The following is a sample chapter from the "RUN! It's Jesus
SARAH YOUNG'S NEW YORK TIMES INTERVIEW
Leading Christians have spoken or written about the problem of putting
words in the mouth of Jesus, as has been done in Jesus Calling.
Personally... I would abandon it immediately. If she claims
to be speaking Jesus words, I am no longer interested.
Its written in the first person for Jesus. I, Jesus,
will do these things. I am such-and-such, I know this. Writes
in the first person for Jesus. When you read it, its a very
warm, fuzzy, emotional effeminate Jesus. Ladies are eaten up with
this. Theres a shocking lack of discernment in the church
today, shocking lack of discernment. - Justin
I find Jesus Calling troublesome, and would not recommend it...Im
stuck on the fact that Young is selling these words as if they were
Gods words. And that (as R. C. Sproul often says) is
a serious theological no-no. - Cripplegate,
August 22, 2012
Has Sarah Young attempted to answer the claim that it is wrong
to put words in Jesus' mouth? I could only find one article that
addresses this. It is an October 25, 2013 article in the NY Times,
called A First-Person Defense of Writing in Jesus Voice.
To get an answer, the NY Times writer interviewed both Sarah Young
and her editor. (The
article is available here.)
The article quotes Sarah Young's editor at Thomas Nelson books, Kris
Bearss, as stating that Ms. Youngs critics just do not understand
the nuances of her project. Quoting the NY Times article:
Its one thing for a person to relay what they feel
that they have learned or gained through reading Scripture and prayer,
and through time with the Holy Spirit, Ms. Bearss said. Its
another thing for people to turn that into her saying that she is
writing a new version of Scripture or that she is speaking for the
Lord. Thats not the case.
Okay, let's take this statement at face value: she says Jesus
Calling is not scripture. Ms. Bearss also says that Jesus Calling
is what Sarah Young feels she has learned or gained through
reading Scripture and prayer, and through time with the Holy Spirt.
Thats interesting. This is not how Sarah Young described her
experiences in the original introduction to Jesus Calling.
But, putting that contradiction aside, Ms. Bearrs is clearly stating
that what is in Jesus Calling are not the words of the Jesus,
and Jesus Calling is not scripture.
So, if it is not scripture, why is it written as though it is
scripture? To have God speaking these devotions is to directly
imply they are scripture. When Jesus speaks, 100% of what He says
The article then quotes Sarah Young. (Note: Sarah Young is responding
to a questions sent to her via email.)
I agree that revelation has ceased in the sense that the
Bible is complete, Ms. Young wrote. However, what I
am doing is devotional writing, and I do so by asking Jesus to guide
my mind as I spend time with Himto help me think His thoughts.
What Sarah Young seems to be saying is that God guides her thoughts
so that she is thinking the thoughts God wants her to think. But,
because she is writing a devotional, when she writes down those thoughts
as coming from the lips of Jesus, they are not scripture.
Does that make sense? No.
To pray and ask God to guide our thoughts and actions is a good
thing. I hope you pray this way. I ask God to guide me when I
am working on each week's sermon. I'm asking God to guide me as I
write this book. And at times good ideas and phrases pop into my headthey
just seem to come out of nowhere. Sometimes a Biblical concept or
teaching suddenly becomes clear. I don't know if these are from God,
or are the result of my own studying and thoughts. I do know that
God is answering my prayers. But, that does not give me the liberty
to write my sermons, nor this book, as though God was speaking.
By the way, here is a thought that just popped into my mind. Who
is the helper sent to teach us and help us understand scripture? Whos
job is it to guide our thoughts, when God desires them
to be guided? Is it Jesus? No, it is the Holy Spirit. One of the roles
of the Holy Spirit is to be the helper who guides and teaches us:
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may be with you forever. - John 14:16
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in
My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance
all that I said to you. - John 14:26
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go
away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send Him to you. - John 16:7
Since it is the Holy Spirit who guides us, teaches us, and helps
us, would it not be better for Jesus Calling to be written
such that it was the Holy Spirit speaking? That would still be blasphemy,
but it would be closer to what the Bible teaches.
What does it mean to think God's thoughts after Him?
