By now it is unlikely that you have not heard of Jesus Calling. That book—a daily devotional by Sarah Young—has sold more than 15 million copies, along with several sequels, children’s storybooks, and mobile apps. Today the Christian world is thoroughly saturated with Young’s writing, as her little devotional has exploded into a phenomenal success.
However, I wouldn’t call it unprecedented success. Christian publishers excel at creating these types of fads. Like its predecessors The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose-Driven Life, Jesus Calling has managed to find the sweet spot of mass appeal: man-centeredness.
In the case of Jesus Calling, the devotional entries are presented as the actual words of Christ, with Him speaking words of encouragement and hope directly to the reader. Here’s how Young explains it in her introduction:
I have written from the perspective of Jesus speaking, to help readers feel more personally connected with Him. So the first person singular (“I,” “Me,” “My,” “Mine”) always refers to Christ; “you” refers to you, the reader.  Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004), xiv.
Young pushes back against the notion that her book is inspired. But that distinction seems to be nothing more than a semantic façade. Here’s how she describes her writing process:
The following year, I began to wonder if I could change my prayer times from monologue to dialogue. I had been writing in prayer journals for many years, but this was one-way communication: I did all the talking. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God might want to communicate to me on a given day. I decided to “listen” with pen in hand, writing down whatever I “heard” in my mind.  Jesus Calling, xii.
Only Young understands the balance she’s attempting to strike between divine revelation and her own imagination. In that sense, her books have a lot in common with modern prophecy—we’re told to believe they are the words of God without assigning them the authority of the Word of God.
And whether it’s a daily reading from Jesus Calling, an outburst of tongues, or a personal revelation from the Lord, there is a consistent and troubling theme gaining influence in the church today: The Bible is not enough.
In an earlier, unrevised version of Jesus Calling, Young made that point abundantly clear.
I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day (emphasis added).  Jesus Calling, xii.
This desire to hear personally from the Lord is nothing new to the church, but it may be enjoying unprecedented acceptance among God’s people. Lately I hear phrases like “the Lord told me,” “God revealed to me,” and “I heard God say” from a wide variety of Christian ministries—it’s no longer the exclusive territory of the charismatic church.
The truth is God has already said everything He intended to say to us—His Word makes that clear. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible we have is neither incomplete nor inadequate—we already have all the revelation we need from God. As our good friend Justin Peters says, “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear Him speak audibly, read it out loud.”
I’ll admit, I don’t fully understand this desire to receive personal messages from the Lord. I’m enough of a Bible student to know that if I did truly hear God’s audible voice, it would likely knock me off my feet, or worse (cf. Matthew 17:5-6; John 18:6).
Instead of chasing special revelation from the Lord, we need to recommit ourselves to the sufficiency and authority of what He has already said. Moreover, we need to consider the special care the Lord took in recording and preserving His Word. As the apostle Peter wrote, “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Regarding that passage, John MacArthur writes,
By contrast, true prophecy does not come to mind through psychic intuition or New Age mysticism, and it is not discerned by guesswork. . . . Those who equate their own personal impressions, imaginations, and intuition with divine revelation err greatly.  John MacArthur, Strange Fire (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013), 128.
The great danger of books like Jesus Calling is that they drive a wedge between God’s people and His Word, encouraging them to look beyond the scope of Scripture for additional words from the Lord. In simple terms, they devalue the Bible and elevate emotional experiences and imaginary voices to the level of divine authority. And when anything you hear or feel could be the Lord speaking, you leave yourself open to all sorts of heresy and satanic lies.
God’s people need to be wary of anyone who assumes to speak for Him. We need to defend the authority of His Word against all pretenders. And we need to help shepherd other believers away from the popular desire for special revelation and back to the all-sufficient Word of God.
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