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."
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.