Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Shack reveiw by Tim Challies



I was on a plane recently and was sitting next to some "Christians" (I say this because I would prefer to sit next to someone I can witness to). The couple was very nice and from the Texas area, the man was reading a book called "The Shack". I had heard about this book being blasphemous and theologically wrong. So I asked the guy what he thought about the book, he replied that he thought it was "ok" I proceeded to ask him probing questions about the theology and purpose of the book, he did not have great answers and resorted to the fact that it was an emotionally touching book. I have read quite a bit about the book and thought that I would post a link to a great website that does a great review of the book in case you have heard about it.

The Shack review by Tim Challies

So often I am told by my Emergent, Atheist and Mormon friends to Open my mind, and the subtle message of that in our discussion is to Open my mind and Close my Bible. That is what has happened with this book, so I urge you to read the continuation of the review. One of the claims of the proponents of this book is that it is not meant to be Theological...... Tim Challies writes "The Shack is, by the author’s own admission, a work that seeks to change the reader’s perception of God. It is deeply theological!"

33 Comments:

didymus said...
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Andy said...

Didymus,

The reason this statement is true is because generally when I am discussing something with an Emergent, and using scripture to validate what I am saying they tell me that I need to "open my mind". Since I am using the scriptures to validate and they refute that with "have an open mind" would you then conclude that:

A. they are above scripture
B. they don't care what scripture says
C. they think I should close my Bible and not worry so much about the scripture
D. All of the above

Help me understand why this is such a common phrase among Emergents.

didymus said...
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Drew said...

Deuteronomy 11:26-28

This is God talking to the Israelites about curses and blessings. This is an excellent example of obedience. Israel eventually turned away from God and God brought calamity. Job was not cursed the same way Israel was. It was a test and Job came out in flying colors. Our trials and tests are not curses but blessings. I recall a verse that says all things works together for good for those who love God and called according to His purpose. Those who are obedient are blessed eternally and not necessarily in the natural.

2 Chronicles 30:1-20

The Lord hears the prayers of the repentant and washes them clean of any impurity. Hezekiah did just that. To say that these "young converts" should have been cut-off is to say God in the old testament is not the same God in the new. Forgiveness and love is bestowed upon those who repent. All past sins are washed away and all things become new. It is a foreshadow of Christ. God has a special place in his heart for the "young convert" and bestows grace where needed. Isiah 40:11 "He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom"

Luke 18:9-14
This is not so much about a religious person vs a "messed up dude" but pride vs humility and brokenness. Religion tends to create a false sense of security. But brokenness and weakness will lead to a loving relationship with our Father. Psalm 34:18 "The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit."

Andy said...

Irony
–noun, plural -nies.
1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.
2. Literature.
a. a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
b. (esp. in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., esp. as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.

I had to post the definition Didymus because I found it ironic that you were attempting to use scripture to justify your position.
Again thanks for your contribution to the discussion. I think the comment by Drew covers quite a bit, however I wanted to point out a few things.

People who apply Deut 11:26-28 like that are using it wrongly, it is a bad hermeneutic and is not consistent with authorial intent. The audience and the covenant were all different than today.

The reference to 2 Chronicles is what I call a "historical reference inferring theology wrongly applied". What I mean is I see very often people justify their positions by using a "Historical" text of the Bible rather than a more appropriate verse. For example if you want to know about the nature, and attributes of God Isaiah is a great book for that, so using 2 Chronicles as an example of how we should interact with God is like using Revelation to show us how we should prepare food, it doesn't work. You are using the exception to define the rule and that is called misapplication.

As to the verse in Luke about the unrepentant sinner and the repentant, I believe Drew stated it correctly, that this was more of a pride issue. Yet here we are again with "presupposed worldviews" being forced onto the text.

Finally, it does not appear that you trust scripture Didymus, if the scripture is wrong about God then where else do we get our information? Yes we all have an internal understanding that there is a creator but only through his special revelation in scripture do we understand this amazing God that we serve. Are you implying that there is another source to understand who God is?

