And that goes double for newer Christians.
Why? Because the more popular the book, the more likely it has lousy theology and the more likely they will sell it. Lifeway, etc. are businesses. They are sort-of Christian in that they sell Bibles and some good books, but mostly they’ll see anything with a Jesus veneer. People gobble up the “I went to Heaven” books and other fads, not noticing that they disagree with the Bible and with each other.
Another example: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which I’ve written about previously, is a wildly popular book. Here is the type of content that book has (the author is claiming to quote Jesus here, putting her book on a par with scripture). Via Book Review and Serious Warning: Sarah Young’s ‘Jesus Calling’
When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. . . When you realize this has happened, whisper My Name; this tiny act of trust brings Me to the forefront of your consciousness, where I belong. (May 2)
Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me. . . . There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My presence. (May 24)
For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope. All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms. . . I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. (June 14)
That sure doesn’t sound like Jesus. If you read the Bible much at all you should recognize how made-up her claims are.
While she tries to deny that she is putting her words on a par with scripture, the accusation stands. The title itself claims that Jesus himself contacted her. How can she then deny that she was claiming to quote him? Does the King of the universe make contact and then not speak clearly? And just look at the quotes above. They are unusually specific, telling Young about the number of dimensions in the universe. So Jesus either really told her those things, or she made them up (or a demon told them to her).
As the link explains, there is one entry after another with New Age nonsense like that. Any resemblance to the Bible is coincidental, but there is a strong correlation to what Young writes and what New Age mystic Eckhart Tolle writes (Oprah loves Eckhart’s teachings, if that tells you anything).
This is why understanding Decision making and the will of God is so important. Those who claim special revelation from God are making the same type of statements that Young does, namely that God spoke to them directly with a personalized message. While He could do that, it isn’t normative, and the burden of proof is on those who claim to have received his messages.
Avoid that book, warn others, and pretty much avoid any best-sellers at Christian bookstores (if you must go there). Try to read more older, established books than the trendy ones.