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Wordwise Insight, Issue #111
November 14, 2013


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Is Sarah Young's book "Jesus Calling" good or bad? My critique references about 75 verses of Scripture as I seek to answer that question.

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Jesus Calling Critique

(Is Jesus Calling a good devotional book?)

Recently, two members of my family, coincidentally, were given copies of Sarah Young's 2004 book of daily devotions, Jesus Calling. After reading the book through, I have some observations and concerns to share. My hope is that they will stimulate your thinking, even if you disagree.

The book purports to be a series of messages coming directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a startling claim. Though Mrs. Young affirms that "the Bible is the only inerrant Word of God" (p. xiii), that does not do away with a significant problem here.

We are left with only two or three options when it comes to evaluating her assertion. If it's truly the Lord Jesus who is speaking, then these words too must be inerrant (Matt. 24:35; Tit. 1:2), and she has become the Lord's inspired prophet (cf. Jer. 1:5, 9). In that case, it would seem we need to consider adding Sarah Young's book to the other sixty-six in the Bible.

On the other hand, if the devotional meditations on these pages come from the author's own imagination, then she is putting words in the mouth of Christ, words that in most cases (excepting when she quotes Scripture) He never spoke–and some that He never would speak. Though there are several Scripture references at the bottom of each reading, often they do not support--sometimes cannot support--the teaching espoused in what her "Jesus" says. In effect, she has created an imitation Jesus.

Mrs. Young's account of her spiritual quest leading up to the production of the book is described in the Introduction. It includes this intriguing experience: "Suddenly I felt as if a warm mist enveloped me. I became aware of a lovely Presence [always capitalized], and my involuntary response was to whisper, ‘Sweet Jesus.' This utterance was totally uncharacteristic of me" (p. vii).

Was this occurrence truly of the Lord?...

(To read the remainder of the article, click on Jesus Calling Critique.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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