultivate silence”:

Cultivate silence. “God speaks in silences.” A silence, a soft wind. Each can be a message to convey My meaning to the heart.7 (emphasis added)

alice_baileyAnd, in like manner, New Age matriarch Alice Bailey’s channeled spirit guide Djwhal Khul said:

One of the primary conditions that a disciple has to cultivate, in order to sense the plan and be used by the Master, is solitude.8 (emphasis added)

There is nothing in Scripture that tells us to let our “defenses down” and sit in silence. Scripture tells us instead:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

It is a simple fact that many of the teachings and communications we received in the New Age were channeled during meditative and contemplative quiet times when we were absorbed in the silence. In our New Age meditations, we would sometimes meditate on and contemplate certain passages of Scripture. At an Edgar Cayce conference I once attended, we began each day by meditating on Psalm 46:10—“Be still, and know that I am God.” Looking back on that experience now, I understand why that particular Psalm was used by so many New Age groups for contemplation and meditation. The spirit world was only too willing to take something the true God was saying about Himself and translate it into something the occult/New Age was saying about man. It was a very clever tactic.

We were being “still” and we were quoting Scripture, but we were continually affirming that we were God by emphasizing the “I” as we repeated the phrase I am God over and over again. We were “going within” to the “god within.” Be still and know that “I” am God. In our open and unguarded state of “being still” we were not being taught that God was God. We were being taught that “we” were God.

The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles also used Psalm 46:10 to deceptively teach this New Age concept. We were to “be still” and to know that we were God. This false “Jesus” actually used this verse to introduce his heretical teaching that “[t]he journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.’”9 Our New Age journey was around the Cross, not through the Cross. We learned from A Course in Miracles and our other New Age teachings that we didn’t need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Rather, we could save ourselves by “being still” and “awakening” to the inner self-realization that we were God.

Eileen Caddy and Findhorn
Ironically, Psalm 46:10 was the founding credo of the pioneering New Age community of Findhorn in Scotland. Co-founder Eileen Caddy distinctly heard the words “Be still and know that I am God” in a meditation, and as a result Findhorn was founded on this Bible verse. She described her “Be still” experience:

Yes, we were like children then, and God was still somewhat like the Father, separate and above us, reaching down to help. But gradually I have come to understand what it means to find that same God within myself. . . .

The first time I heard this voice was in 1953, when Peter and I were visiting Glastonbury, a center of spiritual power in England. I was sitting in the stillness of a small private sanctuary there, when I heard a voice—a very clear voice—within me. I had never experienced anything like that before. It simply said, Be still and know that I am God. What is this? I thought. Am I going mad? I had been brought up in the Church of England and learned in Sunday school about the “still small voice within”—but when you actually hear a voice, it’s a different matter. I was really quite shocked, because it was so clear.10

Findhorn

“God” later told her:

What greater or more wonderful relationship could man ask for than the knowledge that he is truly one with Me, and that I am in you and you are in Me.11 (emphasis added)

She wrote:

Accepting the reality of this oneness came slowly. In fact, at first I felt it was audacious even to speak of such a thing. Yet I couldn’t deny my experience. I know that God is within each one of us, within everything. I feel that the Church teaches about the God outside of us, but that’s the same God as the one within. You can call him by different names if you like, but there’s only one God.12 (emphasis added)

Misuse of Psalm 46:10
Eileen Caddy’s New Age understanding of the “God within” and “oneness” started with an inner voice that told her “Be still and know that I am God.” Like Caddy, so many people who have been raised in today’s church have been similarly deceived into believing that the “be still” verse from Psalm 46:10 is God’s heavenly instruction to enter into solitude and silence so they can hear His voice. Ironically, the real meaning of this verse has nothing to do with sitting in silence, practicing the presence, or any meditative practice. Undiscerning church leaders have misappropriated Psalm 46:10 to justify contemplative prayer. They now use this verse to incubate a “conversation with God.”

