Category Archives: Postmodern Church/Apostasy

Francis Chan, Speaking of His Critics, Says, “Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed.”

Francis Chan

When they were few in number,
    of little account, and sojourners in it,
 wandering from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to another people,
 he allowed no one to oppress them;
    he rebuked kings on their account,
 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
    do my prophets no harm!” (Psalm 105:12-15)

God gave clear instructions not to touch those especially anointed by the Holy Spirit to deliver the Word of God. David lived by this command, telling Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless? (1 Samuel 26:9). Of course, if someone is a false prophet, the people were commanded to stone them to death (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). The test of a true prophet was inerrancy; if what the prophet claimed came to pass, they were to be respected but if not, they were to be disregarded and put to death.

Unfortunately, many false prophets and false teachers today (and many true teachers who engage in category errors or have poor exegesis) apply this verse to any who dare criticize them. Not even Paul considered Peter above criticism (Galatians 2:11), and did not find that Peter’s status as a hand-selected Apostle to make him immune to correction. If the Holy Apostles weren’t applying Psalm 105:12-15 to themselves, it is doubtful that today’s celebrity evangelists should claim the special status of critical immunity. And unfortunately, that’s precisely what Francis Chan has done.

Chan started well, being educated at Master’s Seminary and gaining fame for being a stalwart teacher of God’s Word. But because Chan did not embrace Cessationism, his Charismatic Window was wide open and day by day, Chan became increasingly unreliable as a Bible teacher. Soon linking arms with the bottom of the Charismatic barrel, Chan started partnering with NAR apostles like Mike Bickel of the International House of Prayer (link). He became increasingly driven by a seeker-friendly and numbers-focused methodology (link). Chan began to partner with Mormons to promote Dominionist ideology (link). Continuationism (the belief that the Apostolic sign gifts have continued to this day) has done to Chan what it has done or will do to every Charismatic eventually; strip their discernment, ruin their teaching, and taint their testimony.

Chan has avoided receiving much of the criticism that’s been given him by those in more sound theological circles by avoiding social media, as he told Charisma Magazine. In an interview with the flagship charismatic publication, Chan lamented discernment among the godly and made an intentional decision to avoid hearing it. He told Charisma Magazine:

There are times to speak strongly. But let’s remember the story of David with Saul. Where’s that spirit in the church today? I just want to be careful with the Lord’s anointed. We’re surrounded by a culture that tries to reserve the strongest words to bash leadership.

Chan explained that the church is too critical today:

We live in a time when people are quick to criticize church and leadership, with this assumption that they know better. It’s just a very, very difficult time for Christian leaders to lead.

Chan left his church, Cornerstone Community Church, claiming that the Spirit was leading him off on what has been described as a “magical faith journey.” That magical faith journey has amounted to speaking engagements in mostly charismatic circles on the evangelical lecture circuit. Indeed, it’s a hard time for church leaders…and even a harder time for the church.

The post Francis Chan, Speaking of His Critics, Says, “Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed.”appeared first on Pulpit & Pen.


The Basic Spirituality of Yoga

In an article I penned in 2010 titled A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity I expressed my concerns over churches that were offering “Christian yoga”:

It seems everyone’s practicing yoga meditation these days. Physicians recommend it to their patients which means it’s beneficial…right? Meditation is said to relieve stress, anxiety, hypertension, acne and post-nasal drip, so go for it! Just tighten those abdominal muscles, inhale deeply and chant Maaaaaaaaa all in one breath and your concerns will drift away like a feather floating on the wind…

But what if you’re a Christian? Should you practice the same sorts of things as Buddhist, Hindus and New Agers?

Former New Ager Marcia Montenegro believes that Christians who practice yoga–even “Christian yoga”–shouldn’t.  In an article Marcia wrote for Midwest Christian Outreach,she brings to light the spiritual dimension of yoga that, in her words, “should not be ignored.” Marcia has given CRN permission to publish her piece.

The Basic Spirituality of Yoga

By Marcia Montenegro

Yoga is one of the most popular topics I am asked about when I speak in churches or at conferences. I twice practiced Hatha Yoga at separate times while participating in the New Age for about 20 years, prior to coming to a saving faith in the true Jesus Christ. At that time, Yoga was primarily understood as a spiritual practice even though it was beginning to slowly branch out into the secular world.

I watched as Yoga migrated further into mainstream culture as “exercise,” cleverly marketed in such a way that the image of a woman doing a Yoga pose (asana) or sitting in the Lotus position became the norm, and was always associated with health, beauty, peace, and strength.

The Yoga being discussed here is Hatha Yoga, only one of many Yogas. Yoga, as a whole, is a complex esoteric system oriented toward attaining liberation from a false reality and uniting with the ultimate reality or god (however that god may be perceived). Hatha Yoga, meaning “Sun” and “Moon,” is a practice whereby the body becomes a deliberate tool for this path to a purported enlightenment; that is, becoming more spiritually aware of the true inner divine Self and the need for liberation from this life. The concept of Sun and Moon also represents the goal of uniting opposites into one, based on the belief that there are no real distinctions, but that all is truly one (in non-dual Hinduism; there is dualistic Hinduism which teaches distinctions). So, we cannot even get away from spirituality when using the name “Hatha Yoga.”

“The word hatha is itself an indication of the goals and objectives of this practice: hameans “sun,” and tha means “moon.” Thus, “hatha yoga” is the practice that enables a practitioner to balance his or her solar and lunar energies.” (From Yoga Journal article “What is the Purpose of Asana?”)

Indeed, the word “Yoga” itself means “union.” But it is not union of body and mind, according to the popular adage. Although defined in various ways, the classic meaning is union of the Atman, or inner divine self, with Brahman, the supreme Hindu god (or one Hindu god who manifests as many gods). Yoga is also defined as awakening to and union with the “higher self” or “higher consciousness” in New Age terms, which is the realization of the inner divine self.

Hatha Yoga, popular today from the corner gym to boutique studios peppering every city and maybe even every town, is also a part of Kundalini YogaKundalini, as with all Hindu concepts, is layered with complexity; but, essentially, it is believed to be an invisible energy coiled at the base of the spine. Awakening this energy through meditation and certain Yogic practices is a spiritual work.

