Friday, December 09, 2016

The Marketing of "Jesus" Always

Just in time for the holidays! 
A "Jesus" who especially speaks to women! 

This page came up for "Jesus Always" in the Amazon.com search
By Sarah H. Leslie

Any book that puts words in the mouth of God (Jesus), other than the words of scripture, is giving those words authority they do not deserve. That is very dangerous, and it makes this a book a book no Christians should be reading. 
~Pastor Steve Hudgik, Should You RUN From Jesus Always? p. 171.

Just in time for Christmas season this year, there is a massive launching of Sarah Young's new book Jesus Always, subtitled interestingly enough Embracing JOY in His Presence. There's that word "presence" again. "Presence" appears to be the latest theme of the New Age Evangelical religion. Sarah Young's particular "Jesus" seems to especially desire that women feel his "presence". So this is how he is being advertised.

Previously we have written about the popularity of Sarah Young's books, especially this time of year. See "Merry Christmas from Sarah Young’s False Christ!" about our discernment friend Warren Smith's book Another Jesus Calling: How False Christs are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer, where Smith suggests that Young’s “Jesus” sounds "more like the Grinch who stole Christmas than the man from Galilee; more like a stranger than a savior." We also examined Pastor Steve Hudgik's first book RUN! It's Jesus Calling in our review titled simply "KNOCK, KNOCK..."
Jesus is "calling" and for sale at a local KMart this holiday season


This post is a brief overview of Pastor Steve Hudgik's latest critical expose' of Sarah Young's "Jesus" who speaks in the first person in her bestselling books, Jesus Calling and Jesus Always. Pastor Hudgik's latest book is titled Should You RUN! From Jesus Always? A revealing look at the Jesus Always devotional book. Here is Pastor Hudgik's book cover where his title urges people to RUN from Sarah Young's "Jesus":
Pastor Hudgik's new book is available at Amazon.com
or http://www.notjesusalways.com

Why RUN from "Jesus"?
Just because a spirit or a voice says that he is "Jesus" doesn't mean that this is the Jesus Christ of the Bible. There are obvious problems with Sarah Young's "Jesus" and Pastor Hudgik sums them up quite succinctly:

In 2015 I wrote a book called RUN, It’s Jesus Calling warning Christians about the unbiblical nature of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling devotional book. In October 2016 a new devotional book by Sarah Young, Jesus Always, Embracing JOY in His Presence, was released. It retains the New Age mystical messages of the original book, but does more to hide them within Christian words and beliefs. The abundance of Christian-speak serves as camouflage and the unsuspecting are unknowingly introduced to unbiblical practices and false teaching disguised as Christian truth.... (p. 1) [emphasis added]

"Jesus" is now "calling" on the radio! A Thomas Nelson ad specially marketed to women.

Pastor Hudgik proceeds to summarize his concerns about this "Jesus":

Jesus Always is a devotional that poses as a Christian book… a “shepherd” guiding Christians in the practices that promise to help them feel “closer” to Jesus. But, like Sarah Young’s first book, Jesus Calling, it is a white-washed tomb – it sounds good on the surface, but inside it is filled with death.
 

Jesus Calling had many obvious problems, such as "Jesus" saying things that directly contradict scripture, misunderstanding scripture, and promoting a New Age agenda. In Jesus Always it is obvious that effort has gone into making those types of errors harder to detect.
 

For example, Jesus Always uses an abundance of Christian phrases and terms. It talks about sin, the cross, repentance, and Biblical practices such as reading scripture. The Jesus of Jesus Always even refers to himself as “your Savior” and he “quotes” scripture frequently.
 

But the truth about Jesus Always comes out when you examine what this “Jesus” actually says. In many cases he doesn’t even understand what scripture is saying. He is nothing more than a poor caricature of the real Jesus. The Jesus Always devotion has the appearance of an angel of light, but it carries readers away from the true Jesus and toward unbiblical beliefs and practices. (p. 4) [emphasis added]
Graphic from Pastor Hudgik's YouTube video discussion.

In chapters 9 and 10 Pastor Hudgik outlines his concerns about Sarah Young's "Jesus" and his insistence that his readers practice "My Presence" through eastern (New Age) meditative techniques.