Trusted Bible commentaries and discerning pastors teach that the command in Psalm 46:10—“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth”—is a call to faith and obedience, not to contemplative prayer. Matthew Henry’s respected Bible commentary presents a more accurate exposition of this verse:

Let his enemies be still, and threaten no more, but know it, to their terror, that he is God, one infinitely above them . . . he will be exalted among the heathen and not merely among his own people, he will be exalted in the earth and not merely in the church. . . . Let his own people be still; let them be calm and sedate, and tremble no more, but know, to their comfort, that the Lord is God, he is God alone, and will be exalted above the heathen. 13

Using Psalm 46:10 as a call to practice contemplative prayer is completely contrary to the intent of this passage of Scripture. However, this is what is being advocated in the New Age/New Spirituality, the emerging church, God Calling, and Jesus Calling. In fact, the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling falsely teaches that Psalm 46:10 was given as a command to “sit quietly” in his presence:

The world has changed enormously since I first gave the command to be still and know that I am God. However, this timeless truth is essential for the well-being of your soul. As dew refreshes grass and flowers during the stillness of the night, so My Presence revitalizes you as you sit quietly with Me.14

Sarah Young also states in her “Introduction” to Jesus Calling:

A life-changing verse has been “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Alternate readings for “Be still” are “Relax,” “Let go,” and “Cease striving” (NASB). This is an enticing invitation from God to lay down our cares and seek His Presence. I believe that God yearns for these quiet moments with us even more than we do. . . .

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.15

This “enticing invitation” does not come from God. Her interpretation misses the real meaning of the verse and is actually more consistent with the New Age twisting of this verse. God definitely meets us in our prayer times as well as when we think on Scripture, but Psalm 46:10 is not an invitation to be still and listen for God’s voice. Rather, God is calling Israel into an attitude of quiet faith and rest in which His people will trust that no matter how perilous the times, He is working out His plan among the nations. Everybody is to literally be still, know He is God, and know that He will be exalted among the nations and in the earth.

Sarah Young followed up her erroneous teaching on Psalm 46:10 by stating that “God yearns for these quiet moments with us even more than we do.” This is reminiscent of the “I need you more than you need Me”16 statement that was uttered by the “Jesus” in God Calling. Nothing in Scripture substantiates either one of these statements. And there is nothing in Scripture about being still and sitting with pen in hand waiting to hear from God while practicing the presence and doing contemplative prayer.

Biblical Meditation
Biblical meditation is different. We are to meditate on—think on—His Word, His precepts, His laws, His attributes, His statutes, His testimonies, and His works.

Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. (Psalm 119:148)

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. (Psalm 119:99)

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. (Psalm 143:5)

The article above is from Warren B. Smith’s new book, “Another Jesus” Calling (2013, LT)

Endnotes:

1. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. 306.
2. Ibid., p. 228.
3. Ibid., p. 200.
4. Ibid., p. 116.
5. 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. 84.
6. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 189.
7. Two Listeners, God Calling, op. cit., p. 19.
8. Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul, A Treatise on White Magic, Rule Four—The Creative Work of Sound (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002; http://www.netnews.org; http://web.archive.org/web/20060225030003/http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/magic/magi1055.html).
9.  A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, Second Edition (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975, 1992, Manual for Teachers), p. 52.
10. The Findhorn Community, The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation (New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1975), p. 36.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid., pp. 36-37.
13. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1991), p. 810.
14. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 258.
15. Ibid., p. XIII.
16. Two Listeners, God Calling, op. cit., p. 60.

Related Material:

The Metaphysical Explosion & the Higher Self – A Path to Spiritual Enlightenment or a Road to Dangerous Deception?

Be Still

 

Jesus Calling Devotional Bible?—Putting Words in Jesus’ Mouth—And in the Bible

By Warren B. Smith

(author of the new release “Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs Are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer)

One of the many spin-off products from Sarah Young’s best-selling book, Jesus Calling, is the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. It is a New King James Bible filled with “messages” Young claims to have “received” from Jesus Christ. In the original Introduction to her book, Jesus Calling, Young describes the nature of these messages:

 My journaling had changed from monologue to dialogue. Soon, messages began to flow more freely, and I bought a special notebook to record these words. 1

I have continued to receive personal messages from God as I meditate on Him. 2

This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the messages I have received. 3

In the Introduction to Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, she describes the “joy of listening to Jesus with pen in hand”:

 After many years of writing in prayer journals—and then discovering the joy of listening to Jesus with “pen in hand” — I believe all of this more than ever today. 4

She describes the difference that this “listening to Jesus” has made in her life. She writes:

What has made the difference? The practice of listening to Jesus and letting Him speak to me. This practice has done more to increase my intimacy with Him than any other spiritual discipline. And the words of assurance and instruction that He has “spoken” to me over the years are what I have shared in my devotional books. 5

 Young Believes that her “Messages” from “Jesus” Belong in the Bible?

Young’s personal “messages” from “Jesus” occupy some 250 separate full pages of her Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. Young claims that the placement of her messages and writings alongside Scripture is a “natural place” for them — and that she feels honored to have them there.