The Yoga poses, postures, or asanas are not designed as an exercise but as preparation for more advanced Yoga styles of meditation in order to aid in this enlightenment. The postures can induce meditative states and are a discipline to train the body into submission for deeper meditative states of more advanced Yoga.

“Exercising postures or Asanas in Hatha Yoga has two essential objectives. The first is that to practice any real meditation, one needs at the least one posture in which one can be perfectly comfortable for a longer period of time. The more such postures one can master, the better the basis for developing the inner meditation techniques. The second objective of exercising asanas in Hatha Yoga is to bring health and energy to body and mind by opening the nadis.” (“Hatha Yoga” )

The nadis are allegedly “subtle” channels in the body through which flow Prana, the sacred energy of the universe (“subtle” means they are invisible). The so-called breathing techniques of Yoga, Pranayama, as well as the poses – the asanas — are meant to open these channels so that the energy of Kundalini can flow through and vitalize the person on all levels, especially spiritually. In Eastern spiritual practices such as Yoga, Qi-Gong, and Hindu meditation, breath is considered to be sacred and to be a link to a divine source. This is why Pranayama is essential in Yoga. The concepts and terms are all so interconnected, that it is difficult to detach them from each other. Explaining one leads to a necessity in explaining another, and another after that. There is no real end to it. It is like grabbing the end of a string and pulling on it, only to discover that the string is part of a tangled web that can never be unraveled. This is how I see Yoga.

Some asanas honor mythical Hindu heroes or Hindu gods, such as the warrior pose, done to honor the Hindu god, Shiva, who created a warrior, Virabhadra, to avenge the death of Shiva’s wife. Another asana, lying on one’s back with split legs, honors Hanuman, the monkey god (see “The Heroes, Saints, and Sages Behind Yoga Pose Names”).

Chakras, which means “wheels,” are allegedly invisible energy centers ranging from the pelvic area to the top of the crown (sometimes the crown chakra is said to be an endpoint and not a chakra). Each one is correlated to a specific purpose but needs to be activated by kundalini. The asanas are done partly to prepare the chakras for the kundalini.

Yoga’s popularity has turned “chakras” into an almost everyday word. Once a little-known term used in the New Age and the occult, it now is liberally sprinkled in the language of alternative treatments, meditation, and even health advice. Chakras are assumed to exist, even though they don’t. The concept is entirely spiritual.

Yoga no longer hides its spirituality as forcefully as it once did. Presenting it as mere exercise has concerned and angered some practitioners and many Hindus, who are calling for it to be brought back to its proper spiritual standing. Several years ago, I noticed that the popular Yoga Journal was including more spiritually oriented articles, including chants to Hindu gods.

Tokens of Eastern spirituality, like drawings of Ganesha (a popular Hindu elephant-headed god) on clothing, and the Aum (Om) design as a tattoo and printed on clothing and totes, have become widespread. The Aum/Om symbol (looks somewhat like a backward capital E with embellishment) is considered to be a sacred sound that has a spiritual effect on the person chanting it and is said or chanted in some Yoga classes.

As we see from the information, the main terms used in Hatha Yoga are spiritual or are connected to the vast network of Hindu spiritual beliefs:

Asanas Aum Chakras Hatha Yoga Kundalini Nadis Prana/Pranayama Yoga

Like other arcane systems, Yoga is endlessly complicated and convoluted. But just touching on the essentials of Yoga practice reveals a spiritual dimension, hidden to most, that should not be ignored. Can we do Yoga as exercise without the spirituality? I would rephrase that as: “Can we get close to a fire and not get burned?” Maybe, but why try? There are numerous ways to exercise without getting near Yoga.

The world is captivated by the idea of prolonging youth and health, and Yoga feeds on that. But all of that will come to a crashing end for everyone. The basics of Yoga are a non-Christian and non-eternal spirituality, but Yoga itself is not basic to life, and certainly does not compare to the eternal life and the glorified resurrected body through faith in Christ.

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7b-8 NASB)Ω


Asanas and gods, Hindu heroes

Ancient Yoga texts

© 2018, Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpts and links may be used if full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.


Source: The Basic Spirituality of Yoga

10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

Rick Becker begins his piece with,

Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of Christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, Hillsong and other NAR “churches” have infested the visible church like gangrene.  Those who are saved from this deception, try to warn their friends and family still caught up in the quagmire of celebrity teachers and false doctrines.  When we warn them of the precarious position they are in, they usually resort to arguments we are all familiar with. This post deals with some of those questions.

Then he offers what he believes are 10 invalid arguments people use to defend false teachers.  For example, “Who are you to judge?!” People involved in online apologetics and discernment ministries get this thrown in our faces all the time. Berean Research’s response to the judging jab is here. Becker responds to the finger-waggers with, “Jesus exercised righteous judgement by calling out sin and rebuking false teachers.  The epistles are replete with examples of judging sin, church discipline, and exposing false doctrine.”  And then he adds this zinger: “The person accusing you of exercising discernment is in fact judging you!”

Rick Becker’s post can be found over at Famine In The Land:


Do you know them personally?

It is not necessary to know figures such as Brian Houston or Bill Johnson personally to test their teachings.  Those of us who come out of these churches know what it takes to work your way up the hierarchical structure in order to “get to know them personally.”  Have they taken the time to get to know the people whose faith has been shipwrecked due to their teachings?  Do they care that their sponsored posts reach millions of naive and biblically illiterate people?  Not content with shepherding their own congregations,  these hirelings spread their doctrines with impunity.  They are not contributing to the body of Christ, but building their own empire.

Their teachings are in print, on social media, in the public domain and therefore open to public scrutiny.  It is their teachings we examine and compare to the word of God – as instructed in scripture.  If the apostle Paul’s teachings were compared to scripture, why give modern day apostles a pass?

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11

 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.” 1 John 4:1-2

Have you approached them directly?

