This is an e-mail that I received from a very well respected friend, who in turn received it from a friend, and has given permission for me to post it here, concerning the book “The Shack.” I have never read the book but Have researched it enough to know that it is a successful product of end time deception. I have persuaded others not read it, but was never able to tell them precisely why. Please take the time to read this, since the book is very popular, and if you haven’t heard of it, you probably will quite soon.
I hesitate to share the thoughts I have about the book, “The Shack”, for many reasons. I know that I am a loser, a nobody, and I don’t claim to be some great Bible scholar. I don’t see myself better that those I may disagree with, but do see the need to share my heart. I hope by sharing it that I don’t offend anyone, or affect our relationship. I feel like one of those mole things that sticks its head out of the hole at Chuck E. Cheese that you hit with the hammer. I will stick my head out to get hit, if it can help others. It seems few are willing to say anything negative anymore about almost anything “Christian” unless it is something they have already come out of.
Romans 14 teaches us not to “dialogue” about differences, but to let “each man be persuaded in his own mind.” So it is not my heart to get you to my point of view or to win an argument, but to just remind us all to go back to the simplicity of the Scriptures.
Over the last 3 years as many are re-examining truth, and looking everywhere for it, there is an incredible openness to almost anything that is different from the norm. I too have gone this route in search for answers, only to find myself given to depression, confusion, and even more questions that don’t bring Christ-likeness in me and others. While on this search I read many different kinds of Christian books, and I found my life to be summed up with one word- DEFEAT! Things that I had not struggled with for nearly 20 years crept back into my life, while I was devouring many “got to read” books. As I look back at my years at Kent, I see many mistakes that were made, and much immaturity; however, after 3 years, and many rabbit trails later, I find myself in the last 7 months or so given to the Word of God anew.
As I have studied and sought the Father’s heart over the last 7 months, I cannot seem to get away from many of the truths that I believed in during the Kent days. I am not talking about the outward, religious “Charity” influence, or imbalances on evangelism, but the simple gospel of “forsake all”,” fear God”, and “few there be that find it”. To sum up what is being renewed in me, here are some things that I am seeing again, and am walking in:
1. Life is short, and we are going to have to stand before a Holy God and give an account for our lives.
2. Satan is real, and deception is everywhere. We must be careful because we could be lead astray and end up lost.
3. I see now, as clear as ever, that Satan has twisted the Gospel message of repentance AND Faith, to just Faith – a “Faith” that doesn’t call one to forsake all and turn from sin.
4. The message of “enduring unto the end” is waning more and more.
5. The truth of the Scriptures tells us to “continue in the faith“, and that we must “through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22); and, if we don’t, we will be separated from the Father forever. This is being diluted not only among my friends, but the majority of believers in this nation.
6. The fact that Jesus said, “Few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14) is rarely ever shared, and thus the view of what it means to know Jesus is being watered down.
7. I see an over-emphasis on “God is love”, to the point of only showing one side of the coin. And the “love” spoken about is a sugar daddy, enabling type of love. This false representation is found in cute little sayings like, “God hates the sin, and loves the sinner”, a saying that comes from Ghandi by the way.
8. I see lots of Psychology laced throughout many Christian writings which sounds true, but just isn’t founded in the Scriptures.
9. A love that doesn’t warn of judgment to come, in a way that produces the fear of God.
10. Separation from the world is ridiculed, and holiness and obedience are called legalism.
11. The message of victory over sin (in this life) is just not emphasized, and that failure to have victory over sin means “a certain fearful judgment to come.”
12. The message of “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12” is absent, or has been replaced by unbiblical statements like, “God loves you unconditionally, no matter what you do… you can never be lost.”
13. The paradigm shifting message in “Ten shekels and a shirt” has been forgotten.
I’ve seen many Christians move toward modern-day, Neo-Christian thoughts.
Such as: (my definitions)
Christian Post- Modernism– I.E. – We really can’t know with any certainty what the Bible means, but can only have our interpretations, which can be wrong. Thus, we must re-examine everything from scratch and be willing to, if need be, not believe in the virgin birth (for an example of this, see Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell)
Christian Universalism – Those in other religions can know Jesus without even understanding that they know Him. Souls can “know” God outside of Christ.
