So What Is Wrong With The Book and Movie The Shack?

The book The Shack and the movie are really not just sweet little stories of anger management from a Christian perspective. It is much worse than that! Even though the author professes to be a theologian he is not a theologian, instead he chose worldly philosophy in his book. He proposes new, postmodern theology to solve the world's problems, ie, gender identity, anger, world views on religion, etc., ad nausem! Postmodern theology follows this pattern: 1) gather thoughts and experiences from life; 2) review other thoughts and experiences that have been formed into theological constructions in the past (i.e., the Bible); 3) deconstruct these past theologies and retain what resonates with current thoughts and experiences; 4) develop an emerging theology; 5) test it with “the community”; 6) repeat the process. In short, let modern thought and ideas replace old theological constructs so that we are more in harmony with the way the gospel should work to our way of thinking.

So, if you are going to see The Shack as a truly Christian movie...DON'T! The book is a mess theologically and the movie will be worse. Is theology important...Jesus said in His Word it is everything! Remember the discourse with the woman at the well?  How about Paul's warning to Christians of the time of the dangers of wolves in sheeps clothing masquerading as teachers of Christianity? How about the discourse of those having itching ears calling on ministers of the gospel to tell them what they want to hear as opposed to the truth of the human condition? Most Christians today are more into the touchy-feely rather than the theology that is vital to not being led into error. Basically if Oprah Winfrey were making a movie on Christianity The Shack would be it!

The theology of The Shack is not minor to the story; it drives the narrative. Here are a few of the problems as I see them… these are only a few of my concerns. Please use this information to speak truth in love to others who might view the film or read the book and to make a careful decision as to whether you will engage. Danger ahead! Here are some general concerns:

The author presents a false view of God and one that may well be described as heretical.He downplays the importance and uniqueness of the Bible, suppressing it or making it equal to other forms of subjective revelation.

He misrepresents redemption and salvation, opening the door to the possibility of salvation outside of the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are left with an unbiblical understanding of the persons and nature of God and of His work in this world.

The author confuses the concepts of forgiveness and free will. He introduces teaching that is entirely foreign to the Bible, often stating with certainty what is merely speculative.

He oversteps the bounds of Scripture while downplaying the Bible's importance.

He relies too little on Scripture and too much on his own theological imaginations.

The book's subversive undertones seek to dismantle many aspects of the faith and these are subsequently replaced with doctrinal error.

Note: Please exercise care in reading this book or viewing the movie.
The Shack may be engaging but it contains far too much error. EXERCISE utmost care and concern, critically evaluating the book against the unchanging standard of Scripture.

Here are some actual dialog issues to help illustrate the errors within: One of the most disturbing aspects of The Shack is the behavior of Mack when he is in the presence of God. In the Bible, people are completely over-whelmed when they come into contact with the living God… not so in The Shack. For instance,
- In Isaiah 6 the prophet is allowed to see "the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up" (Isaiah 6:1). Isaiah reacts by crying out "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5)!

- When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, he hid his face for he was afraid to look at God's glory (Exodus 3:6). In Exodus 33 Moses is given just a glimpse of God's glory, but God will show only His back saying "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live" (Genesis 33:20).

- HOWEVER… in The Shack we find a man who stands in the very presence of God and uses foul language on multiple occasions and expresses anger to God (which in turns makes God cry… really?) (p.92), and who snaps at God in his anger (p.96). This is not a man who is in the presence of One who is far superior to Him, but a man who is in the presence of a peer.

- This portrayal of the relationship of man to God and God to man is a far cry from the Bible's portrayal. And indeed, it must be because the God of The Shack is only a vague resemblance to the God of the Bible. There is no sense of awe as we, through Mack, come into the presence of God.
Young chooses to portray God the Father in ways that Scripture does not. This goes for Young’s presentation of Jesus and The Holy Spirit as well.

At one point in the book, quoting Buckminster Fuller, a Unitarian-Universalist, who wrote a book entitled, I Am a Verb, Young has Papa say, "I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active, and moving. I am verb" (p.204). Papa explains further saying, "If the universe is only a mass of nouns, it is dead. Unless 'I am,' there are no verbs, and verbs are what makes the universe alive" (p.204).