Many will cite Matthew 18:15-18 as justification of a direct and private approach to dealing with false teachers: “ “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In context, the issue is between two believers in a congregation. False teachers are not “your brother” – they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Their messages are public, and their sin is against the whole body of Christ.  There is no need to bring any witnesses to the table when it comes to false teachers, their own witness in the form of their teachings, condemn them.  This passage is instructive regarding church discipline, not how to deal with false teachers.  Incidentally, this is the same passage many use to justify the teaching of binding and loosing Satan.  Once again, that is an unbiblical concept as the text is dealing with church discipline among believers, not spiritual warfare.

If you are fortunate enough to be one of those rare cases where a celebrity prophet or apostle takes time to meet a concerned stranger, use your opportunity wisely.  Attempting to reach them via social media and email is usually a fruitless endeavour.  Most of these well known leaders have a team that manage their correspondence; the chances that you will actually get a direct reply from the teacher concerned is highly unlikely.  Many of these ministries have a culture of ignoring any outsiders who ask questions – legitimate questions.  They refuse to entertain what they deem as attacks on their ministry.

Why don’t you just pray for them?

Jesus didn’t pray for the pharisees, he rebuked them openly.  When Peter compromised the truth of the gospel, Paul didn’t cover up the issue and offer a silent prayer for Peter:  But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” Galatians 2:11

We don’t ignore false teachings in the body of Christ.  When Paul wrote to Timothy warning him of those who have departed from the faith due to false teachings, he instructed Timothy to point out the errors : “If you put these things before the brothers,  you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.”

Paul is clear regarding those who bring a different gospel: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8-9  View article →

Source: 10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

Beth Moore Says Fighting Donald Trump is A Fight for the Faith

(Pulpit & Pen) Beth Moore, who is a wildly popular female Bible teacher heavily promoted in evangelical circles and aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Lifeway Christian Resources, has steadily been opposing President Donald Trump since his presidential primary. She is not on record ever having opposed President Barack Obama.

Moore, who claims to hear audibly from God – going so far as writing down what she says God specifically told her – said in a tweet this week that getting political was necessary because of the “mountain of manure hitting the fan” and that for her and others it is a “fight for the faith.” …

As President Barack Obama was actively seeking to increase abortions nationwide, lighting up the White House in rainbow-colored flood lights and challenging the Right of Conscience for traditional family advocates, it was apparently not a giant pile of manure hitting the fan. But Trump’s policies, somehow, now must be opposed in the name of fighting for the faith.

The context of Moore’s March 12 tweet is Donald Trump. Moore has received heated criticism from the Soccer Mom contingent of Republican voters, who happen to be the very same demographic that is prone to follow Christian mommy-bloggers and read Beth Moore. A plethora of articles online have detailed Moore’s constant hen-pecking of Trump in social media, for which she receives accolades from some and condemnation from others. Riding a wave of virtue-signaling, wind-shifting popular public opinion, Moore has determined to err on the side of feminism and political correctness.View article →

Source: Beth Moore Says Fighting Donald Trump is A Fight for the Faith

Herescope: Another Jesus Part 4

Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3

“Sanctify them through Thy truth:
Thy Word is truth.”
(Jesus, John 17:17)
The Pied Piper

A Report by Barbara Wilhelm

Sarah Young denies the Words of Scripture. In fact, she nullifies the entire book of Hebrews and every other book in the New Testament. Notice the clarity – and finality – of Hebrews 1:1-2 and the confirmation provided by Jude 1:3:

Hebrews 1:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 

Jude 3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 

One of the versions of Jesus Calling

In the last of these days God has spoken to us in the Person – not the “Presence” of His Son. He has spoken “once, for all time.” Jesus in His Word has emphatically stated that He is completely finished speaking any more words for publication. How then can a “Presence” of “Jesus” contradict Jesus? These inner voices of the “Presence” are assumed by Sarah Young to be Jesus. Therefore, she encourages her readers to assume the same. She uses journaling or, more accurately, automatic writing to keep track of these voices. She encourages listening to these voices spoken by the “Presence” as a means of direct communication between the readers and the “Presence” themselves. Normally we have been told throughout our Christian walks that our Lord Jesus speaks through His Bible to us. Now we are being encouraged to listen to the mystical voice of a “Presence” whose words contradict the Bible. This will, ultimately, lead to great confusion for the readers… or worse.

The idea of following the voices of a “Presence” reminds me of the story of the Pied Piper which, as I just discovered, is based on an apparently true event. [See:] A Pied Piper is defined as someone who induces others to follow him/her by means of false promises. [Source:] I often have wondered where the children went after they were lured to follow this very colorful person who was so enticing to their eyes and ears. The children listened to an enchanting sound and it led them… to where? Isaiah 53:6 comes to mind: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” 

Yet another Sarah Young book

One of the most important characteristics of the Bible is that the Words are never to be added to or subtracted from (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19). This is because Jesus Himself is unchangeable. Considering that, the question has to be asked: why have revisions been made to Jesus Calling if this is truly “Jesus” speaking in Sarah Young’s book? Yet this is precisely what has happened. The August 23 devotion in the 2004 version of her book speaks of Abraham and Isaac and accuses Abraham of “son worship.” However, while the August 23 devotion in the 2011 edition begins the same as the 2004 edition, it changes mid-stream and talks – not about Abraham and Isaac – but about Jacob and Joseph. Has the true Jesus ever been known to edit His Own Words? Has He ever re-phrased one of the books of the Bible? The real Jesus has not, and according to His Own Word, could not revise His Words. The only assumption I think we can make is that the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling is not the real Jesus.

Warren Smith examined the multiple versions of the Jesus Calling book that were published over the years. He has published booklets and articles that elaborate even further the problems discussed above: the authenticity and trustworthiness of the messages from the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling. Warren Smith is eminently qualified to write a detailed analysis of Jesus Calling. He is an ex-New Ager and an expert on the many false New Age “Jesus” and “God” entities whose channeled transmissions appear in popular books. The very title of one of his articles/booklets – “Changing Jesus Calling – Damage Control for a False Christ” – brings to my mind the cautionary verses below:

Warren Smith’s booklet

2 Corinthians 11:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-you may well put up with it! 

In his article, Warren Smith writes:

Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have been systematically deleting controversial material from Jesus Calling. Adding, subtracting, cutting, pasting and completely eliminating problematic words, sentences and even whole paragraphs, Young and her editors do not hesitate to put words in the mouth of their “Jesus,” even as they take others away. But… these tactics are doing more to expose their problems than cover them up….

