A couple of months ago I made the decision to remove the comment section on my blog. I did so largely because comments can only succeed where there is good moderation, and I was increasingly unable to provide that. In lieu of comments I have decided to accept (and encourage) letters to the editor. Today I share some of the letters to the editor that have come in this week—letters that are representative of the ones I received this week. I would invite those of you who read the blog regularly to consider reading these letters as a part of the back-and-forth between writer and readers.
Comments on 10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of comments this week were related to my article on Jesus Calling (which was read by a little over 200,000 people). The comments were roughly equally divided between people who agreed with my concerns and those who did not. Here is a sampling.
Thank you so much for this newest review of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. This book has been an issue for years, from when I first heard about it. I have warned others about it, about the foreword where SY claims to “want more” than prayer and bible reading. So many friends and acquaintances are into this book without having a clue that there is anything wrong with it. … 2 PET 1:3-4 states that “His divine power has granted to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness, through the KNOWLEDGE of Him Who called us to is own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises…” which are found in His Word. (Capitals are mine for emphasis.) Why would people want to depend on what some woman says rather than on what God’s Word says? Please keep keeping us informed of the like. Lord willing, some will see it and stop reading this book and turn to the only Book that has ALL of the answers for life.—Victoria K, Upper Chichester, PA
I have prayerfully read the ’10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling‘ article, and found ‘much ado about nothing’…as this book has brought many people into a more vital, personal and intimate relationship with Jesus,than they had before reading it? How about the Holy Spirit’s ‘job’ of giving His children discernment to know ‘right from wrong’, ‘truth from lies’, based on how so many are ‘drawn closer to the Lord’, and not one of the people I know personally, have been ‘led astray’ in any way. Same solid doctrinal and fundamental beliefs in the Finished work of Christ on their behalf, and the ‘inerrant Word of God’. Opposition will always come against those who bring others closer to our Lord…Who tells us to ‘love one another’, and ‘leave the Judging to Him’.—Sue P, Redmond, OR
I’m sorry, but don’t pastors and preachers do the exact same thing? Do they not listen to God and use scripture to go along with their finding? If this is true, and the bible is the ONLY thing I should be reading, then why go to church at all to hear what my pastor says, or ask a friend to pray for me? To me, this makes no sense to God’s calling on our life to be lights to the world. There can be more than one thing in the world that is God breathed… Matter of fact there’s a billion or so of them walking around, talking, writing articles, all with different views. To shame someone who set out on an honest journey, made an honest book, that has quite obviously touched MANY lives? How is that not also God created? Doesn’t mean it equals the bible, but I’m pretty sure the Bible was written in the same way. By men who sought after God, and put pen to paper.—Kara H, Wichita Falls, TX
I’m unclear why you are attacking the author of this book. She never claimed to be God. Have you never heard from God? I don’t understand why you are being so harsh. Her writings have encouraged many people and many devotionals are written in this model. Never has she claimed her writings are inspired. Your article is very upsetting. I wonder if you are even Christian. Thank you.—Rebecca R, Norcross, GA
I found your article on Sarah Young’s devotionals very offensive and upsetting. I have shared her devotionals with dozens of people who have told me they love them and inspired them. How can you say such negative things about her and her devotionals? My husband and I read them every morning for the past several years and have been inspired.—Joanne N, Toledo, OH
I am a college student at TCU and I am deeply ashamed of this article you have written about the Jesus Calling devotionals. DEVOTIONAL, sir. No devotional is meant to supplement the Bible and that is certainly not what this devotional is meant to do. You saying that she replaces the Bible with this book ensures me that you have NOT read it. Each day provides scripture to go along with what she talks about. Does that sound like an ungodly book to you? If it does, I advise you to read the Bible again. It infuriates me that someone in your position and career path would use this platform to shut down a book that I know for a fact has helped me and many of my friends and family. Just because you did not publish her book gives you no right to make false allegations. If she was proclaiming the “insufficiency” of the Bible, would she be citing scripture? No. I believe her emphasis does match the Bible’s since she USES VERSES FROM THE BIBLE. It seems pretty clear to me that you do not understand what the point of a devotional is. I read this every morning and am blessed by it. I read it concurrent with my Bible and it gets me to start my day off right. It is a daily reminder that every day I need God more and more and cannot do it all on my own. As a college student, this is an extremely important reminder and helps me get through the day. You, sir, are the one generating confusion, not her. Your article is “built upon a faulty premise” and is “dangerous and unworthy of our attention or affirmation”. The only reason I am writing to you is to show you that although you are entitled to your opinion, you are wrongly influencing others on this topic.—Holly W, Fort Worth, TX
I really can’t with most of the points in your article “10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling.” I know that some people believe that God does not speak any more, but much of the premise of your article is based on the assumption that God can’t speak. I try not to tell God what He can’t do.—Brooke S, Norfolk, VA
Hello, Tim–I wanted to write and say ‘THANK YOU’ for your post about the book ‘Jesus Calling‘. I grew up in a Roman Catholic family, and ‘mystical’ writings like this were very common. It is sad to see this becoming popular in evangelical circles. It gives me the creeps!—Patricia F, Syracuse, NY
Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! Thank you so much for writing the article on Jesus Calling. After seeing the books all over the place, I took one and flipped through it, and immediately the red flags went up. All of your points were excellent. It all boils down to the fact that God and His Word are enough. Why do we feel like we need to somehow make it better? Excellent article. Keep writing the truth, Mr. Tim!—Kara H, Milton, FL
Tim: I knew when I wrote my article that Jesus Calling was a popular book. But I had no idea just how far the article would go and how many people would react to it. More than twelve years into this blogging thing, I can still be surprised!
