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sojourner52
Jun 25th 2008, 02:34 AM
I was wondering if anyone has read this book or heard of it and would like to comment on it? apparently it is a best selling "christian" book.

I have seen it advertised at christianbook.com, and in lifeway christian stores but what I have read is disturbing to me.

a review/critique by john lanagan says that the author has the Trinity appear to a man in "the shack" where his young daughter was murdered. Jesus appears as a carpenter. the Holy Spirit appears as an asian woman. and the Father appears as a large black woman named "papa."

throughout the book, God is referred to as "her" or "she."

lanagan also mentions other things in the book that I find disturbing.
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1065&more=1&c=1

BrckBrln
Jun 25th 2008, 02:38 AM
Yep, there was a thread about the book not too long ago where I posted Tim Challies review of the book. It isn't doctrinally sound and I certainly wouldn't read it or recommend it.

Phil Fourie
Jun 25th 2008, 06:21 AM
Totally not for a Christian to read, this book has a very strong New Age undertone ;)

Son of the South
Jun 25th 2008, 07:26 AM
Yep, I read it. And burned it.

I also have a major problem with The Shack. Is it because God is depicted as a black woman? Well yes that is part of it, absolutely, my Bible only talks about Him in the male. If we have a problem with that, then WE have a problem with that and should just get over it; it is not the Bible that needs changing. That is however not the only problem I have with The Shack, there are a number of others starting with the front cover…

Teach that new age trash how to fly :thumbsdn:

sojourner52
Jun 25th 2008, 12:14 PM
well, I'm glad you guys can see!

what in the world is wrong with the CHRISTIAN retailers that they are selling and even pushing this garbage? (I know - $$$$$$)

grptinHisHand
Jun 25th 2008, 12:49 PM
So, let's go to the contact page and let cbd know we wish they would not sell items that offend Christians. I just did. May not do any good, but it will make a statement, and perhaps be heard.
g

Athanasius
Jun 25th 2008, 02:35 PM
It's emergent with New Age undertones.
Stay away ;)

grptinHisHand
Jun 25th 2008, 03:44 PM
Well, I tried. Seems you are right. They are about $$$.
But they did e-mail me a link to read what the publishers had to say about the controversy they knew the book would spark. :hmm:
I am not sure I can post it here. ??
g

Pleroo
Jun 25th 2008, 03:54 PM
Giving a different perspective, I thought it was a lovely, grace-filled book. Having listened to the author on a couple of podcasts, I find nothing about his views that is "new-agey".

His purpose in portraying God, the Father, as a woman was explained in the book. The Father presented Himself to the main character in that way because He knew that "Mac's" relationship with his eartly father had made recieving the Father's love very difficult for him.

Son of the South said, "I also have a major problem with The Shack. Is it because God is depicted as a black woman? Well yes that is part of it, absolutely, my Bible only talks about Him in the male. If we have a problem with that, then WE have a problem with that and should just get over it;" Fortunately, God doesn't expect us to just get over things on our own. He knows we are weak and often hurting and frightened people. I think the purpose the author had in mind was to present the understanding that the Father reaches out to us in love, meeting us where we are at, healing our wounds so that He can bring us to a place where we can begin to know our Father as He truly is.

This is the same God, after all, who was willing to humble Himself and come to us in human form, meeting us where we are, so that He could reconcile us all to Himself. Beautiful! Mericiful! Amazing! And I believe the book oozes a spirit of awe and thanksgiving for that very thing.

daughter
Jun 25th 2008, 04:42 PM
His purpose in portraying God, the Father, as a woman was explained in the book. The Father presented Himself to the main character in that way because He knew that "Mac's" relationship with his eartly father had made recieving the Father's love very difficult for him.
Actually, I've just read the following quote from the book, which gives another motive for God's appearing as female in it's pages. Apparently "papa" appears as female in order "to help keep you from falling back so easily into your religious conditioning."

sojourner52
Jun 25th 2008, 04:43 PM
no wonder there is so much confusion in "the church" today.

Pleroo
Jun 25th 2008, 05:50 PM
Actually, I've just read the following quote from the book, which gives another motive for God's appearing as female in it's pages. Apparently "papa" appears as female in order "to help keep you from falling back so easily into your religious conditioning."

