Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling: An Assault on the Sufficiency of Scripture

 

An article on the sufficiency of Scripture opens appropriately with the words, “The Scriptures today are under attack.” This is true not only regarding the inerrancy of Scripture, but even more so, I think, regarding the sufficiency of Scripture. Quoting James Montgomery Boice, Tim Challies wrote:

“James Montgomery Boice once said that the real battle in our times would not be the inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture, but its sufficiency.

The Battle for Sufficiency

 

Sadly, the battle for the sufficiency of Scripture is taking place right inside the doors of the Church. This has much to due with a form of false teaching that comes straight from Roman Catholic monasticism called contemplative spirituality. Contemplative Spirituality has wormed it’s way into the Protestant Church thanks to authors like Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. In this post, we won’t have time to go into what contemplative spirituality is. Here is an article that explains it.

The Bible is sufficient. It is all we need for life, godliness, and direction. God has given us His final and complete Word in 66 books.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ” All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Paul says that “the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” “Complete,” meaning he needs nothing more, and “equipped for every good work,” meaning Scripture itself shows us how we are live and act as children of God in a crooked and depraved generation. Seeking to hear more from God is never encouraged in the Bible.

An Attack on the Sufficiency of Scripture

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young does not attack the inerrancy or infallibility of Scripture. As a matter of fact Young makes it clear:

“The Bible is the only infallible, inerrant Word of God, and I endeavor to keep my writings consistent with that unchanging standard” JC, p.12.

However, what Jesus Calling does attack is the sufficiency of Scripture. How does it do this? By encouraging others to seek the voice of God apart from Scripture. For example, on page 10 of the book she says:

“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.”

My question to Sarah would be- How do you know that what you heard in your mind was from God?

Elsewhere she says:

“My journaling thus changed from monologue to dialogue. This new way of communicating with God became the high point of my day” JC. p.12.

There’s something very disturbing about that quote. Notice that it wasn’t reading the Scriptures that was the “high point” of her day, but “This new way of communicating with God” became the high point of her day.

According to Sarah Young, Jesus Himself told her that He speaks in ways apart from Scripture:

“I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come” July 25, p.216.

Is this not a command from Jesus Himself? If so, should we not be obedient to commands that Jesus gives in this book? But that’s for another post. In the meantime, notice, Jesus is not only saying that He speaks in multiple ways apart from Scripture, but Scripture comes last in the list of ways that He does supposedly speak!

Impressions and Promptings?

 

Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to seek impressions or promptings. Even the apostle Peter, who had probably the greatest experience in all of Scripture, seeing Christ in His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, elevates Scripture above THAT experience:

2 Peter 1:16-21 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Peter says, over and above his experience, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed.” What is he referring to? The Scriptures! If the apostle Peter’s experience (and it was a genuine experience) was not greater than the Scriptures, you better believe Sarah Young’s experiences with Jesus isn’t either. But again, that’s for another post.

Over and over again the Bible affirms it’s sufficiency:

Psalms 19:7-11 ” The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

Notice the descriptions- “perfect,” “sure,” “right,” “pure,” “clean,” “true,” to be more desired than gold, “even much fine gold,” “sweeter also than honey.” Can Sarah Young say this about her book Jesus Calling? If Jesus is really speaking to her she has to.

Words of Warning

Since Jesus is supposedly giving direct revelation to Sarah Young, and she has written down what she heard in her mind, like it or not, this is adding to Scripture. We will discuss this in a later post. For now, let me close with some warnings from Scripture itself:

Proverbs 30:5-6 ” Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 ” You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.”

Deuteronomy 12:32 ” “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.”

Revelation 22:18 ” I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,”

 

8 thoughts on “Jesus Calling: An Assault on the Sufficiency of Scripture

  1. Almost all Christian doctrines are based on the New Testament of the Bible. But, how do Christians know that these 27 books are the inerrant, inspired words of God, as Christians tell us?

    Answer: A bunch of fallible, scientifically illiterate Churchmen in the second, third, and fourth centuries said so! That's it!

    When and where did God say that a bunch of old Churchmen have the authority to determine what is and what is not his Word? When and where did God say that Saul/Paul of Tarsus was speaking on his behalf? Or the writers of the Gospels? Or James? Or Peter? Or any other writer of the New Testament? Even if the apostles themselves had voted unanimously for the 27 books of the current New Testament to be designated as the "Word of God", that still would not prove that God had authorized them to do so. We have no evidence that the Eleven achieved a state of perfection and omniscience on Pentecost. They, like every other human being, were fallible. So where is the evidence that God left a list of what should and what should not be considered his Word in a new testament?

    Answer: No where!

    We have no evidence from the Bible or anywhere else that God gave Christians a list of what is and what is not his Word! Christians have created an "inerrant, inspired, you-are-damned-to-Hell-if-you-don't-believe-it" Holy Book based solely on the opinions of men living almost 2,000 years ago.

    Bombshell: Christians have zero evidence that proves the New Testament of the Bible to be the Word of God; the inerrant message of the Creator of the Universe to mankind. Zero!

  2. Gary, your comment brings up a lot of things. I also noticed that this was dated March 10. It's strange since I usually receive e-mail alerts when a comment has been posted on this blog. Since Blogger only allows me to post 4,00 characters I'll have to take this in 2 parts. But please allow me to answer them in the order of your objections:

    1. But, how do Christians know that these 27 books are the inerrant, inspired words of God, as Christians tell us? The New Testament is full of eyewitness accounts of Jesus' resurrection. The apostles attested to this fact. We know that these are the inspired words of God because Jesus Himself commanded that His disciples go and proclaim these things to the world.

