The Shack Review

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A friend from church wrote a brief review of The Shack that touches on some key points as to why we should be cautious about this book.  Or maybe even disregard it all together.  He gave me permission to share this review.

SHACK ATTACK – OR A CALL TO DISCERNMENT?

Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon

At the encouragement of friends, I recently read The Shack by William P. Young. A national bestseller widely embraced by some churches and many professing Christians, The  Shack is a work of fiction that embodies lengthy conversations between the main character, a man named Mack, and three persons who represent a version of the Trinity.

Frankly, I was dismayed at many messages conveyed by The Shack and have been surprised that many of my Christian friends have read the book uncritically, finding it a charming and heart-warming story. Some say that it is unfair to have theological expectations since the book is fiction. However, The Shack is marketed as a spiritually transforming book, and it being received that way by many.

It seems to me that a more critical reading is required of The Shack than a secular work of fiction because the author creates characters that purport to speak as God and to guide Mack on his spiritual journey. The fictional story becomes a device to have characters representing the Godhead explain a particular theology. As believers, our spiritual antennas should be fully deployed when we approach such a book.

In The Shack, God the Father appears to Mack as a large, jovial black woman whom Mack calls “Papa.” The Holy Spirit appears as a small Asian woman, and Jesus appears as a Jewish man. Putting aside gender confusion and the attempt to give human form and voice to the Father and Holy Spirit (“no man hath seen God at any time,” John 1:8), it is critical for the Christian reader to carefully consider the message author Young has those voices bring and to weigh their message in the light of the clear teaching of the Bible. That is to exercise discernment, a requirement – not an option – for Christians.

When we read The Shack with discernment, I submit that we find many distortions and untruths. Consider just a few of the words Young puts in the mouths of his created Trinity (my comments are within the parentheses):

Papa to Mack: “We [the Trinity] have limited ourselves out of respect for you.” (Isn’t this Open Theism – God choosing to limit Himself?)

Jesus: “God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things . . .” (Isn’t this Pantheism – God in all things?)

Sarayu (Young’s Sanscrit name for the Holy Spirit): “We [the Trinity] carefully respect your choices, so we work within your systems even while we seek to free you from them.” (“Neither are your ways my ways . . . my ways are higher than your ways.” Isaiah 55:8-9. Does God respect man’s choices, or does His Word demand that we repent of our ways and that we enter His narrow way?)

Sarayu: “Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence . . . Light and Good actually exist.” (Really? Does the Bible teach that evil has no actual existence? Was the biblical Jesus aware of that when He conversed with Satan in the desert temptation?)

Papa: “I don’t need to punish people for sin Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It is not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.” (Certainly there are consequences of our sin which we realize in this life and which impact other people. And certainly God has provided the cure for sin. That “cure” is the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross. Most certainly there is punishment for sin. Christ suffered the punishment for us. However, the implication of Papa’s statement is that the only punishment for sin is sin’s own punishment in a person’s life. The Bible is clear that punishment for the unredeemed, those who refuse Christ’s atonement, is the sting of spiritual death and eternal separation from God. The Shack makes light work of the cross.)

Young’s Jesus character states that he, Papa, and Sarayu are “indeed submitted to one another and have always been so and always will be . . . . In fact, we [the Trinity] are submitted to you [Mack] in the same way.” (Why, then, did the biblical Jesus submit Himself to the will of His father? Does the Bible teach submission to authority in spiritual and family and secular environments? What do you make of the claim that the Trinity is submitted to us? I believe that Young’s anti-authoritarianism is risky in human terms and that it is blasphemous to attribute such egalitarian sentiments to God.)

When requested by Papa to forgive the murderer of his young daughter, Mack balks. Papa says, “Mack, for you to forgive this man is for you to release him to me and allow me to redeem him.” (So God can only redeem those whom humans have forgiven and have released to God for redemption? The effectiveness of redemption for the unrepentant murderer is to be accomplished with Mack’s participation? Find biblical support for that, my friends!)

Christian, what about this assertion by the Jesus of The Shack? “I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu.” (This is a false Jesus. The Jesus Christ of the Bible does not say that He is the best way, He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:16. He is not the best way – He is the only way.)

The Shack evidences a low regard for Scripture. When Mack mentions biblical events or concepts, Papa brushes them off and glibly explains how it really is, thus suggesting that the Bible is the work of man, not the divinely inspired work of God. Yet, some argue that The Shack has value in that it demonstrates a loving God of grace who invites man to a relationship. But it does so with grievous distortions about the nature of God, the nature of the Trinity, the authority of God’s Word, God’s hatred of sin, the requirement of repentance, and the nature of conversion and salvation.

My brothers and sisters, even in reading and discussing a work of fiction, we must be prepared to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), and to do so without apology to the world. The Shack may, from its human author’s viewpoint, be in all sincerity intended as an inviting look at a highly relational God, but would you place even a drop of poison in pure water and invite others to drink? As Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, The Shack “contains undiluted heresy.” Don’t you and I have a responsibility to be equipped to recognize heresy and to shine the light of truth so that we and others are not deceived?

- Wayne Elliott

Download as pdf

p.s. I addressed some of the objections to this review: Is the Shack Only Fiction?

Tags: , ; Categories: books,Church Issues,Culture,heresy,theology
The above article was posted on August 8, 2008 by Mark Lamprecht.
© 2004-2014. All rights reserved.


{ 493 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Les Puryear August 8, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Mark,

Thanks for the review. It squares with most other people’s view whom I respect.

Les

2 SJ Camp August 10, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Mark:

Tremendous review! Thank you for this helpful insight into this popular and disturbing trend to fictionalize God and recreate Him in our own image.

May I also post this on my blog as well? Wayne did an excellent job.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 3:23-24

3 johnMark August 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Bro. Steve,

Please post it on your blog if you like. I’m sure Wayne would appreciate it.

I like that the review is to the point and won’t take too long to read.

Peace to you,

Mark

4 Robin August 27, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Thank you for this written analysis of what my heart/spirit was feeling as I read this book. I couldn’t articulate what seemed wrong. It is an easy and enjoyable read and contains some beautiful emotional healing and forgiveness which is made possible by our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross … but our God is Holy and His Word endures forever and The Shack fails to give glory to God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. I have been praying for God to reveal truth to me about this and to His children. I am sad that this books seems to be getting fully embraced and endorced by many many Christians. Praise Him for the gift of discernment. His Name is forever praised!

5 Shelly Cox August 31, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Excellent review!! I read “The Shack,” and Young would say something wonderful about the Lord, and then the next statement would be a direct word against the Word of God. James 1:4, 4:8, Young speaks double-minded. I get the feeling he hasn’t truly repented, so he speaks more from the mind that loves the world. I pray Christians would really dig in their Bibles, and get to learn Christian theology!!! Shelly Cox

6 johnMark August 31, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Thank you all for your comments of appreciation. I’ve let bro. Wayne know and he is very encouraged.

His review was actually mentioned in our SS class this morning.

Mark

7 The Thirsty Theologian - The Shack Review September 5, 2008 at 9:58 am

[…] “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon […]

8 Tom September 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Thanks for this review. I am in the process of reading it now and throughout the meeting of the 3 with Mack I sensed in my spirit that something was not right but could not put my finger on it until the part where Jesus did not declare himself THE Way.
Thanks again

9 Mike September 8, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Interesting review. Unfortunately, I think it not only misses the point of the book but seems to find criticism for the sake of criticism. Advice to Christians to be discerning is excellent. However, understanding must accompany discernment. The review seems short on understanding.

The overall theme of the book is the incredible love that God has for us and his desire to bring us into a close relationship with Him. That is a very powerful message and one that all Christians should let sink deeply into their soul. Secondly, this book is a story intended to convey that and other concepts. It is not presented as a complete theological exposition nor a factual account. Reading it literally misses the thrust of the story and paves the way for misconceptions.

Regarding some of the criticisms:

Papa to Mack: “We [the Trinity] have limited ourselves out of respect for you.” (Isn’t this Open Theism – God choosing to limit Himself?)

No, it’s not open theism. In the context of the story, God is simply saying that his majesty was being limited at that time so that there could be interaction with Mack. Do you not think that God limited his majesty in His interaction with Moses, Abraham, Paul, etc.? Nothing really novel there.

Sarayu (Young’s Sanscrit name for the Holy Spirit): “We [the Trinity] carefully respect your choices, so we work within your systems even while we seek to free you from them.” (“Neither are your ways my ways . . . my ways are higher than your ways.” Isaiah 55:8-9. Does God respect man’s choices, or does His Word demand that we repent of our ways and that we enter His narrow way?)

Of course God respects our choices. That’s called free will. God never forces his will on us. He respects (or allows) our right to choose. He then works with our choices, whether good or bad. Did God not respect Adam and Eve’s choice? He allowed them freely to choose to disobey and then worked with that historic choice to bring about reconciliation through Christ’s death and resurrection. It appears the reviewer may be confused by the limitation he has placed on the word “respect.” Respect means, among other things, a courteous regards for. God must respect, or give courteous regards towards, our choices, otherwise free will would not exist. Yet, that is one of the fundamental attibutes of our being and His nature. Again, nothing controversial there.

Sarayu: “Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence . . . Light and Good actually exist.” (Really? Does the Bible teach that evil has no actual existence? Was the biblical Jesus aware of that when He conversed with Satan in the desert temptation?)

Is black a color or is it the absence of color? We know from science that it is the absence of color, which in a sense means that it has no independent existence. It’s existence can only exist in relation to color. I think what Young is getting at here is the perplexing question of why did God create evil. Perhaps He didn’t. If evil does not have a separate existence, then God did not create it. Like black, evil does not exist of itself but only in relation to good – which is God. Therefore, as one moves further from God, that state of being is defined as evil. Satan, who moved from so close to so far from God, is the ultimate expression of evil. But that can be said only in relation to God. In other words, without God, evil does not exist on its own. It exists only in relation to God as an adverse relationship – it increases as beings move away from complete Goodness who is God. That concept is what I think Young was conveying. The reviewer, in my opinion, completely missed the depth of the thought there.

Papa: “I don’t need to punish people for sin Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It is not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.” (Certainly there are consequences of our sin which we realize in this life and which impact other people. And certainly God has provided the cure for sin. That “cure” is the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross. Most certainly there is punishment for sin. Christ suffered the punishment for us. However, the implication of Papa’s statement is that the only punishment for sin is sin’s own punishment in a person’s life. The Bible is clear that punishment for the unredeemed, those who refuse Christ’s atonement, is the sting of spiritual death and eternal separation from God. The Shack makes light work of the cross.)

After the discussion between Sophia and Mack, how could one possibly conclude that The Shack makes light work of the cross? Just the opposite is the case. The incredible sacrifice and love of God the Father and Jesus are vividly protrayed in that encounter. Do you think it is God’s “purpose” to punish for sin? Young is correct. Sin does eat away at a person to such an extent that it will devour the person who lives in it. Reading the book as a whole, I didn’t find the implication there at all. No, Young doesn’t say in the book that if one does not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they will burn in hell for all eternity. Neither does he dispute that. Is it necessary in a sermon speaking of God’s love to also speak of hell or the sermon is in error? I don’t think so. Young conveys the same point by speaking of independence from God as leading to evil.

Young’s Jesus character states that he, Papa, and Sarayu are “indeed submitted to one another and have always been so and always will be . . . . In fact, we [the Trinity] are submitted to you [Mack] in the same way.” (Why, then, did the biblical Jesus submit Himself to the will of His father? Does the Bible teach submission to authority in spiritual and family and secular environments? What do you make of the claim that the Trinity is submitted to us? I believe that Young’s anti-authoritarianism is risky in human terms and that it is blasphemous to attribute such egalitarian sentiments to God.)

I believe Young was trying to expound on the nature of the relationship among the three persons of God and that relationship to us. That relationship is one of perfect love. God is perfect love. When you read Corinthians, Paul describes the nature of love. Certainly, there are elements of submission in the nature of love.

(To be continued)

10 William Johnton September 9, 2008 at 10:49 am

Why are more of us not as balanced as Mike. What are we so afraid of? We act as though we need to defend God and close him up in our neat little thological boxes, and in so doing cause friction and strife among believers. All this negative flap about THE SHACK feels like a territorial battle to me.

11 William Johnton September 9, 2008 at 10:52 am

Replace “thological” with theological in the above comment.

12 johnMark September 9, 2008 at 10:54 am

It comes down to Who is God and how has He revealed Himself to us?

(Gone til tonight…)

13 Mike September 9, 2008 at 4:10 pm

(Continued)

When requested by Papa to forgive the murderer of his young daughter, Mack balks. Papa says, “Mack, for you to forgive this man is for you to release him to me and allow me to redeem him.” (So God can only redeem those whom humans have forgiven and have released to God for redemption? The effectiveness of redemption for the unrepentant murderer is to be accomplished with Mack’s participation? Find biblical support for that, my friends!)

Yes, I didn’t quite understand what Young was getting at on this one either. I don’t think he was setting up an “if … then” scenario however because at a later point in that conversation God told Mack that He would mete out justice on the murderer, that it was not up to Mack to do so. I think the focus was more on forgiveness and the healing that Mack would experience by doing so rather than God then being allowed to redeem him. Obviously, God’s redemption of an individual has nothing to do with our prior forgiveness of that individual. I think Young was simply saying, forgive this person and give his redemption (or justice) up to God’s hands, not your own.

Christian, what about this assertion by the Jesus of The Shack? “I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu.” (This is a false Jesus. The Jesus Christ of the Bible does not say that He is the best way, He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:16. He is not the best way – He is the only way.)

Jesus is the best way any human can relate to God. He is not the only way humans can relate to God. We can relate to God through the Holy Spirit. OT humans related to God without knowing Jesus. Persons today who have never heard of Jesus, or the God of the OT, but have a belief in a one almighty being, are relating to God. Jews are relating to God. However, Jesus is certainly the only way to salvation. Given the book as a whole, and Young’s stated beliefs elsewhere, I don’t believe Young was saying anything different.

The Shack evidences a low regard for Scripture. When Mack mentions biblical events or concepts, Papa brushes them off and glibly explains how it really is, thus suggesting that the Bible is the work of man, not the divinely inspired work of God. Yet, some argue that The Shack has value in that it demonstrates a loving God of grace who invites man to a relationship. But it does so with grievous distortions about the nature of God, the nature of the Trinity, the authority of God’s Word, God’s hatred of sin, the requirement of repentance, and the nature of conversion and salvation.

I just don’t see this in the book. Young doesn’t emphasize scripture; neither does he say that it’s worthless or can be added to. The Shack is a fictional work about a visit and conversations with a man and God. In the course of those conversations, many scriptural concepts are validated. It would be odd in the context of the story for Papa to be talking about his love for his children, so much that Jesus sacrificed himself to bring reconciliation, and then throw out: “That’s in John 3:16 you know.” It just doesn’t fit with the story line. However, scripture is presented clearly in the context of the story. Nowhere that I read does Papa suggest that scripture is the work of man. He does imply that scripture can be misused by man, which it certainly can and has.

I may have missed it, but I didn’t see any “grievous distortions about the nature of God, the nature of the Trinity, the authority of God’s Word, God’s hatred of sin, the requirement of repentance, and the nature of conversion and salvation”. For example, Papa said that what the murderer did was terrible and very wrong and that Mack had a right to be angry about it. Yet He also said that the murderer is one of his children and that He loves him also. Is that bad theology? Not based on my reading of scripture.

I believe it’s really a question of emphasis. Obviously, Young is emphasizing God’s infinite love and mercy, not his wrath and judgment. Does not Paul do the same thing in some of his letters and not others? Is a sermon in error that speaks only of God’s love and desire for relationship but does not add the caveat – you’ll go to hell if you don’t enter into that relationship? If so, I’ve heard a lot of sermons from solid Christian pastors in my years that would be considered a “grievous distortion”.

The Shack is about God’s overwhelming love for man and his desire to heal us emotionally so that we will be free to have a full relationship with him. It makes clear that Jesus is at the center of that plan. I cannot find fault in that message.

14 Bryce Andrews September 9, 2008 at 9:31 pm

For you shall know them by there fruits.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
The book The Shack, fictional as it may
be, is a love story. Just as the bible is
the love story of Christ. Religious people
will not accept this book, for they are still eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Those who eat from the tree of life will see the fruits. The author has simply expressed himself and his love for god. And just as Jesus was persecuted for doing so, So will be the author of The Shack. Aside from the bible itself, This is the best book I’ve ever read.

15 johnMark September 10, 2008 at 6:49 am

So Bryce, what are you saying? That those who don’t endorse The Shack
aren’ t Christians? Your reply didn’t make much sense.

Because people disagree with the author’s presentation of God as revealed in Scripture this is akin to Jesus persecution? Really now?

Those critiquing the book have simply expressed themselves and their love for God.

You need to read more.

Mark

16 Simple Mann September 10, 2008 at 11:29 am

Mike wrote: “The Shack is about God’s overwhelming love for man and his desire to heal us emotionally so that we will be free to have a full relationship with him. It makes clear that Jesus is at the center of that plan. I cannot find fault in that message.

Actually, The Bible is about God’s overwhelming love and it is sufficient and necessary to understand God as He Himself has revealed Himself, not they way Mr. Young wants to imagine him. There is a huge difference between God putting His words in the mouths of the prophets and E.P. Young attempting to put his words into the mouth of God.

Mike also wrote: Papa said that what the murderer did was terrible and very wrong and that Mack had a right to be angry about it. Yet He also said that the murderer is one of his children and that He loves him also. Is that bad theology? Not based on my reading of scripture.

How do you reconcile your belief that God loves everyone without exception, regardless of what they have done with Scripture? It is only those whom Christ has called and exchange His righteousness for their sin that the Father looks on with love. Those unredeemed, unregenerate, and unrepentant sinners are judged, and unless you have completely misunderstood or disregarded the truth of God’s wrath, then your statement has no scriptural basis. Here are just a few passages that spring immediately to my mind that refute this idea that God is completely loving and forgiving, despite all of our shortcomings and open rebellion:

Gal 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
Gal 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Joh 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Joh 3:19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Joh 3:20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Joh 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
Joh 14:24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

Joh 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

Mat 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Mat 7:16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
Mat 7:17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
Mat 7:18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
Mat 7:19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mat 7:20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Mat 7:22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
Mat 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Mat 13:24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
Mat 13:25 “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.
Mat 13:26 “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
Mat 13:27 “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’
Mat 13:28 “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’
Mat 13:29 “But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
Mat 13:37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,
Mat 13:38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;
Mat 13:39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.
Mat 13:40 “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
Mat 13:41 “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
Mat 13:42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Mat 13:47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind;
Mat 13:48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.
Mat 13:49 “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,
Mat 13:50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

1Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1Jn 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

2Pe 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
2Pe 2:2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;
2Pe 2:3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;
2Pe 2:5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
2Pe 2:6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;
2Pe 2:7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men
2Pe 2:8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),
2Pe 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,
2Pe 2:10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,
2Pe 2:11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.
2Pe 2:12 But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,
2Pe 2:13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you,
2Pe 2:14 having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;
2Pe 2:15 forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2Pe 2:16 but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.
2Pe 2:17 These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.
2Pe 2:18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error,
2Pe 2:19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.
2Pe 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
2Pe 2:21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
2Pe 2:22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

In Christ,
Simple Mann

17 Simple Mann September 10, 2008 at 11:53 am

@Bryce – you wrote: The book The Shack, fictional as it may
be, is a love story. Just as the bible is
the love story of Christ. Religious people
will not accept this book, for they are still eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Those who eat from the tree of life will see the fruits. The author has simply expressed himself and his love for god. And just as Jesus was persecuted for doing so, So will be the author of The Shack. Aside from the bible itself, This is the best book I’ve ever read.

Wow, so those of us who read and trust in The Bible, God’s inspired and divinely revealed Word are guilty of eating from the tree of knowledge and so are condemned by it, and those who read and trust in the God of The Shack are eating from the tree of life? And comparing E. P. Young to Jesus, as if there is any similarity at all–that is outright blasphemy. And people wonder why discerning believers have a problem with this book and its author? Your sin finds you out.

Joh 3:19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

The best book I’ve ever read and the only one to truly change my life is the Bible. I highly recommend it to you. I would also recommend a little book by Frederick Leahy entitled “The Cross He Bore”. If you want a true love story and a real picture of Christ’s suffering–its purpose, it’s cause, and it’s effect–it will do you much more good than the fictitious work you have set as an idol in your heart.

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-He-Bore-Frederick-Leahy/dp/0851516939/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221061881&sr=1-1

I pray that your eyes will be opened, but unless God opens them you will be blind forever.

In Christ,
Simple Mann

18 johnMark September 10, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Simple Mann,

Thank you for those comments.

I appreciate them.

In Him,

Mark

19 Christian H. September 11, 2008 at 1:54 am

Well I haven’t read the book yet and I though I’d rather not waste my time I probably will anyway – simply for the purpose of seeing the debate.

That said…

The problem I already see with this book is that is causing division. Some see a problem, others love the “fictitious story”. Both sides could still very well be saved Christians, but one is right and one is wrong and it causes division.

The second problem I see is that (from excerpts I have read) it does in fact contradict scripture. Fiction or not this is very dangerous territory. It is very frustrating how many “spiritual” people are drawn in by books like this or about angels, or miracles or healing – that are slightly, way off base or just plainly have nothing to do with our true God, the Holy Spirit and His son Jesus. The bible warns over and over not to be deceived or to deceive others. Just my opinion.

20 Susan September 11, 2008 at 11:07 am

It is very interesting to see such division among believers. Reminds me of the ” religious” Pharisees who also accused Jesus of blasphemy and heresy. God does not call us to legalism but to love…His love through the gift of salvation in Jesus. This love will always prevail…hence the message of The Shack!

21 Simple Mann September 11, 2008 at 12:11 pm

@Susan – and here we have it again from someone who loves the shack. Here is the argument: If you reject the theology in the shack (which is not the theology of God), then you are a Pharisee. If you love the universalist message of the shack, then you have grace.

Here is the problem with that argument. I don’t think that anyone who has a problem with the shack are Old Testament legalists who seek to justify themselves by keeping the law of Moses. We do not seek to justify ourselves before God by our own righteous effort. We realize that without the saving grace of our Lord, we have absolutely nothing but our sin to hang on to.

The theology that is so important to us is the theology of God’s grace revealed by God through His word. It is essential to grasp that because unless you truly understand it, you cannot take hold of it. When someone comes along and preaches a different gospel, regardless of what they add or subtract, as followers of Christ we have been instructed to protect the body of believers from doctrinal error and falsehoods that would lead the sheep astray.

I understand that this book made a lot of people cry and then made them comfortable about their own painful experiences. The problem is, though, that a man has put his own words into God’s mouth in the shack (as if that were possible) rather than God putting them into a man’s (in the Bible).

Many people have read the shack and loved it. Many have claimed to have changed lives, although despite all of the claims I have not heard one single testimony about a changed life as a result of reading this book. And although everyone claims to love the Bible, there are honestly very few who read it and and truly dig into it. I think perhaps the most disturbing thing to me is the sheer number of people who are claiming to have that life-changing experience, a better understanding of God’s love, a better relationship with God, and all the other claims–NOT as a result of reading God’s word, BUT as a result of reading a work of FICTION! Surely the irony is not lost here. Here is the point I wish to posit. All of those changed lives, deeper understandings, improved relationships, being based NOT on God but on fiction are, in and of themselves, merely fictions, too!

Joh 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Joh 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Joh 3:19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Joh 3:20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Joh 3:21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

In Christ,
Simple Mann

22 Christian H. September 11, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Susan –
Should we also embrace “The Secret”, “A New Earth” or other books that contradict scripture, reveal new ideas and become instant best-sellers in “love”.

Yes we should love. We should also be very discerning, accept truth and reject lies. This isn’t legalism.

23 Mike September 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Simple Mann,

You said: “Actually, The Bible is about God’s overwhelming love and it is sufficient and necessary to understand God as He Himself has revealed Himself, not they way Mr. Young wants to imagine him. There is a huge difference between God putting His words in the mouths of the prophets and E.P. Young attempting to put his words into the mouth of God.”

Yes, the Bible is THE book about God’s love for man. It is sacred scripture and nothing rises to its level as the very word of God. That being said, however, it is erroneous, and quite surprising, to make the argument that nothing else should be considered in helping us to understand God. Do you also reject C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia? Do you reject the movie Joshua? Do you reject Michaelangelo’s interpretive painting of the Creation? Do you reject all sermons by pastors expounding on what this or that passage of the Bible really means? Do you reject Christian songs that “put words” into God’s mouth about his love for us? It seems to me if you reject The Shack on the basis stated, you have to reject everything.

You also wrote: “How do you reconcile your belief that God loves everyone without exception, regardless of what they have done with Scripture? It is only those whom Christ has called and exchange His righteousness for their sin that the Father looks on with love. Those unredeemed, unregenerate, and unrepentant sinners are judged, and unless you have completely misunderstood or disregarded the truth of God’s wrath, then your statement has no scriptural basis. Here are just a few passages that spring immediately to my mind that refute this idea that God is completely loving and forgiving, despite all of our shortcomings and open rebellion”.

All I can say to this is Wow! Your position on this represents a completely foreign concept to me about the nature of God. You’re saying that God does not love sinners??? He only loves those who have accepted Christ as their saviour??? That is quite a novel view. Based on the scriptures you provided, I think you are confusing judgment with love. Those scriptures say nothing about God’s love. I love my children, but that does not prevent me from punishing them when they have disobeyed.

Here are a couple scriptures for you to consider:

For God so loved the WORLD that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.

Romans 6:6: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

God demonstrated his love for us while we were still sinners. His love is manifest for sinners and saved. Those who accept Christ and enter into relationship with him will have eternal life. Those who die having rejected him will have eternal death. But, until death, God’s love is ever present to sinners and saints alike because “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

Honestly, I have never heard anyone take the position that God only loves those who repent. Are you saying that God hated me before I became a Christian? Did he hate Paul while he was persecuting the Christians? Did he hate John Newton while he was still a slave trader? Surely that is not the view you hold of God?

24 DNelson September 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm

My main concern with the Shack is that it seems to smack of universalism. Papa calls everyone her children, seemingly whether they believe in Jesus or not. Yet the Bible says that we are adopted into God’s family when we accept Christ. You don’t adopt your own children. This is a dangerous teaching.

I appreciate the words of those who caution us to be discerning when reading a book like the shack. Yes, the book has some great thoughts regarding forgiveness and relationship, but at the same time, it falls short theologically, as has been adequately pointed out. We would be unwise to dismiss the criticisms. And, like it or not, theology IS important. As followers of Christ, we can’t let ourselves fall into the mindset that as long as we are loving people, it doesn’t matter so much what we believe. Yes, love is the greatest command, but it is not the only one. Jesus claimed to BE Truth. Jesus, as Messiah, was seen to be a prophet, a revealer OF Truth. As Christians (little Christs) we need to be in the business of being and revealing Truth as well. We are exhorted in Scripture to have sound doctrine. That is important to God. So if The Shack borders on heresy, in any way, it needs to be called out and brought to our attention. This is not unloving. It is a job of the Church, specifically of those with the gift of discernment. Those of us without as much discernment would do well to consider the words of our fellow believers.

The fact that many Christians are getting checks in their spirit or outright detecting theological error should give us pause. Nobody’s theology is perfect. We need to be able to eat the meat and spit the bones. But many of our concerns are for those people who aren’t able to discern the difference or who, in their zeal for the good aspects of the book, buy the falsehoods as well.
In Him,

DNelson

25 Simple Mann September 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm

@Mike, you wrote: “Honestly, I have never heard anyone take the position that God only loves those who repent. Are you saying that God hated me before I became a Christian? Did he hate Paul while he was persecuting the Christians? Did he hate John Newton while he was still a slave trader? Surely that is not the view you hold of God?

The only reference to the word “hate” from my previous post was from scripture itself:

Joh 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Joh 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Joh 3:19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Joh 3:20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

You are trying to put words in my mouth that I did not say, just as your beloved author has done with God in the Shack. I did not say that God hated the unrepentant. Christ Himself declared that He came not for the righteous, but for sinners. I thank Him unceasingly for that because I was once dead and lost in sins and trespasses. But guess what? Even when I was dead and lost, I thought God not only loved me, but He accepted me just the way I was. And the fact of the matter was, I was at enmity with Him, as are most in the world. I rejected the Bible, I rejected sin, I rejected salvation and the need for a Savior. Interestingly enough, I could have read The Shack back then and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would have felt comfortable just being who I was, a Christ-rejecting sinner because of that message that no matter what God doesn’t just love me, He accepts me as I am. I am afraid that is NOT the case.

You quoted Romans. Read it in its entirety. Read the gospels, too. Please tell me where it says God forgives everyone out of His bountiful love. Meditate on His wrath a while. And while it’s easy to recognize and readily admit that “God hates sin”, as someone else said “God hates sin, but He punishes the sinners.” My Savior commanded repeatedly, “Repent” and “Go and sin no more”. He also had some harsh words for the religious people of His times that sought to justify themselves with their own works of righteousness.

In my opinion, any “Christian” work (fictitious or otherwise) that attempts to present a gospel message that does not confront sinners with the depravity of their sin and lead them to true repentance and faith in Christ, but rather leaves them comfortable and complete in their sin is dangerous and to be despised. To borrow a quote from Spurgeon, “If your religion does not make you holy it will damn you to hell.”

In Christ,
Simple Mann

26 Simple Mann September 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm

DNelson brought up another good point about the shack in that Papa calls everyone her children. I just posted this on my blog site today and thought it was worth sharing with regards to his comment…

Someone who visited my site today did so after entering the search term “testimonies from repentant satanists”. For just a second, I felt my pride begin to protest: “Wait a minute – I wasn’t a Satanist.” But in fact I guess I was. If you don’t belong to Christ, you belong to the enemy. If you are a slave to your sin and belong to the devil, you are a Satanist whether you wish to admit it or not. EVERY person who walks in darkness, holds fast to their sin, and rejects Christ is (to God) a Satanist regardless of the more euphemistic labels they choose for themselves.

Thank You, Lord, once again–that You opened my eyes in the darkness, that You resurrected my soul from the state of sin and death, and that You brought Your Life and Light into the darkness and deadness of my soul. May I never stop rejoicing for the work that You have done, are doing, and will continue. Praise the name of my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Joh 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.
Joh 8:43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
Joh 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Joh 8:45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.

27 Mike September 11, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Simple Mann,

It was not my intent to put words into your mouth. I was simply drawing a conclusion from what you had written and asking a question for clarification. If you did not mean that God hates the sinner prior to repentence, then did you mean that God is simply indifferent to him – neither loving nor hating? What is your scriptural support for that position?

You said: “I rejected the Bible, I rejected sin, I rejected salvation and the need for a Savior. Interestingly enough, I could have read The Shack back then and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

If what you say is true, then you would not have been giving a fair and honest reading to the book for Young makes it clear that the further we move away from Christ and a relationship with God the more evil we become. It is only in close, intimate relationship with God that we are truly living as God intended.

To me, what The Shack does is relate scripture to the audience with out using more commonplace terms. So, Young speaks of relationship with God rather than being “saved” for example. Why would that approach make the book erroneous?

You said: ” In my opinion, any “Christian” work (fictitious or otherwise) that attempts to present a gospel message that does not confront sinners with the depravity of their sin and lead them to true repentance and faith in Christ, but rather leaves them comfortable and complete in their sin is dangerous and to be despised.” You seem to be approaching the book as a Billy Graham crusade. It’s not aimed at sinners; it’s aimed at Christians. Young is really speaking to Christians who are struggling with emotional hurt in their lives and trying to answer questions such as “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” A sermon on salvation will not help much in that regard. The book is beyond salvation. It is dealing with the Christian walk. As Hebrews 5 says: “13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

So, do you believe that any Christian publication which does not relate the gospel of salvation is “dangerous and to be despised?” I’m sure there are many Christian authors that would be surprised to hear that about their books.

There is no need to admonish me to read Romans. Coincidentally, I read it 3 times in a row last month. It’s a beautiful book of the Bible. I’ve also read the 4 gospels a number of times as well. You said: “Please tell me where it says God forgives everyone out of His bountiful love.” Of course, I didn’t say that. To the contrary, I said: “Those who accept Christ and enter into relationship with him will have eternal life. Those who die having rejected him will have eternal death.” Brother, you’re reading things with blinders on wanting to find fault. Pride can stand in the way of discernment.

Rather than going away to meditate on God’s wrath, I think I will meditate on his love for “the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want.”

28 Susan September 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Thank you Mike…it is refreshing to know someone “gets it”! The Shack is for the believer! It is not meant to replace scripture, however, we are humans trying to understand God and all He is and with every book ever written fiction or non, we will never fully grasp Him until we see Him in Glory!

29 DNelson September 11, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Susan,

Whether the book was written for believers specifically or for the general public seems to be beside the point. The issue at hand is whether the book misrepresents God/reality/Christian Truth in any way – which is a serious charge no matter who the intended audience was. The original reviewer was right is saying that we Christians need to be more critical (in the positive sense) in our interaction with a book that purports to be giving truth about God. Truth is just too important to be treated nonchalantly.

DNelson

30 Simple Mann September 11, 2008 at 11:50 pm

@Mike – What do you make of the following verses in regard to God’s love?

Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”

Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

Lev. 20:23, “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”

Prov. 6:16-19, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”

Hosea 9:15, “All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”

Rom 9:10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;
Rom 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,
Rom 9:12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”
Rom 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
Rom 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”

You wrote:

You seem to be approaching the book as a Billy Graham crusade. It’s not aimed at sinners; it’s aimed at Christians. Young is really speaking to Christians who are struggling with emotional hurt in their lives and trying to answer questions such as “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” A sermon on salvation will not help much in that regard. The book is beyond salvation.

Beyond salvation? I’m sure you will say I am an immature Christian, but how do you get over this magnificent grace? I pray I never get “beyond salvation”.

It is dealing with the Christian walk. As Hebrews 5 says: “13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Ah, here it is again. Just like Susan did earlier, you seem to insinuate that just being fed from the Bible is akin to milk, and that only the mature can digest the solid food of the shack. Do you really think that those folks reading the shack are being fed solid food while the rest of us who are turning to the Bible for nourishment are only getting milk? Wow.

So, do you believe that any Christian publication which does not relate the gospel of salvation is “dangerous and to be despised?” I’m sure there are many Christian authors that would be surprised to hear that about their books.

That is not at all what I said. I’ll paste the whole last paragraph here so you can read it again:

In my opinion, any “Christian” work (fictitious or otherwise) that attempts to present a gospel message that does not confront sinners with the depravity of their sin and lead them to true repentance and faith in Christ, but rather leaves them comfortable and complete in their sin is dangerous and to be despised. To borrow a quote from Spurgeon, “If your religion does not make you holy it will damn you to hell.”

I was specifically addressing those works that put forth a gospel message, which is exactly what is being presented to Mack (and by proxy the reader) in the shack. I can’t believe that you would deny that. If it were not so, why would so many people be sending all those copies to their unbelieving friends (a testimony I’m sure we’ve all seen frequently repeated)?

I do not mean to seem uncharitable, but honestly, the arguments that I keep seeing people present to defend this book concern me as much as the subtly subversive nature of its message. That so many people sing its praises does not necessarily make it a good thing. There were many in the desert that sang praises to a golden calf, too. Yet God said:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)

Might that include quaint old black women named Papa?

In Christ,
Simple Mann

31 Christian H. September 12, 2008 at 2:18 am

Wow, well written post Simple Mann.
I am even more deeply disturbed now to hear the strong defense of this book; even right in the face of God’s Word.
A person I know, is currently reading this book even though I encouraged her not to. This person has rejected God many times verbally (or more accurately said that she has and “agreement with God”) and clings to quick “pick me up” books like this. I’m not surprised that she loves the book and argued that it is something to “introduce people into religion”.

Does anyone remember the book “Conversations with God”?

32 Samuel September 12, 2008 at 9:14 am

Hi everyone,

while discussing this book don’t forget to remember John 15,12:
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

Greets, Samuel

33 Mike September 12, 2008 at 9:41 am

Simple Mann,

Before responding in any detail, I would like to hear how you reconcile the verses in John and Romans I quoted previously with your views about God’s love, specifically, your view that God does not love us until we become saved.

That concept is so foreign to my understanding of God, as fully revealed in Christ, over the last 40 + years of my Chrisitianity that I’m honestly curious about it.

34 Mike September 12, 2008 at 9:54 am

Simple Mann – PS to my prior post.

If God did not love you before you accepted Christ as you saviour, how was it that you became saved? Did you find God or did you respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Was God beckoning you to come to Him while you were yet in sin? Or, was it more like Dorothy finally finding the Great Oz on her own? If it was God pressing on your conscience, why would He even bother if He did not love you?

35 DNelson September 12, 2008 at 10:42 am

Hey all, one more word from me. I don’t think anyone is implying that God does not love sinners. The point is that he loves them though they are His enemies. They are not automatically His children simply because they are loved. Simple Mann is right in his consideration of those verses he quoted. Many in the church have taken the idea that “God is love” and reduced it to “God is only love.” The Shack paints this same one-dimensionalized picture of God. The Shack presents a soft God who chuckles at her rebellious “children” as just kids blowing off steam; just “fizz and vinegar,” she says. Scripture portrays a much more serious view of sin and God’s attitude toward it. Papa says that evil is simply the absence of good, and implies that hell, therefore, is simply the absence of God. The Jesus of the Bible, however, depicts a much more disturbing view of hell. Jesus told us to fear Him who has the power to throw us into hell. There is no real fear of God portrayed in this book. God is personified as a jolly Aunt Jemima type who is more of a peer than anything else. It is disappointing to see this view of God as our “big buddy in the sky” perpetuated in Christian writing. Or one might get the impression that God is a like a puppy, just waiting for us to call his name so that he run to us and show us how much he wants to please us. It’s a very human-centered perspective of God.

Christians would do well to “Consider the kindness and severity of God. (Romans 11:22)” In our day and age, we are hard-pressed to find a Christian who would admit God has a stern side. We don’t like to think about God’s severity because, frankly, it flies in the face of how we would like God to be, and what many of us have been taught that He is. We may even consider that view of God as a little outdated, set forth by folks who didn’t really understand the Bible. I think this perception of God is a backlash against the times in the past when people focused so much on God’s sternness that they had no joy or were downright mean. We need to get back to a balanced, biblically accurate view of God.

I think of Francis Schaeffer, who was all about believers developing such a strong Christian worldview that they could take a work of art (such as the Shack) and be able to dissect it into the parts that were truthful (i.e. lined up with orthodox Christian doctrine) and the parts where it fell short of Truth. Most of this book’s critics that I’ve read are attempting to do that. They are not saying that there is nothing positive about the book. The Shack is popular for a reason. Clearly, it is striking a chord with a large number of people who may be dealing with issues such as Mack. God is, no doubt, using this book to reach some. We cannot dismiss the book wholesale. But the critics are pointing out that the book has some places where Truth is perhaps skewed. And you know what? We need to be listening. These people play an important role in the Kingdom. This is the body principle at work. Instead of poo-pooing these people as being heresy hunters and fault-finders, we need to consider what is being said.

Truth and love are not enemies. We must figure out how to love without compromising Truth. William P. Young himself, quoted Jean Jacques Rousseau at the beginning of one of the chapters that said, “Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being.” Like it or not, Christianity claims to be absolute Truth. We cannot compromise by letting falsehoods insidiously slide through – especially in the case of a novel that is having such an impact on the church. Let’s praise this book where it deserves to be praised (and there is much to be), but let’s admit and bring to light the areas where it falls short of orthodoxy and presents a blurred version of God and salvation.

Keep the faith,

DNelson

36 Mike September 12, 2008 at 12:02 pm

DNelson,

You raise very good points and I don’t really disagree with the core of what you are saying.

However, I do have to disagree about the genesis of this discussion on love. It started when SimpleMann wrote early on: “How do you reconcile your belief that God loves everyone without exception, regardless of what they have done with Scripture? It is only those whom Christ has called and exchange His righteousness for their sin that the Father looks on with love. Those unredeemed, unregenerate, and unrepentant sinners are judged, and unless you have completely misunderstood or disregarded the truth of God’s wrath, then your statement has no scriptural basis.”

I think quite clearly SimpleMann is not only implying but stating directly that God does not love sinners. It seems you would disagree with that position as I think the vast majority of Christians would. That’s why I found his statement in that regard so astonishing.

I never stated at any time that The Shack was perfect nor that it stated perfect theology. In reality, I don’t think any human author can reach that level. However, I am quite surprised that people would call it heresy, dangerous and subversive. That view does not square with scripture either and is unnecessarily harsh on a subject that God wants us to fully comprehend – his love and reconciliation. Yes, judgment of the wicked is a feature of God. However, I would challenge you to count the number of times the word “love” and its synonyms are used in the NT vs. wrath and judgment. I could be wrong but my guess is that love overwhelms judgment.

My view is really more along the lines of Ben Witherington, who after a long critique of the book, wrote: “I am thankful for this novel, and its strong stress on the relational and deeply personal nature of our God. I am equally thankful for the message that God is much greater than we could ever think or imagine. I like as well the emphasis on love and freedom, rightly understood, as well as its admission that not all roads lead to God, for Jesus is the way. But on its next lap around the revising track, and before it goes into somebody’s movie, it needs to make a pit stop for some more theological tune ups. ”

Let me ask you, in you everyday walk with Christ, do you focus on your relationship with him, his overwhelming love for you and your love for him, or your concern that if you don’t do “what’s right”, you could go to hell? Personally, although I occasionally have thoughts about the latter, it is when I focus on the former that I grow in intimacy and relationship with God, which is what He calls us to do. It’s a matter of emphasis. Could Young have emphasized hell and damnation more? Certainly he could have. However, based on what I’ve read about his life, it wasn’t God’s wrath that saved him from the pit of despair and depression but His infinite love. That’s what he wanted to convey to his children. That compelling message is an accurate view of God’s relationship with man, and the way he chose to convey that message, in my opinion, does nothing to lead others away from Christ as the only way to God nor to an incorrect view of God.

37 Simple Mann September 12, 2008 at 12:22 pm

@Mike, you wrote: Before responding in any detail, I would like to hear how you reconcile the verses in John and Romans I quoted previously with your views about God’s love, specifically, your view that God does not love us until we become saved.

Once again you have again misconstrued everything I have written by continuing to assert that my position is “God does not love us until we become saved” when I have said nothing of the sort. Please read what I have written more carefully.

I “reconcile” the verses you quoted from John (3:16) and Romans (6:6-11) that demonstrate God’s love by reading them in context with the rest of what is written in John and in Romans. In fact, I included Romans 9:10-15, John 14:22-24, John 15:5-6, Matthew 7:15-23, Matthew 13:24-30,37-42,47-50, 1 John 1:5-10, 2 Peter 2:1-22, Galatians 5:19-21. These are not words that I have written.

Can you explain God’s love for Pharaoh? Or the Egyptians? And what about the Philistines? How about the Baal-worshipers? And the wicked people in the time of Noah? What of those who defile His name, and who hate His Son? What of those who live for their own glory, for their lusts, for the world? Who worship false gods and idols? If He loves all of these so much, then why are they judged? Why does His wrath sit upon them? And why are they cast into Hell? Why are they not reconciled to Him through His Son? Indeed, if God loves all unequivocally, why did Jesus even need to die to atone for sin?