I would also love to see your second reason since you brought it up.

didymus said...
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Andy said...

Didymus,

Your last statement is one of those comments that I have heard from the Post Moderns, there is a right way to interpret scripture and a wrong way. There is no personal interpretation outside of the Authors intent, and since my reading of the text is consistent with 2000 years of Church History and the very nature of scripture I am not sure how you can refute it. Please do not come up with new theology based upons a single historical exception, that is wrong from a literary, theological and historical standpoint. Beyond all that it is not a consistent hermeneutic.

As usual I enjoy our chats, I just hope you can see that the obscurity that you desire is not there, it appears to me that you have created for yourself your own concepts and rules that reign over God and scripture.........

Drew said...

Ephesians 4:4-6
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

2 Peter 1:19-21
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

One Spirit, one Word, one interpretation. How can there be another. A passage can be used in multiple applications but never should it be considered to be interpreted in different ways. Only one way would be correct. It takes the washing of the Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.

The truth can be known! Unlike the post modernist want us to believe. For Christ Himself said we could know the truth.

John 8:31-32
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

didymus said...
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Servant of the Most High said...

A great review by Tim Challies.

By the way Didymus, you seem to have a habit of conveniently losing intrest in a conversation when it does not go your way. . . Talk having an open mind. Why not hear the good reasoning being spoke by these men?

Andy said...

"I’m not inclined to spend that much time here."

Wow Didymus that is a pretentious comment. What ever happened to the free exchange of ideas? Oh that only works if we agree with your position? You might be more adamant than you might think..........

didymus said...
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Andy said...

Didymus,

I just thought it was ironic considering the topic. Listen there is no reason to be calling people "dogs" around here. Just because the majority disagrees with you does not mean they are out to tear you apart. You might want to apply your own philosophy a little and give them and me the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately as with most Emergents I run into they are not consistent in their own practice when it comes to orthodox Christians. They respond with ad hominem and pejorative statements. They will allow any one else to have an opinion just not orthodox Christians. I just thought you being above most your cohorts would extend that much grace........

I also think you misapplied that verse, but I know you will fault me for that as well.

Grace and Peace friend,

didymus said...
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Leonard said...
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didymus said...
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Leonard said...
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Haylee said...

You know, this is practically incredible! Incredible in the sense that this love of The Shack does not seem credible. It is so bizarre that this book is taking the church by storm. And since this book has purported to "change people's lives", "made them more interested in God", and "changed many people's thinking about God", this book should all the more be thoroughly scrutinized.

I first heard about this book from a leader in my church. He loves the book and is going to reread it with his wife slowly to glean all of the meaning out of it. He's going to study this book? When he started telling me about the content, huge red flags went up inside of me. With the book continually on my mind, in a disturbing way, for three days, I decided to look online for biblically critical reviews of this book. Tim Challies' review is amazing! For those of you who love the book, have you read Challies' second review? If not, you really should.

However, I have some questions.

Does or does not Jesus say that we should beware of false prophets who come to us in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves(Matt 7:15)? Do you think any of them say that they are a false prophet or even a prophet at all? And yet, they have nuggets of dung that they pass off as real treasure.

What about the exhortation to "test all things, hold fast what is good" and "abstain from every form of evil"(1 Thess. 5:21)? Do you first look to see if you like it, if it feels good and real and emotional and passionate and moving and so many others are approving of it? It's not an "I agree or disagree" thing. It's a "what does God's word say specifically about what something is portraying" thing.

Is not "All Scripture inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work"(2 Timothy 3:16-17)? Pretty self-explanatory, eh?

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law, he meditates day and night." (Ps. 1:1-2) Who are our companions, favorite authors, ideologies that we hold dear?

";that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitfull plotting,..." (Eph. 4:14)

Is not Satan a crafty liar and deceiver? Do you say to yourself, "I am a Christian, I cannot be deceived"? Why then does the Bible tell us in so many places, and specifically to those professing Christ, Do Not Be Deceived?

