Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Another Scripture

Part 4: Conclusion

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“Sanctify them through Thy truth:
Thy Word is truth.”
(Jesus, John 17:17)

The Pied Piper

A Report by Barbara Wilhelm

Sarah Young denies the Words of Scripture. In fact, she nullifies the entire book of Hebrews and every other book in the New Testament. Notice the clarity - and finality - of Hebrews 1:1-2 and the confirmation provided by Jude 1:3:

Hebrews 1:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 

Jude 3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 
One of the versions of Jesus Calling

In the last of these days God has spoken to us in the Person - not the "Presence" of His Son. He has spoken "once, for all time." Jesus in His Word has emphatically stated that He is completely finished speaking any more words for publication. How then can a "Presence" of "Jesus" contradict Jesus? These inner voices of the "Presence" are assumed by Sarah Young to be Jesus. Therefore, she encourages her readers to assume the same. She uses journaling or, more accurately, automatic writing to keep track of these voices. She encourages listening to these voices spoken by the "Presence" as a means of direct communication between the readers and the "Presence" themselves. Normally we have been told throughout our Christian walks that our Lord Jesus speaks through His Bible to us. Now we are being encouraged to listen to the mystical voice of a "Presence" whose words contradict the Bible. This will, ultimately, lead to great confusion for the readers… or worse.

The idea of following the voices of a "Presence" reminds me of the story of the Pied Piper which, as I just discovered, is based on an apparently true event. [See: https://theportalist.com/the-chilling-true-story-behind-the-pied-piper-of-hamelin] A Pied Piper is defined as someone who induces others to follow him/her by means of false promises. [Source: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pied-piper] I often have wondered where the children went after they were lured to follow this very colorful person who was so enticing to their eyes and ears. The children listened to an enchanting sound and it led them… to where? Isaiah 53:6 comes to mind: "All we like sheep have gone astray." 
Yet another Sarah Young book

One of the most important characteristics of the Bible is that the Words are never to be added to or subtracted from (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19). This is because Jesus Himself is unchangeable. Considering that, the question has to be asked: why have revisions been made to Jesus Calling if this is truly "Jesus" speaking in Sarah Young's book? Yet this is precisely what has happened. The August 23 devotion in the 2004 version of her book speaks of Abraham and Isaac and accuses Abraham of "son worship." However, while the August 23 devotion in the 2011 edition begins the same as the 2004 edition, it changes mid-stream and talks - not about Abraham and Isaac - but about Jacob and Joseph. Has the true Jesus ever been known to edit His Own Words? Has He ever re-phrased one of the books of the Bible? The real Jesus has not, and according to His Own Word, could not revise His Words. The only assumption I think we can make is that the "Jesus" of Jesus Calling is not the real Jesus.

Warren Smith examined the multiple versions of the Jesus Calling book that were published over the years. He has published booklets and articles that elaborate even further the problems discussed above: the authenticity and trustworthiness of the messages from the "Jesus" of Jesus Calling. Warren Smith is eminently qualified to write a detailed analysis of Jesus Calling. He is an ex-New Ager and an expert on the many false New Age "Jesus" and "God" entities whose channeled transmissions appear in popular books. The very title of one of his articles/booklets - "Changing Jesus Calling - Damage Control for a False Christ" - brings to my mind the cautionary verses below:
Warren Smith's booklet

2 Corinthians 11:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV) 
2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-you may well put up with it! 
In his article, Warren Smith writes:

Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have been systematically deleting controversial material from Jesus Calling. Adding, subtracting, cutting, pasting and completely eliminating problematic words, sentences and even whole paragraphs, Young and her editors do not hesitate to put words in the mouth of their "Jesus," even as they take others away. But… these tactics are doing more to expose their problems than cover them up…. 

The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs published by Harvest House Christian publishers specifically describes God Calling as a channeled New Age book. In their lengthy chapter on channeling and spiritual dictation, authors/apologist [Christian] John Weldon and John Ankerberg explain that channeling is a form of New Age "mediumship" and according to the Bible it "is a practice forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)." Under the subheading titled "Impersonations of Christianity," the authors describe God Calling as a New Age book "replete with denials of biblical teaching" as it "subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ's personal guidance... and often misinterprets Scripture." Yet Sarah Young wrote that it was God Calling that inspired her to receive her own messages from "Jesus." In her original introduction to Jesus Calling, Young praised God Calling as "a treasure to me"…. 