He chooses some for salvation and passes others by. I do not understand this, but it is right there in Scripture. Far be it from me argue with God. A.W. Pink wrote in his book, The Sovereignty of God, “God loves whom He chooses. He does not love everybody.” This is obviously completely foreign to you, but it is not a novel concept, for it is imminently revealed in Scripture. I am surprised it is so repulsive to you.

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

In Christ,
Simple Mann

38 Simple Mann September 12, 2008 at 12:44 pm

@Mike (again) – this is becoming tiresome…

You wrote: I think quite clearly SimpleMann is not only implying but stating directly that God does not love sinners. It seems you would disagree with that position as I think the vast majority of Christians would. That’s why I found his statement in that regard so astonishing.

Once again, that is not at all what I said or implied. For what it’s worth, I do not agree with your rendition of what I said, either. But it’s not what I actually said.

Guess what? We are ALL sinners.

Rom 3:10 as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
Rom 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
Rom 3:12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

Again, we are ALL sinners. But we are *not* ALL saved by grace. We are not all regenerate, new creations in Christ. We are not all justified. We do not earn our salvation because of anything we can accomplish and we are not justified because there is anything within us that gives us special merit. We are all of us unworthy, all of us sinners. But God does NOT save all. I agree completely with Paul who wrote, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” However, I do not believe that Christ died for all.

And as for the heretical elements in the shack, I read just a few pages around page 120 or so last night, and while much of what was said during the theological discussions was sound, there were little trojan horse statements that clearly contradict Scripture. Papa was surprised by a question regarding authority (God must not be omniscient), stated that Creation did not really turn out as intended (must not be omnipotent either), and religious and political institutions were completely shunned (which includes the Church our Savior died for).

And despite the common objection that the shack is a work of fiction and not theology, the vast majority of conversations in the shack revolve around theological discussions dealing with the nature of God. The problem, as some of us have pointed out, is that while they often contain a fair amount of truth, there are far too often elements intertwined with that truth that are completely antithetical to Scripture. As I said once already, it just takes a little bit of arsenic an otherwise terrific meal…

In Christ,
Simple Mann

39 DNelson September 12, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Mike,

Good word. Ben Witherington hit the nail on the head.

DNelson

40 Mike September 12, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Simple Mann,

I’m sorry for being so dense. Now I understand what you are saying. I didn’t realize until your last post that you are a Calvinist and believe in predestination.

Now, not by way of judgment, but just by way of observation, it is most interesting that you find serious fault with The Shack as being unBiblical while at the same time holding to a particular belief which many in the Church condemn as heresy.

Now that I understand your belief framework, I understand why you find The Shack so objectionable. Needless to say, predesination is not a concept that has wide acceptance as correct doctrine. Since I don’t want to launch into a huge debate over that subject in this context, I’ll call it quits here.

41 johnMark September 12, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Mike,

I searched the posts above and the only mention of predestination I see is yours. Of all the reviews I’ve read I have not seen an objection relating to predestination. Besides, all Christians believe in predestination. The Bible teaches it.

Sorry I haven’t really been back to these comments yet. I hope to catch up soon!

Mark

42 Simple Mann September 12, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Mike,

Funny that you reject something that is clearly taught in Scripture as heresy, yet embrace and defend the shack so vehemently.

There is absolutely no question about the fact that the Word of God teaches the doctrine of predestination. It is taught throughout the Scriptures and clearly stated in numerous passages of Inspiration:

Matt. 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Rom. 8:29,30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Eph. 1:3, 6, 11 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

2 Tim. 1:9-10 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

2 Thess. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth

1 Pet. 1:1,2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

John 6:37;17:2-24 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out…As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Rev. 13:8; 17:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world… The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Dan. 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

1 Thess. 5:9,10a For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us…

Obviously, these do not jibe with the teachings in the shack. As for me, I will trust in Scripture.

In Christ,
Simple Mann

43 Simple Mann September 12, 2008 at 6:10 pm

@DNelson – you wrote: Truth and love are not enemies. We must figure out how to love without compromising Truth. William P. Young himself, quoted Jean Jacques Rousseau at the beginning of one of the chapters that said, “Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being.” Like it or not, Christianity claims to be absolute Truth. We cannot compromise by letting falsehoods insidiously slide through – especially in the case of a novel that is having such an impact on the church. Let’s praise this book where it deserves to be praised (and there is much to be), but let’s admit and bring to light the areas where it falls short of orthodoxy and presents a blurred version of God and salvation.

You make an excellent point. I thought one of the most interesting statements in the book (in my opinion) was on page 123, where Sarayu (Young’s interpretation of the Holy Spirit) warns: “Don’t confuse adaptation with intention, or seduction for reality.”

In Christ,
Simple Mann

44 oneal September 16, 2008 at 2:55 pm

I recommend this book. It’s not heresy. It’s a fictional piece of work that helps a man struggling with something unbearable and impossible to understand. I’ve read through all the comments above and think the point gets missed in this novel by many readers. More than likely, only those who have suffered a tremendous loss (like our lead character) can relate to these feelings and questions. In the end, the author is challenging the preconceived ideas of what God thinks of creation and how we are to make sense of the chaos we live in. Much can be taken from this book that will help us in our understanding of God’s grace and love towards creation. This isn’t the full picture of who He is. Neither is any other piece of literature. In fact, the Bible doesn’t fully grasp God in His entirety… partially because we are limited in our understading, but also because words cannot truly describe Him anyway. Beauty, music, life… these all give a glimpse of who He is, but we’ll never really get it until we reach eternity.

Before I get bombarded with anything, let me state that there is no better place to find out who God is than in the Bible. It is the final word on all theological debate regarding this book, but it’s also important to step back and rethink and challenge the ideas of who we think God really is. Sometimes we put Him in a box. Sometimes we are so convinced we have Him figured out that we won’t listen to anyone or anything that challenges our ideas. This book may make you cringe at times, but each of us must run these feelings and thoughts through the filter of God’s Word (which is exactly what I see happening through these posts!)

Final thought: God loves an honest question… and that’s what is great about this book. Here we are, talking about Him and learning from each other. But let’s remember one very important thing… we are all lacking in our understanding of God… let’s not get too boastful and proud of the few things that God may have gracefully revealed to us about who He really is, and in love and respect discuss what we have learned and believe as we each “work out our own salvation.” God is using this book to reach into the hearts of people… don’t discount that, even if there are some mistakes. When someone says they are reading this book, rather than talking negatively about the book, why not use it as an opportunity to delve into a deep discussion with a fellow searcher of the truth. Perhaps you will have some answers, or perhaps they will. Whether they are a believer in Christ or not, this book is creating opportinities to know and understand God more and the relationship He desires with creation.

45 Mike September 16, 2008 at 3:36 pm

John Mark wrote: “I searched the posts above and the only mention of predestination I see is yours. Of all the reviews I’ve read I have not seen an objection relating to predestination. Besides, all Christians believe in predestination. The Bible teaches it.”

It is clear that SimpleMann, from what he was saying, is a Calvinist. He didn’t use the term predestination, but his comments were, in retrospect, Calvinist.

If you mean that all Christians believe in predestination as that word is used as a shorthand for Calvinism, then no, all Christians do not believe in it. At present, Calvinism is believed by a minority of Christians.

46 Mike September 16, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Simple Mann,

You wrote: “Funny that you reject something that is clearly taught in Scripture as heresy, yet embrace and defend the shack so vehemently.”

You’re still not reading carefully. I didn’t say that I thought Calvinism was heresy; I said that many in the Church condemn it as heresy. That is not an opinion, but it simply a statement of fact. I would not go so far as to call it heresy. I would simply say that it is not scripturally sound and that it seriously denies the atonement work of Jesus Christ.

You wrote: “There is absolutely no question about the fact that the Word of God teaches the doctrine of predestination.” If you’re meaning is that the Bible teaches predistination as forwarded by Calvinism, then I strongly disagree. However, since I don’t know how you’re using the term, I cannot comment further.

I’m glad you trust in scripture. So do I.

47 abclay September 17, 2008 at 12:32 am

@mike

Calvinism denies the atoning work of Christ? It is my understanding that Calvinism actually champions the effectiveness of the atonement, thereby affirming an atonement that actually accomplishes its intended purpose which is to save all those who will believe?

To believe otherwise of the atoning work of Christ, in my estimation anyways, would be to say that the atonement didn’t save anyone.

of course, I could be wrong…

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

48 Mike September 17, 2008 at 9:35 am

AB,

My understanding of Calvinism is that God decided before the creation of the world which humans would be selected for salvation and which would not. In other words, God chose to save some and to condemn others to hell on his own without any free will choice of the individual being involved. By actively condemning people to hell without their choice being involved and without even a chance to accept Christ, to me, denies or at the least denigrates the atoning work of Christ.

49 ABClay September 17, 2008 at 10:13 am

Bro. Mike,

I think I see the problem with your understanding of Calvinism. You said:

By actively condemning people to hell without their choice being involved and without even a chance to accept Christ

Historically, Calvinists believe that all those who want to come to Christ can come, and anyone who comes won’t be turned away….yes..I am sure I have read that somewhere before.

I think that your misunderstanding doesn’t lie in the biblical atonement or the election of God, it lies in the nature of mankind.

I will affirm free will, I think that all men have free will. Proof being that you nor I have ever done anything that we didn’t want to do.

The way that Calvinists see the will is different than the way that others see it. We see the will as bound to the nature that dictates its choices and this nature is at enmity with God (Romans 3, Romans 8:6-8, Ephesians 2:1-3, etc…). This is why regeneration is so important. Except a man be “born again” he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. All those who are born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God will have a new nature, be a new creation. They will understand those things that are spiritually discerned.
So, anybody that wants to be saved can be saved, problem is that natural man doesn’t want the God of the bible. Therefore, we are to preach the gospel to all people, rely on the power of the gospel (for it is the power of God unto salvation), allowing the Holy Spirit to draw all those who are elect to Christ, and give God all of the glory.

Grace and peace…

ABClay

50 ABClay September 17, 2008 at 10:41 am

…and if I can comment on Bro. Simple Mann’s love of God that you seem to have a problem with…

He quoted Pink, who denies that God loves any of those whom He did not elect. I cannot fault this belief but I tend to believe that God does love everyone, but His redeeming love, a different type of love (a greater love, if you will), is reserved only for those whom He elected. At the same time, I don’t deny that God hates those who sin. How can God love and hate at the same time? Well…He’s God.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

51 ABClay September 17, 2008 at 10:51 am

Mike,

You also wrote:

By actively condemning people to hell without their choice being involved and without even a chance to accept Christ

What about Judas? He is referred to with many names, not the least of which is the “son of perdition”. Did God condemn him to hell?
Let me ask it another way… In your economy of God’s nature, does God know everything? I will assume that you answer in the affirmative, then my follow up question will be: Why does God create them knowing that they will not choose to believe?
These are questions that neither you nor I can escape, only my answer to these questions is simply: To bring praise and glory to Himself. How do you answer this question?

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

52 Mike September 17, 2008 at 12:04 pm

AB,

You wrote: “Historically, Calvinists believe that all those who want to come to Christ can come, and anyone who comes won’t be turned away….yes..I am sure I have read that somewhere before. … So, anybody that wants to be saved can be saved …”

Here is what I obtained from a Calvinist site: “Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would “accept” the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).”

And this from John Piper’s website on Calvinism: “Election refers to God’s choosing whom to save. It is unconditional in that there is no condition man must meet before God chooses to save him. Man is dead in trespasses and sins. So there is no condition he can meet before God chooses to save him from his deadness. … We really do not understand mercy if we think that we can initiate it by our own will or effort. We are hopelessly bound in the darkness of sin. If we are going to be saved, God will have to unconditionally take the initiative in our heart and irresistibly make us willing to submit to him. (See Romans 11:7.)”

I think these quotes make clear that your understanding of Calvinism is not accurate. I agree with what you said, but what you said does not agree with Calvinism.

Mike

53 ABClay September 17, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Bro. Mike,

I don’t think you read all of what I wrote. Anybody that wants to come can come.

54 Mike September 17, 2008 at 1:38 pm

AB,

Brother, I’m not following you. Are you saying that anyone whom God has not chosen before the foundation of the world will not WANT to come to Him and all those whom He has chosen will want to come to Him?

55 ABClay September 17, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Yes, that is historical Calvinism as I understand it with one point of note to what you said. All those whom He has chosen will want to come to Him only after they have 1)heard the gospel, 2)regenerated by the Holy Spirit, 3)graced with saving faith from God.

To the best of my understanding, these three happen so close together that they are virtually indistinguishable, but they happen in this order. Your salvific experience may bear this out as well.

Therefore, any Calvinist who doesn’t see the importance of sharing the gospel with all is wrong in my estimation.

Grace and Peace…

56 Simple Mann September 19, 2008 at 1:02 pm

@Mike –

There was a long period of history when the church was in darkness, hijacked by people who sought to fill their own insatiable appetites for money and power, people who did not thirst and hunger for righteousness. Many of the truths that were foundational to the early church lay dormant and hidden for many long, dark years. The doctrines of grace, the gospel of Jesus, that brought peace to men’s souls, were lost for a time as tyrannical systems of men sucked the life out of the people in the church by denying them God’s Word.

There is no doubt that God brought about the Reformation, using (as He always has) imperfect men who, despite their flaws and imperfections, held fast to Him and sought first His Kingdom and His glory with all their strength. Men like Huss, Luther, Tyndale, Calvin, Henry, Owen, and the Puritans that followed these men recovered Biblical truths that had been lost and in their rediscovery treasured them all the more. These men were often scorned, ridiculed, imprisoned, beaten, and even put to death for their belief in these doctrines upon which the all of the legitimate Protestant faiths have their roots.

These men loved God’s Word. They loved Jesus. The Cross was more than a “groovy tattoo”, wall adornment, or piece of jewelry – it was their heart. It was the very center of their understanding, and as they searched the Scriptures daily like Bereans, pouring over God’s Word and rejoicing at the timeless truths they were rediscovering anew, they saw the beauty, the wisdom, and the power of God’s Word. God’s Word was not trivial, nor something to be enjoyed only occasionally; it was their manna, their daily bread. It was the sustenance of life.

Should we not pay some homage to our spiritual ancestors, these Christian soldiers of the Reformation, who rescued the truths that had been lost for centuries that we might enjoy the fruits of their labor even today? Should we not be ever thankful for the sound doctrine and the translations even into our own language, that we can sit down and read a Bible in our own living room, trusting that what we are reading is faithful to the original texts? Knowing how faithfully and passionately they searched the Scriptures, should we perhaps consider the fruits of their labors worthwhile?

Yet, there are some that would say that the five solas, the doctrines of grace, and the wisdom and depth of the riches our Puritan elders have gone and mined before us are worthless to us today. There are some today who have a fraction of their faith and their devotion to the Scriptures, and who with pride in their hearts think they are so much further along in understanding the Word of God, and who refuse to travel the sound paths walked by the giants who have gone before us. There are those who would reject the doctrines of grace without even truly understanding them because they are not as fashionable or easy to put on as more modern perspectives. In an air-conditioned, fast-food, satellite-network society like ours, where apostasy in the church is as common as sex and violence on the TV, is it any wonder that there is little room for anything that may prick our conscience or challenge our comfort?

When men held a high view of Scripture, there was a high view of the doctrines of grace. There was a high view of the church. And there was a high view of God. Not surprisingly, there was a low view of man, and a very real understanding of the total depravity of his heart. Under such conditions, the true Church flourished, and God was glorified.

Today, we see a low view of Scripture, a low view of doctrines long-esteemed and profitable; a low view of the church and a low view of God. And not surprisingly, there is a high view of man, and a total denial of the utter depravity of his heart. Under such conditions, apostasy flourishes; man makes himself bigger than he ought, and his God he makes too small.

We should tremble in fear with reverence for the Lord. We should take His commands and His promises more seriously. His judgment cometh. There have been far too many times recorded in His Word to ignore the warnings. God gives grace to the humble, but He opposes the proud. He is loving and patient and kind. At the same time He is also just, and His wrath burns against the sons of disobedience. He sends His prophets to His people and gives them every opportunity to repent. Yet, so often we see a foolish, stiff-necked people who are too indifferent, too careless and too proud to repent.

We live in a time when true fear and reverence for God’s mighty power and strength have waned even as man’s pride and his faith in his own ability has waxed. Many profess with their mouths but deny with their lives. The wisdom of our forefathers falls on deaf ears even as they read their Bibles with their eyes shut, and more often than not with the Bible shut, too.

May God have mercy on us.

57 sonny September 19, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Mike,

Great responses! AB shouldn’t fault you for not sharing his thoughts on predestination. Since you are predestined, can you really help it? Or maybe he can’t help it? God is still God in both cases. (-:

The Shack does need some tweaking to be truly (traditionally) orthodox. However I found it uplifting and challenging.

58 abclay September 20, 2008 at 1:37 am

@Sonny,
It saddens me that you feel this is some sort of fight that needs a cheerleader. I would, however, encourage you to read our conversation again. I don’t fault my brother one iota for his beliefs (I don’t know where you got this idea), for I was once where he was and am acutely aware of the struggles involved in apprehending the doctrines of grace.

@ Bro. Mike,
Why do you believe God creates people whom He knows will not believe? We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we never ponder this question. What answer does your theology bear out for this? Just curious, not trying to pick a fight here Sonny.

ABClay

59 sonny September 22, 2008 at 11:20 am

AB,

I didn’t mean to encourage fighting by “cheering” any side. I apologize.

One of the things the Shack challenged me in was my limiting of God with either or arguments. I think that if the doctrine of the Trinity teaches us anything is that God is beyond us. I agree that scripture reveals truths that we can, limited though our finite brains are, understand. however, either or arguments don’t always work with the God. How can there be one God of three persons? But I believe this is how scripture presents God but I cannot honestly grasp it.

God is good. I believe this by faith. I cannot reconcile why a loving God (I believe this with all my ability) would create people to eternally punish them for lack of faith that God alone can impart. That is not to say that God doesn’t do this, just that I have trouble reconciling this with a loving good God. So I choose to suspend my judgment of God and my claim to understand freewill vs predestination. If my suspension of definite conclusions makes me a heretic so be it.

I’m reminded of Job 40:2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”

and 7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

I think I get the rhetorical meaning in these questions. My reply is “no thank you.”

I’m not all that smart, seriously. So with my limited intellect I find it amusing when others seem so sure especially when God loving honest intelligent people come to opposite conclusions.

My response was my attempt (probably inappropriate) to bring humor to a subject that is seriously mind boggling to me.

No offense intended. Grace and peace.

sonny

60 abclay September 22, 2008 at 2:57 pm

@ Sonny
First off, let me apologize if I was a bit reactionary regards your comment before. I appreciate your response and can sympathize with what you feel is simply a conundrum. Certainly there are things regards God that are past finding out and the complexities of the Trinity are included in these but not the truth of the doctrine itself. I think that the doctrine of God’s election is much like the doctrine of the trinity in this way.

I believe in the sovereignty of God but this does not make me one who believes that God is not good, nor loving, nor kind.

You said:

I cannot reconcile why a loving God (I believe this with all my ability) would create people to eternally punish them for lack of faith that God alone can impart.

I don’t believe that God punishes people for a lack of faith that He alone can impart. God punishes people for sinning against His holiness. There is no injustice with God. Some people get mercy and grace, other people get justice. All people are condemned for being sinners, not for a lack of faith. The natural man is perfectly happy to stay in the “burning house”; he enjoys his sin and does not want to turn to God. Think back, we knew full well God’s just sentence, that the punishment for sin was death, and we not only sinned, but even applauded others who sinned as well. Why would God stoop down to show mercy to even one of us?
When you say that you cannot reconcile this, it is almost as if you agree that this is taught in scripture. I cannot find an explicit statement on God’s election and man’s responsibility to believe but I know that God is the creator, and all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him. I know that He knows the end from the beginning therefore He is omniscient. The closest thing that I can find in the scripture that relates the omniscience of God with His election and reprobation of mankind is found in Romans 9.

So then it does not depend on human will or effort, but on God who shows mercy. For the scripture tells Pharaoh: For this reason I raised you up: so that I may display My power in you, and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth. So then, He shows mercy to whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills. You will say to me, therefore, “Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” But who are you, man, who talks back to God?…has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor? And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? And what if He did this to make know the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory on us whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

I ask you now, since you brought up the doctrine of the Trinity, where is the doctrine of the Trinity explicitly taught? We believe it, not because of one specific verse, but because it is throughout the whole of scripture. We certainly cannot comprehend it, but we are held accountable for apprehending it. The same thing can be applied to the God-man Jesus Christ. Was He 100% God? Was He 100% man? The answer to these is “Yes” but how can one person be 200 percent of something? We cannot comprehend this, but we must take hold of this truth.
I see the doctrine of reprobation the same way. God is the one who reconciles His election with man’s responsibility to believe, not I.
Brother, I would not label you a heretic for your belief. The most Godly man I know doesn’t believe the way I do about this either. I would encourage you to take about an hour and read this. If nothing else, it will give you a better understanding of what Calvinists believe and the more people who properly understand what we believe, the more amicable the discussions throughout our community can be.
Grace and Peace…
ABClay

61 Mike September 23, 2008 at 1:57 pm

AB,

You wrote: “Why do you believe God creates people whom He knows will not believe? We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we never ponder this question. What answer does your theology bear out for this? Just curious, not trying to pick a fight here Sonny.”

There is a wonderful, detailed debate about this between atheists and Dr. William Craig that explores that very question. I would encourage you to read those debates. You will likely disagree with Dr. Craig’s conclusions, however, because he focuses on man’s free will. Dr. Craig’s point is that God, being all good and just, could not establish an unjust framework.

To say that God intentionally decided from the beginning of time to create people whom he planned from the start to throw into the burning lake of hell and consign to eternal damnation is to transform God into a malevolent tyrant and sadist. That is simply not the God depicted by the Bible.

To answer your question, God created humans, who He knew would not all believe and therefore be destined for hell, because love that is commanded and forced is no love at all. Were man not to have the will to choose to accept or reject God, then man would be simply a robot, a machine, programmed to behave in response to stimuli. I would not want children like that and God didn’t want a relationship with his creation like that either. Therefore, in order to create man in his image, who would willingly enter into a relationship of love with Him, He had to imbue man with freedom to choose. It is man’s rejection of God, not God’s rejection of man, that incurs the wrath and etnernal damnation judgment from God.

In my morning reading in Timothy, I came across the verse that says that Christ came to save all men.

Peace,

Mike

62 Jeff September 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm

I have read many of the review on the Shack and I find a common thread running through all who want to criticize it. They all have a lack of experiential understanding of the Love of God. The word experiential scares most them because they have yet to have close encounter with the love of the Father in this way. Most all of the critics’ miss the entire point of the story. The fact that they are trying to divide words so closely and look for the potential flaws tells me once again they are missing the whole point of the book. The point of the book is give humanity a closer look at what Gods love is really like. Its literary style is much like a parable in scripture. It’s designed to make the point, that most don’t really understand, how much Gods loves them. I find also that one of the common threads of the critics is that many seem to be of the Reformed theology. Reformed theology loves to operate out of a life style of fearing God, rather than living a life of knowing that you’re loved by God. When you really understand and begin to live in the love of God, there is nothing to fear. Perfect love cast out all fear. Love is a much more powerful force than any fear. Why? Because God is love.

63 Jeff September 26, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Sorry I forgot to check the “notity me of followup comments via e-mail on the first comment sent in. Hope to hear from some of you. Blessings. Jeff

64 johnMark September 27, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Jeff,

If you would have read my testimony you’d see that I have had an experiential encounter with God.

See, I had “experiences” with “god” while in the RLDS church. Those experiences were grounded in me not God.

In the appendix of The Shack the author states that he wants to present people with an accurate understanding of God’s character, etc. In a movie about the book even. Well, this is the main problem. It’s not accurate.

Thanks,

Mark

65 Jeff October 6, 2008 at 10:03 am

Hi Mark,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I had trouble finding this web site again. I read your testimony today and I am very happy to see that you have accepted Christ into your life. Receiving Christ is always a wonderful experience with God. However, this is not the experience I or the Shack is taking about. After our salvation we all begin this journey of coming to know the Father through Jesus. Our salvation experience is not the end of our experience’s in God revealing his love to us. Its the starting point. I had been saved for almost 20 years, been involved in ministry, and preached about the love of God before I had a close encounter with the Father that that rocked my world. Receiving a fresh revelation of the love of Father, had changed everything in my world. For the last five years I have traveled the U.S. and severl other countries to share about the love of the Father. We have found Christians very hungry to know more of the love of God in their lives. Its transforming people into the kind of Christians that God is looking for. Those that will learn to receive His love and then give it away. There is no end to experienceing His love in greater measure as we let Him renew our minds with the word. But that renewing isn’t just about learning His word, its about getting to know the author of the word. Why? Because he wants to show us the Father and His love. This is not about our love for people, it’s about Gods love flowing through us to other people. In order for that to happen we must let Him love us experientially. Look forward to hearing more from you.

In the Father’s love, Jeff

66 Karen Strand October 8, 2008 at 5:48 pm

As a Christian, I am not disappointed in The Shack. I am horrified. The fact that some of my Christian friends find value in the book, shows me one thing: They do not know their bibles. We must be like the early Bereans, who checked out everything told them by the Apostle Paul, to be sure they were hearing truth.

67 Dawn October 11, 2008 at 9:05 am

I’ve read the book and I must admit I struggle with. I liked it. But I also want to stay true to the Word of God. I didn’t want to accept what the book said because it made me feel good. I came to the reviews to see what other Christians are saying and I find that we are attacking each other. I find the backbiting that is going on disheartening. Why are we doing this to our brothers and sisters? Have we (me included) really read the Book that we are beating each other upside the head with? I see both sides using the Word of God to beat each other up. Why?

I am desperate for a relational God. This book has thrown me head long into my Bible. Which is something that hasn’t happened in a long time. I need my Father, His Son and His Spirit. I NEED it.

As far as “Willie” is concerned. I appreciate what he has tried to do to share his walk with his family. I don’t believe he was being malicious. It may be true that he is errant in some of his theology. But you are automatically assuming he did it on purpose. Many, if not all of us our errant in one way or another.

Maybe this book will help point others to God. But anytime a book that is not the Living Word of God takes the place in someones Walk that the Bible should have it has the wrong place. Just like Lewis’ Narnia or Screwtape letters or Mere Christianity have pointed me back to God, so has the Shack. I do not look for my answers from those books, but am nudged back to the only Book that has the Answer. Please remember that we are called to love each other. If we are all followers of Christ, than we really should stop tearing each other apart and accusing each other of not believing. Can’t we have a discussion without it turning into one of the Presidential Debates where all we do is tear the other one apart?

68 Karen Strand October 11, 2008 at 8:50 pm

I appreciate your comments re: The Shack.

Dawn, to use discernment when it comes to biblical doctrine is not “tearing one another apart.” Differences of opinion in the body of Christ are expected, but when a book presents error about something so vital as the Godhead, then we must speak up.
Some readers may not know their bibles at all, and take The Shack as doctrinal truth.

Karen Strand

Read the first chapter of my book!
http://www.karenstrand.com/book.htm

69 johnMark October 11, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Karen,

Well said. I am going to try and put a post together addressing Dawn’s concern.

Many Christians seem to have difficulty understanding discernment and accountability, etc.

Mark

70 Dawn October 11, 2008 at 11:53 pm

You have missed my point. I’m not saying that accountability is bad. But on this and other reviews/boards I have seen comments such as “Religious people will not accept this book, for they are still eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Those who eat from the tree of life will see the fruits.” And I have seen comments that say if you liked the book you weren’t a believer. I don’t see these has helpful. I liked the book, or maybe the idea of the book. But I struggle with the theology of it. That is why I am now seeking out the truth through scripture. And why I am looking to see what other believers, who may have a better grasp of the scriptures are saying. All I was trying to say before is as we correct one another, can we do it in love? It wasn’t meant as an attack on anyone but as a gentle reminder that we are to speak to each other in love. I know that if I am verbally attacked by someone I am less likely to listen to what that person has to say, even if they are correct.

71 Mike October 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Karen,

So, you’ve got the Godhead figured out, huh? In that case, could you answer some questions for me? Could you describe in detail what a “spirit” is as it relates to God the Father? Why did God have certain physical features when He allowed Moses to see Him? Was Jesus only spirit before he became man? If the Father and Jesus are both eternal, why does Jesus refer to God as Father? Is Jesus spirit now or still fully human/fully God, or has he transformed into a different state of being? Is the Holy Spirit the same type of spirit as the Father? If the Father and Jesus are one, how did the Father forsake Jesus while he was on the cross? Were they no longer one at that point? How does God’s spirit actually inhabit the bodies of believers and yet remain a distinct being? What part of man is made in God’s image?

I’ve got a hundred more but that is enough for now. Since you’ve got a good handle on the Trinity, I would appreciate your insight into the questions.

Mike

72 johnMark October 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Mike,

So, you’ve got the Godhead figured out, huh?

Where did Karen say this?

Do you think Karen is wrong? On what grounds?

You seem to think that you know enough to know the Karen is wrong, but Karen doesn’t know enough to know that Young’s representation of the Trinity is wrong. How does this work?

How do we know anything about God as revealed in the Bible?

Mark

73 abclay October 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm

@Mike

“The Godhead is a three-flavor Jellybean”

Now I haven’t figured the Godhead out, but I know the aforementioned description of the Godhead is not correct based upon the revealed word of God.

In my estimation, this is all Karen was saying and you should offer your apologies to her.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

74 Mike October 13, 2008 at 2:47 pm

John Mark and AB,

It’s interesting that you didn’t require Karen to apologize to me for stating that I do not know my Bible. I’ve only been reading it for 30+ years but perhaps I’m just not discerning enough. Since I found value in the Shack, according to Karen: “shows me one thing: They do not know their bibles.” Now, does that comport with fairness or are you simply supporting those with whom you happen to agree?

Karen stated that the book “book presents error about something so vital as the Godhead.” That implies to me that she has a good handle on the nature of the Godhead. That being the case, I wanted to ask her to answer some questions about God’s nature.

John Mark, I don’t know if Karen is wrong or not. She only stated that the Shack is in grievous error about the nature of the God head. I think my questions are a fair exploration as to her depth of understanding of the Godhead.

AB, I’ve heard the Trinity explained as an analogy to the three characteristics of H2O. Ice, water, and steam. Is that wrong? Is that heretical? How is a three flavor jelly bean much different. In that, there are 3 separate charateristics of one essence. The 3 flavors are each distinct, yet the whole is one. Now, does that fully explain the God head? Of course not, but it gives a different vantage point of trying to understand an enigma. You don’t seriously mean to say that the Shack meant that God was actually a three flavor jellybean, do you? Assuming not, how would you describe three separate beings who are completely individual and separate yet one? Give me your best bibilically based answer. And, by the way, the questions I asked of Karen go to the heart of that issue.

The Shack spoke of the Godhead in terms of Father, Son, and Spirit. Is that error? Beyond that, I’m curious about your answer to the above posed questions.

Mike

75 abclay October 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm

@ Bro. Mike,

Karen said:

Some readers may not know their bibles at all, and take The Shack as doctrinal truth.

If you take the “Shack” as doctinal truth, then I agree with Karen that you don’t know your bible very well.

The properties of water analogy that is used to put the Godhead in terms that we can manage is not the same as saying “The Godhead IS water”. This is a good analogy for our understanding but it’s limitations must be noted.

My statement was:

The Godhead is a three-flavor Jellybean

I didn’t say the Godhead is like a three flavor jellybean.

As to the terms that the “Shack” used to describe the Godhead, yes they are scriptural terms, but the relationship between them is what is unorthodox. Jim Jones spoke in biblical language, as does many other false teachers today…does that make them doctrinally sound? I submit that it doesn’t. This is why Karen’s point in her post is being defended.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

76 johnMark October 13, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Hi Mike,

First, I didn’t ask you to apologize. :) There’s nothing wrong with healthy debate.

That implies to me that she has a good handle on the nature of the Godhead. That being the case, I wanted to ask her to answer some questions about God’s nature.

But you didn’t ask questions about God’s nature. You asked explicit and exact questions about how God has operated in certain situations.

John Mark, I don’t know if Karen is wrong or not. She only stated that the Shack is in grievous error about the nature of the God head. I think my questions are a fair exploration as to her depth of understanding of the Godhead.

I don’t believe they are fair for reasons stated above. Understanding the nature of the Godhead vs. how the Godhead acts and reacts is not the same thing. For example, understanding that Jesus incarnate became Man doesn’t mean we understand how He did this. However, we do know His nature as the God-Man.

The criticisms of The Shack have to do with portraying God in a manner that He has not revealed Himself to us in Scripture. It’s not us pretending we know everything about God.

Mark

77 Mike October 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm

AB,

Do you read the Bible as literally as you do the Shack? I would maintain that Young was speaking in metaphors, but you apparently believe he was speaking literally.

Is God a shepherd? Is He a rock? Is he a lion? Those are all descriptions of God in the Bible and they don’t say “like”.

You said: “If you take the “Shack” as doctinal truth, then I agree with Karen that you don’t know your bible very well.” You’re mixing two different posts by Karen. The part I quoted was all in one post and in context. I hope you’re not going to defend the comment she made about Christians who find value in the book not knowing their Bibles.

Karen said that there was error about the Godhead. Other than your literal reading of the “jellybean” description, where is the error?

Mike

78 Karen Strand October 13, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Mike,
For starters, anyone who says they totally understand the Trinity is full of baloney. However, the scriptures help us out:
Jesus Christ: As preexistent, created everything
(Col. 3:16) even had a hand in the creation of mankind (Gen. 1:26)
God the Father: Sent Jesus to complete a “work”
Jn. 17:4) which was to die on a Cross for our sin, and reconcile man to God. When He became incarnate to do that, is when He called God “Father.” So, there we have the “Son” praying to the “Father.”
When you think “Holy Spirit,” think of its literal meaning. Man has a spirit, but only God’s Spirit is a Holy one. The Holy Spirit is one of the greatest mysteries. He has always been, yet when Jesus was resurrected He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us, to teach us, to help us.
Made in God’s Image: No, He doesn’t wear jeans and a tee-shirt. Here, we are talking personality, or personhood. Every emotion and feeling we experience, was known by God first. He is a Person. We are made in His Image.
Why, since God is Spirit, did He have physical features when He revealed Himself to Moses?
For Moses’ sake. How could Moses relate to an ethereal being with no substance at all?
What form is Jesus in, now? The answer has to do with what Jesus became at the incarnation. Fully human. Yet fully God. In this form, He went up to heaven after His resurrection (Acts 1:9) and in this form He remains. “Brothers, we do not know what we shall be, but when He appears we shall be like Him.”
We do best not to drive ourselves nuts trying to understand GOD. We are told that He is beyond our understanding, and His greatness is unsearchable. Just praise Him for revealing as much as he actually has, to us.

79 Tom Buzbee October 15, 2008 at 12:52 pm

How can anyone ever learn anything if they do not read and discuss ideas they do and don’t agree with? This book present a possible learning experience for so many, since it is being read by so many. It is not the end but a beginning for people who are searching. And from the sale of the book, plenty of people are searching! Please place some confidence into your own ability to think for your self!

80 Linda October 20, 2008 at 4:59 pm

I am so sorry to see such accusatory comments. I have just completed the book today. I could hardly put it down. I was laughing and crying at the same time. It was such a sweet story. I think that if someone finds a way to have a more personal relationship with the Father, then it is a good thing. I know that may sound elementary, but we as a people are so quick to judge and say that is not the way to find a personal relationship with the Lord. Maybe because it is not “our” way. Excuse me if I am off base here, but who said we should ever tell anyone how to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? I am sure that all God wants from us is all of us. How we get there…….well, that is up to each person individually. I personally was brought into a closer and richer place with my Father after reading this book. Thanks to the author, he put it in terms that this “old Christian woman” better understood. Believe me, I have been a Christian for almost all of my 60 years and I don’t think I have ever read a book that was quite as inspiring, showing the love that I know my God has for me. I am not talking about or excluding the Bible. I am quite familiar with that as well. It is not fiction and The Shack is. But when this author put his feelings into a fictional setting, it was as real to my heart as anything.
Blessings to all of you who have written your feelings.
Linda

81 Mike October 20, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Karen,

Sorry for my delay in response.

You state that “Every emotion and feeling we experience, was known by God first. He is a Person. We are made in His Image.” Isn’t that sacrilegious? Are you saying that God has experienced hate, rage, lust, and other sinful emotions man has?

If God is a Spirit, how can he be a person? Yet, you also claim that God is an ethereal being with no substance at all. Where in scripture do you find support for that statement? This sounds like God is like a mist or ether that permeates all matter.

You also state: “What form is Jesus in, now? The answer has to do with what Jesus became at the incarnation. Fully human. Yet fully God. In this form, He went up to heaven after His resurrection (Acts 1:9) and in this form He remains.” That statement seems at odds with the transfiguration which Jesus allowed Peter, James and John to witness. He shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as light. Doesn’t that foretell of what Jesus will really be like in heaven? If not, then what was happening there?

I don’t find anything that you’ve said which would show the grevous error about the nature of the Godhead as set forth in the Shack. In fact describing God as an ethereal being lacking substance sounds far more erroneous to me than the descriptions contained in the Shack.

My intent here is really not to be critical but to make the point that trying to describe God is really difficult. Your original statement that the “book presents error about something so vital as the Godhead” appears extremely conclusory and unsupportable as demonstrated by your response to my questions. Unless you think it is sinful to even try to understand God, I fail to see where the error in the Shack is regarding the Godhead.

Mike

82 abclay October 20, 2008 at 10:48 pm

@mike
Are you saying that lust, hate, and rage are sinful emotions? That’s what it sounds like…

Then Beer is sinful too? And sticks, because people get hit in the head by sticks? And how bout guns, because people get shot with guns?

Is it not the objects of those emotions that makes them sinful? How bout this?

I lust after the Word of God as a Deer lusts for the water in a brook? Isn’t lust the same as desire? I can lust after a car and not be defiling myself sexually but breaking the coveting commandment.

God hates the lover of violence…Is this sinful?

just my .02

Grace and peace…

ABClay

83 abclay October 20, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Personal relationship…Not to be a knit-picker but I found this helpful…Click here.

Grace and Peace,

ABClay

84 Mike October 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm

AB,

I agree that those emotions, in the abstract, are not necessarily sinful. I hate spinach, but that’s not sinful. So, point taken. However, I was obviously using those emotions as they relate to other people. I thought that was the context of Karen’s use as well. If instead she meant only to use those emotions as they relate to inanimate objects, then my questions as to that point are withdrawn.

Mike

85 Vivien October 22, 2008 at 7:23 pm

ABClay,

In Christ there is no sin. The law was meant to bring us to Him, so we could live in Him and He in us. Being led by His Spirit. No longer trying to live in futility by our own efforts to obey the law. As if by our strength we ever could. When we keep our eyes on Jesus he leads ever deeper into the abundant life he promises. He has fulfilled the law. Because we cannot. Could not. Will not ever without him.
This is the NEW COVENANT.
All who come to him and accept him are given his spirit as a living breath within them. No longer are the intimate and direct revelations from him limited to the OT prophets. All can hear from him. The promised land – intimacy with Him in the inner sanctuary of His being. In Him.
Intimacy with Him, eachother, and ourselves.
All else has fallen away. And as he leads us, HE will transform our minds and regenerate our hearts so that we can love more fully each day. That has been my experience. Mindblowing and joyfilled to say the least.
As far as releasing someone to him and forgiving the wound they have inflicted – well try it sometime. Deeply. And then watch when that person sees you again how they will look at you. There is wonder in their eyes as to how it is that you are not angry with them and do not retaliate. That is what I think God means. Why? Because then that person has the wide open field containing the option of allowing their heart to be softened and then reconciled to the Father through his mercy and grace and by the blood of Jesus Christ. By the mercy that you have now shown yourself by the grace of Christ who lives in you. And WOW, maybe even reconciled to you.
Since, of course, Abba would have all people reconciled to him and to each other.
that is not universalism. That is the heart of God. If anyone refuses to believe that, then that is of course their choice. And a choice worthy of great sorrow.
God the Father is a loving father. Period.

And there is no ambiguity in Christ’s statement to us all. ” Behold I have made all things new.”
Would you believe that?

And to anyone else who believes that God predestined only a certain elect to be saved, well why don’t you help him to speed up the process then and thro the scum more quickly into hell so we can get out of here quicker? Really unbelievable crap.

I believe in a loving God who predestined all people to be saved by His plan in his son’s final sacrifice. Whether we choose to believe and accept in our hearts what he has done and is doing, and will always do – – is another story.

Love and respect,

Vivien.

86 Karen Strand October 22, 2008 at 8:14 pm

To Vivian: Well said.

87 ABClay October 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Sister Vivian,

Thank you for taking the time to write from your heart.

I would like to comment and ask you a question. I agree with so much that you said that I really wanted to just say, Amen, but calling what is considered by many people to be orthodox Christianity “Really unbelievable crap” prompted me to respond.

You asked me:

And there is no ambiguity in Christ’s statement to us all. ” Behold I have made all things new.”
Would you believe that?

While technically, this is special revelation from God, I would encourage you to actually visit this passage in the context of Paul’s words to the Church at Corinth. He is speaking (that would be Paul) and he says “if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation”.
You further write:

I believe in a loving God who predestined all people to be saved by His plan in his son’s final sacrifice.

A question for you. Did God predestine all of those adults and children who occupied Canaan when Joshua came to kill them to eternal life? Did Jesus die for them? Or the people who inhabited the earth during Noah’s day who were completely destroyed by God’s mighty hand of vengeance? Were they predestined by God to salvation?

When we look at God as one dimensional (being love. Period), we fall a little short in our understanding of what a Mighty God we serve.

I am not saying this to upset you (though it may), but we cannot fully worship God, in spirit and in truth, until we can worship Him for who He is, not who we want Him to be.

You are free to believe as you wish about predestination, but the word predestined in the Bible, when speaking of people who are being saved, is always speaking of certain people.

I believe that God is love, for how else could He save a wretched sinner like me?

Grace and peace…

ABClay

88 Vivien October 23, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Hello ABClay,

Thank you. “kill them to eternal life”. ???

wow. I am not upset. thanks for considering my feelings though. It was kind of you.

Love is multidimensional. a full array, bouquet of colors shall we say.

Yes I believe Jesus died for all mankind. That he would pick is beyond my comprehension according to how I know Him.

How is it that you are so sure that He has predestined you? And not, say your coworker, or your mother, or father?

How do you know what is in the heart of God towards those people and what was/is in their hearts towards him?

News flash – Jesus was not invented 2000 years ago. He is timeless/ageless/has no beginning/no end.

Are you still a wretched sinner?

And moreover – are you afraid of losing ABC if you engage in the further mystery of DEFlay?

I guess if we are still full of fear and punishment, we will look for justification of our own salvation. Hence, the self focus and the urgent need to point to who exactly may not be predestined in order to ensure justification of our own.

Do you really know Him?

Don’t ask me. Ask Him yourself.