Surely, some people may wring their hands and say to themselves, Let's deceive them, lie to them, trick them. But, how many people really are just sharing their thoughts, emotions, perspectives, and dreams. Yet, if these things are not in line with God's word, we know where they come from. From the devil and the wickedness of their hearts, and sometimes our hearts.

And what if the masses love it? Is not the way narrow that leads to life and few there be that find it? Is not the way wide that leads to destruction and many go that way? Does not real revival happen when "[God's] people who are called by [His] name will humble themselves, and pray and seek [His] face, and turn from their wicked ways, then [He] will hear from heaven, and will forgive [our] sin and heal [our] land" (2 Chron. 7:14)?

Is it not telling that the purpose-driven churches and the emergent churches and the lost love it?

Does anyone realize that it is through the arts (literature, music, entertainment), which is the second level of philosopy, that people are really moved and affected by dangerous ideologies and heresies?

I am praying for all those my brethren who love this book. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows that he shall also reap.

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come with they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Tim. 4:2-5)

Everything should be tested, not enjoyed and then opposed to by those who would test it. Remember, a little leaven does indeed leavens the whole lump. But, what about a lot of leaven? Let's look at Joseph Smith and how his "church" sure does a lot of good in this world and makes a lot of people feel good. The book of mormon is also a work of fiction. Shouldn't we glean from it all of the good things? This is definitely a "throw the whole demon out with the bath water." Remember, these are indeed the last days and will get worse and the deceptions will be great. They are all around us. But, I know whom I have believed and He is able to keep what I have entrusted to Him against that day! Blessed be the name of the LORD! Take heed to yourselves and to the doctrine! The God of the Bible is not the one who is portrayed in this book. BE BEREANS!!! Praying for you all. Christ come quickly!

Leonard said...
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Andy said...
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Haylee said...

Leonard,

Mr. Challies has several quotes from the book. These alone show much cause for concern. You stated that there were some parts that you couldn't disagree with more. Was that because the Bible says otherwise? The parts that you liked, what does the whole of scripture say about those things? And what about when you put everything together? I gave you several scriptures to back up the need to be oh so careful and watchful and seriously scrutinizing about the things that touch our hearts, our minds, and our desires. What in God's word commends this book? Is it about the love? Yet if love is without whole truth, as described in God's word, what do you have that is real?

I do not need to read every book that is controversal within Christendom. There may be some that I am moved to read to counteract what others are saying or feeling or believing or to find out that it is sound and not in error. Challies did a really good job. Reading the review and the problem areas(with several quotations from the book)and scripture to compare with the problem areas is still very helpful and showing me that I don't need to read the whole book and then write a review point by point myself.

Please, Leonard, answer whether you believe, based upon God's word, that we should test all things against God's word. If you do believe this, please show me where in God's Word does this book match up. This book is on trial, and should be, not God's word or the doctrine in God's word. And yet if God's word was on trial, you know it would pass the test.

Why are so many believing in the god of this book? Why is it changing their lives? (Is it really changing them or just for the time being until something else delectable comes along?) Many say their lives are changed, but is it to the real Christ that they bow and give reverence? Why is it being taught from the pulpit in churches and a leader in our own church is going to go through it slowly and study it?

Beloved Leonard, you know me. Hear my heart in this. And if you cannot, just match it up with scripture and give scriptural back up for what you think is noteworthy and true, not just what seems or feels right or good.

And one small note regarding what you said about the idea of the portrayal of the Father being a black woman,"When it first happened, I was a little repulsed, but then when God explains it in the book, it made perfect sense."

God did not explain this in the book. The author did.

Graham said...

I anticipate the call to Leonard to substantiate his BOLD claim (or revise his post) of calling some of John MacArthur's work heresy.