Yet another Sarah Young book
The Damage Control 
In recent editions of Jesus Calling - including the 10th anniversary edition--the preceding paragraph regarding God Calling - has been removed from the author's longstanding introduction. No explanation. No apology. Nothing. Suddenly and completely gone is any mention of God Calling - how it had inspired her to receive her own "messages" from "Jesus" and how it was a "treasure" to her. Her previous praise of God Calling had become problematic as it had drawn obvious New Age comparisons to her own book. It had also become apparent that her original endorsement of God Calling was helping to popularize this New Age book among believers! While Christian leaders have been strangely silent about Jesus Calling, it was the secular media that took Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson to task for changing and deleting the problematic material in their best-selling book. 

Ruth Graham, writing in The Daily Beast, a popular online American news reporting and opinion website formerly associated with Newsweek magazine, wrote an article to question the changes being made to Sarah Young's original introduction. Graham wrote: 

The latest edition of Jesus Calling includes some important changes. The paragraph about God Calling has been deleted, and references to received "messages" have been changed to the less mystically inflected "writings and devotions." In a passage in which Young recounts her early attempts to write down what God told her, the new version characterizes this as "focusing on Jesus and His Word, while asking Him to guide my thoughts." Thomas Nelson refers to the books as "Sarah's prayer journal," emphasizing that Young is not claiming to speak for Jesus. A skeptical reader, comparing the two introductions, would see an effort by a publisher to bring an increasingly controversial but lucrative best-seller into line with mainstream evangelical orthodoxy. 

In that same article, Ruth Graham also questioned the explanations offered by Thomas Nelson publicist Katie Powell: 

In an email responding to my questions, the book's publicist at Thomas Nelson, Katie Powell, wrote that the reference to God Calling was never meant as more than "a nod," and it was deleted because it had "created some confusion." "The book's theology has always been sound," she wrote. "The changes were made to make the introduction easier to understand especially since Jesus Calling is now being read by such a wide variety of people" Thomas Nelson did not call attention to the changes, Powell wrote, because the introduction's "content did not change" between editions. But it's hard to square that with the similarities between Young's book and Jesus Calling--right down to the title. 
Yet another Sarah Young book

Graham's skepticism was right on target. And contrary to the statement by the Thomas Nelson publicist, the content of the introduction has changed in recent editions. The unexplained changes have caused many former supporters of Jesus Calling to stop using the devotional. Christian online newspaper WorldNetDaily (WND) picked up on the controversy and published two articles, "Top Christian Bestseller Accused of Heresy," and "Is Hit Book 'Jesus Calling' Publishing New Age?" Charisma magazine followed up with a similar article that noted the growing controversy. It was titled "Critics Accuse 'Jesus Calling' of Mixing Truth With New Age Error."…

The Damage Control 
In recent editions of Jesus Calling, all ten references to the words "message" and "messages" have been deleted from her otherwise longstanding introduction. What were originally described as "messages" she "received" from "Jesus" are now being described as "writing" and "devotions" that she "gleaned" in her "quiet moments."… 

Since this unbiblical contradiction was brought to light in my book "Another Jesus" Calling, Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have eliminated this obvious contradiction in their 10th anniversary edition. In other words, they had their "Jesus" correct himself. Compare the original January 28th and October 15th statements that have been in Jesus Calling for the last ten years, with the replacement statements now inserted in the new 10th anniversary edition. 

January 28th Original Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. These were the last words I spoke before ascending into heaven. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen. [bold added] 

January 28th Replacement Statement
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. I spoke these words to My disciples after My resurrection. I continue to proclaim this promise to all who will listen. [bold added] 

October 15th Original Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception. [bold added] 

October 15th Replacement Statement
TRY TO STAY CONSCIOUS OF ME as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. After My resurrection, I assured My followers: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception. [bold added] 

Note: One of the 250 "messages" Sarah Young included in her yet-to-be-corrected Jesus Calling Devotional Bible (NKJV) is the original October 15th "message" from Jesus Calling--"My final statement just before I went to heaven was: Surely I am with you always." Given that this statement is clearly unbiblical, Young's justification for her messages to be included "alongside the biblical text" falls a little flat. She wrote: 

Since my writings are rooted in the infallible, unchanging Word of God, having them appear alongside the biblical text would seem to be a natural place for them. 