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

Yet another Sarah Young book

The Damage Control
In recent editions of Jesus Calling – including the 10th anniversary edition–the preceding paragraph regarding God Calling – has been removed from the author’s longstanding introduction. No explanation. No apology. Nothing. Suddenly and completely gone is any mention of God Calling – how it had inspired her to receive her own “messages” from “Jesus” and how it was a “treasure” to her. Her previous praise of God Calling had become problematic as it had drawn obvious New Age comparisons to her own book. It had also become apparent that her original endorsement of God Calling was helping to popularize this New Age book among believers! While Christian leaders have been strangely silent about Jesus Calling, it was the secular media that took Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson to task for changing and deleting the problematic material in their best-selling book.

Ruth Graham, writing in The Daily Beast, a popular online American news reporting and opinion website formerly associated with Newsweek magazine, wrote an article to question the changes being made to Sarah Young’s original introduction. Graham wrote:

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

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

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

Yet another Sarah Young book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Yet another Sarah Young book

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

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

The Pied Piper

Before I close this report there is one more thing on my heart that I feel I must share. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. How many people who previously would have gone to their Bibles when they needed comfort now go to Jesus Calling? How many who started their days reading the Bible (2Timothy 3:16, the God-breathed Word) now go to these questionable words channeled through a woman? As a result, their relationships with the true Jesus have been stolen and destroyed. He is our Shelter, our Refuge, our very present help in time of need, our Comfort, our Life, our Daily Bread, our Soon and Coming King, our Savior. This is the Jesus of the Bible. Can this “Jesus” of Jesus Calling offer all that… or is he a thief who has stolen away our relationships with the true Son of God?

Life Application: 
1Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to prove all things. This entire series of lessons is an example of obedience to that command by a variety of those in His body who care for the safety of His people. If you or someone you know have read these books, would you go back to the very beginnings of these lessons and see this action as a “kindness” that has been done to the body of Christ and share it with them to keep them safe?

Psalm 141:5 Amplified Bible (AMP) 
“Let the righteous [thoughtfully] strike (correct) me–
it is a kindness [done to encourage my spiritual maturity].
It is [the choicest anointing] oil on the head;
Let my head not refuse
[to accept and acknowledge and learn from] it;”

Bulle, Florence God Wants You Rich and Other Enticing Doctrines, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bethany House Publishers, 1983.
A.J. Russell ed. God Calling, by Two Listeners, Old Tappan, N.J., Fleming H. Revel., 1936.

The author of this 4-part series, Barbara Wilhelm, is a long-time discerner. She recently started her own blog, Holding His Word Higher: her site for her weekly posts.

You Can Change Yourself (Can You?)

Cameron Buettel urges Christian leaders to repudiate the philosophy that says you can change yourself that’s promoted by self-help gurus Anthony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey and their ilk and replace that worldly philosophy with “the truth of biblical anthropology—that all men are, by nature, totally depraved sinners.” But instead, pastors with rock star status like Joel Osteen and Steven Furtick “see it as an opportunity to market a ‘Christianized’ version of the same lie.” 

So, can the self-help or positive confession of Osteen and Furtick and their ilk change the nature of a sinner? The answer is no, says Buettel. He believes that “Nothing less than divine regeneration is needed.”

In his post over at Grace to You, Cameron Buettel reveals what he means by divine regeneration. He writes:

Jeremiah 13:23

Code: B180312

Just reading billboards on a road trip is enough to realize that people want to change their lives. Whether it be physical, financial, or relational, there are a vast range of self-help industries that have sprung up around the world’s insatiable demand for self-improvement. In effect, they perpetuate a lie that dominates the world: you can change yourself.

Of course, it is possible to change some features of our lives—at least temporarily. We can change our hairstyles, get makeovers, lose weight, make more money, find love, change careers, or move to a new city and start all over. But our root problem always remains—an inner sinful nature that refuses to change.

You Can’t Change Yourself

Many of the changes in your life are a function of self-restraint or self-discipline. If you earnestly want to lose weight, stop smoking, or find a better job, you can achieve those external goals through acts of willpower.

But no amount of willpower can change the essentials of who you are. Your intellectual capacity and your genetic makeup are not malleable. Nor, critically, is the fundamental spiritual state you were born into. There is nothing you can do to shed your sin nature. The prophet Jeremiah effectively said as much when he rebuked Israel for their continual rebellion against God: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).

Jeremiah understood the issue we discussed in our previous post—that all men are sinners by nature. He knew that we have as much chance of altering our own nature as changing the color of our skin, or stripping the spots off a leopard.

Self-help gurus like Tony Robbins may profess that “we can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” [1] But it’s nothing more than a bogus promise built upon bankrupt theology.

Christian leaders should repudiate the worldly philosophy of Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, and their ilk with the truth of biblical anthropology—that all men are, by nature, totally depraved sinners. Instead, preachers like Joel Osteen and Steven Furtick see it as an opportunity to market a “Christianized” version of the same lie. In fact, Osteen has written an entire book on the subject. The promotional summary for his book The Power of I Am explains:

Can two words give you the power to change your life? Yes they can! In the pages of his new book, bestselling author Joel Osteen shares a profound principle based on a simple truth. Whatever follows the words “I am” will always come looking for you.

Osteen’s book wouldn’t be so offensive if it was properly categorized as fiction. Somehow it manages to adorn the shelves of Christian bookstores as biblical truth.

Yet no amount of self-help or positive confession can change the nature of a sinner. Nothing less than divine regeneration is needed.