    2. A bunch of fallible, scientifically illiterate Churchmen in the second, third, and fourth centuries said so! That's it! Quite the contrary is true, Gary. Many of the early church fathers were very literate and educated.

    3. When and where did God say that a bunch of old Churchmen have the authority to determine what is and what is not his Word? You seem to be mistaken that somehow God would/should have dictated His words to His people. But in fact, the New Testament are made up primarily of letters to churches and other believers and biographies of Jesus' life, along with apocalyptical literature. The "authority" that you keep referring to comes from Christ Himself. See point number 1 above.

    4. When and where did God say that Saul/Paul of Tarsus was speaking on his behalf? Actually, Paul said that he had received this authority from Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 – For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

    5. Or the writers of the Gospels? The gospel writers were eyewitnesses or took down their accounts from other eyewitness. If you were to present something as well attested as the gospel accounts in a modern court the evidence that they are truth would be overwhelming. Luke 1:1-4 – Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,  it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

  3. 7. Or Peter? Again, from Peter's own words: 2Peter 2:16-21 – For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    8. Or any other writer of the New Testament? I think the examples give should suffice. If one "made up" what God's Word is then all of them did. The examples from Scripture that I gave bear witness that these things were not made up.

    9. Even if the apostles themselves had voted unanimously for the 27 books of the current New Testament to be designated as the "Word of God", that still would not prove that God had authorized them to do so. Let me answer your question with a question, Gary. How would you even KNOW if God had authorized one to such? Certainly you must have some way of knowing or a standard by which we know. Could you please explain what that is?

  4. 10. We have no evidence that the Eleven achieved a state of perfection and omniscience on Pentecost. They, like every other human being, were fallible. No one has ever suggested that they had reached some kind of omniscience or higher level. That is reserved for God alone. I agree that they were fallible and sinful just like every other human being.

    11. So where is the evidence that God left a list of what should and what should not be considered his Word in a new testament? I reiterate my previous question: How do you determine if God indeed did give them His word? or how do you determine that He has not. The burden of proof falls upon you.

    12. We have no evidence from the Bible or anywhere else that God gave Christians a list of what is and what is not his Word! Christians have created an "inerrant, inspired, you-are-damned-to-Hell-if-you-don't-believe-it" Holy Book based solely on the opinions of men living almost 2,000 years ago.

    Bombshell: Christians have zero evidence that proves the New Testament of the Bible to be the Word of God; the inerrant message of the Creator of the Universe to mankind. Zero! Yes, Gary. The Bible does state that if you don't believe it you will die and go to Hell. Is that what this entire rant has been about?

    I certainly don't place my faith in the word of men, so that only leaves the infallible, inerrant Word of God; the one that you insist that we have no proof for.

    If you'd like to continue this conversation you can e-mail me at: steven.long@gmail.com, I'd be happy to share the good news of a loving Savior Who can forgive you of any and all sin and adopt you into the family of God. God bless you, Gary.

    In Christ's eternal love,
    Steven

  5. "I reiterate my previous question: How do you determine if God indeed did give them His word? or how do you determine that He has not. The burden of proof falls upon you."

    No, my Christian friend, the burden of proof is on you. You are the one making the supernatural claim that 27 books are the inspired words of a god. In western culture we have a long history of not believing new claims unless the person making the claim presents convincing evidence to support it.

    If someone claims that the world is populated with invisible unicorns, the burden of proof, at least in educated, western society, is on the person making the claim about invisible unicorns. The burden of proof is NOT on the rest of us to disprove that invisible unicorns are roaming the planet. If this were not the case, our world would be chaos, as every wild and even delusional claim of truth would be accepted as fact until proven false by its skeptics.

    I hope you can see that logic of this position, even though you may disagree with applying it to your particular religion's supernatural claims.

  6. "How would you even KNOW if God had authorized one to such?"

    Excellent question! I cannot prove that the 27 books of the NT are NOT the Words of God, as you cannot prove that they are. It is my contention that the only way to believe the Christian supernatural claims (walking on water, resurrections, ascensions, and divine inspiration of books is by faith, and faith, to me, is a political correct term for superstition.

    I cannot prove that the 27 books of the NT are NOT God the Creator's word, but neither can I disprove the existence of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, leprechauns, unicorns, and fairies. I choose not to believe in any of these supernatural claims because I base reality on reason and the scientific method. I cannot prove your reality based on supernatural views wrong, but I can point out to you that there are thousands of superstitions on this planet. Why should anyone believe that your supernatural claim is the one true claim and that the other 9,999 are false?

  7. You quote from the books of the Bible as if we have already established that every statement of fact in the Bible is true, that every alleged statement of one of the apostles is historical fact. What proof do you have of this?

    Second Peter was not accepted into the canon until almost the fifth century. Why? Why did it take so long to figure out that it really was inspired scripture and that it really was written by Peter the Galilean fisherman? Most scholars believe it is a forgery.

  8. "The New Testament is full of eyewitness accounts of Jesus' resurrection."

    How do you know? Maybe they are simply legends that developed after Jesus died.

    "The gospel writers were eyewitnesses or took down their accounts from other eyewitness."

    None of the gospels are signed. But even if they were, how do we know that disciples of Jesus or any eyewitness or any associate of eyewitnesses wrote these stories? The Roman world was full of people writing "gospels" and attributing them to famous people.

    Bottom line: Do we have any contemporaneous confirmation that Matthew the tax collector, John Mark the companion of Peter, Luke the physician, or John, son of Zebedee, wrote these four first century pieces of literature?

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