Yet another Sarah Young book

Jesus Corrects Himself? 
Sarah Young might argue that because Jesus never contradicts Himself, she must have heard it wrong. But if that were the case, she had to hear it wrong on two separate occasions because the unbiblical statement is in two different messages. With this in mind, an important question must be asked. Who was Sarah Young listening to when she "received" these two "messages?" Obviously the real Jesus does not contradict himself--much less correct Himself in regards to His own words and actions. 

And for those who might argue that there is no longer a problem because this contradiction and other problematic areas have been corrected, several more questions must be asked. What about the ten million readers who have trusted these unbiblical messages over the last ten years? Do you just pretend it never happened? Aren't they owed some kind of explanation as to how Sarah Young's "Jesus" could make mistakes of this magnitude? But perhaps most importantly, how can an author and publisher--or anyone for that matter-believe they have the right to put words in and out of the mouth of Jesus Christ like He is some kind of literary device--and most especially when it is for the purpose of damage control. [Extended excerpts used with permission of the author. Read the entire piece at: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16349

The Pied Piper

Before I close this report there is one more thing on my heart that I feel I must share. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. How many people who previously would have gone to their Bibles when they needed comfort now go to Jesus Calling? How many who started their days reading the Bible (2Timothy 3:16, the God-breathed Word) now go to these questionable words channeled through a woman? As a result, their relationships with the true Jesus have been stolen and destroyed. He is our Shelter, our Refuge, our very present help in time of need, our Comfort, our Life, our Daily Bread, our Soon and Coming King, our Savior. This is the Jesus of the Bible. Can this "Jesus" of Jesus Calling offer all that… or is he a thief who has stolen away our relationships with the true Son of God?

Life Application: 
1Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to prove all things. This entire series of lessons is an example of obedience to that command by a variety of those in His body who care for the safety of His people. If you or someone you know have read these books, would you go back to the very beginnings of these lessons and see this action as a "kindness" that has been done to the body of Christ and share it with them to keep them safe?

Psalm 141:5 Amplified Bible (AMP) 
"Let the righteous [thoughtfully] strike (correct) me--
it is a kindness [done to encourage my spiritual maturity].
It is [the choicest anointing] oil on the head;
Let my head not refuse
[to accept and acknowledge and learn from] it;"

Bulle, Florence God Wants You Rich and Other Enticing Doctrines, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bethany House Publishers, 1983. 
A.J. Russell ed. God Calling, by Two Listeners, Old Tappan, N.J., Fleming H. Revel., 1936.

The author of this 4-part series, Barbara Wilhelm, is a long-time discerner. She recently started her own blog, Holding His Word Higher: https://holdinghiswordhigher.com. Visit her site for her weekly posts.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Another Jesus

Part 3

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"For many shall come in My name,
I am Christ;
and shall deceive many."

(Matthew 24:5)

A Report by Barbara Wilhelm

As always, the Word of God is to be the foundation of our discussion. In addition, it is often necessary to dig deeper into the essence of a Word in a verse to truly understand what the Lord is trying to convey. Before we can get a fuller grasp of the errors in Jesus Calling we need to first look at the command of "proving" and what it entails.
1 Thessalonians 5:21(KJV):
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 
Prove is a metallurgical term wherein a test is performed to assay the purity of a stone. Iron pyrite's metallic luster and pale brass-yellow hue give it a superficial resemblance to gold. But it is not gold; it merely appears to be gold. This brings to mind the saying, "If it looks so good, how can it be deception?" Iron pyrite can look even better than gold because it shimmers and shines so brightly. But it is all superficial. That is the exact reason why we use the Bible to "prove" all things. The Bible does not appeal to our senses and emotions. The only standard of truth is the Word of God. Since the Bible cannot be added to or subtracted from, one of its characteristics is that any time someone proposes any kind of teaching, it must be substantiated by the already written Word of God. Jude 3 stresses the permanence and unchangeableness of God's Word: 
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people. 
As we continue with our study of both God Calling and Jesus Calling it will become apparent that both these books have extrabiblical meanings; they offer teachings not at all contained in the Word of God.