Take care,

Vivien.

89 johnMark October 23, 2008 at 7:34 pm

Hi Vivien,

There are a few things I don’t really understand in your comment. Rather than causing more confusion I’ll just ask you a question.

Do you believe that no one goes to hell and that everyone has eternal life?

Thanks,
Mark

90 ABClay October 23, 2008 at 9:46 pm

@ Vivien

I apologize for my question to you being confusing. In regards to your comment:

I believe in a loving God who predestined all people to be saved by His plan in his son’s final sacrifice.

My question to you would have been better written: Did God predestine all those adults and children to eternal life that He killed in the flood in Noah’s day? Did God predestine all those adults and children who occupied Canaan to eternal life only to have Joshua kill them?
Furthermore, If Jesus came to do the will of the Father, (as He says He did) and Jesus died for these people (as you say), then it appears to me that Jesus’ will does not match the will of the Father.
Could you further explain your comment about flowers and how it relates to the other revealed attributes of God?
You ask:

How do you know what is in the heart of God towards those people and what was/is in their hearts towards him?

Genesis 6:5-7
When the LORD saw that man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time, the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. Then the LORD said, “I will wipe off the face of the earth: man, whom I created, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky– for I regret that I made them.”
Deuteronomy 7:1-10
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and He drives out many nations before you…seven nations more numerous and powerful than you–and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you… For you are a holy people belonging to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. “The LORD was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. But He directly pays back and destroys those who hate Him. He will not hesitate to directly pay back the one who hates Him.
I don’t know if there is a better way to answer that question than the answer that I gave.
You also asked:

Are you still a wretched sinner?

Answer: Absolutely
1 John 1:8
If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Thank God for grace…
I don’t know what DEFlay means, even did a google search for it and couldn’t figure it out.
I have answered your questions, could you answer mine?
Again I say we cannot actually worship God in spirit and in truth until we worship Him for who He has revealed Himself to be, not who we want Him to be.
Grace and Peace…
ABClay

91 Vivien October 23, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Hi ABClay,
I am not going to answer your questions. Best you take them to God, who really knows the answers.

However, I thought you indicated above prior that “if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.” Somehow this doesn’t match up with wretched sinner.
sorry.
He has either cleaned you up or he hasn’t.

Take care,

Vivien.

92 johnMark October 23, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Vivien,

How about my question? :)

Mark

93 Vivien October 23, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Hi Mark,

Thanks for asking. You really need to read what I have said more carefully.
It is so easy to confuse freewill and people’s choices with God’s heart and what He desires for all his children. There is a place for those who don’t want to be with God.

The God I know is the One who has said that He would leave the 99 and go after the one….
the question is for us all – would we go with Him or just sit tight admiring ourselves while the “lost one” is still out there.

A truly evangelistic heart has the heart of Jesus.
Not wanting to lose one. Such a risk God took in creating us humans – so beautiful and so fragile – knowing that some might choose to live in self-condemnation.
For there is no condemnation in those who are in Christ.
He said he gave his son to redeem the world. Not just some.
what we believe and what enters our hearts and either softens them or hardens them for eternity is another matter.
Take care.
I ‘m off to dance tonight!

Love Vivien.

94 ABClay October 23, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Vivien,

Are you saying that you are no longer a sinner?

No need for me to take my questions to God, for He has already answered them in His Word to us. I was simply trying to find out how you reconciled your beliefs and view of God with what the Bible actually says…

I can’t make you believe in the God of the Bible, only God can do that.

Have fun dancing…

ABClay

95 ABClay October 23, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Vivien,
Something else… You wrote:

Such a risk God took in creating us humans – so beautiful and so fragile – knowing that some might choose to live in self-condemnation.

God? Risk? Some might choose?
Regardless of how you view predestination, I don’t think you are worshiping the God that said to Isaiah: I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.

humm…. do what you will with this one, it is just the Bible after all….

Grace and Peace nontheless….

ABClay

96 Steve October 24, 2008 at 9:33 am

This book has moved my wife and myself closer to God. It has literely changed my life as well as my wife’s. It is a work of fiction. All these people Pastor’s etc. who are calling on people not to read this book are missing the point. Thank God for Paul Young.

97 Karen Strand October 24, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Response to Mike
Regarding your questions of Oct. 20:
God has experienced the range of our emotions.
“I, the Lord, love justice. I HATE robbery and iniquity “(Isa. 61 )
“I…am a JEALOUS God (Ex. 20) Not envious, but jealous over His people-jealous for their affection.
The Lord GRIEVED that He had made man (Gen. 6)
He felt ANGER toward Moses (Ex. 4)
He certainly experienced RAGE over those who kept turning to idols.
So, as a PERSON, God knew compassion, gentleness, patience and all the things we experience. That is the point I was trying to make. God has personhood. In that Image, we are made.
I didn’t chose the right words when I described God as “an ethereal Being with no substance.” Heavenly scenes portray Him as “seated, with His train filling the temple”and with Jesus at His right hand, and in Rev:4-“a throne set in heaven and One sat on the throne” and in His right hand He held a scroll.
I do not know whether these are figurative or not. They are meant for us to better understand what God is like.
The form Jesus is in, now. You said the transfiguration argued with Him currently being “fully human, fully God.” Remember, the transfiguration took place BEFORE the Cross, while He was chatting with His disciples. But AFTER the resurrection, He appeared to them and said “Touch me and see. A spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see I have.” Also, good old “doubting Thomas” was able to put his hand into the wounds in Jesus’ side.
Where is the error in how The Shack presents the Godhead? Man! Where do I begin? If God wanted to show what He was really like in the flesh (like the shack woman) why not just point those poor souls to Jesus? After all, that’s why Jesus took on human form – “the exact image of the invisible God.” And we don’t need “another Jesus”. The original did just fine. And the Holy Spirit is – HOLY. We just don’t contain Him in a person and mess with that one, at all.
Thank you, Mike. For your comments. And no, I don’t think it’s sinful to try to understand God at all, testified by my biblical research.

98 Vivien October 24, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Hi Mike,

You are a breath of fresh air,

Vivien.

99 laurie October 24, 2008 at 8:02 pm

I just want to thank you all for your comments. I am writing a masters thesis on humanity’s freewill after the fall. I really do not need the “man/woman on the street” opinion but I sure got it here. One thing I did find, the same argument that Luther and Calvin had that continued with Zwingli and Beza, and on and on throughout the history of the church. I don’t think you are going to get any closer to each other than they did.

By the way, I liked The Shack, warts, pimples and all, because it reminded me that God loves us and is willing to go where we are to draw us back to Him.

Oh and one thing that has not shown up on anyone else’s argument, John 20:23, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” Just wanted to throw a little gas on the fire.

Blessings

Laurie

100 ABClay October 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm

To Laurie,

This view of humanity’s depravity did not originate with Luther and Calvin. After the Apostolic age, we see Augustine arguing these same points as well.

Grace and Peace….

ABClay

101 ABClay October 24, 2008 at 10:32 pm

@ Laurie…

The verse you quoted… I don’t understand your point.

Do you believe that we can forgive sins that were committed against God? How can this be, since we are not the one offended?

And surely you aren’t saying that because our sins are forgiven that we no longer continue to sin… Could you please explain how either side of this debate could have used this verse?

Thanks,

ABClay

as a post script, I am sure that if you are in the middle of a Master’s thesis on free-will you are already aware of the argument between Pelagius and Augustine. Forgive me if I was presumptuous.

102 laurie October 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm

ABClay
The issue that was being argued is the classic Calvinist/Araminian regarding predestination. The scripture was merely an add on to the suggestion that Mack’s unforgiveness was preventing Papa’s redemption of the murderer. I did not say anything about what I believe, I merely quoted something that Jesus said. Part of the problem with this discussion is that no matter what anyone posts there are a couple of people who read into it the gravest and most objectionable heresy.

There was nothing in my post to suggest anything regarding my own theology and I will leave it that way.

Just a suggestion from an old Christian saved over fifty years: ITim. 1:5 & 6
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion.

Just one question, “What kind of fruit is this discussion producing?”

Blessings

103 ABClay October 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Laurie,

I like how you come to “throw some gas on the fire”, and then, when respectfully asked to explain your point, you respond with accusations unfruitful discussion.

Never the less, since you did put your verse into the context of a particular point that was argued in this post by its author, do you believe that God is bound by our selfishness and sin as to whether He can forgive sins? If you take this verse in John to mean this, many, many problems are created.

Surely you understand, being a Christian for over fifty years, that a verse can never mean what it never meant.

And you ask what kind of fruit this discussion is producing? You didn’t seem to have this problem when you added to this “fruitless discussion” yesterday but I will attempt to answer. Bad theology leads to a distorted view of Truth and of the work of Christ on our behalf. Since the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, and many Christians don’t have the discernment to sieve out the truth from error, it is incumbent on those who love the truth, who see the error, to point it out as the author has done. No one on either side has made any claim to perfect understanding, therefore, when a point is made, it is usually supported by Scripture so that it doesn’t rest on its own merit.

Grace and Peace to you sister,

ABClay

104 laurie October 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm

First of all I refuse to take the bait. However, you did ask me a direct question to which I will attempt to give a direct answer. First, look at the context. John 20 reports on the happenings when Jesus appeared on different occasions after the resurrection. It was on the first day of the week and He appeared in their midst. He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you…” So there is no further explanation. In looking at it in the orginal language it appears to be a pretty straight forward declaration. As to the problems a literal interpretation creates begs the question “problems for whom?” Apparently not for God since He said it. I have no pat answer to that question. I find it fascinating in its possible ramifications. Could it blow up someone’s dogma? You betcha! Does it blow up mine? No. Leaves me with questions but I can live with that. In fact I kind of enjoy not having all the answers. The important ones I do have.

In defending myself, which I should always avoid, I did not respond with accusations. I responded with a gentle suggestion that examination of the discussion was up to each but if one were to find it unfruitful perhaps other pursuits are in order.

105 ABClay October 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Laurie,

Based on your response, did you say that you believe that God is hamstrung in His ability to lavish mercy and grace by our ability to forgive people without actually saying so? While I enjoy spirited and scholarly debate, I find it hard to discuss matters with those who speak in innuendo.

You say, “I refuse to take the bait”. What bait? Are you afraid to state your view plain and simply? I was setting no trap for you to fall into.

When we say context, we don’t simply mean the immediate context. While the immediate context is important, it must be viewed in the context of the entire revealed word. If this is not the case, and we only view verses in their immediate context, then there are clear contradictions in our Scripture, thereby proving the claims of Scripture as being the Words of a perfect God as a lie. I am readily able to give an example of this, but for the sake of brevity, I will abstain for now.

I think that the content and nature of the latter part of your second post speaks to whether you made accusations or not, regardless of how loudly you protest that you didn’t now.

Grace and peace to you…

ABClay

106 Karen Strand October 25, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Martin Luther:
Hey, y’all! Did you know that Octber 31, 1517 is the date that Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg? What he looked for was a debate. What he got, was a reformation!
HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!

107 laurie October 25, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Hey ABClay,
Here’s one for you…For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Now what is my innuendo? I believe that you think you know something about me that you absolutely do not. Therefore, I will stop wasting my time. And you may continue to carry on your discussion with anyone willing to accept your ability to read what they really think between the lines of what they have written.

And to Karen…Happy reformation day back at you, Sis. Martin Luther was an amazing saint who has left us a wonderful heritage. Thanks for the reminder.

108 ABClay October 25, 2008 at 11:19 pm

@Karen,
Thanks for remembering…it’s always easier to celebrate “reformation day” than Halloween :-)

It’s interesting that next week is reformation day as I am teaching on Romans 1:17 and it will be very applicable to work Luther’s struggles with this verse into the lesson.

@ Laurie
What I perceived as your innuendo was your apparent inability to come out and say what you believe about God being limited in who He can shed His grace and mercy on. Instead of answering my question, yes or no, you go into your interpretation of the verse, implying a position without saying it, and then talk of your fascination regards the implications of your interpretation. Nevermind the fact that your interpretation of the verse, if I am correct in my understanding of what you are implying, stands 2000 years of orthodox Christianity on its head.

A professor at RTS said that if you read a verse and come to an understanding that no one in orthodox Christianity has ever had, then you should probably rethink your position.

About John 3:16…I love that verse, affirm every bit of it. While your version is very good (NAS?), I will render the HCSB translation: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” God loves the world, He sent His Son, and everyone who believes in His Son will have eternal life. AMEN!

Hope you all have a blessed Lord’s day.

Grace and Peace..

ABClay

109 laurie October 26, 2008 at 1:33 am

Better tell you now that I do not believe what you give me credit for.
The translation I used is the NASB. By the way my Greek professor was on the translation committee for the HCSB. He is an Orthodox Priest and Monk. Wonderful man. As for my position, you should probably understand what it is before you pass judgment on it.

You’re not as good at reading between the lines as you think you are. So you can continue to guess that it is based upon what you think I think or you can move on to more interesting subjects. I did not attempt to interpret the verse merely stated its immediate context and its lack of significant variations in the Greek. Were I to attempt to interpret the verse it would take a lot more than a couple lines on a blog.

According to scripture God has mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will.
Sorry to disavow you of your notions but I am not a heretic neither am I suggesting some outrageous new conception of God’s grace. Now maybe you’d better get to studying, you have a lesson to prepare.

110 ABClay October 26, 2008 at 2:45 am

Laurie,

You said in post 101

Oh and one thing that has not shown up on anyone else’s argument, John 20:23, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” Just wanted to throw a little gas on the fire.

Then put the verse into the context of The Shack in post 104 by saying

The scripture was merely an add on to the suggestion that Mack’s unforgiveness was preventing Papa’s redemption of the murderer.

Then I asked in post 105 if you believed that God is bound by our selfishness and sin as to whether He can forgive sins (which is clearly an unorthodox position). You responded in post 106

you did ask me a direct question to which I will attempt to give a direct answer. First, look at the context. John 20 reports on the happenings when Jesus appeared on different occasions after the resurrection. It was on the first day of the week and He appeared in their midst. He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you…” So there is no further explanation. In looking at it in the orginal language it appears to be a pretty straight forward declaration. As to the problems a literal interpretation creates begs the question “problems for whom?” Apparently not for God since He said it. I have no pat answer to that question. I find it fascinating in its possible ramifications. Could it blow up someone’s dogma? You betcha!

If, perhaps, I have tried to read into your mind to see what you believe as you contend, it is only because you did not deny this when asked directly, but in fact you seemed to confirm it by your explanation in post 106.

If I have misrepresented your beliefs by my presumptions, I ask your forgiveness. It is difficult for me to see how any rational person could come to any other conclusion than I did given the information provided by you.

I hope you have a wonderful Lord’s Day :-)

ABClay

111 laurie October 26, 2008 at 11:33 am

I will, have a wonderful Lord’s Day, which in my life is everyday. Back at you.

112 Vivien October 26, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Mike,
You wouldn’t be single, like the salsa, and live anywhere near Calgary would you?
Vivien.

113 geoffrey pheasey October 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I cannot believe you lot!How are we as Christians going to make an impact on the world if we spend all this time arguing about a book of fiction.lets get things into perspective.We need to present a united front to the world.

114 HEisable October 29, 2008 at 11:30 am

Some of you seem to know a lot about Christianity. Why is there so many different churches? Didnt Jesus establish one church?

115 Vivien October 29, 2008 at 12:55 pm

ay carumba! An intelligent question from He is able!
There is a point of choice for all individuals, I suppose. It really for me came down to surrending to God and letting go of my need and insistence to do it in my own strength. To “prove” my worth. That is always a disaster.
There is so much pain in this world. Pain in the churches. Pain in the fracturing and disunity that is a direct and indisputable result of the fall. The institutional churches are not immune. They are not always “safe” places. The only safe place is in Jesus Christ.
And for me, the church is his Bride. All of us. That we go to a building on sunday is just one facet of interaction. I believe there are so many churches because of our need to be right.
God showed me that I am right in Him. Not because of anything I can do or say, or present to the world.
We are united to Him, in Him, and then to eachother. That is the church. That which He established. the rock. The only foundation that gives true life. Consistent, unending life. An eternal flow of Truth which at any and all given moments can transcend all lies. To the pure = all is pure.
His kingdom, His righteousness, His glory. His bride. Yummy.

Love Vivien.

116 johnMark October 29, 2008 at 1:47 pm

HEisable,

Why do you assume that different local churches means that we are not all part of the same church Jesus established?

Mark

117 Heisable October 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Mark,
Every church holds different beliefs. Some are radically different from the next. How can every church be part of the same ONE church that Jesus established? “One body, one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all” Eph 4:46

118 johnMark October 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Heisable,

You’ve made an assertion without showing it to be so and you want me to answer it. What I am asking you is to show me that we aren’t one church. On what basis are you asking?

Mark

119 Karen Strand October 29, 2008 at 6:41 pm

HEisable:

Within the Christian faith, there are many denominations because PEOPLE are are different. Some worship by raising their hands, some quietly read prayers from a prayer book. Some like worship teams, some prefer traditional hymns. The important thing is whether we agree on basic Christian doctrine: The birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His substitutionary death on the Cross and His promise to return.
These beliefs are what the One Church, Christ’s Body, is comprised of. As in this heavenly scene from Revelation: “I saw before me a great multitude…from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the Throne…crying out…’salvation belongs to our God…and to the Lamb!” Rev. 7:9

120 Heisable October 30, 2008 at 8:30 am

Mark,
There is not only one church because like i said before churches all have differing views. Some of those views such as predestination like you all discussed on here before are not accepted among other christians. The Bible is absolute truth so there has to be a wrong or right. Which one is right? That means there is more than one “church.”

Karen,
Is it right to have denominations? Even you yourself said its because of people and them being different. Even the word denominations means division. Didnt Jesus establish one church? Throughtout the new testament you read of Jesus always promoting unity, why is it ok to go against that because people are different?

Just curious about all this, i have only recently been reading the Bible. I am not a christian. I am very confused as to why people just do what they want to praise God when it seems he laid it out pretty clear for people.

121 Vivien October 30, 2008 at 8:53 am

Heisable,
Keep walking on the trail you seem to be on…
Vivien.
And keep asking great questions!

122 Karen Strand October 30, 2008 at 2:53 pm

HEisable:

Please read thru my last comment more carefully. Jesus did establish one church, but it is made up of many people (various denominations) embracing the same Christian doctrine. Only their manner of worship is different. Within this one church (made up of Baptists, Assembly of Gods, Nazarenes…) there is a wonderful sense of unity! Unity and love, because we are on the same page.

123 Heisable October 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Karen,

I dont see any Biblical account for Baptists, Assembly of Gods, or Nazarenes. Just because people made these “religions” doesnt mean that God accepts them. How is it that God made one church and now you are saying its ok for people to have as many churches as they want. I dont see how you can say there is a wonderful sense of unity. Most of those “religions” have little to nothing to do with each other. They disagree on so much, how is that unity? I agree that the church is made up of many people, I disagree when you say that it is made up of various denominations. The very essence of the word denomination is unbibilical. Why would anyone want to follow man made traditions poised as “religion?” People justify what they must to make themselves comfortable.

124 Vivien October 31, 2008 at 10:30 am

Heisable,

Well said. Telling what isn’t. Now could you in your eloquence tell what it means to be in unity in Jesus’ church? Please? Move it off the continuum….!!!

Vivien.

125 Heisable October 31, 2008 at 10:48 am

Vivien,

Like I said, I am not a christian, only interested in becoming one. But, in my very inexperienced opinion of christianity, it appears to me that Jesus established one church. He laid down guidelines thru his teachings and his apostles teachings for what is acceptable. Jesus prayed for unity amongst his followers, he also said that there would be divisions among us. Those divisions are the denominations. I believe you cannot come to God any way you want to. I believe you have to come his way. the way he wants. So many denominations would cease if they would stop doing what they want and start doing what God wants and what God has said in his Holy inspired word. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking of all of the selfish people in the world who worship the God that they made. God made us, not us him.
I know most of that was rambling, I hope it makes sense to you all. Like I said I am very limited in my knowledge of spiritual things. I am trying to find the church that Jesus established, not the ones that men have made up.

126 Vivien October 31, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Would you seek His face then my friend?

Vivien.

127 Heisable October 31, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Vivien

You make zero sense… Thanks for nothing

128 Vivien October 31, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Heisable,

So sorry. You will never find the “church” you are looking for, until you find “Him” first. He is real, He is there, ask Him. Be still and know that He is good. And yes He is able. Take care.

Vivien.

129 Heisable October 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Vivien,

What church do you attend?

130 ABClay October 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm

@Heisable,

God is Holy, Righteous, Just, and the creator. Adam (the first man), of his own “free-will” sinned against God and therefore God cast him out of Eden and all of humanity now is under the just condemnation of God because we are all Adam’s offspring. One only kids himself if he thinks that he could ever merit freedom from this condemnation based upon his own works, for the bible says that all of man’s works are as filthy rags. Before casting Adam and Eve out, however, God made a promise of a redeemer and all through the Old Testament, those who had faith in God and His promise of the Messiah were saved by grace through faith in the promise of Him.
About 2000 years ago, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, God incarnate was sent by the Father to be our redeemer. He lived a perfect life, fully without sin though fully man, and was tried by sinful men (though it was God’s plan) and nailed to a cross. God put the sins of all who would ever believe on Jesus while He hung there and God dealt His just and righteous wrath(that wrath that we deserve for we all have sinned), on His son Jesus. Jesus body was taken down from the cross and buried in a tomb. Three days later, Christ rose from the dead and all those who believe in this simple foolish message will have eternal life with the Father and be restored in full, neverending fellowship with Him when we are made perfect and given a new body, free from sin and the flesh that corrupts us today.

Heisable, All who believe this foolish message are “the Church”, there is no other way to be saved.

God bless, and may God grant you Grace and Peace…

ABClay

131 ABClay October 31, 2008 at 2:31 pm

as an addendum to my previous post, it is because of our selfish, sinful flesh that there are many denominations.

The “true church” is invisible in that God only knows those whom He has ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48). We bicker and fight amongst ourselves because we do not have a perfect understanding of God nor His Word.

I imagine there are people from all denominations who are being saved, but some of these today, who claim the name of Christ, are certainly unbiblical in their theology. Christ said in Matthew 7, “Many will come to me on that day and say Lord, Lord, Didn’t I do this, and do that…..” and Jesus will say, “depart from me, I never KNEW you”.

It’s not about you knowing Christ, it’s about Him knowing you.

Grace and Peace,

ABClay

132 Heisable October 31, 2008 at 2:50 pm

ABClay,

What “church” do you attend?

133 ABClay October 31, 2008 at 2:55 pm

What denomination? Baptist

134 ABClay October 31, 2008 at 2:57 pm

If you read my post in #132, them I am obliged to tell you to “Repent from your sins and Believe”.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

135 Heisable October 31, 2008 at 4:51 pm

ABClay,

Where is the Biblical basis for the Baptist Church, wasnt it started by a man? Why follow some fallible man’s creed? That is something I dont understand about religion!! So if i repent and believe I will be saved? Thats all it takes?

136 Karen Strand October 31, 2008 at 6:33 pm

HEisable: I’m trying so hard to understand where you are coming from. By “one church” it sounds as if you mean a big church building where all believers worship together. But Christ’s Church is not a building. It is a spiritual body of believers, united by a common faith.
This is why we have unity. My neighbor believes in having only organ music. I don’t. But we agree that Jesus was born, died for our sin, rose again and is coming back. We are ONE in Him.

137 ABClay October 31, 2008 at 11:37 pm

Heisable,

You wrote:

Where is the Biblical basis for the Baptist Church, wasnt it started by a man? Why follow some fallible man’s creed?

It seems that no matter what answer we give you, you will find something to disagree about. You will spring up with another question.

I don’t believe you are “interested in being a Christian”, because the Bible tells me that there is no one who seeks after God.

What is it? If someone can answer this question for you, you will find Christianity appealing enough to become a Christian? Give me a break. Christianity is not appealing to anybody who has not been born again.

Let me break it down: You ask, “So if i repent and believe I will be saved? Thats all it takes?
A good friend equated it to marriage. Sure, all you have to do to get married is say “I do” but “I do” is a result, an effect of something that has happened within you that makes your wife irresistible to you and you would do anything for her. She is your treasure and you spend every moment wanting to grow closer to her and please her.

Any faith that you muster of your own ability is weak and feeble, it will not do. Saying a “sinner’s prayer” will not save you. Being baptized will not save you. Only God can save you and when He does, Christ becomes the only thing that truly matters to you. He becomes the pearl that you will not let go of because you know that He is your only hope for facing the wrath of God. You will believe and you will repent…Why? Because you have no choice, everything else has become worthless. Paul says in Philippians 3, “everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ…Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own…but one that is through faith in Christ”.

I tell you that you should repent and believe not because I know that you are able to, but because that is your responsibility. God has made Himself evident to you in His creation. The stars in the sky, the sun, moon, and all of nature scream out to you and testify of His existence. You know about God’s righteousness because He wrote the Law on your heart, you know it is wrong to lie, cheat, kill, etc; you don’t need the penal code to tell you this. Even the natives in the wilds of Africa know right from wrong. You are not a good person. Question is, will you believe? I don’t know and only God can grant this to you. If you understand your depravity and need of a savior, then all I can say is for you to beg God for mercy because you are storing up wrath for yourself and I don’t want you to be in that lot that is found outside of Christ when He passes judgment.

May God bless you with saving grace….

ABClay

138 johnMark November 1, 2008 at 11:46 am

Heisable,

You said:

So if i repent and believe I will be saved? Thats all it takes?

The answer is yes and no. The answer is simple, but not easy.

Marriage is used as an illustration in Scriptures many times. So let me use marriage to illustrate the simple yet complex answer to your question.

If someone asked, “What must I do to be married? Just say a few vows ending with ‘I do’ and that’s it?”

The answer would be yes and no. You would legally be married, however, if that’s all you did would you really be married?

There is a button at the top of this blog called “Two Ways to Live” which explains the Christianity. Click here to give it a read. It should be helpful.

Please let us know what you think.

Mark

p.s. The best thing to do would be to find a local pastor whom you could sit with and go over these things in person. Let me know if I can help in this manner.

139 Vivien November 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Heisable,

Hi,

I believe you that you are looking for truth. That you want to be a christian. Your questions are valid, they are your questions. Please find safe places for your heart and your questions. God is the safest place. Ask him to protect your heart as you search for truth. I like your style.

It really doesn’t matter if you are “good” or “bad” – it just matters that you come to the master as you are. So He can love you. the penalty is paid. You are free to be loved and to love. Anything else is a lie.

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Mathew 7:8 ” For everyone who asks, receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I go to a church in Calgary, called Centre Street church. it is an evangelical missionary church which matters to me not. I go to sing, and I pray always, that His spirit will lead me to love and be loved. He has not failed me yet. I do not anticipate it. It is in His spirit that I am part of His bride. We are all at different levels in our walk with God. It is just to learn, ask questions, and to allow God to minister to your own personal pain. Sometimes that is directly, sometimes thru others. He is good. And He will bring you Joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take care.
Vivien.

140 Karen Strand November 2, 2008 at 11:21 am

HEisable

Listen to these other guys. They are right.
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

To owner of this website: What is this Sweet Tea business? I’m from the Pacific NW and have heard of it but don’t know what it is. Tea with honey?

141 johnMark November 2, 2008 at 10:47 pm

In the “me” link at the top of the blog I explain a bit.

Concerning the blog title, “Sweet Tea” comes from the South and growing up drinking sweet tea which certainly was attached to southern hospitality as it was the main drink offered when visiting with someone. The “Theology” part comes from the understanding, study and application of God as He relates to all areas of life.

Sweet tea is tea made with sugar. Dixie Crystals, preferably. ;)

Mark

142 Karen Strand November 4, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Sweet Tea: Thanks, Mark.

143 Tina November 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm

My goodness sheeple! This book brings healing and a greater understanding of the amazing Love of Our Father without religious legalism! Chill out, will you??? Take it for what it’s worth! I imagine that He is looking down from Heaven and shaking his head right about now. His children beating each other up again, missing the whole message.

144 Danny November 6, 2008 at 11:18 am

Tina, yes, I read that too, the part about how the “Law” is used by religion to control the people. But, really, that is not rue, you see religion actually could care less for what the Bible has to say about anything. Religion uses “Traditions” and the “Customs” of their fathers to control the people.
Only through the Christ are we to escape the penalty of the “Law” which is “death”. You see, those of the world, not in the body of the Christ are yet under the penalty of the “Law”.
read Revelation 19:14 for a reality check. Of course if the scriptures are not the rule by which you govern your thoughts, then I am making a noise that cannot be heard. The book is fiction, but is presented as non-fiction, “as told to Willy”.
I could throw lots and lots of scripture out there, like Simple Mann, but suffice it to say that teaching doctrine in the guise of fiction, like Tim LaHaye in his “Left Behind” books is but a sign of our times.
(Read, 2 Peter2:3, “In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up” NIV)
The book, The Shack, is a mizture of truth and half truths. Remembering our original parents, Adam, and Eve, they were attracted, as we are, to a mixture of “good and evil”, of some truth and untruths. The lie is that we “surly we will not die” for enjoying this evil mixture. And just who is it that keeps telling us this lie? Surly all mankind has eternal life. You don’t need to pay too much attention the the Bible. ” Narrow is the way” — “Broad is the path to destruction”
Division? Hey, its too late, read the Bible, it is filled with division. The first century church became so divided even Paul was disturbed (1 Cor 1:11-16)

I too read the book because some well meaning friends (I suspect,wanting to straighten me out in my thinking) urged me to read it. I enjoyed reading the book, and, unlike some, I refuse to get my “theology” from a work of fiction. And, for those that think the Bible is a “work of fiction”, well, you will probably adore The Shack — funny how that works.
Not guilt here — I don’t need a work of fiction to introduce me to the Love My Heavenly Father has for me and my brothers and sisters in our Savior.
Bye for now, I have to go meat with my friend and let them know what I really think of the book they adore :-) Peace, to you all, Dan

145 Tina November 6, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Thank you for your response. I, too, am a Bible addict, seeking only the Bible for Truths to apply to my life and seeking my answers only there also.

As a parent of six children, I completely enjoy my relationships with each one of them, differently. I particularly enjoy the ones that are living their lives carefree, flavorful, colorful, fully exploring their world freely to reach their highest potential – completely confident in my unconditional love and acceptance – knowing that in all of their explorations as they bounce around in their lives (hitting walls, stumbling through rough territory, even get hurt here and there), their hearts are loving toward me, checking in with me now and again for direction and advice. There is something beautiful in that. In their “knowing” of how much I love them, they are free to live life fully and completely unhindered and I believe that those are the ones who will fly higher and do more for God than those who might try to fit into a mold that someone has made for them. My prayer is that the freedom that I have given them (with boundaries) will carry over into their relationship with God. I believe that our Father loves us all the same, as well, but that He particulary enjoys those of us who are unhindered by the religiousity that plagues even our full gospel churches. He is a God of complete freedom in Him, something few Christians ever experience because of that very “mold” – that mold symbolizes the Law.

146 ABClay November 6, 2008 at 12:46 pm

@Tina,

Do you love my children the same as you love your children?

ABClay

147 Tina November 6, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I’m sitting here scratching my head, wondering what your question has to do with anything. Legalism and religiousity lives! Suffice it to say, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself”

148 ABClay November 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Tina,

I am sorry that I didn’t better state my question. I was on my mobile device and didn’t feel like typing alot.

To be honest, I was just trying to make sense of what you just put up relating your relationship with your children to the relationship that God has with His children. Honestly, you were coming across as a universalist and I wanted to see if you were by asking that question. You started the analogy, I was just trying to better understand what you believed. Perhaps a better rendering of my question would be, “Who are God’s children?”

I have children, and I am most pleased in my children when they honor and respect me by obeying my commands. I have written the law for my household, and as long as my children obey those rules, they can do as they please. I don’t want my children to obey these laws simply because they fear the punishment of breaking these laws. I want them to obey these laws because the love, honor, and respect me. They know that I am pleased when they obey my rules, therefore, in their striving to please me because of their love for me and my commands, they obey them. I think this is a much more Biblically accurate representation of our relationship with God and His commands and our freedom in Him.

That “mold” as you say, seems to me to be His rules as He has given us in His Word. I want to fit into that “mold” because I love God, I want to please Him, I want to honor Him by a Godly life and how do I know how to honor Him? By reading His word and obeying His commands.

Near the back of your Bible, you will find this, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

God wants more from us than, as you said,

checking in with (Him) now and again for direction and advice

Osteen is way off the mark. Take it to the bank.

Grace and Peace to you Tina,

ABClay

149 Heisable November 6, 2008 at 5:53 pm

ABClay,

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond since last time. I just wanted you to know that people with an attitude like you are the reason I have never become a christian.

You said “It seems that no matter what answer we give you, you will find something to disagree about. You will spring up with another question.
I don’t believe you are interested in being a Christian”

Excuse me for questioning anything, I guess I should be a thoughtless mindless zombie. How am I supposed to learn anything unless I ask questions. I am glad that you DONT believe I am interested in being a christian. That really hurts.

Thanks to those who had a positive uplifting comment for me. It means a lot to know that there are some people out there that embody what Christ was like.

150 Tina November 6, 2008 at 7:12 pm

I don’t know who’s comment you read that said “It seems that no matter what answer we give you, you will find something to disagree about. You will spring up with another question. I don’t believe you are interested in being a Christian” but it wasn’t mine.

In answer to your question, “Who are God’s children”, I submit to youthat all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ become His children. We are all His creation but must be adopted by calling on the name of the Lord to become His children.

I am not a universalist. I am a born again, spirit filled christian and have been walking with the Lord for 30 years. I have paid a price for my decision but have never regreted it, not for a minute. We settled the issue of obedience a long, long time ago. I will do whatever He asks at any given moment, hands down – and He knows it. That having been settled, we can move on to other things like enjoying the Father – daughter relationship. There is nothing like relaxing in the knowledge that He is good – even if I’m not. I would encourage anyone to seek out this wonderful relationship. Jesus is the best thing that has ever happend to me. He has healed me, comforted me, delivered me and the list goes on and on. I also encourage you to seek out those answers to your questions. I had a million of them – one word of caution though. Look to Him and His Word for those answers. We sheeple are only human and kinda stupid sometimes. But He is always right on. God Bless You and feel free to write to me anytime!

151 Heisable November 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Tina

I was talking to ABClay, sorry

152 Tina November 6, 2008 at 9:43 pm

ABClay,

When you walk with the Lord daily, minute by minute, when He is always on your mind and His purposes always in your heart, obdience is not an issue. I’ll bet it’s fun being your kid.

153 ABClay November 6, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Okay, First @ Heisable,

You say that people like me are the reason that you haven’t become a Christian.

I would encourage you to read my posts again.

I would say that you haven’t become a Christian because you haven’t yet been called by the Holy Spirit to believe. Once this happens, all of the angry, mean, hypocritical Christians in the world couldn’t keep you from your Savior. So while your excuse may make you feel better, from a Biblical standpoint, it holds no weight. Jesus said, “All those the Father gives Me WILL come to me.” Therefore, all I can do is tell you the gospel, which I have tried to do, and tell you to repent of your sins and believe. God must do the calling. Regardless of how mean you think I am, I don’t want you to be in the lot that doesn’t claim the blood of Christ on judgment day.

Questions are good, and we all learn from questions but the question that you kept asking had nothing to do with Salvation. I don’t believe that you should be a “zombie” but no amount of intellectual satisfaction about how coherent the doctrine of the church is will ever bring you to Christ. Is the church perfect? No, but this is because the people who make up the church are not perfect…YET.

Now @ Tina,

I am so happy that you are not a universalist. You did say things that I don’t understand though.

Do we earn our salvation? You say:

“We are all His creation but must be adopted by calling on the name of the Lord to become His children.”

Do we have to do something before the Lord will adopt us? We do something (call on the name of the Lord) and then He is obligated by what we do to save us? Isn’t Grace, by definition, unearned?

It is my understanding that we are dead in our trespasses and sins until God makes us alive. Those who are “dead” in sins, cannot please God because we are unable to do so. It’d be like asking a leopard to change his spots or an Ethiopian his skin. If we are unable to please God, how can we call on Him? Is the goodness of God, His power and His divine nature not things that are spiritually discerned since He has delivered us over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong?

I am aware of the calls in the Gospels to “repent and believe” and these are things that we are commanded to do and to proclaim, but I understand these calls not to speak to our ability to do them but to our responsibility to do them. The same can be said of Paul’s charge in Romans, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” I believe this, and I tell people this, but I also believe that people, unless they have been born again, are unable to do this.

Is this not manifested in our prayers? Do we not plead with God to save someone? If we do plead with God to save someone, isn’t it up to God and not our ability to persuade or cajole?

You also said,

I will do whatever He asks at any given moment

Hasn’t God already asked us all that we should do?

Thanks for the discourse, Grace and Peace to you all…

ABClay

Oh, and about my kids….
My kids would have the most fun if I let them stay up late at night, not brush their teeth, not go to school, not take baths, etc. But because I know what is best for them, I must squeeze every bit of fun out of their childhood by making them do these things. ;-)

154 Dawn November 6, 2008 at 11:50 pm

ABClay,

I have learned more about my relationship with God since my daughter was born than I have at any other time in my life. As I speak with my daughter, who thinks I am being completely unfair for making her take a nap, I remember the times when God has told me to do something that was good for me, but I didn’t want to do. I often react much like my daughter does. With whining and crying that I am not tired and don’t need it. I think God makes us parents so that we understand him better. I know i do. I can see much clearer now that God isn’t trying to squeeze all of the fun out of my life, but protecting me and taking care of me. You’re comment made me laugh because my daughter just finished her plea to not take a nap and looked at me like I was very mean to her for making her do it.

Dawn

155 Dawn November 6, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Ok, I think my comment was a little out of context, and I apologize. It just struck me at the time, and I’ve been letting my fingers type faster than my mind flushes things out lately. Please disregard my previous comment.

156 ABClay November 7, 2008 at 12:07 am

Dawn,

I have a 11 year old, a 7 year old and a 2 year old. It is interesting to see the changes in them and their respect for the rules. As they get older, I have noticed that they appreciate more all that their mother and I do for them, and therefore, there is not the outright rejection of any rules that we make for them, but an understanding that these rules are for their own good.

I think that this is really a pretty decent picture of our relationship with God.
All those who believe are BORN, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. (my kids didn’t choose to be born)
At first the rules are contrary to what our fleshly desires, (our nature) tell us to do but we are able to love and abide by these rules because Christ lives in us and we are no longer slaves to sin. We are irresistibly drawn to please the Father.
As time goes on, we begin to love and appreciate these rules even more. So much so that they become second nature. We have grown in the knowledge and grace of Jesus, become more like Him, and therefore bring more glory to the Father through His sanctification of us.

Humm….thanks Dawn.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

157 Tina November 7, 2008 at 10:00 am

ABClay, spoken like a true Pharisee. You could make a dry sponge grow legs and run from water. No need to respond, I won’t be back here – I can’t all the “love, grace and peace” that emits from your being.

Bye yall!

158 Vivien November 7, 2008 at 11:27 am

ABClay,

What does it mean for you to simply rest in the love of Daddy?

Vivien.

159 ABClay November 7, 2008 at 12:51 pm

To Tina, Even though you say you wont be back :-)

Call me whatever you wish, but I think that I have well established that I believe the obeying of the commandments of God is not what saves one from the condemnation of God. The Pharisees believed that it did.

I quote the apostle John again: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

Is the Apostle John a Pharisee?

To Vivien,
Your terminology represents the degeneration of the church today into a worldly organization who has no regard for the Holiness, Power, Judgment, and Wrath of the Creator who is worthy of all praise, honor, and reverence. The god you speak about has been distilled into only one attribute, Love. It seems as if you have created a god in your image that more resembles santa claus than the God that has revealed Himself in the Scripture.

ABClay

160 Vivien November 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Ho Ho Ho……
Keep the saliva dripping pal, your wrath seems to be sufficient for God himself to take a holiday. If He were indeed a wrathful God. I guess Jesus really did die for nothing if it was just for you.
Honestly you are so far gone in fury and rage that I almost believe that what you are saying is an online joke.
I pray God will send His angels to minister to your traumatized heart. Was your earthly father so kind to you?
Vivien.

161 ABClay November 7, 2008 at 7:37 pm

vivien,

Okay what ever you say.

ABClay

162 Joshua November 9, 2008 at 2:34 am

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.
Psa 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in Your sight. You hate all workers of iniquity.

Tit 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, so that they may not be unfruitful.
Tit 1:16 They profess that they know God, but in their works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient and reject every good work.

163 rose November 9, 2008 at 1:17 pm

what’s up with this ABClay guy. After reading some of the posts, he apolgizes way too much for misreading or misinterpreting or not being clear, etc. And then he comes back and chews you up and spits you out. Looks to me like he’s got to be right all of the time, has to have the last word all of the time, completely self-righteous. AB don’t you know that knowledge puffs up but love builds up? That arguments are vain? And that everything works by love? Taking love out of the equation as you have demonstrated is like taking … well, like taking sugar out of southern tea.

164 Karen Strand November 9, 2008 at 6:37 pm

I see far more agreements than disagreements among the comments here. Let’s remember “above all, keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

165 Glenda Glasser November 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

There is a great gulf fixed between Heaven and earth. For now, we see as if from behind a vail, darkly, but then we shall see face-to-face.

Why does God allow Mack to see his daughter?

166 Vivien November 10, 2008 at 11:34 am

My mother died last year, and during the grieving process (as if that is really done…) God revealed my mother’s voice to me. she said”I’m sorry Vivien, you and Morgan (my daughter) have a good life.”
I needed to hear that, as she never said it to me. I have forgiven all the pain. But somehow those words freed me. they freed me from needing them from others still here too.
so that I can love more deeply and more freely.
God reveals so much to us in his infinite wisdom and love. He is so cool and so alive isn’t he?
Cool is definitely one of the million attributes I could assign to him …….

Vivien.
ps God will remove that dark veil to all who are so inclined. as in heaven on earth…as it is in heaven… we see God in the faces of men and women. and yes I look forward to seeing His face in full one day. how forward you cannot imagine.

167 Jay Kuhn November 10, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Sorry, but I have to go with Mike’s assessment of your criticism. “Seems critical for the sake of being critical”. I doubt the author ever intended this to be a book that describes all the attributes of a Holy God. It simply deals with the love of God and a man who was questioning that love because of the evil things that have happened in his life. Please don’t act as if you’ve never been there and never wondered where God was at some point in your Christian life.

The book does a good job in describing free will (which is what I suspect is the underlying beef many here have). It teaches that we are never to doubt God’s love even in the dark times. It clearly describes that the Trinity is sufficient and satisfied within their existence in need of nothing. God did not create evil but allow it for his glory and this was clearly described.

I’m not a fiction lover, especially when it come to Biblical principles, but I must say this book caused me to think and that I know scares all the “popes” out there who want us to come to them for all Biblical knowledge.

168 Jay Kuhn November 10, 2008 at 12:28 pm

@rose regarding “what’s up with this ABClay guy”.