Dead Men Need Resurrection, Not Reform

The apostle Paul described the fallen human condition as being “dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). All a dead man can do is remain in his present state. That is, unless God raises the dead and makes him a new creature. That’s why Paul also described Christian conversion as becoming “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In the Old Testament, God confronted the prophet Ezekiel with the same reality regarding the dead spiritual condition of rebellious Israel. In Ezekiel 37:1–14, God transports the prophet to a valley of dry bones. As Ezekiel found himself surrounded by a vast sea of skeletal corpses, God asked him “can these bones live?” He could only respond, “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:3), because Ezekiel knew only a divine miracle could revive those dry bones.

God gave Ezekiel a message to preach in that valley, but the mass resurrections that took place (Ezekiel 37:7-10) were because of the divine impartation of new life: “I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive” (Ezekiel 37:6). “I will put my Spirit within you and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37:14).

That passage is an amazing picture of what evangelism really is. We stand among masses of people who are dead in sin. We aren’t called to persuade them back to life, or to modify their behavior along some imagined spectrum of morality. We’re not interested in merely rearranging the skeletons in Ezekiel’s valley.

We are called to proclaim the gospel, and trust God to raise His people from the death of sin to new life in Christ. Ultimately, it is only regeneration wrought by God that can produce any meaningful change in the spiritual status of a sinner.

Just prior to Ezekiel 37, God made it explicitly clear that He is sovereignly in charge of every meaningful change when a sinner is converted—everything from regeneration to sanctification. Note God’s repeated use of personal pronouns in Ezekiel 36:25–27.

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:25–27)

That passage was central to Christ’s discussion with Nicodemus. The Lord highlighted the uselessness of human effort as an agent of spiritual change. When Jesus told him that he needed to be “born again” (John 3:3), “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5), He was referring back to Ezekiel 36:25–27. John MacArthur makes that connection in his commentary on John’s gospel.

It was surely this passage that Jesus had in mind, showing regeneration to be an Old Testament truth (cf. Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 31:31–34; Ezekiel 11:18–20) with which Nicodemus would have been acquainted. Against this Old Testament backdrop, Christ’s point was unmistakable: Without the spiritual washing of the soul, a cleansing accomplished only by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) through the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26), no one can enter God’s kingdom.

Jesus continued by emphasizing that this spiritual cleansing is wholly a work of God, and not the result of human effort: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). . . . Regeneration is entirely His work, unaided by any human effort (cf. Romans 3:25). [2]

Man-made efforts at personal transformation are about as useful as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. They are temporary, superficial, and ultimately inconsequential.

Like Ezekiel, Christians need to focus on one thing: faithful proclamation of the message we have been commanded to preach. And God, in His sovereign wisdom, will regenerate the dead around us as He sees fit.

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In Spite of Evidence, CM&A Denomination Clears Ravi Zacharias on Cyber Adultery

(Pulpit & Pen News) We released the text messages from Ravi Zacharias that indisputably proved he carried on an affair via electronic communication, received illicit images of his paramour, begged her not to tell her husband, and ultimately insinuated he would kill himself if she confessed and repented openly. You can find that post, On the Adulterous Affair of Ravi Zacharias and the Cover-Uphere. Other press outlets were content to only report the spun words from Zacharias’ ministry.

Amidst a scandal related to Zacharias’ inflation of credentials (which included not only treating honorary doctorates as the real thing but more seriously, included fabricating jobs he never worked and education programs he never attended), the adultery evidence simply compiled upon an already embattled Christian celebrity. Sadly, because many of his critics are atheists – like the attorney Steve Baughman – evangelicals have been all-too-eager to act as though their evidence doesn’t matter.

In addition to the intentional rug-sweeping of Christian media of which they’re prone, it has been hypothesized that the couple intentionally “set-up” Zacharias and that they are of suspect character, trying to extort the apologist. While the scenario may be plausible, there is little to no doubt that Zacharias acted improperly, committed at least some form of tawdry, sexualized behavior, and attempted to cover it up. Those are facts that have been well-established. It is also reported and widely known that the woman in question received a settlement from Zacharias, which rarely means innocence.

Zacharias, who received his ministry credentials from the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CM&A), has been cleared from discipline by the denomination. The CM&A was founded 1897 as a loose affiliation, and more formally in 1974. The denomination has a little more than 400k members and 2k churches, and boasts notable Christian leaders like Mike Tomlin, A.W. Tozer, and Phil Vischer (the creator of Veggie Tales).

The CMA issued a statement defending Zacharias from disciplinary measures, stating:

Ravi Zacharias has maintained his licensing credentials through The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) for 45 years. Along with all C&MA licensed workers, he is subject to the Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal.

Recently Mr. Zacharias has been accused of exaggerating his academic credentials. Mr. Zacharias and his employer, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, have revised and clarified their communications to address these concerns. The C&MA has determined that there is no basis for formal discipline regarding this matter.

Mr. Zacharias has also been accused of engaging in an immoral relationship with a woman through the use of electronic communications. The C&MA recently completed a thorough inquiry of these accusations, including interviews with those involved and a review of all available documentation and records. While it is not appropriate to publicly discuss the nuances of these allegations, the available evidence does not provide a basis for formal discipline under the C&MA policy.

That was the full statement. There was no further explanation for why clear evidence like text messages, a non-disclosure payout, and demonstrably false statements made by Zacharias’ ministry regarding his credentials do not meet the CM&A qualifications for censure.

The CM&A has a history of not taking seriously the abuses or sins of its licensed ministers. In 1995, more than 30 alumni from their children’s school in New Guinea, demanded restitution and resolution regarding abuse at the school that had been repeatedly reported since the 1980s. In spite of well more than a decade of complaints regarding abuse, the CM&A failed to act for similar reasons by which they have exonerated Zacharias. In 1998, the CM&A finally had to admit their error and ask for forgiveness for not taking the sins of their ministry professionals seriously.

