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,”