Monday, May 18, 2009

The Shack Part 3

One of the disturbing features of The Shack is William Young’s attitude toward Scripture. Revealed Scripture apparently is too confining when it comes to the knowledge of the Holy. In fact, one has the impression that Young thinks that the Scriptures are untrustworthy. Note this observation from the narrator:

In seminary he had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring them only to listen and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. It seemed that direct communication with God was something exclusively for the ancients and uncivilized, while Westerners’ access to God was mediated and controlled by the intelligentsia.

I doubt that even those of a more charismatic persuasion would be comfortable with sidelining the Bible, as Young appears to do. History informs us that the heart of the Reformation was to take the Bible out of the hands of the “proper authorities” and place it into the hands of the plow boy and blacksmith.

Young does not completely disavow Scripture. He acknowledges that it may provide some information about God, but apparently religious people have gotten it all wrong. The Holy Spirit character, named Sarayu, says;

My ability to communicate is limitless, living and transforming, and will always be tuned to Papa’s (Young’s name for God) goodness and love. And you will hear me and see me in the Bible in fresh ways. Just don’t look for rules and principles; look for relationship – a way of coming to be with us.

Jesus tells us in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit will not speak of Himself, but will exalt the Savior. And further:

The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules. It is a picture of Jesus.

While it the case that Christ is the theme of Scripture, it does not follow that with one stroke we can dismiss propositional truth. Are the Ten Commandments irrelevant? Can we ignore those “rules” and opt for the relationship with God that the rules are pointing to? I would love to see how this works if someone “stole” William Young’s ideas by plagiarizing his book and violating the copyright. I think that “Thou shalt not steal” may become amazingly relevant.

Why is The Shack so popular? Is it because it’s new, controversial, and heart warming? Let’s hope this is the reason. Let’s hope that it is not because those who profess to know God are tired of the Bible, of sound doctrine, of objective truth.

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