Since my writings are rooted in the infallible, unchanging Word of God, having them appear alongside the biblical text would seem to be a natural place for them. It is an honor to have devotionals from two of my books, Jesus Calling and Jesus Lives, included in this volume. 6

However, as I pointed out in “Another Jesus” Calling, many of Sarah Young’s “messages” in Jesus Calling are clearly not rooted in the “infallible, unchanging Word of God.” And now, a number of these problematic “messages” have been placed throughout the pages of her Jesus Calling Devotional Bible.

Take, for example, the bizarre account she reputedly received from Jesus regarding Abraham and Isaac. This “message” has been placed “alongside” the actual Genesis 22 account, with her “Jesus” purportedly describing Abraham as an idolater and son-worshiper:

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. 7

But this extrabiblical “message” from Young’s “Jesus” is blatantly unbiblical. In fact, her publisher, Thomas Nelson, has removed it from some recent printings of Jesus Calling and related products.  The original Abraham and Isaac August 23rd “devotion” has been cut and pasted and toned down to now read Jacob and Joseph rather than Abraham and Isaac. As mentioned in a previous Lighthouse Trails post, Sarah Young and her Thomas Nelson editors have removed controversial materials from recently printed Jesus Calling items with no explanation, apology, or repentance to Young’s millions of readers.  However—at least as of today—this original Abraham and Isaac account can still be found—unbelievably—in Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional Bible.

Ironically, the Jesus Calling: 365 Devotional For Kids also keeps Abraham and Isaac in the August 23rd account. However, Young—with help from others—has cleaned up the original account to make it more biblical. The new sanitized version, according to the book’s title page, originated with Sarah Young. It was adapted by a woman named Tama Fortner and then further edited by another woman named Kris Bears. And now gone is Abraham’s idolatry. Gone are his undisciplined emotions. And instead of having been a son-worshiper, now he is only in danger of worshiping his son. This carefully paraphrased, adapted, and further edited version of “Jesus’” original “message” now reads:

Abraham had waited so long for a son. When Isaac finally came, Abraham was in danger of worshipping his son. I tested Abraham, and—as hard as it was—Abraham trusted Me to take care of Isaac. And I did.8

With all of this cutting, pasting, adapting, and editing away of problematic words and passages—all in the name of “Jesus”—one cannot help wonder if this is Thomas Nelson’s attempt to stay one step ahead of unsuspecting readers and legitimate criticism. Responding truthfully and forthrightly about the many controversial questions surrounding Sarah Young’s inconsistent “Jesus” appear to be less important than preserving her #1 best-selling book Jesus Calling and its many related products—like the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible.

Other Problems with the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible

Other problematic “messages” contained in the original, unedited Jesus Calling can also be found in Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional Bible. Perhaps the most obviously unscriptural is how Young’s “Jesus” contradicts the Bible’s Jesus in regards to the last words Jesus spoke before ascending into heaven. In the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, with Matthew 28:20 cited at the bottom of the page, Young’s “Jesus” states:

My final statement just before I ascended into heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all my followers, without exception.

But these were not Jesus Christ’s last words. This Matthew 28:20 passage was uttered on a mount in Galilee (Matthew 28:16) while His last words were actually spoken later in Acts 1:7-9 on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12):

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and the true Jesus does not contradict Himself regarding His last words before ascending into heaven or any other matter. Nor does He put forth untrue, disparaging remarks about Abraham and Isaac. While it is not the purpose of this article to catalog all the concerns that arise when reading Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, these two examples alone should be enough to keep any sincere believer far away from the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible.

Bible Warnings

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

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)

For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:5)

Endnotes

  1. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), p.XII in the original Introduction.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid., p.XIII in the original Introduction.
  4. Sarah Young (General Editor), Jesus Calling Devotional Bible: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2011), p.V
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., p.VI.
  7. Ibid., p.37.
  8. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids (Nashville, TN: Tommy Nelson, 2010), p.246
  9. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling Devotional Bible, p.1237.

Letter to the Editor: Radio Bible Class – Continuing to Go Contemplative – And Pushes “As Below, So Above”

To Lighthouse Trails:

We would like to assist in continuing to illustrate that RBC [Radio Bible Class] has yet to cease from “going contemplative” – regardless of their statements to the contrary. We offer two recent examples from their Our Daily Bread (ODB) product.

While searching your web presence on this topic, the most recent article I found was from Jan 31, 2013, which calls out Phillip Yancey’s contributions to ODB.

