A Brief, Gentle Defense of “Jesus Calling”

I have recently read multiple posts or articles questioning the integrity/appropriateness of the popular devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  Most of the controversy seems to stem from the author’s device of using first person to describe “conversations” with Jesus.  The author freely states that these words are not “infallible” or “canonical”, but simply descriptive of conversations with Jesus during devotional periods.

I do not see anything wrong with that, given the disclaimers in the Forward/Introduction.  Use of first person is a powerful device to describe how the messages came to her.  This device has been used in many sermons/homilies, especially around Easter.  I do not want to add to the controversy or continue it as a doubtful disputation.  But, I would be remiss if I let this criticism pass without telling my side.

Many people have quiet times with Jesus.  Many experience Jesus talking to them during this time.  Every Sunday (or Saturday for Sabbath keepers) we would be without the weekly sermon if no one ever repeated what Jesus had spoken to them during these quiet times of fellowship with Christ.  So what is the problem?  Certainly, it could not be the fact that Sarah Young dares to speak out as a woman, with a separate and distinct relationship with Jesus! What part of Galatians 3:28 do you not understand?

Galatians 3:28 (NKJV)
28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

I am suspicious of those who say, Mark 9:38-40 (ASV)
38  … we saw one casting out demons in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followed not us.

The reply is poignant:

39  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.
40  For he that is not against us is for us.

It seems to me that we might take our lead from the Bible itself in this matter:

Acts 5:34-39 (NKJV)
34  Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.
35  And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.
36  For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.
37  After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.
38  And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
39  but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.” 

That’s the best advice I can give, and that’s all I have to say about that!


15 thoughts on “A Brief, Gentle Defense of “Jesus Calling”

  1. I just got my coffee and went downstairs. My wife just got up and went to get her cup of coffee. She’s back in bed with the light on and her Jesus Today in hand. Jesus Today is also a Sarah Young writing. My wife uses it as a warm up. After reading the daily page from Jesus Today she moves on the the Word of God.

    If Jesus Today or Jesus Calling is your only reading of the day, then I’d say, “Hopefully you find time to also read the Bible. It is necessary for growth.”

    In my view, Sarah Young simply models through these devotional readings her desperate need for Jesus and the Word of God. She did not write those as a substitute for the Word of God. Her bio also models a desperate need for Jesus and the Word of God.

  2. I have had issues with being judgemental to my detriment in the past. I have learned a lot and lost alot because of my “righteous judgement”. With that being said I now try to see the good.

    She wrote a devotional, not a new translation. She gave a preface. Take her writing for what it is. Stay in the word. If people are that way they had better make sure they arent watching secular television, secular music, don’ts lie, dont cheat, don’t lust, don’t don’t don’t. ..

    Get the idea. I agree with your read on the subject.

  3. Welcome! Thank you for subscribing to follow my blog. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and enjoy the photos I take of life’s events as seen through the lens of my camera.

  4. My husband and I have been praying for discernment. We had a friend give us Jesus Calling, which we began to use for a devotion between us (we haven’t done this for a long time). My friend then called and said she had been deceived because of watching a one hour interview with a man who (has a book which he is selling). That one hour convinced her that she had been wrong. Now she is warning all the people she gave the book to. My husband and I are reading this book and comparing it to the scriptures and to Jesus Calling. I have been “digging” to find answers and discernment. Actually it has been good for both my husband and myself….it is forcing us to grow prayfully in discernment and in prayer for all those concerned. Thank you for your post…it was encouraging to me personally.

    1. It’s all about heart attitude…..putting on the loving attitude of Christ. Peace beer unto all of you! Was the article I wrote settling to you and your husband on this issue?

  5. Melissa,
    Thanks for taking a moment to tell me about your experience. Often, criticism is used to try to influence conformity of thought. I think, however, that you can learn from unconventional forms.
    You are in for a treat, with Jesus Calling devotional products. Peace be unto you!

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