Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Our church sent out a letter to all the people in the church, apologizing for distributing the Jesus Calling book. I am writing to encourage others who are facing the grand task of defending the faith, once and for all delivered to the saints. To all who do so are often vilified and accused of being divisive even to the point of receiving character assassination. Often, illogical fallacies (ad hominem) or other factors irrelevant to the information at hand are used to stay off point or topic. I have experienced this several times to one extreme or another and also to the blank stare on the other end of the spectrum.
What has disturbed me the most is when I encounter “seasoned saints” and pastors who are void of discernment to the aberrant doctrines invading mainline Christianity today.
I would like to share three instances that I encountered in the past ten days. I was invited to a dinner with about 25 people, all Christians in attendance. After dinner, we were asked to share something the Lord did for us (testimony time.) One retired female church leader was elated to tell that “it was such a God thing to be able to give [her] daughter Priscilla Shirer’s DVDs/CDs as a gift” and that God was so kind to lead her to do so, so she could enter into deep prayer (contemplative.) Next a retired pastor gave his testimony that he was able to distribute many, many Jesus Calling books to many Christians and fellow pastors and how much of a blessing that little book has been to many of the saints! I did say out loud that Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer were into contemplative prayer, and the female leader who bought her tapes abruptly left. I later talked to another pastor about Jesus Calling, and he perfunctory condescended to listen later.
It gives me pause to think why these people do not want to know more about what a person is presenting to them or at least question it. One man at the dinner gave me his e-mail address, and I sent some information to him to which he did not reply. He was in a local Christian bookstore a few weeks later when I was there, and I had the information (three Lighthouse Trails booklets and “Another Jesus” Calling by Warren Smith) in my car. As I was leaving the store to get the material, I could hear the owner of the bookstore say, “I don’t want anyone in my store cutting up my books.” When I came back in, I said, “I am not disparaging your books (plural); I am trying to explain the errors in one book.” She then pulled a book from her shelf, and it was God Calling. I tried to tell her about that, but she pugnaciously said, “get out of my store and find somewhere else to tell.”
In your booklet (A Directory of Authors) on page 1, the author states:
It is no secret these days that Christian bookstores and ministry resource databases are often jam-packed with so-called Christian resources that are actually promoting anything but Christianity. Special care may be taken by bookstore owners and ministry leaders alike to ensure that ministry and business are “in order” but when a close look is taken, the sale of spiritually unsafe material abounds. Books rife with New Age occult teaching practices abound in many Christian bookstores, and many owners and managers are going to sell them regardless!
On page one of Warren Smith’s booklet Changing Jesus Calling, it states, “If you are more interested in protecting your product rather in protecting the truth, you do everything in your power to make these problems disappear.”
Encouragement to all—there are some who listen as you can see from the letter below! This letter was sent out to about 200 people in this particular church. Maybe some of them will listen also!
June (not real name)
The letter mailed out by June’s church, written by the men’s Bible study teacher:
Several months ago, a friend of mine came to my office with the little book titled God Calling in his hand to return to me. He confessed that he and his wife felt uncomfortable with the book. I basically blew him off because I had been reading this little book for years and never saw a problem or thought anything was wrong with the teachings of the book.
Recently, another friend [June] came to me with a very humble challenge and that was to research and read some information this person had concerning the book God Calling and also one of my favorite daily studies, Jesus Calling. I devoured the information over the next eight hours or so. As I was studying, I was also praying for God to give me an open mind and that I would allow His precious Holy Spirit to impress upon my heart the truth about these two books. When I finished, I felt grief.
I felt grief because over the years I have given many, many of these books to strangers, friends, and to you. This new understanding has made me review my library of books and destroy several books by authors I have had great respect and appreciation for; however, I now believed they have been teaching heresies. I was sucked in because I didn’t scrutinize their teaching against God’s Word.
I have thanked God for my Christian friends who have encouraged and challenged me to seek the truth concerning these books and my understanding of these false teachers. I want to ask your forgiveness for not having more wisdom in giving you these books. He has given us the mind of Christ and I feel ashamed, regretful, and ignorant for not seeing the truth in these books that I have been reading for so many years. But, I am excited about Jesus and knowing He will lead me in His truth and in the future hopefully I will have more discernment when reading.
I would encourage you to do your own research. Because of Google on the Internet, it really isn’t hard to find articles about such books and authors. . . . I pray that the Holy Spirit will deliver them to the truth before they add to the crowd in Matthew 7:21-23.
This awakening has made a major impact to my paradigm and has quickened my mind to my gullibility. It has also taught me to spend more time in God’s Word and less time reading what men/women have written about our Holy God.
Again, I ask your forgiveness and hope that you will seek out the truth for yourself. I love you guys.
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)
I live in a retirement community in CA. We have an interdenominational Bible study group every Wed., but we use only the Bible, not other books about the Bible. Using Jesus Calling only detracts from actual Bible reading. I am sure that after people read a page of Jesus Calling they do not bother to read the Bible, even though there are numerous scripture references at the bottom of the page. I try to read the entire Bible yearly (not The Message Bible.); three chapters in the a.m. and one chapter in the evening every day. Not only is the content of Jesus Calling not from God, but it is keeping Christians from reading the Bible themselves. Jesus Calling does not present the full gospel of Christ. It is a feel good book whose author, Sarah Young is not a born-again believer.
So glad we have those who are discerning. Let us not think they are being negative only. Nothing wrong with negative, either. Today we think only that to be positive is to be Godly…not so.
Thank-you June for persisting in the face of opposition. With so many discouraging stories out there, I’m encouraged to know that there is at least one person in church leadership who is willing to listen. We need to persist in ‘sowing the seed’, whatever the outcome. The Bible study leader was humble, indicating that he was ‘good soil’, humble enough that he was more concerned with obeying the Word of God than with what other people might think. May we too be good Bereans and test everything according to Scripture. Scott P
Anna Rosa, in your experience, what is the best way and place to look for a truly Biblical church which is led by a faithful pastor? I’ve seen house churches mentioned on here, but as far as I know, there aren’t any in this geographical area. Is that what you mean when you say underground churches?
Exactly Miller! For most of them it is also only a business. If they did not make enough and had to work for a living and give a sermon on Sunday too, they would drop the sheep in a flash! They are not true shepherds, only hirelings. And it is not that hard, I know some who did it and it was totally doable. And the 501c3 muzzles them on certain topics too, but they all get it even though it is not required. The good news? The underground church is doable too! But yes, I have seen it too that they are not humble, their egos have inflated and they think they are little tyrants. Not biblical!
“It has also taught me to spend more time in God’s Word and less time reading what men/women have written about our Holy God.” Isn’t that the truth! Trust in God and not in man. And…test everything by the word of God.
T. I. Miller
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. As for book stores most owners are merchants and only pretend to have a ministry. As for pastors They can be reached. We must try but dont hold your your breath. As I have said before show me a truly humble pastor and I will show you my collection of hens teeth.
Thx for truth in coming against this tidal wave of falsehood. I have spoken against contemplative authors and have endured ther rath of those caught in their web. I will share this again w/my friends.
I encounter that all the time. It’s typical. The only thing that isn’t is the letter, praise God for that! Yes, I marvel too at ‘seasoned saints’ and this passes right under their noses unawares and gets their thumbs up. I could tell stories here and it would be a book by itself. Anyway, we are to love God with all of our mind as well, something most overlook. It is like a time of testing.