What is the definition of Scripture? Almost any Christian who has been born- again for any extended period of time will answer something like this: “Scripture is God’s specific written Word to His people.” If they have done their memory verse homework for Sunday school at any time in their lives they might even reference 2 Tim. 3:16 and say that it is “breathed out” by God and useful for correction, reproof, and training.
There is a best-selling “Christian” book right now called “Jesus Calling” that supposedly has quotes from Jesus, speaking directly to author Sarah Young. At first I thought she was using some kind of literary technique to write things that Jesus might say if He were here in the flesh but I have discovered that she claims these are truly the words of Christ.
“So wouldn’t that make them automatically Scripture?”, I ask my brothers and sisters in Christ.
“No of course not, the canon of Scripture is closed; God hasn’t given His Word in written form for over 2000 years; Genesis through Revelation is the only Scripture I read; don’t be a heretic!” is a common response to this question (as it should be)…
But if Sarah Young’s book contains the written words of Christ and we hold to the above definition, then “Jesus Calling” would demand a place as the 67th book of the Bible; how could we say otherwise? Are the words of Jesus not worthy to be included in our Bible? Are His words not God breathed?
Many people continue to contradict themselves by claiming that these are the words of Jesus but not Scripture (a paradoxical claim), and even Sarah Young uses this logic. A large portion of the book’s supporters will argue something like this, “Sarah Young just wrote down what God spoke to her personally. Since the messages don’t contradict Scripture and Young is just relaying a personal experience we can’t argue with her.”
But this argument is full of anti-logic. If this was just a personal message then why have millions of copies been sold, distributed, and used as daily devotionals (yes there is a devotional version now)? Just because the alleged “Jesus quotes” speak of God’s love for us, that doesn’t mean they are not in contradiction to Scripture; they are competing with Scripture and logically claiming to be Scripture without directly admitting it…
Please understand, Christian books are good things but they should be about the Bible; they should never take on the function of the Bible. I read someone’s response to an argument like this recently on social media and the writer stated, “That’s ridiculous! If that were true then preachers would only be allowed to read from the Bible every Sunday and not give any other human input.” But God has never condemned human input. Human input is part of preaching; it’s about speaking the message of the Bible. Preaching itself has never been considered straight Scripture reading.
Brothers and Sisters, could it be that Satan is sneaky? Is it at all possible that he could use a book that seems to line up with Scripture to train Christians who are new or weak in the Faith to look elsewhere to hear God’s voice? Doesn’t the enemy always use half-truths disguising himself as an “angel of light”? Do you think the false teachers that Jesus, Paul, James and Jude warn us about are people who will come out and openly blaspheme God every time? Hasn’t the enemy used “extra revelation” and supposed “new scripture” to deceive millions in other false religions? The half-truth that Satan used in the garden of Eden sounded good and even harmless on the surface but it lead to the fall of mankind and the brokenness of the universe.
Christians wake up! Do not be deceived by false teachers. Sarah Young is teaching something dangerous whether she admits it or not. We need to be vigilante and use discernment as the enemy continues to “blind people from the light of the glory of the gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Think about this, don’t just dismiss it as “over-thinking.” Even a “surface glance” should make us think as Tim Challies does, that “this ‘Jesus’ sounds suspiciously like a 21st century Western middle aged woman”.
Please understand that I am not condemning anyone who has read Jesus Calling, who likes it, or who has recommended it. I only write this warning because I care about you and I want to see God’s truth displayed in all parts of church life, especially in our songs, our preaching, our teaching, and the books we read. I invite all of you to check out the many good resources we have available at the book table every Sunday. All the books are staff recommendations, and good Christian literature is a passion we, the staff, share at Cornerstone.
By Worship Pastor Jesse Bass