Monday, September 10, 2012

Sarah Young, was it really Jesus Calling, or someone else?

Sarah Young has a special relationship with Jesus. While we all seek closeness with the Savior, and an intimate walk is to be praised, Ms Young's definition of intimacy with Christ is vastly different from mine. The excerpt below is from her book Jesus Calling. The book was reviewed by Tim Challies and the book has a host of doctrinal problems and issues. It is not recommended.

I’m not looking at doctrinal things in this essay. Instead, I am going to look at Ms Young's statements about the feelings and experiences she had with the "Presence" during her devotional and prayer times. They are part of a trend I'd identified earlier this summer, over-romanticizing Jesus. Ultimately it is a centuries-long outgrowth of the Gnostic attack of depreciating Him.

In this excerpt from her book, Ms Young wrote,

"One night I found myself leaving the warmth of our cozy chalet to walk alone in the snowy mountains. I went into a deeply wooded area, feeling vulnerable and awed by cold, moonlit beauty. The air was crisp and dry, piercing to inhale. Suddenly I felt as if a warm mist enveloped me. I became aware of a lovely Presence, and my involuntary response was to whisper, ‘Sweet Jesus.’ This utterance was totally uncharacteristic of me, and I was shocked to hear myself speaking so tenderly to Jesus. As I pondered this brief communication, I realized it was the response of a converted heart; at that moment I knew I belonged to Him. This was far more than the intellectual answers for which I’d been searching. This was a relationship with the Creator of the universe."

Besides being embarrassing as faux-poetical teenage tripe of the most ridiculous sort, there is something here I want you to be aware of. It's her use of romantic allusions and language more akin to language found in dime novel bodice-rippers than in referring to the Holy God of Israel. I've written before about the terrible trend of 'Jesus is my Boyfriend' and the carnality inherent in that particular depreciation. Here we find it again, with a tinge of sexuality and worse, apparent forays into mythological mating.

First, a response in biblical terms regarding Ms Young's moonlight walk as she described it. She says, 'at that moment I knew I belonged to Him.' Presumably by faith she has already been the recipient of a converted heart through the grace of Jesus, but it was only after she had a vulnerable, moonlight walk with her boyfriend Jesus that she knew she was saved? It was only 'at that moment' she knew she belonged to Him? Her personal, temporal experience cemented her faith and not the Holy word?

Yet, the bible says-

"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." (1 John 3:23)

Ms Young wrote about the impetus for the book. “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…”

Is not the bible sufficient for all revelation from God? It is supposed to be. Faith is believing on His name, not the experiences or revelations we receive from an unknown source.

Jesus is not your boyfriend. He is not your lover. Compare her language about being with Jesus to Mary's response in Luke 1 to the angel who had just told Mary she would conceive. When Gabriel came to tell Mary she would bear a Son by the Spirit 'overshadowing' her, (Luke 1:35) there were no descriptions of warm mist or sweet presence or being enveloped ... or anything involuntary. What Mary responded was "And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”" (Luke 1:38).

When realizing she was in the presence of a holy angel of God, (never mind Jesus Himself), how Mary felt was acutely agitated and greatly troubled. (Luke 1:29). And Luke 1:46-55 records Mary's response to the news. She didn't say "I belong to Him" but, "My soul magnifies the LORD." She didn't say, "This is a relationship with the Creator of the Universe" but, "he has looked on the humble estate of his servant."

Seeing Ms Young's fervent desire to have personal revelations delivered to her from Jesus, her automatic writing of the conversations she then turned into a best-selling devotional, and her responses to the 'Presence" as compared to the actual responses from people in the bible when they were in His presence, tells me that what Ms Young experienced was not from Jesus.

So? What was it?

If you are a believer and you read Greek mythology, you'll notice the gods were capricious and were always attracted to the people of earth, particularly the young maidens. These gods, who never practiced self-restraint, were always looking down and noticing this maiden or that one, falling in love or lust with one they had spotted in a forest glen or by the seaside or some such. They were forever abandoning their estate on Mt Olympus. They frequently came down to ravish a maiden or two. Since they were not flesh, they took the forms of other things to do the deed; a husband, a swan, a golden cloud, etc. When the maidens got pregnant, they birthed a demi-god, who were strong and mighty and had powers.

Hercules was one of these hybrids. Achilles was another.

The bible says, "the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. ... The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown." (Genesis 6:2,4).

The bible records that after the fall and before the flood, the earth was very evil. (Gen 6:5) Jesus said those were the Days of Noah and the time right before His second coming would be like that again. (Mt 24:36-39). One of the elements that made the world so evil then were the mighty men who were on earth in those days, ransacking the world and polluting the people’s hearts. The Greek myths are vestigial memories of the actual events of the Nephilim when they were on the earth in those days, re-written to suit satan's preferred ending.