By implication this would seem to indicate that God is not a person or a being, but a force. In reality, verbs are not what make the universe alive; rather, verbs describe the actions of beings that are already alive and active. It is God who makes the universe what it is by being who He is. Though we affirm that God is alive and active in the world, He is no verb. Such a teaching casts doubt on the personhood of God. We can only relate to God as a person, as a noun, and not as a verb.

- In the book, “Papa” tells Mack of the time when the three persons of the Trinity “spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God.” Nowhere in the Bible is the Father or the HJoly Spirit described as taking on human existence.

- The Christology (presentation of Jesus Christ) of the book is likewise confused. “Papa” tells Mack that, though Jesus is fully God, “he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being.” When Jesus healed the blind, “He did so only as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone.” This seems to ignore the diety of Christ, looking only at His humanity. The Hypostatic Union of Christ clearly teaches that Jesus was the God-Man… He possessed all of the attributes of God Himself. He did not merely borrow it from the Father during His earthly ministry.

- Also in the book, Jesus tells Mack that he is “the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu.” Not the only way, but merely the best way. - In another chapter, “Papa” corrects Mack’s theology by asserting, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.” (Note: Without doubt, God’s joy is in the atonement accomplished by the Son. Nevertheless, the Bible consistently reveals God to be the holy and righteous Judge, who will indeed punish sinners. The idea that sin is merely “its own punishment” fits the Eastern concept of karma, but not the Christian Gospel.)

- Further, the relationship of the Father to the Son, in John 17:1-5 is not represented correctly. Scripture teaches that authority and submission are inherent to the Godhead and have existed from the beginning. Jesus was sent by the Father (John 6:57), and Jesus says it is his intention to obey the Father's will (Luke 22:42). The Holy Spirit obeys both the Father and the Son (John 14:26, John 15:26). These are not the result of sin; they are the very nature of the Godhead in which all three persons are equal in essence but exist within a hierarchy of authority and submission.

- This is rejected in favor of an absolute equality of authority among the persons of the Trinity. “Papa” explains that “we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity.” In one of the most bizarre paragraphs of the book, Jesus tells Mack: “Papa is as much submitted to me as I am to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way.”

- The Shack also teaches a form of patripassionism, another ancient heresy that teaches that God the Father suffered on the cross along with God the Son. At one point, Mack notices "scars in [Papa's] wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his," and later Papa says, "When we three spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed. Even though we have always been present in this created universe, we now became flesh and blood." Again, not supported at all in scripture. Jesus Christ alone was the sacrificial lamb of God. He alone died on the cross, was buried, and rose again on the third day, to secure redemption for all who believe.

- There also seems to be several attempts to help God become more relatable. We often anthropomorphize God (attribute human qualities to Him). We do so for our own comfort but also at our own peril. God is spirit (John 4:24), and when He refers to Himself in anthropomorphic terms, it is always as a father. This is important because any attempt to make God a female inevitably leads to goddess religion and God’s becoming some sort of fertility figure, a worship of the creation instead of the Creator (Romans 1:25). And for some reason Papa changes form later in the book to become a gray-haired, pony-tailed male. God does not change Himself to accommodate our flawed understanding of Him. He changes us so we can see Him as He truly is (1 Corinthians 13:12).

- Probably the most dangerous aspects of The Shack‘s message have revolved around questions of universalism, universal redemption, and ultimate reconciliation. Jesus tells Mack: “Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions.” In the book, the Jesus character adds, “I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, my Beloved.” Mack then asks the obvious question — do all roads lead to Christ? Jesus responds, “Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.” This may sound pleasing to the ear, but it ignores the narrow way of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

The obvious question by one theologian 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?

Evangelical observers have not been alone in asking this question. Some have argued that the popularity of The Shack suggests that evangelicals might be shifting their theology in exchange for “nonbiblical metaphorical models of God”, as well as its “nonhierarchical” model of the Trinity and, most importantly, “the theology of universal salvation.” The Shack has introduced and popularized these liberal concepts even among mainstream evangelicals.