Ultimate Reconciliation (U.R.)- All men will eventually be with the Father, and the Lake of fire is not a place that torments men forever.
I hate to even say it in fear that some will say, “That’s just Jason being the old Jason.” I hate to sound like some stuck- in- the- mud Baptist preacher. However, these are serious false teachings with major eternal implications. Having watched my own brother (who is the one responsible for leading me to Christ) go through these doctrines on his road to totally denying the existence of Jesus and the Scriptures, I see the dangers of this more than ever. I have seen what it has produced in his life! These thought patterns are dangerous to the mind, and they are leading many sincere people down a path of questioning Scripture – in essence saying, “Hath God said?” while using human reasoning when interpreting Scripture and not the Holy Spirit.
As I have read many of the books being recommended over the last 3 years with an open mind, I have only seen negative fruit in myself and those who read them. The Lord has been near me for a long season now, and it started with a renewed fear of God– something I NEVER RECEIVED FROM ANY OF THESE BOOKS. Yes, they are written well and make good points, but they only point out the problem, without offering real solutions. When they do give solutions, they are rooted in Psychology and human reasoning, not founded on the Word of God. These type of books tap into emotions; and, simple-minded believers, once in an emotional state, can be swallowed up by any teaching that comes at them.
Now in regards to the book The Shack.
I have spent 35 to 40 hours studying, researching, and watching many interviews with the author Paul Young. May God have mercy on me if anything in this article is inaccurate, or in a spirit that is not from Jesus. The research here is the best I can do with a wife, 4 kids, and a job. If light comes to me that is different later on, I will gladly stick my foot in my mouth :-). I will not judge Paul Young, his motives, or assume anything about him.
Please understand that I am not saying anything negative about the man who wrote this book, Paul Young. He seems to be kind, humble, and in many ways a gifted man.
First I would like to commend Young for attempting to tackle the tough task of answering the many questions that we all have about human suffering. He also addresses many other good points on the New Covenant, religiosity, and other misrepresentations of God. The picture of the shack reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and how we hide behind the walls we build so as to not get hurt again. It is a compelling story and gripping. Young was obviously burned by some false representation of Christianity, along with many of us, and his attempt to comfort the millions in this state is admirable. I especially like the over all theme of the book. Relationship over dead religion. The most redeemable part of the book is the emphasis of God being near, and one in whom you can have “face to face” fellowship with. This is important in light of hundreds of years of a false God misrepresented to people from religious leaders. Many of us have felt God afar off because of this, and this book does a good job showing His desire to have intimate relationship with us. I admit that this could be helpful to those of us coming out of this “far off angry God” mindset.
Nevertheless I have concerns with the other side of God not being fairly represented in this book. Most if not all of the encounters that people had with God in the scriptures included a great fear and trembling, and in almost every case the person fell on their face and worshiped God when they realized how powerful and Holy He was. They said “woe is me” I’m unclean” “what would you have me to do?” or were so terrified and in awe that they didn’t say anything. Maybe this is the reason that the book is so received among the world. Many don’t want to face God as the Judge. And just because “in the past” this judge side was over emphasized, to a fault of not presenting God as Love, doesn’t now mean we totally forsake it. God is Love, and God is one to be feared. Both need to be in the portrait we paint or we are in danger of falsely presenting to the world only one side of our Holy God.
A further example of this is Young’s blog on his website where he transcribes what seems to be a conversation with God since the book was written. It resemble to much a a therapy session with Dr. Phil than with a encounter with a Holy God.
I have some concerns with the book being vague in some areas. I would like to make it clear that I understand the book is only fictional, and that many “heresy hunters” tear it apart with bad spirits by taking fictional parts of the book and misapplying them. I don’t even have a great problem with much of the things that others are griping about; and, in some cases would agree with Young on things that he is being blasted about. The story is intriguing, interesting, and I can relate to much of it.
So just to make sure you know my heart much of the book was good.
However, you cannot write a book attempting to answer questions about suffering, God’s love, the new covenant, and many other topics, then include your theology, and then say that others can’t criticize it because “it’s not a theology book (Young).” – especially when the theology in the book can be interpreted as a paradigm shift away from the historic Christian Faith.
