According to the Daily Beast, Thomas Nelson has taken steps to protect its vested interest in the bestselling Jesus Calling, written by a reclusive Christian missionary named Sarah Young, by purging controversial material from the book.
In the original version, Young speaks glowingly about the book, God Calling, referring to it as a “treasure” that made her long to receive messages from the Lord while at prayer just as the “Two Listeners” – the anonymous authors of God Calling – had received. The "Listeners" were relying on a particular type of automatic writing endorsed by a man named A. J. Russell in the 1930s, the same type that was eventually condemned by the Vatican.
Just after praising God Calling, Young writes about her longing to receive the same kind of messages in the Introduction to Jesus Calling. "I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day . . . I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believe He was saying."
The fact that she would then publish these musings as if they came from God has upset more than just a few Christians.
“She puts her thoughts into the first person and then presents that ‘person’ as the resurrected Lord,” David Crump, professor of religion at evangelical Calvin College, told Christianity Today. “I’m tempted to call this blasphemy.”
That she drew her inspiration from a book penned via the occult art of automatic writing only made matters worse. So how did Young and her publisher decide to fix this? By deleting all references to God Calling from the book’s introduction. Instead, they are now insisting that these aren't messages from God but are simply Young’s own thoughts and inspirations. This is just “Sarah’s prayer journal”, they insist, and she’s not really speaking for Jesus.
In other words, both publisher and Young have resorted to subterfuge to keep the book selling.
But not everyone is fooled.
“A skeptical reader, comparing the two introductions, would see an effort by a publisher to bring an increasingly controversial but lucrative best-seller into line with mainstream evangelical orthodoxy,” writes Ruth Graham for the Daily Beast.
Nelson responded to Graham’s request for an explanation for the changes, saying that while the book’s theology has always been sound, “The changes were made to make the introduction easier to understand, especially since Jesus Calling is now being read by such a wide variety of people.”
Nelson explained that because the introduction’s content did not change they saw no need to draw attention to the changes.
“But it’s hard to square that with the similarities between Young’s book and God Calling—right down to the title,” Graham comments.
Of course, Nelson could hardly insure that this book would remain on its bestseller list by telling the truth – that they removed the material because it is causing controversy. That would have only drawn attention to it and made too many potential customers decide to find something else to read.
What Nelson and Young seem to have forgotten is that Jesus caused controversy too and instead of confronting it, the powers-that-be used the same tactic on Him – just get rid of Him. But that’s no way to conquer the Truth. Eventually, it resurrects itself and exposes all that was hidden.