Please keep in mind that ABC is a TULIP, a 5 point Calvinist and they are by far the edgiest (should I say angriest) believers. Nothing like a thought provoking book that depicts a sovereign God that allows for free will to shake them up a little.

169 David Sanger November 10, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Wayne–thank you for your excellent Biblical review of the latest chaff blowing in evangelical America. Also, thanks for including the Spurgeon quote–nice touch. Truly there are fewer and fewer folks in the pew with any semblance of Christian discernment. Sadly, many “pastors” are not much better. Dangerous times indeed when such blasphemous filth circulates recommended one Christian to another.

170 ABClay November 10, 2008 at 11:25 pm

@ Rose, et al.,

Yawn…..

Ad Hominem: attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.

If I come across the way that you describe, then you have my apologies for ruffling your sensibilities. (Dang, I did it again ;-) )Trying to be sensitive to Christian brothers and sisters while defending the truth in love can be a difficult task which I have yet to master.

I will restrain myself from my usual tactic of “chewing you up and spitting out out”. :-)

ABClay

171 rose November 11, 2008 at 9:39 am

To apology without sincerety is a lie. But then that’s okay … because it’s you who did it. Additionally, I doubt that you have the ability refrain from anything, much less elevating and inflating yourself … you enjoy it way too much. You can’t refrain from arrogance, you must repent of it.

172 ABClay November 11, 2008 at 10:37 am

Rose,

the only thing that I have been angry about is bad theology which has caused Christian brothers and sisters to create gods in their own image intead of lifting the One True God high. If my indignation regards this causes problems for you, perhaps the problem is not mine but yours.

You, however, have decided that you would be angry with me instead of debating the issues with which you have a problem. Perhaps you would do well to examine yourself in light of your comments.

As for me, I deal with sin in my life daily, so to say that I am above criticism would be a lie.

Grace and peace to you sister,

ABClay

173 rose November 11, 2008 at 10:50 am

Ohhh make no mistake about this, I am NOT angry with you! I’m simply confused about your declaration of your christian faith and the fruit that spurts out of your presence on this website. … that’s all! After all, He said we will know them by their fruit, remember??? And you, being the self declared elder of this website, I just expected differently, that’s all.

174 johnMark November 11, 2008 at 11:29 am

Rose,

You make a strong accusation against ABClay. There have been many disagreements in this thread and some even heated. But to question his Christianity?

Are you aware of the context of Matt. 7 and knowing someone by their fruit? ABClay does not fall into this category. If we wanted to equivocate on the application of these passages The Shack would fall more closely into the bad fruit category as doctrine is concerned.

The charge of ABClay always apologizing would actually show his Christian character i.e. repentance. So you’re charge is self-refuting.

Another self-refutation of your charges against ABClay is that you confront him in an unbiblical way to charge the he is being unbiblical.

Would you like it if I compared you to the Pharisee in Luke 18 who prayed that he’s glad he’s not like other sinners?

Anyways, let’s stop with the personal attacks.

The elder of this site.

Mark

175 ABClay November 11, 2008 at 11:36 am

Rose,

Point taken. My “fingers” sometimes do get ahead of my brain and my heart.

If clear error is not dealt with decisively, it does have a tendency to propagate exponentially though. The manner with which I speak against these could be done in a more charitable way and I thank you for calling me to task.

I have never proclaimed myself as an elder of this site or any organization for that matter. Brother Johnmark is the one who bears that title here and I in no way can measure up to his knowledge nor his charity in matters of the faith and dealing with false beliefs.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

176 rose November 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Dear Elder, I never questioned his christianity … i questioned his fruit which is what we are told to do … will not apologzize for that …

ABClay … thank s for your response.

I think I’ll move on now … God Bless you all

177 Heisable November 11, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Rose,

Thank you for exposing ABClay for being the very definition of a defensive follower. He attacks as soon as he feels threatened.
I am currently trying to make a decision in my life on whether i want to become a follower of Christ. People like ABClay really scare me and discourage me. I dont want to end up like that. Thank you Rose for showing me another side of christianity that i have not seen on this thread.

ABClay, how can you be so critical of everyone??

178 rose November 11, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Heisable, I want you know that becoming a follower of Jesus is the most rewarding decision that you will ever make. It’s the most exciting journey you will ever take. He is wonderfully alive and well and wants desperately to have a relationship with you. He will meet you right where you are – questions, fears, insecurities – and once you make the decision to invite Him into your heart, He will begin to work with you, in you, answering your questions (I really think He loves questions) and calming your fears. He will equip you to be all that He created you to be and in that, you will find so much peace, joy and a wonderful sense of fulfillment and belonging. You will begin to “see” the Kingdom of God as He reveals Himself to you through His Word. Read the Word. That’s where your foundation will be built that will uphold you for the rest of your life – whatever comes your way. That is the one sure-fire way to know Him. You can’t trust someone unless you know them. Once you begin to know Him from His Word, you will find that you can trust Him. Once you begin to trust Him as the loving Father that He is, you will be changed forever. I don’t know if I am allowed to put my email address in here but you can certainly stay in touch with me if you’d like. It is rose123499@yahoo.com …. hope I’m not violating any rules here – if so, I’m sorry!

179 Heisable November 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Rose,

Thank you! That shows me a lot about your character and how a christian should be.

My biggest concern is about the ONE church. I feel like everyone is doing their own thing instead of being the ONE church that God wanted. How can we all just accept what is going on and join some denomination?

180 rose November 11, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Heisable, even is Jesus’ day there were a number of different groups that preached about Him. In one scripture, his disciples told him of such a group that was preaching in His name and asked Jesus to stop them since they were not a part of their group. Jesus said, if they are not against me, they are for me. You see, the gospel is not limited to one denomination or group of people (even though many denominations think it is). God will use any denomination, any willing person, any means that will yield to His Spirit to tell the good news of Jesus. He is broad-minded and goal oriented and focused on the primary purpose and that is to tell the world about the salavation message of Jesus so that they miss hell. I think that in a perfect world (which we are not living in) we would be all one denomination. The one true church of Jesus consists of all true believers, regardless of their denomination or no denomination at all – those who wholeheartedly seek to know Him on a personal level through His Word (that has nothing to do with religion) and are honest in their hearts to follow Him to the best of their ability. The parable of the wheat and tares clearly indicates that not all who appear to be followers of Christ are – as a matter of fact, according to that parable, only about half are. Some people still believe that to belong to one affiliation or another qualifies them, but it doesn’t. It’s all about your heart and His Word. I’m not going to be returning to this web site so if you would like to communicate with me, please feel free to do so at my email address. God bless : )

181 johnMark November 11, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Rose,

When you said to ABClay:

I’m simply confused about your declaration of your christian faith and the fruit that spurts out of your presence on this website. … that’s all!

It was certainly easy to understand that you were questioning whether or not he were really a Christian. Can you give me the place that tells you to question ABClay’s fruit and how it is to be done?

He has not cut off anyone’s ear like the Apostle Peter did. Nor has he made a whip like Jesus to drive evildoers from the Temple.

Heisable,

If you think ABClay is so bad or such a poor representation of someone saved by Christ this should give you all the more reason to repent and believe in Jesus. Just think, if Jesus can save such a sinner as ABClay then, surely, you too can be saved. I say this in all seriousness and I add, repent of your sins and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Did you go through the Two Ways to Live link I gave you?

Mark

182 Randy Cochran November 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm

I think that what we have here on this blog is evidence of the problems that we see in Christianity today.

People who view “the shack” as good stuff, great reading, and worthy of bringing them closer to God obviously have an unbiblical sense of self worth and piety which causes them to have sensibilities which are easiy bruised when they are presented with the truths that are presented in the Bible. These people accuse those who show them the truth of being hateful and mean, then instead of debating the issues that they are in dire need of properly understanding, they run off and turn to Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren for support.

Thanks for the review.

Randy

183 papa November 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Personally, I prefer the one by the B52’s…

Will you lot please get a life outside of this blog now.

Love papa.

184 Bobbi McConnell November 26, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I urge you to take this book as it was intended, a work of Fiction, it is up to the responsible reader to assume that as Fiction, this is not a true story and the author does not insinuate that it is based on fact. As a Christian, I caution those who take this book literally to check their faith and their knowlege of the scriptures!

185 johnMark November 26, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Bobbi,

I agree that The Shack is fiction. However, have you read the appendix and what the author’s intent was for the book and the coming movie? What did he say his intent is as far as communicating truths about God?

Mark

186 OBie November 27, 2008 at 11:52 am

I object to the whole concept expressed by Simple Mann about God calling the righteous. God loves everyone, not just the one that are “called” or “chosen” or those that think they are chosen because that puts them in God’s country club of limited membership. What nonsense. I suppose there is some comfort in thinking “i’m special” and that person isn’t, but it is hardly Christian.

187 abclay November 27, 2008 at 8:45 pm

OBie,

I agree with you that God loves everyone.

I assume that you are a Christian, let me ask you, why are you a Christian?

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

188 Chelsea November 30, 2008 at 12:30 am

As I was reading, I began to question some of the philosophies stated. I believe it brought God down to our level, and God is to be omnipotent and we should not be able to comprehend the knowledge or the ways of him.

Would you agree?

189 abclay November 30, 2008 at 1:12 am

Chelsea,

I totally agree with what you said. When we claim to comprehend God, we have suddenly made Him, not omnipotent, omniscient, and immutable, but we have “brought Him down to our level” and no human mind can fully understand Him.

Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has ever given to Him, and has to be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

I don’t think that anyone on either side of the debate has made any claim to “comprehend” God. We are only responsible for “apprehending” what He has said about Himself in His Word; and we will be held to account for following His Word and worshiping Him as He has revealed Himself.

I think that this has been the thrust of the review and the debate that has followed.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

190 Pastor Jeremy December 1, 2008 at 2:47 am

I respect your opinion but feel you are looking to deep into the book and missing the whole point of the story. It is about a relationship with God. The book is fiction and not meant for direct theological education. It is a story of a man who feels that God doesn’t care about him or the loss of his baby girl. In this God shows him that he is dearly loved. I feel encouraged to take God out of this “religious box” or paradigm that the church sometimes puts God in. God loves all of us unconditionally no matter the circumstance that we are in and The Shack is a perfect demonstration of his love. It may not fit the “religious profile” but I am not much for religion. I am a man truly seeking God and building my relationship with him. God Bless.

191 johnMark December 1, 2008 at 9:04 am

Pastor Jeremy,

I will ask you the same thing I asked Bobbi above.

I agree that The Shack is fiction. However, have you read the appendix and what the author’s intent was for the book and the coming movie? What did he say his intent is as far as communicating truths about God?

Thanks,

Mark

192 Steve December 8, 2008 at 1:59 am

I find it humorous that one brother’s (or sister’s)criticism of another brother’s( W.P. Young) attempt to reveal God to others (initially his 6 children), has led to thousands of multiplying critical responses to the critical response of one brother who was responding critically of another’s criticism of this book, who was defending the opinion of another brother’s view, and so and so on and so on…..
I don’t want this to be another critical response, so I will ask myself: Have I got on my knees and poured out my heart before God and spent time with Him regarding this matter? Have I asked Him what he thinks about this book? What does the Spirit say to me inwardly? Or have I just gone straight to my views and opinions about what I believe and start “defending the truth”. It so easy for me to do that.
I love Jesus and I am all for standing up for Him, but I am going to talk to Him a lot more on this matter before I criticize. This book did something to my inner man and I am witnessing numerous revelations of a fuller knowledge of Him in many fundamental, long time Bible rich believers.
Before we attempt to squelch that, I challenge us all to spend big time with God and consider this matter.

193 sarah December 13, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Got a good laugh out of all the arguments on a dreary Sat afternoon.

194 Danielle December 15, 2008 at 2:34 pm

I have just finished reading The Shack and have thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a great way to spend my weekend. I became interested in the book because I heard it was a bit controversial. I am glad I read it. It is fiction, people. Not real. Why knock this book? It is a made up story. Do you all have nothing else to do than to discredit the imagination of someone else? I like the non-secular and non-denominational theme of the book. The book is about forgiveness

195 johnMark December 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Dear new commenters,

I agree that The Shack is fiction. However, have you read the appendix and what the author’s intent was for the book and the coming movie? What did he say his intent is as far as communicating truths about God?

Thanks,

Mark

196 FBA December 16, 2008 at 2:35 pm

When I want THEOLOGY I will consult the Bible. When I want to read a novel (fiction, I might add) I read the novel as entertainment. C.S. Lewis’ works spring to mind as do JRR Tolkein’s. Any person who seriously pretends to judge a novel on the same level as Holy Scripture is simply misjudging. BTW, the author indicates in the preface that he may have erred in the “re-telling” of this fictitious story. Should he not be given the same leaway as the thousands of denominations that have a different take on some aspect of God’s nature, dare I say on Theology? Picking at a piece of fiction doesn’t seem to me to be a good use of time as we seek to build the kingdom of heaven. I’ll let God decide who is theologically right or wrong. In the meantime I’ll enjoy some uplifting fiction.

197 Steve December 16, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Conclusion:
For this book to create such a stir, it is either heresy or it has touched a Pharisaical nerve amongst the learned.

I think a group study on this book would be good. Not to critique , but to see what spiritual truths could be enjoyed with fellow saints. Turn it into an edifying tool.

198 abclay December 16, 2008 at 11:25 pm

A group study of this book? Nailhead meet hammer.

“For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.”

But, I’m just a Pharisee, pay me no mind.

199 HisDaughter December 23, 2008 at 12:48 pm

I’ve read through a lot of these commments and found it interesting how quickly the comments turned from “The Shack” to so many other things.

It seems just in general, that we, through this discussion as well as in life in general, seem too quick to place God in a box. He is the almighty, powerful, all-knowing, Creator, Savior, Sustainer God and too often we limit his ability to speak in whatever ways he wants to speak. Maybe for some people, the Bible is that way… I know for me, I draw SO much from His Word, but maybe God can use other events, circumstances, people, and yes, even books to reveal himself to them. Basically my comment is… let’s not limit God. Yes, personally dig into books, compare them with scripture, etc. but even with that I don’t think you can completley discredit the book because in posing some differing views, it has allowed many people just on this discussion board to search more into God’s grace, salvation, wrath, love, depth, and character.

Never underestimate our God!

Thanks,

HisDaughter

200 Steve December 25, 2008 at 2:00 am

abclay read Hisdaughters comments

201 abclay December 26, 2008 at 2:48 am

@ Steve,

I read it when it was posted. I saw no need in responding because Hisdaughter did not bother to read and see that this “don’t put God in a box” argument has been dealt with already. There is nothing new in her post. Rehashing the same arguments time and again is tiresome.

Grace and Peace…

abclay

202 johnMark December 26, 2008 at 10:38 am

Instead of “don’t put God in a box” I have another solution.

Don’t put God in a book, He’s already put Himself in one, the Bible.

:)

Mark

203 cq December 29, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Wow. This book is amazing. I think a lot of critics have their underwear on way too tight. It is fiction, it impacted me and I find it beautiful. Don’t be so harsh, it is the annoying holier than thou people that make unbelievers afraid of coming to know Jesus and that is just sad :(

204 abclay December 29, 2008 at 5:23 pm

@cq,

So, that’s the reason that people don’t respond to the gospel… Thanks.

All this time I thought that it was because the cross was foolishness to them or because they weren’t Jesus’ sheep and God wasn’t drawing them to Jesus.

Thanks for clearing that up.

abclay

205 johnMark December 29, 2008 at 9:48 pm

cq,

If it’s just fiction then why did it impact you so much?

As to the rest of your comments. Let me get this straight. To theologically critique via the Bible a Christian book with many theological suppositions (fiction or not) is harsh? The critics are “holier than thou?” And this makes people afraid of Jesus?

However, the unbeliever is supposed to be drawn to your approach of telling people they may have their underwear on too tight, are holier than thou, harsh and annoying?

The Jesus of the Bible should bring about a healthy fear of God.

Mark

206 Jan December 30, 2008 at 8:12 am

I am so glad I found this review site! I read the book, not really havng heard anything about it being controversial, but was VERY disturbed by alot of it. I don’t know how you can read even a “fiction” book about God and not be disturbed by it when it is so wrong. I cannot agree with the doctrine, and it especially surprised me when “jesus” said he was not a Christian, and was not interested in people becoming Christians. Pardon me, but isn’t a Christian by definition, a follower of Christ? This trinity seems more like a god that hollywood created, throwing in a bit of scripture here and there to try to make it sound good, but then contradicting itself in the next sentence, page or chapter.(reminds me of Satan quoting scripture to Christ, and twisting it for his own purposes) This is not the God of the Bible, nor the God I want to serve. The deity presented here is weak, sitting back and wringing his hands, hoping people will do things a certain way so he can use them for his plans. There is not worship or glorifying of God here. It’s about being equal with God (We all have to submit to each other – God included – to demonstrate true love.)

207 Steve January 2, 2009 at 1:13 am

RE Jesus saying he is not interested in making people Christians. (Jan, you did not quote it correctly). See page 182.
Amen to this statement. In the book the context is pointing out how “Christianity” and the “church” has become institutionalized. Religion seems to be about making people label themselves as something. Christians have fallen into that trap.
The word “Christian” actually means a Christ-one. Just like my little finger is a Steve-one, so His intention is for us to become in actuality part of His life. To become one who is, in all reality, part of Christ in all our living. He wants us to be members of His family, transform us into sons/daughters, and to know Papa just like He knows Papa.
Jesus, in this book, was rejecting the religious view of “christian”. Much of America claims to be “christian” and they are by religions definitions, but are they members of Christ body? A Christ-one? Are they intimate sons/daughters of Papa?Being transformed into His Sons image? This is what the author is suggesting, and we need this message!
I do not have all the answers, or the author, nor am I trying to over criticize comments, but there are excellent opportunities in this book to explore truths.
I only know truth as I know Him.

208 Hillcrest member January 2, 2009 at 9:56 am

A 55 year old man just passed away at our church and at his funeral he askeed that a copy of “The shack” be given to everyone who attended his funeral. There was a book mark in the book that said “At the end of S.L.’s life he enjoyed sharing the gospel with “The Shack”….

How could I not read the book with a recommendation like that and a free copy in my hand? At first I enjoyed the “concept” of the book, conversations with Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. I even started to think of people I would share it with. As I got into the “weekend” red flags started going up for me all over the place. During Jesus’ ministry on earth he kept pointing his listeners to the scriptures as God’s word. I thought “Jesus” in the Shack made light of the scriptures. I saw this as a real opportunity missed by the author. He could have tucked scripture throughout these conversations with Mack.

I also was disappointed that the plan of salvation was not laid out in a clearer manner. It certainly wasn’t presented as Jesus did during his ministry.

I just did not see this book as a way of sharing the gospel as the dear 55 year old man at our church did in his dying days. I would recommend it to a solid Christian as a thought provoking and heart warming story but not as a tool to share the gospel.

I recently learned our pastor had the book pulled from our church bookstore though honored the request of this dying man to pass it out at his funeral at our chruch.

209 abclay January 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

I had a professing Christian friend tell me, knowing that I love to read theology books, “Tony, I have this book that you have to read, it’s called The Shack.” Interestingly enough, this friend does not hold a very high view of Scripture, denies absolute Truth and is not a regular attendee or member of any congregation.

I think the popularity of this book among professing Christians is sad evidence of Packer’s summation of the state of Christianity in America. Packer said, “American Christianity is 3000 miles wide and 1/2 inch deep”.

Sad but true…

210 Steve January 3, 2009 at 12:37 am

Brothers, do not be too opinionated. Praise God for those who have come to Christ through reading this book and the millions of Christians who are free to interact with the Beloved due to its encouragement.
I rejoice over the transformation of 3 coworkers this week who cannot stop talking about their awesome relationship with Him and their daily interaction with Him. God used this simple book.
I used to tear apart Billy Grahams ministry. I was a strong BJU, independent, fundamental, bible believing theologian. And I may have been right on some issues, but I was “dead right” My opinions and reasoning’s were quenching my spirit and prevented His life from springing forth. Maybe right, but no life.
One day I watched Him preach on TV , I could not stop weeping when I saw hundreds respond. The Lord used that to reveal to me what he could do with a man with whom I did not agree.

211 T LaRue January 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

You guys argue too much. I have been a Christian since I was eight years old. I have to trust that God, through the Holy Spirit, and due to the sacrifice of Jesus, came into my life at that point. That indeed is fundamental. Have I trusted Him since? NOT MUCH. Let me tell you a story. That book sat on my coffee table under another book until my daughter raved about it. I was going to go buy it until I realized it had been there all the time, on my coffee table. Now, personally, I live my life that NOTHING is circumstance, either the work of God, or the scheming of Satan, EVERYTHING boils down to that. So, I guess either Satan or God placed that book in my life. THANKS A LOT FOR MAKING DISCERNMENT A DIFFICULT TASK! Been a Southern Baptist all my life. It is refreshing to have someone speak of the personal relationship in such human terms. I congratulate most of you on your theological expertise but please don’t limit God. He is bigger than all of us and can use books, videos, everything to reach people. I never had a Father in my life. DID YOU? The best Christian I ever met was a HOLY ROLLER, your term, not mine, he was just a Godly man. Did not wish to fight with him, I just watched him, HE LIVED IT. Good grief, do you really think that all of us have had the opportunities that you have had? I am so sick of the pretense of you don’t do this, you don’t do that so Go to Hell if you don’t see it my way. Oh, and by the way, JESUS is LORD of my life, although I lack in service to Him, I do acknowledge Him as Saviour.

212 CK January 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Those of us who enjoyed reading The Shack are not recommending it as a replacement to the Bible, nor as a definitive presentation of doctrine. It is a tool that the Holy Spirit has used to help me see the traces of legalism and my attempts at good works that still exist in my life. It reminded me that God loves and accepts me just as I am, bad decisions and all. The Holy Spirit is also using it to bring people to Christ. People who run from religious terminology that shows no understanding of the the struggles they face, that shows no love or compassion, but only judgment and a demand for conformity. Words are one way we communicate, and it is an important way. But we also communicate with our actions, the way we treat others. I hope every one on both sides of this discussion are acting in love toward the people we meet each day, and we are treating them with the love of God, not with our tendancy toward judgmental attitudes.

213 Steve January 4, 2009 at 12:02 am

T LaRue

This site is nothing, there are multiple blogs on this subject alone creating division among the saints. My mother in law was deeply drawn to the Lord through this read and sought to share her enthusiasm at her local fellowship. The reaction was disconcerting. To encourage her I began looking online for insight to help her. The arguing,bickering and name calling surprised me, but I was able to encourage her to trust the Lords speaking, not as to whether the book was good or bad, but was his life flowing in her as a result the truths that touched her. She is flourishing in Him!
As for me I find it ministering to rejoice in and share truths gleaned from this work without engaging in arguments. Praise God for your experience.
And don’t get to frustrated with it all. Most of whom we fellowship with in this matter are our brothers and sisters. Jesus said receive them as I have received you. MARVELOUS! Look at the multitude of believers on the earth who can connect so freely and fellowship via the web. May His oneness grow among us, and may we just use this forum to share the reality of Christ, and the peace enjoyed between the blood bought.

214 Steve January 5, 2009 at 1:26 am

Truths from the Shack: Revelation of the Trinity

The servitude that occurs amongst the trinity in this book is most revealing . The character is witnessing a simple meal amongst the Father, Son and Spirit. At every turn there is unselfish earnest desire to wait on one another and they enjoy receiving service from each other. They exhibit perfect love!
For example page 107-108 “To be in the presence of such love expressed…What was he witnessing? Something simple, warm, intimate, genuine; this was holy. Holiness had always been a cold and sterile concept to Mack, but this was neither.”
The trinity here is not weak nor attempting to be entertaining in its presentation, rather it is powerful and real. What does it look like to see the BELOVED interacting with one another? It is absolute perfect oneness, love, and holy interaction. And to think that we have been invited to enjoy this! To the praise and glory of His grace by which we have been made accepted into the BELOVED! Eph. 1:6
The triune God enjoys one another. Through Christ we are brought into that enjoyment.
Grateful we are for the doctrines of our faith, but they are not meant to be cut into stone, polished, and placed on the wall. The doctrine of the trinity is alive via Jesus. We have been brought into this fellowship. We can interact with them today. We have boldness by His blood to enter into that Holy place of fellowship. Cold, sterile doctrine makes us afraid, but this revelation of perfect love cast out that fear. Today may I express the nature of the Beloved as I interact with and serve others. By His life I can.

215 Jim January 5, 2009 at 9:18 am

The authentic gospel always sounds antinomian to some people. Scripture quoting will always sound like legalism to others if it points to justice. Grace might be more radical than the Protestant fathers had the grace to perceive. Justice might be more enduring than some today will admit. How funny that neither Jesus nor Paul passed out scripture in any form but fully managed to proclaim God who will not back down on grace or justice.

My sister urged me to read The Shack. I read it in one night and went to sleep about eleven o’clock. As you know the killer is known in the book as the Ladybug killer. As I awoke the next morning after reading it I went into my sister’s living room and sat down on the couch to have my coffee. As I started to rest my arm on the side of the couch I saw something on the armrest of the couch. It was just a little orange dot. When I picked it up it was a tiny little ladybug right there inside the house in the dead of winter. I know that is not a scripture verse or a well-reasoned airtight theology. Frankly I do not know if The Shack is good or bad. All I know is I was once blind to the ladybug but then I did see it the very morning after I read the book inside a home in the dead of winter. I will leave all this disputation of the scrolls and what they say about The Shack to you professional scribes. To be honest most lay people like me are really bugged by it but for those who have read a great deal of religious history I hear much worse things have been done to the theologically untrained than to merely disagree with them verbally. This argument here will go on forever as theological disputes have always done. Why? The foundational assumptions of the two sides are different and thus the arguments that spring from them must clash. One side is blind to what other side sees. Both sides think they see. It is this sight and blindness that got Jesus crucified by the religiously orthodox. I think most here would probably agree that accepting scripture as the Word of God is a gift of grace and that knowing Christ in the heart is an even bigger gift of Grace. I hope that this does not bug you. When the light comes on the darkness has to have some place to go but I will be darned if I can see it. I am a sales person and need to go to work.

216 Darrin January 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Mark,
Thanks for the review you posted here. I found it very beneficial, as I did also the longer one written by Tim Challies and posted at his site.
It’s disheartening to see all that flies under the banner of Christianity today. How wonderful to be able to rest in the truths of scripture and historic orthodoxy. Spiritual discernment is critical, as the Lord has told us.
I know that your intent has not been to offend, but to exhort folks to weigh the book in light of scripture.
We certainly need to be ever alert for that which is subversive to our faith and the revealed truth of God’s word, however “eye-opening” it appears to be.

217 Steve January 6, 2009 at 1:49 am

Truths from the Shack: God revealed to us

I must say the Father as an black motherly figure caused me to pause and feel uncomfortable. But I read on and was touched by this character. Many reviews express their discomfort as well, and address their distaste for it. John 1:18 “No man has seen God at any time” is oft half quoted in Shack reviews as an argument to this portrayal of God the Father, but when the disciples asked Jesus “show us the Father” He did not quote John 1:18a, but said if you seen Me you have seen Him (the Father)then He referred to the other half of John 1:18 –“the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him]”. You want to see God? Look at me! Jesus is saying.
So what does God look like? Well, when I say the name ‘Jesus” what’s your mental image? For most it is the pictures we’ve seen since Sunday school. How bout the Father? It is Gandolf like for most of us isn’t it?
For Mack He needed to know God as forgiving, loving,serving, helping, kind, and mothering…thus the southern black mama image.
Our view of God is so often distorted. I doubt we will have a Mack experience, but the point of this portrayal is not for you to strive for such an encounter, but to experience the Father as your Papa, your Abba, your Mama in your daily living. Abandon the distorted images. Christ blood has brought you into this wonderful relationship. Your standing before God is identical to that of the Son. Amazing! Back to John 1:18 and chapter 14 where Phillip said show us the Father. Jesus in summary said,”You want to see the Father? Look at me always pushing into His bosom. My constant, interacting love relationship with Him. He is in me and I am in Him. Now through my work on the cross you will be in me, I in you, the Father in you and me, and we will be in the Father.(Wow!)The way I intimately know and see Him in this life, that’s how you will intimately know and see Him.
Thank you Jesus for giving us your relationship with the Father, and by your eternal grace help us to enjoy Him as you do: pressing into His bosom as a son/daughter.

218 Jack Brooks January 6, 2009 at 11:11 am

THE SHACK is Unity/New Thought, posing as Christianity. I encourage people to familiarize themselves with the so-called Unity School of Christianity, or google the phrase “New Thought”. The Wiki article about it isn’t bad.

We’re not allowed to think anything about God we want, just because it makes us feel good. Believing something to be true doesn’t make it true, even in the realm of religion.

219 Cyndi January 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Thank you for the entertainment and education! this is the first blog I have read.
ABClay~ You have a great deal of knowledge but I don’t sense much love, and without love aren’t we “nothing”, I won’t quote the verse because you know it. I have some dear reformed theologian friends to which we debate and that can be fun and also sharpen us all if we allow it.
In some cases it seems to me that, reformers are more interested in pontificating, than in the actual purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it’s saving power.
You had an opportunity to share the gospel with Heisable and you insulted him instead. What is the point of using your biblical knowledge in this way? When you listed all those verses even I wondered….Psycho??…..
I understand reformers thinking if we don’t “hold the line, the line will be crossed and eventually destroyed and forgetten” but please don’t run over souls in the process of being the literary godsquad. And for the record you guys are not always correct, no human being is.
I will go back to love, anything done without love, is nothing.
I learned long ago in Bible study Fellowship that we can not break one commandment to adher to another and think that God will honor it. You did not show Heisable any love or concern, he felt run over by you and you also supported his bad impression of Christians. Not good. I was thankful that Rose chose to help him.
As far as the Shack. We will not know if it ultimately does more harm or more good. I understand and agree with both sides of the argument. After being asked, I had two Bible study meetings open for the discussion on the Shack. As the leader I was concerned, mainly because it is such a fad, and a bit sad that the Christian community rarely gets this excited over the Bible, but open to what God is capable of doing using this book. I was so impressed with the women in our group. They pointed out non-truths using scripture. They debated politely and respectfully. We all learned from it. Forgiveness and love were reinforced. Did anyone walk away with false ideas of GOd or theology? Perhaps, but we can all do that every week hearing a sermon. Because like my 75 year old reformed theologian friend said, as he bashed the Shack, we are all accidental heretics.
I do though think we have become way too familiar with who God is. To think that the Hebrews could not utter His name, to taking upon ourselves to turn the Trinity into whatever we want it to be is getting dangerous.
This is when I am particularly thankful for God’s Sovereignty.
Abclay~ Hope I didn’t say too much. Use your knowledge for good. Did you ever see the movie Stripes? There is a line I quote sometimes….” Lighten up Frances!!”

220 ABClay January 6, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Cyndi

Thank you for reminding me about showing love. I will be the first to admit that I often am too eager to plead for fire to be shot down from heaven. My love for the truth as revealed in God’s Word against heresy is something that I must learn to better convey in a loving manner.

As for your claim that I missed an opportunity to share the gospel, I would have to disagree. I shared the clearest gospel that I could muster for heisable but he/she seemed to me to be more interested in arguing periphery issues. I believe that to those who are perishing, the cross is foolishness and those who claim “I would be a Christian if only …” are clearly trying to rationalize with an unregenerate mind that which can only be “spiritually discerned” through the working of the Holy Spirit via the preaching of the gospel.
I don’t know the heart of heisable but my hope and prayer is that God will save him/her through His power alone. No amount of reasoning will ever cause someone to treasure Christ.

Grace and Peace to you sister…

221 johnMark January 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Cyndi,

How do you “sense” love over the internet? Is it more or less loving of you to point out your perceived attitude of ABClay than it is for him to warn others of poor teaching in The Shack? Is it the perception of the language being *warm* and *comfortable* that which distinguishes truth and love? My daughter doesn’t “sense” love when I correct her, but I love her no less.

Heisable did not seem to want to really understand. Rather, he wanted to argue. I gave him a Gospel explanation to read through and then come back with questions. I even urged him to find a local pastor he could speak to in person with an offer to help him find the pastor.

You said:

I do though think we have become way too familiar with who God is. To think that the Hebrews could not utter His name, to taking upon ourselves to turn the Trinity into whatever we want it to be is getting dangerous.

I certainly agree. Well said.

Mark

222 John January 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Brothers and Sisters,

We are called to serve. We are called to love. If the folks who are so upset with the Shack were half as busy feeding the hungry and helping those in their community who are hurting rather than seeing how much scripture they can pile up to defend their position, think of how Christianity would be perceived? Probably wrong to make the assumption that they aren’t, but if it walks like a duck….

Some appear so heavenly minded that they have become no earthly good.

Maybe I am naive, but I really don’t think most people who read the Shack are pursuing a PhD in Divinty or that they are honestly thinking that a work of fiction can replace God’s holy word.

The book has me thinking that God loves me, that I don’t (and this side of glory won’t) fully understand Him, and I need to quit putting Him in a box and realize He might really want a deeper relationship with me. How will I develop that? Through more regular reading of scripture and praying…..not bad for a work of fiction!

223 Steve January 6, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Now wait a minute. I can’t believe one could come “way too familiar with who God is”. I find myself and believe all of us in this blogsville could get more familiar with who He is, the Shack aside.

Paul felt as much for the church:
Eph 3:15-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father,
from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Rom 8:15-17
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co‑heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Col.2:10-11
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

And Christ after His resurrection:
John 20:17
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father ,and your Father to my God and your God.’ ”
Christ describing life after the resurrection:
John 14:20-23
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him…My Father and I will love him (you) and manifest Myself to him (you).

And Peter:
2Pe 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…
We may be filled with His fullness, we can cry as Jesus Abba, He is our Father as He is Christ’s Father, we are to be partakers through Christ of this divine nature, and The Father has made home, with the son, with the Spirit in me. Familiarize yourself with that.

224 Cyndi January 6, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Abclay~ I apologize if I misunderstood Heisable’s situation.
John Mark~ “sense” as in overall “tone” of one’s writing.
And yes one’s writings can communicate an overall sense of love, or anger, among other things.
Steve~ “famililiar” as in “marked by informality, overly free and unrestrained, presumptuous- and yes we humans should reframe from that type of thinking towards God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of all things. We are able to come to Him as Abba, but in reverant love with a deep understanding of our differences in that GOD created US.

225 abclay January 6, 2009 at 11:34 pm

John,

You wrote:

We are called to serve. We are called to love. If the folks who are so upset with the Shack were half as busy feeding the hungry and helping those in their community who are hurting rather than seeing how much scripture they can pile up to defend their position, think of how Christianity would be perceived?

Perhaps you have a misconception regards the most pressing need of humanity. If someone is dying of starvation and I give them a car, have I shown them love? What did Jesus become man for? Was it so that the sick could be healed? Was it so that the hungry could be fed? Was it so that the naked could be clothed?

These things that you mention are important and are outworkings of our faith but no one is going to be eternally fed if I give them food, or eternally clothed if I give them something to wear. I submit that the best way that I can show someone the love of God is to tell them that they are hell-bound sinners and that Christ died in order that God could be righteous by declaring depraved sinners righteous.

As to your concern about how “Christianity would be perceived”…What????? Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? If we are doing our job, then the world will hate us.

“If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. But they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they don’t know the One who sent Me.”

Of course, there I go again just piling up bible verses to defend my position.

226 John January 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm

abclay,

I’ve spent many years in a denomination that tried to scare people into following Christ. Witness, get their souls saved, and move on to the next one. I’ve found that it creates a very shallow faith–if any. The best relationships are those that we truly invest time into–kids, spouse, etc. Why should it be different with those we wish to see truly experience Christ? Someone will be far more interested in hearing about Christ and the impact He has had on my life if I invest time in that person. Serving the poor and the homeless has become a “mission activity” that we do for a day once a year and then check it off our list.

My point is that while serving the poor and helping the homeless is anything but convenient, we are called to do just that. I don’t think that Christ would define that as “friendship with the world”.

You referred to this service as “important outworkings of our faith”. Some folks spend so much time studying Christ that they leave little time to actually apply the red letters to their lives. If the Church was fulfilling it’s mission, our communities would look vastly different. Wouldn’t you agree? We were created in Christ for good works. That is not how we are saved, but if we are saved our actions should reflect that love.

Fear doesn’t drive people to reach beyond themselves and serve. Relationships do. That is why I think the Shack can prove to be a great thing for Christians. If it moves people toward a deeper relationship with Christ, one committed to living out our faith through “doing” the red-letter work instead of beating people over the head with fire and brimstone speech, then it served a wonderful good.

We both want to see people come to know Christ–not just know about Him. Please accept that there may be more than one effective way to get people to Him and that a book like the Shack could very well help accomplish that.

227 ABClay January 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm

@John,

I am sorry that you took my comments about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked as being “friendship with the world”. This was not my intent.

You will see if you read my comment again that my mentioning the passage from James was in a separate paragraph altogether that dealt, not with doing “good deeds”, but with your belief that Christianity will be perceived better by the world if we were more “missional”.

If we were more biblically missionally minded, we are promised just the opposite. The church will never be relevant to the world because the world hates God.

It seems as if there is a tremendous concern among professing Christians that we don’t offend the world, I don’t understand this.

You wrote:

I’ve spent many years in a denomination that tried to scare people into following Christ. Witness, get their souls saved, and move on to the next one. I’ve found that it creates a very shallow faith–if any. The best relationships are those that we truly invest time into–kids, spouse, etc.

I agree with much you say here but we don’t create their faith, their faith is given to them by God through the preaching of the gospel. Then, we, as Christians are called to teach and instruct them with the Bible. This is called discipleship and I agree with you in this is how the best relationships are developed.

I believe that we are “casting pearls before swine” if we think that we can “coax” the lost into believing by being nice or giving medicine. This mission paradigm is what causes “shallow faith” because this faith is not from God but from man.

Grace and peace…

228 Cyndi January 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I believe Biblical we are called to supply the physical needs of others. In doing so, we often build relationships. Sometimes this is what is needed to build trust in regard to salvation. THis is not being part of the world. Not being a friend to the world, does not mean that we want them to dislike/hate us, though at times we should be prepared for this response.
ABclay are you a Presbyterian PCA Pastor? Maybe that isn’t allowed in blog land, I don’t know. I was a member of one at one time, and sometimes people learned this, US( saved-chosen) verses THEM-(not chosen)mentality. Sometimes even an anger about who is who, developed. THis made it hard for some to love and share the gospel. Sometimes people thought, why even throw pearls to swime when, GOd has already chosen anyway.–This doesn’t line up with the Great Commission though.
ABCLay you have a lot of knowledge but it seems like you are ready for a fight too often. People who believe differently than you or people who are not where you are yet, are not your enemies. They are also worthy of your time. I think if you could slow down a bit and offer more patience to people, you could do more for the Kingdom. You split hairs so often and sometimes I don’t think that is what the person even ment. I am not trying to be negative, I just hate to see someone with so much Biblical Knowledge find so much to be critical about.
We have much to share as Believers.

229 Bob January 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Wonderful and delightful read. Remember it’s Fiction. Should be read by all.

230 Bob January 7, 2009 at 5:37 pm

The Shack was a great read. Should be read by all and remember that this is FICTION. My wife and I have both been discussing it ever since we read it. A must read.

231 abclay January 7, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Sister Cyndi,

No, I am not a Pres. Pastor. Presbyterians are not the only ones in Christendom who believe that God is sovereign. :-)

On another note, you, like John, have chosen to associate my dislike for the “social gospel” (i.e. feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked) with the “friends with the world” comment, which I will say again, was clearly not the intent and context in which the phrases were used. It’s very simple to go back and check.

What doesn’t line up with the great commission? Sharing the Gospel and making disciples?

Bob,

You are correct sir in your reminding us that it is just a work of fiction but the author makes his intent clear in the appendix of the book. His desire is that this work of fiction will communicate truths about God therefore insinuating a congruency with what the Bible says regards God’s nature and this is not true.

232 Darrin January 8, 2009 at 12:48 am

Perhaps the book should have been subtitled “New Perspectives on the Trinity”.
Folks, abclay is quite right, and you probably ought to ease up on him. (Feel free to criticize me if you want though.)
It is erroneous to think that reformed theology should lead to an arrogant attitude toward unbelievers, cold unloving knowledge, etc. Quite the opposite it true.
Regarding the book, certainly God is fully capable of working through any means, with whatever outcome He desires (as Calvin himself articulated). He can even use a silly book to bring people closer to Him. But that doesn’t mean we believers, who are commanded to grow in knowledge and exercise discernment, should read or recommend it. And if your argument is either that The Shack’s theology isn’t inaccurate, in fact misrepresenting of the Holy Trinity, or that it doesn’t matter if it’s theology is wrong, then I believe your quarrel is with the Word, not with any of us.

233 Steve January 8, 2009 at 1:57 am

Cyndi

you said:
“famililiar” as in “marked by informality, overly free and unrestrained, presumptuous- and yes we humans should reframe from that type of thinking towards God Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of all things. We are able to come to Him as Abba, but in reverant love with a deep understanding of our differences in that GOD created US.

How can one judge another for being too familiar with God? What is your basis for saying what is “way too familiar” with God? Your definition describes Jesus. He was over familiar with God. He was “informal” and “overly free and unrestrained” and He was even “presumptuous” at times according to the religious watchmen of His day.
Appreciate your response. Wish I could unfetter your mind from those limitations you place on your freedom to know Abba as Christ knows Him.

234 johnMark January 8, 2009 at 7:53 am

Dear Cyndi,

Please stop impugning motives and intentions to ABClay. This is not about him personally. It’s better to ask and let him answer. He has given you personal answers so there is no need to move the conversation back to him. Just as with ABClay, I too, am a baptist, but I know some great PCA pastors.

Steve,

I don’t know why you are missing Cyndi’s point. People become so “familiar” with God that they’ve lost a biblical fear of Him. This type of familiarity leads people to treat God with irreverence as if God is just our best buddy while “forgetting” that He is…well, God.

Mark

235 Cyndi January 8, 2009 at 10:14 am

John Mark~ I will drop it.

Steve~ The point on famililarity is in “knowing our place” Particularly before the Throne of God. ie: God is not our “co” pilot mentality. He is our PILOT, so to speak.
The definition I quoted, is Webster’s not mine.
My original point was regarding the historical shift from the Israelites “not being allowed to utter aloud, God’s Holy Name and using “Yaweh”. to 2008-9, and Young feeling the freedom to change the Trinity to whatever pleases our senses? Do we think that this is really our right? I think that this has moved down “the slippery slope”.
I live free in Christ and have for many years, this is a separate subject though.

236 Steve January 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Cyndi and Mark

Just seems like your views of anothers familiarity with God are subjective.
Cyndi-
Praise God for the shift from the Israelites.
I realize quote is from a dictionary, as I said. It defines Christ familiarity with the Father, as I said.
As for trinity discussion, I find many believers think they got it figured out –need revelation.
I accept your feelings on the matter as your opinion.

Mark-
I get her point, responding because I do not agree that’s all.
your statement: “People become so “familiar” with God that they’ve lost a biblical fear of Him. This type of familiarity leads people to treat God with irreverence as if God is just our best buddy while “forgetting” that He is…well, God.”

