Ann Voskamp, biblical discernment, Bob DeWaay, catholicism, contemplative spirituality, eastern mysticism, Emergent church, false teachings, global religion, interfaith, new spirituality, oneness spirituality, Sarah Young, warning to Christians
Bob’s article contains a serious warning to Christians. Sarah Young, Ann Voskamp and others are actually teaching new age/eastern spirituality. There is a wealth of evidence to show that such mystic teachings and practices are unbiblical, pagan in origin and spiritually dangerous. The visions, dreams and other spiritual experiences and practices are very real to those who pursue them, but are laced with spiritual poison that has one original source. For anyone who thinks there is no harm in mixing the beliefs of false religions with our faith, please read the entire Old Testament and note the pattern of Israel. It is the pattern of humanity. Our God is a jealous God, and not in the way that Sarah Young or Ann Voskamp might mean that statement.
A Review of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling
by Bob DeWaay
“And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)
In the Bible, the term “devotion” is used for the early church’s attention to and time spent on the means of grace. This included the apostles’ teaching, which is our New Testament. Devotional books today are often devoted to private mysticism. Sarah Young’s book is a good example. Devotion, in this case, has become a devotion to metaphysical impressions, not God’s Word.
Furthermore, Young’s daily devotional is written in words as though they were spoken directly by Jesus Christ Himself. This genre of devotional is not new. When I was a new Christian, Francis Roberts published such a book entitled Come Away My Beloved, which was based on the allegorization of the Song of Solomon. The book and sequels were quite popular. The first was written as if God Himself were speaking to the reader (using King James English), thus constituting new words from God beyond Scripture. At the time I thought that to be wrong and refused to read the book, though I read enough to be aware of its contents.
Similarly, Jesus Calling promotes mystical devotion to God and is based on words from Jesus beyond Scripture. As we shall see, Young puts New Age, panentheistic ideas into the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself. Like many such works, including the one by Roberts, Jesus Calling presents a romantic, sensual relationship to Jesus that is entirely inappropriate. In the book Young has Jesus repeatedly saying, “whisper my name.” The romanticism and sensuality evidently appeals to many readers, since the book is a best-seller.
I as read Jesus Calling, I was often reminded of the writing of Eckhart Tolle the New Age mystic whose book I reviewed a few years ago. I read Jesus Calling twice, taking notes on every page, and then went back through it to categorize the contents thematically. I then read it a third time to make sure I was not mis-characterizing anything she wrote. The primary category in Jesus Calling is “awareness of Presence,” found 58 times. There are also synonyms such as “consciousness of Presence” and other panentheistic, New Age ideas. For example:
Shimmering hues of radiance tap gently at your consciousness, seeking entrance. Though I have all power in heaven and on earth, I am infinitely tender with you. . . Let your weakness be a door to My Presence. (Jan. 8).1
On many of the pages, the resemblance to the writings of Tolle were so startling that I jotted “Tolle” on those pages. I decided to re-read Tolle to see how often he used “awareness” and “Presence” (capitalized as Young does). I found more than 60 usages, along with synonyms such as “consciousness” linked with Presence. I challenge anyone to read Jesus Calling (not one day at a time for a year, but in a few days as I did) and then A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Tolle’s work is a best-seller because he was heavily promoted by Oprah’s book club. Both Young and Tolle have sold millions of books. The terminology is amazingly similar.
I do not claim that either Tolle or Young has read each other’s books. Young is a missionary, and Tolle a New Age guru of sorts. How could they sound so much the same? They both tap into the spiritual deception of the age we live in. I do not believe for a moment that Jesus Christ of the Bible is speaking through Young’s deceptive devotional book.
The Bible gives us clear teaching the need for and means of discerning spirits. Here is a key text:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1John 4:1-3)
Notice that the “spirits” speak through human messengers: “many false prophets have gone out into the world.” When Sarah Young claims that the words of her book are somehow the words of Jesus, it is rather off-putting to her readers. Many decide Jesus is the source of the words and then use no discernment. They believe that Jesus is a romantic mystic who wants us to respond accordingly. But Sarah Young wrote the book, and by citing a spiritual source (Jesus Christ) she makes herself a prophet whose words must be judged by Biblical sources. She immediately fails the test because she confesses a “spirit Jesus” who is still speaking, rather than Jesus Christ “come in the flesh.” But we live in the days of mystical spiritual deception so that few see a problem with this.
