Jesus Calling Problems?

10 Serious Problems with “Jesus Calling”

Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling is a phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down. According to publisher Thomas Nelson, it “continues to grow in units sold each year since it was released [and] has surpassed 15 million copies sold.” Nelson is involved in an expansive new marketing campaign that involves a new web site and daily radio devotionals. ECPAreports that “Thomas Nelson began its partnership with the Salem Media group to provide 60-second daily messages on Eric Metaxas’ show, which is carried on more than 100 stations nationwide and worldwide on SiriusXM Radio. The Jesus Calling radio devotional reaches more than 500,000 people each day through these segments.” With 15 million copies sold, it has marched its way into rare company.


Yet it is a deeply troubling book. I am going to point out 10 serious problems with Jesus Calling in the hope that you will consider and heed these warnings.

1. She speaks for God. Far and away the most troubling aspect of the book is its very premise—that Sarah Young hears from Jesus and then dutifully brings his messages to her readers.

(Go here to continue reading this informative and well-written article from Tim Challies.)

LGBT – Choice or Genes?

The science aspect of this question is rather simple. There is no “gay” gene. There never has been a “gay” gene. There never will be a “gay” gene. Modern scientists will strive in vain to find that which undermines and countermands the Word of God. The reason is because modern culture hates everything about God. It hates the Bible with a passion because it points out the sin nature that is found in every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. Modern culture wants to think that man is getting better and better. Because of this thought process, it demands that all must conform equally to whatever is considered to be the acceptable norm.

Enter the LGBT community along with their open and unashamed agenda for the total destruction of all that is right and wholesome. How have we come so far in such a short time?

There was a time when acts such as lesbianism and homosexuality were punishable as crimes, and we do not have to go all the way back to the Old Testament to find that such behavior has long been considered an abomination. However, if the only guide we had to what is acceptable behavior, we can go all the way back to creation to find that God made them male and female. Ultimately, the final authority belongs to God. He created marriage to be between one man and one woman, but sin has destroyed all of that. God created marriage to produce and populate the earth and to care for His creation, but sin has destroyed all of that.

The wickedness of the earth continues to grow as it rises in rebellion against God.

The advent of television and movies is probably one of the greatest contributors to the open acceptance of the perversions that run rampant in our societies over the last century. We found out that certain movie stars were womanizers, adulterers, fornicators, or living a life as a homosexual or lesbian, and we excused it because, “That’s just Hollywood.”


People acting in an effeminate manner were mocked but only for a short time. The so-called wholesome family shows soon began mocking the family unit. The role played by the husband was denigrated and they were made to look like bumbling fools. The beautiful picture of a lady quickly faded into obscurity as women were paraded into more and more masculine roles.

Bedroom scenes quickly moved from a man and woman sleeping in separate beds to the actors being filmed in risqué and questionable situations. Before long, that was not enough for audiences and the movies began to include partial nudity. Then, it became more open as the cameras relished in the depraved scenes mocking all that God created to be holy within the bonds of matrimony.

But that was never enough! Movies began to flirt with lustful relationships between two men or two women, then proceeded to make films and tv episodes where homosexuality and lesbianism was fully acceptable. Those who cried against these perversions were mocked as being prudes and as those “Christian types who really don’t understand that God is love and that He loves everybody just like they are and that He even created some men to love other men or some women to love other women.”

Do we wonder why there are so many who have chosen lifestyles that are opposed to God? It is because culture has made it seem innocent. It has taken all that is good and holy before God and destroyed it a little bit at a time. What is acceptable now brings little more than a yawn to many, even to some who claim to be followers of Christ. Such portrayals on the screen 20, 30, or 50 years ago would have brought the wrath of much of America down on the heads of movie studios.

However, the movie producers were smart. Test the waters enough and before long, what is sin and wickedness will be acceptable. Now, social media like Twitter and Facebook has allowed those who live in open rebellion against God and His Word to parade their sin. Gay parades and the accompanying perversions of those who prey against our children is no longer headline news. Those who make the news are the “bigots” who stand in the way of cultural evolution as “the earth moves towards a utopian society.”

In just a few short decades, the LGBT community went from only wanting to be free to do whatever they wanted in the privacy of their homes to demanding that their perversions must be taught to impressionable young boys and girls. Believers got a little squeamish with the idea but began hearing from the pulpit that “God loves people just like they are. He wants us to accept people for who they are. Whatever they do in the privacy of their own homes is none of our business.” And we bought the lies. Churches began to accept the depravity a bit at a time.

Public schools were the breeding ground for the introduction of sexual freedom of all kinds to children. Children went home and the things not acceptable in homes was openly allowed to be portrayed on the televisions when they got home from school. The sexual revolution opened the door and now pregnancy out of wedlock and people openly living together with no commitment and no marriage is totally acceptable. To question a person living in such a lifestyle is to be a bigot.