As many conservative theologians have suggested; When it comes to The Shack, the really troubling fact is that so many readers are drawn to the theological message of the book, and fail to see how it conflicts with the Bible at so many crucial points. All this reveals a disastrous failure of evangelical discernment. One person has said, “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.”

So what’s the answer? The answer is not to ban The Shack or yank it out of the hands of readers, as some have suggested... We need not fear books or movies — we must be ready to answer them… 1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
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, and to engage the culture with truth! But our real task, as one theologian has suggested is to, “reacquaint evangelicals with the Bible’s teachings on these very questions and to foster a doctrinal rearmament of Christian believers.” AMEN!

Another Gospel

Paul Young says...
"What is the Gospel? The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibility of salvation and you have been invited to receive Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into His life, into His relationship with God the Father, and into His anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less or more true." (pp. 117-118).
So, Mr. Young defines the gospel by saying "that Jesus has already included you into His life, into His relationship with God the Father, and into His anointing in the Holy Spirit."  His definition is unclear and is reminiscent of New Age philosophy - as I've mentioned above.  I sought to understand more clearly what he defined the gospel to be.  So, I did a search through his book. The word "gospel" occurs five times, (pp. 34, 117, 165, 167) and the word "gospels" occurs once (p. 4). In none of those occurrences is the gospel defined biblically.

The Bible says...

1 Corinthians 15:1–4, "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."
So, we can see that according to the Bible, the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  It is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins. This fundamentally basic understanding of the gospel isn't found within Paul Young's words. This made me curious. So, I did some searches in my Kindle edition for different phrases that are related to the gospel.  What I found was not good.

Avoiding the sacrifice of Christ

  • "Christ died" occurs zero times.
  • Jesus being crucified is found on pages 4, 6, 9, and 11.  But, they are not found in the words of Paul Young. They are found in the words of C. Baxter Kruger who wrote the Foreword.  Furthermore, none of those references mention that Jesus died for our sins.
  • On a good note, the phrase "forgiveness of sin" does occur, but only once, again in the forward (p. 4), which is not written by Young.
  • The word "atoning" occurs only once on page 248 in a list of scriptures.  The words "atoned" and "atonement" do not occur at all.
  • "Propitiation" does not occur at all.
  • The word "blood" occurs 4 times (pp. 75, 231, 232, 245).  The only reference to the sacrifice of Christ is found in a list of Scriptures at the end of his book. He does not discuss how the blood of Christ cleanses us of our sins.
  • "Sacrifice occurs 17 times on pages 150, 165, 166, 167, 169, 170, 171, and 248.  But, there is a problem.  In regards to the sacrifice of Christ, Young spins the issue negatively by associating it with a "bloodthirsty need for justice" (p. 150), modern day child sacrifice both real and metaphorical (p. 165, 169, 171), the sacrifice he [Paul Young] made as a child so people could hear about Jesus (p. 166), and peoples' living sacrifice in the context of embarrassment (p. 167).  He says perhaps mockingly, that if God affirms child sacrifice shouldn't we, too (p. 169).  He says "God hates child sacrifice" (p. 170) and that "God does not require child sacrifice" (p. 171).  Young mentions the almost-sacrifice of Isaac (p. 170) and the sacrifice required by pagan gods (p. 171).  In one place, he associates sacrifice with magic (p. 171).  He implies that we require a sacrifice, not God (pp. 171-172), and there is a single reference to sacrifice in 1 John 2:2 (p. 248).
This is really disturbing. Why does Paul Young shy away from the sacrifice of Christ as the place where our sins are forgiven by his shed blood?  Let me quote what he says so you can understand what he is saying.
  • "God hates child sacrifice and is opposed to it in any form." (p. 170).
  • "And how would we religious people interpret this sacrifice? We would declare that it was God who killed Jesus, slaughtering Him as a necessary appeasement for His bloodthirsty need for justice." (pp. 150-151).
  •  "One of the narratives about God is that because of sin, God required child sacrifice to appease a sense of righteous indignation and the fury of holiness—Jesus being the ultimate child sacrifice. Well, if God is like that, then doesn’t it make sense that we would follow in God’s footsteps?" (p. 169).
  • "Nothing, not even the salvation of the entire cosmos, could ever justify a horrific torture device called a “cross.” (p.  39).
So, Paul Young equates the sacrifice of Jesus with child sacrifice and says that God hates it (p. 170).  He also speaks negatively about the cross of Christ as something that cannot be justified (p. 39).  This is incredibly disturbing.  He is very confused.
Yet, the Bible says...
  • Leviticus 17:11, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement."
  • Acts 20:28, "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."
  • Galatians 6:14, "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
  • Ephesians 2:13, "But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
  • Colossians 1:20, "and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."
  • 1 John 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."
Why does Paul Young appear to avoid the true nature of the gospel that is Christ's blood atonement for the forgiveness of our sins? I don't know. But I do know that what he says the gospel is, is not biblical. It is another gospel.
Galatians 1:8–9, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"
The gospel is vitally important and should never be redefined or ridiculed. God has declared what it is and he has declared a warning to those who would preach a different one.

