A few months ago, I was visibly upset at work. Things were not going well for my client and the concern was evident on my face, as people were asking if I was OK. A very nice secretary keeps a devotional book on her desk, which is not unusual for a churchgoing Protestant like herself. As I was passing her desk that day, she stopped me. "You looked so worried; it's not good for you. Stress is a killer. I keep an extra copy of my devotional in case someone needs it, and I think you do. It is very inspirational, and can help you to feel better." I politely declined. "No, thank you. I'm a Traditionalist and don't read Protestant literature, but thank you for your kind concern." (All dialogue to the best of my recollection---Introibo).
She was persistent, "I don't know what a Traditionalist is, but I know you believe in the Lord Jesus, and you should read this because He wrote it Himself." She had gotten my attention. "Are you claiming that Jesus Christ Himself wrote your devotional book?" She smiled, "Yes, but not directly. It was through His servant, Sarah Young, a very holy missionary in our day." My mind immediately called forth the question in my head---could a Protestant devotional book be occult? I said the book intrigued me and I'd like to explore the contents, even though I wouldn't be using it as a devotional. "Take it and learn," she said while handing me the book.
I must have been under a rock, because I never heard of this book, Jesus Calling, but many millions of people use it. I began researching and reading. Called by some "the greatest Evangelical [Protestant] book you never heard of," Jesus Calling has sold over 40 million copies since its publication in 2004. Young (b. 1946) has a whole franchise of "Jesus Calling" type books. Her bio reads thus:
I concede that God created everything ex nihil and conserves it in existence. In this sense He is the "Ultimate Reality." However, in the context of many other passages, it takes on an Eastern pagan notion of pantheism or panentheism.
Sarah Young’s devotional writings are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying, and writing in prayer journals. With sales of more than 35 million books worldwide, Jesus Calling has appeared on all major bestseller lists. Sarah’s writings include Jesus Calling, Jesus Always, Jesus Today, Jesus Lives, Dear Jesus, Jesus Calling for Little Ones, Jesus Calling Bible Storybook, Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, Jesus Always: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence-each encouraging readers in their journey toward intimacy with Christ. Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years. They currently live in the United States.
Jesus Calling was written to help people connect not only with Jesus, the living Word, but also with the Bible-the only infallible, inerrant Word of God. Sarah endeavors to keep her devotional writing consistent with that unchanging standard. Many readers have shared that Sarah’s books have helped them grow to love God’s Word. As Sarah states in the introduction to Jesus Calling, “The devotions . . . are meant to be read slowly, preferably in a quiet place with your Bible open.”
Sarah is biblically conservative in her faith and reformed in her doctrine. She earned a master’s degree in biblical studies and counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), where her husband, Stephen, is an ordained minister. Stephen and Sarah continue to be missionaries with Mission to the World, the PCA mission board.
Sarah spends a great deal of time in prayer, reading the Bible, and memorizing Scripture. She especially enjoys praying daily for readers of all her books. (See https://www.jesuscalling.com/author/).
Young had two infections related to Lyme disease, and she spent six months in the U.S. in 2009 getting “intensive, expensive treatment” without seeing significant improvement. For several years she has also suffered from chronic dizziness (vertigo). The book spread by "word of mouth" so to speak, and caught on big time. The books have given her a net worth of $50 million dollars. She has a veritable publishing empire.
The copy of the devotional I received was from 2004. I discovered that in 2010, both Young and her publisher made changes to the origin of the book to allay a controversy that had arisen over its occultic origin. In this post, I will show that the "Jesus" who is calling, is not the Son of God Incarnate.
(This post is an amalgamation of my reading of the book and my commentary on same, and numerous books, articles and Internet articles dealing with Jesus Calling. I give full credit to those authors/authorities for the information provided in the writing of this post---Introibo).
Making Contact With "Jesus"
The first noticeable thing looking through the book, is that it is written as if Jesus is speaking the words. Jesus giving advice in first-person language is certainly not the usual Protestant devotional format and sets this apart from almost all other devotionals. The logical question is: how did Young come up with these words? The occult origin can be discerned from an examination of three aspects:
- Young’s admission in the first edition that a primary influence on her was the book, God Calling, by “Two Listeners"
- Young's claim that she received the words directly from Jesus Himself
- Examining some of the messages in the book allegedly from Jesus
It's Not God Calling
Not surprisingly, Jesus Calling and God Calling (written by "Two [anonymous] Listeners") are being promoted by some "priests" in the Vatican II sect. Jesus Calling is essentially a devotional book containing one year’s worth of short reflections on the Protestant faith which Young claims came from Jesus Christ in a way similar to messages He allegedly gave to two anonymous “listeners” who authored the book, God Calling. The problem is that these two listeners were engaged in what is known as automatic writing, which is an occult practice, while receiving these messages. This is a fact that is the main source of controversy surrounding Jesus Calling.
Automatic writing is also known as trance writing because the person goes into a kind of trance and writes whatever comes to mind very quickly and without forethought. Occult practitioners believe this allows a person to tap into the subconscious mind where the "true self" exists and where deep and mystical thoughts can be accessed.
Others use automatic writing to access outside "intelligences" and "spiritual entities" for advice and guidance. Some psychotherapists also employ the practice as a way to release repressed memories although there is no scientific evidence proving that trance writing has any therapeutic value. Both Stephanie Meyer (author of the Twilight franchise) and J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter franchise) claim that the story and characters came to them via automatic writing. Both book series are seeped in the occult.