In the NY Times article Sarah Young states that she asks, Jesus
to guide my mind as I spend time with Him to help me think His
thoughts. What does scripture say about thinking the thoughts
of God? We can never fully comprehend the thoughts of God:
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways
My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts
than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9
There is a familiar saying: thinking God's thoughts after Him.
Is this what Sarah Young is talking about? Is this a Biblical; saying?
No, it is not from the Bible. This is a quote from Johannes Kepler
(1571-1630) in which he was describing science as "thinking God's
thoughts after Him." What this means is that as science reveals
more about the physical world, we learn more about God. Our understanding
of God grows as our knowledge of our world grows.
Does the Bible say anything about thinking God's thoughts?
No, not directly. However, there are passages that indicate we should
be thinking Gods thoughts. We are created in the image of God,
so we should only be thinking thoughts that God would think. Our thoughts
can never be as deep and comprehensive as Gods thoughts (Isaiah
55:8-9), but our thoughts should be in complete alignment with Gods
character. This is what it means to think Gods thoughts.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of
God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans
1st Corinthians chapter 2 says we have the Holy Spirit to guide us,
and He reveals the thoughts of God through scripture, what Paul refers
to as the things freely given by God.
The thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now
we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who
is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by
God. 1 Corinthians 2:11b-12
The Holy Spirit is God, and knows the depth of God and the thoughts
of God. The Holy Spirit is also the author of scripture. John MacArthur
The process of the Spirits transmission of Gods
truth is called inspiration. His truth cannot be discovered by man;
it can only be received. In order to be received, something must first
be offered. Gods truth can be received because it is freely
given. The Spirit who is from God, not the spirit of the world (that
is human wisdom) has brought Gods Wordwhich comprises
the things freely given us by God. The Bible is the Spirits
vehicle for bringing Gods revelation. John MacArthur,
The MacArthur New Testament Commentary 1 Corinthians, 1984, pages
62 and 63.
How is this accomplished? What do we need to do?
A.W. Tozer writes: To think God's thoughts requires much
prayer. If you do not pray much, you are not thinking God's thoughts.
If you do not read your Bible much and often and reverently, you
are not thinking God's thoughts. Those thoughts you are havingand
your head buzzes with them all day long and into the nightare
earthly thoughtsthoughts of a fallen race. They are the thoughts
of a lost society. They should not be our thoughts. -
Devotional, Cultivating Spiritual Disciplines
Tozer then goes on to urge his readers to be in scripture. To think
the thoughts of God your mind must be saturated with scripture.
We ought to learn to live in our Bible... Begin with the
Gospel of John, then read the Psalms. Isaiah is another great book
to help you and lift you. When you feel you want to do it, go on
to Romans and Hebrews and some of the deeper theological books.
But get into the Bible. Do not just read the little passages you
like, but in the course of year or two see that you read it through.
Devotional, Cultivating Spiritual Disciplines
There's the answer. To think God's thoughts, you need to live in
your Bible... constantly be in the Word of God. Saturate yourself
with God's Word.
Although Sarah Young may be doing this, she never mentions it. She
does say that I knew God communicated to me through the Bible,
but then she follows that with, but I yearned for more.
Implying that scripture was not sufficient. She needed more than what
God provided in the Bible. Apparently, instead of going deeper into
the Word as Tozer recommends, she preferred going directly to God
to receive personal messages from God. Thats
not what scripture tells us to do. (The above quotes, in italics,
are from the Introduction to the 2004 edition of Jesus Calling, page
Let the word of Christ [scripture] richly dwell within you,
- Colossians 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that
the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
What about the devotions she wrote? Do they recommend that you saturate
yourself in the Word of God? Again the answer is no. If anything,
Id say that Jesus Calling pretty much ignores reading the word
as a spiritual discipline. The result of not being saturated with
Gods Word will be that youll move further away from thinking
The Jesus Calling devotional is not truly Jesus calling. The
true Jesus is calling you to be in the Word. To turn to scripture...
read your Bible... dive deep into scripture... and as a result you'll
be going deep into God's thoughts and will learn to think Gods
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Calling devotional, , visit
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