Paul says that God submits to us

Paul Young says...
  • "What if there is no “plan” for your life but rather a relationship in which God constantly invites us to co-create, respectfully submitting to the choices we bring to the table?" (p. 39).
  • "As our children’s choices affect our relationship with them, so too do our choices affect our relationship with God. God submits rather than controls and joins us in the resulting mess of relationship, to participate in co-creating the possibility of life, even in the face of death." (pp. 42-44).
  •  What about the cross, in which God submits to our anger, rage, and wrath? (p. 48).
  • "But God did not start religion. Rather, religion is among a whole host of things that God did not originate but submits to because we human beings have brought them to the table." (p. 109).
  • "This is Jesus. God submitting to our torture machine and transforming it into an icon and monument of grace, so precious to us that we wear it on our rings or around our necks." (pp. 152-154).
  • "God submits to Abraham’s choices and creatively works to build something good out of the rubble." (p. 170).
  •  "I think evil exists because of our turning from face-to-face-to-face relationship with God, and because we chose to say no to God, to Life and Light and Truth and Good. God, with utmost respect and reverence, submits to our choice even while utterly opposing it." (p. 186).
A low view of God results in a high view of ourselves. In Paul Young's words, God submits to us... to us.  Really?  Not once in my entire life has God ever submitted to me. In fact, in all my experience and all my encounters with Christians, not once has any of them said God has submitted to them. It just doesn't happen. Why? Because it's not biblical, that's why. Nothing in Scripture says God submits to us. But, Paul Young offers his New Age, humanist philosophy in a pleasant, flowing prose in order to say that God submits to us.  The truth is that the Bible says the opposite.

The Bible says...

  • James 4:7, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
  • Philippians 3:21, "who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself."
  • 1 Peter 5:6, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time."
We submit to God because he is sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent and the one we ought to submit to. He is God.  I can only surmise that the scope of Paul Young's theological error is due in part to his oppressive father who required submission, who was terrifying (p. 31), a "righteous man who was never wrong, and he was a strict disciplinarian" (p. 31). Young's reflection of God, I suspect, is a reflection of his apparent resentment towards his father.  Perhaps that is why Paul Young says...
"...the God I grew up with was of little comfort. In fact, that God was considered the originator of evil, a distant deity who had a plan that included the torture of a child. One can’t run to God if God is the perpetrator." (p. 238).