Daughter, I'd love to read that quote in context. Might you be able to tell me what page I might find it on?

Here is another quote from p. 221. The Father, who is now appearing to Mack as a male figure replies to Mack:

"I understand, Mackenzie. We are coming full circle. Forgiving your dad yesterday was a significant part of your being able to know me as Father today. You don't need to explain any further." Somehow Mack knew they were nearing the end of a long journey, and Papa was working to help him take the last few steps.

daughter
Jun 25th 2008, 06:05 PM
Since you have read the entire book, you will have read the quote in context, and since it's quite a significant quote, you should be able to find it yourself.

The quote you've just posted makes papa sound like a psychiatrist, not like God. While I know God does move you to forgive others, I really don't like Him being reduced to the level of pop psychology. When Isaiah or John saw Him in the Bible, they fell down on their faces. It's not an "old/new" testemant divide either... God strikes fear into those who face Him whether in Revelation or Genesis. So whatever is having these cosy chats with Mack, it's not God.

I'm not saying it's not a good book. Seems very heavy handed from the passages I've read... even to the choice of the lead characters name... but it's just not something I want to read. Having read your initial review I was tempted, but having been online and read several passages I feel that the whole book would nauseate me.

Perhaps "in context" it's not quite so repulsive. But quite frankly, I can't stomach it.

Pleroo
Jun 25th 2008, 06:19 PM
Since you have read the entire book, you will have read the quote in context, and since it's quite a significant quote, you should be able to find it yourself.

Well, no, I don't recall that quote, but then it's been almost a year since I read it. I thought perhaps you were reading it yourself and were quoting directly from the book, so that's why I asked. :)


The quote you've just posted makes papa sound like a psychiatrist, not like God. While I know God does move you to forgive others, I really don't like Him being reduced to the level of pop psychology.

What seems like pop psychology about saying that harboring unforgiveness in one's heart makes it impossible to know the Father?


When Isaiah or John saw Him in the Bible, they fell down on their faces. It's not an "old/new" testemant divide either... God strikes fear into those who face Him whether in Revelation or Genesis. So whatever is having these cosy chats with Mack, it's not God.

But then, perfect love casts out fear. By the grace of God, we have a different relationship with our Father then those who do not yet know their Savior.


I'm not saying it's not a good book. Seems very heavy handed from the passages I've read... even to the choice of the lead characters name... but it's just not something I want to read. Having read your initial review I was tempted, but having been online and read several passages I feel that the whole book would nauseate me.

Perhaps "in context" it's not quite so repulsive. But quite frankly, I can't stomach it.

To each his/her own. :)

Pleroo
Jun 25th 2008, 07:22 PM
Daughter, I thought I'd spend a few minutes trying to find that quote. Fortunately, it was in Mack's very first meeting with "Papa" and didn't require much searching. :)

Here's some of the context:

Mack has said to Papa who has revealed Himself to Mack as a black woman: "I think it would be easier to have this conversation if you weren't wearing a dress."...

In response to this, Papa includes this:

"Mackenzie, I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it's because I love you. For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning."

Papa continues: "To reveal myself to you as a very large, white grandfather figure with flowing beard, like Gandalf, would simpply reinforce your religious stereotypes, and this weekend is not about reinforcing religious stereotypes."

As Mack considers this, these thoughts run through his head: He believed, in his head at least, that God was a Spirit, neither male nor female, but in spite of that, he was embarrassed to admit to himself that all his visuals for God were very white and very male.

But now we get to what I was saying earlier. Papa continues the conversation by saying, "Hasn't it always been a problem for you to embrace me as your father? And after what you've been through, you couldn't very well handle a father right now, could you?"

You see, Mack's father was a very prominent man in his church, very religious. He was also extremely abusive. It's not hard to imagine that Mack might have a warped view of Christianity, as well as of the Father.

Perhaps you will continue to take issue with the way the author presents this, but I'm hoping this might at least give you more of glimpse into the context of the book.

In my opinion, this book isn't about presenting authoritative doctrine and theology in novel form. It's about revealing the heart of God as the author understands it, from his Christian perspective.