I’m sure this happens, but it is often subjective for you or me to judge others. Be careful. If God is my best “friend” is that ok? Is he my “father”? my “Abba”?
or my “Papa”?
When do I cross your line? How do you know when I’m irreverent?
Is it when your uncomfortable? or Cyndi is uncomfortable?
or when you think God is uncomfortable with how familiar one gets?
Its subjective.
I get your points.
Let God judge who get to familiar with Him!

237 Nathan January 8, 2009 at 6:33 pm

I agree with your review, this book is a very good way to find out who has true disernment and who is a passive believer in Jesus. We must test all things with the Scripture and this book falls very short of the bible. Do we dare say that God needs to tell us more than he has in the bible. no, then anyone can say that God spoke to them and told them to do whatever they feel like doing. Also this book protrays God as Gay, I am not saying the Author ment it this way, but in every culture in the world a guy kissing a guy on the lips is gay. So why put that into the book. When God was the jolly old black women Young didnt say anything about kissing on the lips, only when God becomes a man to Mac does he mention this. The Devil is very clever, you either put your trust in the bible or you will be deceived.

238 harmony January 9, 2009 at 3:09 am

I have always wondered, if the Bible is inerrant and the Word of God (instead of the Word of Man Inspired by God), why didn’t The Almighty send it down in complete form to us with His only begotten Son? Why didn’t He send His explicit expectations/salvation requirements for us on stone tablets like He did with Moses? He could have dispensed with all the metaphor and there would be no confusion about what a Biblical passage meant. We could then stop arguing the finer points of biblical theology and start the really hard work of living Jesus’ commandment to love God and each other with all our hearts and all our minds. Truly, I am not trying to be difficult or accusatory. I am conflicted and wonder what other people think about this.

239 abclay January 9, 2009 at 8:16 am

“Harmony”,

The way that I understand the matter, the Bible is the Word of God, not because men didn’t write it, but because these men were “inspired by God” to pen what God had revealed to them regards Himself and His plan for mankind.

I would like to also note that the nature of God is not simply one of the “finer points of biblical theology” as you seem to indicate. The nature of God, the nature of the Son, and the nature of the Holy Spirit and how these three relate to one another is a major issue that delineates Christianity from pagan religions. An example of this can be seen clearly in the beliefs of the Mormons. They are not Christians because they deny the deity of Christ, which is nothing more than modern day Arianism.

Truth as revealed in the scripture should never be sacrificed on the alter of “harmony” and ecuminism.

I hope this helps…

240 abclay January 9, 2009 at 8:20 am

As an addendum to the previous post, the denial of the deity of Christ is one of the reasons that Mormons are not Christians. This mis-characterization of Christ is the root of other errors in their theology. I should have made that more clear.

241 abclay January 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

A pastor of a church recently took time out of his exposition of the Word and did a sermon explaining the heresies in The Shack.

For the entire sermon, please click here. In the middle of the page, you will see a player, just click on the player to watch the sermon.

You can also get a summation of the sermon by a rather animated Todd Friel of Way of the Master Radio here.

Dr. Youssef does very good job presenting the problems with the book, and I encourage you to explore these links.

Grace and Peace….

242 Harmony January 9, 2009 at 11:42 pm

“ABClay”,
Thanks for your reply. I completely agree that the nature of God is “not simply one of the finer points of biblical theology”, which I definitely didn’t mean to communicate. The complete nature of God is infinite and ultimately unknowable by us during this time we have on Earth. I do think we can understand by glimpses and this is why I also look to the Bible to see what God has revealed to us in regards to Himself and His plan for mankind.

You didn’t really touch on what I was wondering about in your response, though. Many people believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God. I am not sure if this is a correct view or not for me, so I wonder: If God wants us to know Him and His plan for mankind in a literal manner, why didn’t He send His requirements written down with Jesus like He did with Moses? Why does He speak in parable so often in the New Testament? Again, I am not looking to be contentious. I am confused and really want to know what others think.

243 abclay January 10, 2009 at 1:33 am

Harmony,

You ask some very good questions that I feel are not easy to explain to any great degree without a long explanation.

I will try to suffice by saying a couple of general things and if you wish, I can provide some helpful links.

The only time that God “wrote” to mankind (I am almost certain) was, as you correctly pointed out, on the tablets in Exodus. All of the other writing in the Old and New Testaments was through the inspired writings of others. What did God write on those tablets? He wrote His Law which revealed His Holiness among other things.

John tells us in Chapter one, that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was with God.” Later in the chapter, John tells us that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. We know this “Word” that John is speaking of to be Christ Jesus.

Why would John refer to Christ as the “Word”? One possible explanation for this is because communication is done through words, and John was expressing the concept that the very existence of the Son of God was for communication. It is how God chose to express Himself to us; in the Deeds of Christ (God’s Righteousness through Christ’s keeping of His Law), in the death of Christ (God able to be righteous in judgment and also declare righteous those who believe on Jesus) and also in the spoken words of Christ.

I don’t know if this helps at all or if I am even addressing your question. Basically, my assurance that the Bible is God’s infallible, all sufficient word to man is not based on the historical accuracy of the scripture or in the myriad prophecies that were given in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the birth/life/death/resurrection of Christ. My confidence in the Bible is something that is alien to me. I woke up one morning doubting if there even was a God and had a view of the Bible much like that of Rob Bell. Before I went to bed that evening, I was more sure of the sufficiency and authenticity of the Bible as God’s word than I was about my own name being abclay.

I hope this has not been confusing as it is late. Grace and Peace…

244 Harmony January 10, 2009 at 3:43 am

Dear Abclay,
Thank you for taking the time to respond so late. You seem very passionate about your faith.

I also don’t believe in the Bible because of its historical accuracy or lack thereof. Although I haven’t had a conversion as profound as yours, I require no proof either of its Truth. How interesting that you speak of your sudden experience coming to it as “alien” (coming from elsewhere), like Paul. I feel the Bible’s Truth in my bones, like it has always been an elemental part of me, supporting me even before I understood it was there. Sometimes I yearn for an AHA! moment like you and Paul experienced. But then I think maybe God knows me well…perhaps I might not understand it like you did. I find it inspiring that God chooses to reveal His nature in different ways to different people!

I wonder if that is why Jesus chose to teach in parables? Since mysterious parables throw out a larger net of understanding than literal commandments, maybe God can catch more “fish” this way? I wonder what you and others think about the matter.

245 abclay January 10, 2009 at 11:35 am

Harmony,

There are many speculations as to why some of Christ’s teachings are in the form of parables. The reason that Christ gave, however, is the only one that I can be certain of.

His disciples asked him why He taught in parables and His response was basically an indictment against the rebelliousness of man. To His disciples Christ said, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that looking they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”

Isaiah 6:9-10 Go! Say to these people: Keep listening, but do not understand; keep looking, but do not perceive. Dull the minds of these people; deafen their ears and blind their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed.

To the elect of God, a parable is simply a method used by Christ to convey divine truth. These have their eyes opened to see and understand the teaching. To those who choose to continue in sin and disbelief, the parables do not make sense.

Here we see yet another of the prophesies of the Old Testament fulfilled in the ministry of Christ. In the teaching of the parables, we see a divine judgment being dealt out on those who don’t believe. The minds of those who hear the parables and don’t believe are made dull to the truth, the ears of those who hear and don’t believe are made deaf to the truth.

The ability to understand the parables, to understand the gospel, to comprehend any spiritual truth is a gift from God. This is reflected in Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians as well. “the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually.”

246 Harmony January 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm

ABClay,
It always amuses me when I read the Bible that the Pharisees were the ones who understood the parables literally, that is to say with their heads, eyes and ears, but not their hearts. They seem so arrogant and dense! But to be fair, even the disciples oftentimes could not make sense of these mysteries, although they always struck me as more confused than rebellious.

I had never really thought before of how the parables were approached by these two groups. Thank you for your inspired answer, for it helped further reveal part of God’s wisdom to me. We can understand metaphorically or literally, or not at all, like many of God’s elect, but we can never fully comprehend God’s ways. I have always known this somehow, but your response helped this “knowing” to resonate in my core.

Likewise, The Shack helped strengthen that “belief in my bones”, that still, small voice in my soul, that the only thing we can come close to understanding is His Love for His creation and His insistence that we should fear nothing but life without Him. Both your and Mr. Young’s understanding of Biblical revelations are limited and flawed, like mine and everyone else’s. But I feel blessed to have understood God’s nature a little better because of the both of you. May God bless you and all who seek.

247 Brooks January 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm

The gospel of Jesus Christ does not start nor does it end with ‘The Shack’. If you’re concerned about one’s salvation, don’t give them this book to read hoping they’ll get saved, use scripture. If you’re looking for interesting dialogue and a different perspective on the love of God, by all means…enjoy it. Whatever you do, don’t base your beliefs or convictions off this book. Quit trying to prove who’s right…you can never get your point across by leaving comments on a website, just as I’m sure someone will take this post and try to convince me and every other reader that ‘someone has to be right and it’s me, so I’m going to write 49 paragraphs telling you why.’

248 abclay January 10, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Brooks,

I am thankful that Paul, John, Athanasius, Augustine, and Luther didn’t take your advice.

249 Harmony January 11, 2009 at 2:30 am

Brooks and others,
I can’t speculate why other people write on these sites, only myself: I am curious about what inspires others. I understand and share your frustration with those who might be trying to “one up” others. But we all have a choice to not allow other people’s convictions to affect our lives serving God. I could be “right” or “wrong”, most assuredly both…about which theological matters, I cannot say. Since none of us know completely if we are “saved”, we can only follow what we know personally to be true.

I still can learn from those with whom I disagree. In fact, I normally learn more than I thought possible from those with wildly different viewpoints than myself. I don’t think I would probably attend the same church as ABClay but there is no arguing that this man has spent a great deal of time and effort studying and building his faith. I respect that he is inspired differently than I am and appreciate that he might teach me something I have not already realized fully. I would hope the inverse would be true, but if not, no big deal. God is still God and I still get to learn and grow in Christ.

People might think that I am doomed because I don’t understand the Bible in the same way they do. Oh well! Although I have great hope that I won’t be cast out of God’s net, He gave none of us absolute confidence that we wouldn’t. I still find a life in Christ valuable, whether I am guaranteed a “prize” in the end or not.

Reading the hundreds of posts on this site, I am astounded by the breadth of knowledge people have to share about our Lord. Thank you all for deepening my understanding of God’s nature and will for His children. May God bless you and keep you all the days of your lives.

250 Brooks January 11, 2009 at 7:37 am

abcclay,

Thanks for not writing 49 paragraphs…and tuche, I agree with you whole-heartedly.

Harmony,

very good point. (I probably could have clarified my viewpoint a little better, but that was really my whole intention. And also, my comment was aimed at some of the ‘middle of the page’ bloggers (I didn’t read most of the posted comments toward the bottom of the page, there are simply too many to read when you have two children under the age of 3 climbing all over you)). I was simply frustrated at reading post after post of people trying to convince their ‘accusers’ that they were right. Pesonally, I have only read 8 chapters of The Shack (I’m still reading..) and have found it quite good. I’m generally not a fiction reader, but find the interaction between Mack and God interesting. I understand though, why LifeWay gave me a disclaimer when I bought the book. There are quite a few things that I don’t think are theologically sound, but that’s not to say that the book hasn’t helped me understand God’s love in a different way. (Hence your statement that you’ve learned from people you disagree with).

Anywho, in backing my original comment (again, not aimed at you bloggers at the bottom of the comment list), I was trying to say that there’s no way to post everything you believe on just a few short comments. Granted, that believing the gospel of Christ is truly simple, it’s just a question of ‘how deep do you want to go.’ The humor I find in all of this…including those who love The Shack and those who discredit it…it’s like Mark Lowry said at one of his concerts while speaking to thousands of people from many different denominations, “Somebody’s wrong!”

I am no bible scholar, and do not claim to have the answers to a lot of questions, I’m just a lil’ ole music minister from east TN that sometimes speaks (in this case types) before he thinks. Thanks for the comments, both of you.

Your brother in Christ,
Brooks

251 Harmony January 11, 2009 at 9:17 am

Brooks (aka lil’ ole music minister),
Hee Hee. I like the “Somebody’s wrong” quote…I’ll be chuckling about that one for a few days. It wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t true! (It makes me wonder how many people at the concert, if asked if they might be “wrong”, would have raised their hand. My guess is there would have been perplexed multitudes standing there with their hands wavering at belly button level.)

As for “typing before thinking”, rest assured, you have absolutely nothing to apologize for. I completely understood/understand where you were/are coming from. When I was a Christian Ed Director and had two kids under six crawling all over me, I probably would have been hard pressed to name the four gospels. That season in my life is a gigantic happy blur. Hang in there! The next season will be on you before you know it.

Thanks for your comments and humor. God bless you and your family.

252 Darrin January 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Harmony, if you don’t mind, I was just concerned about something you said (unrelated to The Shack, I think):
“Since none of us know completely if we are “saved””
and
“Although I have great hope that I won’t be cast out of God’s net, He gave none of us absolute confidence that we wouldn’t.”
If I understand you correctly, these comments do not line up with scripture, and concern me in that you don’t believe in the importance of assurance of salvation. Perhaps I missed something earlier.
Brooks, you wrote
“that’s not to say that the book hasn’t helped me understand God’s love in a different way.” As long as it’s not in a way which is inconsistent with the love God has revealed in scripture. That’s the concern some of us have.
I agree with your comments about the comments, and I do want to sincerely add that I couldn’t care less who get tagged with being right or wrong; I just desire the truth to be communicated and understood by all of us. In some areas God may have not yet revealed it, but in others He surely has.

253 Brooks January 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm

In response to Darrin,

Thanks for the genuine concern, and rest assured that the only book I take for truth is the Bible. Well, the bible and Schofield’s notes (please note the sarcasm in my voice). I was just stating that even as perfect as I am (chuckle), I’d be the first to admit that I put God in a box. I do feel like at this point in my life – where I’m at in my relationship with God (if that makes any sense) – God has been using some strange things to show me how simple, and at the same time how infinite, His love for His creation is. I don’t think I would ever recommend this book for a non-believer, but speaking for myself as a born again Christian, God has revealed things to me through the reading of this book that I desperately needed for spiritual growth. Before anyone criticizes…I’m not saying this book is the only way God could have revealed that to me, just simply that He has used it as a tool to speak to me. I would explain myself and situation a little more, but that would probably take about 4 pages of comments.

I apologize if this makes my previous post even more confusing or if this post wasn’t even necessary, I just felt like typing and I enjoy conversation (if you can call posting comments conversation) between fellow believers.

2-legit-2-quit,
Brooks

254 Steve January 12, 2009 at 12:51 am

Truths from the Shack: Knowing and enjoying the triune God
Young has, no doubt, taken liberty in the Shack with the subject of the trinity. None of us truly understand the fullness of this doctrine, and This book has brought out how limited we are in our understanding of this matter. Some have struggled over the oneness of the Godhead and the lack of a hierarchical structure. Others struggle with presentation of the trinity as a family unit, suggesting a lowering of Gods glory and thus making God all too familiar. The purpose here is not to rehash opinions about Young’s fictional presentation of the Godhead, but rather to ask “does this book reveal truth about the trinity that is practical for the believer?” I think so.
Christians are to have a practical enjoyment of the God in their lives.
John 14:20-23 says
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him…My Father and I will love him (you) and manifest Myself to him (you)…
John 14-16 describes the trinity actually making home in us through Christ’s work. They abide in us. Christ said I will be in you, you in me, and the Father is in me and I am in Him, and the Spirit will not abandon you, but will dwell in you, instruct you and make all these “abidings” a reality. Take a pen and paper and try to diagram Who is in who according to the Word. It’s revealing. Do you enjoy God living in you? Do you enjoy His fullness as the triune God? Most I know see The Father orchestrating His work, The Son coming down to perform His work, and the Spirit coming in us to seal the deal. The Godhead becomes compartmentalized. They are outlined and doctrinalized into their work and function so hopefully we can understand them. But brothers and sisters are you enjoying the triune God?
God lives in you! Yes or no? Which part of God lives in you? Some say, “Well the Father is on the Throne, the Son on the right hand, and the Spirit is on earth in the all saints.” True! But they are God. You got one, you got them all! They all are in you according to the scriptures. “You are God’s house” according to Paul and Peter, “Christ in you’ the hope of glory” says Paul, and the Spirit is in our spirit making all this a reality, John quotes. Governmentally God is on His throne, experientially He is in my spirit to carry out His government and to be enjoyed. To fellowship with!
The Shack presents God in His fullness and in perfect love as being enjoyed by a believer. We need to enjoy God in all His glory and as our family! This needs to be revealed in the body. We students of scripture can be so bent on defending our thoughts about a doctrine, that we miss truth (reality), we miss HIM!
Do you know what Abba, and Christ, and the Spirit have been doing in eternity past? Its unknowable in its fullness, but I can tell you that they are the First family. They perfectly love each other- so much they are called the Beloved. They display love, they interact, care for, and fellowship wonderfully with one another. And I have been brought into this Beloved perfect family through their marvelous work.
O Saints! We can enjoy God as He intended from before the foundations of the earth. Not as angels, but blood bought children sitting at the table enjoying Him in His fullness as members of His family. Heaven will be wonderful, but do not wait till then to enter in!

255 scott January 15, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I’ve been a believer of Christ for over 25 years and I have to admit that my spiritual antennas went up when I started reading “The Shack”. I’m pretty critical of just about everything I read,(i gave “Wild At Heart” by Etherege two chapters and tossed it) but I decided to give this a shot. I just finished the book last night, and although I may have had a few warning flags pop up as I was reading, the book really left me with a strong desire to know God more, especially when it comes to His love for me. It also has me re-examining my thoughts and actions concerning judging others and forgiveness. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of the many, who are reading this book who either don’t believe in Christ, or are “riding the fence”. I can only think that this book would point them to Him, and would hopefully push them to ever so gently to seek Him even more.

256 Steve January 18, 2009 at 1:22 am

Truth from The Shack: Revelation of Good

Several reviewers are bothered by the Spirits (Sarayu) discussion of good and evil. This review, like others, only quotes a small fragment of this conversation:
i.e.
“Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence . . . Light and Good actually exist.”

That is unfortunate: there are 8 pages dedicated to this subject (131-138).
The Holy Spirit seeks to help Mack understand man’s warped view of discernment. We, even Christians, tend to live according to the tree of knowing good and evil. We think we can tell the difference between what is right and wrong, or the difference between what is “right or almost right”. We even use the Bible to justify our rightness. This is the realm of the law, of division, and of death. The tree of Life should be our existence. Christ has restored that tree with Himself as He enters our spirit and becomes our daily supply. His Word becomes “rhema” and is life giving in this way. His Life is truth/reality. Satan is a lie/not reality. Satan’s attempt is, as in the garden, to cause us to live as God- trying to discern what we believe to be good and evil. In this sense we know and judge evil. We become discerners of what we think to be right or wrong. We lose touch with reality (Light, Good, Life = God, Christ in you), do not live by Him as our Source, and consequently remove ourselves from Life by this sort of independent living. We seperate ourselves from Him and plunge into real evil: drawing upon ourselves. This is death. The evil that we discern to be evil does not have real existence. That is because we become the source deciding what is good or EVIL. Who are we? GOD?
Saints, just know Him. Learn of Him. He is truth, life, good. REAL evil (not what you “discern” to be according to YOU) will be exposed simply by knowing and drawing upon His life. This is what Sarayu was telling Mack.

Jesus said, “Eat my body and drink my blood” This was a hard saying for followers of Jesus. Many walked away from Him that day.
24/7 eating and drinking of Jesus means He becomes your constant supply of life. He is your tree of Life. Absolute sacrifice of the other tree (your discernment)is hard. Sacrifice of your religious ideas and systems of determining right and wrong. This is hard!
But “Oh Taste and see that that Lord is Good.”

257 abclay January 18, 2009 at 2:28 am

Steve,

Before I say what I am going to say, I want to say that I say what I am trying to say in a loving manner.

What you just wrote wreaked of gnosticism, mysticism, and general spiritual gobbly-gook.

I felt like I should have shaved my head, configured my body in a yoga-contemplative position, closed my eyes, burned some incense and chanted for a while after reading your post.

Maybe I am just not “wired” to understand all of the great “biblical” teachings contained in the pages of The Shack. I haven’t been given the ability to ascend to that higher plane of understanding and consciousness.

abclay

258 Vivien January 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

Steve,
The only thing I can ascribe to you is the aroma of the way, life, and truth of Jesus. Thank you for your wonderful expression of this. A little while ago, God told me to stop trying to figure it all out and to engage in the mystery. Such has been my journey – to live in the joy of His spirit, to be truly alive. To engage in rich, trusting relationship with Him and to risk deep relationship with others. This is not to defy scripture or its relevance. In fact, I read the bible continuously and love it. It is to say that scripture is meant to draw us to freedom and have its end in Him. Take care.
Vivien.

259 Steve January 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm

It is ok abclay. Not trying to contend with you. My response to these reviews is just to do more than knee jerk when one line goes against our religious grain. Any good review deserves more than that.
You seem to know the scripture, and I sense you know Him as your Savior. He, the writer of the Word, is living inside you. Do not separate the two. He is alive and living in us, leading us, prompting us in our spirit. You are wired with His life. If this were not so He would have told us, so since it is really true just abide in Him, stay in Him, live in Him. I would forgo the incense, shaving of the head, and cross legged posturing (too painful at my age), but brother, daily turning to His life within, opening up the word, and fellowshiping with Him about all things is what we were wired to do. The Christ in me loves the Christ in you.

260 Robert January 18, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I must say, this book is certainly a wonderful phenomenon. What should have been a two hour read, took several days. I simply was neither mentally nor emotionally able to take it all in a single sitting.

I have a Missy in my own life. My youngest daughter, Victoria Lynn, died a little more than a year ago. She was ten and I was truly broken. I immediately began cultivating an already shaky relationship into fist shaking, angry resentment towards God that has all but consumed me since that awful day.

I am stunned with the healing and restoration that I have experienced while reading this book. My perspectives of forgiveness and relationship have been literally ripped from my soul and replaced by a truth so beautiful I simply have no words to describe how I feel.

To those who criticize this book in any way I would like to say this. You have certainly played a very important part in spreading the word about this beautiful story and for that I thank you. I pray that God sends you a blessing as intense as the one He has sent me through this beautiful book.

261 Fly_Molo January 20, 2009 at 1:30 am

Wow, this is a wonderful thread. I have to give Mike some credit for fighting the good fight on this for a very long time. Not that there weren’t others, but wow, that’s a lot of effort to put out there.

I wasn’t personally a big fan of the Shack. I liked it well enough, but I critique it more on grounds of taste than on theology or literary merit. But I’m not a big fan of Pilgrim’s Progress either, and it’s critical and theological merit is beyond any doubt.

I can’t help one final point though. Unlike Islam, we are not a religion, “of the book.” The Word of God is not the entire religion, it is a revelation of a living being that we must have an actual relationship with. The Shack brings that point home in a very powerful way, and from what I read on this discussion, that’s a point that desperately needs to be brought home to our Christian community.

262 Darrin January 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm

FM,

Mike fought “the good fight”? If it’s the Mike I was reading, I’m not sure that’s an accurate representation of his content nor demeanor. Of course I’m not about to reread the entire thread, so apologies to Mike.

Regarding your final point, I don’t think that Christianity’s troubles are due to being too much in the scriptures, but not nearly enough. (I realize you didn’t say that, but I’m making a related point.) Indeed they should lead us to a vital relationship with the living God, but remember that they themselves are “living and active”. I would be concerned about insisting we are not “of the book” – certainly we are not Muslims, but neither is their book God-breathed. The Christian life requires the Word and the Spirit, and the written Word is currently God’s primary source of revelation to believers. Some on this thread seem to attempt to divorce the two, and opt for mystical, therapeutic personal revelation, whether or not it is consistent with the Word of God. The scriptures then take a lower place, whereas they are our one solid foundation of truth given by which to measure all things. The importance of this cannot be overstated, especially today.

263 Betsy Carlson January 21, 2009 at 1:08 am

It is too bad that so many comments have been inspired by such an insipid book. It is shameful that people would argue about who is right about which belief.

The author clearly has marginal writing ability and utilizes spirituality to sell books – It’s all about marketing!

I am sure the Mr. Young is a “nice guy” and all, but his book is a long essay on a silly fantasy.

264 abclay January 21, 2009 at 1:27 am

Betsy,

I appreciate your discernment in seeing this book as a long essay on a silly fantasy but I disagree with your assessment of this discussion as shameful.

I think the fact that people desire to defend Young’s gross misrepresentation of the Godhead, sin, etc. speaks to the need for having such a discussion.

265 A Nachreiner January 23, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I have just finished the book and truely feel it was a wonderful book. People who have lost loved ones can feel some sort of reasurance. Many people whether you believe or not will question God about why he takes our loved ones. We don’t always understand. I am a true believer and yes some things in the book aren’t what is totally said in scripture but I don’t think that is what the author was trying to do. To be totally honest I felt alot of relief after just loosing some loved ones. I wouldn’t say I was mad at God but I did question him and after reading this book it made me see a different side of things. So for people to judge the book I don’t truely see the point. It is something there that people can relate to in one way or the other. I just think people are not seeing the true reason he wrote this. So if people can relate to something and help feel a stronger relationship with God than why judge. I am sure everyone has lost a loved one and needed one thing to get them back on track and remember why God is here and why he does the things he does.

266 Steve January 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm

We need a better understanding of discernment.
Note above
Betty’s quip regarding the Shack is appreciated as discernment, but her word on this thread is deemed as a personal “assessment”.
Why is it that when someone agrees with us they have “discernment” but where they don’t it is considered their wrong “assessment”? I bet Betty could find many verses to show the divisive, unloving, ungodly, and unedifying aspects of this thread. Backed by a raft of scriptures would that then be “discernment”? I guess only if we agree with her, otherwise it’s just another assessment.
This is what I was alluding to earlier–living by our own view of determining what we think is right, wrong, or almost right (even Scripturally) sets US up as THE final authority–only those who agree with our view are right and have true discernment. All others have wrong assessments.
True discernment is simply learning to see something as He sees it. We need the Word and, well, sorry, but we need that “mystical” Spirit. As Darrin said, you can’t separate the two, but brother you can’t divorce the Spirit from the Word either.

Jhn 16:13 When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
Jhn 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

…so I will ask us again: Have we got on our knees and poured out our heart before God and spent time with Him regarding this matter? Have we asked Him, how do you see this Lord, what do you think of this matter (ie. the book)?” What is He saying to us inwardly?
Or have we gone straight to our stronghold of doctrinal views and opinions about what we believe and just start defending/arguing/condemning with our “rightness.” We may be “right”, but we are “dead” right without His leading.

267 Darrin January 24, 2009 at 2:01 am

Steve,
So you’re suggesting that God’s Spirit may lead us into concepts that are in disagreement with God’s Word?
If so, you tread on dangerous ground – be careful. Evangelicalism is already headed in that direction: it’s OK to compromise the scriptures a little bit, if it proves to help people in some way.
Or do you really think that the doctrines we profess are just “our stronghold”, and not the Lord’s?
By the way, if anyone would prefer a scripture-based text for dealing with suffering, one book I would recommend is “Crook in the Lot” by Thomas Boston.

268 Steve January 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Betsy not Betty
My apology

269 Steve January 25, 2009 at 12:04 am

Darrin
No, Not sure how you got that idea,I love the Word

We can be right about a matter and back it up with scripture galore, but if our source is our self it is dead. Jesus came that we might have abundant life. That life does not flow just because we are saved or quote Scripture. His Life is in me. I need to contact that Life. Draw from that Life. His life will not contradict His written Word. His life becomes a living epistle written upon my heart for all to see.
I do not know the hearts of all who post here, but with some you can sense a strong opinion. A “I am right no matter what you say” attitude. More than defending the book, I am drawn to use it as a means of encouraging bro and sis to touch their spirit and commune with Him before we judge so harshly.
Our opinions and reasoning CAN become strongholds. We need to cast “down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
“Doctrines” can definitely become strongholds. You and I probably agree on the pillars of the faith, we may differ on some aspects, but may people see His Life in us foremost. If they see Him I believe they will see The Truth, The Way, and The Life. Right doctrine will follow.

270 Darrin January 25, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Steve,
I think we do have much in agreement. And I do appreciate the truths you have expressed, as well as what others have said here by way of testimony of how God has helped them, whether via this book or however He chooses. I think I wrote previously that I certainly believe God can and may well use this book as a means to teach people or draw them to Himself, perhaps overcoming false notions of
religion they may have been burdened with.
But, again, the importance God expresses in His word of our knowing who He is AS He revealed Himself, and of upholding all the doctrines in His word (Jesus: “teaching them ALL that I have commanded you”), leads me to appreciate and agree with John Mark and others here who express concerns about the book. My comment about the Word wasn’t directed at you, brother Steve, but at the book in its erroneous doctrines as have been expressed in the initial post here and in other places.
Your last statement about seeing Him, and then “right doctrine will follow” – I see there is truth there, brother, but on the flip-side, I am convicted that right doctrine will lead to seeing Him, when accompanied by the Holy Spirit. I’m concerned about the church – I know my flesh – and I believe that we can seek spiritual things without a solid grounding in the Word, perhaps expecting that the doctrine will follow automatically. But it doesn’t – we/they need to be diligent to learn and understand the truths delivered once for all, and judge everything else we encounter in life by them. Seasoned with grace, absolutely, but without compromise, as difficult as that is for me in this dark world.

271 nancy January 26, 2009 at 5:36 am

Darrin,
I agree that we should follow God as He has revealed himself in the Bible. However, how can you be certain that you understand the exact way He would like to be revealed? When Jesus said, “I am the Truth, the Way and the Life” and the only way to the Father, how do we know His exact understanding of the Truth, the Way and the Life? Can it be only your understanding that is “right”? How can we be sure that when He says He is the only way to the Father that this only way is how the conservative church understands it to be? Or that this only way is how the emerging chuch understands it? I get so confused. Outside of the Ten Commandments which are quite literal, why do we all have to endlessly debate scripture? How can we completely know for certain what God is communicating?

272 Darrin January 26, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Nancy, thanks for sharing your concerns.
Sincerely, “my understanding” is of no value, just because I possess it, and if I am wrong in any of my beliefs, I certainly want to know and rectify them.
But you have to be careful. If we can’t be sure what the Bible says, what was the purpose of God giving it to us?
So much of what often passes as Christianity is easily refuted by the scriptures. You mention the emerging and conservative churches: surely the one is full of biblical contradiction, but the other is not perfect either. And neither are we as individuals, so we may not in this life fully comprehend what you refer to as “the exact way He would like to be revealed”, but we are to be as precise as He gives us grace to be! And we are to be diligent in growing in that precision.
Please don’t fall for the common notion that we can’t understand the Bible, or that most disagreements have no resolutions, etc. If we are diligent to read and learn, in context, “line upon line”, and we are His children, led by His Spirit, God will teach us great things from His Word. And we can’t ignore the great preachers and teachers of the past – the church fathers and historic orthodox (“straight praise”) Christianity are extremely valuable in helping understand the scriptures – otherwise we run the risk of “reinventing Christianity every Sunday”, as one historian has astutely observed.
Do I think that all doctrinal questions are easily answered, or that I have all of them – absolutely not. But I know that God has shown me much, especially through the last couple years as doctrinal contraversy has come upon my life and church. And I believe that as I seek Him in His Word, He will continue to bring light to the cloudy areas. But it must be in the Word that I look for the answers.

273 Steve January 26, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Nancy
As Darrin said, thank God for church fathers who shed their blood for the truth.
One thing for sure, the Scriptures point us to Jesus.
This is why I believe it is so important to know the reality of Christ in us. The Life within matches the written truth. As we read the Word the Spirit within says “Yes”. We will see Him in the Word, We will trust the Word. We will accept all those who have Christ within, not because they agree on every dotted i or crossed t, but because they have “Christ” in them. He becomes our focus. He is sufficient.
Nancy, He is the centrality of all things in our faith. He himself is the way to the Father, He brings us God’s Life which He deposits in our spirit, and He is the truth: He make all of this a reality within us.
Seek to know Him in the Word, read the Word with this purpose. Quit trying to strain out the truth with your intellect or categorize others views as right or wrong. Seek the simplicity of Christ. Count all as loss to know Him! The Word will come alive and become clear.

274 Vivien January 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Steve, you are a breath of fresh air.
Vivien.

275 Nancy January 26, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Darrin and Steve,
What kind and thoughtful answers…thanks. You are both at peace with your faith and it shows.

Darrin, you are a shining example of someone who loves God with all his heart and mind. I must respectfully disagree, though, with your assumption that there is no purpose in the Bible unless we know precisely what God is revealing to us. I am sure of what God is revealing to me. I am not sure of what He is revealing to you. But faith and understanding are two different matters. This is why people argue over scripture–they mistrust each other’s understanding of God and therefore don’t trust one another’s faith. I trust your faith, Darrin, even though our “precise” understanding of the Bible may differ.

Although I think that the Bible is central to my understanding of Jesus and God’s nature, I do not believe it is a complete revelation. God is too big an entity to be entirely contained in man’s written word of Him. What would we Christians do if the Bible were stripped from us and we were sent into exile as happened to the Hebrews long ago when they were taken from their destroyed temple? Without the Bible, could we still consider ourselves Christians? I believe the answer is a resounding YES. We would weep and mourn its loss, we might wonder if we could survive so far away from where God “resides”, but we would persevere and our faith would continue. Emmanuel lives with us. To echo Steve’s statement, HE is sufficient…and I delight in His way, His Truth and His Life. Peace be with you all.

276 Steve January 26, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Darrin, Vivien, Nancy
This latter fellowship has been refreshing to me.
It is good to simply enjoy Him, our oneness, and refrain from other mindedness.
Nancy, Heaven and earth may pass away, but I do not think His Word will ever be lost; but as you said, He will be with us, even until the end of this age. No matter what happens the Scriptures reveal that the church will be sufficiently supplied to overcome.
The Spirit and the bride say “Come Lord Jesus”

277 Nancy January 27, 2009 at 12:19 am

Steve,
To what you said so eloquently, I can add nothing but…Amen.

278 maggie January 27, 2009 at 1:24 am

Wow. You people scare me. I’ve read this book, though I’m no theologian,I enjoyed it. What I got out of this book is the ultimate love of God, our Father and forgiveness of our fellow man. I’m not deep. Just searching. This is not the end all of literature of course, but a book that might engage many in the flock. To read the discourse above…..it’s no wonder people are still searching.

279 Nancy January 27, 2009 at 2:01 am

Maggie,
That’s a pretty broad brush you are using to paint everyone who has contributed to this site. Please consider that each individual is “searching” in their own way, some perphaps more deeply or more superficially than the next. We all deserve basic respect, though, no matter what our beliefs or convictions. Come join the discussion and learn something. We aren’t all that “scary” once you get to know us!

280 rose January 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

Religion is dangerous. Religion would rather debate about healing and salvation than see somebody healed or saved. Religion would rather argue about deliverance than see somebody set free.

281 Darrin January 29, 2009 at 11:33 am

Nancy, your words about me were too kind. I only wish that were true of me, to His glory.

If this thread ends, or at least my little part in it, I’m glad if it can do so on a cordial note.

I would just leave a challenge, which was probably given above by others:

There seems to be some tension here between the concepts of a Spirit-filled life (along with loving Christ, sensing His love for us, loving and helping people, etc.) and a diligence to follow scripture (studying the Bible, growing in a deep understanding of what it says, proclaiming sound bibilical doctrine, judging things by the Word, refuting doctrinal error, etc.).

I would strongly challenge all of us that there need not be a choice between the two – we can embrace BOTH, and in fact are commanded to do so.

For if the two are not joined hand-in-hand, I would question the validity of either one.

282 Robert January 30, 2009 at 3:08 am

Thanks for the review. I wish I would of known about this before I purchased the book. Its going in the trash. I’m not even going to give it away or sell it. God Bless

283 JAC January 30, 2009 at 3:44 am

Hey to all. I just spent the last hour or so reading a good portion of this blog. To those of you who wish to hammer away at the details of thology–I understand (partly) your point of view. I have spent years studying, thinking, agonizing over the fine details of theology. Some of my study was formal, but much was informal. The formal cost me dearly. I do not feel that my study was wasted, but I will say that it never brought me into intimacy with Jesus. I longed to have the theological details honed to precision, but precision never brought depth of relationship. It was only after my life imploded that Jesus and I really connected in deeper ways. In fact, it was my lack of precision–my complete and total lack of togetherness that finally brought me into the beginnings of intimacy with the Word made flesh. My comment here is from my (limited) experience of Jesus as the Way, Truth, and Life–correct doctrine doesn’t necessarily result in deep relationship. We all like to think that our understanding is correct, but from my experience, Jesus meets us in our deepest need rather than in our greatest theological understandings. I would encourage my sisters and brothers to meet each other here in weakness rather than in strength.
Love to my friends in the Family,
JAC

284 johnMark January 30, 2009 at 12:43 pm

JAC,

I think your comments will provide a good illustration to those of us who have problems with The Shack.

My comment here is from my (limited) experience of Jesus as the Way, Truth, and Life–correct doctrine doesn’t necessarily result in deep relationship.

When it is claimed that – Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life – this is correct doctrine. If we divorce the “correct” from “correct doctrine” we are still left with doctrine. Our relationship with Jesus will always be based on some sort of doctrine. If this doctrine is not correct in as much as He has revealed Himself in Scripture then upon what is the relationship based?

I do agree that someone can just have intellectual knowledge of correct doctrines while at the same time not having a loving relationship to Jesus. Though I would also say that this person does not actually believe these doctrines, but just knows them.

On the other side, someone can believe they have a deep relationship with Jesus (i.e. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses,etc.), but have incorrect doctrine. This incorrect doctrine may make them feel better in some ways though they are actually denying Who Jesus actually is. (Cf. Romans 10:2-3)

We all like to think that our understanding is correct, but from my experience, Jesus meets us in our deepest need rather than in our greatest theological understandings.

On what basis should I accept your experience and not dismiss it by saying that you just like to think that [your] understanding is correct? If ones understanding only comes from their own experience then why discount whether or not one really understands?

You have also implied that Jesus meeting us in our deepest need is our greatest theological understanding.

I do agree that Jesus meets us in our deepest need. That need is salvation from sin through the Gospel by grace through faith. When He meets us and saves us He does not leave us there.

Mark

285 Steve January 31, 2009 at 12:12 am

JAC
Sounds like you just started enjoying Him rather than just studying about Him.
The revelation of Christ within!
I know many independent,fundamental students, ministers who knew all the systems of systematic theology but did not know Him, and then as you as you described He opened their eyes: The Word became alive, old hymns had new meaning, God’s eternal purpose was clearer…
Jesus is the center of all things. He is preeminent! He is all and in all. Continue to Proclaim it! Your message is clear.
I will not “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places],
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

286 abclay January 31, 2009 at 1:30 am

Bro. Steve,

*tongue planted firmly in cheek*

I agree with you. Let us cast aside those cold doctrines and have faith that God will grant us a special revelation outside of the Word. Let us “let go and let God”. For a “real” knowledge of Christ isn’t in the words of men written two thousand years ago.

This worked well for Joseph Smith, Herbert Armstrong, Charles Taze Russel, David Koresh, Jim Jones, etc.

*tongue removed*

I know that you aren’t advocating the above extreme, nor anything close, but I do believe you are unwittingly advocating the tearing down of the walls of historic orthodox credal Christianity. When these walls are dismantled, as they have been for many “churches”, and mysticism, spiritualism, and neo-gnosticism have taken hold, the only path is a serious and fatal heresy in a fashion reminiscent of those carried out by the aforementioned “prophets”.

The author of this review used Scripture to point out some serious problems with The Shack. I find this “contending for the faith” to be scripturally mandated.

Maybe I am just a “Bible Nazi”, but I find myself “enjoying” Christ more and more simply by studying about Him. Every new revelation through the Word regards what God did for me through Him grows my love for Him more and more.

I am aware that everyone is not blessed with the same ability to study the Word as others have been, and I know that no one has any gift that they didn’t first receive. In the same vein though, I believe that God graces people in the church with gifts for the exhortation of believers so that they may be presented as a “pure virgin” to Christ at His coming. It is then my responsibility to listen to what they say, compare it with what the scripture says, and then submit to their authority if they are correct.

Grace and Peace…

287 JAC January 31, 2009 at 6:26 am

Dear abclay,
I admire your love for Scripture and enthusiasm for the Truth. You seem to have a God-given ability to think clearly. You also seem to have a deep belief in the reliability of Scripture and it’s relevance to the present issues of sin and the errosion of popular belief in absolute Truth. I love the written Word of God, and will quickly tell you that all that I hold dear depends on the authenticity of what is revealed therein.
I would ask you to consider the gentleness of Jesus. It is very true that He at times spoke very hard words to the religious hypocrites who refused to see the Presence of God among them. But Jesus was also called the friend of sinners, whether that sinner happened to be a thief/murderer hanging beside Him on the cross, a woman taken in adultery, or a hard headed disciple. Jesus also was gently compassionate with the hypocritical religious right. When they finally had their way and crucified Him, His only recorded prayer for them was “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” To date, Jesus in His love and compassion has reached untold millions with salvation, hope, and new life. It seems that your profound respect and love for Scripture would not overlook the amazing love and compassion that Jesus showed for those He drew to Himself.
Blessings,
JAC

288 Steve January 31, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Hey abclay
Can not see what I said to JAC that provoked such words.
I was not talking to you, I don’t know you, your background or your training. Nor was I questioning your love for the Lord or His Word, or you love for Him as you read the Word. ??????
JAC had a great testimony. Touched by it and could relate.
Lighten up.
I can appreciate church history, can’t always trust it. I can trust the ageless Christ, the Word, and the fact that the writer of the word happens to be present with me always.
I won’t play ping pong with labels and accusations with you. It is not good.

If you thot my words to JAC were labeling you you’re wrong. I fittingly was describing myself and it sounded like JACs experience as well.
P.S.
I do not think this review on the Shack touched very many Scriptures. A weak argument using fragments of book quotes and partial scripture quotes without exploring the context of either, expressing opinions mixed with interpretation of truths. Not saying he is right or wrong, but not a thorough exegesis of the subject matter. But this is water well run under an old bridge.
I’ll not engage anymore in it.
I will enjoy the testimonies of grace as they appear.

289 Jan February 1, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I just wanted to say I read the book, and enjoyed it very much, I never expected the author to be exacting in all he wrote, he was conveying , love and relationship, healing and forgiveness. I guess the way to read this book for some would have to be that you are truely grounded in the word of God and then you would not expect this book to become your source of truth.
Respectfully Jan

290 flor February 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm

I did not read this book as a Study Book or as I read the Bible. The Bible is Truth, but, I loved the story, I loved the way they didnt put GOd in a box.

As Christians we live in a shell a glass house and the Law. Christ is freedom, love and Im not going to preach Hell to people and because of the fear of going to hell they’ll love Jesus? I don’t want anyone to love me because they’re afraid of me? Silly Christians. I fell in love with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and His Grace Mercy and Redemption which can’t be earned, or merited. I am free to Love GOd, read good books, enjoy life and still live a Holy Life without fearing that we have some Big God will come and strike me like an ant.

