Jesus Calling, written by Sarah Young and published in 2004, is one of the best-selling books in history, and has had a powerful influence within the church. Young, who holds degrees from Wellesley College and Covenant Theological Seminary, has served as a missionary in Japan and Australia, and travelled in Christian circles all of her life, yet felt a need for something more than she had known in her Christian walk. What she sought was new revelations from Jesus. Her first extrabiblical encounter with Jesus, she claims, was while living at L’Abri following her college days. There one night she experienced a unique presence that she interpreted as being the Lord. She describes His presence as a warm mist which enveloped her (p. 19). Some years later Young read God Calling, touted by some as a devotional book written by two women who claimed that they were channeling words given to them by God. Warren Smith spends ten short chapters unravelling the dangers of God Calling and its New Age/occult connection. It was God Calling which would be the inspiration for Young’s Jesus Calling, as can be seen in the introduction of her book, “I know that God communicated to me through the Bible, but I yearned for more…I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying” (p. 53).
The primary danger of Jesus Calling is Young’s claim of receiving additional revelation from God and interpreting her experiences as being the presence of Jesus (see my review of Jesus Calling— http://svchapel.org/resources/book-reviews/4-christian-living/846-jesus-calling-enjoying-peace-in-his-presence-by-sarah-young-nashville-thomas-nelson-2004-382-pp-hard-15-99. Smith recognized the same issue but includes many others in his “twenty concerns” regarding Jesus Calling. He documents Young’s links with, and promotion of, New Age and occultic teachings including: dictation, visualization, co-creation, quantum leap and alchemy, all New Age concepts found in Jesus Calling. In addition the foundational teaching within New Age and Eastern religions, that God is in everyone, is prominent in Jesus Calling (pp. 111-116).
“Another Jesus” Calling is an excellent critique of Young’s book. It closes with appendixes showing scriptural teachings on the dangers of deception; the true gospel, and how to be more discerning. For anyone needing a clear understanding of the pitfalls of Sarah Young and her Jesus Calling, Smith’s little book is a welcome tool.
“Another Jesus” Calling, How False Christs are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer by Warren B. Smith (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2013) 174 pp., paper $9.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor/teacher, Southern View Chapel.