Published with Pulpit & Pen’s permission (Source)


On Discerning Ravi Zacharias: It’s Time to Say What Needs to Be Said

Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique

Ravi Zacharias: Why I Don’t Think His Response at Christianity Today Cleared Things Up – See our Disclaimer

Source: In Spite of Evidence, CM&A Denomination Clears Ravi Zacharias on Cyber Adultery

A Hyper-Charismatic Guide to Losing your Mind

(Steven Kozar – Messed Up Church) If you want to abandon your Christian faith and become mentally unstable, just follow these simple steps:

    • “It all starts with a Dream! A God-Sized Dream!” To get started, you must believe that God expects you to dream up some outlandish desire in order to accomplish your Destiny. Because if you attempt to “do the impossible,” God will miraculously answer your prayers and thus “get all the glory.” You must take risks, step out in faith, and do something impossible.
  • You then step out in faith and do something really stupid. (Often, this involves giving money to someone who teaches this stuff.)
  • Next, this ridiculous thing you’ve attempted doesn’t work and you’ve got big problems. (Wow, what a surprise.)
  • Instead of admitting your big mistake, you will now focus all of your attention on the future and the great things that you’ll accomplish after you get your breakthrough (your “Destiny”). Because the finished work of Christ dying on the cross to pay for our sins happened a long time ago, you will forget about it. Christianity gradually becomes a magic wand you keep waving around in order to get God to do stuff, and the “holy spirit” will demand more and more attention as he continually confuses you, embarrasses you and demands that you become more hungry, desperate and broken. He also wants you to be on fire.
  • At this point you’ll latch onto all of the sermons about fighting battles, getting a fresh new word from God, and fending off demons, pythons, and sneaky squids. “The devil knows about your Dream Destiny Thingy and he wants to stop you!” You take your last few bucks to buy yet another book/DVD/CD/conference ticket, hoping to learn the “secret” to getting your breakthrough; you know, the breakthrough you wouldn’t even need if you hadn’t done something stupid…View article →

See Berean Research’s White Paper on the New Apostolic Reformation

Source: A Hyper-Charismatic Guide to Losing your Mind

‘Pope Francis’ Decrees New Feast Day on Liturgical Calendar for Mary, ‘Mother of the Church’

(Christian News Network) Roman Catholic leader Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” has decreed that a new feast day be added to the liturgical calendar to honor Mary, called “Mother of the Church.” The announcement has been deemed unbiblical as the Catholic Church continues to place inordinate emphasis on Mary.

The Vatican announced the decree on Saturday, noting that the new Roman Catholic holiday will be observed every year on the Monday after Pentecost. This year, the occasion will fall on May 21.

“Having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety, Pope Francis has decreed that the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and be now celebrated every year,” reads the decree, signed by Robert Sarah, prefect, and Arthur Roche, archbishop.

“This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the mystery of the cross, to the oblation of Christ in the eucharistic banquet and to the mother of the Redeemer and mother of the redeemed, the virgin who makes her offering to God,” it states.

The decree outlines that historic Roman Catholic figures—from Augustine to Paul VI—have endowed Mary with various titles, and claims that as Jesus asked his disciple, John, to look after His earthly mother in His physical absence, it signified that Mary was to be a subject of affection for all of Christ’s followers.

“Indeed, the mother standing beneath the cross (Jn. 19:25), accepted her Son’s testament of love and welcomed all people in the person of the beloved disciple as sons and daughters to be reborn unto life eternal. She thus became the tender mother of the Church which Christ begot on the cross handing on the Spirit,” the decree asserts. “Christ, in turn, in the beloved disciple, chose all disciples as ministers of his love towards His mother, entrusting her to them so that they might welcome her with filial affection.” View article →

See our Research Paper on the Roman Catholic Church

Source: ‘Pope Francis’ Decrees New Feast Day on Liturgical Calendar for Mary, ‘Mother of the Church’

Paul Washer Nails It on Young, Restless and Reformed

As you know, we at Pulpit & Pen are greatly concerned about the advance of New Calvinism, also known as the Young, Restless an Reformed (YRR). While most, but not all, writers at Pulpit & Pen are Reformed and Calvinistic Baptists, we are very cautious regarding the recent movement of young people to a type or kind of Calvinism that is rather new. I explained the difference between historic Reformed theology and New Calvinism at last year’s Judge Not Conference, and you can see my explanation of New Calvinism here.

Chiefly, New Calvinism is Continuationist in theology and Charismatic in practice, suffers from post-millennial, culture-conquering and social justice mission drift, and is overly concerned with fads and coolness. Finally, New Calvinism shuns piety and devalues personal holiness.

Eight years ago, Paul Washer was asked about the dangers of the YRR Movement (the concept then was still very much new) and he absolutely hit the nail on the head. You can watch the video below.

How abandoning Sola Scriptura shipwrecks your faith

(Amy Spreeman – Berean Research) What is the difference between the spiritual transformation that happens through the Holy Spirit, and the Spiritual Formation movement that swept through our churches a few years ago?

The difference is night and day. I remember talking about this with the late Ken Silva in 2012. He helped me understand that the Spiritual Formation movement provided the platform and a channel through which mystical practices began entering many different evangelical and traditional denominations.

Unfortunately, this type of experience has moved many believers into an unbiblical, mystical form of Christianity. It’s based on the premise that if we do certain meditative practices and ancient rituals, we can be more like Jesus and find God within ourselves.

Following along the wide path away from Sola Sciptura are those who’ve been soaked by the Latter Rain movement, which shape-shifted into the New Apostolic Reformation(NAR), or Prophets and Apostles movement. Like the Emergents, these folks will tell you that the Bible is nice, but God wants you to know Him on a more intimate level. And He wants you focused not on a bloody cross, or sin, or the resurrection, but on living your wild, big, unordinary dreams for Him. View article →

See our Research Paper on Spiritual Formation


Sola Scripture Our Only Foundation

Source: How abandoning Sola Scriptura shipwrecks your faith

Herescope: Another Jesus Part 3

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

“For many shall come in My name,
I am Christ;
and shall deceive many.”
(Matthew 24:5)
A Report by Barbara Wilhelm

As always, the Word of God is to be the foundation of our discussion. In addition, it is often necessary to dig deeper into the essence of a Word in a verse to truly understand what the Lord is trying to convey. Before we can get a fuller grasp of the errors in Jesus Calling we need to first look at the command of “proving” and what it entails.

