Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ

The new 10th Anniversary Edition of "Jesus Calling" has been stripped and edited to remove or alter New Age elements, the alarming statements made by the author’s “Jesus.” and the problematic people influencing Sarah Young.

What if you are a major publisher like Thomas Nelson and you suddenly discover that your  mega best-selling book Jesus Calling was inspired by a channeled New Age book? And what if you find out that some of the “messages” your author “received” from her “Jesus” weren’t really from Jesus because they contradict what the real Jesus Christ says in the Bible? And what if your best-selling author has introduced a host of other problems in her book that your usually sharp editors had somehow overlooked? What do you do given these issues are already in the pages of ten million previously published books?

If you want to be fair to your readers, you deal honestly with these problems as they are brought to your attention. However, if you are more interested in protecting your product rather than in protecting the truth, you do everything in your power to make these problems disappear. One thing is for sure. Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have made some of their problems suddenly disappear in recent editions of Jesus Calling—most especially in a special 10th anniversary edition of Jesus Calling released on September 30, 2014.

Like the Watergate Tapes
Perhaps taking their cue from the missing eighteen-and-a-half minutes from Richard Nixon’s Watergate tapes, 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 like the Watergate tapes, the missing evidence and their in-your-face tactics are doing more to expose their problems than cover them up.

“Another Jesus” Calling   
In the fall of 2013, my book “Another Jesus” Calling was published by Lighthouse Trails Publishing. I was not the first person to express concern about Jesus Calling, but not much had been written up to that point. As our concerns were publicized, Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson obviously became aware of our objections. Without a word of explanation to anyone, significant alterations have been made to recent editions ofJesus Calling. With “now you see it, now you don’t” editing, some of their major problems suddenly disappeared from the pages of Jesus Calling. To illustrate the lengths to which Sarah Young and Thomas Nelson have gone to protect their book and their multi-million dollar Jesus Calling industry, I will provide five specific examples—and there are many others—to demonstrate how readers of Jesus Calling are being managed and manipulated. Make no mistake about it—damage control is in full swing at Thomas Nelson, and it is especially evident in their special 10th anniversary edition of Sarah Young’s book.

Five  Problems
(1) Jesus Calling was inspired by a channeled New Age book
Jesus Calling was inspired by the book God Calling.1 In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, author Sarah Young said that her journey with Jesus Calling began with the book God Calling. She stated:

My journey began with a devotional book (God Calling) written in the 1930s by two women who practiced waiting in God’s Presence, writing the messages they received as they “listened.” About a year after I started reading this book, I began to wonder if I too could receive messages during my times of communing with God. . . . So I decided to “listen” to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I sensed He was saying.2 (parenthesis in original)

But Sarah Young and her editors somehow missed the fact that God Calling is a channeled New Age book. God Calling is a collection of channeled messages presented in the form of a daily devotional. The messages were channeled through two English women in the 1930s and could easily have been titled Jesus Calling because it was reputedly dictated by “The Living Christ Himself.”3

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/apologists 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).”4 Under the subheading titled “Impersonations of Christianity,” the authors describe God Calling as a New Age book “replete with denials of biblical teaching”5 as it “subtly encourages psychic development and spiritistic inspiration under the guise of Christ’s personal guidance . . . and often misinterprets Scripture.”6 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”:

During that same year I began reading God Calling, a devotional book written by two anonymous “listeners.” These women practiced waiting quietly in God’s Presence, pencils and paper in hand, recording the messages they received from Him. The messages are written in first person, with “I” designating God. While I was living in Japan, someone had mailed this book to me from the U.S. I had not read it at that time, but I had held onto the book through two international moves. Six or seven years later, this little paperback became a treasure to me. It dove-tailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence.7 (bold added)

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 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 questioning the changes being made to Sarah Young’s original introduction.