My husband John and I did not come to know the Lord until we were in our late thirties and our children Tracy and John were 12 and 10, respectively. For that reason we brought a lot of unclean "baggage" into our Christian walk in the forms of books, games, etc. One night I had a dream of a bathtub seemingly filled with an innocent liquid. It was, however, filled with a caustic solution of lye that would have horribly burned or scarred anyone who put even their "little pinky toe" in it. This seemed to be a personal message to me. I knew that the Lord spoke through dreams in the Bible as He did in the OT and NT (Genesis 15:1; 37:1-11; Luke 1: 5-23; Matthew 1:20; 2:13; Acts 10:1-6). Even though I was a relatively new Christian I was also aware that this dream had to be proved by Scripture before I could accept it as coming from the Lord. The Lord led me to read Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 and Acts 19: 18-20. The first group of verses gave my husband and I direction about what was dangerous. The second group of verses told us what to do before and as we prayed for discernment. We were convicted. It was surprising how large a garbage bag we filled with books, toys and even some costly art objects. We had even received a beautiful and costly signs-of-the-zodiac plate from a relative. Somehow, even though we were new believers, zodiacs and the One True God didn't seem compatible. We decided to go by that old motto: when in doubt, throw it out. If it offended our eyes, we thought it would offend the Lord's eyes. An old ouija board was the final item we stashed in the garbage bag. Here are the verses that convicted our hearts about removing the caustic "lye" from our lives: 
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NIV):
10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; 

Acts 19:18-19 (NIV):
18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas 

After our family diligently prayed and discovered that we had a lot of physical housecleaning to do, we also went through a period of spiritual housecleaning. Psalm 51 was our guide. I remember an old song based on that song: "Cleanse our hearts oh God; make us ever true; cleanse our hearts oh God, let us be like You." About two years later when we taught a youth group, the Lord helped us realize that the word "lye" has an alternate spelling - "lie." From that point on we became even more diligent over allowing anyone we loved to come in contact with a lie in case they were horribly burned or scarred.

Another Sarah Young book

In 2014 a series of events began that prompted my doing a great deal of reading. In the space of less than three weeks three different women of my age group at church discussed the book Jesus Calling in my presence. I had ignored the popularity of the book purposely because over 20 years ago I had been repeatedly presented with its predecessor and inspiration God Calling and had not wanted to read that either. Eventually, however, someone gave me God Calling as a gift and I realized the Lord wanted me to review it. I sat down and read it through in its entirety in 3-4 days. It was a book written by two anonymous "listeners" who were in fact being used as "channels" or "mediums" - an occult practice. The book was written in the first person so that the reader was to believe that God Himself was speaking. It did not stand up to any Biblical tests and especially failed the most important test: it did not use Scripture alone as an authority. And now twenty years later a woman named Sarah Young is using God Calling as an inspiration for Jesus Calling and it has become a 15 million copies best seller.

Again, I had no desire to read Jesus Calling. I came home and told my daughter about the latest encounter at church with the women of my age. She told me that quite a few women of her age had asked her to read it also; and then my granddaughter overheard us and relayed the same message. They asked me to read the book. A week after this discussion Warren Smith, a respected discernment minister, published a book titled Another Jesus Calling that shares his concerns about this devotional. Later I learned that Pastor Bob DeWaay had also written a lengthy article titled "Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young's-Jesus Calling." I found it interesting that he would call the book "toxic" recalling that "lye" is also considered toxic. Substantial excerpts from both of these men in their excellent reports will be included later in my analysis.
Yet another Sarah Young book

In my reading I first noticed that even in the Introduction to Jesus Calling Sarah Young makes some troubling remarks: 
I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. (Jesus Calling, p. xii

I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but they were helping me grow closer to God. (Jesus Calling, p. xii

I have written them [my writings] from Jesus' point of view; that is, the first person singular. ("I," "Me," "Mine,") always refers to Christ. "You" refers to you, the reader, so the perspective is that of Jesus speaking to you. (Jesus Calling, p. xiii-xiv
Yet these comments seem to me to totally contradict these Scriptures: 
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV):
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, and through Whom also He made the universe. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV):
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

Deuteronomy 4:2 (NIV):
2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you. 