1 Thessalonians 5:21(KJV):
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

Prove is a metallurgical term wherein a test is performed to assay the purity of a stone. Iron pyrite’s metallic luster and pale brass-yellow hue give it a superficial resemblance to gold. But it is not gold; it merely appears to be gold. This brings to mind the saying, “If it looks so good, how can it be deception?” Iron pyrite can look even better than gold because it shimmers and shines so brightly. But it is all superficial. That is the exact reason why we use the Bible to “prove” all things. The Bible does not appeal to our senses and emotions. The only standard of truth is the Word of God. Since the Bible cannot be added to or subtracted from, one of its characteristics is that any time someone proposes any kind of teaching, it must be substantiated by the already written Word of God. Jude 3 stresses the permanence and unchangeableness of God’s Word:

3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 

As we continue with our study of both God Calling and Jesus Calling it will become apparent that both these books have extrabiblical meanings; they offer teachings not at all contained in the Word of God.

My husband John and I did not come to know the Lord until we were in our late thirties and our children Tracy and John were 12 and 10, respectively. For that reason we brought a lot of unclean “baggage” into our Christian walk in the forms of books, games, etc. One night I had a dream of a bathtub seemingly filled with an innocent liquid. It was, however, filled with a caustic solution of lye that would have horribly burned or scarred anyone who put even their “little pinky toe” in it. This seemed to be a personal message to me. I knew that the Lord spoke through dreams in the Bible as He did in the OT and NT (Genesis 15:1; 37:1-11; Luke 1: 5-23; Matthew 1:20; 2:13; Acts 10:1-6). Even though I was a relatively new Christian I was also aware that this dream had to be proved by Scripture before I could accept it as coming from the Lord. The Lord led me to read Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 and Acts 19: 18-20. The first group of verses gave my husband and I direction about what was dangerous. The second group of verses told us what to do before and as we prayed for discernment. We were convicted. It was surprising how large a garbage bag we filled with books, toys and even some costly art objects. We had even received a beautiful and costly signs-of-the-zodiac plate from a relative. Somehow, even though we were new believers, zodiacs and the One True God didn’t seem compatible. We decided to go by that old motto: when in doubt, throw it out. If it offended our eyes, we thought it would offend the Lord’s eyes. An old ouija board was the final item we stashed in the garbage bag. Here are the verses that convicted our hearts about removing the caustic “lye” from our lives:

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NIV):
10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; 

Acts 19:18-19 (NIV):
18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas 

After our family diligently prayed and discovered that we had a lot of physical housecleaning to do, we also went through a period of spiritual housecleaning. Psalm 51was our guide. I remember an old song based on that song: “Cleanse our hearts oh God; make us ever true; cleanse our hearts oh God, let us be like You.” About two years later when we taught a youth group, the Lord helped us realize that the word “lye” has an alternate spelling – “lie.” From that point on we became even more diligent over allowing anyone we loved to come in contact with a lie in case they were horribly burned or scarred.

Another Sarah Young book

In 2014 a series of events began that prompted my doing a great deal of reading. In the space of less than three weeks three different women of my age group at church discussed the book Jesus Calling in my presence. I had ignored the popularity of the book purposely because over 20 years ago I had been repeatedly presented with its predecessor and inspiration God Calling and had not wanted to read that either. Eventually, however, someone gave me God Calling as a gift and I realized the Lord wanted me to review it. I sat down and read it through in its entirety in 3-4 days. It was a book written by two anonymous “listeners” who were in fact being used as “channels” or “mediums” – an occult practice. The book was written in the first person so that the reader was to believe that God Himself was speaking. It did not stand up to any Biblical tests and especially failed the most important test: it did not use Scripture alone as an authority. And now twenty years later a woman named Sarah Young is using God Callingas an inspiration for Jesus Calling and it has become a 15 million copies best seller.

Again, I had no desire to read Jesus Calling. I came home and told my daughter about the latest encounter at church with the women of my age. She told me that quite a few women of her age had asked her to read it also; and then my granddaughter overheard us and relayed the same message. They asked me to read the book. A week after this discussion Warren Smith, a respected discernment minister, published a book titled Another Jesus Calling that shares his concerns about this devotional. Later I learned that Pastor Bob DeWaay had also written a lengthy article titled “Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young’s-Jesus Calling.” I found it interesting that he would call the book “toxic” recalling that “lye” is also considered toxic. Substantial excerpts from both of these men in their excellent reports will be included later in my analysis.

Yet another Sarah Young book

In my reading I first noticed that even in the Introduction to Jesus Calling Sarah Young makes some troubling remarks:

I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. (Jesus Calling, p. xii)

I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but they were helping me grow closer to God. (Jesus Calling, p. xii)

I have written them [my writings] from Jesus’ point of view; that is, the first person singular. (“I,” “Me,” “Mine,”) always refers to Christ. “You” refers to you, the reader, so the perspective is that of Jesus speaking to you. (Jesus Calling, p. xiii-xiv)

Yet these comments seem to me to totally contradict these Scriptures:

Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV):
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, and through Whom also He made the universe. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV):
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

Deuteronomy 4:2 (NIV):
2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you. 

Revelation 22:18 (NIV):
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. Has not Jesus already said everything that He came to say? 

Has He not said in 2Timothy that what He has already given us is all we need and that only those words in the Bible are “God-breathed” and inspired by Him? If He Himself has said in His Word that no more is to be added to what He has said, then isn’t the Jesus of Jesus Calling contradicting Himself? Isn’t this “another Jesus” (2Corinthians 11:4) speaking?

Is not Sarah Young challenging the sufficiency of Scripture?

Sarah Young’s Amazon page

Another topic mentioned over 300 times is that of “His Presence.” It implies the presence of the real Jesus Christ, but careful examination proves otherwise (1Thessalonians 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”). The following points are from the website report of noted discernment author, Pastor Bob DeWaay, titled “Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young’s-Jesus Calling.” This excerpt from Pastor DeWaay’s report begins with a quotation from Jesus Calling:

“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) 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 [Eckhart] Tolle does that. Yet Young has sold far more than 5 million books. [See Pastor DeWaay’s report:; link added.]