We are loved, while we were YET sinners, he died for us, how much more now that we are HIS? I loved the book, it was about forgiveness, the love of the father and CHrist’s Redemption. I have discernment, but Im not Religious and I don’t live in the LAW, I live by Grace Daily.

291 Steve February 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Flor and Jan,

Enjoyed your words. We can’t limit the relationship that the Father has for us/with us: reminded me of a hymn we used to sing in church:

“We all might think that God is up in heaven, In the clouds He dwells in golden halls , Up there all alone just sitting on His throne, But God is longing for His wandering people , He wants His people.

From all the lands He’s calling out His children, Those who walk in solitary ways, No matter where you’re from, Since He loves you , you can come, Enjoy God as the Father in the family. Come on in– We’ve been waiting for you.

In the book the final revelation, God comes home at last on earth to dwell. All problems flee away, Cause God is here to stay, You can hear the family calling hurry home.
We love you Father–Hear us calling, We love you Jesus–Hurry Home.”

292 Elsie February 8, 2009 at 11:30 pm

What a shame that we human beings cannot accept & celebrate each other as the individuals God has created us to be. How sad it must make HIM to see us ridiculing & criticizing one another. All this controversy would make one think deeply & be very cautious when merely giving their personal testimony of God’s free gift of Mercy & Grace to them. Do we now have to check our every word to be “theoretically correct” or do we walk in the freedom of Christ Jesus our Risen Saviour & boldly trust in HIS SPIRIT as HE moves us. I believe the scriptures Philippians 1:12-18 where Paul tells the brethren that he rejoices that no matter what conditions Christ is preached, what is important is that CHRIST IS PREACHED! I for one do NOT want to face the Lord at judgment and try to explain to HIM my reasons for attacking this wonderful child of God who is planting seeds to share the gospel in his own individual way. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord and not to lean to our own understanding. No wonder our Lord hates pride so much. It tears HIS creation down. Personally, this FICTIONAL work of Wm Paul Young has uplifted & edified me spiritually more than anything outside of the BIBLE. After all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do for one another? (Lift each other up?) Honestly, as a parent…how it would devastate me to see my children picking each other to pieces like this. Shame on all of us!!!!! Allow God to be magnified & glorified through this. Praise His Holy Name…..He is worthy of all our praise!!!!! Really now, can we expect everyone to be a theologion. I’m pretty illiterate but God still loves me and I accept HIM as a little child! Please Lord, let me not be a stumbling block or hinderance to any of your children. Consider HIS prayer in John 17 and then present your reviews. Let me not be guilty of professing godliness but denying YOUR power. I surrender my right to try to “fix” others. Only YOU have the power to transform lives in whatever manner YOU choose. Thank You for granting mercy to me…in Jesus Name I humbly give You Glory. Amen

293 johnMark February 10, 2009 at 8:02 pm

What a shame that we human beings cannot accept & celebrate God has He has revealed Himself to us in Scripture. How sad it must make Him to see us praising & uplifting an image of God that we’ve made from our own image. All of this controverting of who God is should make one think deeply & be very cautious of how He is portrayed when merely giving their personal testimony of God’s free gift of Mercy & Grace to them. Do we not have to check any word or do we just assume “theoretical correctness” based only on personal experience? Do we walk in the freedom of Jesus Christ trusting His Spirit to move us in the direction which goes along with the Scripture He wrote? I believe that if the Gospel is preached clearly regardless of motive as Paul states in Philippians 1:12-18 that I will rejoice. I also believe Romans 10:2 where Paul tells the brethren that people are sincere, but also wrong. I for one do not want to face the Lord at judgment explaining to Him why His word was not a good enough description of Himself and of how to explain the Gospel. Acts 17:11 tells us that even the apostle Paul’s teaching was testing by the Scriptures. Also, Ephesians 4:14 tells us to be careful about being tossed around by every wind of doctrine. My brother Wayne who wrote this review was doing just that. How dare people come here and criticize his critique since he was just following the biblical commands! He was lifting up other Christians as Ephesians 4:15-16 says by speaking the truth in love to build up the body. Whether we like it or not everyone is a theologian. Whatever we believe about God is theology. Lord, let me present the Gospel clearly that it may be a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles as Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 1:23.

Grace and peace,

Mark

294 nancy February 11, 2009 at 7:52 am

JohnMarc,
Okay. We get it. Your theology is God’s “theology”. You understand the Bible perfectly. The rest of us who may have differing views, don’t get it. You don’t make God in your own image but the rest of us do. Your motives are true and you follow Biblical demands. You have the scripture to prove it but the rest of us who choose alternate scripture are just mistaken and forsaken. We, the sad lot who are inspired differently than you, will be very sorry when we are before God. We will have to explain to Him why we chose to be inspired by His love and compassion instead of following the letter of His law. We are doomed from getting into the Gated Community in which you will retire. We now fully know this because you have explained it many times on this site. We really do get it. Now will you stop beating this very dead horse? Thanks.

295 Darrin February 11, 2009 at 10:59 am

Nancy, that was quite unfair and unkind.
Mark’s response was fashioned according to Elsie’s attack, and was a very appropriate response, I believe.
Think about what is actually being said, and please don’t put words in people’s mouths.

296 Elsie February 11, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Brothers John Mark & Darrin,
Thank you both so much for “enlightning” me with my errors. In my fumbling human ways, I feel compelled to uplift God’s children. I am a 60 yr. old “toddler in Christ” and you reveal to me that I erroneously thought our Jesus knows that we must learn & grow like a “little child”. Your comments have revealed very clearly to me that it is wrong to take ANY human portrayal as truth. And to me, that would include any and all Biblical helps or aids; reviews, comments, sermons, etc. If you both are the men of God and have the “spiritual knowledge” that you portray yourselves to have, then would you please pray earnestly for me that God would reveal Himself to me in the same way. That is NOT meant to be sarcastic whatsover, it is a genuine plea for Godly wisdom & undertanding. I truly do NOT desire to lean to my own understanding. Everytime I have, I have always fallen flat on my face with humiliation. Praise God, though, He let me know that “MY PRIDE” has to be surrendered. Brothers, please accept my apology and remember me in your prayers. I will stick strictly to the Holy Bible.
And to Sister Nancy,
I appreciate your support and completely understand your human response to want to retaliate but retaliation really is a “fruit of our human pride & ego”. (Believe me, I know….I stand GUILTY). I humbly ask that you, too, will accept my apology for enticing you to respond in the controversy. In my spirit I believe that your intentions are the fruit of attempting to uplift those who are of less fortunate educations and I thank you.
I will leave this forum with the following from the NKJV Bible: [I pray that is not offensive to anyone]
Colossians 2:2-4 (Paul’s prayer for believers)
“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words”.

It is not by works of righteousness that I do that I am saved but rather by HIS mercy & grace…
Your sister in Christ,
Elsie

297 johnMark February 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Nancy,

You attributed things to me that I never said nor claimed. I have pointed to and continue to point to God’s revelation to us about Himself which is found in the Bible. I’m sorry if I rubbed you the wrong way. Why didn’t Elsie’s post bother you? Was not mine written along the same line of thought?

See, without the Bible, I don’t know if you’re mistaken or if I’m mistaken. That’s why I go to the Bible as the arbiter of truth. We may disagree on our understandings at some places, but let us hash it out at that level. If we don’t, it just becomes a battle of uninterpreted experiences.

And, Nancy, if you really do get it and I’m the one beating a dead horse then why are you all repeating yourselves? In case you haven’t noticed, I am only *responding* so who is beating the dead horse again?

I am no better than you or anyone else. I am but a sinner saved by grace in spite of myself.

Mark

298 johnMark February 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Hi Elsie,

I was responding in kind to show another side or part to the things you were saying. I did not mean that we cannot take any human portrayal as truth. I’m saying that to understand God in our lives is to use the lens of Scripture. For example, 2 Cor. 10:5 [We are] destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and [we are] taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, (NASB).

Neither of us have to take a position of the extreme either/or which is really a reductio ad absurdum position. This position can be seen when you said:

And to me, that would include any and all Biblical helps or aids; reviews, comments, sermons, etc.

I wasn’t arguing for that. I was answering you on the same grounds which is in the same manner in which you replied. I’m arguing for a biblical lens.

I got to talk with an unbeliever for a while this morning on the way to work. I gave him a ride as his car was just totaled. He had is own idea of who God is and what God can or can’t do. If left to his own experience as *truth* then he would have just as valid a position as the next person and their *experience*. There would be no real grounding for understanding. I explained a few things from a biblical perspective in our short time. Lord willing, I will get to witness to him some more.

I do appreciate you stopping by.

Mark

If I had just left him to his own experience of what he thought God did or didn’t do

299 nancy February 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Darrin is correct. I was unkind. I had a bad day as a single mom (my husband is in Kuwait for 8 mos) and I got frustrated and acted on that frustration. I am sorry for stirring up the pot and causing more contention than unity about our Lord. John Mark, I am certain that you are right with the Lord–your faith is admirable and obviously strong.

I was not, however, unfair. I have been reading these posts for a long time and those by John Mark and his conservative brethren more often than not ask those more “liberal” posters to recognize the authority of the Bible, meaning the authority of their own interpretation of the Bible. Even those people with decades of studying and living the scripture are dismissed. It’s condescending and it makes me frustrated. If anyone says they liked The Shack, we get an instant lecture about how we should only take inspiration from the Bible…as if the author hadn’t done so, nor anyone who enjoyed parts of the book.

For the record, I believe the book to be poorly written and sometimes an infantile representation of the Trinity. Other parts moved me greatly and made me really think about my relationship with God. Most people who have written a favorable post about this book had a similar reaction. No one said, “This book should replace the Bible”.

It’s admirable to say, “I don’t like this portrayal of God. I don’t like how the author argued this point. I think the Trinity can’t be explained in human terms. I think the author’s vision is flawed.” It’s not okay to scold those who praise it for any reason, constantly reminding them that their understanding is not good theology. This is the dead horse of which I spoke…

Let’s discuss (instead of lecture about) parts of the book that were especially “good” or “bad”. Let’s argue passionately about our opinions. Let’s use the Bible to back up our arguments, as well as other texts, sermons, etc.(Perhaps we could even graciously acquiesce a point to another person once in a while, i.e. “I see why you think what you do…I don’t agree but I understand why you would think that.”)

Let’s NOT intimate that those who disagree with us do not recognize the authority of the Bible. THAT is unfair.

300 mick February 12, 2009 at 10:52 am

Hey fellers,
I’m just country boy and ‘minor leaguer’ with this comment blog but just wanted to say that I read the Shack & really enjoyed it. Yeah, it’s fiction but for me it planted a seed in my mind that it just might be possible to really have a personal ‘spiritual relationship’ with God via Jesus. I mean literally! Maybe God ain’t some far far away Being that we have to jump through hoops to reach or study & analyze till we’re blue in the face. Since Mr. Young said that it was initially wrote for his youngens’, I didn’t expect it to be a book in literary competition. I realize most of ya’ll must be college grads & I’m out of my league for sure but God is no respector of persons & I was taught He died for all. God is a Spirit & must be worshipped in Spirit & Truth. Jesus’ death, burial & resurrection has power to reveal Hisself to anyone, save them & keep them though His Word. Yep, I know, He is the Word eg. Holy Bible. I can read the Word in the human realm & not understand but in the Spiritual realm, through Him my spirit can understand.
I’m not too smart but I can tell you this. Ya’ll have certainly contributed a lot of free publicity for this book. I wonder if that was your intent?
Thanks for listening…..& look forward to seein’ ya’ in God’s Kingdom where they’ll be no need for critics.
Happy debating,
Mick

301 Darrin February 12, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Elsie, I’m praying for you as you’ve requested.

Nancy, I’m concerned about your statement that conservatives here ask others to “recognize the authority of the Bible, meaning the authority of their own interpretation of the Bible.” That would seem to imply that you believe these truths are unknowable, thus we cannot distinguish between correct and incorrect interpretations of scripture. Go back to the original post showing biblical problems with the book – are these arguments not provable through scripture?

And remember that the passion many feel here is not just because a fictional novel was biblically inaccurate, but because the Godhead Himself was misrepresented. Folks can call it fiction all they want – the problem is that when a writer portrays Him, he portrays the ultimate Reality, and so he needs to be on target.

I doubt that Mark or any of the others believe an interpration is correct just because it is “theirs”. But they believe that truth IS knowable through God’s word, and through diligent search His children can understand what He has revealed. I hope some can see how strongly and subtly post-modernism had affected the church: We act as if truth is relative, can’t be known, and anyone who says it can is mean and divisive. Consider if Satan can wreak havoc with such a perspective.

I’ll pray for your husband in Kuwait and for your family while he is away.

Mick, I don’t think the book needs our help at publicity. It’s a smash hit.
“look forward to seein’ ya’ in God’s Kingdom where they’ll be no need for critics” – true, because there won’t be misrepresentations of the King of heaven up there.
I like the redneck accent in printed form you accomplished, though. Funny.

302 nancy February 12, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Darrin,
I am curious. In the entire book, The Shack, did not one thought/idea/representation please you? In this forum, I have read few, if any, “conservative” Christians admit that pieces of this book were wonderful. On the other hand, many “liberal” Christians have acknowledged that some of its theology seems flawed from their point of view.Yet they spoke to the fact that parts of this fictional book brought them into a closer communion with The Trinity. In a typical conservative manner, the baby is thrown out with the bath water because any acknowlegement of agreement with the opposition means “impurity” and thus needs to be washed away. Although I think this is unfortunate, it doesn’t mean a conservative Christian has more or less of a true understanding of God than I do.

As for your concern that I think Biblical truths are unknowable, your suspicion is both correct and incorrect; Correct in that I believe that Biblical Truth is known in each soul, individually, because that is how God made us. We are not robots. He speaks to us each differently and we are given unique gifts to love Him and His creation and glorify His name; Incorrect, because I also think, as stated in Corinthians, that “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

The Bible is reflected in the mirror because it is a part of our earthly existence. You will not convince me that what you believe is authoritative or vice-versa, because we both see the Bible dimly in a dark mirror.

Again, I call for one another to worry less about defending Biblical Truths and more about living them. God doesn’t need defending. He’s a big boy with big ideas that eclipse our miniscule understanding of Him. We can help others, as JohnMark did, to see their faith in a different light but we should not expect them to see it exactly as we do because we are all so very small. I love being insignificant…then, all the authority rests in Him.

Thank you for your prayers. Even though we may disagree, I believe that God speaks truly to you and I am honored to receive this blessing.

God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.

303 johnMark February 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Nancy,

I will pray for your family and your husbands safe return home.

Steve,

I hope you realize the reason for my words you just quoted.

All,

Doug Wilson said some good things about The Shack. Though he also went on to say this concerning what he sees as some very alarming problems:

And this brings me to the way in which this book was simply terrible, blasphemous. But before going on, I have to hasten to add that it is a peculiar form of evangelical blasphemy, one that is well-intentioned and naive. I remember one time I was at a conference where the group I was with was sharing the venue with another group. So one time I sat in on the chapel services of that other group, and they began singing “Spring Up, O Well,” which was fine with me. But since the song involved water, somebody had developed hand motions, and jumpy-up-and-down-motions. So there was this room full of adult Christians jumping up and down while they were singing, splish splashing along. But then they got to a verse where it was all about the blood of Christ instead of water, and they continued right on with the hand motions and the jumping, and the only thing missing was the rubber ducky, and nobody blasphemes like an evangelical can.

In a book clearly written to deal with the pain of fatherlessness, how does Young go about it? He makes God the Father, “Papa,” a large beaming African American woman (p. 82). The Holy Spirit is a shimmery Asian woman named Sarayu, mysterious and “way out there.” Jesus is simply Jesus, and is masculine after a kind, but in that unique way possessed by camp counselors and youth ministers with muscular forearms.(Source)

Mark

304 Steve February 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Elsie,
Your response is refreshing, and your responses to the critics are gracious. You are more mature than you suggest (“toddler”). Nancy may have had a bad day, but some here (both “sides”) can be cleverly demeaning and unnecessarily unkind in order to share their opinion. She was trying to defend you. Our gut reaction is to respond with like tactics.
Don’t leave distraught. Share your heart for others to enjoy. Some will refute but others edified.

All
John Mark said, “How dare people come here and criticize his (Bro Wayne’s)critique…”(read above for context) and for those who keep referring to his original post as backed by Scripture, I’ll say it one more time:
“this original review on the Shack does not touch very many Scriptures (only 4). The arguments are weak using fragments of book quotes (i.e. 1 sentence quote when 10 pages deal with a topic) and partial scripture quotes without exploring the context of either, expressing opinions mixed with interpretation of truths. Not saying he is right or wrong, but not a thorough exegesis of the subject matter.”

Many of these posts disagreeing with bro Wayne are not personal attacks. I hope we know that. Disagreement does not always have to be in the realm of attack, especially amongst family (bro/sis).
If we did not want his views discussed, this certainly is not the forum. Elise views are just as precious as his words, even if we do not agree with either of them.
The “how dare we” comes into play not with simply agreeing or disagreeing with someone, but, as Nancy evidenced in her apology, the words and tactics we choose to use towards those who “dare” to differ with us. We as believers have a choice.

305 Steve February 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm

John Mark
Sorry, I don’t fully understand. That is why I am pointing out the original posts lack of Scripture/context–to understand your basis for being so defensive?
And your example of alarming Christians is to show what in connection with the Shack? I hear a man describing a a worship environment in which he is uncomfortable. He is describing it with obvious bias as to how we should worship. Maybe I would be uncomfortable too, I was not there. Learned long ago that my uncomfortableness does not always negate the value of worship. Maybe they were just as excited about the washing capacity of the blood? I do not know. What is the point? What do we gain from another man’s bias?
Is he describing the trinity here or are a you? Again, opinions,instead of scripture.

306 johnMark February 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Steve,

You’ve lost me. Let me re-phrase. Do you understand why I wrote the following?

My brother Wayne who wrote this review was doing just that. How dare people come here and criticize his critique since he was just following the biblical commands!

Mark

307 Steve February 13, 2009 at 9:05 pm

If you mean literally what you wrote than yes I understand. I know his (bro Wayne) intentions was to warn saints of “another doctrine” , but good intentions do not mean we are correct.
If you mean something else than I’m lost.

308 johnMark February 13, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Steve,

I was just writing a like-minded response to what Elsie wrote above my comment in question. It wasn’t really meant as a defensive “how dare you” response. It was more of an illustration. :)

Mark

309 Steve February 14, 2009 at 1:43 am

Hey all. I told my 21 yr old son about this site, disagreements, differing views, etc. Later I found he had already wrote the following to me hours before our conversation:

“Do not waste your time with talk that has nothing to do with God or is not somehow forwarding Gods purpose. Its often times hard to tell where this stops and starts. God is the one who can show you. Through spending time with him and listening. Its a hard thing to determine and depending on who you are talking to the rules change. That is why there are no definite rules just God. If you are not following this you could mess some people up. But do not think you will make a huge impact against God because your power in talking to people was never in you. It was God working through you. Remember those people who you talk to also have relationships with God and they should be checking everything you say with God. And the ones who are in a relationship with God will know to not listen to those parts of what you say. SO again you can only do so much against Gods kingdom.
Don’t argue aimlessly. I struggle with this because i enjoy debating people. Its fun. But so is sin. Its only fun to my flesh. Its hard but i must just let that other person win. Its ok. Have you ever had someone argue with you and then tell you something completely unrelated to the argument but you still wouldn’t listen to anything they say no matter what subject. Imagine arguing with someone over dinner table etiquette and then you try and tell them about the eternal life with Jesus Christ. Ha. Much harder. Still possible through God but much harder. Do not argue with people for pointless reasons. It is sinning. Now if someone is wrong that is fine coach them gently. With love. Love only God can bring about. Even your tone of voice can be harsh and that is not good. There is a guy whom i have semi-bible studies with. He is amazingly knowledgeable but when i am wrong he says in a stern voice-that’s incorrect because….. This is a hard pill for me to swallow. He is right but it hinders our relationship because i feel like i should be quiet because i dont want to be wrong. Its ok to be wrong.
Thats why God gives us a spirit to hear him and mentors to guide us. But gently. The same way God does. When you hear Gods voice does he just yell at you immediately when you do something wrong? HEY YOU! THAT WAS NOT WHAT I TOLD YOU TO DO! I SAID GO HERE!!! no. not at all it is a gentle nudging toward the true path. that same love and kindness God shows us we need to show to others. We cant do it though. its not in our human nature. We need to go to God and through God daily to get this skill.”
2 Timothy 2:14-26

An unintended rebuke to me and with that I bid adieu.

310 nancy February 14, 2009 at 3:19 am

John Mark,
Thank you again for your prayers. It makes my heart light to hear that people care when others are going through a trying time. Although my husband is not directly in harm’s way, it is hard to be away from my beloved.

I am grateful for your posting of Mr.Wilson’s words. I disagree with them wholeheartedly, mostly for the reasons Steve already mentioned. BUT, I think I understand why you posted them: You wanted me and others to know that, even though the author is “misguided”, at least his intentions were good. I can respect that opinion because it affords respect to others.

Thank you for the effort to meet on the middle ground even though we may never agree with one another’s theology. It was a small gesture felt greatly in my mind and heart. God bless you and keep you,
Nancy

P.S. Steve–I wish I had had the maturity at 21 that your son possesses now. Surely, this is the fruit of a graceful upbringing, both by his earthly and heavenly parents. Children are certainly a gift from God since they teach us the full meaning of joy and humility.

311 johnMark February 16, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Steve,

Thanks for sharing the response from your son. I have some questions and comments. First though, I wanted to share with you my recent conversation with a stranger. I even talked theology and Gospel with him as I witnessed to him. Read the story if you like: A Conversation.

“Do not waste your time with talk that has nothing to do with God or is not somehow forwarding Gods purpose. Its often times hard to tell where this stops and starts. God is the one who can show you. Through spending time with him and listening.

How does one spend time with God in such a manner? Through what and/or how do we “listen” to God? What does it mean to listen to God?

Its a hard thing to determine and depending on who you are talking to the rules change. That is why there are no definite rules just God.

God is a God or order which means there are rules and propositions. If we are reasoning based only on ourselves and our own experiences and we come to different conclusions about the same topic one of us is wrong. Hence, God gave us the Bible to which we can go to to settle such differences.

If you are not following this you could mess some people up. But do not think you will make a huge impact against God because your power in talking to people was never in you. It was God working through you.

Does he mean here that people themselves will be messed up but not their relationship to God? I’m not clear on what’s being said. Upon what do we test whether or not God is working through someone?

Remember those people who you talk to also have relationships with God and they should be checking everything you say with God.

How is this checking done?

And the ones who are in a relationship with God will know to not listen to those parts of what you say. SO again you can only do so much against Gods kingdom.

How will the ones in a relationship with God know those parts? On what basis?

Don’t argue aimlessly. I struggle with this because i enjoy debating people. Its fun. But so is sin. Its only fun to my flesh. Its hard but i must just let that other person win. Its ok.

The arguments here haven’t exactly been aimless, but it is just that through which the “aim” is taking place that is in question. I don’t really enjoy debating people as I once did in the past. For example, my “aim” is to correctly teach my lost relatives who follow Joseph Smith about the Jesus of the Bible and His Gospel of grace. In as much as I enjoy sharing Jesus it hurts me to no end that they reject His Gospel.

SNIP

Do not argue with people for pointless reasons. It is sinning. Now if someone is wrong that is fine coach them gently. With love. Love only God can bring about.

Again, I don’t believe the reasons here have been pointless.

Even your tone of voice can be harsh and that is not good.

This is true, but much harder to discern over the internet.

There is a guy whom i have semi-bible studies with. He is amazingly knowledgeable but when i am wrong he says in a stern voice-that’s incorrect because….. This is a hard pill for me to swallow. He is right but it hinders our relationship because i feel like i should be quiet because i dont want to be wrong. Its ok to be wrong.

This is unfortunate and someone should correct this person. Either his pastor or someone should approach him with Scripture. Maybe you could give your son this Christian Criticism article and he could use it to approach this man.

Thats why God gives us a spirit to hear him and mentors to guide us. But gently. The same way God does. When you hear Gods voice does he just yell at you immediately when you do something wrong? HEY YOU! THAT WAS NOT WHAT I TOLD YOU TO DO! I SAID GO HERE!!! no. not at all it is a gentle nudging toward the true path. that same love and kindness God shows us we need to show to others. We cant do it though. its not in our human nature. We need to go to God and through God daily to get this skill.”

While there is truth in the above Jesus also wasn’t as kind “sounding” as we all like to think sometimes. We know the Bible speaks of a righteous anger so we are able to be angry and not sin. Paul and Barnabas had such the disagreement that they split up. Jesus didn’t always have the nicest words for the religious leaders and called Peter “satan.”

I do not doubt that we Christians who disagree about some elements of The Shack are just that, Christians. I don’t dislike anyone for liking the book either. I just believe, as does my pastor (and many pastors), that there is enough in the book to warrant a warning. Thanks for participating here.

Peace to you,

Mark

312 Steve February 16, 2009 at 11:38 pm

John Mark

My son wrote this before I even discussed this site with him. It is not a response to you or anyone regarding thoughts about the Shack. He did not even know about it. Please do not take it that way, He sent it via email with other thoughts on a passage in II Timothy. (I think he is working on a message for a college group or something). I took it as a word for ME to heed. Now, I WANT to get in the realm of dissecting every phase of my sons words you just quoted and responded to in your last post, but it’s OK–you win.
But please remember to keep your elbows off the table and chew with your mouth closed.

313 abclay February 17, 2009 at 1:36 am

Steve,

Your son may not have written it for this discussion or for your participation in this discussion, but you applied it to this discussion when you posted it and pronounced it as a “rebuke” to you and bid us adieu. Now you are going to be smarmy and not answer johnMarks questions regards what you took his arguments to mean? johnMark has been nothing but patient with all of the posters (especially patient with me) and you to tell him to “keep his elbows off the table and chew with his mouth closed”

I thought that johnMark’s comments were restrained considering the vacancy of any substance in the arguments that you posted. How does God talk to him? To you? To anyone?

And Nancy, what did you find “mature” about this admonition to his father? Sounds like the cart is before the horse to me. If I said those things to my father he would just smile, shake his head at me and say, “come here son, let me show you what the Bible says.”

Hogwash…that’s what it is. Writing this I realize you are going to come back with the ad hominem. Tell me how rude I am, how “unloving”, etc… Well, they hated my Saviour, why should I expect any better. I am sure that the Judaizers thought that Paul wasn’t very nice either.

314 Nancy February 17, 2009 at 2:33 am

ABClay,
I thought it was mature of his son to think, at 21, that arguing for the sake of argument is an unwise endeavor. That’s all.

Steve stated clearly that this was an “unintended” rebuke of him. In other words, it was my impression that his son was not being presumptuous, or “putting the cart in front of the ox”. Steve mentioned that his son had written this as an assignment and passed it along. Steve read it and realized that it resonated in his life at that moment. His son had no idea it would have that effect on his father.

My guess is…you read the elbows off the table remark and hit the roof. I understand why that would make you angry. Rudeness abounds on this website. Sometimes it is very difficult to not respond to someone in a like manner (see my apology to John Mark many posts back), especially when you are having a trying day.

I just read, and very much enjoyed, John Mark’s post on giving criticism. (The only thing I would have added to this wonderful list is a gentle reminder that an apology can go a long way if criticism is imprecisely applied.) Perhaps we would all benefit from reading and digesting this wise post.

315 Steve February 17, 2009 at 11:22 am

ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY POSTS

ABclay, Whoa bro…

As John mark said earlier it is hard to discern tone (and other things like humor) on theses internet posts.
My sons email spoke to me and stopped me. (I was wanting to engage in a back and forth with John Mark.) I posted it to explain that primarily.

Abclay, I left out scripture references my son alluded to in his email and I edited out 2/3 content. So that may have helped you if I would have posted it all.

And your remark “the vacancy of any substance in the arguments you posted”:
It is funny, but WE ALL think our arguments have substance and the other guys doesn’t. This is our subjective nature rearing its head.
ABclay, I have tried to go toe to toe, criticism by criticism, demand scripture, etc… EVERYBODY’S STILL GOT THEIR OWN OPINION in the end. Darrin probably does the best job of making peace and loving the other and closing down the arguing. I, like my son said, love the debate–I’m ready to give people a street corner and say lets meet there and settle this–I’m wanting to prove you wrong and I want others to see it. To that unedifying heart (mine), bro, I bid adieu.
ABclay, if my son’s words speak to you or others regarding our rants ok. If not then fine. I do not think every word of it was intended for this kind of forum, I do not know everybody’s heart, but I know mine.
As for the “you win” and the table manner reference, read my sons “entry” and you will understand my attempt at humor. If you find this offensive (or John Mark) I am sorry and I guess a good example why we oft get misunderstood in this venue.

ABclay, my sons words were not an intended admonition or rebuke. He wrote this without our having any prior discussion about this site. He was up late enjoying fellowship with God and wrote ideas down. He sent much of it via email to share his enjoyment with me. UNKNOWING to him it rebuked me/ spoke to me. But I would gladly count it an honor to welcome any admonition from my son. (sorry to all for the in depth explanation).
ABclay, he is maturing. If you would have seen him less than 2 years ago you’d know it. Now he is spending time with the Lord (that includes the Word) till 2am and emailing me his unedited thoughts (i.e. his post). He is immersed in college ministry at NAU and is preparing to go to Africa for a 1 year mission trip.
(Thanks for your words Nancy. Bless your husband.)

John Mark your response was kind and I just wanted you to know why my son sent it. Yes I posted it, but was not primarily applying it to the general nature of this site. (I was not trying to say this site is wrong by posting it), but as a message for each individual heart (me first) to consider about their words and motives.
Whew!

316 angie March 4, 2009 at 11:59 am

For those who have gone through some terrible things and have been angry at God this is a great read. Forget about Theology and all the other stuff. When it really gets down to it does all of that really matter anyway?

317 abclay March 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Angie,

You wrote:

Forget about Theology and all the other stuff. When it really gets down to it does all of that really matter anyway?

I beg you Angie, Reconsider. For when it really gets down to it, what we believe about God is the only thing that really does matter.

abclay

318 Rut Woodmark March 7, 2009 at 1:45 am

All kinds of alarms started going off when Mack met the ‘Trinity’ and they started talking. The dung started piling a little too high. I decided to see if Reviewers got the same negative feelings about the book.

319 L March 7, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Angie
Agree with your initial response (“For those who have gone through some terrible things and have been angry at God this is a great read”), but the study of God need not be discarded to still come to your conclusion.

RUT
Respect your conclusion. All reviewers who agree with you come from the same bias, and bias abounds. Are those alarms your bias or your spirit.

Re

320 abclay March 8, 2009 at 12:43 am

“L”

Regards your comment to Rut, are you suggesting that all opinions are equally valid and should be taken with the same weight regardless of their bias?

Should I go to Christopher Hitchens to get a review of the Gospel of Matthew?

For what it’s worth I believe this book has been almost universally rebuked for its false teachings by everyone who holds an “Orthodox Christian” bias.

How can it be helpful for someone to be presented with a nice story about a false god when they are angry at the God? I haven’t figured that one out.

321 L March 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Regards your comment to Rut, are you suggesting that all opinions are equally valid and should be taken with the same weight regardless of their bias?(I’m saying bias is just that, “bias” does not make it truth because you believe something strongly. It gets in the realm of opinion. I’m saying the alarms going off may be his deep opinions that are reinforced by another reviewers opinion. The alarms could be of the Lord. It is good for all of us to consider what source we are coming from before we settle on a particular matter.

Should I go to Christopher Hitchens to get a review of the Gospel of Matthew? (what?! come on!!)

For what it’s worth I believe this book has been almost universally rebuked for its false teachings by everyone who holds an “Orthodox Christian” bias. (There are many dear saints of God who will be glorious received into His presence who hold a differing review other than yours or mine. We all will just have to stay in our respective heavenly corners :) )

How can it be helpful for someone to be presented with a nice story about a false god when they are angry at the God? I haven’t figured that one out. (That’s because your view, bias blocks any value this book could have. Obviously you have strong opinions and disagree. Respect them, you, would hope we could fellowship warmly on those things which all believers share–Our Christ.

322 Darrin March 9, 2009 at 10:58 am

“Respect them, you would hope we could fellowship warmly on those things which all believers share–Our Christ.”

Question is, is it our christ or The Christ? If our faith is not in the Christ of the Bible as He defines Himself, then is it Christianity?

Much of what flies under the banner of Christ has little to do with the biblical Jesus. Yet we’re too lazy and proud to find out Who He Is.

323 Darrin March 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

PS – Methinks I blogged too rashly: That wasn’t intended as a condemnation of “L” or anyone else here in particular – just an observation about our fleshly tendencies, myself included. But praise God for His transforming power and grace!

324 L March 9, 2009 at 11:26 pm

DARRIN
“Question is, is it our christ or The Christ?”
The one and only, Son of the living God. However there are many who search the Scriptures but do not know Him.

I do not know for sure if abclay knows THE Lord or not: His words are sharp but seems to be sincere. Assumed He is of Christ. therefore I referred to CHRIST as Ours in the hope of fellowship.

Not sure if you are(A CHRISTIAN), but if you are…I tell you I am as well.
In Christ we have a oneness that will break down all barriers (even differing views on the Shack)–thus we can have warm fellowship. The cross makes it possible.
I Trust The Christ is Our Christ.

325 abclay March 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm

L

that’s a fair criticism and correct assessment. I should learn to express my words “less sharp”.

I concur with Darrin. The Jehovah’s witness claim Christ as well. Theirs is not the same Christ.

To truly know Christ, you must know about The Christ, should you not?

326 abclay March 9, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I have thought about that last statement a bit while brushing the chompers and I must retract it.

327 Elaina March 10, 2009 at 12:34 am

I just want to say something…First, I loved the book b/c I have a personality and learning style that is very visual and I love to read stories. However, it amazes me that a work of FICTION can bring such dissension between followers and lovers of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This book is not meant to be the Bible, it is meant to be a fictional story, just like C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and the Screwtape Letters and any other fictional book written by a fellow believer. I feel like God’s children have blown this way out of the water. We need to concentrate on loving each other and telling others about Jesus Christ and the greatest sacrifice ever made for humanity. And quit wasting all of our time arguing over a book that isn’t even real. Go and tell…don’t dwell on this book because it won’t even matter in the end, what matters is the love story God has written us, the Bible and the story of our beloved, Jesus Christ.

328 L March 10, 2009 at 1:13 am

Point taken Elaina
And brothers in Christ thank you for your words

329 Darrin March 10, 2009 at 10:50 pm
330 johnMark March 10, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Darrin,

I listened to this today. I have a post pending about it when I get a little more time.

It is unbelievable that his answers are so inconsistent. He sounds like he’s on the edge of universalism, yet says he doesn’t know.

Sad,

Mark

331 Jerry March 14, 2009 at 11:59 am

It is so good to hear from a real warrior for Christ. I am in the christian retail business and am very leary of such books that create a “sensation” and even the world likes them and can even relate to it. People almost daily ask my opinion of “The Shack” and I do not feel comfortable even selling it. There’s alot of “christian” things I don’t care for if you know what I mean. The preacher in me does many times speak, and I do miss sales, but we will all will answer to God the FATHER one day not God the mother. JESUS IS LORD!!!!!

332 Darrin March 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Amen, Jerry.
Your words about “sensation” and “christian” (little c) are right on target.
Keep following the scriptures and your conscience, brother, and resist the temptation to compromise.
I know an easy profit must be hard to resist, but really, as you showed, what does it “profit” in the end?
Be encouraged.

333 johnMark March 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Jerry, thanks for stopping by. I’m sad that I have to agree with you. The $hack is even being sold by the SBC’s LifeWay, but with a disclaimer.

Makes you think, “Huh?”

Mark

334 Mildred March 16, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Indeed, this book is very alarming and more people are being misled by the wrong theology of this book. I have a friend who just read it and seems so excited about the book. May I post your review in my blog to warn others too? Thanks!

335 johnMark March 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Mildred,

Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad the review was helpful.

Sure, you may post the review on your site, but please include this blog as your source. I would appreciate it.

Mark

336 Lisa March 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I’ve read through most of the comments about the book “The Shack” and I must say that what I find overwhelmingly positive and good in it all is that people are talking about God. Sometimes it takes something out of the ordinary to get the conversation going. We become sedentary in our ways and I do believe for myself, that God is not sitting on a throne with his one best seller “The Bible” and not finding ways to communicate to his children. Just as the world has grown, I’m sure God has watched and found ways to remind us all of his never-ending love for us. Whether that be through miracles or a simple story written by a common man. Don’t lose the forrest for the trees, God Loves Us!!! I for one in the craziness of this world welcome that blessed message in whatever form it shows up. Bless you all!!

337 Jesse March 17, 2009 at 8:12 am

It seems so silly that people being so nit-picky on the details of the book. By this, all of you who are criticizing the book is implying that William Young has an underlying alterior motive that is not of God. If this is really true, I cannot condone the book. But, judging from some of the interviews I’ve read with him, it does not seem to be the case. It seem like he has an authentic love for God and wants to share it in his own words. We shouldn’t be so judgemental on such a thing that is of semantics. The bible says in Matthew 7:3 “why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” If the author is being true and honest and his intentions are pure, whay are we being so repremanding? If it leade peopls th Christ, applaud the effort.

338 Jesse March 17, 2009 at 8:17 am

The lase sentence in my last post should read: If it leads people to Christ, applaud the effort. Sorry, keyboard problems.

339 Kaity March 26, 2009 at 9:16 pm

I would just like to point out that in the book Young (beginning on page 133) offers the point that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil allowed the human race to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, our opinions on what is right and wrong are subjective, since we individually deem what is good, and what is evil. Sarayu, the spirit, goes on to say that “And if there is no reality of good that is absolute, then you have lost any basis for judging. It is just language, and one might as well exchange the word good for the word evil.

Basically, you all have you’re own opinions, but whose to say who is right and who is wrong. Young makes good points, but keep in mind the book is fictitious and not all of these points are valid.

340 johnMark March 27, 2009 at 8:02 am

Kaity,

It seems like you just referenced The Shack as a type of authority concerning good, evil and opinions. Then, you finish telling us that the book in only fiction.

I’m not sure what you’re saying. Can you help?

Mark

341 Rusman66 March 30, 2009 at 4:56 am

I went to the shack website. It seems the story is true,but it’s fiction? The things in the story never happened. but they did. HuH? True fiction I get it!!

If you want to read fiction, find something that is fiction.Claims to be fiction and just entertains.

If you want to read Gods truths get the Bible.

It is just dangerous to mix the two.

342 Rusman66 March 30, 2009 at 5:41 am

Oh yeah one more thing. For all of you relying on your freewill to do the right thing and choose Jesus. Freewill didn’t work out too good for Adam and Eve to choose the right path.
Since we are now born in sin, has it somehow gotten better? Our ability to choose?
Left to sinfull freewill I think you fail everytime.
I am thankfull that it is not left up to me, but with Gods direction/intervention I can choose to serve Jesus.

343 Nancy March 30, 2009 at 7:13 pm

We know for fact only a few things about the inception of freewill from the Bible:

1. God is all-powerful and all-knowing.
2. Humans are not.
3. God planted two trees in the garden, not one. He insisted that we not eat of one or have any use of it even though it was in plain sight.

Now, we can speculate till we are blue in the face about why God would devise such a garden. Why would He put something in plain sight that He never intended for us to use?

This is where personal Truths come into play. I can devise a story that says God always knew that we would choose freewill and thus created it for us to be in a deeper relationship with Him or I can say that puny humans thwarted God’s ultimate plan for us to be mindless, obedient creatures and now we are all paying the price. I am sure there are other scenarios people can create to fill in/out this mystery.

Everyone who studies God wants to fill in the mystery according to his/her culture. This is called fiction. Some of this fiction can be Truth and some of it can be a lie. In the presence of a mystery, it is up to every individual to decide. I believe that if God wanted complete control over our minds, he would not have spoken in parables, he would not have created mysteries. This is my fiction and I believe it’s Truth. If you don’t, so be it. Perhaps God has a different fruit for you to eat.

Sure, The Shack may be “dangerous” to some and although I disagree, I understand their reasoning. But in the face of a mystery, their reasoning is also fiction. It might be true (Truth). It might not be (sinful freewill).

It has disturbed me that the learned contributors on this site have called for censorship of this book. You have the right to disagree with the author and to publish those disagreements. You have no right to insist that it not be sold in certain stores or that it should come with a warning for discernment.

If you do, then a warning should be put on this site as well because it is fiction and could indeed be perceived as “dangerous” to many readers. (Personally, I disagree with the majority of what is printed here but I have learned some things, too. Some ideas are “dangerous” to me but I have “discerned” some truths without the benefit of a warning.)

In the end, readers should decide for themselves how the mysterious silences should be filled in. Don’t allow someone to dissuade you from using the mind God gave you.

344 Jesse March 31, 2009 at 10:52 am

I’m sorry but this book was good. It’s not to be taken as Gospel as some of you think, but it’s a way to look at God and seek a more personal relationship with Him. (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) An example used is a Man… He is a father, husband, and worker. Same person…just like Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Mack has a relationship with all 3 characters, but they all know the same thing.I would encourage people to read this book. Well written Mr. Young

345 Jesse March 31, 2009 at 11:02 am

Simplemann, God loves the sinner but hates the sin. You should know this. How can you condemn people who don’t know God YET?? You’re saying God only loves repentent sinners? If He didn’t love the rest, why would He send us into the world to lead them to Him. Seems your religion has clouded your judgement. Any way, you’re no one to judge. God is the judge of us all.

346 Darrin March 31, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Rusman66, I appreciate your thoughts.

Nancy, anything that requires speculation is not an essential of the faith. It is God’s revelation through the Word that is critical. “Personal Truths” should never have a big T. They can be quite misleading, but thankfully God has given His Word to test them. In The Shack there is not just “speculation”, there is blatant contradiction to the Bible concerning who God is, His relationship with man, and what Christ has accomplished. If you would rather criticize us than the book, then I’m sorry for you. Seriously.
“You have no right to insist that it not be sold in certain stores or that it should come with a warning for discernment.” Sure they do. In fact they may fail God if they don’t. “If you do, then a warning should be put on this site as well …” Difference is, if Mark misrepresents God or biblical truth in any way, I’m sure he wants to know about it, unlike The Shack fans, apparently. And no, I think it is foolish and unsubstantiated to call this blog fiction. What I’ve observed is based on solid biblical Truth. (There’s your big T.) If Mark or we fail in our interpretations, explain where and how.
“Perhaps God has a different fruit for you to eat.” … “readers should decide for themselves how the mysterious silences should be filled in. Don’t allow someone to dissuade you from using the mind God gave you.” Be careful your advice doesn’t come close to that of the serpent. And as Rus pointed out, that was even before the Fall. Surely you agree with the Bible that our minds are “darkened”, and only have light when they are brought into conformity with the “mind of Christ”. Or are you suggesting that those who stick with scriptural truths don’t adequately use their minds? That would be a strong accusation. You may not care for conformity much, but I hope the conformity we are to have in Christ is OK with you. Otherwise heaven might not be very appealing. I believe that care to understand and closely follow the scriptures takes significantly more mental effort and accuity than imagining along with a silly novel like The Shack.