Revelation 22:18 (NIV):
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. Has not Jesus already said everything that He came to say? 
Has He not said in 2Timothy that what He has already given us is all we need and that only those words in the Bible are "God-breathed" and inspired by Him? If He Himself has said in His Word that no more is to be added to what He has said, then isn't the Jesus of Jesus Calling contradicting Himself? Isn't this "another Jesus" (2Corinthians 11:4) speaking?

Is not Sarah Young challenging the sufficiency of Scripture?

Sarah Young's Amazon page
Another topic mentioned over 300 times is that of "His Presence." It implies the presence of the real Jesus Christ, but careful examination proves otherwise (1Thessalonians 5:21: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good"). The following points are from the website report of noted discernment author, Pastor Bob DeWaay, titled "Toxic Devotion: A Review of Sarah Young's-Jesus Calling." This excerpt from Pastor DeWaay's report begins with a quotation from Jesus Calling
"Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me…. There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My presence." (May 24) 

Here Young teaches Eastern ideas, claiming their spiritual source as Jesus. This is rather shocking, as is the entire book. The apostle John teaches the tangibility of Jesus who bodily ascended to heaven. John was an apostle who spoke authoritatively for God who had seen "Jesus Christ come in the flesh." Sarah Young has not. Here is what John said in his first epistle: 
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1John 1:1-3) 

Jesus Calling portrays a spirit Jesus (Young does not claim to have seen the bodily raised Christ, but rather experienced an encounter with a spirit Jesus through an experience she had with nature) and thus fails the test of spirits. This lack of tangibility that the apostle John describes is fatal to her claims. Anyone can claim to have had a subjective encounter with a metaphysical being and call it "awareness of Presence." Even [Eckhart] Tolle does that. Yet Young has sold far more than 5 million books. [See Pastor DeWaay's report: http://www.cicministry.org/commentary/issue125.htm; link added.] 

I found myself in full agreement with these statements. Christ sent the promised Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. His presence with us is a promise we already believe and have experienced; it is not an altered state of consciousness. Sarah Young refers to this mystical "Presence" over 300 times in her book. Yet Scripture tells us: 
Acts 1:8-11 (NIV): 
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." 
Notice that Jesus went up in bodily form and will come back in the same way and not as a spirit presence as Sarah Young presents Him.

Warren Smith has written a book entitled Another Jesus Calling which is devoted to the details of God Calling and Jesus Calling. In his book Warren delves even deeper into the extensive topic of the "Presence" that is so often emphasized in Sarah Young's Jesus Calling. Warren Smith noticed, "In Jesus Calling 'Jesus' promotes the experience of his 'Presence'" above God's Word. [Source: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17704]

Warren Smith's book

On p. 233 Ms. Young incorrectly misquotes Scriptures by adding the words "My Presence": "My Word is a lamp to your feet; My Presence is a Light for your path." [Emphasis mine] Additional references may be found on pp. 3, 13, 135, 352, 314 of Jesus Calling.

Yet that is not Biblically correct as we see when we compare it to Psalm 119:105: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." See additional Bible verses: Psalm 119: 103-104; 138:2; Luke 11:35; 2Timothy 3: 16-17. Yet the word "Presence" seems to appear more than the Word "Jesus" in Sarah Young's writings. Interestingly, Jesus did promise that while his "Presence" would not be with His followers after He left them the Holy Spirit would be forever with them. Pastor Larry DeBruyn makes this clear distinction below in his beautifully titled article "The Present of 'His Presence'." Below are selected excerpts. I would encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

God's Presence - Jesus' Promise 
Jesus promised that He would not leave His disciples to be orphans in the world after He departed. He would not abandon them. He promised to send to them another Comforter to be as equally present with them as He had been; the marvelous difference being that while Jesus had been present with the disciples, the Spirit of God would be present in them! The time of the Spirit's indwelling presence however, would not come before Jesus' glorification - that is, until after His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. Then Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter or Paraclete, to be His proxy Presence. Through the Holy Spirit Who proceeded from Him and the Father (John16:26, "whom I will send unto you from the Father"), the Lord Jesus Christ would abundantly infuse His Presence into the lives of those who by faith belonged to Him, both individually and collectively. As Jesus stated and John interpreted: 
Pastor Larry's booklet

"In the last day, that great day of the feast [The Feast of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, 'If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:37-39). 