The author is someone who, himself, has endured abuse and hardship in his life, but has come out the other side of that fully trusting the goodness and love of his Father in heaven, and he wants to share a bit of his own struggle and journey in reaching that place. I, personally, appreciated the way he conveyed God's grace and unconditional love for the wounded and hurting among us.

Athanasius
Jun 25th 2008, 07:55 PM
Giving a different perspective, I thought it was a lovely, grace-filled book. Having listened to the author on a couple of podcasts, I find nothing about his views that is "new-agey".

But is it true? I propose it... Isn't.



His purpose in portraying God, the Father, as a woman was explained in the book. The Father presented Himself to the main character in that way because He knew that "Mac's" relationship with his eartly father had made recieving the Father's love very difficult for him.

God the... Father. God the... Son. I'm sorry, but the images portrayed in this book can't be defended--they go against biblical teaching of God. I suppose now people are asking, "Who are you to restrict God?" Well, I'm the guy that read the Bible and am not taken in by superficial feel-good doctrines and teaching. God the Father isn't going to be appearing as a woman or a man, we describe Him with masculine (and some times femine) pronouns, but He's a spiritual being, no sex. God the Son is Jesus Christ, there's no feminizing there. On what biblical basis can you defend the views of this book other than, 'it sounds nice'?

And I'm sorry, but God isn't going to be appearing to us as a woman because we've had issues with our earthly fathers. God is going to be appearing as the Father, and He's going to show us if we've had problems with out fathers, what a real Father, the Heavenly father, is truly like. Appearing as a woman? Doesn't fly...



This is the same God, after all, who was willing to humble Himself and come to us in human form, meeting us where we are, so that He could reconcile us all to Himself. Beautiful! Mericiful! Amazing! And I believe the book oozes a spirit of awe and thanksgiving for that very thing.

Unfortunately I'm at work; I've no time to reply to the rest. Especially, if someone else wants to tackle it, his views of the Trinity.




In my opinion, this book isn't about presenting authoritative doctrine and theology in novel form. It's about revealing the heart of God as the author understands it, from his Christian perspective.




If the author doesn't have a proper understanding of God (he doesn't), then everything that follows is aberrant--and it is. This book does present a theology, a doctrine, and it's a dangerous one at that.

Pleroo
Jun 25th 2008, 08:32 PM
But is it true? I propose it... Isn't.



God the... Father. God the... Son. I'm sorry, but the images portrayed in this book can't be defended--they go against biblical teaching of God. I suppose now people are asking, "Who are you to restrict God?" Well, I'm the guy that read the Bible and am not taken in by superficial feel-good doctrines and teaching. God the Father isn't going to be appearing as a woman or a man, we describe Him with masculine (and some times femine) pronouns, but He's a spiritual being, no sex. God the Son is Jesus Christ, there's no feminizing there. On what biblical basis can you defend the views of this book other than, 'it sounds nice'?

Perhaps you missed the quote where Mack said the same thing as you have in the bolded portion. And as far as the Father "appearing" to us, of course not. This is a book of fiction, using a literary device. It's not meant to be taken as an actual event.

As to the Son, at no point was He portrayed in this book as female. And truly, the Father was not either. The point was made that God is neither male nor female, but it was obvious by the turn of events of the book that the author understood that God refers to Himself in masculine terms in the Bible for a purpose. He only "appeared" to Mack in female form to help him move beyond the brokeness his relationship with his earthly father had created, so that He could have a relationship with the heavenly Father.


And I'm sorry, but God isn't going to be appearing to us as a woman because we've had issues with our earthly fathers. God is going to be appearing as the Father, and He's going to show us if we've had problems with out fathers, what a real Father, the Heavenly father, is truly like.

Yes, quite. And if you've read the book, I'm surprised you missed how it tries to convey that very thing.


Appearing as a woman? Doesn't fly...

But the Father's unfailing love in drawing Mack to himself, that flies. :) And that is the emphasis of the book.




Unfortunately I'm at work; I've no time to reply to the rest. Especially, if someone else wants to tackle it, his views of the Trinity.