From the January 2014 ODB, specifically the January 9 entry, RBC sites that the article was excerpted and adapted from The Jesus I Never Knew, by Philip Yancey, 1995 Zondervan. The title of the RBC ODB article is “As Below, So Above.”1 Yancey does point out that “As Above, So Below”2 is an ancient pagan formula. We have many comments about the motivation behind introducing and “sensitizing or socializing” people to these words, – as well as associating it loosely with the Messiah; but, we suggest that you read it for yourselves (btw, Yancey is also in the February 2014 ODB).

Our second example is from the February ODB, specifically the February 26 entry. Here, the author (David McCasland) recommends Henri Nouwen’s book In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. Of course, anyone who frequents your ministry’s web presence should be acquainted with the name of Henri Nouwen.3 Again, we have many comments/questions as to the motivation of using a Roman Catholic, panentheistic, mystic who advocates that anyone (regardless of belief) who practices “the silence” can be in the presence of God.

In our opinion, the editors – or whoever approved these articles for final print – are at best spiritually ignorant, resulting in negligence; or informed enough to be practicing spiritual malfeasance (completely wrongful), resulting in leading people into the cruelness of deception.

Based on this year’s ODB so far, RBC appears to be compromised and continuing to go contemplative.

In Messiah,

M & N

Endnotes:

1. According to a website that has done partial translations of  the Emerald Tablets of Hermes, “As Below, So Above” is basically synonymous with “As Above, So Below.”

2. Please refer to Warren B. Smith’s article The New Age Implications of The Message “Bible’s” “As Above, So Below.”

3.  Henri Nouwen’s Affinity Toward Eastern Mysticism – A Valid Reason Why Christian Teachers and Leaders Should Not Promote Him

The Daily Beast Writes Feature Article About Jesus Calling – Asks Questions Christian Leaders Ignore and Remain Silent On

A page of instruction from “Jesus” from Jesus Calling

LTRP Note: While most evangelical pastors and virtually all Christian leaders have ignored or stayed away from the controversy of Jesus Calling, the secular publication, The Daily Beast, dares to ask questions that take a deeper look into this book, while pointing readers to Warren B. Smith’s “Another Jesus” Calling.

“The Strange Saga of ‘Jesus Calling,’ The Evangelical Bestseller You’ve Never Heard Of”

By Daily Beast Columnist Ruth Graham

A ten-year-old devotional written in the voice of God suddenly became a commercial juggernaut. Now, its publisher is trying to reconcile its New Age origins with evangelical orthodoxy.
The seventh-best selling book in America last year was a 10-year-old Christian devotional written by a woman who claims to have written down the words of God. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence sold more copies in 2013 than the much more buzzed-about titles Lean In, the latest Stephen King book, and 50 Shades of Grey, according to Nielsen BookScan. Overall, more than 10 million copies in 26 languages have been sold since the book’s inauspicious debut in 2004.Jesus Calling is a devotional, a mainstay genre in Christian publishing and in the daily lives of many Christians. Best-selling devotionals like Our Daily Bread, My Utmost for His Highest, and The Purpose-Driven Life consist of short sections that are meant to be read each day for encouragement and contemplation. Christians who value the idea of nurturing a personal relationship with Jesus—or of the idea of spending time each day in quiet contemplation—often use devotionals as a tool to accompany prayer and Bible-reading. Click here to continue reading.

Is Jesus Calling or Is Jesus Warning? . . . And A Word About Jesus Calling for Kids?

By Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network

Is Jesus really “calling” to us through Sarah Young and her contemplative prayer journaling technique, or is the “Jesus” of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling a counterfeit Jesus, equal to, if not greater than, the deceptions that Paul the Apostle warned about nearly 2000 years ago? Paul the Apostle warned:

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well  bear with him [put up with false teachers]. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Messiah Jesus Himself warned:

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 24:1-5)

Considerations for parents and children

Here is something to seriously consider for parents and children who are reading Jesus Calling, and the kids devotional too. Parents and kids who are being influenced by the kids version of Jesus Calling, titled Jesus Calling: 365 Day Devotional for Kids, are getting much more than they bargained for. They are also getting a lot more than the straight words of Jesus of Nazareth as are found in the Bible. Sarah Young’s mystical New Age rendition of “Jesus Calling” us has been “adapted” by Tama Fortner. In the Jesus Calling devotional versions, “special thanks” is given to Kris Bearss “for her work on the “journaling prompts.” Three ladies and a New Age book!

Reading the kids version of Jesus Calling (or any version for that matter) and then trying to “journal” and feel “The Presence” of Sarah Young’s “Jesus,” through utilizing the “journaling” versions of Jesus Calling, is a recipe for spiritual disaster. This type of spiritual practice can induct one very quickly into Gnostic perversions of Scripture and/or direct spirit contact with entities that are not, shall we say, human-friendly (i.e., demons).