That coming of His Presence Jesus did not compare to a well, a creek or a stream, but to "rivers of living water" (plural), the supply of which might be compared to the Mississippi River and all its tributaries. But unlike the Mississippi, His divine presence would not be polluted, but pure - it would be living water. 

Questions: Why are Christians seeking a divine presence that Jesus promised would abundantly flow in them? What is it that some Christians are seeking after that the Spirit of Christ does not already supply? Why do they need another voice, another visitation, or another vision? Why are some people unthankfully desirous of "something more" than what in God has already given to us? Why is it that some Christians, in the depth of their souls, are not seemingly at rest? (See Hebrews 4:9-10.) 

God's Presence - Pentecost…. 
This presence is real and abiding. Christ dwells in believers. This is "the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). In Christ, the Holy Spirit, who "is the earnest [down payment] of our inheritance," has "sealed" [stamped] "us until the redemption of the purchased possession [our persons]" (Ephesians 1:13-14). Our eternal destiny involves His Presence until the completion of our redemption. As Jesus told His disciples, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). Although Jesus would no longer be physically present even with His faithful followers, the Spirit, whom He would send to take His place, would, and by faith we have that presence NOW! The Spirit of Christ is both with us and in us! (Romans 8:9b) Hebrews tells the people of the promise, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5) 

Question: Of this pledged-permanent presence, I would ask, "How can we meditate or contemplate ourselves into it?" The answer is, "We can't!" By faith God gives it (Galatians 3:2). For this reason, I never pray for the Lord to be "with" me. He already is!... 

His Proactive Presence…. 
The divine presence descends to us (John 3:13). Unlike Mystic Spirituality, we do not ascend to it. Jesus illustrated that the presence of the Spirit may be compared to a wind which blows upon a human soul (John 3:8), and we can no more control the presence of the Spirit than we can control the wind or the weather. As such, union with Christ cannot be activated or initiated by Mystic disciplines or rituals, but only cultivated. Union with Christ is reactive and interactive. God initiates, we respond. As to this important distinction, A.J. Gordon wrote that, 
The method of grace is precisely the reverse of the method of legalism. The latter is holiness in order to union with God; the former, union with God in order to holiness. 
We do not get at this union via the legalism of our own works or by engaging in rituals called "spiritual disciplines." This union with Christ comes to all believers for reason of Holy Spirit baptism whereby they are "union-Ed" with Christ and with one another (1Corinthians 12:13). In the aftermath of the Spirit's baptism, communion with the indwelling Spirit of Christ can be facilitated via our Bible reading (the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit do testify concerning Christ, John 5:39; 15:26), meditation on Scripture, prayer, witnessing, singing "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" in our hearts and to each other, being thankful, submitting to one another, corporate worship, observing the Lord's Table, and so forth (Acts 13: 48-52; Ephesians 5: 18-21)…. 

We began this writing by citing evangelical Christians who are in the mood of trying to experience the divine presence. Seemingly, they want to "feel" their way into it. Yet, the Bible teaches that the experience of God's Presence in our lives depends upon His initiating His work both for us and in us. We can no more experience God's Presence than we can resurrect ourselves from the dead or seat ourselves with Him in Heaven (Ephesians 2:1-10). This wonderful union can only be appropriated by objective faith, not by subjective feelings. [Source: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-present-of-his-presence.html

These thoughts of Pastor DeBruyn warrant our fullest attention not just because we respect his stature as a discernment writer but, more importantly, because they will keep us from spiritual peril.

To be continued. . . .