Various Quotes with Comments

By now I assume you've gotten a good understanding of some of the many errors taught by Paul Young in his book The Lies We Believe About God. But there is more. I have provided an outline list of other quotes from the book worth examining. Following each one, I offer a small comment. If, however, you want to see the full list of quotes that I developed in my research of his book for this article, please go here.
  1. "I am fundamentally good because I am created “in Christ” as an expression of God, an image bearer, imago dei (see Ephesians 2:10)." (p. 35).
    • Paul Young fails to understand the nature of the fall. It is true that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). But it is also equally true that we are fallen. In other words, we are sinners and are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Furthermore, if we were fundamentally good, then why does the Bible say that it is man who is deceitful (Jer. 17:9), full of evil (Mark 7:21-23), loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19), cannot come to God on his own (John 6:44), does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12), is helpless and ungodly (Rom. 5:6), is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20John 8:34), cannot receive spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14), is dead in his sins (Eph. 2:1), is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3), and is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15).
    • I'm not trying to say we are worthless pieces of dung. Not at all.  God values us. But, the fact is that we are fallen and sinful. We are not fundamentally good. We are touched by sin in all that we are and only by God's grace and love can we be saved from the consequences of our sin through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
  2. "agape, a Greek word that means other-centered, self-giving, committed love." (p. 95).
    • This is a common mistake made by a lot of people. Agape does not always mean "other centered, self giving, committed love."  We find the opposite use of the word as described by Jesus in Luke 11:43"Woe to you Pharisees! For you love [agape] the chief seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places."  Now, this is not that big of a deal. But you would think that someone who wants to make such a blanket statement about agape would do a little bit more research.
  3. "Jesus is not the founder of any religion. He did not come to start a new religion to compete with the myriad of other religions that already existed. Rather, Jesus indwelt an inclusive family of faith—in which we are learning to celebrate the presence of God (contemplation and action) and the presence of each other (community)." (pp. 110-111).
    1. Whether Mr. Young likes it or not, Christianity is most definitely a religion. And, Jesus founded Christianity.  It's called "Christ"-ianity.  Now I suspect that why Young says Jesus is not the founder of any religion is because he equates religion with something bad.  He mentions conflicts between faith and religion (p. 52) the dangers of patriotism and religion (p. 100), religion is people based (p. 110), religion is formed by people due to their fears (p. 110), religion is used to control people (p. 111), related to external activities (p. 111), that "we sacrifice our children on the altars of religion" (p. 169), etc.
    2. Now I understand that "religion" can be a bad thing when it is a dominant tradition that imposes rules and separates us from God.  But, the fact is that Mr. Young does not properly represent what the word religion means in the context of Christianity's founder.
  4. "To understand who God really is, you can begin by looking at yourself, since you are made in God’s image. All the things you long to be true about who you are—authenticity, kindness, patience, integration, goodness, purity of heart—these are qualities of the God in whose image you were created." (p. 178).
    1. Unfortunately, Paul Young is offering his humanist philosophy once again.  Humanism is the teaching that man is the start and standard of what is morally good and true.  It is a man-centered philosophy that says "to understand who God really is, you begin by looking at yourself." That is blatantly wrong and unbiblical.
    2. The truth is, to understand who God really is, we need to look to Jesus. Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:114). He is the exact presentation of the nature of God, (Hebrews 1:3).  While it is true that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), it is also true that we have a fallen nature which manifests itself in our sinful intention and actions (Romans 5:1218Ephesians 2:1,3).  However, Jesus is not fallen. He never sinned (1 Peter 2:22).  We should look to him to understand God, not ourselves. Paul Young is perpetrating a lie.
  5. "Turns out Matt [an atheist] not only believes in Love, but in Life and in Truth. Not bad for an unbeliever. But does that make him a child of God? No, it doesn’t. He already was a child of God." (pp. 204-205).
    1. Paul Young fails to clarify the biblical meaning of what it means to be "children of God.  There is a sense in which the terms applied only to believers. John 1:12, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."  There are more verses that say the same thing: Romans 8:16-179:8Philippians 2:151 John 3:1-2.
    2. But, there is another sense in which it is used.  When Paul the Apostle was witnessing to the unbelievers at Mars Hill, he said, "for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man," (Acts 17:28–29).  The latter usage of the term is in reference to a pagan philosopher.  Paul was using the term because it was familiar to them and he was seeking to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    3. So, was Matt the atheist a child of God? In the pagan sense, yes.  In the biblical sense, no.  Paul Young should know the difference.
  6. "Expecting perfection is a denial of our humanity," (p. 226).
    • In the context of what Paul Young was talking about in this quote, he was speaking of our inability to be perfect. It is human nature to fail.  We are imperfect. That's why he said expecting perfection is a denial of our humanity.  But, he is mistaken. God is the standard of perfection. He is a standard of holiness.  In fact, he says be holy because he is holy (1 Peter 1:16).  Paul Young fails to understand the difference between God's holy requirement based on his perfect nature, and the obligation that we as people have to do what is right before God. God does not lower his standard for us and give us a pass. He says be holy for I am holy. God elevates himself as the standard not us. That is why Jesus says in Matthew 5:48 that we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
    • But, of course, we cannot attain such perfection. This is why we need Jesus. He, being God in flesh (John 1:114Colossians 2:9), was able to keep the law perfectly and never sin (1 Peter 2:22).  Jesus did what we could not. Therefore, God's expecting perfection of us is not a denial of our humanity. It is the proper standard based on God's character.  This is all the more reason why we need to trust in Christ who provides the "perfection" we cannot attain. We need to trust in what Jesus has done in his perfect life and his loving sacrifice.
  7. "Do we really think that Jesus never made a mistake on His homework, or never forgot someone’s name, or as a carpenter always made accurate measurements? Jesus didn’t have a reputation for being the “best carpenter” in Nazareth, making perfect doors and always-level tables." (p. 226).
    1. 1 Cor. 4:6 says that we are not to exceed what is written in Scripture. Nothing in Scripture says that Jesus ever made a mistake. But, on the other hand, nothing in Scripture says he did didn't, either.  Nevertheless, are we to argue from what the Bible does not say?  Nope.  We are told not to exceed what is written.  To do so is dangerous.  Let me say it again, we should not "fill in the blanks" where God does not speak, especially when it comes to the person and work of Jesus.
  8. "Pride is a sin because it is a denial of being human. Humility is always a celebration of being human." (p. 227).
    • This is more humanistic philosophy that is not rooted in Scripture.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say anything like the idea that pride is a sin because it's a denial of being human.  Where did he get this, from the book of 2 Hesitations?  It's not there. Paul Young is offering humanist philosophy and using Scripture to justify it.