If the author doesn't have a proper understanding of God (he doesn't), then everything that follows is aberrant--and it is. This book does present a theology, a doctrine, and it's a dangerous one at that.

By all means, point out what is dangerous in this book. I, personally, do not view it that way but don't take issue with anyone pointing out things that they have concern with.

I have tried to address the female aspect, since that was brought up. I certainly don't see the way it was handled in the book to be dangerous, nor unBiblical, and have done my best to put it into perspective of the context. But I leave it open to those who do find it dangerous to explain why.

In the meantime, I believe that the way this book portrays the unconditional love and grace and goodness of God to be very Biblical and something that a lot of people need to hear.

Athanasius
Jun 25th 2008, 10:11 PM
But the Father's unfailing love in drawing Mack to himself, that flies. :) And that is the emphasis of the book.

Sorry, I'm still at work... Not enough time to reply to everything, so I'll reply to this. God's unfailing love, absolutely, that flies. Messing around with scripture doesn't. 'Fiction' or not, it's scripturally unsound. For a Christian author that's a place I wouldn't want to be in.

retiredsparky
Jun 25th 2008, 10:22 PM
Since you have read the entire book, you will have read the quote in context, and since it's quite a significant quote, you should be able to find it yourself.

The quote you've just posted makes papa sound like a psychiatrist, not like God. While I know God does move you to forgive others, I really don't like Him being reduced to the level of pop psychology. When Isaiah or John saw Him in the Bible, they fell down on their faces. It's not an "old/new" testemant divide either... God strikes fear into those who face Him whether in Revelation or Genesis. So whatever is having these cosy chats with Mack, it's not God.

I'm not saying it's not a good book. Seems very heavy handed from the passages I've read... even to the choice of the lead characters name... but it's just not something I want to read. Having read your initial review I was tempted, but having been online and read several passages I feel that the whole book would nauseate me.

Perhaps "in context" it's not quite so repulsive. But quite frankly, I can't stomach it.
After reading a number of these responses I am glad I have not read the book. I am always amazed at how easily these things are accepted by people without any thought about the underling message. It sounds like a cross between gnostic and new age with something else put in a blender and stired. I appreciate those who, like you, have stood against this type of book. Thanks!!

Pleroo
Jun 25th 2008, 10:43 PM
Sorry, I'm still at work... Not enough time to reply to everything, so I'll reply to this. God's unfailing love, absolutely, that flies. Messing around with scripture doesn't. 'Fiction' or not, it's scripturally unsound. For a Christian author that's a place I wouldn't want to be in.

I can wait until you're out of work and have more time to give some foundation to the accusation that the author is "messing around with scripture". I had some immediate thoughts in response to that, but I don't want to be premature or assume that I know what you mean by that until you've had time to expand on it. :)

Athanasius
Jun 26th 2008, 03:34 AM
Well, you'll have to wait until tomorrow for my response, but go ahead and post what you want. And for some reason I didn't think of this at work, but, the whole God being a woman thing/presenting Himself as a female.

Yeah, that's New Age.

Actually no, I'm leaving it at that. Post what you've got to post.

Phil Fourie
Jun 26th 2008, 06:40 AM
Pleroo

So, should we embrace any unbiblical teaching just because it is nice on the ears?

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2 Timothy 4:3

No, we should stay true to biblical teachings and refute anything that goes against it ;)

God bless
Phil

daughter
Jun 26th 2008, 08:47 AM
I've thought about it, and I may have to read this book. I'll not say any more on this subject until I've done so.

Son of the South
Jun 26th 2008, 12:02 PM
"Mackenzie, I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it's because I love you. For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning."

Papa continues: "To reveal myself to you as a very large, white grandfather figure with flowing beard, like Gandalf, would simpply reinforce your religious stereotypes, and this weekend is not about reinforcing religious stereotypes."

As Mack considers this, these thoughts run through his head: He believed, in his head at least, that God was a Spirit, neither male nor female, but in spite of that, he was embarrassed to admit to himself that all his visuals for God were very white and very male.

But now we get to what I was saying earlier. Papa continues the conversation by saying, "Hasn't it always been a problem for you to embrace me as your father? And after what you've been through, you couldn't very well handle a father right now, could you?"

