C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Should One Really Visit ‘The Shack’

The Shack
Wm. Paul Young
9780964729230

I have heard more than one Christian speak up concerning Wm. Paul Young’s book entitled The Shack. Even the front cover boasts, ‘This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!’ [Eugene Peterson] There was even a lady that went so far as to say that every Christian should read this book, and possibly even teach some of its principles in Sunday school. Such being said about a fictional book, certainly it perked my interest a bit. Apparently it was published in 2007, so I am a little behind the times I suppose, but I went ahead and purchased it from Walmart.

From the first page till around chapter five (5), page eighty-two (82), the book appears to resemble a dramatic story with a terrible loss in the life of a man with a family. Trying to refrain from giving too much of the story away, because of circumstances written within those pages, Mack (a man of shaky faith) returns to a location somewhat expecting to meet God there. Oddly, what he finds is ‘a large beaming African-American woman.’ Now, I would ask that the reader pay close attention to what I write here, so there will be no attempt at any accusation regarding racism.

I have no problem with the author having Mack (a Caucasian) meeting a friendly African-American woman at a cabin, but having a female represent the masculine Holy Creator God is a bit disturbing. The author even goes so far as to have this female tell Mack that she likes to call herself Elousia, but that he may call her Papa; the name Nan (Mack’s wife) called God. Then there is the casting of an Asian woman assumingly as the Holy Spirit (named Sarayu), and a Hebrew man whose common name is Jesus (but whose mother had called him Yeshua, while others had also called him Joshua or Jesse). So, in short, the author has the Almighty Father casted as an African woman and the Holy Spirit of Promise as an Asian woman, but at least he gives some similarity to our Lord and Savior with portraying Him as a Hebrew male.

One may like to call me sexist, but there is no doubt that the God of Heaven and Earth is represented as masculine throughout the entirety of Scripture. To have such a Father portrayed as a female – even though a fictional novel – is absurd. Please note, I am not attacking the author’s sincerity of his faith, ideals, or hopes for his book, I am simply pointing out that I disagree totally with the judgment of character types used for the Godhead, along with some of the human characteristics given to such. And though the author uses the following pages to seemingly explain and make light of the appearance he chooses to portray of God – with those who profess Christianity already desiring to removed the masculinity of God from the very Scriptures in new translations, along the struggle against the feminism takeover – I believe a little more discernment may have been considered regarding the Persons of the Trinity even in a fictional writing.

I must admit I cringed quite a bit as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit became more and more human as the story continued from the end of chapter six (6) into chapter (7). Things like them all laughing at Christ for dropping things with his slippery fingers, along with the Father telling Mack that even though Christ proclaimed, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ at the cross, Jesus only felt like He was forsaken but wasn’t. So, Christ was deceived by His emotions? Maybe I’m confused. When Mack explains his conclusion that the recorded miracles performed by Christ in the Scriptures proved that He was God, ‘you know, more than human,’ the Father says, ‘No, it proves that Jesus is truly human.’ As I, Mack questions this response. God answers, ‘Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything.’

At this I must further question the author’s premise and to what point he desires to take us. If Christ never drew from His nature as God, then is it within the power of every human being to do that which Christ did? Do we too, as professing Christians indwelt by the Spirit, have the supernatural ability to perform also the miracles of turning water into wine; casting out evil spirits; multiplying the loaves and fish; healing the blind, lame, and dumb; and walking on water? What about the forgiveness of sins? Christ proclaimed, ‘the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.’ Did the forgiveness of sins come from the human or divine of Christ? Did not even John the Baptist (no greater born among women) say, ‘one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.’ Was it also human for Christ to declare, ‘I lay down my life, that I might take it again… No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again?’

If the above did not make me hesitate to read further, chapter eight (8) appears to dismiss the Scriptures by dismantling the structure of both the Godhead and the family. Among the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the god of The Shack tells Mack, ‘we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity. We are a circle of relationship, not a chain of command…’ No final authority within God? Such sounds strangely familiar from the Atheists and those who profess Christ yet live as though they do not. In fact, Mack questions the ‘no hierarchy’ bit, mentioning even its use in marriage; whereby, God declares, ‘Such a waste…Hierarchy imposes laws and rules and you end up missing the wonder of relationship that we intended for you.’ Then this god goes on to basically try to explain that there cannot be a relationship if there is final authority or hierarchy, for that would be independence and ‘you become a danger to each other.’