The sons of God are angels. It is fallen angels the verses refer to. The verse says what it says. The angels are spirit people, created by God, but nonetheless, they assumed human form somehow and procreated with women on earth. John MacArthur said whenever a holy angel came to earth, they looked like men. The unholy angels do the same. (2 Cor 11:14-15). He said he doesn't know how the biology or physiology works with the fallen angels referred to in Genesis 6, whether there is a closet of human suits in heaven and a fallen angel picks one when he comes to earth, lol, or if their spirit infiltrates a human from birth or at some point after, or something else we are not privy to. Ultimately, we don't understand 'how' it happened but we believe it did happen.

The ways the Greek ‘gods’ (fallen angel Nephilim) are said to have come to the maidens were varied. In one of them, and it is this one that most closely resembles Ms Young's experience, Danae's story is told.

Remember, Ms Young said she was walking alone, felt vulnerable, and a warm mist suddenly enveloped her. She involuntarily whispered 'Sweet Jesus.' At that moment she ‘knew she belonged to him.'

Danae was a vulnerable maiden whose father had locked her in a dungeon so no men could violate her. The Greek god Zeus, disguising himself as a cloud, secretly entered her chamber and rained down on her a shower of gold, irresistibly enveloping her in his presence. Danae became entranced and opened herself to him.

From which source does Ms Young's experience seem closer to? Mary's when she was overshadowed by the Spirit? Or Danae's when she was overcome by Zeus?

It is a concern that Ms Young did not have faith in Jesus according to what the bible says, but 'belonged to him' only after she had a romantic moonlight sensuous moment when a cloudlike presence overwhelmed her. Just like Danae's…

Please be diligent in using your spiritual radar. Be aware of what you are reading or listening to. Are the words from the book or sermon from the bible, or from someone's experiences? Are the scriptures they use based on proper context? Do they raise or lower Jesus from His exalted position? Satan is subtle. Detecting the gnosticism or the legalism or any other -ism is hard to do, but if you feel your radar going off, pay attention. Pray to the Spirit to lead you into truth, and to show you from the bible how the item you are studying or listening to may or may not be sound. He affirms truth as much as He shows where error may be.

Ultimately, the more more you study the bible the better you will be able to spot a counterfeit. And remember, Jesus is NOT your boyfriend...but satan wants to be.

16 comments :

  1. This was a light bulb post for me. I've always wondered at Luke 17:26 "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." How could people be taken in by the fallen angels in our day or to such a degree? I've just been puzzled by that, but here you have presented a very plausible theory. I look at this post and then at society and now I can see that we are just ripe for the picking. The days of Lot have been obvious for a while. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. I want to thank you for opening my eyes to all of this contemplative prayer stuff. Imagine my surprise when I walked into my own church and looked up and there on the information board was a simulcast inviting all to see this teacher Beth Moore. All the ladies are gaga over this Beth Moore. Since reading all of your articles, I have been in battle with trying to tell them about the deception...sadly to no avail. I think they think I am crazy or something but to tell the truth...it's ok. All I can is tell them. They take it from there. And this Sarah Young is as interesting as Beth Moore! It is sad to see this sweeping across the churches in America. Again, thank you for opening my eyes.

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    1. Hi Kelly,

      You're welcome! John MacArthur just started a series on his blog yesterday, "What is Spiritual Formation and why does it matter?" He mentions that in the series he will address "extrabiblical spiritual practices, such as contemplative prayer, silence, meditation, creative expression, and yoga. In fact, some of the most popular methods of spiritual formation have been lifted from Catholicism, new age mysticism, or other religions and rebranded with biblical-sounding terminology."

      http://www.gty.org/Blog/B120910

      Should prove to be eye-opening. I encourage you to read it and if it suits, maybe share with your pastor or teachers or women who cling to Mrs Moore and others who promote these practices. Maybe they will listen to information written by MacArthur -who is considered an elder of our faith...

      Thank YOU for trying to share the truth about these teachings with your women members. You're right, all we can do is share and let the Holy Spirit take it from there. I had the same experience as you- where I used to go to church, they wouldn't listen. I feel so sad about this.

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    2. Elizabeth, I esp. loved your last 2 lines!!

      "Ultimately, the more you study the bible the better you will be able to spot a counterfeit. And remember, Jesus is NOT your boyfriend...but satan wants to be." I'm going to copy this & add it to my files... just for a mere needed reminder from time to time!

