Number of Pages: 384
Publication Date: 2012
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What if you could have a conversation with Jesus Himself? What would He say to you? That's the concept of the classic devotional God Calling, which has encouraged, challenged, and informed millions of readers around the world. Its daily entries continue to speak to readers today as it first did almost seventy years ago—and now, this Christian classic is presented in a new paperback edition featuring bonus prayers, poems, and questions for further thought. Containing the complete, unabridged text of God Calling, this handsome new edition promises an entire year’s inspiration.
Former New AgerMid-Atlantic1 Stars Out Of 5God Calling Contains Blatant Non-Christian ViewsMay 9, 2015Former New AgerMid-AtlanticQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0The devotions in God Calling, written as though God/Jesus is speaking, came about in 1932 when two anonymous women, called "The two listeners," decided to sit down with pencils and paper and wait to hear words from God. The claim is made in the foreword by editor A. J. Russell that these two women received messages "from the Living Christ Himself."
The listener states that this book "is no ordinary book," thereby claiming a special status for it. In fact, the Jesus of this book affirms it in the May 15 reading:
"You are very privileged, both of you. I share My plans and secrets with you and make known to you My Purposes, while so many have to grope on."
So the rest of the Christian world is left to "grope on" with the implied paucity of God's revelation in the Bible? This is alarming.
Andrew James Russell, editor of God Calling, became a follower of Dr. Frank Buchman, who founded the Oxford Group, first started under another name in 1921, but taking the name of Oxford Group in 1931. Meeting in groups, this movement emphasized fellowship and receiving direct guidance from God.
Although Russell writes that criteria were used to measure this "guidance," some of the criteria were quite subjective. Continually seeking guidance in this fashion, which is no different from automatic writing, is opening the door to false doctrine.
Apparently, the "two listeners" were followers of this method and undoubtedly part of the Oxford Group. So it is not surprising that so many unbiblical statements are made. For example, one that is repeated a few times and is one of the most egregious is this:
Truly I said to My Disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." But to you, and the twos who gather to hear Me as you do, I can declare those things now, that then I left unsaid. (April 14)
This statement is being used as though Jesus was referring to people later on, like the two listeners and others, who would receive further revelation. However, Jesus is not saying that. Jesus is speaking to his disciples and makes it clear in the next verse what this means:
"I still have many things to tell you, but you can't bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come." John 16: 12, 13
This was referring to when the disciples would receive the indwelling Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the further teachings through Scripture. To turn this into an endorsement of listening and writing down what one senses coming from God is mangling the text.
I noted New Thought concepts embedded in God Calling. New Thought, a movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, claimed to be Christianity but actually taught that all men are innately divine, Jesus was just another man who realized this, and that the way to true wisdom was to realize this truth and change one's perceptions. Man is naturally connected to God, and by affirming these new truths, one's thinking is changed, thereby bringing one's spiritual status (consciousness) to an alleged "higher level." While referring to Jesus and acknowledging the biblical story, New Thought imbues the biblical text with entirely different meanings.
Terms noticed in entries for (but not limited to) Feb. 27, March 10 and 13, June 19, July 29, Aug. 18, and Nov. 17 include "material manifestation," "Spirit-life," "Spirit-communication," "Spirit-Kingdom," "the material plane," "Spirit Sounds," "spirit understanding," and "Spirit-world." This language is used in New Thought and the New Age, denoting a Gnostic-based spirit-material duality. Even taking into account when this book was written, these terms are not Christian and never have been, and some are used in Spiritualism (although one reading ironically condemns Spiritualism).
At least one blatant Spiritualist reading is found:
How often mortals rush to earthly friends who can serve them in so limited a way, when the friends who are freed from the limitations of humanity can serve them so much better, understand better, protect better, plan better, and even plead better their cause with Me.
The "friends freed from the limitation of humanity" are the dead. This piercing glint of Spiritualism is further suggestion of New Thought influence, since the two were so intertwined at the time.
The God Calling God is a servant to men, a tool for manifesting their joy and happiness, as it is in New Thought. The April 3rd devotion has God saying, "I, who could command a universe -- I await the commands of my children." This idea is also in the Jan. 28 piece.
For March 16, God declares this very unbiblical statement:
I am actually at the center of every man's being, but distracted with the things of the sense-life, he finds Me not.
This concept, emphasizing the innate divinity of man as well as the spirit-material duality, is New Thought. It is more apparent in the Jan.20 entry:
==If you realize your high privilege, you have only to think and immediately the object of your thought is called into being.==
==To dwell in thought on the material, when once you live in Me -- is to call it into being."==
In other words, once your mind is turned onto the New Thought wavelength, which is awareness of one's divine nature, you can manifest into reality that which you are thinking. New Thought terms for God, such as "Divine Mind" (used more than once; this is a term used in Christian Science for God), "Divine Force," "Divine Voice," and "Divine Spirit" are found throughout the book, including Jan. 31, Feb. 9, Feb. 15, Aug. 17, Sept. 29, Dec. 18 and elsewhere. "Divine alchemy" is found in the Sept. 5 entry -- would Jesus even use such a word, which describes a form of sorcery?
Most chillingly, an unsound view of the atonement is found in the Jan. 14 devotion:
When I died on the Cross, I died embodying all the human self.....As you too kill self, you gain the overwhelming power I released for a wearying world.....it is not life and its difficulties you have to conquer, only the self in you.
The self in New Thought is the false self springing from the false perception that man is separate from God. The New Thought Jesus came and died so that this false perception could be destroyed, enabling man to have the correct perception of his True Self, which is divine. Salvation comes not from faith in Christ, but as you "kill self," the false self. Note that this Jesus says his death "released" a power. This is a New Thought metaphysical view of Jesus' death, which released a power (similar to Agnes Sanford's belief, who exhibited New Thought thinking throughout her life).
A. J. Russell was deeply involved with the Oxford Group at a time when New Thought influence was strong. What I read in the book, in my view, echoes New Thought beliefs in the tone, language, and ideas. So much in this book is not at all compatible with what the Bible teaches or with what Jesus said. Avoid this book like the plague!
SnakebitAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5December 23, 2013SnakebitAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I have been reading God Calling for about 6 months and love the message and the use of prayers and scripture.