That being stated, I will identify a number of key category errors in Jesus Calling and correct them Biblically. I will show that Young’s book is New Age panentheism and does not portray a Biblical, Christian worldview.
Awareness of Presence
Let us explore the most prominent category found in both Jesus Calling and A New Earth. Tolle writes, “Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment. That is why we may also call it Presence.” We shall see that Young’s “Jesus” also speaks of the present moment as being key. Tolle continues:
Only Presence can free you of the ego, and you can only be present Now, not yesterday of tomorrow. Only Presence can undo the past in you and thus transform your state of consciousness. (Tolle, Earth: 78).2
Tolle then cites Buddha and Jesus. In fact, Tolle cites Jesus over 30 times and the title of his book comes from the Bible. Young claims that the entire 365 days of her devotional book are citations of Jesus. Young’s “Jesus” speaks ideas more akin to Tolle’s pantheism than the Bible. At least Tolle cites actual Bible verses, though he takes them out of context.
As mentioned earlier, I identified the categories “awareness of Presence” and synonyms 58 times in Young’s book. It is used so often it could be considered the theme of her book. The next most prominent category is romantic intimacy found more than 30 times. What I call modern psycho-babble is found 22 times. Much of this is rather shocking. More shocking is the millions of Christian readers who have bought and used the book and apparently see nothing wrong with it.
I will cite by-the-day of a particular devotion rather than by page number. Since “awareness” is the most frequently used category, I will cite several examples.
You need to look beyond the flux of circumstances and discover Me gazing lovingly back at you. This awareness of My Presence strengthens you, as you receive and respond to My Love. (October 8)
Here we have awareness, psychological counsel, mysticism, and romanticism in one day. These are themes that dominate Young’s book and writing.
Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me. . . . There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My presence. (May 24)
Here Young teaches Eastern ideas, claiming their spiritual source as Jesus. This is rather shocking, as is the entire book. The apostle John teaches the tangibility of Jesus who bodily ascended to heaven. John was an apostle who spoke authoritatively for God who had seen “Jesus Christ come in the flesh.” Sarah Young has not. Here is what John said in his first epistle:
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1John 1:1-3)
Jesus Calling portrays a spirit Jesus (Young does not claim to have seen the bodily raised Christ, but rather experienced an encounter with a spirit Jesus through an experience she had with nature)3 and thus fails the test of spirits. This lack of tangibility that the apostle John describes is fatal to her claims. Anyone can claim to have had a subjective encounter with a metaphysical being and call it “awareness of Presence.” Even Tolle does that. Yet Young has sold far more than 5 million books.
There are other Biblical problems with “awareness of Presence.” John was there when Jesus comforted him and the other disciples as He prepared them for His absence:
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)
Notice that the Biblical apostle teaches faith, not “awareness.” They were troubled at the idea of Jesus’ departure. They were not called to learn how to become mystics who had consciousness of Jesus’ presence in some metaphysical manner, but as believers who knew the Savior would come again bodily and bring them to Himself. This is the promise of God, not the consciousness of mystics. Awareness, consciousness, and openness as described by Young are substitutes for faith in the promise of God of the Bible. New Age mystics have awareness of Presence. Believers have faith in Christ who bodily ascended to heaven.
Another passage of Scripture disproves Young’s categories:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19, 20)
Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit, which He did on the Day of Pentecost. His presence with us is a promise to be believed, not an altered state of consciousness. His promise is true because He is fully human and fully God. God cannot lie. God is the object of our faith. Jesus is the object of our faith. Believing God and His promises is NOT the same as being in a state of consciousness:
I am God with you, for all time and throughout eternity. Don’t let the familiarity of that concept numb its impact on your consciousness. . . Strive to remain conscious of My Presence even in your busiest moments. (October 25)
Notice how the idea of faith in the promises of God (a primary Biblical category) is trumped by the supposed need of “consciousness of Presence.” The Bible never mentions consciousness of Presence but rather the problem of the consciousness of sin for those who have kept to the Old Testament sacrifices and have not believed on the High Priest who is in heaven and has cleansed believers from sin, once for all (Hebrews 10:2).