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Another God

Part 2
Read Part 1

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
(Exodus 20:3)

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A Report by Barbara Wilhelm


What about the contents of God Calling? Since not only Sarah Young but many others have stated that they have been ministered to from reading it, how can these positive experiences be explained if there are Scriptural errors in it? Certainly many statements can be inspiring in a book, and Scripture can even be quoted, but note that Genesis 3:1, Matthew 4:6 and 2Corinthians 11:2-4,14 are but a few Bible verses mentioning Satan's ability to quote Scripture for his purposes.

The following statement made by one of the two "listeners" of God Calling should cause a Christian reader great concern: 
We were being taught, trained and encouraged day by day by HIM personally, when millions of souls, far worthier, had to be content with guidance from the Bible. (God Calling, Preface, with added emphasis in Bulle, God Wants You Rich and Other Enticing Doctrines

The implications of this statement are that personal guidance is better than the Bible. Note that God Calling has more words of Jesus than the Bible itself. Repeatedly in Scripture God tells us of the excellence and pre-eminence of His Word: all of Psalm 119; Matthew 5:18, 24:35; 2Timothy 3:16-17; 2Peter 1:21; Deuteronomy 6:6, 11:18; Psalm 19:8; John 17:17, 20:31. I am certain that there are a great multitude of people who are indeed content with guidance from Bibles and have found guidance, moral absolutes and strong religious principles in the pages of that holy Book.

To determine the trustworthiness of a book, it is wise to notice how it treats major Biblical topics like the Holy Spirit, for instance. Notice the comment in God Calling and the manner in which the Holy Spirit is referred: 
All work here is accomplished by My Spirit and that can flow through the most humble and lowly. It simply needs an unblocked channel. (God Calling, p.70, also cited in Bulle, God Wants You Rich and Other Enticing Doctrines.) [Emphasis mine] 

Would Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, ever refer to the Third Person of the Trinity as "that" or "it"? John 14:17 and 16:13 distinctly name the Holy Spirit as a Person:

John 14:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. [Emphasis mine]

John 16:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. [Emphasis mine] 

As is often true in God Calling, these words of Jesus Christ above from the Gospel of John are twisted out of their Scriptural context to violate the actual meaning of His words. John 16:13 indicates that in Christ's absence further revelation of truth would come to the apostles through the Holy Spirit: "Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth." [Emphasis mine] However, in God Calling this is what the "Living Christ" told the "two listeners": 
"Truly, I said to my disciples, 'I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.' But to you, and those who gather to hear Me as you do, I can declare those things now, that then I left unsaid." (God Calling, p. 69) 

Therefore, while John 16:13 states that the Holy Spirit is the revealer of Truth, God Calling replaces one Person of the Trinity with another and states that Jesus is the revealer of Truth. Scripture is God's Word. Both Revelation 22:18-19 and Deuteronomy 4:2 emphatically state penalties for adding to or subtracting from God's Word. It is, at the least, dishonest to attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to Jesus for the simple reason that Scripture would call it a lie. Additionally, there are the statements like these attributed to the "Jesus" in God Calling that are not in Scripture: 
  • "I need you more than you need Me" (p. 60) 
  • "I await the commands of my children" (p. 63) 
  • "Looking to Me all your thoughts are God-inspired. Act on them and you will be led on" (p. 104) 
  • "See Me in the dull, the uninteresting, the sinful, the critical, the miserable" (p. 111) 
  • "I do not delay My second coming. My followers delay it" (p. 177) 

There is an additional problem in the following "message" from "Jesus": 
"But to you, and those who gather to hear Me as you do, I can declare those things now, that then I left unsaid" (God Calling, p. 69) 

Notice the feeling of elitism that is appealed to in this quote. It seems that only to certain people can these special messages be given. This was the same problem - the same heresy - Paul encountered with the Colossians:

The Colossian church had been deeply infiltrated by teachings foreign to the Christian faith. As a result the Colossians added to Christian elements from non-Christian sources… such as Gnosticism. [One of the characteristics of this heresy] was an inordinate liking for knowledge and wisdom of a secret sort. As a result these practices and persuasions, the person and work of Jesus Christ were downgraded. These wrong customs in the [Colossian] church occasioned the writing of this letter by Paul, in which he set forth clearly and passionately the correct view of Jesus Christ and His preeminence. (Lindsell Bible Commentary

This comment on Gnosticism holds true for both God Calling and Jesus Calling.