My biggest concern isn’t actually of the book itself, but the overall background of Paul Young’s beliefs, and the acceptance of the book by the world. It concerns me that the vagueness of the book has let so many read it, and not see the full Gospel.
While I can read it and not find fault with much, because I am able to look past stuff and give Young the benefit of the doubt, I fear that others from false religions can do the same.
This is a very important point. The editor admits that the book was written during a time when Paul Young was believing U.R. (Ultimate Reconciliation); but the editor and publisher then says that he has since shown Young differently. Still, the overall content of the book was originated from someone seeing God from a U.R. perspective at the time it was written. Maybe this is why this book is making such a craze. Millions have simply never viewed God from a U.R. perspective. So they think it is some new, more pure understanding of the Father’s love.
Furthermore, on this point, suppose that an author wrote a book while believing that Jesus was only a man, but then changed beliefs later on. Then certain parts of that book were taken out, but the general view was left intact. Would the insights of a book written from his original perspective be accurate?
Just for clarification, I am not saying that Young is a dyed- in- the- wool U.R. AND I AM NOT SAYING THAT THE BOOK COMES RIGHT OUT AND TEACHES U.R.
But, he seems to get very close with his verbiage; for sure, he used to be to some extent. Some will say, “So what is the problem with that?” Well, I don’t have time in this email to share exhaustively, but it should raise grave concerns to anyone taking serious the entirety of Scripture. So even if Young does not believe in U.R. any more (for sake of argument), he surely doesn’t speak about the judgment side of the Father – hardly at all, and in some ways, he may even undermine it. What I am trying to say is, anyone who reads any of the gospels for just a few chapters will see Jesus talking about judgment, hell, condemnation, the wrath of God, etc., in reference to those who do not walk in His Love. I don’t think anyone will argue that The Shack, with its main character’s many conversations with God, only mentions hell even 1/100th as much as the Bible.
Suppose that 99% of the conversations involved God talking about hell with the main character. Surely many would cry, “Imbalanced!” and, “Where is the other side, showing God’s love? “And, they would be right! It seems the new perceptions of God portrayed in this book flow from someone that doesn’t seem to warn of a literal Hell but 1% of the time (if that). So the question is, are any of Young’s new perceptions true? Jesus spoke more on this subject of hell that just about any other? This U.R. view is a dangerous view, for it undermines the fear of God, which is “the Everlasting Gospel” (Rev 14). I fear for all of us in these last days, that we might swallow a false Gospel that takes away one whole side of God.
Remember, heresy is a “truth out of balance” or a strong opinion of one side of an issue.
I understand that many of us are coming out of legalism and a false understanding of who the Father is. We want to experience His true love; but, is this imbalance the solution! God is love, and because of that He spent much time in His Word warning us of the Judgment to come.
Here are some quotes from the book, with just a few obvious verses below each where I have concerns. Remember, it is not the emotional stories in the book that are the problem; it is the vagueness, laced throughout it, that are concerning. Again there are some good insights in the book, yet at key points in the conversations the vagueness enters in.
I do not seek to win an argument or desire to have a debate. I do not judge anyone who finds the book a blessing. I just want to be faithful to Jesus and share my concerns about the book. If you don’t agree, let us endeavor to preserve our peace.
One last thing before I share some excerpts. It is important to remember that there is a DANGER in creating a God, “after our likeness” and then calling it Jesus. We must look to His revealed Word, and derive from it how God is. Many could care less about the scriptures so they recreate a god to fit there existing morality. My plea is to go back to the God of the scriptures. And then conform our lives to it, and not the other way around.
The following quotes from the book will be in purple.
God: “I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature.” Pg 93
Although God describes Himself from time to time in different pictures, I.E. “a hen” – He never “appears” as a female! God always comes to us as “a male”, and is always manifested to man in the masculine. Maybe this female manifestation is why Oprah so likes this book? 🙂 Jesus came to declare that God was a father. (John 1:18) Yet Paul Young states in an interview on YouTube that to only show God in the masculine would be “inadequate.” So, is Paul Young saying that Jesus’ declaration of God was inadequate? Jesus never declared the motherhood, or the feminine side of God. It is simply unscriptural to say that God is not masculine, but neutral! This appears to just be a dissecting of some Greek words with a pre-conceived agenda.