Is it any wonder that once society accepted the perversions, and the family allowed the perversions on the screen, and then the church accepted the perversions – is it really any wonder that boys and girls are growing up in confusion as to what they were created to be? Today, judges are passing laws that demand equal rights for those who want to live in a fantasy world while demanding that those with any morals left be held in contempt of court.

Churches stopped taking a stand for truth. Pastors failed to prepare the hearts of the believers to stand for the truth because there were no more absolutes. Absolutes were only for bigots. Churches went from preaching the truth to accepting all lifestyles that were opposed to all that is holy to God. Pastors stopped preaching against sin because it was not popular and would cause a decline in the offerings every Sunday.

What sane person finds it acceptable for a man to walk into a woman’s bathroom because he thinks he is a woman? What sane person finds it believable that through the use of medicine and genital mutilation a person can actually change themselves from a man to a woman or from a woman to a man? Sorry, but Bruce Jenner will always be a man and he is no hero. He is a man who needs to seek forgiveness from the Most High God that he has offended and against Who he lives in outright rebellion.


What is next? Polygamy? Many false religions already allow for this and it will not be long before they will demand equal protection for their lifestyle. The polygamists of Utah and Colorado used to be a very quiet group who worked diligently to stay under the radar of the authorities. Now, television and movies have promoted this lifestyle as being acceptable. Judges are already throwing out cases that involve polygamy and it will not be long before polygamy will no longer be a crime, but will be openly acceptable behavior from any who choose to have more than one husband or one wife.

What else is coming? Bestiality? Lowering the age of consent to accommodate the agenda of the LGBT community? Yep, all of the above and even worse will be coming because our societies in the west are on a cliff-face headed straight for hell. If you doubt that the LGBT community has an agenda, then you are living like an ostrich with your head in the sand.

The Roman Empire was destroyed from within by its debauchery. Rome became a place where biblical Christianity was mocked while allowing polygamy, slavery, and the selling of boys and girls for whatever perversions were needed to satisfy a person’s lust was on offer. Our society will also soon be there because it hates God, but God will not be mocked. Neither will His judgment be withheld forever.

However, there is hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone. You will never find hope inside of a pill, or drugs, or a bottle, or illicit sex, or lust-filled relationships. The emptiness that is within the heart of each person can only be filled by Jesus Christ. When a person comes to the end of themselves and realizes that they are lost in the depravity of their sin, only then will they be able to understand the joy that belongs to true believers. Repent from your sin while there is yet time.

If you claim to know Christ, you cannot remain in your sin or your perversions otherwise the Bible makes it clear that you are not a true believer. If you are called to be a minister, you must take a stand for truth regardless of what it will cost you.

The video below is a clip from Dr. Steve Lawson giving forth clearly the words of life. If you are living in sin and rebellion against God, the answer is not reformation. The answer is not found in trying to be a good person. It is not even in seeking to live a morally upright life.


Orthodoxy is defined “in the Christian sense” to mean “conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church.” This word comes from the Greek orthos meaning correct and the Greek doxy meaning opinion.

Orthopraxy is defined as “correctness or orthodoxy of action or practice.” The word comes from the Greek orthos meaning correct and the Greek praxis meaning deed or action.

It is often stated in many circles that doctrine divides. Doctrine does certainly divide but the belief or conformity to the Christian faith is a lofty ideal that many hold to unswervingly. The average person may not fully understand all the words or theological terms, but they have no issue repeating the creeds or stating that they believe just like their church believes.

The problem is NOT with too much orthodoxy in the church. Orthodoxy is easy to fine in most evangelical churches. Creeds grace the walls of many sanctuaries. Hymnbooks contain creeds or doctrinal statements that encourage the reader to understand what his or her chosen congregation believes. Bulletins include calls to recitation of orthodox doctrine. Books line the walls of the libraries found in the pastor’s study or the church lending room. Many of these books are a basis or a foundation of what can be expected in regards to doctrine. Pastors and teachers speak each week and many messages are based on a particular aspect of Christian doctrine. In essence, they are standing to share the “correct opinion” of what the Word of God has to say to the hearer.

The problem in much of what passes for American Christianity is that the orthodoxy rarely translates into orthopraxy. “Correct opinion” of the Word of God is not being seen as “correct deeds or actions” either within the church or outside of the church.


Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy means:

  1. We believe God’s Word is sufficient for all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), AND we practice this in each aspect of our daily walk.
  1. We believe the law of Christ (Luke 10:27), AND we show that we love God and our neighbor through daily interaction.
  1. We believe we are to have godly families (Ephesians 5 & 6), AND we show to those closest to us that our correct opinion translates into correct actions.
  1. We believe we are to be lights to a dark, sin-sick world (Matthew 5:16), AND we strive to share the truth of the Gospel by reaching out to those around us.
  1. We believe church is to be a fellowship of true blood-bought believers (1 Peter 1 & 2), AND we practice fellowship by desiring to spend MORE time than just 1 hour and 20 minutes on a Sunday morning each week.
  1. We believe church should be a representation of the fellowship we will enjoy together for all of eternity, AND we work diligently not to let minor things separate us.
  1. We believe covenanting together in Christian unity (Acts 2), AND we stop shopping for the next big fad on the Christian church horizon.
  1. We believe pastor-teachers are called to edify and exhort and encourage the local body of Christ (Ephesians 4), AND we refuse to compare them with the latest and greatest speakers on TV, radio, or internet.
  1. We believe pastor-teachers are to protect the flock (1 Peter 5), AND we take comfort as they lead us in straight paths instead of looking for reasons to leave.
  1. We believe we are to bear one another’s burden (Galatians 6), AND we take an active interest in the lives of those we have covenanted together with to ensure that needs are being met (including emotional and spiritual needs).
  1. We believe Christ died for His Bride (Ephesians 5), AND we take delight in loving and forgiving those for whom He died.
  1. We believe Christ forgives us of our sins (1 John 1), AND we do not hold unforgiveness or bitterness in our hearts toward those who can NEVER wrong us to the degree that we did to Christ before He saved us.
  1. We believe strife and contention are not part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), AND we refuse to take needless offense when others don’t respond JUST like we do or JUST like we expect them to do.
  1. We believe prayer is vital in the life of every true believer (James 5:16), AND we learn to discipline our lives and the life of the church to pray without ceasing.
  1. We believe only Christ is Perfect (1 Peter 1), AND we encourage each other to become more like Christ daily instead of demanding perfection from imperfect sinners saved by grace.
  1. We believe the Scriptures are infallible and inspired by God (2 Peter 1:21), AND we stop running to the local so-called Christian bookstore for the latest drivel that makes vain attempts to make us feel better about ourselves.
  1. We believe we are not to be conformed to the world (Romans 12), AND this means we will stop liking and loving what God hates. Wizardry, witches, demonology, vampires, titillating reality shows, etc. are NOT what God likes. In fact, if you can love these things of the world, 1 John makes it clear that the love of God is not in you and you are NOT a true believer.
  1. We believe we are but sojourners in this world (Hebrews 11), AND we strive to keep our focus on things of heaven and to have a continual perspective of eternity.

These are just a few ways in which we must grow in our spiritual walk if we are to make a difference in the world. All of the orthodoxy (or correct opinion) of God’s Word will never change you or those who know you unless it can be seen that such orthodoxy transforms you into having a biblical orthopraxy (or correct deeds).

The church has no business even claiming they believe correct orthodoxy if they do not also believe and strive to practice correct orthopraxy.

So, the question is this for each of us to consider today and every day – does your orthopraxy proclaim your orthodoxy or does your orthodoxy get in the way of your orthodoxy?

Preacher, Tell Me Like It Is?

A good friend shared a Southern Gospel song with me this past week. It is one that I cannot ever remember hearing, although the group that sings this song is one I listened to for many years. The Southern Gospel group is called Greater Vision. For your reference, I have included the lyrics below before I share some additional thoughts.

1) Preacher I’d say it’s been a while since you heard this request,
but my spirit is tired and I need rest.
I want to hear from Heaven a clear word from God,
A sermon of conviction straight from the heart.

2) I’ve been hearing other preachers say I don’t have to change.
The most eloquent of speakers tell me I’m okay.
But it hasn’t eased my conscience and I know it’s not the truth.
So when you stand before us, can I count on you?

(Chorus) Oh Preacher, you say you want to be my friend,
don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is.
And Preacher, tell me I can overcome,
but it’s only by the blood of the Lamb.
Don’t tell me like I wish it was, Preacher tell me like it is.

3) So open up the Word and let the Spirit lead,
Preach until I’ve heard God speak to me.
Don’t worry about my feelings, don’t worry about my shame,
Just preach the cross of Jesus and that I’m to blame!

Life is quickly passing, the world is fading fast
and the foolishness of preaching is the only hope we have.

Regardless of whether you like Southern Gospel Music or not, there are still pastor-teachers who get up every Sunday or throughout the week and pray that today would be the day they heard such a song from those in their congregations.


Sadly, this is far from truth. Many of you, who are regulars here at DefCon, know some of our story. In early 2013, I was called to pastor what I thought was a conservative, evangelical Bible-believing church in north-central California.  It took less than 2 months to ascertain that several of the “elders” were not even true believers. One was living in open sin, and they took great offense at my preaching that salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.