You see, Mack's father was a very prominent man in his church, very religious. He was also extremely abusive. It's not hard to imagine that Mack might have a warped view of Christianity, as well as of the Father.

Perhaps you will continue to take issue with the way the author presents this, but I'm hoping this might at least give you more of glimpse into the context of the book.



Mackenzie must be very special indeed. Throughout the ages God reveals Himself in the male, but here He changes. God changes himself for one little man. Or is it rather one little man changes God for himself? Why don't you tell me God LOVES so much that he tolerates sin wile you're at it.

Oh, but it is all part of the story, just as the little bug on the front cover. Part of the story, very neat; or part of the author's new age allegiance?

Don't mock God, he is the lion as well as the lamb. God is a consuming fire! Read the Bible if you please, "I'm hoping THAT might at least give you more of glimpse into the context of the book".

Son of the South
Jun 26th 2008, 12:42 PM
I just ran a quick Google search with: "lady bug new age symbol" and already came up with more than I care to know.

Just some information on the side about the Lady Bug symbology:


The lady bug is used as an attribute of the Divine, and frequently plays the role of a messenger or servant of God. The lady bug establishes a connection with heaven as is evident in many children's rhymes.

A variety of cultures make this connection between lady bug and God and/or Holy Mary. The lady bug is called boarina del Signor (shepherdess of Christ, in some regions of Italy and Sweden), Indragopa (Sanskrit, meaning Indra's shepherd) or Jungfru Marias nyckelpiga (Swedish:Our Lady's servant in charge of the keys) and arca de Dios (Spanish:the ark of God).

According to some authors (Mannhardt, Riegler) this points to a pre-Christian origin where the "lady bug" was the symbol of one or several divinities. Christian faith and culture assimilated these symbolisms, renamed them and gave them a new (sometimes not so new!) content.

The lady bug is the preferred little creature of Our Lady. It lives under her protection. To kill a lady bug means to anger Our Lady for nine days. The lady bug is a bringer of gifts. It brings oil to Jesus, wine to Mary and bread to God the Father. It is in particular the bringer of good things to humans: clothes and pots and jewels.

The lady bug is a porta fortuna or charm (good luck) and, last but not least, a symbol of the soul. In this latter capacity the lady bug is called anima della Madona (soul of Our Lady) or anima del paradiso. Should anybody have the misfortune to kill the bug, he or she would die the very next day.

The connection with Our Lady is therefore not an exclusive one. The bug was assimilated with Mary probably in an effort to baptize it and to make it Christian without depriving it of its office as divine messenger.

That last paragraph really says it all. WARNING - Be very careful of using any symbols you do not know the origin of.

Son of the South
Jun 26th 2008, 01:08 PM
This is a good article by Berit Kjos on The Shack that confirms its teachings are new age:

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/shack.htm

I found very valuable information on the same website pertaining to symbols:

http://www.crossroad.to/Books/symbols1.html

(Perhaps that Warning Concerning Symbols given at the bottom of that page should be read first.)

militarywife
Jul 29th 2008, 07:54 PM
I have just finished reading The Shack...a fictional book by William Paul Young. I think it is important to remember that this IS a fiction writing not intended to be used as a substitute theology.

The Bible is the living word and where my knowledge and guidance are found as well as my daily personal walk and talk with my Saviour.

With that said...if you (general) truly want to review/critique this fictional book...read it yourselves and do not depend on google or other peoples views to establish your own.

I personally enjoyed the book. I see it for what it is...a story.;)

BrckBrln
Jul 29th 2008, 08:12 PM
I have just finished reading The Shack...a fictional book by William Paul Young. I think it is important to remember that this IS a fiction writing not intended to be used as a substitute theology.

The Bible is the living word and where my knowledge and guidance are found as well as my daily personal walk and talk with my Saviour.

With that said...if you (general) truly want to review/critique this fictional book...read it yourselves and do not depend on google or other peoples views to establish your own.