This is very important because such a thought can warp our minds to think of God the Father, as a woman also. Young goes on to set up a straw man argument on page 91-92 by stating that if God revealed Himself to Mack as a male, this would just be “reinforcing your stereotypes” Is it a stereotype to believe that God is masculine? And if so, is it a stereotype based on scripture? YES! Young’s statement isn’t fair;. Now if some one’s stereotype is that God is far off, and is a mean dad who is only there to take away your fun, then yes, that stereotype needs taken away. But, it is simply wrong to have a female manifested as the father. However I do not judge his heart in trying to show “Mack” a different perspective since Mack had problems with his father. It is just concerning since others reading the book can put it into there false concepts about a feminine God.
At best it would have been wise to just have a male appear to Mack because it really wasn’t necessary.
I Corinthians 11:7 “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”
Hebrews 1:3a “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of His person,” This a statement describing the Incarnate Word, Jesus!
Man was made in the image of God the Father; then woman was made. Let us not get away from the simplicity of scripture by getting caught up in translating some Hebrew word and running with it. For a further explanation of this, read about the word Young uses at the bottom of this email.
This reminds me of Romans 1:23 “And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”
I clearly understand that this book is just fiction; however, it wouldn’t be right for me to write a fictional book about 2 homosexuals, and say its ok to be gay! Later, when someone says that’s wrong, I then say “its just fiction.”
C.S. Lewis says that “the whole universe is feminine before God. God gives and the universe receives. Even in sex, the male gives and the woman receives. What justification do we have to declare that the Biblical writers and 2000 years of church history are wrong in preferring the masculine image to the female image to represent God? Any religion that puts the feminine at the heart of the universe rather than the masculine would result in a religion very different from historic Christianity.” This is important. (See C.S. Lewis – ‘Priestesses in the Church’ in God in the Dock.
I also understand that other Christian books use allegory like Narnia. However, there is a difference. In Narnia, the book never says that Jesus is the lion, it is something you spiritualize out of the story, like Lord of the Rings, or even the Matrix. But The Shack is really not an allegory, but a fictional story, trying to show what God is like. Young claims he chose character aspects of God derived supposedly from scripture. In the process, a major misrepresentation is espoused…I.E. that God is as feminine as He is masculine. This is not found anywhere in scripture, only by breaking Hebrew root words down and interpreting them different from the majority of Hebrew experts. Is this the way we want to get out theology now? Breaking a Hebrew root word down, and somehow extrapolating from that that God is not masculine – especially when there are hundreds of verses that would say He is masculine!
As already mentioned above on Young’s blog he transcribes what seems to be a conversation with God since the book was written. He refers to God as he and she at different times in the talk. So it seems that this is not just a fictional part of a book but the way a prays as well. Since this is not a section of a book, but a recent talk he seems to have had with God.
Nevertheless I was able to spit this bone out and keep reading and was blessed to some extent.
But as I read on I noticed…
God: “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.” Pg 120
Though he takes no delight in it, is not God actively involved in the punishment of sin? Doesn’t he need to if we are not turning from our sins?
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2 Peter 2:9
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Again maybe this is why the book is being so well received. Maybe we want to hear of a God that doesn’t punish us for our sins.
Mack: “Are there any who you are not especially fond of?”
In the context of this question from Mack, Papa answers that “every being ever created” “Nope, I haven’t been able to find any. Guess that’s jes’ the way I is.” Papa goes on to say in the context of every being that she is mad about “the mess my kids have made and in the mess they’re in. Pg 118/119
We are his creation, but only those who have received Jesus are born again, and become sons of God. Remember Jesus called the religious of his day John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil,” and again 1 John 3:10 “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
So is it right to say that there are not any people in the world that God is “not fond of“?
The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: you hate all workers of iniquity.
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
justice will never take place because of love.
Isaiah 61:8 “For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.