We need to believe the promises of God given by Christ and His apostles whether or not we sense some intangible spiritual presence that may or may not be from God. The pagans of our time are wed to the spirituality of nature religion and romantic feelings attached to nature. We need to reject pagan spirituality and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has spoken to us once for all in the Bible. Nature is fallen and impersonal, and it cannot save us. Being conscious of imminent nature based spirituality keeps millions in bondage to their sin and away from the Savior. By blending apparent belief in Jesus revealed in the Bible with a Jesus who is immanent in nature and still speaks beyond Scripture and apart from the promises of God found therein, Sarah Young deceives her readers with an unbiblical Christ.
A popular but horribly unbiblical understanding of Christianity portrays Jesus as a romantic lover with which one should strive to find greater intimacy. I identified this issue 17 times in the book (some of these categories overlap). The romantic connection has been around in the church since the Song of Solomon was allegorized into something it is not. I wrote a critique of a rather radical version of this as expressed through the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.4 Young expresses the same idea, only through Jesus’ first person words:
For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope. All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms. . . I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. (June 14)
This approach to the gospel avoids the issue of God’s wrath against sin and portrays Jesus as the needy One (like the knocking on a door with no handle metaphor that feckless Evangelicalism has used for years based on a false interpretation of a passage in Revelation). This Jesus is a jilted lover who hopes to get some sinner to agree to His offer to become a lover. This is not the gospel that any of the Biblical apostles preached. We were God’s enemies, abiding under His wrath and are commanded to repent; we were not misdirected persons, looking for love in all the wrong places. Jesus Christ is not the needy One; we are the wretched enemies of God who need mercy lest we perish in Hell. Young obviously does not see it that way:
The more intimately you experience Me, the more convinced you become of My goodness. I am the Living One who sees you and longs to participate in your life. (March 31)
There are serious problems with the concept of romantic intimacy attributed to a mystical Jesus in a singular, personal way. The Biblical idea of the bride of Christ is applied to the church corporately, not an individual now who is lonely and desires some sort of spiritual romance. For example, Ann Voskamp in a book I reviewed5 claims to have had a higher order romantic experience with God. Similarly Young writes:
Never take for granted my intimate nearness. Marvel at the wonder of My continual Presence with you. Even the most ardent human lover cannot be with you always. Nor can another person know the intimacies of your heart, mind, and spirit. . . I, the Lover of your soul, understand you perfectly and love you eternally. (October 2)
I once searched a number of literal Bible translations for the term “intimacy” and did not find it. I have a more powerful version of Logos software now and did a search of all Bibles. I found the term “intimacy” or “intimacies” a number of times, mostly in the horribly done paraphrase The Message by the mystic Eugene Peterson. Only one of those applied to Young’s category of intimacy with God:
The one who prays using a private “prayer language” certainly gets a lot out of it, but proclaiming God’s truth to the church in its common language brings the whole church into growth and strength. I want all of you to develop intimacies with God in prayer, but please don’t stop with that. (1Corinthians 14:4,5a � The Message)
Peterson takes the phrase “edifies himself” used to describe the results of speaking in tongues and calls it “to develop intimacies with God.” The Message uses intimacy in other verses to literally describe relations between a man and a woman. Literal translations do not do this. However, mystics such as Sarah Young constantly use this terminology. This is inappropriate given the truth that Jesus ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter. He, the Spirit, indwells every believer and prays in us and for us and who is with us (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:26; John 14:16). The promise of the work of the Holy Spirit is not for a special class of Christian mystics, but for all Christians.
One request that Young attributes to Jesus a number of times is “Whisper my Name.” This contributes to the sense of romantic intimacy she portrays. For example:
When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. . . When you realize this has happened, whisper My Name; this tiny act of trust brings Me to the forefront of your consciousness, where I belong. (May 2)
Why would Jesus want His name “whispered”? We have access to the throne of grace in prayer (Hebrews 4:16). Where in the Bible did Jesus tell us that we needed consciousness of His presence? Nowhere! Jesus told those who saw Him after the resurrection that He was leaving, and would send the Holy Spirit. Young’s categories are horribly unbiblical. It is troubling that she claims that they came from Jesus Himself via her mystical practices and journaling.
Consider Mary Magdalene who saw the resurrected Christ:
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, �Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, �I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'” (John 20:16, 17 � see context to show it was Mary Magdalene)
Yet again the resurrected Christ prepared those who knew Him during the time of His earthly ministry for His ascension and therefore absence. Mary clung to Him as if she would lose Him again.
