I recently posted some comments and a review of the Christian bestseller Jesus Calling. It is a book that has enjoyed a wide readership. The fans of Jesus Calling are deeply enthusiastic. It is, however, a troubling book in that the author Sarah Young claims that the words of the book were given to her directly from Jesus (or, "The Presence"). Interestingly, Young claims that only the Bible is inerrant and that the words that Jesus gave her are not as authoritative as those found in Scripture. But this begs the question: Why are the words Jesus gave directly to Sarah Young less authoritative, binding, or inerrant than those words given directly to Moses, the prophets, or the apostles?
Have evangelicals lost their discernment? Have they lost the stomach to ask critical questions? Are they able to ask, "Is this biblical?" and back it up with adequate knowledge from the Scriptures?
Last week while I was minding my own business in Barnes and Noble I was visually assaulted by the latest edition of Heaven Is For Real. This one was extra big and entitled Heaven Is For Real For Kids! What's amazing is that the first edition does not qualify as being "for kids." But I digress. Anyway, as I maneuvered around the case of books I noticed yet another "I went to Heaven but God sent me back because I'm too important for his purposes" book.
As I have pointed out before (here and here) one of the reasons I am so troubled by these books, and others like them, is that they undermine confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture. Why do we need Sarah Young's less inspired and potentially errant words directly from Jesus when the Bible gives us the fully inspired and inerrant Word of God? Why do we need Todd Burpo to assure us that Heaven is for real when the Bible already does?
Someone with whom I am close recently had a conversation with a precious saint. This wonderful person has been a Christian for many years. And yet, having been so captivated by Heaven Is Real she assured my friend that we will have wings in Heaven because the Burpo kid says so.
Brothers and sisters, we can do better than this. We must do better than this. It does not honor God, who gave us His Word and two thousand years of faithful witnesses, when we gather to ourselves tellers of tall tales and mystic guides. For God's sake and our own good let us do better.