Jesse, “Any way, you’re no one to judge.” That sounded judgmental to me.

347 Nancy April 1, 2009 at 9:24 am

Darrin, are you the same Darrin who thanked me for calling him a “shining example of someone who loves God with all his heart and mind”? If so, I still mean what I said.

I have been reading your responses for quite sometime and even though I rarely agree with them, I know that you are that example. I have no proof of this…I just feel it. It’s my “personal truth”–I could be right and I could be wrong. Only you, the writer, knows for sure.

But my faith in your faith is grounded in The Truth.

I did not mean to imply that those who “stick to scriptural truths” are not using their minds. Quite the opposite. I have seen very well argued points by you, ABClay and John Mark. They rarely persuade me to your viewpoint, not because they are flawed, but because they do not represent my relationship with God. (For example, I can recognize that another couple’s marriage is sound even thought they relate to one another in a wholly foreign way than my own husband and I do.)

You have taught me to see the “other side” and I appreciate it and respect it. I am convinced more than ever that God speaks the same Truth to all his children but sometimes in a very different language or dialect. That’s biblically proven AND it’s common sense.

It deeply grieves me that I risk being lumped into the role of the serpent for asking people to use their minds (as well as their hearts) to know and love God. It also depresses me that I think that I have expressed some decent points, too, and they have never been addressed unless they were praising a specific poster. I think that’s because of the “baby and the bathwater” effect I had mentioned in a previous post. If you agree with anything I believe about God, you risk eternal damnation. You think that you will “fail” God by not throwing the baby out with the dirty bath water.

I humbly ask you to consider the following questions: Might you be “failing” God in a more basic way? Perhaps your refusal to acknowledge His other children’s understanding of and passionate love for Him might be denying Him as well?

In the end, no matter what I say, no matter how inspired my love for God and His creation is, you are apt to see only my own feeble efforts to understand Him as a failure to God. Or worse, serpentlike.

I wish it weren’t so. But wishing is one-sided. Even though I am willing to learn from you, if you aren’t from me, than there is no point in dialogue. We will just continue beating that poor dead horse when we could have been admiring its beauty while it was still alive.

I guess we had better give it a rest. Before we can’t recognize that it was ever a gorgeous, living horse.

God bless you all and keep you.

348 Bryce April 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm

For those of you who didn’t like my review of the book, and made my comments seem something different than they were. Thank You…! I still like the book. It leaves people with more loving god image, more so than the beastly image you get from most judgmental, condemning, self righteous churches who interpret the bible, from the “doctrines of men.”
GOD IS LOVE…., I experienced this during a near death
experience, It is beyond what our language can express.
He Loves everyone, and he is not mad at anyone…!
And that’s all I am going to say about that…!
Quote: Forest Gump.

349 johnMark April 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

Hi Bryce,

You say The Shack leaves people with more loving god image and that the contrary position comes from “doctrines of men.” Where would you say the image of God found within The Shack, a work of fiction, comes from?

Also, how do you know that your position that GOD IS LOVE… is not a doctrine of men?

Thanks,

Mark

350 Darrin April 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Nancy,

Yes, I’m the same Darrin.
I TOLD you I didn’t deserve it!

I’m sorry I offended you, especially if I unintentionally implied that you don’t know the Lord or that nothing you write is valid or beneficial. That would not be accurate nor helpful.

I’m failing God fairly consistently, but have hopes of doing better, by His power and grace.

Grace, peace, and truth to you and yours.

351 Margaret April 19, 2009 at 10:57 am

Ever since man was on earth, they have tried to make sense of natural disasters by saying The God’s are angry’ and this theme has been continued throughout life to the present day and has been attributed to our God. Why do we have to ‘force’ people into Christianity through scaremongering by saying If you don’t believe, you will go to hell. What sad people you are who try to control others in this way. Do you not know, that many parts of the Bible have been removed over the generations and has been translated so many times. How do we know what is truth – by listening to the Holy Spirit within. Did God stop talking to us when the Bible finished. I don’t think so. At our church – as at others – we have home groups to discuss the Bible and everyone has a different viewpoint. How do we know which one is right. BY the way, I don’t go. I get so fed up with these fundamentalists who want to terrorise people into believing, and some Christian parents could also be accused of child abuse by the the tales they pass on to their children – Our vicar included. Every week we get a sermon on What we must do to be saved, in one form or another. But having read The Shack, this changed my fear of God, and now I have a loving relationship with HIm, so that I can ignore what everyone else says. What normal parent would treat their children in the same way. We surely should be controlled by GOd’s love and wanting to do our best, rather than fear. When we know that God loves us without condition, then in turn we can love others in the same way. Yes the Shack may not always be theologically correct, but how do we know the Bible is actually God’s Word. It was written by human beings. By the way. Have you read any of Neale Donald Walsch’s books. They are amazing. Start spreading God’s love you scaremongers and fundamentalists and then you will change the world. Haven’t you noticed – religion in its present form isn’t working. All the troubles stem from people who demand to be right about their beliefs. How about this for something ridiculous:
“If a man’s testicles are crushed, or his penis cut off, he may not be included in the asembly of the Lord” Deut 23:1-2 There are many others like this. Surely God is not so choosy.

352 abclay April 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Margaret,

Your post is evidence enough that The Shack is more dangerous than people are warning about.

It seems as if you are denying the only real problem that man has in this life, and that is God’s justice.

Your understanding of who “God’s Children” are is skewed and to complicate matters you have no compass to guide you to the Truth now that the Bible has no authority.

I can’t think of anything else to say but “Thanks” for making the reviewer’s point and ask “Why have you so quickly turned to a different Gospel?”

There remains hope for you Margaret.

abclay

353 Mark|HereiBlog.com April 25, 2009 at 8:50 am

Maybe some folks here would like to enter the book giveaway? Enter here for the drawing for a new book on prayer.

Margaret,

The irony is that you started off by telling ABClay how arrogant he is. Then, you basically went on to tell him just how right you are. All ABClay is seeking to do is what all Christians desire which is to point to Jesus Christ and only Him as the only way to God. Jesus Himself said this.

Got 60 seconds for the Gospel?

Mark

354 Margaret April 25, 2009 at 8:04 am

Abclay, How arrogant are you.it is because of people like you in every religion, that the world is in such a mess. people who insist that they are right, and fight others to prove it and make them change their mind. The Crusades being one example. Think of all the hundreds of people who have died horrific deaths for the sake of their cause. William Wallace who was hung, drawn and quartered for his beliefs. British soldiers in the 1st and 2nd World wars – many of whom were tortured without mercy. I think now of the thousands who were drowned in the Tsunami – where are they now – burning in Hell. What torture for their families to have this to contend with. I believe that Jesus died to show us the way to God and to show how God is with us every moment of the day. But like the author of The Shack, he was crucified for being outspoken and for assumed blasphemy. As someone else said: Lighten up. Why do you need for everyone to find God through your way. Why do you need to insis that your way is right. What are you afraid of – that you might actually be wrong and so yo need to force everyone else into yor way of thinking.God has many ways of approaching us because He has created us all with different personalities. I have travelled the world and so have encountered many countries where all religions live peacefully side by side, embracing each other’s differences and with respect.

355 Margaret April 25, 2009 at 8:46 am

Sorry Abclay,

God has been speaking to me since I last wrote and suggested thatI must apologise for my arrogant behaviour. Until then I wouldn’t find any peace.I vowed once I had found the God I loved, rather than the God I feared, that I would embrace everyone’s belief knowing that was what was true for them, and that God reaches us all in different ways according to our background. So once again, please accept my apology.

356 Mark|HereiBlog.com April 25, 2009 at 8:51 am

Margaret,

Thank you for your humility.

Mark

357 abclay April 25, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Margaret,

Apology accepted. When our emotions dictate our behavior and beliefs, things often can run askew.

A question, if you and I were looking at a clear sky on a clear day and You said the sky was blue and I said it was not blue, but red, would we both be right?

abclay

358 Tracy May 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Mark Twain once said, “God created man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.” While Mr. Twain is hardly a source of godly spiritual insight, his words provide an apt review of works such as “The Shack.”

359 Darrin May 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Great observation, Tracy.

360 Barb May 6, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Thanks for posting this review. I’ve read over half the book, but only because I won it in a book give away. I would never have bought it since I had heard so many things about it that I knew were contrary to the WORD.

The first part of the book which was with a human was fine. But when I ran across the page where he MET GOD (no man has seen GOD) and GOD was a WOMAN, I almost dumped the book in the garbage. My first thoughts of the writing about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as it was very sacrilegious.

When it comes to writings such as The Shack, Christians need to use more discernment. We need to be able to recognize the difference in the truth and half truth, or no truth at all! It is easy to get off on the wrong path and lose our way.

361 Mark|HereiBlog.com May 7, 2009 at 8:13 am

Tracy, I think Twain’s quote is certainly spot on. We all have a tendency to make God in our image. Of this we should repent.

Barb, you are touching on exactly where many people have problems with the book. Of course, we understand the book is fiction, but the way God is personified just doesn’t sit well. Not to mention the influence people have said the book has. Combine these two items and this is where the rubber meets the road i.e. people are drawn to the wrong understanding of God.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mark

362 ben May 19, 2009 at 6:53 am

a couple of questions here:
1. a Hierarchy Trinity, isn’t that Jehovah’s witness theology?
2, we are all threatened by the Shack’s statement against a hierarchy church, but we do see in church history, there were times when church with hierarchy structures maybe spoiled, and we could see colts grow out of the strict hierarchy structure, should we down play personal relationships with God so we could have discernment?
3. I have just listened through the book, I believe I heard that Jesus says that he is the way not he is the best way

363 Darrin May 21, 2009 at 1:24 am

Ben,
Should we downplay discernment so we can have a personal relationship?
We need both. Otherwise the relationship may not be with the living God, but with one of our own making (i.e. an idol).
Cults may sometimes follow a hierarchy (or dictatorship), and they may also feel that they have great personal relationships with God and each other. However, in every case they have something in common – they do not worship the God who describes Himself in the Bible. Wrong doctrine is the hallmark of the cult.

Darrin’s last blog post..Response to Driscoll’s Presentation of Un/Limited Atonement: Introduction

364 Niishia May 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm

The point of the book is healing. All other things are questionable. If you know the God you serve why do you fret over one book written about him in somone elses vioce/opinion? There are thousands of books written about the Lord and the way he works. Every one is worried about who said what- did you get the message is the point? As long as we are curious beings people will challenge your belief systems. No one is in control but the Lord, so why argue?

365 Thien Nam May 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Its funny that i consider myself a Roman Catholic, sterotypically the most conservative Christian church, and yet i find objections to this book pretty amusing. What i don’t understand is how people can believe that something as incredible as God can be completely realized through human words found in scripture or even in Jesus’ thirty year life. Nobody understands God completely, only fragments found in scripture and their life experiences and the people who force their understanding on others are only fooling themselves. If people find revelation in The Shack and they become that much of a better person for it, then why the heck is it such a big problem. I know there are people in the world who essentially believe God exists solely for condemning non believers to hell, but unless you’re one of those people i really don’t see any reason why this book is such a big controversy.

366 Ben May 24, 2009 at 10:21 am

Darrin,
Without a personal relationship (i.e. the Holy Spirit) there will be no discernment. You are right that the God from the Bible is the one to worship, and discernment surely comes from references from the Bible. So for example, Isn’t the reviewer’s sharp attack on God limit (humble himself) so he can have relationship with us contradict with what the Bible says about Jesus humble himself and died a death on the cross so we can be saved (have a relationship with God)?

367 Sue May 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I have tried to read The Shack. The first few chapters are ok–normal fiction. I cannot wrap my head around (not do I want to I realize) these ‘figures’ in the book. I kept reading only because I had heard “it is so good”. Halfway through and I cannot read anymore. I am secure in my faith–by grace and through Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation. Yes, I know it’s fiction–poor fiction at that. I have no problem understanding the ‘holy trinity’ without making them into a black woman, and an asian woman. At least Jesus was a carpenter–a bit closer to reality.

368 Mark|HereIBlog May 29, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Sue,

This is a simple yet great point.

I have no problem understanding the ‘holy trinity’ without making them into a black woman, and an asian woman.

What boggles my mind is just how people better *understand* God based on this book.

Mark

369 Lauren May 30, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Sue
Are you saying people cannot better understand God through the ministry of another? (ie. a book)
Or that personally you disagree with this books ability to minister to others? Or both?

370 Lauren May 30, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Rather, Marks response to Sue
Are you saying people cannot better understand God through the ministry of another? (ie. a book)
Or that personally you disagree with this books ability to minister to others? Or both?

371 Aaron May 31, 2009 at 7:29 am

Excellent summary of some of the major issues with this book.

372 Darrin June 1, 2009 at 11:18 am

Lauren, I can’t speak for them, but since I’m probably of the same sentiments as they are:

Certainly I believe people can and do benefit, and are helped in understanding God, through the ministries of others. Or perhaps better stated, God reveals Himself to them using the means of other believers. This can definitely include writings as well as the spoken word. I personally have been helped greatly by written sermons and other works by several Puritans, for example.

We read in 1 Peter 4:10, ” As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Particularly if the gifts, as discussed for example in 1 Cor 12:28 and Eph 4:11, are among the teaching gifts, the Spirit-filled and Word-grounded believer will be used of God to communicate right doctrine (i.e. right = in accord with His written Word), which will include truths about who God is.

But at the beginning of 1 Peter 4:11, we read, “Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances [or oracles] of God.” So if we are attempting to expound upon the character or mind of God, or hear or read something relating to God, we have here a strong caution to make sure that what is communicated is consistent with the Bible, which is the rule by which we judge all things. Obviously many of us are convicted that “The Shack” is terribly inconsistent with what God has revealed in the scriptures and thus is a serious misrepresentation of Him.

2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” May we worship Him in spirit and in truth, according to all that is in agreement with the revelation of His majesty, and reject contradictions and counterfeits, no matter how cunningly devised.

Darrin’s last blog post..Response to Driscoll’s Presentation of Un/Limited Atonement: The Chart

373 Lauren June 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Darrin
Thanks for your response. I was hoping that was not a blanket statement. God certainly uses the ministry of other brothers and sisters to edify the body. As to whether this book should be banned from christian homes, I think much interpretation of the writers intent is subjective and slanted by well meaning zealots. who frequent this domain. I personally do not agree with everything the Shack says, but still enjoyed seeing several topics brought up that are rattling our cage as evidenced by the fact that this blog topic won’t die.

374 Mark|HereIBlog June 1, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Lauren,

Stop asking me hard questions! Let me have my nuance! I’m kidding.

I am mainly referring to this book, yes. I *think* I can see in some ways how someone *might* understand God better. I’m really trying here. It was really tough for me to think in these terms while going through the book.

Darrin has given a very good biblical answer. I’m going to give you an illustration that should help with my position.

Imagine someone telling you about the most comfortable recliner that just came out. You’ve heard stories of just how soft, comfy and cozy it is. A good friend of yours has one and starts to describe it to you. You get excited as you really want one and want to hear first hand experience from a trusted source.

Your friend starts to describe a bicycle seat. It sounds small, hard and uncompromising. The picture you once had in your head is totally changed. You’re not sure how to think about the recliner now. Your friend still tells you of some benefits of how the recliner/bike seat gives you support, holds you up, keeps you in place, etc.

The recliner is no longer a recliner and your desire for it is no longer, too.

That’s sorta how I see The Shack when it describes and personifies God.

Thanks for dropping by and making me think some more.

Mark

375 Nancy June 1, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Hi Mark,
I am greatly amused by the recliner/bicycle analogy! Now, let me get this straight…is The Shack the comfy, feel good version of God and the bicycle seat the more exacting but edifying view of God held by many Christian conservatives? Or is it the other way around? I think maybe some Christians might say the same about various interpretations of the Bible–they are promised the comfort but are given the rigid bicycle seat instead and then their “desire for it is no longer, too.” Or the inverse: they get so comfortable being supported that they forget to use their spiritual muscles and then feel something is “missing” in the end.

Perhaps the answer might be, recline and luxuriate in the Bible and other sources but never forget to spend more time on that bicycle seat–doing work that may not feel instantly gratifying at the moment? I, for one, hate exercising but I always feel better in the long run (no pun intended, I think).

I’m going to be pondering this post for awhile….thanks Lauren and Mark!

376 Mark Lamprecht June 2, 2009 at 11:08 am

I figured I’d let those who were interested in the The Shack one way or another in on the book giveaway I’m having. It’s a novel written by a Christian and I’m giving away a signed copy.

Details here!

377 Darrin June 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Hi Ben, if you’re stiil out there. Sorry I took a long time to see your comment and question. I’m not used to recent comments showing up earlier in the thread as it is with this format, depending on how one replies. (That’s not really a complaint though, Mark.)
I appreciate your reference to the scriptures in discussing the humility of Christ. I believe though that biblically we need to distinguish between a humbling and a limiting. Christ is still described as the fullness of deity, as He who holds all things together. This is an unchangeable characteristic of the Son, as God is immutable. Jesus Christ is the same forever. We know that God is almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal. Limits are not ascribed to Him. The book at hand seems to take a man-centered view of the universe, where God is molded into whatever we think we need Him to be, which tends to be more like us. He is not really put forth there as sovereign Lord, infinitely distinct from man, and dealing with man as He sees fit. He certainly is abundantly gracious to save some by coming in the form of man, but He in no way loses the infinite deity which the scriptures ascribe to Him.
Sorry I’m not better at articulating this. There have been very good things throughout history written on this. The only thing I can think of right now was recently recommended to me, and that is Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation”, which can be read at ccel.org

378 Jon July 20, 2009 at 4:51 pm

This was a poor review of the Shack which is an enthralling book designed as a work of fiction but is being reviewed as though William P. Young is attempting to write a chapter or verse of the Bible. William P. Young does an excellent job of causing the reader to consider God’s reasoning for disastrous event’s in peoples lives and is merely a fictional metaphor to get the readers to ponder this. This critic is missing the point by miles and apparently takes himself/herself to seriously. Sorry folks but if you take this critics word for it you will be missing out on an excellent read.

379 abclay July 20, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Jon,

If I didn’t believe and stake my eternal destiny on what the Bible says about God I could probably reach the same conclusions as you regards “the shack”.

abclay.

380 Stou75 July 28, 2009 at 8:28 pm

I just finished “The Shack,” and heard that there were critiques of the book. I hesitated to look up those critiques, as I feared that it would ruin the book for me. However, I just had to see what was written out there….

Here’s where I land. The Bible is the ultimate authority on who God is. As stated in John 1:1, the Word came down in flesh, meaning Jesus. So, if any writing is inconsistent with the Word of God, it’s to be thrown out.

With that said, slicing and dicing “The Shack” is of no benefit to me. And trust me, I have the tendency to analyze things to death. Here’s what I’m walking away with. God loves us (humanity) so much, that He would be willing to do ANYTHING to establish and maintain an authentic, loving relationship with us.

I can tell you, that I’ve spent the last 20 yrs. of my life examining the scriptures, and I love the scriptures. Do you know what has brought life? Not a legalistic slicing and dicing of verses, but real authentic experiences with God where he made Himself real to me, by speaking to my heart…through his Word, through other Godly friends, through pastors, and by simply speaking His truth to my heart.

Where I don’t know if every word of the book is true, what I do believe is that God loves us enough to go to extraordinary efforts to reach us. Could he invite us away for a weekend? Could He speak to us through dreams? He can do anything He sees fit whenever he sees fit. Even if it doesn’t fit into our “theology.” And by the way, let’s remember how the Pharisees criticized Jesus for not fitting into the way they viewed God.

381 lauren July 28, 2009 at 10:14 pm

thank you. that was very nice to read. i agree wholeheartedly.

382 Mark|HereIBlog July 29, 2009 at 10:01 am

I wonder if any reader of The Shack would be interested in Driscoll’s Religion Saves?

Stou75, the way you’re putting things it’s as if those who oppose The Shack have not had real authentic experiences with God where He made Himself real to us, by speaking to our hearts through his Word, through Godly friends, through pastors and by simply speaking His truth to my heart. This is simply not true.

You also said

God loves us (humanity) so much, that He would be willing to do ANYTHING to establish and maintain an authentic, loving relationship with us.

Well, God has done more than anything, He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for the punishment of the sins for all who will repent of their sins and believe in Him.

It almost sounds as if by your statement that God would do anything for a relationship with is that you mean that God would try anything for a relationship with us. God, being omniscient and omnipotent doesn’t have to just do anything for a relationship with us as He knows exactly what it would take to establish as much. But He doesn’t come to us on our terms, rather He calls us to His terms which is through His Son.

There are many faithful Christians who oppose The Shack who love each other and serve selflessly. In fact, it is that very reason of love for why they give warnings about The Shack.

Thanks for stopping by.

383 gerg July 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I just want to place some thoughts in those who have such negative and judgmental views of The Shack.

Fact: Jesus was not a Christian
Fact: There is nowhere in the Bible that tells us to be any one of the incredible number of different Christian based religions that exist today.
Fact: Churches are closing at an incredible rate in the US today.
Fact: Jesus mentions “the kingdom” numerous times in the bible and yet “the church” only twice.

My point is this: Perhaps it is with renewed and fresh thinking that people all over the world will get to see and know the person of Jesus. THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE!. It is not about whether Baptist’s are better than Lutheran’s. Face it, all the Christian based religions were made by man, long after Jesus was amongst us. That does not mean that they don’t have a purpose. It also does not mean that they do not do good things. They do. But at the point Religions in general feel they have a club that only those that agree with exactly what they do, can be in, they will be going directly against the teachings and principles of Jesus. Less judgement and more Jesus is what we need and is what the churches need in my opinion. Jesus tells us to share “our” story with others. My story is far different than other stories and their stories are equally different from others still. This book is Paul Young’s story. And if him sharing his story through this book, with all its metaphors and symbolism touches one person and brings them closer to knowing the person of Jesus, then it is a wonderful thing. And I know that it has touched far more than that.
I thank God everyday that he did not give me the power to convert people or to judge anyone but gave me the choice to love him above all others and love my neighbor as myself. If I continue to do that, those I come in contact with may open their eyes and ears, and Jesus will do the rest!!!

In the name of Jesus

384 Mark|HereIBlog July 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm

gerg
You are correct that Jesus was not a Christian for He is THE Christ, the Messiah. What does this or any of your facts have to do with The Shack?

You made several assertions about Christians that I just don’t have time to get into right now. But please think about something. You are judging folks you don’t agree with in the same way you claim they judge. How is your position any different?

Where does Jesus tell us share our story with others?

385 MarK August 15, 2009 at 10:07 am

I wanted to let everyone who is subscribed to The Shack Review thread that the comment system has been changed. I’m not sure how it might affect your subscriptions so here is the link with the new Disqus comment system. http://hereiblog.com/the-shack-review/

386 marksutherland1 August 16, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Hi Mark,
I appreciate most of the comments you have made, on election, and would like to add a comment that may help some to see a little more clearly. In connection with these issues, I believe that no soul will ever find themselves in hell without knowingly turning away from some form of testimony from God, thus making themselves hell bound through rejection, unless the grace of God stops them. God has promised “The Spirit speaks once, yea twice, yet man perceives it not” I remember a little cliquish that my parents taught me, probably known by many: All MAY come, non WILL come, some SHALL come. Man is free to choose but unable to decide for God because of his totally degenerated state.
Would it be correct to say that God loves the sinner but hates his sins, and if a man is not seperated from his sins thru the Blood of Christ then he will be condemned.
A brother by Grace alone,
Mark S

387 Mark Lamprecht August 16, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Hi Mark,

I’m not going to quibble over “hate the sin, love the sinner.” I would might suggest a different approach. The calling of the whole person to repent and believe the Gospel. In the end, regardless of any separation of sin and sinner that sinner will answer for his sins either with Christ or without.

As to the second part of your sentence. I agree, but how about rewording it? :) If a man is not redeemed from his sin and the wrath of God through the blood of Christ (the Gospel) he will be condemned. He is actually already condemned – John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (NASB)

Thanks brother.

388 anonymousbeing August 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I was referred to this site by someone who informed me that all kinds of controversy surrounded The Shack after its publication. Why I was surprised I have no idea, but I am still appalled to see all this argument and judgement over a book that plain and simply conveys a number of beautiful and loving lessons. Whoever started this discussion frankly needs to get over himself, learn to see the beauty and love in all things that life offers, inside and outside of the Christian sect. I am so sick and tired of human beings in this world arguing over what God is and what he wants. We are human and therefore cannot possibly have all the answers regarding God. That’s why it’s called having faith because we place our trust in something that is not definite or physically observable. Follow what God places in your heart, treat others with love, and express the truth in your soul. Aside from that, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop judging others and picking apart people’s experiences of the holy spirit!!! Those of you that do this are arrogant and you are overstepping others’ spiritual boundaries. The Bible tells us that our relationship with God is a personal one, so let people have their unique and different reactions to this book in peace! In fact, it is precisely the dogmatic thinking of certain religious sects like yours that has turned me away from God in the past, and this book helped me refocus on what is truly important: love. I’m sorry to be the one to inform you of this, but those of you who sit around all day and debate the intricacies of God and the meaning of Bible verses are missing the point. I pray that you wake up and are able to center your thoughts and your hearts on what is truly important. Only then will you “inherit the kingdom of heaven.” William Paul Young obviously had love (God) in his heart when he wrote this book or it wouldn’t have touched millions of people so positively and deeply. Let it go and find something peaceful to blog about besides your self-righteous opinions. I know I sound angry, and I am. There is no bigger injustice for me than thinking you are so accurately informed that it is your duty to educate the world on your individual views of God (hence the reason I describe you as arrogant). This is NOT Christian behavior and it gives God a bad name.

389 davidww August 22, 2009 at 11:57 am

I really feel sorry for people like you, Wayne. You act like your so intelligent and so grounded in the Bible, yet you can’t see the forest for the trees. Pulling out individual quotes and twisting them around to say what you want them to say without putting them in proper context is really poor. Take this one for example

Jesus: “God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things . . .” (Isn’t this Pantheism – God in all things?)
Where else in the book does it ever refer to Pantheism? So because one sentence in the book “sorta” sounds like Pantheism, the entire book promotes Pantheism? And on it’s face, isn’t this statement true? Isn’t God all powerful, omnipresent, and the creator and controller of all things? To take a sentence like that and twist it into Pantheism is really, really sad. You should be ashamed of yourself.

This one was particularly good.
“Sarayu (Young’s Sanscrit name for the Holy Spirit): “We [the Trinity] carefully respect your choices, so we work within your systems even while we seek to free you from them.” (“Neither are your ways my ways . . . my ways are higher than your ways.” Isaiah 55:8-9. Does God respect man’s choices, or does His Word demand that we repent of our ways and that we enter His narrow way?)
Doesn’t the book really talk about God being willing to meet us where we are? Isn’t this a gross distortion of what the book really says? And God most certainly works within the systems man has created. Does he not tell us to respect the authority placed over us because all authority ultimately comes from him? “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” How can you take that statement and twist it like you did? You know full well that that is not what Young meant by that statement. To say he meant something else is to bear false witness.

Another classic:
Sarayu: “Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence . . . Light and Good actually exist.” (Really? Does the Bible teach that evil has no actual existence? Was the biblical Jesus aware of that when He conversed with Satan in the desert temptation?)
Another complete fabrication on your part. There is no such thing as darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light. Darkness in and of itself does not exist. There is no “darkness particle.” There are most definitely light particles. They’re called photons. And that is what Young is saying. Evil is the anything that happens outside the will and presence of God. When we chose to do things our way, and not God’s way, it’s sin. God is not present in evil, just as light is not present in darkness. And where does Young ever say that the devil does not exist? How can you in good conscience twist this statement so badly and put those words in his mouth?

This statement is funny.
….some argue that The Shack has value in that it demonstrates a loving God of grace who invites man to a relationship. But it does so with grievous distortions about the nature of God, the nature of the Trinity, the authority of God’s Word, God’s hatred of sin, the requirement of repentance, and the nature of conversion and salvation.
Personally, I think you owe everybody an apology. What you are trying to pass off to everybody as reasoned critique is, in fact, bold faced lies and prevarications. So who is guilty of the “grievous distortions? Unfortunately, it’s you, my friend, and you will stand before your maker and answer for your lies and jealousy. That’s right, I said jealousy, because you know you could never write something as good as Young has.

390 heinhenderson August 27, 2009 at 6:22 am

So many people judge for just the judging; Judgement is all over them. They can be so pre-programmed that they forget to make contact with God, seek in humbleness His presence. So many times, surely myself, we seek our own ratio and emotion, in stead of God’s presence.
Doe sthis book bring people to read the Bible and seek God, Jesus, The Holy spirit? The Bible is very clear about ‘when some one is speaking in God’s name, naming Jesus as the savious, naming the Holy spirit’
Go to God with your thoughts, feelings and arguments concerning this boock, seek Him in your ordeals.

Clear point in The Shack: our nature to desire independence… ins stead of depend of God.

391 judydavis_fuller September 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Mike, I could not agree with you more! Your indepth review was much more accurate. It’s too bad that so many people want to jump on something that is very inspiring and trash it, just because they can. I read the book, went out and bought another copy to pass around to others so that they can read it and form their own conclusions. So far, I’ve had nothing but rave reviews of those who have read it. It brought me a feeling of an even closer relationship to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, than I had before. God is pure love. God forgives us our sins when other can’t or won’t. Yes, it’s a work of fiction…’nuff said! If it can help anyone develope a closer relationship to God, then what’s the problem? Thank you Mike, for setting things more clearly!

392 Darrin September 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I know you’ve seen this article below, Mark, but in case others here are interested, it has more good thoughts:

http://trevinwax.com/2009/09/03/some-thoughts-on-the-shack/

I think that most of us no longer see any point in responding here to the many who continue to be judgmental about our being so judgmental … but this link seemed worth posting.

393 Mark Lamprecht September 7, 2009 at 11:15 am

Thanks, Darrin. That is a good idea and a good post to reference.

394 Douglas K. Adu-Boahen September 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Sorry I’m so late in commenting (almost a year if I have it right), but I feel a need to throw my 2 cents (or pence, as we’d say in London) into the conversation.

The Shack doesn’t claim to be theology explicitly – I’ll give it that, BUT let’s be clear when someone opens their mouth to say “God says X or Y”, it has become a theological statement. The book, which I read and annotated with an open Bible, makes HUNDREDS of theological statements and yet people blind themselves to the book, because it is well-written and emotionally-charged. Let’s be clear once more – just because something inspires doesn’t make automatically right. I’m always moved when I read The Diary of Anne Frank or watch films about it – doesn’t mean it was a story sent from God.

Finally, we ought always to drag everything – the latest book, CD, sermon, interview – through the briar patch of Scripture. If it endures the test of Scripture, we hold onto it, if it doesn’t, drop it like it’s hot and move on.

With that, I’m done…

395 sanader September 9, 2009 at 9:35 am

hah i knew this wud happen, thanx.

396 Darrin September 9, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Excellent comments, Douglas. Thank you for sharing that.

397 davidww September 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Mark and Darrin,
Interesting that you will come on and voice your agreement with posts that favor your side of the argument, but will only post: “I think that most of us no longer see any point in responding here to the many who continue to be judgmental about our being so judgmental…..” when I rebut the facts contained in the original piece.

My post was not in favor of Mr. Young so much as it was a stout rebuttal of the complete distortions that Wayne wrote in his original post. I’d be interested in hearing either one of you — or Wayne, for that matter — respond to what I had to say.

398 Mark Lamprecht September 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm

davidww, why respond? Because of your inviting words?

I really feel sorry for people like you, Wayne. You act like your so intelligent and so grounded in the Bible, yet you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Or maybe it is the end of your challenge.

Personally, I think you owe everybody an apology. What you are trying to pass off to everybody as reasoned critique is, in fact, bold faced lies and prevarications. So who is guilty of the “grievous distortions? Unfortunately, it’s you, my friend, and you will stand before your maker and answer for your lies and jealousy. That’s right, I said jealousy, because you know you could never write something as good as Young has.

Is this what The Shack produces in people? ;)

Seriously though, Wayne did not state dogmatic conclusions. He asked questions of what he saw as problems in the book. Others have actually gone into more detail on various theological troubles of the book.

399 davidww September 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm

No, Wayne completely twisted what Young wrote, and you don’t seem to have a problem with that. Perhaps it is you I should be feeling sorry for.

You complain about Young’s supposed inaccuracies, but I say Wayne was the one who was inaccurate. Prove me wrong. Refute my points. I say you can’t.

400 Mark Lamprecht September 10, 2009 at 2:44 pm

So Wayne’s questions were not accurate?

Here is a more detailed response on The Shack. http://steadfastlutherans.org/blog/?p=2071

401 davidww September 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Questions?!!!! Stop playing stupid word games with me. I listed three different quotes that Wayne pulled from Young’s book which I say he took completely out of context and then proceeded to grossly distort those quotes into making it sound like Young was saying something he never said. Now quit playing games with me and address my points.

As I said originally, taking quotes out of context and using them to say something that a person never said is not reasoned critique, it’s bold-faced lies and prevarication.

402 M Burke September 10, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Someone hasn’t read their Bible. Perhaps you should put away the fiction?

403 Darrin September 10, 2009 at 10:54 pm

David, naturally we will express agreement with those we agree with. Is that odd to you?

As for reluctance toward continuing to defend our positions, realize that most issues have already been addressed in this lengthy thread, and many complaints have simply been along the lines of “it was good for me, so stop being so mean about the book.” If you are going to attempt to provide actual arguments, great, but do so in a reasonable and decent manner.

I expect you’re not aware of this, but your comments are obnoxious and angry. Whatever content may be contained therein is clouded by your emoting accusations. Whatever you may think, that is NOT in keeping with the spirit of Mark’s blog, and I wouldn’t blame him if he deleted future comments that continue to be malicious. You are far from a good example of Christian character in your approach.

If you would like to have charitable discussion, that would be fine. Though some have long ago left this thread, there are probably still a few willing to rehash some of the thoughts that have been gone over many times before.

404 davidww September 11, 2009 at 10:04 am

I see you like to play word games too. This is not about “rehashing old thoughts.” This is about taking quotes out of context and distorting what someone has written, which is what I’m saying Wayne did in his original post. I am not here to discuss the merits of the book, good or bad. I am here to discuss Wayne’s gross distortions of what Young actually wrote. Maybe you can candy-coat that kind of thing, but where I come from, we call that lying. Where is the “good example of Christian character” in bearing false witness? Yup, you’re right! I have this bad habit of becoming rather “uncharitable” when I’m lied to.

405 Mark Lamprecht September 11, 2009 at 10:49 am

David, I find it odd that someone who writes poetry would not have a better understanding of words and how they are used.

Wayne did not distort what Young wrote. He analyzed what Young wrote about God in light of what the Bible says about God. You might not agree with Wayne though many do. Wayne is not distorting, but analyzing and challenging Young’s theological positions. It is what Darrin said above, disagreement.

Just as above where you say Wayne is wrong. You are challenging his position because you disagree. I understand that you disagree, but that doesn’t mean you are playing word games.

I’ve only banned one person on this blog and that was for a short time. I would appreciate if you changed your tone. If not, then please comment else where or I will ban you.

406 davidww September 11, 2009 at 11:19 am

The problem is, Mark, the fact that I write poetry means I have an excellent understanding of how words are used, which is why I’m objecting so vociferously here. You call it analyzing. My years of education and my time as a writer and reporter has taught me that what Wayne did is called distortion and fabrication. If I twisted what someone said like that in one of my articles, I’d be in the unemployment line.

The simple fact is, nobody will address my original post, which tells me I hit a sore spot that nobody knows how to (or has the guts to) deal with. So ban me. That would be the easy way out for you, wouldn’t it? That way, you wouldn’t have to deal with my objections, would you? In the immortal words of Monty Python: “Run away. …Run away.”

407 Mark Lamprecht September 11, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I may also call what Wayne did apologetics. It seems you don’t quite have a grasp of what he did. In your first objection you mention that the book doesn’t refer to pantheism. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t mentioned by name. (BTW, the Lutheran link I gave above goes into great detail showing the pantheistic leanings in The Shack.)

For example, if someone wrote about ‘God being manifest in three persons’ this statement point to a modalistic understanding of God denying the Trinity. Yet neither modalism nor Trinity are mentioned. It is a description of a position without naming the position itself.

No one is addressing your original post because they probably don’t see your objections as valid. You may even be misunderstanding Wayne’s position.

No one is running. I get thousands of hits per month and these comments are here for all to read. If it makes you feel better to believe someone is running from your objections then by all means pat yourself on the back, enjoy and smile. :)

408 davidww September 12, 2009 at 1:06 am

I need to go elsewhere for the weekend, but I shall return.

Mark, fasten your seat-belts.
Your beliefs are about to be rocked.

409 davidww September 12, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Back early. OK, let’s do this.

Webster’s dictionary defines Pantheism two ways. 1) 1 : a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe. 2 : the worship of all gods of different creeds, cults, or peoples indifferently; also : toleration of worship of all gods (as at certain periods of the Roman empire).

And here’s what Wayne said: “Jesus: “God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things . . .” (Isn’t this Pantheism – God in all things?)”

“God in all things.” I love this one. First of all, the sentence doesn’t even come close to saying that, but isn’t this a classic example of one of man’s “manufactured” sins? Well, if we see God in all things, (even though he in essence is in all things, as he created everything) therefore, that could mean that we might – and notice I said might – start worshiping those things, so if we see God in all things, it’s idolatry; and therefore a sin.

What a laughable bunch of bunk. God gave us the beauty and power of nature so we COULD see him in all things. Show me the verse that says that seeing God in all things is a sin? Oh, sure, you’ll be able to show me verses that say idolatry is wrong, and that it’s wrong to worship nature, but you will never find a verse that says it’s wrong to see God in all things.

This is a manufactured sin, much like the “sin” of drinking alcohol. Pretty much every church you go to today will tell you that drinking is a sin. Unfortunately, that’s not what the Bible says. There are several places in the Bible where drinking is actually encouraged, such as when Paul tells Timothy to “take a little wine for your stomach.” Actually, the Bible is quite clear on this. Drinking is not a sin. Drunkenness is. But man has “manufactured” drinking into being a sin.

And this one is classic. “In your first objection you mention that the book doesn’t refer to pantheism. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t mentioned by name.”

OK, so if I “interpret” what you say to mean this or that, then what I think becomes what you mean? Are you saying that it doesn’t matter what someone actually says, if I “think” you meant this or that, therefore that’s what you meant, even though you really meant something else? That’s called jumping to conclusions, and it’s disgusting. It’s a lie.

Look at your statement here: For example, if someone wrote about ‘God being manifest in three persons’ this statement point to a modalistic understanding of God denying the Trinity. Yet neither modalism nor Trinity are mentioned. It is a description of a position without naming the position itself.

No, your drawing that conclusion from that statement is, in fact, a gross distortion of what was actually said there. “God being manifest in three persons” does not even come close to pointing to modalism. Modalism says that God was first God the father, then God the Son, and then God the Holy Spirit. What gives you the right to read modalism into a statement like that? Maybe you would prefer that the statement would be worded differently, but on it’s face, that statement is true. God is indeed manifest in three persons! How on earth does that statement deny the trinity? More “manufactured” nonsense. You simply don’t have the right to read whatever you want into what people say, and that’s why I’m so upset here. Wayne did a hatchet job on Young’s work, and twisted what he wrote into saying what he never intended, and just like a lemming to the sea, you followed along behind him, agreeing the whole way.

You see, it’s attitudes such as yours that have led to all the divisions in the church today. Rather than seeking to have a closer relationship with God, you want to expend all your energy on the minutia; on “the rules.” Unfortunately, most of your “rules” are of your own invention. And that’s why people like you hate “The Shack,” because the book exposes you for who you are. The main point of the book is that “it’s not about the rules, it’s about relationship,” and as one who is caught up in the rules, you got stung by the book’s message. You run around looking for “sin” under every teacup and bushel basket, and never really figure out what it is that God really wants from you, and never seek the kind of relationship God wants to have with you. Everything is a plot, or contains some hidden message or agenda, and you just can’t come to see the good that is all around you. You’d have fit right in during the Spanish Inquisition. Now why don’t you go find something productive to do with yourself rather than trying to tear down something that God as blessed the way he had blessed The Shack.

OK, so that was my first point. Care to address my other two?

410 Mark Lamprecht September 12, 2009 at 11:23 pm

David,

First, it is very difficult to reason the way you are attempting. On my modalism example, it was just an example not a full blown explanation and rebuttal. The ironic thing is when you quote me saying:

“God being manifest in three persons”

Followed by your refutation that my statement

…does not even come close to pointing to modalism. Modalism says that God was first God the father, then God the Son, and then God the Holy Spirit.

You have actually just restated my example. Anyways…check the Apologetics Index on TD Jakes to understand the manifestation language.

As to pantheism, if you really want to argue more with someone I suggest a href=”http://sometrueword.blogspot.com/2009/07/some-true-words-about-shack.html”>a Shack Attack or Shaky Shack which also claim pantheistic statements in the book.

It is also interesting to note that the Universal Pantheist Society site states partially in defining pantheism that:

Pantheists believe in Divine Immanence. To the Pantheist, divinity does not transcend reality; it surrounds, and is within. All share divinity. This leads the pantheist to personal ethics of tolerance and understanding.

After 400+ comments on this thread I don’t desire this back and forth. I even stopped updated my Shack Reviews page even though there have been many more reviews.

You’ve said your peace and made some very assumptive charges. You know nothing about my personal life nor ministry, but you make charges anyways. You move from critique to person. My congregation saw fit that I was qualified to be a deacon to serve and lead them. They know me, you don’t. Yet you presume away.

Even the Apostle Paul disagreed with Peter as well as the Athenians at Mars Hill. He confronted error. We are called to do so as well. If I discipled people without pointing out and correcting error I would not be disciplining them.

Concerning alcohol, you’re barking up the wrong blog. I’ve written against the legalistic views of alcohol several times.

You’ve made some statements and they are here for all to see. Maybe it is time for you to start your own blog. As for this blog, that’s all folks!

Oh yeah, thanks for rocking my beliefs. Take care.

411 Ron November 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm

It is not warning people against false teaching that is dividing the church. It is the promoting of false teaching, through books such as The Shack, that is dividing the church. Truth can never be learned through error, and there is nothing of redeeming value in The Shack other than the fact it can be used as an example of deceptive false teaching.

412 Mark Lamprecht November 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Ron, I agree that The Shack promotes false teaching. The author also was not some untrained guy who simply wrote a book either. He went to seminary.

413 stephenarcher November 3, 2009 at 11:22 pm

There is no smoke without fire!
All this discussion back and forth is like the smoke and the fire is the heresies behind this book.
Why even bother reading this piece of fiction when you have even better books to read in the Bible?
(and at that, truthful accounts, and real prophecies, and good wholesome theology, that, I am sure of this, will take an eternity to get to grasps with!)

414 Darrin November 4, 2009 at 10:42 am

Ron, you make an excellent point. Romans 16:17 states, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” An important phrase here is “contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught”.