Young’s version of this takes the unbiblical idea of Christ consciousness and “whispering” His name as a substitute for what Mary wanted. But rather than either of these, Christ has offered all His people access to the throne of grace and the assurance that He intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father. Young uses Eastern ideas and unbiblical mystical practices to thwart the promises of God that we have by faith alone. This is seriously wrong and should not be spread to others, especially by putting false teachings in the mouth of Jesus Himself.
God Speaks now Beyond Scripture?
A very troubling aspect of Jesus Calling is that it claims that Jesus, who has spoken to us once for all (Hebrews 1:1, 2), wants to deny that Scripture and speak to us beyond Scripture. Young virtually rejects the Book of Hebrews! Young’s new revelations come in the form of inner voices that are assumed to be Jesus Himself. Young used journaling to receive her voices of Jesus from heaven that she used for her book. She claims Jesus told her this:
As you spend time in My Presence, My thoughts gradually form in your mind. . . . Sometimes He [the Holy Spirit who might use Bible verses too] enables you to hear Me �speak’ directly to you. . . . Take time to listen to My voice. (December 4)
Young’s book is predicated on the idea that God speaks through Christ beyond Scripture. This effectively erases the boundaries between orthodoxy and heresy. A mystical voice that may or may not be God becomes the foundation of faith rather than Scripture alone. Young claims that these voices are not equal to Scripture. But in practice, as far as Jesus Calling reveals, she puts more weight on them than she does the Bible.
A False, Mystical Gospel
Earlier I cited 1John several times. John’s message refutes any spirit Christ and gives his readers the tools necessary to judge spirits. The spiritual source of Young’s teaching does not confess “Jesus Christ come in the flesh.” This is the hallmark of a false gospel. Here is the foundation of Young’s message:
I have much to tell you. You are walking along the path I have chosen for you. It is both a privileged and perilous way: experiencing My glorious Presence and heralding that reality to others. Sometimes you feel presumptuous to being carrying out such an assignment. Do not worry about what other people think of you. (August 21)
However, “Presence” in a mystical sense is the same message that panentheists, pantheists (such as Tolle) and other New Age teachers promote. This is not the Christian gospel despite passing references to Biblical facts about Jesus. What is necessary for discerning spirits is identifying the promotion of an immanent spirit Jesus who comes to us now, versus the Biblical Jesus who is transcendent, who bodily ascended into heaven, and makes intercession for us in heaven. The spirit Jesus who mystically speaks to Sarah Young (she claims) does not “herald” the correct “reality.” Young fails the test of prophets given in 1John and 2John as explicitly as it can be failed. This is not the Biblical gospel.
Pietism � Promoting Higher order Christians
I consider pietism the Achilles heel of evangelicalism and have written and spoken about it often.5 The assumption of pietism is that there is a higher (or deeper) spirituality that some Christians have obtained that the rest of us ordinary Christians know nothing about. Young evidently considers herself one who has escaped the dreaded ordinary status via mysticism and a special relationship with Jesus. The rest of us only have the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Here is Young’s account of Jesus criticizing other Christians, supposedly to Young:
Some ill-taught or wounded believers fear (and may even resent) My awareness of all they do, say, and think. A few people center their lives around this glorious promise [that Jesus said He would be with us before the ascension] and find themselves blessed beyond all expectations. (January 28)
There is a disconnect here that will be clear with Young’s next sentence. For now, please consider the startling implication of what Young claims Jesus says. Some Christians are better than others and Jesus tells one Christian (Young) that many or most of us are deficient. Do we think that our Lord and Savior who is our High Priest who intercedes for us tells other Christians what is wrong with us apparent spiritual dolts? This is what makes Pietism so egregious. It posits elite members of the body of Christ who are somehow more spiritual and enlightened than ordinary Christians.
Consider, however, what the Bible says about the relationship between the Lord and each Christian:
Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; (Hebrews 9:24)
Those who draw near to God through Him are those who come in faith according to God’s terms revealed in the gospel. We can only draw near because of the blood atonement, offered once for all. This does not describe mystics who supposedly learned spiritual secrets.
Let us now see what Young means in regard to the ascension and Christ’s pre-ascension promise to be with us:
When My Presence is the focal point of your consciousness, all the pieces of your life fall into place. (January 28th)
Jesus and His apostles never equated the promise of Christ’s presence to a state of awareness, consciousness, or source of special revelation beyond Scripture. We need faith in God’s promises, not some version of Christ-consciousness!