      And you were one of the first (I could find online) with the courage to speak up about Beth Moore ~ coming from a Bapt. background myself, the ladies just **LOVE** her!! I googled info about her after a friend & I got into a debate re: something she'd heard from Beth Moore (insinuating that then...."it just HAD to be right!"!!) That's unfortunately, just how this friend is: if a *SCHOLAR* or "popular" Bible teacher said it -- then it's GOT TO BE TRUE!!

      *sigh* ~ this world sadly lacks for Bereans.

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  3. Where specifically does Sarah Young call Jesus her "boyfriend"? And where do you read in anything she has written any "sexual" or "bodice ripping" language? Please explain how a passion for Christ and a deeper relationship with Him is "sexual" simply because it is expressed in emotional terms and not intellectual terms. I fear you would also consider Amy Carmichael, Elizabeth Elliot and many others of previous generations in the same light.

    I see a problem here alright - and it's not with her.

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    1. Anonymous, I did post a lengthy Sarah Young quote, then I pulled out the specific words and phrases from that quote I considered sensual and highlighted them by quotation marks and also discussed them by name. Perhaps if you go back and re-read with that in mind you'll see the answer to your question.

      There is nothing wrong with emotional responses to God's work or the Holy Spirit. David's emotional response in one famous scene was to praise and dance, and much of the Psalms are his emotional response to Him. It is the depreciation of Christ in our language to make Him less than He is, combined with the sensual and sexual, that I object to.

      It does not bolster your comment to throw in an ad hominem attack at the end, either. If you have a problem with me, you can simply not visit this site. You have that option. But if you'd like to engage in a a mature and honest discussion, then I'm all for it.

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    2. I agree wholeheartedly with Anonymous. And I did go back and re-read your quote of Sarah Young. I see nothing sensual or sexual - nothing that sounds like Jesus is her boyfriend. Certainly nothing as sensual or sexual as the Song of Solomon (in Holy Scripture), which many believe is meant to represent the relationship between Christ and his bride - the church.

      I find her writings in keeping with the Psalms and mirror the spiritual relationship of many Godly men and women, including David, over the centuries.

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    3. I read about the first 5 paragraphs. Then I had to stop, because I didn't read any Jesus is her boyfriend type of stuff in there either. Nothing wrong with being in the beauty of God's awesome creation and feeling emotions that would cause one to speak out, "Sweet Jesus." Reminds me of Gladys Alward.
      I don't think I'll read the rest of this article since the first 5 paragraphs seems to misrepresent what was quoted of Sarah Young.

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  4. " I am his beloved and he is mine"Song of Solomon 6:3 comes to mind after reading your comments , Elizabeth. I was very skeptical of this little book EVERYONE was reading.I looked into it. Though the intro IS truly sappy I don't believe it is as "bad" as you ( rather harshly) describe. My goodness, we are the Bride of Christ! This is not supposed to be a love-less pragmatic marriage. There is a JOY in His presence that is often "effervescent"(if I may be so bold as to be emotional). As far as your "boyfriend" comment, oh my,where did you get that?? Talk about "ad hominem attacks"!
    Jesus Himself said"henceforth, I no longer call you servants, I call you friends". There IS an intended intimacy with our Saviour. Look at John as he "leans upon Jesus' bosom, the disciple whom Jesus loved" John 13:23. Shall we also criticize those "sappy" hymn writers down through the ages who broke out in "sentimental" praise ? Perhaps, but I think it pleases the Lord when we bear with one another in love. Yes, correcting and admonishing when there is ERROR, but oh how it must grieve the Father when we attack one another. Do you really believe that Sarah is "leading people astray" when she points to Jesus and the Word of God on every page? I would like to hear your further thoughts.

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    1. Yes Jesus Calling is that bad and yes I believe Sarah is leading people astray. She is doing this because she does NOT point people to the word, but points them to the word filtered through her own thoughts from having channeled 'him'. The demon possessed slave girl pointed people to Apostle Paul and the word, but Paul still exorcised her. Why? Just pointing tot he word isn't enough, The SOURCE has to be right.

      It pleases the Lord when we stand up for Him in truth. It does not please the Lord to avoid doctrinal discussions simply because we want to get along (Read Hebrews 5). A false unity absent sound doctrine will lead people to myths, as Sarah's book is- a myth.

      Michael Horton, a credible and well-regarded pastor, wrote a review of Jesus Calling two weeks ago. In his review, which I encourage you to read here
      http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2013/03/05/review-of-jesus-calling/#comment-30949

      Horton said

      "In terms of method, then, Jesus Calling is a “something more” book. At the very least, I believe that it encourages believers to see God’s Word as hum-drum and to ascend into the heavens or descend to the depths to discover a word that will make Jesus more present in our daily lives."