Conclusion

On page 126, Paul Young says he is a theologian.  Perhaps he was, but, he is not a biblical theologian. He is quite bad at it.  He's more like a humanist philosopher weaving man centered ideology into biblical themes.  He's a good enough writer who happened upon a good enough story in his original work, The Shack, that has resulted in millions of people voting with their cash in support of his teachings. Undoubtedly, the publishers wanted to capitalize on his popularity, so he has produced his second book, Eve, as well as this third offering under examination.
In my opinion, the name of his third book should be changed.  Instead of The Lies We Believe About God, by Paul Young, it should be The Lies I Teach About God, by Paul Young.  Avoid this book.
2 Peter 2:2–3, "Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 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."

The Shack is a wake-up call for evangelical Christianity. It is indeed a tragedy that evangelicals have lost the art of biblical discernment… and that must be traced to a disastrous loss of biblical teaching and preaching. Discernment cannot survive without proper doctrine and proper doctrine will not be found apart from God’s Word.

In the end, I too believe the author truly wants to show us the God of love as found in Scripture (1 John 4:8), but in so doing, he ignores God as the holy and pure One (Isaiah 6:1-5) and, ultimately, as the final Judge (Revelation 20:11-15). Any presentation of God that shows only one side of His nature is incomplete and dangerous. Someone has written, “In an effort to counter a false view of God as only the judging avenger of wrath, we must not go the opposite direction and present Him only as a loving, indulgent parent who never judges sin. Both extremes are false in that they present an incomplete picture of God as He shows Himself to us in Scripture.” Such complete dismissal of scripture cannot be received by Christ disciples as acceptable. Be careful! Go back to the study of the bible and see for yourself how badly the misrepresentation of scripture and God The Shack really is...It matters!

Kudos to CARM for letting me borrow some of their talking points!

See you next blog,
Ted

Comments

  1. I saw this movie and though it contained some good messages, such as forgiveness, I too was put off by some of the things I saw that weren't consistent with what the Bible teaches.

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