DON'T Trust this "Jesus"! 
Throughout his book Pastor Hudgik emphasizes the Gospel of Salvation. He contrasts the "Jesus" who speaks in Sarah Young's books and his message to the real Jesus Christ of Scripture and His message. There is a vast difference! For example, Pastor Hudgik notices that Sarah Young's "Jesus" is a touchy-feely sort of guy who can "produce real feelings of joy and peace." (p. 5) This is especially true for the large audience of his female readers who seem overly prone to his emotive proclamations. (See for example the Amazon.com Thomas Nelson marketing page for a Jesus Calling 52-Week Discussion Guide for Women.)
"Jesus" is even doing podcasts these days!
A Thomas Nelson ad marketing Sarah Young's "Jesus" to women.
If you consider that this is a false "Jesus," this ad is downright creepy!

Pastor Hudgik opens his book by immediately refuting the psycho-spiritual type of "joy" that emanates from Sarah Young's "Jesus". Pastor Hudgik reminds us that

As the book’s subtitle states, Jesus Always is about “Embracing Joy in His Presence.” So some key questions are: Why do we have joy? Where does our joy come from?
 

It comes from the cross of Christ. We have joy because of the cross. Because of the cross we have salvation and a promise of eternal life. Because of the cross we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who gives us joy as one of the fruits of having the Spirit....

True joy results from salvation, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, obeying God’s word, and experiencing trials. If you are not saved… if you are not a true Christian following the real Jesus, you do not have true joy. (p. 5-6)

DON'T Buy Jesus Always!
It seldom happens that such a bold statement is issued. But here is what Pastor Hudgik forthrightly states:

First, stay away from it.
Don’t read it.
Don’t buy a copy.
If someone gives you a copy, throw it away.

(p. 6)[emphasis added]

You may wonder why he makes such a strong statement at the beginning of his book. Because he backs it up. Not only does he explain what is wrong with Sarah Young's "Jesus" (in his/her books), but he also explains patiently to his readers HOW her "Jesus" is so suspiciously flawed. Pastor Hudgik uses his book to teach his readers how to discern and how to spot error. See especially his Chapter 22, which walks the reader through an exercise in discernment. (We also refer readers to Anton Bosch's new Discernment 101 teaching series.)  Pastor Hudgik informs his readers:

. . . I think you’ll still find this book useful. It not only reveals the unbiblical nature of Jesus Always, it reveals the real Jesus and what it means to truly be in His presence. It also shows how to have real joy… a joy that your circumstances cannot take away. And it will teach you how to spot false teaching. I don’t just say that Jesus Always is unbiblical, I’ll show you why it is unbiblical, and I’ll teach you principles you can apply to uncover similar false teachers and unbiblical teaching.(p. 6)

Excerpt from page 174 of Pastor Hudgik's book

DO Watch this YouTube Video
Pastor Hudgik has just finished a video based on his new book Should You RUN From Jesus Always? His video is posted on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9-JYo7xS3M
and is also available on DVD. You might not agree with everything he says, or everyone he quotes, but you will get a message about the necessity of discernment loud and clear. He provides an excellent quotation from Spurgeon:

Pastor Hudgik talks in his video about the basics of discerning truth from error by using the example of a poisoned bowl of Skittles candy.
Pastor Hudgik and the bowl full of Skittles in his YouTube video.
In his book Pastor Hudgik summarizes the problem as follows:

Imagine you have a big bowl Skittles candies. You love Skittles, but someone has put a poison pill in that bowl. To eat that poison brings certain death.
 

The poison pill looks similar to a Skittle. You can tell them apart, if you look closely. You want to enjoy the wonderful flavors of those Skittles, so what are you going to do? Will you:
 

A) Grab handfuls of Skittles from the bowl and gulp them down, enjoying the pleasure of eating Skittles.
B) Or will you slowly inspect each Skittle before you eat it, hoping to spot the poison?
C) Or will you dump the bowl down the toilet, go to the store, buy more Skittles, and then enjoy these pure Skittles with no fear of poison?



Most people who read Jesus Always have already chosen option “A,” simply because they don’t know about the poison. You know better. You have knowledge they don’t have. So if you pick anything other than option “C,” you are not making a wise choice.
 

Now imagine it’s worse than you thought. Many of the Skittles have been injected with poison. The bowl has more poison than it has pure Skittles. Some of the poison is easy to spot, but some of the poison Skittles look very much like pure, clean Skittles. Are you going to take a chance and eat from the bowl? No way!
 