“I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice,
unfailing love and compassion.”
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
God listened to the prayers of the saints and then sent justice. The Justice, flowing from Gods love.”
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Is this not Justice?
God: “I’m not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little Deity insisting on my own way.” Pg 126
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
If God doesn’t demand His will be done then why did Satan get kicked out of heaven”
In Isaiah 14 Satan repeatedly said “I will” and was then thrust our of it.
Ultimately, our obedience must flow from our love for Him, but to say that he doesn’t insist on His own way is just disturbing.
God: “I’ve never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything. To force my will on you,” Jesus replied, “is exactly what love does not do” we are submitted to you in the same way” Pg 145
What Verse would teach that God is submitted to us?
I realize that the book isn’t giving any scripture reference but should such a bold statement be founded in the scriptures.
God: “Son, this is not about shaming you. I don’t do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation. They don’t produce one speck of wholeness or righteousness, and that is why they were nailed into Jesus on the cross.” Pg 223
1 Timothy 1:5
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
What is the opposite of a good conscience? A guilty conscience! Is not guilt from God? Yes! A reprobate mind feels no guilt because the conscience has been seared.
1 Timothy 1:19
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
“I don’t do …condemnation” Pg 223
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
If I, as a believer walk after the flesh, there is condemnation. But the God of this book “Papa” says
“I don’t do …condemnation” – is this not disturbing to say the least?
Here are more points that can be derived from the book, even though they may not always be word for word quotes.
The God portray in the shack is “Goodness” but has little“Severity”. Therefore it is a misrepresentation of who He is.
Romans 11: 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
“In Jesus I forgave all humans of their sin against me, but only some choose relationship.” p
Even though the scriptures teach that “All” can find forgiveness (its available), the forgiveness doesn’t come until there is repentance.
I realize that Mack is told to turn several times, yet it is usually a turn to that is emphasized, and not both a turn from and a turn to. 1 Thess 1:9 “you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true” God;
What I mean by this is that the scriptures list many specific sins for a reason, and not just inward ones. This is import so that conviction comes, and the fear of God comes to the lost soul properly.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Forgiveness means that the person is released from there debt. The debt is Eternal Separation from God. This could be the U.R. coming out in the book again. Has the Father released all men of the debt of sin, if so then all me will be saved (witch is what U.R. teaches.)
The portrait of Jesus is not balanced in this book. Young seems to forget the other side of Jesus.
Revelation 2:21And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Does the Jesus in the “Shack” resemble at all the Jesus of the Bible portrait in Revelation 19: 12 “His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.“
“Does that mean that “asked Mack” that all roads will lead to you?” “Not at all,” Smiled Jesus…most roads don’t lead anywhere”
Is this true? Do “most roads don’t lead anywhere”?
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
take out cursing part
God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.
The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin, both equally part of the personality and the character of God. (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).
There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity. (p120-122)
1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.“
The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father “in that He Feared”
(Heb5:7-9) 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 -Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Jesus will deliver all things to the Father in the end.
1 Cor 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
“what happens if I change that ‘expectancy’ to an expectation- spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a ways that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements….Honey, I’ve never placed an expectation on you or anyone else….because I have no expectation, you never disappoint me.”
This is where the psychology creeps in. This sounds like a Therapy session on Dr. Phil. What scriptures could possibly be used to teach this?
A simple meditation of Gods expectations found in scripture will yield dozens of verses that would go against this false teaching. I understand that He will work these in us as we abide in Him, but to say that He doesn’t have any is wrong.
Romans 2:7 “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:”
Romans 11: 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
Does this verse not teach us that God express’ us to “Continue in his goodness”. Is this not a expectation that has a negative consequence if not walked in?
“I’ve never placed an expectation on you or anyone else” Is this next verse not a expectation?
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:
Revelation 2:11″He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Does He not call us to overcome by His power. Is this not a expectation for His sons?
The Shack lacks a message of repentance. I realize that God attempt to deal with Mack on many issue in his life, but the message of repentance is so watered down, and unclear. The sessions with God are not ended with morning, and whaling, and repentance, but with “Lets get some dinner,” or “go for a walk.” as if to change the subject. The conversations seem to promise forgiveness regardless of repentance.