I found myself in full agreement with these statements. Christ sent the promised Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. His presence with us is a promise we already believe and have experienced; it is not an altered state of consciousness. Sarah Young refers to this mystical “Presence” over 300 times in her book. Yet Scripture tells us:

Acts 1:8-11 (NIV):
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” 

Notice that Jesus went up in bodily form and will come back in the same way and not as a spirit presence as Sarah Young presents Him.

Warren Smith has written a book entitled Another Jesus Calling which is devoted to the details of God Calling and Jesus Calling. In his book Warren delves even deeper into the extensive topic of the “Presence” that is so often emphasized in Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. Warren Smith noticed, “In Jesus Calling ‘Jesus’ promotes the experience of his ‘Presence'” above God’s Word. [Source:]

Warren Smith’s book

On p. 233 Ms. Young incorrectly misquotes Scriptures by adding the words “My Presence”: “My Word is a lamp to your feet; My Presence is a Light for your path.”[Emphasis mine] Additional references may be found on pp. 3, 13, 135, 352, 314 of Jesus Calling.

Yet that is not Biblically correct as we see when we compare it to Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” See additional Bible verses: Psalm 119: 103-104; 138:2; Luke 11:35; 2Timothy 3: 16-17. Yet the word “Presence” seems to appear more than the Word “Jesus” in Sarah Young’s writings. Interestingly, Jesus did promise that while his “Presence” would not be with His followers after He left them the Holy Spirit would be forever with them. Pastor Larry DeBruyn makes this clear distinction below in his beautifully titled article “The Present of ‘His Presence’.” Below are selected excerpts. I would encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

God’s Presence – Jesus’ Promise
Jesus promised that He would not leave His disciples to be orphans in the world after He departed. He would not abandon them. He promised to send to them another Comforter to be as equally present with them as He had been; the marvelous difference being that while Jesus had been present with the disciples, the Spirit of God would be present in them! The time of the Spirit’s indwelling presence however, would not come before Jesus’ glorification – that is, until after His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. Then Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter or Paraclete, to be His proxy Presence. Through the Holy Spirit Who proceeded from Him and the Father (John16:26, “whom I will send unto you from the Father”), the Lord Jesus Christ would abundantly infuse His Presence into the lives of those who by faith belonged to Him, both individually and collectively. As Jesus stated and John interpreted:

Pastor Larry’s booklet

“In the last day, that great day of the feast [The Feast of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39).

That coming of His Presence Jesus did not compare to a well, a creek or a stream, but to “rivers of living water” (plural), the supply of which might be compared to the Mississippi River and all its tributaries. But unlike the Mississippi, His divine presence would not be polluted, but pure – it would be living water.

Questions: Why are Christians seeking a divine presence that Jesus promised would abundantly flow in them? What is it that some Christians are seeking after that the Spirit of Christ does not already supply? Why do they need another voice, another visitation, or another vision? Why are some people unthankfully desirous of “something more” than what in God has already given to us? Why is it that some Christians, in the depth of their souls, are not seemingly at rest? (See Hebrews 4:9-10.)

God’s Presence – Pentecost…. 
This presence is real and abiding. Christ dwells in believers. This is “the hope of glory”(Colossians 1:27). In Christ, the Holy Spirit, who “is the earnest [down payment] of our inheritance,” has “sealed” [stamped] “us until the redemption of the purchased possession[our persons]” (Ephesians 1:13-14). Our eternal destiny involves His Presence until the completion of our redemption. As Jesus told His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Although Jesus would no longer be physically present even with His faithful followers, the Spirit, whom He would send to take His place, would, and by faith we have that presence NOW! The Spirit of Christ is both with us and in us! (Romans 8:9b) Hebrews tells the people of the promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5)

Question: Of this pledged-permanent presence, I would ask, “How can we meditate or contemplate ourselves into it?” The answer is, “We can’t!” By faith God gives it (Galatians 3:2). For this reason, I never pray for the Lord to be “with” me. He already is!…

His Proactive Presence….
The divine presence descends to us (John 3:13). Unlike Mystic Spirituality, we do not ascend to it. Jesus illustrated that the presence of the Spirit may be compared to a wind which blows upon a human soul (John 3:8), and we can no more control the presence of the Spirit than we can control the wind or the weather. As such, union with Christ cannot be activated or initiated by Mystic disciplines or rituals, but only cultivated. Union with Christ is reactive and interactive. God initiates, we respond. As to this important distinction, A.J. Gordon wrote that,

The method of grace is precisely the reverse of the method of legalism. The latter is holiness in order to union with God; the former, union with God in order to holiness.

We do not get at this union via the legalism of our own works or by engaging in rituals called “spiritual disciplines.” This union with Christ comes to all believers for reason of Holy Spirit baptism whereby they are “union-Ed” with Christ and with one another (1Corinthians 12:13). In the aftermath of the Spirit’s baptism, communion with the indwelling Spirit of Christ can be facilitated via our Bible reading (the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit do testify concerning Christ, John 5:39; 15:26), meditation on Scripture, prayer, witnessing, singing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” in our hearts and to each other, being thankful, submitting to one another, corporate worship, observing the Lord’s Table, and so forth (Acts 13: 48-52; Ephesians 5: 18-21)….

We began this writing by citing evangelical Christians who are in the mood of trying to experience the divine presence. Seemingly, they want to “feel” their way into it. Yet, the Bible teaches that the experience of God’s Presence in our lives depends upon His initiating His work both for us and in us. We can no more experience God’s Presence than we can resurrect ourselves from the dead or seat ourselves with Him in Heaven (Ephesians 2:1-10). This wonderful union can only be appropriated by objective faith, not by subjective feelings. [Source:]

These thoughts of Pastor DeBruyn warrant our fullest attention not just because we respect his stature as a discernment writer but, more importantly, because they will keep us from spiritual peril.

To be continued. . . . 

Source: Another Jesus Part 3