Customer Review

148 of 181 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth it, June 28, 2013
This review is from: Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Hardcover)
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.

Although in the Introduction she acknowledges that she "knew that these writings were not inspired as Scripture is" and a few pages later she says "The Bible is, of course, the only inerrant [without error] Word of God," then why are the messages she received from Jesus put in the first person? If it is not truly Jesus speaking, she could have said "Jesus wants you to come to him and have rest in him." But when she says "Keep your `antennae' out to pick up even the faintest glimmer of My Presence," and those words are attributed directly to Jesus (and they don't sound like anything else he has ever said), then they have to be received on the same level as Scripture, or she has put her own thoughts into the mouth Jesus.

Ms. Young says in the introduction "I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day." In the article by Alan Miller on CNN's Belief Blog entitled "I'm-Spiritual-Not-Religious" he says "[This] attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more `true' than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us."

The great Bible teacher James Montgomery Boice, late pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church and author of many books about the Bible, wrote that the great issue of our day would not be the authority of the Bible, but its sufficiency. Would we trust it to be all that we need for life and godliness, or would Christians turn to other revelation and experiences? Jesus Calling represents just that trend. Young had the Bible, but found it insufficient.

I am guessing that many of the people who love Jesus Calling have found that just reading the Bible was insufficient for their spiritual needs. But if it takes hard work to get the sweetness out of the book God provided, then so be it. The only place you can be SURE you are hearing God's words is in God's Word, which is about the Word of God, Jesus. The illumination of the Holy Spirit will make verses shine, so that we are "taught, rebuked, corrected and trained in righteousness, so that we can find salvation in faith in Jesus Christ." (2 Timothy 3:15-17). What the Holy Spirit was never promised to do is to deliver new revelation to non-apostles, no matter how sincerely they wait and "listen."

Generations of Christians have found that the Holy Spirit has faithfully fed them and led them into deep communion with the mind of Christ through the Scriptures as they have learned the disciplines of reading, meditating on the Word, and acquired the tools to study it. Developing wisdom is hard, but it takes us from the "milk" that Paul describes as the diet of the Corinthians to the "meat" (1 Corinthians 3: 1-2).

This brings me to another of my issues with this book. Ms. Young says near the end of her introduction: "I have found themes of His Peace becoming more prominent in my writing. I'm sure this tendency reflects my personal need. However, when I get to know people, I find that most of them also desire the balm of Jesus' Peace." No doubt.

But is that all that God wants us to hear from him? Only messages of peace and comfort? Ms. Young thinks so (and says so, in the introduction), and her messages are consistently filled with that theme. Yet if you take even a very simple read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan, like the one devised by Robert Murray M'Cheyne (available as a pamphlet at or on Redeemer's booktable), you will find yourself encountering a complex, transcendent God, one who is holy, mysterious, righteous--not a tame God. He does promise his peace, deeply and profoundly, but there are many other things that God has said that we need to hear, or he wouldn't have given us the whole Bible.

In particular, as one former fan of Jesus Calling observed, there is "nothing outward facing, ministry-minded, or sacrificial" in the messages of Jesus Calling.

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.

This review is from Kathy Keller.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 11, 2013 2:42:20 PM PDT
Tony says:
I pray that people will here directly from Jesus (via scripture) instead of relying on this book.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2014 11:00:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2014 11:02:26 AM PDT
Cheryl Meril says:
I was wondering if you ever thought why it's necessary for Pastors and the Holy Spirit to lead us to certain things when there's intereference in hearing the voice of God? Much like we first hear a symphony we wish to play in and be a part of, this book is much like a symphony of the Holy Spirit inviting people into Christianity so they might seek their local church to take the first steps of baptism. How sad anyone could find a problem with that.

This reviewer isn't a verified customer.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2014 11:03:29 AM PDT
Cheryl Meril says:
P.S. Sarah cites scripture to back up her journal entries, how sad that you are so opposed to this work of the Holy Spirit.

Posted on Oct 3, 2014 10:44:56 AM PDT
Ingrid says:
I agree: God's word is not only historical and prophetic but is a love letter to us. Isn't BETTER to read and hear directly from the "author" of the letter then to hear from another what he or she thinks the author is trying to communicate? Problem: Christians tend to read more books about the Bible, God, and Jesus, than reading the Bible itself. VERY sad.

Posted on Jan 27, 2015 12:03:51 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 27, 2015 12:04:20 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 17, 2015 7:02:22 PM PST
Great Review! Get it from the Bible.
Speaking with the first person singular pronoun "I" is okay if it is indeed you speaking but saying "I" as if you are Jesus is the definition of delusional.

Supposedly, according to the author, she is speaking on behalf of Jesus but in 365 pages of "dialogue" with Jesus there is
No Danger
No Woe
No Satan
No Warning
No concern for evangelism
No concern for the unreached
No sacrifice
No suffering
No Rebuke
No Repentance
No Law
No 10 Commandments

Maybe I have a different Bible, but I can not read just three pages of the gospels and not find something on the above topics. How did Sarah Young's Jesus avoid this in 365 pages?

No I am not a verified purchase because I will not waste my money. This book was given as a gift and I am going to put this in the garbage can. What scares me the most is that this is listed in Amazon as #1 Seller in Christian devotionals. I will give it one star because it has a nice cover though.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2015 8:00:24 PM PST
K. Frazier says:
It's a devotional, not a study guide to the Bible. Such an odd criticism.

Posted on Apr 4, 2015 11:39:22 AM PDT
Tara Renee says:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths... For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3 & 4)
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