Does the author forget the hierarchy of the Godhead, whereby the Son was obedient to the will of the Father, and the Holy Spirit obeyed the voice of the Son? What then of the hierarchy of the establishment of marriage, whereby the man is head of the wife, even as Christ is of the Church? Such cannot be so easily explained away by the telling of a fictional book, though sold as Christian literature. In chapter ten (10) the author future sews tares among the wheat of Scripture by having his jesus state to Mack, ‘The world, in many ways, would be a much calmer and gentler place if women ruled. There would have been far fewer children sacrificed to the gods of greed and power.’ Does the author honestly dismiss the reality of feminism, abortion, and the fact that attitude and climate of many women prisons surpass the filth of those of men?

The further this chapter (8) goes, the slicker the mudslide seems to become. Even here do we see god telling Mack that He (yes, the Trinity) ‘respects your [man’s] choices.’ I can’t help but ponder the conclusion of the author concerning this statement within the context of this chapter and the book as a whole. For if respect is not enough, the author bows his jesus further unto man by having him tell Mack that the Trinity is submitted to one another equally, and further states ‘In fact, we are submitted to you [man] in the same way.’ Even Mack has to question this, as most honest Bible believing Christians would, ‘How can that be? Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me [man]?” The author’s god’s answers, ‘Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationship.’ In Scripture, man is told to submit to the LORD, God, one another, a wife to her husband, those that rule over us, and the younger to the elder, but never once do I find God submitting Himself unto man to have a relationship. Man is always told to come on God’s terms, which is through submission and faith in Jesus Christ.



My current conclusion: This shack should be torn down and burned, not promoted and shared.

Honestly, if you are a professing Christian or not, and have read this book and believe it to have a positive message...please take a moment and share that experience with me.

23 comments:

Sean said...

Sounds like the writing convention called the "Magic Negro" (seriously, look it up on wikipedia if you doubt). Not sure why he added in the mystical Asian though. He must have watched too much anime.

BEAST FCD said...

".......having a female represent the masculine Holy Creator God is a bit disturbing."

How disturbing is that? Were you not borne of your mother's womb? Does a woman disturb you all that much, oh misogynistic one?

Can God not be a woman? Must he definitely masquerade as a man? Who are you to justify what God wants to be? Perhaps God is bisexual?

HOW WOULD YOU KNOW???

BEAST FCD

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Beast,

Do you look up these words before you use them?

misogynistic - hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

Did you fail to continue to the next paragraph and read, '...there is no doubt that the God of Heaven and Earth is represented as masculine throughout the entirety of Scripture'?

Simply because I call the author on his choice of characters and note the fact that Scripture never even gives an idea of God being or acting as female does not mean I have a 'hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.'

For one who does not even believe there is a God, it is pointless for you to try and argue as to whether God could be anything other than what He says of Himself in Scripture.

Tim

BEAST FCD said...

Tim:

Last I read, you said women should not be President, and women cannot be pastors and so on. If you believe that women should not have equal rights to men, that's bigotry and yes, its misogynistic.

Its not pointless for me to argue about Scripture because this is the one immoral book whom many like you love to shove down our throats as some bastion of truth. And I make it a point on my blog to point out the blatant lack of morals in the bible.

Not happy? Feel free to challenge me. Here's another one I wrote about Noah (In continuation of the previous one when you made a mistake trying to defend the bible).

http://atheisthaven.blogspot.com/2009/01/noahs-odyssey-continues-exposed-dick.html

Beast FCD

BEAST FCD said...

Remember that Jebus was quite feminine: Long hair, soft features, likes to hang around with 12 (Or 13, if you include Judas) disciples, etc, gets chased around by a naked young man, etc.

I am quite positive that Jesus is in fact gay. And it wouldn't be surprising for me if God actually is a woman.

After all, God is omnipotent. He can be man and woman anytime he choose to. That is, if he exists in the first place.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Beast,

Scripture declares pastors are to be 'the husband of one wife'. As concerning President, you may need to review my post: Does Scripture Hinder a Woman from Political Office?

Yes, it is pointless and quite silly for you to argue concerning anything of the character of God, of whom you do not believe in. Also, for one who believes morality is relative or none existent and able to change with the wind, how can you possible formulate any logical argument as to Scripture being immoral?

As concerning Jesus, the Christ, your mocking only shows your misunderstanding of Scripture and/or your desire to merely try to arouse an audience. Neither make a valid point, for they are mere opinion based on an unfounded premise.

Therefore, you have given nothing to challenge.

Tim

RC said...

Beast, what are these "rights" and where do they come from? Is there a scientific consensus I can look up?

BEAST FCD said...

"Yes, it is pointless and quite silly for you to argue concerning anything of the character of God, of whom you do not believe in."

Do I need to believe in fairies before I write a book about fairies? I don't think so.

A non-sequitor argument here.

BEAST FCD said...

The article you wrote about women in political office is quite ambiguous and the English is atrocious; I actually don't even understand what you are writing about. Elucidate to me a little more.