As such, automatic writing is a form of spiritism and all forms of spiritism are condemned by the Church. In 1898, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office specifically condemned automatic writing, and to show how evil spiritism is, the Congregation issued this decree in answer to a question posed in 1917:
Question to the Holy Office: Whether it is permitted through a medium, as they call him, or without a medium, with or without the application of hypnotism, to be present at spiritistic conversations or manifestations of any kind, even though these phenomena present the appearance of honesty or piety, whether by interrogating souls or spirits, or by listening to responses, or only by looking on, even with a tacit or expressed protestation that one does not wish to have anything to do with wicked spirits? (Emphasis in original).
Reply of the Holy Office: IN THE NEGATIVE IN ALL CASES. (Approved by Pope Benedict XV and published April 24, 1917).
God Calling is a book of messages that were allegedly given to “two listeners” (their identities are not revealed) back in the mid-1930’s. One of the listeners explains that in 1932, she received a copy of a book by A. J. Russell entitled, For Sinners Only, and was so impressed she and a friend decided one day to “get guidance” from the Lord in the way A. J. Russell recommends in the book. Russell's method involves sitting down with paper and pencil, letting the mind go blank, then writing down anything that flashes across it, which Russell says should be considered akin to "God’s orders" for the day. Soon, they started getting automatic written messages from "God." After they had a collection of these messages, they sent them to A. J. Russell who immediately got to work preparing them for publication in the book now known as God Calling (1935). It’s been a bestseller ever since.
Just some of the heretical messages are "Christ" saying:
- I need you more than you need Me (pg. 60)
- I await the commands of my children (pg. 63)
- I do not delay My second coming. My followers delay it (pg. 177)
Young read the book, and was enchanted by the listeners' work. According to the foreword which used to appear in Jesus Calling (2004), she began to wish for the same abilities.
I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God... I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day. I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believe He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. It was short, biblical, and appropriate. It addressed topics that were current in my life: trust, fear, and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my prayer journal.
The book has become a bestseller. For reasons never disclosed, the Protestant publisher, Thomas Nelson Publishing, decided to simply remove all references to God Calling from the book’s introduction in 2010. Instead, they are now insisting that these aren’t messages from Jesus, but are simply Young’s own thoughts and inspirations. This is just “Sarah’s prayer journal," they insist, and she’s not really speaking for Christ Himself. Young will also refuse to talk about the pre-2004 edition, and agrees with her publisher's historical revision.
Originally, the publisher described the book in this way: After many years of writing her own words in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and begin listening for what He was saying. So with pen in hand, she embarked on a journey that forever changed her—and many others around the world. In these powerful pages are the words and Scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. Words of reassurance, comfort, and hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His presence and allowed her to enjoy His peace. (Emphasis mine).
Young notes her writing is not inspired like the Bible. Why not? If these are messages given directly to her by Christ, wouldn't that be Divine Inspiration? If Christ is the Author, it couldn't contain any error whatsoever. Sounds like it's equal to the Bible, despite her protestations to the contrary. Having seen that the book is inspired by an occult book and used automatic writing (claiming to be personal messages from Jesus Christ), let's see what "Jesus" has to say.
The Confusing and Occult Babblings of "Jesus"
From the reading of July 18:
Ask Me to open your eyes so that you can find Me everywhere...this is not some sort of escape from reality; it is tuning into the ultimate reality. I am far more Real than the world you can see, hear and touch.
From the reading of July 25:
Your part is to be attentive to my messages, in whatever form they come. When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief.
Some queries: What "messages" are there to which "Jesus" is referring ? What does "whatever form they may come" mean? Does Christ give messages in multiple forms, and we need to look for them? How do we know the messages are from Jesus and how do we interpret them? The other part is similar to panentheism; the idea that God is in the world like a soul in a body. I do not find Jesus in birdcalls or in tragedy. Beauty may point one to God and tragedy may cause one to turn to Him, but He is not in those things.
There are numerous passages where Young's "Jesus" tells the reader to go within to hear and know Him, such as the reading for August 25:
I am central to your innermost being. Your mind goes off in tangents from its holy Center from time to time....the quickest way to redirect your mind to Me is to whisper My Name
The idea of humans having a "holy center" is occult and pagan teaching. Humans are only in possession of what is holy when in the state of sanctifying grace, and even then, it is not in some "center" of his/her person.
The above quotes were taken from the 2004 edition of Jesus Calling. In the revised edition, there are numerous omissions, additions, and alterations. This includes the removal of Young's statement that the book God Calling was the major inspiration for her for writing this book, and changing words that previously indicated she was hearing words directly from Jesus. Previous statements that she was receiving "messages" from Jesus were changed to "writings" that she "gleaned" in quiet moments and to "devotions." The sanitized revision also changes her so-called "words from Christ." If Christ spoke those words, why change them?
Here's an example:
2004 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... (Emphasis in original; emboldened words mine).
Revised 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. Joseph and his father, Jacob, suffered terribly because Jacob because Joseph loved Jacob 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.. . (Emphasis in original; emboldened words mine).
This is not some "minor revision" (and even that would change what Christ allegedly said), but a wholesale change. Obviously, such deception could not be of God.
Sarah Young's book, Jesus Calling, is an occult text. It is based on the spiritistic practice of automatic writing, was inspired by an occult book, and has "Jesus" saying things He could not possibly say as the All Truthful God Incarnate. It was revised in 2010 to remove the occult references, and alters the alleged "words of Jesus," claiming they are only Young's words. Young's book is therefore founded on the occult, which comes from the Father of Lies, and then it was covered up in a second act of deception. Wholly apart from the occult, Jesus would not communicate with a member of a false religion to give messages.
If you know anyone in the Vatican II sect, warn them of this book now being used in some parishes as "spiritual reading." Everything the sect does is bad, but this is exceptionally bad and deceptive. Only when we heed the teachings of the One True Church, do we hear Jesus Christ calling. "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent me." (St. Luke 10:16).