I personally enjoyed the book. I see it for what it is...a story.;)

Yes, it is a story, but that's not where the author, or any author, stops. I just got done reading a chapter in Heretics by G.K. Chesterton which basically said that the great authors are not content with being just great story tellers. For example, he said that George Bernard Shaw is a great writer but he wants to be a great politician. The point is that yes, The Shack is a story, but it has terrible (heretical) theology in it because, I assume, that's what the author believes and what he wants you to believe also. You understand what I'm trying to say? But maybe I'm wrong.

militarywife
Jul 29th 2008, 08:21 PM
I think that "assuming" is the first indication that you may be wrong about the authors intent.
I read the book and honestly took away from it a couple of questions pertaining to myself. Good ones.
I am rooted and grounded in Christ my Saviour. The Bible is where I find my answers...along with a daily picking up of my cross and unceasing prayer ( communion ) with my Lord.

BrckBrln
Jul 29th 2008, 08:26 PM
I think that "assuming" is the first indication that you may be wrong about the authors intent.
I read the book and honestly took away from it a couple of questions pertaining to myself. Good ones.
I am rooted and grounded in Christ my Saviour. The Bible is where I find my answers...along with a daily picking up of my cross and unceasing prayer ( communion ) with my Lord.

Just because I'm assuming doesn't mean I'm wrong. That's irrelevant though. Surely you can see the wrong theology in the book don't you? It's one thing to read a secular book with a wrong philosophy, like I'm doing right now with Ayn Rand, but it's another thing to read a 'Christian' book with an obviously wrong, even heretical, theology.

militarywife
Jul 29th 2008, 08:31 PM
I did not say you were wrong. I said ASSUMING the authors intent was wrong.
Have you read the book?

BrckBrln
Jul 29th 2008, 08:34 PM
I did not say you were wrong. I said ASSUMING the authors intent was wrong.
Have you read the book?

Well I don't see why he would write a book using that theology if he didn't believe it and want others to believe it also. But, who knows? And no, I haven't read the book nor do I intend to.

Pleroo
Jul 30th 2008, 06:54 PM
I have just finished reading The Shack...a fictional book by William Paul Young. I think it is important to remember that this IS a fiction writing not intended to be used as a substitute theology.

The Bible is the living word and where my knowledge and guidance are found as well as my daily personal walk and talk with my Saviour.

With that said...if you (general) truly want to review/critique this fictional book...read it yourselves and do not depend on google or other peoples views to establish your own.

I personally enjoyed the book. I see it for what it is...a story.;)

Hi Sara. I agree with you. It really is a shame to debase a book written by a fellow Christian as heretical without having read it for yourself. The Shack deals with the age old questions asked in the inspired books of Job and Habukkuk and reiterates the truths found there as well. God is Good and He is our Salvation!

BrckBrln
Jul 30th 2008, 07:25 PM
Hi Sara. I agree with you. It really is a shame to debase a book written by a fellow Christian as heretical without having read it for yourself. The Shack deals with the age old questions asked in the inspired books of Job and Habukkuk and reiterates the truths found there as well. God is Good and He is our Salvation!

Just because I haven't read it doesn't mean I don't know what's in it. He portrays the Trinity in a heretical way and by doing so can deceive people into thinking of the Trinity as such.

AndrewBaptistFL
Jul 30th 2008, 08:00 PM
On a side note, I manage a secualr book store. The Shack in my number one paperback bestseller...which immediatly made me suspicious of it.

Pleroo
Aug 2nd 2008, 01:00 AM
Just because I haven't read it doesn't mean I don't know what's in it. He portrays the Trinity in a heretical way and by doing so can deceive people into thinking of the Trinity as such.

Well, we could go round and round about that. :) Having read the book, I don't see it that way. [And, hey, I just took the heretic quiz posted in the poll section (which dealt pretty extensively with beliefs concerning the Trinity) and passed with flying colors. :lol: ] Beyond the question of God's gender [which I've addressed previously in this thread ... It is stated in the book that God is spirit, neither male nor female, but that He has His own good purposes for being referred to in masculine terms in the Scriptures ... That's not a heretical idea] I'd be interested in knowing specifically what you find to be deceptive in the way the author portrays the Trinity?