Mack’s Father for example lives a wicked life, and as far as the reader knows he never repents, and yet is in heaven. In fact Papa even says that she has “covered” the evil in the world with her “goodness” (p125). These conversations seem to me to resemble a therapy session filled with Psychology instead of a encounter with a Holy God. Just compare the conversations in the Shack with the message of scripture.
Papa speaking of the Murderer that Killed Mack’s daughter says that “he too is my son, I want to redeem him.”
Again how can the killer be Gods son since there is no signs of the killer repenting? Just a quick look a 1 John will show this to be major false teaching.
While these are interpretations of what the book says, these interpretations go along with what the Author seems to believe, or at the time of writing the book seemed to have believed (publishers website Universalism, and U.R.) although Young may not call himself by these labels now. I may not like labels either, but if something smells, looks and feels like a cat, then its a cat. If someone agrees with all 5 points of Calvinism and disagrees with 5 points of Agrarianism, is it fair for me to say that he at best is Calvinistic? My point is I fear that the VAGUENESS OF SOME OF THE BOOKS TEACHINGS is having more of an effect on the readers of the book than realized.
One last thought. If we are living in the “Last Days” where much deception is to be everywhere, are we to believe that a book that is #1 on the New York Times best seller list, and a book that is endorsed by a Christ denying Oprah Winfrey, and that millions of people are in a craze about is from God? Is this some End Times revival? Is Kathy Lee Gifford, and many others, seeing aspects of God that Wesley, Tozer, Hudson Taylor, Oswald Chambers, Watchmen Nee, and other Holy men of God just missed for 1900 years?
Or, is this just par for the course in these last days? Another stage in the line of many little changes that slowly pull us away from knowing the Jesus of the scriptures?
Again my concerns are not with the book as much as the overall direction of Christianity in the nation. The book just seems to go along with that direction, that may be why it is so well received.
I learned that Young is going to have a movie made from the book. My prayer is that if they do this, they would just change the things listed above, then it could be a very good movie. If not, this will be another influence that pulls people further down the road of away from the truths of knowing the Real Jesus.
The over all spirit of “The Shack” does not resemble that of Gods message to His children for the last days. In some ways it resembles “New Age” books like “Conversations with God“. Maybe this is why it is selling so well. But would it sell as many books if its message was similar to that of
2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
These are my thoughts, and I just ask you to take them to Jesus and pray about them
Grace and Peace
Breakdown of the word El Shaddai showing it does not teach a feminine side of God, but that it just shows that God will nuture us as a mother with a breast feeds here child.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The term probably means “God of the Mountain,” referring to the Mesopotamian divine mountain. The term was one of the patriarchal names for the tribal god of the Mesopotamians In Exodus 6:3, El Shaddai is identified with Yahweh. The term appears chiefly in the Torah. This could also refer to the Israelite camp’s stay at Mount Sinai where God was with Moses on the mountain.
Shaddai was a late Bronze Age Amorite city on the banks of the Euphrates river, in northern Syria. The site of its ruin-mound is called Tell eth-Thadyen: “Thadyen” being the modern Arabic rendering of the original West Semitic “Shaddai”. It has been conjectured that El Shaddai was therefore the “god of Shaddai” and associated in tradition with Abraham, and the inclusion of the Abraham stories into the Hebrew Bible may have brought the northern name with them (see Documentary hypothesis).
In the vision of Balaam recorded in the Book of Numbers 24:4 and 16, the vision comes from Shaddai along with El. In the fragmentary inscriptions at Deir Alla, though Shaddai is not, or not fully present, shaddayin appear, less figurations of Shaddai. These have been tentatively identified with the Åedim of Deuteronomy 34:17 and Psalm 106:37-38, who are Canaanite deities.
According to Exodus 6:2, 3, Shaddai is the name by which God was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The name Shaddai (Hebrew: ×©Ö·××”Ö·Ö¼×TM) is used as a name of God later in the Book of Job.