Beast FCD

BEAST FCD said...

No, I am not mocking Jesus; go to any Jesus bookstores and you will see the same thing: A man with long flowing locks, soft eyes, and the bible talks about Jesus like a 1960s hippie, hanging around with prostitutes, 13 disciples who are mostly likely to be gays, and so on and so forth.

Beast FCD

BEAST FCD said...

RC

Human rights stem from non-external sources; as human beings, we are naturally concerned with our rights as well as our responsibilities that have a direct impact on our lives. It doesn't come from aliens or some other imaginary friends.

Beast FCD

RC said...

"Human rights stem from non-external sources"

Please, define what these sources are and where they are located.

RC said...

"Do I need to believe in fairies before I write a book about fairies? I don't think so."

Dude, he said you should know something about the subject in question before opening your mouth about it. Not whether you believe in it.

"I am quite positive that Jesus is in fact gay. And it wouldn't be surprising for me if God actually is a woman."

Aren't you a student of history?

What you are referring to is the medieval artistic representation of Jesus Christ. There is no description of his physical attributes anywhere on record.

BEAST FCD said...

Really, RC? Check this out:

Mark Chapter 14:51-52:

"A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind."

BEAST FCD said...

"Dude, he said you should know something about the subject in question before opening your mouth about it. Not whether you believe in it."

Most people know nuts about fairies and elves, but that doesn't stop people from talking or writing about it.

I treat your god no more or less than these mythical creatures. I don't reserve special reference to your God, or any other god for the matter.

Beast FCD

RC said...

Hmm, I should never mistake a person's ability to read for comprehension. Clearly you lack the latter. Beast, you are the equivalent to a Chinese Room or a parrot engaged in a parlor trick simply repeating what you've heard without understanding it.

BEAST FCD said...

RC: Ad Hominems don't get you anywhere. Stick to rationality and reasoning.

BTW, I am Chinese.

Beast FCD

RC said...

Well, good for you.

Please, take some time to look up the term Chinese Room. After all, I learned about the concept from an atheist.

BEAST FCD said...

Lol RC. If you have nothing to say, I suggest you keep quiet.

Sometimes, silence is indeed golden.

Beast FCD

RC said...

First, if you don't understand the topic, which you clearly have shown you do not, then you should remain silent.

Second, it's not an ad hominem if it's based on lots of evidence. Mark 14:51-52 has nothing to say about Jesus' appearance.

Finally, while everyone else understands Tim, by your own admission you have failed to do so: "I actually don't even understand what you are writing about."

BEAST FCD said...

RC: That's because his English is atrocious.

Evidence you say? We don't seem to have any archaeological evidence of Jebus.......the closest we have are the Gnostic Gospels, some off-the-shelf scripture which are not the official 66 scriptures, such as the Gospel of Thomas, and Josephus, all of which were written at least a century after his supposed death. No one really knows what Jebus looks like, which is really the whole point: Everyone has his or her own imagination to rely on with regards to Jebus.

BEAST FCD said...

Mark 14:51-52 suggests a lewd appearance of a young man chasing after Jesus, which suggests that Jesus is either gay, or have certain attractive qualities which make him attractive to a gay.

This could suggest a few things:

1. Jesus didn't disapprove of gays.

2. Jesus was gay (highly likely)

3. And if he was attractive to gays, he may be a bit of a girly like, since Jesus has always been portrayed as such since antiquity.

Beast FCD

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Beast,

Your comments/conclusions make no sense whatsoever regarding Christ and the individual mentioned in Mark 14.

First you state, 'a lewd appearance of a young man chasing after Jesus, which suggests that Jesus is either gay.' Scripture declares 'there followed him a certain young man' not that the man was chasing after Jesus. There are countless assumptions we could make regarding the why the young man was dressed in a linen cloth or why the young man followed after Jesus, but the fact remains the act of the young man in no ways declares the character or actions of Christ to be homosexual in any way.

Second you state, 'or have certain attractive qualities which make him attractive to a gay,' which is even a more illogical argument. The definition of being homosexual is to have a desire for one of the same sex. Just as the lustful desire of a man toward a woman does not make the woman heterosexual, neither would the lust of a man toward a man make the man being lusted after homosexual.

If you recall the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, there were two angels which visited the home of Lot. The men of the city lusted sinfully toward these men, and desired even to take them forcefully to do wickedly. It was not the angels, but the homosexuals of the city which did lust and 'burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.'

Neither can you assume the appearance of Christ was the cause of their lust, for Isaiah declares, 'he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.'

You cannot blame Christ for the perversion of man, no matter how hard you try.

Tim

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.