Contemplative prayer and romantic mystic impressions

Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling material appears to be the fruit of contemplative prayer mixed with romantic mystic impressions, creatively written as if from God. Mixed with New Age “Consciousness”/”Oneness” philosophy (which apparently is coming from her “Jesus”), this alleged “Presence” of God/Jesus expresses itself in Young’s book as “My Presence.” Vast volumes of Jesus Calling literature in the marketplace today reads much like  “channeled” literature in occult bookstores. Both are sprinkled with the name “Jesus” and both include many Bible verses. It is not hard to find this material at all if one knows what to look for and where to find it.

Before reading further, please carefully note the following. Irrefutable evidence proving that there are New Age teachings in Sarah Young’s book can be thoroughly examined in Warren B. Smith’s excellent work titled “Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs are Entering the Church through Contemplative Prayer. One can also read the Critical Issues Commentary, Issue Number 125, online. This issue titled Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young’s – Jesus Calling is a thoroughly scriptural and concisely written refutation of Jesus Calling. There is also an extensive list of articles at the end of this article you are now reading. Click here to continue reading.

Thomas Nelson Deletes Controversial Material From Jesus Calling

In what appears to be an effort to make controversial elements disappear, significant portions of material from the original Introduction to Sarah Young’s #1 best-selling book Jesus Calling have been removed. With no apparent explanation regarding the changes, Sarah Young’s publisher, Thomas Nelson, seems to be flooding  the market with the new version.

Key words, phrases, and whole paragraphs have been vastly altered and/or eliminated all together. The most notable deletion is the removal of Sarah Young’s enthusiastic endorsement of God Calling—the channeled New Age book she described in her original Introduction as a “treasure to me.” It was God Calling that inspired her to begin receiving the personal “messages” from “Jesus” that comprise her devotional Jesus Calling:

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 dovetailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence.1

The above paragraph regarding God Calling has been completely removed from the newer Introduction to Jesus Calling: The first sentence of the original paragraph that followed this now-deleted paragraph continued to make reference to the “Two Listeners” and God Calling.

 The following year, I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God.2

With some not so subtle editing, this sentence in the new Introduction now reads:

 The following year, I began to wonder if I could change my prayer times from monologue to dialogue.3

The “too” in the original “I, too” phrase refers to the “Two Listeners” of God Calling. As you can see, this reference to the “Two Listeners” has now been omitted from the newer Introduction. Her reference to receiving messages has also been deleted. In fact, there are now no references to God Calling at all in this newer scrubbed version of the original Jesus Calling. They have been completely edited away by either Sarah Young or her editors or both.

When Lighthouse Trails editors learned of these changes, they e-mailed Thomas Nelson and questioned them about the alterations. After three weeks, Lighthouse Trails has still received no reply concerning these changes—other than an acknowledgement e-mail to say that Thomas Nelson received their e-mail.

If Sarah Young is repenting from having written a book that was inspired by a New Age channeled book, then  a public statement by Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson needs to be issued recanting their devotion and adherence to God Calling, and the production of Jesus Calling needs to cease. There are currently over nine million copies of Jesus Calling sold (it is unknown how many had the original Introduction, but since the new Introduction version is relatively recent somewhere in the last couple of years, it is reasonable to say that the majority of the 9 million contains the recommendation of God Calling and other material now omitted). There is no way to rectify all the damage that has been done because of Jesus Calling, but zealous efforts need to be made.

As Warren B. Smith has shown in his new book “Another Jesus” Calling, Jesus Calling is significantly flawed from a biblical point of view. And it has the earmarks of being inspired by a false Christ. That means that even if Thomas Nelson scrubs certain words, phrases, and paragraphs from the book, the bottom line is that it was flawed from the beginning and will always be that way. Nothing can turn Jesus Calling into a good book. The best thing Sarah Young can do is write another book, showing her humility and sorrow for misleading so many people. Sarah Young may be very sincere and probably did not mean to cause anyone any harm, but her book is teaching people to listen to and look for something Jesus warned strongly about: “Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them” (Luke 21:8).

P.S. According to the editors at Lighthouse Trails, bookstores, outlets, and the market in general are still saturated with the edition of Jesus Calling which as the original Introduction with God Calling.

Notes:
1. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004, ISBN 978-1-5914-5188-4, hardcover with original Introduction), p. XI
2. Ibid., pp. XI-XII.
3. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004, ISBN 978-1-5914, hardcover with newer Introduction), p. XII.


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