Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Shack Part 4

This will be the final post on this subject. I don’t want to be considered hyper-critical, but when we see error, it needs to be exposed. The error is rather subtle (though I do not see how anyone who knows the Bible even in part can fail to see it); Young woos the reader with a compelling story that keeps you reading. I will admit to this: he tells a good story.

Scripture claims that there are certainties that can be and should be known. For example, according to Heb. 11:1, faith is not some blind adventure, rather it is substance and evidence. John tells us that we may know the certainty of life with Christ (Jn. 20:31; 1 Jn. 5:13). One of my seminary professors gave this excellent definition of faith: “Faith is sufficient reason to believe.”

According to The Shack, certainty will get you nowhere. Indeed, it is the chief obstacle in the Christian life. To Mack (the main character) God says, “Faith does not grow in the house of certainty.” Sarayu, leads Mack to a garden that she has produced where Mack “unsuccessfully tries to find some order in this blatant disregard for certainty.”

This is postmodern thought at its best. The new intellectualism holds uncertainty in high esteem. To really know is to know nothing for sure. This is diametrically opposed to historic Christianity which is rooted in historical fact and propositional truth.

Young’s slavish devotion to political correctness is splattered throughout The Shack. Here is but one example:

“I’ve always wondered why men have been in charge,” Mack pondered. “Males seem to be the cause of so much of the pain in the world. They account for most crimes, and many of them are those perpetrated against women and” – he paused – “children.” To which Jesus replies: “The world would be a much calmer and gentler place if women ruled. There would have been far fewer children sacrificed to the gods of greed and power.”

The Shack’s outright heresies have been chronicled elsewhere (see Tim Challies reviews). I think this is enough said. I could rant, but it would be not be productive.

For all who have read The Shack and love it, I offer this counsel. Regardless of what William Young says in this work of fiction (remember, it is fiction), do not devalue the Word of God. If you, as an evangelical Christian, believe that Scripture is the inspired Word of God, then gather your knowledge of God, forgiveness, and eternity from the Bible, not from someone with a chip on his shoulder.


KThomas said...

Bravo! Thanks for your TRUTHFUL insights.

robbie kitchokoff-jones said...

I think you closed with a statement that you should have lead with while reviewing this book!

This is a work of fiction.

It is about one man's RELATIONSHIP with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It is a beautiful picture of how OUR relationship with the Trinity can be.

The persona that the author gives to God, to Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit would be different for each of us. If you had to give an indepth characterization of Jesus, or God....how would you describe Him? Do you know them on such a one-on-one basis that you call him Papa? Do you really see him as Daddy, or do you see him as the grandfather-like with the long flowing beard like something out of Lord of the Rings? ....that you have been taught to have so much reverance for, that HE became un-touchable to you?

Can you set aside what you have been taught by the world or by religion ...and just enjoy His company?

Will you let Him break down the barriers that keep you from trusting Him?

Can you let Him teach you to forgive others, as He has forgiven you?

William Young is not re-writing the Bible here, it's a story...a beautiful story...that fixed a broken man.

It's not about religion....It's about a relationship.

robbie kitchokoff-jones said...

....one more thing...about the woman ruling the world...you left out the part where Jesus explains to Mack why this would never work....
"from the first day we hid woman within the man, so that at the right time we could remove her from within him. We didn't create man to live alone;she was purposed from the beginning. By taking her out of him, he birthed her in a sense. We created a cirle of relationship, like our own, but for humans. ..."

Ron Starcher said...

Robbie, Thanks for the comments. I do not take issue with the idea that we are to have an intimate realtionship with the Tri-une God, however, I must always default to Scripture when conceptualizing God. If Young thinks that this is "religion" then I will always be at odds with him on that. If religion = what I've always understood the Bible to say, then I stick with "religion."

The Bible reveals all we need to know about God. In fact, personal conceptions of God are forbidden in the 1st of the 10 commandments, and Romans 1 likewise cautions us about changing what we know about God.

Also, how can we be in relationship with someone we do not know. I agree that we certainly need to emphasize more intimacy with the Father but if the Holy Spirit who authored Scripture chose to use male terminology to refer to God (even though we know that gender is irrelavent with Him), we have no right to conceptualize Him as a large black woman (or white woman for that matter.

Did God make a mistake when He gave the Bible by not making God more "real" to us?

Yes, this is a work of fiction and I admit it is a well told story. I have no issue with people who enjoyed the book - I read it in 2 days. My issue is when people fall to the subtle seduction to supplant the Bible with the views about God expressed in The Shack.

In fairness, I didn't mention some outright heresy in The Shack. "When we three spoke ourselves into existence as the Son of God..." Does this tell us that the Son of God is not pre-existent? Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is not THE Godhead bodily.

robbie kitchokoff-jones said...

"... In fact, personal conceptions of God are forbidden in the 1st of the 10 commandments, and Romans 1 likewise cautions us about changing what we know about God."

Not exactly...the Bible warns us not about changing what we KNOW about God...but what we choose to BE God....there's a difference.

"...My issue is when people fall to the subtle seduction to supplant the Bible with the views about God expressed in The Shack."

I guess my question would be...is there a radical movement I am not aware of that is doing this? I have heard many ppl discussing the book, but have heard of no one willing to ditch their Bible and become followers of THE SHACK.

"...we have no right to conceptualize Him as a large black woman (or white woman for that matter."

Who said we have any rights at all?
The Bible doesn't say we have the right to know or not know our creator...the Bible doesn't say we have the right to do or not do anything.


We could tear this book apart...every line... every word...but for what? What would that get us ...where would it get us? Nowhere....and the wasted time could've been spent with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit....listening, and building our RELATIONSHIP.

I still think it's a beautiful fiction book ...that i recommend for your summer reading list. Don't forget to spend time in God's word first!!! :)

Dave Wyant said...

Excellent word my friend