There are, however, many references in God Calling to "Spirit-World" and "Spirit-Kingdom," both which have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. The October 23 entry reads: "Trust in the Spirit Forces of the Unseen not in those you see." [Emphasis mine] Since the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:10) vehemently denounces associating with spirits, but soundly commands us to trust only in God (Proverbs 3:5-7), this is totally unscriptural and, therefore, could not have originated with God. Both Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and 2Timothy 3:16 clearly state one of the fundamental principles of discernment - anything that is wrong in part and presumes to say it is from God is wrong in the whole and is to be condemned.

This is not the only entry the "listeners" relate in this vein. The September 6 entry is even more extensive: 
How often mortals rush to earthly friends who can serve them in so limited a way, when the friends who are freed from the limitations of humanity can serve them so much better, understand better, protect better, plan better, plead better their cause with Me…. You do well to remember your friends in the Unseen. Companying with them, the more you live in this Unseen world, the gentler will be your passing when it comes. (God Calling, p. 145) [Emphasis mine] 

Does this sound like the God Who commanded His people to have no communication with the dead and decreed that those who did would be put to death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27)? The prophet Isaiah spoke sharply to those who defied God in this manner: "When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God's instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn." (Isaiah 8:19-20 NIV)

Satan is called subtle and crafty in Genesis 3, and the entries in this book are proof of that statement. Look at the craftiness of the following entry from God Calling
February 17: "Psychic powers are not necessarily Spiritual Powers." [Emphasis mine] 

Looking at the verses in Deuteronomy 18:10, Exodus 22:18 and Leviticus 20:27, to name just a few, it is obvious that the Bible leaves no wiggle room at all for occult practices. When God calls a practice an abomination, He is using the strongest word He can use!! Here is another entry from God Calling
March 13: "Spiritualism is wrong. No man should ever be a medium for any spirit, other than Mine." 

Let's use a paraphrase analogy to help the reader understand the full intent of this entry: "Murder is wrong. But when I, the Lord, say to do it for My purposes, it's okay." Can you see a God in whom there is no darkness at all speaking out of both sides of His mouth like that?!


God Calling relates even more instances of communicating with unholy spirits. For example:
March 10: "Your five senses are your means of communication with the material world, the links between your Spirit-Life and the material manifestations around you, but you must sever all connection with them when you wish to hold Spirit-communication. They will hinder, not help." (p. 52) 

If you take this day's entry and couple it with these two entries, the point is even clearer:

April 27: "I am beside you. Can you not feel My Presence? Contact with Me is not gained by the senses. Spirit-consciousness replaces sight." 

May 5: "Breathe in My very Spirit in pure air and fervent desire…. Empty your mind of all that limits." 

Think these thoughts through: if we were to "sever all connection" with our five senses we would either be dead, unconscious or in a mystical/meditative trance exactly like that in Eastern religions! And what sort of "Spirit-communication" is meant? Though God is Spirit, communication with Him is not mystical and ethereal. It was God Who said in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now and let us reason together." [Emphasis mine] Eastern religions require that in order to relax, do yoga and attain a "higher level of consciousness" we must empty our minds and be in "spirit communication." But the Bible forbids communicating with the kind of spirits you would come in contact with that way (Deuteronomy 18:10-13). [See the article "Altered States: A Different Gate" for a thorough discussion on this topic: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/04/altered-states-different-gate.html]

There are additional errors that can be listed to show the deceptions in God Calling, but the preceding should be sufficient to convince the diligent seeker of God's truth that this book is not a Christian devotional. One need not question the sincerity of the "two listeners," but the method of "guidance" they employ is not Scriptural.

True communication with the One True God would not contain these errors. He has no flaws and always acts in agreement with His Word. Therefore, my brethren, "touch ye not the unclean thing" and separate yourself from the dangers of this book and those like it for your own safety and so that "God may receive you as His sons and daughters." 

To be continued. . . .