“Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Jesus CallingApparently, the fascination with this book by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, isn’t going away anytime soon. Published almost ten years ago, this devotional has topped the Christian charts for the last couple of years. Even today, it is the #1 devotional on Amazon, and the #9 book overall in “Religion and Spirituality.”

To be honest, I have not read this devotional. And I do not plan to. Many, many men and women whom I respect and trust have, and I feel that I have enough of the gist of the book to understand what it is and what some of its major problems are. After my wife received a copy of this devotional last year as a gift, I was forced to look at it a little and give her my advice as to whether she should read it or not. After looking at it and reading many reviews, I decided the answer was a resounding “NO.”

I wanted to just provide you a quick roundup here of some notable and extremely helpful reviews of this book in order to help you make an informed decision about whether or not to read this devotional (or even whether or not you need to quit reading it if you’ve already started…)

Review by Tim Challies

As I have spoken to others about the book, I’ve heard some people say that this book is written as if Jesus is speaking to the reader. But it’s important to know that Young makes a far more audacious claim—this is Jesus speaking, through her. The messages he has given her, she now passes on to us.”

Jesus Calling is, in its own way, a very dangerous book. Though the theology is largely sound enough, my great concern is that it teaches that hearing words directly from Jesus and then sharing these words with others is the normal Christian experience. In fact, it elevates this experience over all others. And this is a dangerous precedent to set. I see no reason that I would ever recommend this book.”

Review by Michael Horton

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. According to the Reformation stream of evangelicalism, God speaks to us in his Word (the arrow pointing down from God to us) and we speak to him in prayer (the arrow directed up to God). However, Jesus Calling confuses the direction of these arrows, blurring the distinction between God’s speech and our response.”

Review by Kathy Keller

If Sarah Young, the author of the words attributed to Jesus, had only used “He” instead of “I” in her book, about half of my objection to it would be gone. However, in publishing these as messages she received from “listening to God,” she has left us in a quandary.”

In the Bible, we have all we need. John 14:21 says: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” If you want to experience Jesus, learn how to find him in his Word. His real Word.”

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