The Inward Journey
A common denominator of all mysticism (Christian and pagan) is the journey inward. The idea is to quiet the mind (soul) so that the result is space where one supposedly meets God within. According to Young’s citation of Jesus from her journal, this is what He wants as well:
I meet you in the stillness of your soul. It is there that I seek to commune with you. . . . Stillness of soul is increasingly rare in this world addicted to speed and noise. I am pleased with your desire to create a quiet space where you and I can meet. (April 4)
According to the Bible, Jesus ascended to heaven and makes intercession for us at the right hand of God. The idea of Jesus in our midst (spiritually) is, however, found in the New Testament: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). This is not in the stillness of a person’s soul, but at a church gathering. Furthermore, this is a promise to be believed not a metaphysical encounter that may or may not be from God.
The errors in Young’s book that she shockingly attributes in some way to Jesus (despite a tepid disclaimer that these words are not equal to scripture), are so many that one has to wonder what happened to discernment. Hardly a protest has been raised about this best selling devotional.
Free Will Theology
The meaning and applicability to the philosophical discussion of the freedom of the human will (or lack thereof) has been debated for many centuries. The issue was the topic of Luther’s debate with Erasmus. The debate continues until today in many forms and venues. Young’s devotional has Jesus solving the debate in favor of free will, even though the topic is not expressly addressed in the Bible. It is derived from other issues that are directly addressed in the Bible. When Jesus does address pertinent matters such as human inability, He hardly teaches free will:
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37)
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)
But in Young’s theology, Jesus says this:
Teaching you would be simple if I negated your free will or overwhelmed you with My Power. However, I love you too much to withdraw the godlike privilege I bestowed on you as My image-bearer. (September 6)
There are many other examples of Young teaching free will theology by citing (in the first person) what she is convinced Jesus said. It seems rather disingenuous to evidently settle the longstanding debate about free will and God’s sovereignty by citing extra-biblical material supposedly from the mouth of Jesus. This is especially true when Jesus taught the opposite in John 6. Synergism and free will cannot be taught as if Jesus from heaven were adding material to what Scripture already says or does not say on the matter.
This practice is enough in itself to fully reject Young’s prophesying as false and thus to be rejected by the church. But in this post-modern age, it qualifies her to be a best selling author and rarely challenged by anyone. Perhaps it is intimidating to apparently challenge Jesus Himself. People are often uninformed about what it means to test the spirits.
Bad Psychological Counsel
It stands to reason that since Young’s book is based on claimed personal revelations from Jesus Himself, that it relies on extra-biblical revelations (the supposed voice of God beyond Scripture) for its categories. One of the problem categories is where Young dispenses pop psychology in the name of Christ. She dispenses pop psychology that covers categories such as negative thinking, planning rather than hearing the inner voice of God, feeling unloved, taking herself too seriously rather than laughing with Jesus, and so forth. Here is an example of psychological theory issuing into bad theology:
Most of mankind’s misery stems from feeling unloved. (August 1)
This idea is common in pop-psychology but is not biblical. The problems of humanity stem from sin and rebellion, not the failure to feel loved.
Dissatisfaction with God’s Word
Sarah Young’s devotional book will lead anyone who takes it seriously away from the gospel, away from the authority of Scripture, and into a mystical world of experiences, personal revelations, and bad theology. In the introduction, she confesses her dissatisfaction with what God has revealed in Scripture:
I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God has to say to me personally on a given day. (Intro: XI)
This sentiment is so common nowadays, that one of the key foundations of evangelicalism has been set aside: Scripture Alone. Thus new revelations become so much more interesting to modern readers, that they gladly set aside what God has said for new personal revelations that are more pleasing. Thus they become like Eve in the garden, distorting what God has said and listening to what sounds pleasing to self.
Young states, “A life-changing verse has been �Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)’ . . . I believe that God yearns for these quiet moments with us even more than we do.” (Young: XII). The problem with this is that the passage, in context, says no such thing. She has failed to do the most basic study to understand it in context. She cites other translations for “be still” but never seeks the author’s meaning of the text. Consider the HCSB including the context:
“He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; He burns up the chariots. Stop your fighting�and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” (Psalm 46:9, 10 HCSB)
This is clearly a military context, not a command to enter a meditative state. The Psalm is about God’s sovereignty and a command to trust Him because of His power over all things. We are to meditate on God Himself as revealed in Scripture which recounts His mighty acts. A journey inward to hear the supposed inner voice of God is false, and this passage does not teach anything like it.
