I don’t subscribe to many blogs. I find most to be boring and not worth my time to read them. I’m not being harsh, just realistic. I do subscribe to this one called Voice of the Sheep . http://voiceofthesheep.wordpress.com . Its a interesting blog for the main reason that I mostly disagree with the author on much of what he says.
He has a theology that he sticks to. Like most others that have subscribed to a certain theology, he is unwilling to think beyond this and bashes those that do. Here is a case in point.
There is a book called “The Shack.” The book seems to have caused a good deal of controversy in the Church. He bashes the book and sides with the ones that call it heresy.
I have pasted here in my blog his comments on this book as well as my response.
Shambles - a scene or a state of great disorder or confusion. A mess.
I think the initial buzz surrounding William P. Young’s The Shack Shambles is over, and now what we have is a semi-silent brush fire sweeping through the church at an alarming rate which is going largely unnoticed. Without going into detail, I am running into this book virtually everywhere I turn. More accurately, I am running into people reading this book everywhere I turn. And I do mean everywhere.
Knowing what I know regarding how the book portrays God the Father, the Trinity, the nature of salvation, redemption, and the sufficiency of Scripture, to name a few, I am quite concerned at the comments I am reading at various web sites and by so-called Christian leaders. People are saying this book has changed their life, and that they now understand who God is for the first time ever. Prominent leaders are saying The Shack is the most important work since Pilgrim’s Progress (Eugene Peterson), and that it is “a God thing” (Steve Brown). Steve Brown, of Key Life, even says that he was contemplating becoming a Buddhist before he read the book, but that it changed his life!
There are so many things to address in The Shack that it is hard to know where to begin. The goal of my post here is to simply show one serious defect in the theology of the book. I know, I know. If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times that this is not a book on theology. I agree. But, while it is not a book on theology, it IS a theological book! The whole thing is about an encounter with God, for cryin’ out loud! How could it NOT be theological? And I don’t care how many people say you must set your theological ‘meter’ aside while you read this thing, that is something a disciple of the risen Savior must never do. For we are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Now, back to the point of my post.
I want you to read the two quotes below and see if you detect a glaring contradiction in them. Both of them are from “Papa”, who in the book represents God the Father (portrayed as an African-American woman, mind you). Here is what Papa says on pages 120 and 225, respectively:
“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it”
“In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship”
Did you catch it? Read them again.
In the first statement, Papa says that she doesn’t need to punish sin because sin is its own punishment. In the second statement, Papa declares that she has forgiven all humans for their sins “in Jesus”. My question is this:
What was the point of Jesus going to the cross if God doesn’t need to punish people for their sin? If sin is its own punishment, then Christ died needlessly. If the punishment for my own sin lies within the sin itself, then why do I need Jesus? If what Papa says is true, then I have already atoned for my own sin, and Jesus’ death on the cross is of no benefit to me or anyone else who repents. I am not sure what Young’s religious background is, but this almost sounds like some sort of Roman Catholic ‘penance’ which purifies, rather than the work of Christ on the cross in my place.
I don’t know if it was Young’s intent to negate the work of Jesus going to the cross, but this one little statement from Papa sure seems to do that very thing. Actually, there is more than one problem that arises when one takes these two statements from Papa in The Shack and compares them. Can you tell what the others are?
By the way, if you have not yet read Tim Challies’ thorough review of The Shack, I would like to strongly encourage you to do so. He has put together a very good critique in pdf format which can be easily printed out and distributed. Get the word out.
And my response
I have not yet read “The Shack.” I just ordered it from Amazon. I have read several reviews on it though. When ever I find a book, or movie that shacks (misspelled on purpose)up the Church and causes so much controversy, I sit up and take notice.
I think to myself, “Praise God. Finally someone has had the balls to break the mold and color outside the lines of our safe and boring theology and view of God that we have so carefully created. Perhaps I have finally someone with a little vision.”
I rush out as fast as I can and order it. I have found that most of the time, when someone, or something, causes controversy in the Church, its usually a God thing. Just a handful of cases in point.
Loren Cunningham - He went around to many Churches with his idea on using drama to illustrate the story of Jesus and his vision of waves of young people washing ashore on distant lands taken the gospel of Christ. He was laughed out of every single one. Today, Youth With a Mission is one of, if not the largest Christian Missions organization in the world.
Keith Green – Keith was a singing prophet. When he started out, he was told to keep quiet and not speak out against the Church. But He has a message from God and was a single handed instrument that God used to wake the Church up and from its complacency. He is now dead, but he began Last Days Ministries, which is not a part of YWAM.
I could go on, but I will stop there. The point is simply that we don’t know it all. At any given time, we are about half wrong in most anything that we think we know. But even apart from this, this is a work of fiction guys. Why pick it part? If people that are reading it are finding that it has brought them closer to God, why do you want to take that away from them?
It’s nearing Christmas. How about focusing in on the positive and wonderful things that are coming out of this book and many more like it? If you find controversy in that book, I know you are going to love this one. My very good friend Eric Wilson wrote it.
It’s called Field of Blood. http://www.WilsonWriter.com