Thursday, August 14, 2008

I just recently heard some friends I regularly chat with online reading a new book called “The Shack.” Uh, I just checked it out and am shocked and deeply troubled.

What's up with this African-American woman representing God, some Asian chick representing the Holy Spirit and some Middle Eastern dude in his 30's representing Jesus?

I did some internet research to support what I discerned. This is NOT a good book for Christians to be reading at all! It really falls along the New Age line of thinking and also appears to embrace Universal Reconciliation which is a big point in the Emergent Church movement. I searched and indeed found a PDF stating the exact concerns I had with the book. This was written by Dr. James B. DeYoung, a professor at Western Seminary. http://theshackreview.com/content/TheShackReview2Page.pdf

I thought maybe I was being too harsh, but after reading Albert Mohler's quote (President of Southern Baptist Seminary) calling it "undiluted heresy," I didn't believe I was harsh enough. He maintains there is no way it can seriously address the issues of Christian faith.

Here are some problematic excerpts: This father-god-woman thing informs Mack, "I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring people from the inside. It's not my purpose to punish it; it's my joy to cure it."

WHAT?!!!!! You've got to be kidding!!! This is heretical and blasphemous! Heretical in that it does not teach what the scriptures explicitly state and blasphemous because it speaks against MY God's character. Read what it REALLY is saying here- If God empties out hell then He is good and if He doesn't then He is bad!! Don't call my God, who gave ME what I did not deserve (GRACE instead of hell)-BAD!!!!!!

If I were to murder someone and then stand before the judge and say, "Judge I was having a really bad day that day. But, I give to the United Way, I pay my taxes and I'm a really good person and I'm really sorry and I won't do it again. I know you're a good judge and you'll let me go." The judge, IF he is truly GOOD will say, "You're right, I AM a good judge. And, because I'm so good, justice demands that you be punished-not freed!" The family members of the dead victim would cry out the same thing too. If the judge was good then he will NOT let that person go. If he DID let the person go then everyone would protest and say, "That judge is not a good judge at all." This concept that ALL are reconciled to Jesus (even those who don't accept him and that hell is emptied out) is not only heretical but it is one of the main concepts being taught in the Emergent Church movement. I have done my own research on the emerging/emergent church movement for several months. Besides the fact that no one can seem to agree on a definition of this "movement" it is deceptive and is seeping into churches all across America because the church is so anemic! Bryan McLaren is one of the largest proponents of "Hell being emptied out." Folks, it ain't so. Here are some names to become familiar with: Doug Padgett, Don Scott, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet- beware of these false teachers!

Another point to consider is that it is so easy for us to break the 1st commandment reading and adopting the philosophy of this book and excusing the imagery it presents by saying, “It’s just another way to think of God.” Remember, "You shall have no other God's before me."? The 2nd commandment says, “You shall not bow down to any graven images (idols).” It is so easy for us to "make" a God that we want because our version is much more palatable than the REAL, SOVEREIGN GOD! It's easier to believe that there is a God that empties out hell because that is one of the main "wars" raging within us as Christians. We want to make a God in OUR image- one that we like. This is wrong. This god-woman (Papa) harkens back to the Babylonians and their goddesses and goddess worship.

Then, the scene where the Indian princess sacrifices herself, Mack never says that God the Father had nothing to do with this pagan legend or that God and the "great Spirit" aren't the same. It is just thrown out there and left for you to decide. However, if you are Biblically illiterate as the majority of Christians are today, it is easy to believe that this isn’t really a bad statement, but to instead believe it to be plausible.

Here is a link Olive Tree Ministries' website (Jan Markell) which has several resources http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/print.php?&ArticleID=3680.

If you're looking for a tear jerker, Young writes a good book. But what he is writing is heretical. I can't believe that Eugene Peterson, the guy who wrote "The Message" Bible (which I love as a paraphrase Bible), endorsed "The Shack" by saying on it's front cover, "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' did for his. It's that good!"

These two works aren't even in the same league and can't possibly be compared! I'm shocked!!

I met Tim Challies at a conference in Dec. 2007 and have come to respect him and his reviews. They are usually spot on. Here is a link to his review of the book which is far more in depth than mine is http://www.challies.com/archives/book-reviews/the-shack-by-william-p-young.php
Tread very carefully if you choose to read this book. My friend originally said that she was reading this book because her counselor recommended it. Is this counselor a Christian? She should be very careful recommending a book like this to people who are in true need of healing from very real pain. I just had to speak the truth and warn that this is not what it is being made out to be. Christians can say, "Well, I KNOW the truth and it's just a good read." Well, I counter with why would you even want to expose yourself to this false teaching which can be brought up by Satan in a time of weakness to deceive you? Unless you are doing a scholarly research paper on this book, I'd stay away.

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