Defending "The Shack" and putting John MacArthur on the chopping block for heresy? Does something seem amiss here? It might be that John MacArthur is not right about everything, neither are we, but I do not know a bolder, nor more steadfast, God Fearing shepherd of God than John MacArthur. He has stood to defend the Gospel and the Truth of God in the face of all controversies and true heresies. He stands for the pillars and truths of true Christianity, while some leaders promote "The Shack", which is clearly not biblical!
He defends Christ and his church, truly. We must honor that. And we must remember that we will answer for every word and deed.

Can we take counsel from "The Shack"? or would it be worse to listen to John MacArthur? Astonishing!

Haylee has said it rightly and Andy as well! The Word of God is how and by what we measure all things. Amen!

If Christians are divided over this book, would it not be a good division? If we are divided by the Truth, would it not be good to get the false teaching out? A little leaven?
We must continue to teach through this and quickly get it out. If it is God's Truth in which we stand for. Not literature. Not man's vain philosophy. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us through the Truth, not emotional entertainment created to make God more attractive. God is forever abundantly giving of his grace and with the Holy Spirit as his witness, and our perfect most loving Lord and Savior that gave His life for us sinners, what more do we need to tell the greatest story of all? If we do not understand that we are indeed wretched sinners totally a part from who's image we were made unless we have Jesus Christ, we have no hope. Do we need "The Shack" to stir us up?
God's Word has brought me to tears time and time again, as well as Joy that cannot be duplicated or created by man in any way. Why do we need "The Shack"? It is an incredibly sad state we are in, if Christ's church cannot defend itself against post-modernism. Let us build up our brothers and sisters and encourage them in the Word of Truth, their is only one Way.

We must pray for all of our leaders and those who are Christian and taken by this book!

We are praying for all of you that are witnessing, and praying for all the souls that you encounter. May God's strength protect you and His grace comfort you. For His Glory and His Name!

Leonard said...
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Leonard said...
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Leonard said...
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Andy said...
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didymus said...
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Leonard said...

Andy,

I need to apologize for even bringing any of this into the open forum. The last thing I want to do is to bring undo criticism onto you or any other brother.

This whole thing with the shack has taken on a life of it's own and I am quite uncomfortable with it all.

If you would not mind, please delete my entries into this thread. I would kind of just like to forget this book was ever written or that the Church is so up in arms about it.

I just want to preach the Gospel of Grace of our Lord and don't care to allow this silly little book to divide or cause issues.

I did not handle my entries with much tact and with a complete lack of grace and love. For that I am sorry.

Love you brother and you too my sister Haylee.

His richest to each of you..

Andy said...

Leonard,

Note and done brother and I have removed my posts that were in response as well.

Thanks for the chat today I was encouraged by it.

Grace and Peace friend,
Andy

Andy said...

Didymus,

We debated once on whether or not the KLINGON LANGUAGE VERSION (KLV) Bible was inspired :).

We both agree that it is not now.

Grace and Peace,
Andy

Leonard said...

Thanks Brother;

I too was encouraged the other day.

But as for the Klingon Bible, I am still saddened. I love the poemic feel of that language.

I am considering translating the Bible into the language the parents on the Peanuts cartoons talk in

Graham said...

Just getting around to it, I realized the other day that I may have jumped in on a conversation that I did not know about. I also realized that it may have appeared as a "gang up on" Leonard post. In both of those aspects I would like to apologize to all involved.
It seems you all know each other and have conversations in person which changes this whole dynamic.
I was made aware of the post by a friend and did not know if John MacArthur would be defended (as He has so strongly defended the Gospel all these years.)
It seems that the matter is taken care of hopefully. I am sure it was kind of odd, hearing from me out of the blue.

Andy, I appreciate your blog very much. It encourages me and my family who see the heart that God has given you to fight to win the souls of the lost! It is also encouraging to know that you defend the Living Word. Keep winning them to the true Gospel!
You should post how we all can pray for you!
Every blessing to you!

Andy said...

Appreciate your sentiments Graham. Always need prayer here, a post on that might be a blessing.

Grace and Peace,