In one leaders’ meeting, one “elder” stated this while pointing at my Bible, “I don’t really know much about that book, but if you are telling me that my friends and family who do not believe in Jesus Christ are going to die and go to hell…well, I would rather die and go to hell with them than to believe what you are telling me!”

Can you imagine such a response by one who is supposedly “called” to be a shepherd? Why would a church even ask a person to be a shepherd when they don’t know The Book?

A few months later, just shy of 70% of the congregation voted against taking a stand on the issue of homosexuality and homosexual marriage. Obviously, this was not a congregation that was interested in singing the lyrics of this song. They did not want sin called what it was. The men who claimed to be elders and who were supposed to be leading spiritually and watching over the flock had little to no interest in the truth of God’s Word.

Sundays come and Sundays go, and far too many faithful ministers prepare messages wondering who will show up and whether they are even upset from the Word that was ministered the week before. On the other hand, there are hirelings posing as shepherds who refrain from speaking boldly because they are afraid of losing a paycheck. Such individuals have NO BUSINESS being in the pulpit.

While there are many other things that are on my heart, I want to use this post to address those who normally sit in congregations each week. Let me tell you what a true pastor looks like.

  1. A true pastor will be faithful to the Word before he is faithful to your pet peeves.
  2. A true pastor will be obedient to the Word before he will be obedient to what you THINK you want to hear.
  3. A true pastor will honor God first and foremost before he will honor requests to dumb down the Scriptures.
  4. A true pastor will normally be found in a small gathering long before he will be found preaching to large crowds who come for everything BUT exposition of the Scriptures.
  5. A true pastor may not show up for every party you have at your house but he will keep you before the Lord each time you are brought to his remembrance.
  6. A true pastor has a family that he has been called to take care of but they will often wait long hours for him to come home because he is “needed” in another part of the harvest field for a few more hours.
  7. A true pastor may have to work long hours outside of ministry-related duties and still have to find time to juggle family, ministry, preparation, and maybe squeeze in some rest. He may do this because it is better than taking a paycheck from a congregation who thinks they can hire and fire him if he doesn’t tickle their ears.
  8. A true pastor will struggle with his own sin and concerns while preaching to himself each time he opens the Scriptures. He will strive to be faithful while at the same time endeavoring to be more like Jesus Christ knowing that he fails miserably.
  9. A true pastor weeps when he sees entire families walk away because they didn’t like the music or lack thereof, or because they chose to walk in the paths of heretics they read after or watch on TBN. He knows that what they are following after does not change their lives. He knows their struggles are real and hopping from church to church is not going to change them to be more like Christ.
  10. A true pastor is concerned when telling it like it is about sin and shame produces little response in the lives of the hearers,, and he wonders whether it is worth all the effort.
  11. A true pastor may often take the blame for much that has nothing to do with his own life, his family, or his ministry. However, he will also know that the blameshifting is merely a cry for help from those who do not want to be helped.
  12. A true pastor may often wonder if there is “anybody else in Israel that has not bowed the knee to the gods of this world” but will rejoice when he finds even one or two of the 7,000 who have not bowed.
  13. A true pastor knows the world is dying and on their way to hell apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ, but will normally minister to people, some who think they are “good enough” to get there on their own merits.
  14. A true pastor knows that the foolishness of preaching is the ONLY hope we have to offer to the world.
  15. A true pastor will know that to strive to be most eloquent in the eyes of the world will only bring further heartache.
  16. A true pastor knows that this world cannot be his home, that he is only a stranger on a journey to a better land, and that the rewards this world has to offer are corrupt at best and will rot away.
  17. A true pastor may at times be captured in moments of weakness by thoughts of wanting to hear compliments, but in the end remembers that the only true accomplishment will be to hear, “Well done, you were a good and faithful servant.”

For those true pastors who have refused to bow the knee to the gods of this world and the sinful desires of congregations, you are loved with an everlasting love. Your rewards will be few down here. Your body may be worn down as you strive to juggle all of your efforts to show Christ to others, but strive to remain faithful as we look toward a land whose builder and maker is God. True pastors, you have a high calling.

True believers, you have a responsibility to pray for your pastor, to support him, to love him, and to realize that he is only human. Every message will NOT be easy to hear. He is tasked with the incredible and heart-breakingly overwhelming responsibility of protecting you from the dangers of all the heresy and false teaching that is spreading like wildfire throughout evangelicalism.

True believers, it is easy to sing songs like this when they have catchy tunes or lyrics, but how often have you actually walked up to your pastor and told him such words? How often have you said, “Preacher, Tell Me Like It Is!” and then instead of getting offended and looking for a new church next week prayed and asked the Lord to help you be a faithful Berean Christian who will stand for truth even when it is not popular?