Jesus Calling is not “devotion” as expressed in Acts 2:42. Young’s romantic panentheism has far more in common with various New Age philosophies than “the apostle’s teaching.” Christ and His apostles never taught us to become “aware of Presence” so that we can experience metaphysical impressions from the spirit world. This is not the “Jesus Christ come in the flesh” which the apostle John made the key to discernment.
Such a book could only become a huge best-seller in an age of apostasy. It could only prosper where sola scriptura has been abandoned for pious feelings. We live in such a day. We must return to the true teachings of Christ and His apostles for our devotion and lay aside voices from the spirit world, accompanied by metaphysical sensations assumed to be God or Jesus. We do not know what God sounds or feels like. We do know what God has said and are morally obligated to handle His Word with care and respect. Jesus Calling does not and this is not what Christian devotion is all about. That is why I call it “toxic.”
Issue 125; Summer 2013
- See CIC Issue 107. The article is about Mike Bickle�s Bridal Paradigm teaching
- . See CIC Issue 120: This article is a review of One Thousand Gifts where Voskamp claims a romantic encounter with God sparked by a trip to Notre Dame Cathedral in France.
- See CIC Issue 101, How Pietism Deceives Christians
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Joe Grillo said:
I think your mind is toxic…. why would someone write devotions and also have true scripture verses at the ending… we are all human .. Christ is the only one that is perfect… if someone truly has the desire to write things to bring people closer to GOD and has scripture quoted how can you consider them to be antichrist..
every writer writes what is on there own mind.. then we could be critics o f every book written by a Christian… I rest my soul on Gods promises JN 3.16 Jn 3.36
The Narrowing Path said:
You make two false assertions about me that are simply personal attacks, but you have not refuted the article with a biblical argument.
The Devil quotes the Scriptures. Heretics often do the same, and just like the father of lies they twist God’s Word in such a way to support their false teachings. Claiming direct revelation from God that is clearly demonic in its origin is evil, which is what Sarah Young has done. May God have mercy on her for deceiving people and teaching the doctrines of demons.
2 Peter 2:1-3
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
1 John 4:1-3
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
lisa evola said:
I do see how you may discern the things you do, but I think you are leaving out the whole part where Jesus says that He will send someone in his place…a representative to guide…the Holy Spirit. I have not read Jesus calling, but from what you have posted from the book here, I do not believe she is trying to say that Jesus is not the Son of God. Isn’t that how we discern the false prophets? That they will not profess His name as Lord? Tolle I agree with…..not so sure on Sarah Young, and I know for a fact that Ann Voskamp claims Jesus to be Lord and Savior. Just because they want to explore the deepness of their relationship with Him doesn’t make them pagan or new age. Have you read the Song of Solomon? It is not only the wedding song of Solomon but also an allegory of Jesus (the groom) and His bride (the church) …it is deeply intimate. I see Sarah’s writing as poetic, and it brings people closer to understanding that it isn’t about religion….it is about relationship. God’s love is a deeply intimate thing.
The Narrowing Path said:
Thanks for taking the time to comment on this article.
Firstly, I just have posted an article called “10 Scriptural Reasons Why Jesus Calling is a Dangerous Book”, which further addresses the false teachings of Sarah Young, and the false spirit that ‘guides’ her. This one is by Warren Smith, and you can find more of his articles at the Lighthouse Trails blog (links are contained in the article). The ‘Jesus Calling’ spirit is not holy, and is not the Spirit of the Living God. This can be discerned through prayer and study of the Word of God, and by comparing the claims of this ‘Jesus’ to the Scriptures. There are many other faithful Christians who have taken the time to do this, and who have shared their work freely for our benefit. I wish I could take credit for their articles, but only publish them here to be of assistance to the Body of Christ and to those who are being freed from deception.
Here is another article from pastor Bob DeWaay (author of the article you commented on), addressing the false teachings of Ann Voskamp, which I pray you will find helpful:
Here is a great article from pastor Gary Gilley on the true work of the Holy Spirit that may provide some clarity:
The Holy Spirit’s Witness
Please let me know if you have any questions, as I am happy to discuss these matters further if it would be helpful to you. (I do find I often respond at length to comments left at the blog, only to find I receive no further response so would like to avoid that whenever possible!) However, these are important issues of truth and sound doctrine, so I do welcome genuine discussion and can reply in more detail to your comment if you wish.