My point being that many people think doctrine is divisive to the church; but the truth of the matter is, BAD doctrine is divisive to the church.

Stephen, it does indeed take discernment to determine how much time, if any, should be spent on any given piece of foolishness, like this book. I believe God does lead some to invest a bit of time in order to see the issues and try to help identify them to others. But I agree with you – there is much, much better material to be spending time with, most notably the scriptures themselves.

415 Wanderer December 5, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Why do you people even argue about the content of “the shack”? This is what I’ll tell you as long as you “truly” believe in God there is nothing to argue about! I’ll ask you, as christians, do you really think God would be angry because of the misconceptions made in the book? Instead I think God would be more disappointed to all this argument! Theological or not, whether or not it teaches the exact knowledge from the bible or just from personal opinion; it doesn’t matter at all; As long as we follow the topmost general rule God has give us that is “To “love” him, as we love our neighbors” which means if we really believe in God we must love our neighbors, the same way we do to him; Anything we do to our neighbors is what we do to our god. Criticizing works about God especially those said to have healed many ppl is like judging God himself. Thats all.

416 Ron December 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Wanderer,
It is not wrong to warn against false doctrine any more than it would be wrong to warn your family about a rattlesnake in the house.
Ron

417 Shawn McGary December 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Hmm… i just love how you’re acting so tough. How’s about yall humble yourselves and stop fighting. This book wasn’t meant for you Mark. Don’t be greedy. Young didn’t write it for big ol Marky. God doesn’t need to be defended. If this book helps people to grow in a new relationship, who are you to judge it? oh… you’ll probably just say you’re critiquing it…any way you put it… your judgment keeps a fallin. Relationship is way more important than sitting in church Sunday after Sunday half asleep in your tux and tie, counting down the minutes till you get dismissed so you can go watch football. Something tells me that’s not the way it’s meant to be. I’d much rather see Jesus face to face every day and grow and grow with him :) Give it up on your denominational bull. Christianity isn’t the ‘right’ way. I go to MSBC… I’m a ‘Christian’ but not because I go there, but because I follow Christ. I love God and it hurts to know that old men are fighting for their little piece of territory and tapping someone on the back when they say something they like. It’s just dividing you. Don’t read The Shack and base your life around what it teaches. Take the relationship and yearn to be that close to God. Excuse me if I’ve been a little out-there… I’m not trying to attack anyone… cause the way I see it is everyone’s problem is they all think that they’re right. And that my friends, is Wrong. God bless all.
P.S. I’ll try to grow my generation as a Jesus loving one, not a denominational fail. I’m 17 and I’m so glad I have the chance to lead souls to Christ… isn’t that what it’s all about. If someone read all this and they didn’t believe in anything, what do you think they would do, or feel? This collection of posts sure wouldn’t witness to him, that’s for sure. God bless you all :)

418 Shawn McGary December 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm

… you keep gettin stuff wrong bro. Don’t put God in anything… that’s idol ism. I do believe God’s word is in the bible. :)

419 Douglas K. Adu-Boahen December 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Shawn,

As an 18-year-old, here’s a word of advice: Try being a little sympathetic to the other side of a discussion.

Your snide comments regarding Young not writing this book for Mr Lamprecht is a little, well, rude. I’m sure Mr Lamprecht is aware that the book is not written for him alone. Secondly, your view of what being a Christian is all about is a little lobsided. Indeed, it is a relationship with Jesus Christ, but allow me to use an analogy. If you had a girlfriend, could you honestly call it a relationship if anything you knew about her was a complete fabrication? No, we call that being deluded. It is the same thing with being a Christian – our relationship with Christ is built on the truths of Scripture. Young’s book makes claims about how God is, what God does and how we are in relationship with him – all those things are important, and if someone is getting those things wrong, then it is highly important that those errors are sorted out.

You seem to be hooked on having a relationship, but also seem to forget that the relationship is built on doctrine – truths which Scripture tells us about God, Jesus and the Christian life. Young distorts those facts, and distorted facts lead to a distorted relationship. Believe me, I am passionate about evangelism and reaching folks with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we don’t water down that message or bend the facts to make God look more loving than Scripture reveals, even if it’s nice.

Finally, the unsaved person who happened to come across this post and yearned for the way of salvation wouldn’t automatically switch off, because someone disagreed with a book. Give people a little credit…

420 Douglas K. Adu-Boahen December 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm

God became a man – that’s a restriction on deity, from where I’m standing, Shawn…

421 John Page December 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Shawn,

Sorry to jump in, but I am genuinely interested in your argument. I hear similar logic quite often and I have never understood it. But I’m quite happy to be corrected myself if it’s me that’s got my thinking all wrong…

You say these two interesting things:
“…the way I see it is everyone’s problem is they all think that they’re right.”
“And that my friends, is Wrong.”

My questions would be these:
Do you think that you are right when you make the statement that others who think themselves right are actually wrong? If so, how come you are allowed to think yourself right, but others aren’t?

Then you say (paraphrased), “Leading souls to Christ is what it’s all about.”

Again, do you think that this statement is right? And if so, aren’t you falling into the same “Wrongness” as all the unloving, proud “old men” that you’re correcting?

Hope that makes some sense,
John.
[A young (ish) man who is constantly having to check himself for being proud and unloving.]

422 nate_speer January 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Susan or others defending the Shack, with a great deal of respect…do you also like and agree with the Prayer of Jabez? I as well do not like the division but at some times it is necessary. Unfortunate, but necessary to uphold the truth. I ca appreciate the message of the book, however am fully against an afraid of the dangerous themes and underpinnings clearly against what the Word teaches. Discernment is needed in many of these cases in my opinion.

Seeking Wisdom and the Truth, in Love,

Nate

423 Mark Lamprecht January 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Those interested in this post should appreciate Dr. Mohler’s review of The Shack. Dr. Mohler states:

Even as Wayne Jacobson and others complain of those who identify heresy within The Shack, the fact is that the Christian church has explicitly identified these teachings as just that — heresy. The obvious question is this: How is it that so many evangelical Christians seem to be drawn not only to this story, but to the theology presented in the narrative — a theology at so many points in conflict with evangelical convictions?

424 Darrin February 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Thanks, Mark. I think it is worth showing Mohler’s final important observations here:

“All this reveals a disastrous failure of evangelical discernment. It is hard not to conclude that theological discernment is now a lost art among American evangelicals — and this loss can only lead to theological catastrophe.

The answer is not to ban The Shack or yank it out of the hands of readers. We need not fear books — we must be ready to answer them. We desperately need a theological recovery that can only come from practicing biblical discernment. This will require us to identify the doctrinal dangers of The Shack, to be sure. But our real task is to reacquaint evangelicals with the Bible’s teachings on these very questions and to foster a doctrinal rearmament of Christian believers.

The Shack is a wake-up call for evangelical Christianity. An assessment like that offered by Timothy Beal is telling. The popularity of this book among evangelicals can only be explained by a lack of basic theological knowledge among us — a failure even to understand the Gospel of Christ. The tragedy that evangelicals have lost the art of biblical discernment must be traced to a disastrous loss of biblical knowledge. Discernment cannot survive without doctrine.”

Amen.

425 Mark Lamprecht February 1, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Darrin, I agree with you and Mohler on biblical discernment is lost. The Shack is just one of today’s wake-up calls. One of the issues is that many are easily offended regardless of the approach in biblical correction. What is the best way to approach this?

Also, this shows one of the downsides of technology. Theological positions as offered by The Shack are so easily and quickly disseminated to many flocks. Pastors cannot as easily keep up. At the same time there are churches who invited William Young to their pulpits. The way things go “viral” today is both good and bad. Yet, this brings us full circle for another reason to find biblical discernment.

426 TJ March 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I would like to begin this statement by saying i’m sorry I don’t agree- but that fact is, i’m not. I think what a lot of the spectators posting in response to this review have forgotten is that this book was not made to re-represent God, the bible, the trinity, or to condradict the lessons taught in any of the many “religous” doctines such as the bible. In fact, I think it simply aimed to give those of us “spiritual” (as opposed to religious) persons a clearness of the creator’s legacy that most flailing churches, religious entities, and hypocritical christians often fail to provide in the church, through YEARS of bible studying, hour-long sermons with ambiguous messages, and tithing ouf of guilt instead of love. While controvery ensues over the many different religious teachings, let the heart feel, the eyes cry, and the spirit embrace what it can, when it can. That’s all this book does, and was meant to do; and it succeeds in every way.

427 Charlotte M. June 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm

A life changing book for me.. Best I have ever read. Thanks for this wonderful book. If it dosen’t change your life then you need to read it again.

428 LAURA July 9, 2010 at 11:52 am

Loved it!!!! In spite of all the posted controversy, I found “The Shack” to be a very heart warming and inspirational book!!

429 Mark July 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Laura, how did The Shack inspire you?

430 Karen July 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I’m in the middle of the book now and for every chapter I have to press on hard.. it has not held my interest….However the reason I started reading the Shack was because my husband read it and it turned his life around. He was always so intellectual. He had a hard time through abuse believeing that God was more than scripture. He could never relate to the personal relationship that God wants us to have with Him and the Godhead… He cried for the last 4 chapters which for whatever reason opened his heart anew…The Shack has turned his life around… and isn’t that what it’s all about. Out of what some would say to be herisay God moved and is now creating in my husband a personal relationship with Him.
I want to agree with some of the comments on the review… however as the humans that we are we always want to put God in box. He will use what he wills!!!!! And I will always Praise the God of the heavens and earth for reaching my husband even when others have failed. I watch my husband grow and grow from the day he ended the book.
Even God says that what satan made for bad God will himself turn for our good!
Praise God that it’s Him in control of are lives… Blessings to you all!

431 Frank July 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

Those of you who fear God through the teachings of men and only read the Bible, if you would have true faith in a loving God and not a vengeful God you would learn that Gods truth is back on earth and the light is coming through. You all say that this book divides churches when in truth, they are already divided. Jesus himself said there is one one church and one Shephard. That shephard is the Father.
The separation of the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost is by man, not God. Those who follow and praise the Father as Jesus did, the Father sends his spirit upon you and then you become a Son of God, as Jesus was. All are one and all in the Father.
If you had the freedom and faith to read more than just the Bible, you would learn much more truth than what is taught in worldly churches and schools about God. God teaches his own who heart and mind are free of the worldly teachings of men. This book barely skims the truth hidden through ignorance and fear of hell and damnation taught by man.
You want more truth, read the Nag Hammadi or the Pistis Sophia. Even the Book of Mormon has truths that even Mormons mistranslate. God is in all books. The Shack is just a teensy example of truths not accepted by men’s churches. Without a congregation, churches would fail, but God will always live in the hearts and minds of his people who don’t follow men, and are at war with no one.

God bless all who read and understand without their faith being threatened. For you are just a few of those who’ve found the narrow path, which few follow. Religions and Governments are not of God.

432 diamond July 28, 2010 at 12:40 pm

and if there is no GOD
then there is no FATHER
and if there is no GOD
there can be no creator
no nothing can be
if there is no GOD
iam here and this is now
therefore GOD is here
and if there is a GOD
THEN THERE IS LOVE.

433 Frank July 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm

God is Love. Yet, God gave all mankind the freedom of free thinking. He interfers with no man. All that comes down upon mankind that is bad are of their own making. All negatives are from Satan. Yet, a loving God knows not negativity of any kind.
This book, though it exploits what can be determined as real life pertaining to abduction and murder of a child, does not reflect on God’s love for that child and all involved.
Yet, the few truths touched on in the book that is not in line with modern religion, is just an example of the power of a word. How one accepts and handles change is each individuals right to think, praise or hate such words that cause one to re-think their position with God. That brings up a fear of God taught not by God, but by men who live off the fear of the ignorant and ill-informed. There is a scripture in the Bible which says; The more truth one has the more sorrow one feels.
Of you who love this book. A part of you has been touched with a truth your true spirit knows but your worldly self stands hard to deny. God knows us through our spirit. Sad many will never find and know the Father through it.
If one becomes angry upon reading this book, their being decieved by Satan the true ruler over this world at this time for a short time longer. He’s working hard to keep that staus quo as is. A change in beliefs that takes away from the norm would devastate the churches of man.
Only those who’s faith is weak will be deparate over this book. This book shows the power of words. And how words are accepted or not accepted shows what God each individual follows and praises. A God of Love or a God of hate and condemnation.
God bless any who read this and are not offended.

434 JPATT August 17, 2010 at 12:12 am

I read The Shack a couple of years ago…I consider myself to be grounded in the Word of God with almost 40 years of study ‘under my belt’ (honestly not boasting, just making a factual statement). The Shack is definitely an allegory and I was absolutely blessed by reading it but more so by the parable of what was being given. Kind of like the way Jesus did with parables, illustrations of truth, His Truth, in ways that people could relate to. He being God knows how to communicate truth to us. I agree with your rebuttal of the criticism of this book. I understand the difficulty some have in relating to some of the illustrations and statements made, but I have had difficulty relating to some illustrations and statements made in the Scriptures, but I know that they are just. Anyway….. Endeavoring to walk in love but to be bold in conviction of Truth, JPatt

435 Bill September 19, 2010 at 9:30 am

This book is a true spiritual experence, To bad you can’t open yourself to other possibilities. How you choose to believe in your “Higher Power” is certainly your choice, as it is mine to believe in mine as I choose.

436 Mark September 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

Bill, you’ve piqued my interest and I’m curious about a couple of things in your comment.

What spiritual experience did you have with this book?
Given your spiritual experience and that The Shack is written from a Christian perspective, what “Higher Power” do you choose?

Thanks.

437 JPatt September 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Hi…this is the best comment I’ve read here so far. It is about relationship and I encourage you, 17 yr. old, to follow your heart felt passion for Jesus! It’s about Him, not us :)

438 peter t. September 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Having so many other good works for Christians to read, leave this one alone, it will not benefit you in the least. My Pastor says he would not advise us to read it but its our freedom to do so of course. I choose not to because I don’t need it to tell me anything about my awesome God. How about something from RC Sproul, now that would be very beneficial to your spiritual well being.

439 Mark September 28, 2010 at 12:09 am

Peter, I like your perspective that there are many other good works for Christians to read.

440 Mike October 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm

God is just love. Can’t you see the beauty in all of these different perspectives? I tend to not disagree or throw words out there about who’s right and wrong because in reality (my opinion) no one is indeffinantly right. A right for you can absolutely kill someone else. This book really is just so personal just like everyone elses relationship with God. I myself live in gods love day in and day out and there isn’t a soul out there that could discredit my own beliefs without looking with a clear mind. No one has any right to judge anyone or anything, but we all do so easily and care free. God has never judged us, he’s only giving us the freedom to love and use in our own ways.

441 Don October 8, 2010 at 2:03 am

I have been told this is a good book. I intend on reading with a grain of salt as with anything. I have deep Christian faith and 5 years of Catholic school. I consider myself Christian now. I believe God work in each our lives one thought, minute, person, day, verse, and sometimes book at a time. We each our at our own level in our walk with God. If this book gives interest or help in any way to someone receiving God in their lives with repect to the Trinity, is this not a step in the right direction? No doubt they will follow up with the bible and scripture related books that will open the mind and hearts to the Lord, who will lead them Him without splitting hairs. Peace and God love to all.

442 Tracy October 27, 2010 at 1:02 am

I have to say that “The Shack” by William P. Young was a very thought provoking read.

After reading the book, I was left pondering several things about it – which is a true testament to the book’s worth. I had several questions on the validity of some of the descriptions of God but I had to humbly admit that there may be no answers this side of heaven for how God presents Himself to each individual.

I posted a more in-depth review of this book on my own blog http://www.tracysbooknook.com.

-Tracy

443 Eugene Daniels December 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I don’t need to drink all of the ocean to tell you that it is salty. nor do I need to embrace this book because it is sold at a church or some Christian book store. I do need to be on guard to how a book like this can effect ones theology……Especially if this book is the pastors wife’s favorite book. With over 12 heretical view points, opinions or teachings, how does this book effect the belief system of the pastors wife? Oh and you say Hey, it’s just a book, it’s just a fictional book. Ok lets use that argument and say the pastors wife is reading the Satanic Bible is that ok with you? or how about some Harlequin Romance Novel?
The Gospel message is lost in a book like the Shack, and the authority of the bible is minimized. The nature of God and the Holy spirit are minimized to being simple humans. What gets me, is I have heard people get more upset over someone misrepresenting there mother. This should raise the hair on the back of your neck when someone misrepresents the nature and character of God.

444 gary December 29, 2010 at 10:39 pm

It has been said “a good lie contains as much of the truth as possible” I am about half way through reading this novel, but have an uneasy feeling as I continue that something is just not right. Usually that is the Spirit who resides in me warning me.

445 Gabriela January 3, 2011 at 4:25 am

This book was given to me and when i read it i was well unaware of all the critisicm its been given. I fell in love with this book and i honestly dont get all that bad reviews. I am a follower of Christ and having said that i found no offenses in this book. To me this book is talking about our relationship with our Savior and forgiveness. I would have to say that these are two very important things. I know that the fact that God being a girl in the book took many people off guard but its fiction and in my opinion i think that what the authors point is is that we dont know what God looks like and in making God a female in the book its like its his way of saying God can look like anything and what He looks like doenst matter because what matters is the relationship that we have with Him. Now i clearly understand that i cant say why the auther made him female but like i said its just my opinion. It was so amazing how He talked to them and it really made me think that i need to be able to talk to God like that even if i cant see Him. I dont think this book was meant to harm, in fact i think the realtionship part really stands out. We all should have a relationship with God like that. Mack was angry with God and i can relate to that because i’ve lived through many horrors but i know God was always with me just as He was with Mack in the book and He waited until Mack was ready to start dealing with the pain. The story line to this book is amazing and its really too bad that you guys didnt get that.

446 Eugene Daniels January 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

Oh I totally understand your point Young is a very gifted story teller and in person he comes across like a very nice grandfather. While Mr. Young is a gifted story teller I must remind you, so is the devil Remember the Garden of Eden and the serpent? Young appeals to the readers emotions of longing for love while being very clever, catching the readers off guard, by Papa being a Woman. I would encourage you to check out the creeds of Universalism They embrace a MOTHER EARTH god concept.
1) The universalist creed of 1899 affirmed that “there is one God whose nature is love.” Young asserts that God “cannot act apart from love” (p. 102), and that God purposes what he does always as an expression of love (p. 191);1
2) There is no eternal punishment for sin. The creed of 1899 again asserts that God “will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.” Similarly, Young denies that Papa (God) “pours out wrath and throws people” into hell. God does not punish sin; it’s his “joy to cure it” (p. 120). Papa “redeems” final judgment (p. 127). God will not “condemn most to an eternity of
torment, away from his presence and apart from his love” (p. 162);
3) There is an incomplete picture of the enormity of sin and evil. Satan as the great deceiver and instigator of the temptation to sin goes unmentioned in Young’s discussion of the fall (pp. 134-137);
4) There is a subjugation of God’s justice to his love—a central tenet of universalism. The creed of 1878 asserts that God’s attribute of justice is “born of love and limited by love.” Young affirms that God chose “the way of the cross where mercy triumphs over justice because of love,” and that this
is a better way than that God should have exercised justice (pp. 164-165);
5) There is great error in the portrayal of the Trinity. Young asserts that the whole Trinity became incarnate as the Son of God, and the whole Trinity was crucified (p. 99). Both Jesus and Papa (God) bear the marks of crucifixion in their hands (contra. Isa. 53:4-10). Young’s error leads to modalism, that God is singular and at different times assumes the different modes of Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit, a heresy condemned by the early church. Young also makes God into a goddess; moreover, he breaks the second commandment by imaging God the Father as a person;
6) Reconciliation is effective for all without exercising faith. Papa asserts that he is reconciled to the whole world, not just to those who believe (p. 192). The creeds of universalism, both of 1878 and 1899, never mention faith;
7) There is no future judgment. God will never force his will on anyone, even in his capacity as judge, for this is contrary to love (p. 145). God submits to humans, and humans submit to God in a “circle of relationship”;
8) All are equally children of God and loved equally by him (p. 155-156). In a future revolution of “love and kindness” all people out of love will confess Jesus as Lord (p. 248).
9) The institution of the church is rejected as diabolical. Jesus claims that he “never has, never will” create institutions (p. 178). Evangelical churches are an obstacle to universalism.
10) Finally, the Bible is discounted in this novel. It is a book of guilt rather than hope, encouragement, and revelation.

447 CTomas January 4, 2011 at 11:43 pm

AMEN!!

448 CTomas January 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm

It is not our place to judge…AND, that’s all I’ve got to say about that….God Bless You, Each and Everyone :)

449 abclay January 5, 2011 at 12:15 am

Thomas,

If someone came to your home and beat the snot out of you with a ball bat, would you judge that person as being somewhat less than stable? Maybe even criminal?

I would encourage you to put the verse “Judge not, lest you be judged” into its proper context.

450 CTomas January 5, 2011 at 8:48 am

abclay,

Of course it would be considered criminal….but still, not my place to judge.
I have been beaten, many times in my life, and yes, I have forgiven this person…I would help them yet to this day if I was needed. I try very hard not to judge people, I sometimes slip as we all do. This was a wonderfully written book and I can’t wait to share it with everyone I know :) I really don’t think God is going to be angry with me for enjoying the reading of this book.

451 Eugene Daniels January 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

Dear CTomas
Ah when did the 11th commandment become “Do Not Judge”???
Are you erasing passages like Mark 13:21-23
“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ'; or, ‘Behold, He is there'; do not believe him; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
“But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.
or how about,
False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Peter 2:1-3

Are you tossing out the parts of the bible to line up with your 11th commandment?

452 Eugene Daniels January 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Abclay great point! If people would read the bible passages in context it would clear up 94% of any confusion that would ever come up.

453 CTomas January 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

Eugene,
Oh my, where did you read that I referred to that comment as a commandment? So sorry that you took it that way. I’m not here to argue, I stated an opinion and I am very sorry that you might think that I am here to change in some way the writing of Gods word. I soooo agree with the wanderer. Once again, I absolutely loved reading this book and I can not wait to share it with everyone I know :) I really don’t think that God is going to be angry with me for enjoying the words in this book :) Have a wonderful day Eugene, and may you one day find peace within yourself

454 Eugene Daniels January 9, 2011 at 3:52 am

CT it is beyond having peace, as long as you have the one and only true God then you would not be so prideful and resistant to reason or the truth.

I will strongly challenge you to take a close look at the Universalist creeds and compare them to what William P. Young has so cleverly weaved into his “fictional book” I believe Universalism is wrong it is a rank heresy and it has deceived many from the faith. I beg of you to look at the overwhelming evidences even if this book had just 1 heretical point of view or teaching I would still have to reject The Shack as being Christian. The Shack has over 13 rank heresies!!! For the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, please look at the evidence.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4

455 CTomas January 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Just have faith in the Lord Eugene and all of your fears about this book will vanish :)

456 Eugene Daniels January 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Dear CTomas
It is beyond having faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible. When people say things about Jesus or his word (the Bible) that are not true, we Born-Again Christians will defend the Gospel! We are not to compromise the truth of the bible, nor roll over with apathy.
For example if somebody published an untruthful remark about your grandparents or even your mother, lets say they questioned her honesty and virtue. Would you not try to avenge her honor?
That is simply what I am doing, Mr. Young has dishonored and muddied the reputation of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit by his book. Furthermore Mr. Young’s theologies line up with the heretical beliefs of the Universalist not Orthodox Christianity!
Mr. Young is a gifted writer yet to this day he has not recanted his blatant Universalist positions.
1) The universalist creed of 1899 affirmed that “there is one God whose nature is love.” Young asserts that God “cannot act apart from love” (p. 102), and that God purposes what he does always as an expression of love (p. 191);

2) There is no eternal punishment for sin. The creed of 1899 again asserts that God “will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.” Similarly, Young denies that Papa (God) “pours out wrath and throws people” into hell. God does not punish sin; it’s his “joy to cure it” (p. 120). Papa “redeems” final judgment (p. 127). God will not “condemn most to an eternity of torment, away from his presence and apart from his love” (p. 162);

3) There is an incomplete picture of the enormity of sin and evil. Satan as the great deceiver and instigator of the temptation to sin goes unmentioned in Young’s discussion of the fall (pp. 134-137);

4) There is a subjugation of God’s justice to his love—a central tenet of universalism. The creed of 1878 asserts that God’s attribute of justice is “born of love and limited by love.” Young affirms that God chose “the way of the cross where mercy triumphs over justice because of love,” and that this is a better way than that God should have exercised justice (pp. 164-165);

5) There is great error in the portrayal of the Trinity. Young asserts that the whole Trinity became incarnate as the Son of God, and the whole Trinity was crucified (p. 99). Both Jesus and Papa (God) bear the marks of crucifixion in their hands (contra. Isa. 53:4-10). Young’s error leads to modalism, that God is singular and at different times assumes the different modes of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a heresy condemned by the early church. Young also makes God into a goddess; moreover, he breaks the second commandment by imaging God the Father as a person;

6) Reconciliation is effective for all without exercising faith. Papa asserts that he is reconciled to the whole world, not just to those who believe (p. 192). The creeds of universalism, both of 1878 and 1899, never mention faith;

7) There is no future judgment. God will never force his will on anyone, even in his capacity as judge, for this is contrary to love (p. 145). God submits to humans, and humans submit to God in a “circle of relationship”;

457 CTomas January 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm

And your point is what Eugene? I’ve forgotten already. Wow, you do ramble don’t you. Just try relaxing sometime, maybe with a cup of ginseng tea, and try this sometime…maybe try not reading more into this book than need be. If the reading of this book makes one’s relationship with God stronger then why would you want to argue that. Please don’t be afraid, 10 years from now this book and the anger it provokes in you will be forgotten, I would hope.

458 Eugene Daniels January 13, 2011 at 12:45 pm

With the Shack, Its New Age Leaven – God IN Everything?

Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said,
“You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?
“Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up?
“How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 16:6-12

459 Eugene Daniels January 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm

CT Maybe you could share what you believe and why.
It would be encouraging to hear about your conversion story.

460 CTomas January 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I would just love to encourage you about anything tonight Eugene…but to be right honest I’ve had a very long day and I’m just too tired to even read the lengthy story you have left for us tonight, and actually, I’m just a little bored with you too, but please feel free to rant and rave all you want. I’ve come to the conclusion that’s pretty much all you want to do anyway….so have at it. Goodnight John Boy ;-/ ;-) [:>)

461 RobertC January 25, 2011 at 8:04 am

One of the original reviewer’s critical points was that there is a tiny thread of difference between what is true and what is almost, or seems to be, true.
The true fact concerning Satan is the he often appears as a angel of light. That is why walking close to God and seeking the truth from His Word as the Holy Spirit guides us through it is so crucial to us mortals.

Lest there be any misunderstanding from the start, I have read the book. The first thing that hit me as I read was that, even though it is fiction, it represents God in human form. There is only one legitimate representation of God in human form in all of human history. His name was Jesus of Nazareth. so I resented the book right from the start. Actually, I could remind everyone that Jesus foretold that many would come in His name saying, “I am Christ.” In addition, the Second Commandment forbids any manmade anthropomorphisms, namely:

“Thous shalt not make unto thee any graven image , OR ANY LIKENESS OF ANYTHING THAT IS IN HEAVEN ABOVE, OR IN THE EARTH BENEATH, OR IN THE WATERS UNDER THE EARTH. . .” That commandment forbids the making of mental images as well as material ones, which this book freely treads under foot.

The representation of God in human form fits the modern age like a glove. because modern man seeks to re-create God in his own image.

Perhaps the author had no intention of casting any shadows into the minds and hearts of men. I am more than willing to admit that possibility. However, the fact is that the main reason the book is so controversial is because of all the other objections expressed here as well as my own.

I must conclude by stating that there are many other criticisms of the book which I have but will not go into at this time.

Lastly I would suggest that those of you who endorse the book should get out your Bibles and research the issues raised in these criticisms – that is, if you really want to know the truth. God’s Word and His Holy Spirit will reveal it to you.

462 Gabriela February 11, 2011 at 2:13 am

I want to reply to RobertC. William P. Young made God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all into human form. Everyone in the world can read this book and we all could walk away with something completely different. In my opinion this whole story was about a father who lost his daughter and him learning to forgive and realize God was not to blame. So yeah God was in human form but i dont think the point was what God or the holy Spirit or Jesus looked liked, it was about the relationship mac had with them. This book is fiction and when you think about it how else would William had portrayed God. I think we can all relate to the story more having God a human and not something else. This book is fictional and you cant take the fact that God is human too seriously. I know what the Bible says about God but like i said its fictional and i think the point of God being human was so that you could see the connection more. By the way thank you Eugene for the points you brought up because although i dont agree with them all i did find some to be helpful.

463 Robert C February 11, 2011 at 9:52 am

Thank you, Eugene Daniels, for standing for the authority and authenticity of God’s Word and the fundamentals of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a fellow believer, I wish every Christian could know and understand the significance of Hebrews 5;11-14 in our day. It is often very difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, to keep the eyes of understanding of professing Christians where they ought to be. I’m sure you understand what I mean.
Your responses have been patient, kind, reasonable, and focused on the principles which delineate between truth and error, in contrast to the subtle but unmistakable personal attacks which have been directed toward you. The prayer of the apostle Paul for the Christians in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:15-20) is stilll being answered today in Spirit-filled believers who are able to discern between good and evil when truth and error are turned upside down. A godly man
who was very influential in my Christian growth and character development had a little aphorism which describes in a simple way the current situation, even among God’s people, “Truth and Error went swimming together. Error came out and put on Truth’s clothes, and Truth has been naked ever since.” When truth falls in the street,

464 Robert C February 11, 2011 at 10:41 am

This is in reply to Gabriela’s reply to my statement.

Yes, the book is fiction, and thank God that we can recognize it as such. However, we must remember that fiction is often a reflection of an author’s core beliefs, as in the case of The Shack. It amounts to his attempts to understand God in his circumstances, whereas to do that all is needed is simply to become fully acquainged with God through tne New Birth and subsequently growing in acquaintance with Him through the teachings of His Word. As i pointed out in a previous comment, God wants us to know Him and to fellowship with Him. This is indicated in Ephesians 1:16-18: “. . . making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened . . .” We live in a day when deception is a powerful force. I have made it a practice that when I have questions about something, when my inner compass acts up and says, “go slow on this,” I try to play it safe until i have checked out what principles in the Bible apply and I get a positive light on what is right. My daughter-in-law asked me to read the book. I read it and immediately had some very strong misgivings about it. I have since found what troubled me by studying God’s Word, and the issue is settled in my mind. Here is how I see it. The basic problem with portraying God in human form is the temptation of the author to give God human characteristics, which is exactly the opposite of the truth. We are made in God’s image, not He in ours,
and His image in us has been corrupted by our unrighteousness, and this book twists that truth, because it tends to get us thinking of God in human terms, whereas He is Spirit, not flesh and blood. There are just too many subtle attacks on the character of God in this world to let this pass. This verse stands out:” Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” And again, the first Q & A in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Q: “What is the chief end of man?”
A. “the chief end of man is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.”
I do not think this book glorifies God in any way. Instead it reduces Him to mere humanity.

465 Tita Foo March 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm

WOW awesome review. Thank you so much for this!!!!!!!!!! God Bless!

466 June Moss April 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

I read this book with scepticism, I recognise it as a work of fiction and the author makes no claim to it being otherwise. After reading it I had a feeling of wellbeing and of comfort. After reading your review I got the stench of the ” Law” which has ruined many peoples’ walk with a loving Father. I submit that,”My sheep hear My voice” I heard the voice of the good shepherd whilst reading “The Shack”

467 DDavis April 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm

June, any time a person redefines who God is, or redefines the attributes or nature of God they quickly abandon the word of God (the bible). This how we get false teachings and really bad preachers. The bible is the word of God, so what it teaches us about God, is the truth. I don’t understand your comment that the review of the shack promotes the law? If anything the law shows each of us that we cannot keep the law, and points us to the savior, Jesus.
The bible teaches us that we are sinful and in desperate need of atonement for our sins. Jesus said, “no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Accessing Jesus is through repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus. Read any of the gospel’s

Mr. Young paints a different picture of who God is and his presentation in the shack embraces the theology of the Universalist

468 Karen Cavallo April 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I just finished reading the book and was curious to see what others thought. I found it a little confusing at times, even a bit slow. After reading a little about the author, I can better understand his rational, or inner conflicts, as to why he wrote it. I found it inspirational, making God more accessible to us. I believe we are all seeking our own way to have a relationship with the Lord and this book is a reflection of the author’s desire to do just that. It’s a work of fiction and as such, an opinion, not fact. If nothing else, it is causing a stir and creating conversation to speak up and share our thoughts and beliefs about God.

469 DDavis April 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Kevin I believe you said it right there:
“I believe we are all seeking our own way to have a relationship with the Lord.”
!!seeking our own way!!
In other words people are trying to have a relationship with God, only it is on there own terms? and our methods can be devoid of what the bible teaches us.
The Shack simply promotes this un-biblical approach to God because it skirts around Jesus.

Here is a very interesting interview that addresses some of the Unitarianism, New-Age and Mysticism that is weaved in the Shack

470 DDavis April 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Well for some reason I cannot post the link here look it up at http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/ “Interview with Christine Pack of the Sola Sisters Blog on the Dangers of Mystic Meditation Practices”

Click on the Menu button on the player above and you can embed this radio segment on your blog or website.

471 Mark April 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

DDavis, I’m not sure why you could not post the link. I believe it’s this one: The Dangers of Mystic Meditation Practices.

472 DDavis April 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Thanks Mark that’s is the one!
The lady in this interview is so blatantly honest with what she encountered and endured through meditation practices. She simply represents the thousands of people who are lead astray by false teachers. She uses examples of people blending New Age, Mysticism, Eastern Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism into a Quasi pseudo form of Christianity, the examples she uses are people like Shane Hipps and Rob Bell, Rick Warren from the Saddleback Campus. These people are Charlatans who are masters at counterfeiting the word of God and deceiving thousands of people.
William P. Young has slipped into many of these churches presenting his little “fiction” story. and yes Young is good a telling a story. However, my warning to anyone singing the praises of the Shack, is what are you doing?
After listing to this interview I would hope that people defining Mr Young would you would rethink what is the theology that Young is promoting and does that line up with the bible?

473 Barleycorn June 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

This book is the most convoluted piece of junk that I have ever read. It reads like liberal propaganda, disguised as religion. It disrespects God by bringing Him down to the level of humans.

474 Ding July 12, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Why you keep on insisting your biblical view against a certified fiction is beyond me. You keep quoting bible verses in order to assert your notion of who God is…..according to the accepted belief that most blinded so called spiritual leaders who pretend they understand the so called word of God….really? read the Bible again and tell me it ain’t fiction.

475 abclay July 13, 2011 at 12:16 am

“Ding”,

The review was intended to show how “The Shack” describes an entirely different God than the One that is revealed in the pages of the bible.

Your comment really doesn’t address either “The Shack” nor the author’s review of “The Shack”.

I would be happy to debate the veracity of the Bible with you but I don’t think this is the thread to do so.

476 Mark July 13, 2011 at 10:10 am

abclay, thanks for answering. I don’t fully understand Ding’s objection.

477 ding July 14, 2011 at 12:18 am

The Bible has already proven its inconsistencies and fantasies whether you read it from the old testament up to the new testament and just like the shack it is partly fiction and partly true so there is indeed no need to debate about it ( But if you think that it is entirely true then I respect your opinion). I was addressing the people in this thread who attacks the book as if it was written to send a message that would distort the faith of Christians reading it and blasting away with comments like “it is the most convoluted piece of junk” etc…etc….(how do you distort something that is already distorted?). Again I do believe in God in my own way, but reading the shack gave me a fresh perspective of who God is to the minds of other people. But whether it is the shack or the bible they are both interesting fantasies we have created in our minds.

478 Mark July 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

ding,

If you believe that both the Bible and The Shack are partly fiction how do you know which parts? Why does it matter who people think God is in their own minds? I mean, if it’s all just mental fantasy creation why does it matter one iota?

And if God is what we think He is in our minds and Christians, for example, hold that the Bible as the true understanding of God it only makes sense that Christians would object to The Shack where it gives a distorted view of their faith.

479 Mark July 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

For those still interested in The Shack what would you asked Dr. James DeYoung, author of the book below?

Burning Down ‘The Shack': How the ‘Christian’ bestseller is deceiving millions

480 DDavis September 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

For anyone defending Mr. Young’s book “the shack” please consider this;
How would you like an author to write a book describing you and your family or maybe your church ministry.
However in this book you are represented as a friendly out going and likable A-Sexual Earthworm living out in the middle of a beautiful pasture. You and your family of earthworms have a little den you call your home. The earth shakes and your family is frightened as a cow steps over your little house. Blop, blop, blop above your house is a fresh cow pie, your kids find it very warm to crawl into and fun to play in and they discover that its tasty to eat compared to the dirt.
Sorry to use that kind of fictional example but I hope you understand the point.

Distorting the Attributes, Nature and Characteristics of God, in a theological book or even a fictional book is still blasphemous.

481 CThomas September 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

That’s stupid! Good grief!

482 abclay September 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Awesome defense of your position CThomas. Just Brilliant!!!

483 dDavis September 2, 2011 at 12:37 am

Brilliant, and your defending book describing a god, dressed up like what??

484 CThomas September 2, 2011 at 7:58 am

Why thank you abclay, I am brilliant :)

485 DDavis September 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless.
A Fool find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions.

When it comes to the shack this author uses so many bad illustrations to reinvent a new god. Mr Young has created for himself a different god, a new god. The author also blends in his own Universalism beliefs that are contrary to what the Bible teaches us. Like I said “To Distort, Falsify, Change, Twist, Interfere with the Nature, Attributes, and Characteristics of God, in any theological book or even a fictional book like “The Shack,” is blasphemous.”
Sir, you might want to go back a read Deuteronomy 5
‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

486 Carl D. Nelson Jr. March 1, 2012 at 9:29 am

I come from a line of preachers, my father, My uncles, My grandfather, were all preachers. My father was an Evangelists and I spent day in and day out of church. I’ve read The Shack and I fully understand the point that most are trying to make here. This is a fiction story yes, and it does outline a one on one relationship with God. I’ve read most of the comments that were posted on here. My personal opinion is that prayer and trust in God will guide a person to where they need to be. We should not judge as Christians, I’m seeing a pattern that is just disappointing to me. Call The Shack what you will, Call it a work of the devil. Call the author a deceiving liar but please remember and take to heart that God judges. We should love everyone as God does. God hates sin but loves the sinner. God carries that burden of sin, not us. We do not possess the know how to deal with sin the way that God does. Now, God has much on his plate knowing every single human being, down to the number of hair on our heads. With that being said, I feel that this book was inspired by God, I feel that he will use it to reach people that have gotten tired of hypocritical Christians that judged them for sin and ran them out of the church. I feel that God will use this book to inspire people that was beat as kids, people that abused alcohol, people that abused and sold drugs, people that have killed others, prostitutes and people that carry painful burdens and can not let them go. I feel that God will use this book to restore many, remember all things work together for good for those that believe and trust in God. God can change any situation. We should not judge this book, we should see it for what it is. The devil is crafty but not as crafty as God and as long as we trust this and continue to pray for those around us, God will continue to change them. I will never knock any one’s comment because I understand Christian doctrine. On that note there is an abundance of Christian doctrine out there, and everyone feels they are correct in what they believe. Lets just love one another and love God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God bless you all.
Carl D. Nelson Jr.

487 ctrevino July 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

regardless of all the judgement concerning anyone’s comments on here i am still going to post this. I had a friend call me today and told me that I was going to laugh at him. I asked why. He stated that he had read this book and it opened his eyes. A few years ago my friend was serving in afghanistan when he received a call that his father had killed my friends mother and sister and then his father turned the gun on himself and took his own life as well. My friend was only 22 yrs old when this happened. He was alone and had no close family. He turned to drinking and just doing stupid things that could have gotten him killed and put into jail. The house was sold and he would show up on their front yard drunk and falling all over the place. He moved here to San Antonio to live with his aunt in an effort to take him away from the place where the killings happened. Anyway long story short… He has not had a drink in about a month and when I talked to him he told me about this book and how it helped him to forgive his father for what he had done to his family. As a result of finally forgiving his father he has stopped drinking and wants to start a relationship with god.

I think that we should focus more on the positive of this book rather than arguing your beliefs and your points. That to me is so selfish. If this book has the power to change someone like my friend then I would recommend it to everyone I know. We are all God’s creation and God didn’t make us all the same for a reason. We all have our opinions but our opinions should not be thrown out to prove who’s right and who is wrong. We do not have that power to judge. Some of us believe more than others but why put labels on people when we all BELIEVE IN ONE GOD! That is the reason why this world is divided. Too many people want to FORCE people to believe in EXACTLY what they believe in and it shouldn’t be that way.

488 Dallas NFA Trust February 14, 2013 at 1:40 am

After several friends challenged me to read the book again (I assume they wanted me to upgrade The Shack to five stars), I indeed read it a second time. I don’t personally believe it is well written

489 daringart14 June 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm

I’m glad I read this review, because other than the rather sappy underlying tone of the book, I was having trouble discerning what problems I had with the theological aspect of it. I could almost get past God being portrayed as a woman, after all even C. S. Lewis used anthropomorphism, but when it came to the authors views on the nature of God, I wasn’t entirely sure what problems I had with it though I knew I didn’t like it. We can delve into these things in theory and discussion with friends, but reading a book about it is harder, because you can’t argue with the author.

490 RM August 22, 2013 at 11:08 pm

God is presented as a “large, black woman” because Mack had a very strained relationship with his own father.  Because of this, Mack could not relate to God as a father figure.  This made sense to me as soon as God presented Himself in this book.  This book is about God meeting us where we are, and how we need Him at certain times in our lives.  I have read it twice.  I love it.  Maybe I don’t know all the theological things that you do – I’m still learning and growing, which is why I love this book.  It did not ever cause me to question my beliefs.  It made sense to me. 
That said, everyone is entitled to their opinions.  You either love it, or you hate it.

491 fweaver September 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Great review! I actually loved this book. I was moved by the relationship that the main character developed with Jesus, and found myself desiring one like it. My focus was completely pulled to this one point, like many others, I’m sure. However, after reading this review and the comments accompanying it, I am very concerned. I found myself initially defending the book, but soon realized that God, and the Trinity, have been depicted as what the author thinks they should be, instead of what the bible says They are. Some views completely contradict what the Bible says, and it scares the crud out of me that I didn’t even notice.

492 karenpatrick1984 January 29, 2014 at 12:58 am

The entire beginning of the book bored me and seemed second rate. Sometimes I cringed reading the conversations. I didn’t finish the book.

493 Cory June 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Is the Bible not a man written book? Are you telling me that I shouldn’t believe what is wrote in this book because it is different than what is wrote in the Bible? How do we know that the teachings in the Bible are true? Were any of you around to witness what is professed in the Bible? I just don’t get how someone can tell me that what is written in The Shack is false and/or not true and that I should believe the Bible, but yet there is no proof that the Bible is real. Has there been any proof to anything that is written in the Bible, actual proof? If it’s Gods word, then why has it been changed so many times?

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