Comments on If We Have Died to Sin, Why Do We Still Sin?
Christians do not sin. The truly, few, who are redeemed, know the power of the resurrection power over sin. What is Hebrews all about anyway? I’m sick of hearing that Christians can still sin and then hearing that, in essence, they don’t like it, it just sort of happens, like someone who sins does not choose to do that. How long does it take to “continue in sin?” How many times does one repent? How many times does one put to death Christ? Your article is heresy. Under the old law atonement was made continuously, not under the new law. The truly redeemed have the mind of Christ. Does Christ’s mind ever sin? … You speak heresy. Your words condemn you. I understand why Paul would want those who preach a different gospel to emasculate themselves. Who would want to listen to a man who sounded like a little girl? I pray that you will repent, and believe all the Word. What is different about a Christian who can sin, and a lost person who lives as righteous as Job before his conversion in chapter 42:6? My, oh my, what a dangerous, destructive road you are traveling, as you make a name for yourself, and deny the power of the risen Lord. Beware of false prophets, for they are many. Few walk in newness of life. What is new about having to try to live up to goodness? I could not do that before repentance. I don’t have to after it. Christ lives in me to do it. Or is God’s spirit limited in its ability? May God have mercy on you. Repent and believe.
—Debbie H, Chilhowee, MO
Tim: I include this only as an example of how dangerous and ridiculous it is to say that Christians no longer sin.
Comments on J.I. Packer: An Evangelical Life
Really appreciate the work you do. I share your frustration with the lack of information about Packer as a husband and father. One reason I pre-ordered Ryken’s book (other than admiration of Packer) was to see if more light would be shed on that area of his life. Even though I’m only 22 and just engaged, I’m convinced that one can glean a lot about a man’s character and convictions by his relationship with his wife and children. Now, perhaps Packer has intentionally kept his family away from the public eye. I can certainly see how that could be a wise decision. But I pray that we will not one day hear comparisons of Packer to Tozer, who contributed much to the faith of the saints, yet seemed to have neglected his wife and children in the process.—Shawn P, Great Meadows, NJ
Comments on Theological Quizzes in PDF Format
Thank you for the quizzes! I have been sorting, in my own mind, what to do next in our Sunday School. Calling this study, “Questioning our Theology” with will begin this Sunday with a quiz on one of the subjects. Please allow me to know when you have the next one available – good stuff!—Jeff K, Pittsburgh, PA
I am actually teaching Systematic Theology for a couple of weeks in Odessa, Ukraine at a missionary training school. I used the doctrine quizzes you have done so far and they were VERY helpful in reviewing and deepening what I had already taught…the Doctrine of Christ was especially challenging to the students. Thanks for the effort…looking forward to some more!—Mike W, St Cloud, MN
Tim: Thanks, Mike. That’s really encouraging. I love to see how things like the quizzes get put to use once they are “out in the wild.”
I really appreciate the “Letters to the Editor” and believe that more blogs should adopt it. I read the “Letters to the Editor”. Invariably with the comments, I’d run into snags, snarls and general swirling away from the topic at hand and then think “why am I reading this?” I have yet to do that with “Letters to the Editor”. I’m not much for change, but this was good one, in my opinion.
—Kim R, Concord, CA
Tim: Thanks, Kim. The jury is still out, but at this point I am quite enjoying the feature.