In Christ’s service, Sherryn
It’s very simple if you take the time to really think about religion in general and you have to ask yourself why are there so many religions? every single religion stands by there beliefs and swear they are right and everyone else is wrong.
If you simply think about it and ask yourself these simple questions the truth will reveal itself.
Is God perfect? of course he is!
Does God know the future? of course he does!
Does God make Mistakes? Absolutely not right?
So then you have to ask yourself, if God is perfect and never makes mistakes and also knows the future, When he created Adam & Eve did he know they would betray him and eat the apple and create original sin?
of course he did!
When God created the Angels did he know that Lucifer would betray him?
of course he did!
So why in his infinite glory did he create a book ( The Bible) so confusing that it would create so many religions?
We need Both Good and Bad, If we only knew Good how would we learn and grow as a human being?
Its our choices that reveal who we are and who we serve.
Why do people think when they die they either go to heaven or hell?
Jesus’ own words:
And no one has ascended into heaven but he who has descended from heaven, even the son of Man
There is NO HELL, Why would God make you suffer for eternity?
The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means “the grave,” not “hell.”
If Sheol is “hell,” then 1 Samuel 2:6 says that God “brings [down] to ‘hell,’ and brings up.” This again contradicts the dogma of an inescapable “hell.”
1 Corinthians 15:13-14 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
People simply believe the heaven and hell theory because its literally apart of our DNA its been told to us through generations
If your good you go to heaven and if your bad you go to hell!
Do your research! We all are Gods children just love one another and let God judge!
The Narrowing Path said:
I am approving your comment for the purpose of illustrating how not to make a compelling case for one’s beliefs.
You would do well to do more research from the actual Bible before claiming to know what it teaches, and then take the time to give a proper exegetical argument for your claims – rather than giving me your opinions without a single piece of evidence to support your claims.
To John…..Your statement that there is no hell is false….Jesus spoke more on hell then he did on Heaven….why? Because he didnt want anyone to go there…..get your facts straight.
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I think John supported his views or opinions quiet well with supporting evidence maybe you should re-read what he wrote. It seems your religous beliefs keeps you very narrow minded! his reply really made me sit and think about my beliefs.
The Narrowing Path said:
Carol, John made so many unbiblical statements in his comment that I am not going to respond to all of them. His universalist position is contrary to all of Scripture. The Scriptures clearly teach that there is an eternal judgment for those who are not in Christ, and that those who are not children of God (i.e. in Christ) will be judged on the day Christ returns and then cast into eternal punishment.
Here are some resources you may find helpful:
This entire website is devoted to making clear what the Bible does and does not teach. I have spent plenty of time thinking about my beliefs…enough to fill an entire blog. Of course my religious beliefs make me narrow minded. That is one of the clear purposes of God’s word, to narrow our minds to focus on what is true and to reject what is false, especially about God himself. God has revealed himself to us through his Word and in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything outside the Word of God, and any twisting of the Word are to be rejected by Christians…what you have so rightly called “narrow minded”. That is the clear teaching of the Scripture.o
I do hope you will avail yourself of the bilblical resources on this blog to help you better understand what the Scriptures teach about the doctrine of hell. It is an urgent matter worthy of your attention. If you worship a universalist God you are worshipping an idol, and need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation. The beauty and truth of God’s mercy and justice is a far greater comfort than a universalist god who ends up letting even the most evil person get away with their sin. To repent and be forgiven by the Living God who is holy and righteous, and to be counted righteous because of Christ, is a marvelous grace indeed. No one deserves God’s grace, but he gives it none the less. But to reject his Son is to incur eternal judgement. In worshiping a false universalist god, you reject the Lord Jesus Christ, and without Christ there is no salvation, only condemnation.
Steven H said:
Unfortunately, the world is blind. If they were truly close to Jesus and in the Word, the decernement of the Holy Spirit would be screaming at how this book comes straight out of the pit of hell. The world wants warm and fuzzy, not sound Biblical doctorine.
Well written. Thank you for taking the time to shed truth. Unfortunately the world is still clambering over this book. I wish we would see that kind of excitement of the inherent, COMPLETE, Bible.
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