In the Septuagint and other early translations Shaddai was translated with words meaning “Almighty”. The root word “shadad” (×©×”×”) means “to overpower” or “to destroy”. This would give Shaddai the meaning of “destroyer” as one of the aspects of God. Thus it is essentially an epithet. Harriet Lutzky has presented evidence that Shaddai was an attribute of a Semitic goddess, linking the epithet with Hebrew Å¡ad “breast” as “the one of the Breast”, as Asherah at Ugarit is “the one of the Womb”.
Another theory is that Shaddai is a derivation of a Semitic stem that appears in the Akkadian shadÃ» (“mountain”) and shaddÄ’Ã» or shaddÃ»’a (“mountain-dweller”), one of the names of Amurru. This theory was popularized by W. F. Albright but was somewhat weakened when it was noticed that the doubling of the medial d is first documented only in the Neo-Assyrian period. However, the doubling in Hebrew might possibly be secondary. In this theory God is seen as inhabiting a mythical holy mountain, a concept not unknown in ancient West Asian mythology (see El), and also evident in the Syriac Christian writings of Ephrem the Syrian, who places Eden on an inaccessible mountaintop.
An alternative view proposed by Albright is that the name is connected to shadayim which means “breasts” in Hebrew. It may thus be connected to the notion of God’s fertility and blessings of the human race. In several instances it is connected with fruitfulness: “May God Almighty [El Shaddai] bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbersâ€¦” (Gen. 28:3). “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]: be fruitful and increase in number” (Gen. 35:11). “By the Almighty [El Shaddai] who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts [shadayim] and of the womb [racham]” (Gen. 49:25).
It is also given a Midrashic interpretation as an acronym standing for “Guardian of the Doors of Israel” (Hebrew: ×©××•Ö¹×žÖ¶×¨ ×”Ö°×œÖ¸×ª×•Ö¹×ª ×TMÖ´×©Ö°×‚×¨Ö¸×Ö¶×œ). This acronym, which is commonly found as carvings or writings upon the mezuzah (a vessel which houses a scroll of parchment with Biblical text written on it) that is situated upon all the door frames in a home or establishment.
Still another view is that “El Shaddai” is comprised of the Hebrew relative pronoun She (Shin plus vowel segol), or, as in this case, as Sha (Shin plus vowel patach followed by a dagesh, cf. A Beginner’s Handbook to Biblical Hebrew, John Marks and Virgil Roger, Nashville:Abingdon, 1978 “Relative Pronoun, p.60, par.45) The noun containing the dagesh is the Hebrew word Dai meaning “enough,sufficient, sufficiency” (cf. Ben Yehudah’s Pocket English-Hebrew/Hebrew-English,New York, NY:Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster Inc.,1964,p.44). This is the same word used in the Passover Haggadah, Dayeinu, “It would have been sufficient.” The song entitled Dayeinu celebrates the various miracles God performed while extricating the Hebrews from Egyptian servitude. It is understood as such by The Stone Edition of the Chumash (Torah) published by the Orthodox Jewish publisher Art Scroll, editors Rabbi Nosson Scherman/Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications,Ltd. 2nd edition, 1994, cf. Exodus 6:3 commentary p.319. The Talmud explains it this way, but says that “Shaddai” stands for “Mi she’Amar Dai L’olamo” – “He who said ‘Enough’ to His world.” When God was creating the world, He stopped the process at a certain point, holding back creation from reaching its full completion, and thus the name embodies God’s power to stop creation.
It is often paraphrased in English translations as “Almighty” although this is an interpretive element. The name then refers to the pre-Mosaic patriarchal understanding of deity as “God who is sufficient.” God is sufficient, that is, to supply all of one’s needs, and therefore by derivation “almighty”. It may also be understood as an allusion to the singularity of deity “El” as opposed to “Elohim” plural being sufficient or enough for the early patriarchs of Judaism. To this was latter added the Mosaic conception of YHWH as God who is sufficient in Himself,thatis,a self-determined eternal Being qua Being, for whom limited descriptive names cannot apply. This may have been the probable intent of “eyeh asher eyeh” which is by extension applied to YHWH (a likely anagram for the three states of Being past, present and future conjoined with the conjunctive letter vav), cf. Exodus 3:13-15.