Update on 4/20/18 from the editor. We wanted to warn you, when reading this, that there is a great deal of material referenced in “the two listener’s” writing of God Calling. The material is included to help show our readers how to discern the Truth of the Bible from that of false teaching. The intent is informational and instructional and, like the writings of Sarah Young in Jesus Calling, should be read with a discerning spirit.
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?
For links to the entire series:
- Week 1 God Calling Gives Birth to Jesus Calling
- Week 2 THE TEACHINGS OF “GOD CALLING”
- Week 3 A Look At “Jesus Calling”
- Week 4 DENIAL OF SCRIPTURE IN “JESUS CALLING”
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.” (Russell, Preface) [Emphasis in original]
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 preeminence 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.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
To determine the trustworthiness of a book like God Calling, 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.” (Russel, 70), also cited in Bulles’ book, 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:
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 14:17 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]
– John 16:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
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 and 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.” (Russell 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 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”, A.J.Russell writes:
“But to you, and those who gather to hear Me as you do, I can declare those things now, that then I left unsaid” (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 Church in Colossae 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.
SPIRIT FORCES OF THE UNSEEN AND MEDIUMS
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; and that is, 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.” (Russell 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 statement Russel makes in 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!!
“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?!
EASTERN RELIGION AND MYSTICAL INFLUENCES
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.” (Russell 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). Instead, “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, [you are to] present your requests to God.”(Phillippians 4:6).
[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 that 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.” (2Cor 6;17-18).
Comments? We don’t publish comments on the blog directly but would love your feedback! Click here to submit your questions and comments and I will respond at my earliest opportunity!
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published: Hannah Hall, Michelle Arrington, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, J.P.Wilhelm, and Tracy Yoder. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.