This second analogy is the more accurate description of Sarah Young’s Jesus Always. It includes some scriptural truth, but there is a lot of poison. Some of it is easy to spot, but a lot of the poison is difficult to spot. Are you willing to feed your soul from this book?...

No sane person will eat food, feeding their physical body, when there is even a small risk of poisonous contamination. I hope you are not willing to eat spiritual food, when there is a risk of poisoning your soul. (p. 14)

FLEE this "Jesus" NOW!
From the expertise of my own personal background and testimony, I notice that a real danger in the false "Jesus" of Sarah Young is evidenced in the clever way he seems to be able to manipulate people's emotions and feelings. "Sarah Young's "Jesus" uses psychological methods to change people's beliefs, attitudes and even doctrines. These methods are usually used by advertisers and change agents -- see the exhibits in this post for examples. Astute discerners will take note of these tricks and avoid the sales pitches, lures and entrapment of any spirit or voice that claims to make you feel better and take all your problems away. Sarah Young's "Jesus" is marketing a new theology.
From Pastor Hudgik's YouTube video.

I'll say it again: just because a spirit or voice says he is "Jesus" doesn't make it true! In fact, it could be just the opposite! Scripture warns us that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13-14).

Several quotations from "Jesus" speaking in Sarah Young's book
that appear on page 96 of Pastor Hudgik's book
for illustration of the use of the actual term "training" by Sarah Young's "Jesus."

Pastor Hudgik warns of how this "Jesus" operates on page 15 of his book. He says that Sarah Young's "Jesus" voice actually admits that he is TRAINING people! Training is a psychological term that is steeped in behavior modification methodologies of stimulus-response. Sarah Young's "Jesus" stimulates your desires so you become trained to respond accordingly - in a New Age sort of way! Pastor Hudgik observes:

Jesus Always is a gateway that introduces its readers to a false New Age type of religion. The "Jesus" of Jesus Always straight out says that he is training you. What is he training you to do? To believe in and use New Age spiritual practices such as Presence, silence, contemplative (repetitious) prayer, and believing that god is in everything.(p. 15)

So not only is there harm in the false doctrine that is promulgated by Sarah Young's "Jesus," but you also need to beware of his deceitful tactics that manipulate your affections, thoughts and beliefs. This is precisely the subtlety of the devil with Eve in the Garden of Eden, a slick presentation of alternative "truths."

Another example of "Jesus" speaking soothing words.
But ask yourself: "What is 'Glory-strength'? Where is that in the Bible?"

In the exhibit above, a screen shot taken from Pastor Hudgik's video presentation, you will see just one example of the problematic voice of "Jesus." Pastor Hudgik devotes the entire Chapter 4 in his book to examining this one day devotional, June 10th. For those who want a practical exercise in how to discern, this is a perfect chapter to read. Pastor Hudgik examines the biblical error and notes the clever mis-use of Scriptural language and passages (see especially the fascinating observations he makes on page 33). Note the psycho-spiritualizing tactics going on and how seductively encouraging these words might feel to someone who is struggling. Hence it is no wonder that these books by Sarah Young are especially marketed to women. You can read something like this and still feel good about yourself without having to confess any sin or repent:

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(2 Tim. 3:6-7)
From page 97 of Pastor Hudgik's book
more examples of the use of the term "training" by Sarah Young's "Jesus."
If you realize this is a false "Jesus" speaking these statements are scary.

On page 54 of his book Pastor Hudgik provides his readers with a handy "Quick Test" for discerning:


TRUST Jesus Christ
Pastor Hudgik's book is a good resource for people who are struggling with how to avoid the upcoming holiday marketing blitz of Sarah Young books. Her "Jesus" is a popular best-seller:
An exhibit in Pastor Hudgik's his YouTube video

Here is how to discern the real Jesus Christ from the "Jesus" who speaks through Sarah Young in her books:



Excerpt from page 181 of Pastor Hudgik's book.

Both of Pastor Hudgik's books are available on Amazon.com. More information, and sample chapters from both books, are available on the www.JesusAlways.us (or www.NotJesusAlways.com) web site.
Pastor Hudgik's first book about Sarah Young's "Jesus"
available at Amazon.com