      See, Sarah Young points people to the word, but at the same time says the word wasn't *enough*. She wanted something more, but the word is totally fulfilling for all things. There isn't "more." (2 Tim 3:16).

      As far as listening to God's voice, Horton's comment on the comment stream under his review is excellently put (Mike Horton March 7th, 2013 at 3:52 pm )

      he ended his comment thusly:

      "In short, as Luther and Calvin both said, to look for another path, another means of communication from our Lord, is to “seek him outside the way.” The only safe place to find a holy God in mercy, clothed in his gospel, is where he has promised to meet us in peace."

      Peace only comes when someone points to the REAL Jesus, and leave off the mystical calling.

      O how it must grieve the father when we "attack" one another? Really?? Was He grieved when Paul called Hymenaeus's teaching gangrene? (2 Tim 2:17). Or when he put some out of the church so satan could teach them not to blaspheme? (1 Tim 1:20). I don't see a rebuke by the Lord toward Paul when he called out the false teachers.

      And that is because you mix up discernment with "attack." An attack is saying something against a person, a discernment is saying something about their teaching after having compared it to scripture. If their teaching comes up short, and is misleading the people, we say so. Otherwise we aren't loving JESUS enough, never mind each other.

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  5. Here's a quote from "40 Days with Jesus" by Sarah Young:

    Day 33:
    "I AM ALL AROUND YOU, hovering over you even as you seek my face. I am nearer than you dare believe, closer than the air you breathe." (emphasis in orig) Contrast that with what the Bible says:

    2 Cor 13:5 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith... Jesus Christ is in you..."

    Col 1:1 "... keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."

    This little booklet is full of false teaching, which are excerpts from SY's "Jesus Calling" and "Jesus Lives" books. Personally, I would give the booklet to my Sunday school kids as an exercise in discernment... unfortunately the booklets were passed out to the women at Church as Mom's day gift (oh how sad is my heart).

    As Elizabeth points out, satan is subtle. If it's not Jesus Who is hovering, who is it? It can't be the Holy Spirit, Who seals us in Christ (Eph 1:13) when we hear & believe the Gospel (that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again according to Scripture; 1 Cor 15:3,4). So if it's not Jesus or the Holy Spirit hovering -- who is it?

    Thanks, Elizabeth, for your posts. God Bless us and lead us into all Truth. ~Brenda

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  6. Warren Smith is an ex New Ager, and expert on the ocuult and the new spirituality. Author of excellent must read books such as The Light That Was Dark and False Christ Coming Does Anyone Care? Here is an audio from YouTube of Warren Smith exposing Jesus Calling for the new age occult book with its counterfeit Jesus (on par with the same demon that posed as Jesus in book A Course In Miracles and hard core new ager Neal Donald Walshes book Coversations With God (whos "Jesus" claimed that what Hitler did to the Jews caused no harm but set them free like butterflies) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKMES26UCMM&feature=c4-overview&list=UUub_6nxRicPxvUUUs92f-DQ

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  7. If Sarah Young did in fact receive all of her entries in all of her books from God, she would in fact have the most intimate, most personal relationship with Christ in all of history, in all of the Bible, in all of Christendom. The lack of discernment in the Christian community is breathtaking.

    Paul writes in 2 Corinth. 11:3-4 "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough."

    What will you we do with this different Jesus, and different spirit. It appears many, many are putting up with Sarah Young readily enough. Sad, scary and dangerous.

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    1. Really, REALLY great comment. Thank you so much.

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  8. Although I myself would not recommend Sarah Young's book after reading a few pages, I feel your interpretation of her writing as sensual is off base and can be just as detrimental to the body of Christ and His Gospel. Although people I know, both friends and family have been encouraged by the book to have a closer relationship with The Lord, most do not seek Him further by studying His Word. Sarah does include scriptural references, but that alone does not encourage readers to actually read them. Seeking The Lord without trying to get to truly know Him through reading His 'Letter' to us and doing what He said, but rather seeking Him through experiences only is not really seeking Him. In the same way, studying His 'Letter' and obeying the letter of the Law without also expecting to hear from Him by the Holy Spirit is lacking as well.

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    1. Thank you Rene. Well said.

      If I gave the impression we do not hear from the Spirit, I'm sorry, We do. It's called Providence, conscience, and patience. The Spirit does lead. But saying that we can hear the Lord personally and verbatim, is most assuredly *not* the Spirit. I want to make that clear.

      I believe you give me too much credit when you say this one essay can damage the body of Christ, lol.

      Further reading:
      How do we know when we hear the Holy Spirit? When do we know that the Holy Spirit or God has spoken to our heart? How do we know we are doing God's will and not our will?

      http://carm.org/questions/other-questions/how-do-we-know-when-we-hear-holy-spirit

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