BrckBrln
Aug 2nd 2008, 01:11 AM
Well, we could go round and round about that. :) Having read the book, I don't see it that way. [And, hey, I just took the heretic quiz posted in the poll section (which dealt pretty extensively with beliefs concerning the Trinity) and passed with flying colors. :lol: ] Beyond the question of God's gender [which I've addressed previously in this thread ... It is stated in the book that God is spirit, neither male nor female, but that He has His own good purposes for being referred to in masculine terms in the Scriptures ... That's not a heretical idea] I'd be interested in knowing specifically what you find to be deceptive in the way the author portrays the Trinity?

Call me a traditionalist but God the Father should in no way be represented as a black woman strangely named 'papa'. :rolleyes:

Why doesn't the author stick to what the Bible says about the Trinity?

Pleroo
Aug 2nd 2008, 01:40 AM
Call me a traditionalist but God the Father should in no way be represented as a black woman strangely named 'papa'. :rolleyes:

Why doesn't the author stick to what the Bible says about the Trinity?

Why do some people use apples or light or water or any other natural thing to try to illustrate their understanding of the Trinity? Because the Trinity is beyond human comprehension, so people use created things to help others grasp certain aspects of their beliefs. I have never, when people have presented the Trinity in this way, thought they meant that God actually was an apple or physical light or water. I also understood that while those illustrations might possibly give a fairly accurate concept of some aspect of the Trinity, those illustrations will always be flawed and could never give a complete picture.

I see this author's "illustration" in the same way. Make sense? :)

Pleroo
Aug 2nd 2008, 02:05 AM
On a side note, I manage a secualr book store. The Shack in my number one paperback bestseller...which immediatly made me suspicious of it.

Oh, I wouldn't let that deter you from reading it. After all, the Bible itself is the best seller of all time, no? :) :saint:

BrckBrln
Aug 2nd 2008, 02:05 AM
Why do some people use apples or light or water or any other natural thing to try to illustrate their understanding of the Trinity? Because the Trinity is beyond human comprehension, so people use created things to help others grasp certain aspects of their beliefs. I have never, when people have presented the Trinity in this way, thought they meant that God actually was an apple or physical light or water. I also understood that while those illustrations might possibly give a fairly accurate concept of some aspect of the Trinity, those illustrations will always be flawed and could never give a complete picture.

I see this author's "illustration" in the same way. Make sense? :)

Find me a place in the Bible where any part of the Godhead is described as a woman and I will fully agree with you. But it's not there. I bet there are thousands of people out there now who, because of the book, picture the Trinity as a bunch of women and pray to God as a 'she'. I just don't see why the author presented the Trinity in this way.

Pleroo
Aug 2nd 2008, 02:11 AM
[snip] I just don't see why the author presented the Trinity in this way.[snip]

Take a look at posts # 11 and # 12 and #15 in this thread. That will hopefully give you some idea of what the author was trying to achieve.

BrckBrln
Aug 2nd 2008, 02:26 AM
Take a look at posts # 11 and # 12 and #15 in this thread. That will hopefully give you some idea of what the author was trying to achieve.

But the problem is that what he's trying to achieve is not found in the Bible. Nowhere is the Trinity described as women, nor is it even implied. If God appears as a woman, then He wouldn't be God, He would be a Goddess. And we don't worship a Goddess, but a God. Here, listen to Mark Driscoll explain a few things wrong with the book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK65Jfny70Y

Athanasius
Aug 2nd 2008, 04:24 AM
But the problem is that what he's trying to achieve is not found in the Bible. Nowhere is the Trinity described as women, nor is it even implied. If God appears as a woman, then He wouldn't be God, He would be a Goddess. And we don't worship a Goddess, but a God. Here, listen to Mark Driscoll explain a few things wrong with the book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK65Jfny70Y

Good ole' Mark Driscoll.
He's got it right this time.

Pleroo
Aug 2nd 2008, 05:06 PM
But the problem is that what he's trying to achieve is not found in the Bible. Nowhere is the Trinity described as women, nor is it even implied. If God appears as a woman, then He wouldn't be God, He would be a Goddess. And we don't worship a Goddess, but a God. Here, listen to Mark Driscoll explain a few things wrong with the book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK65Jfny70Y

And here's a video response to the video you posted :) that makes the same points I've been making. This book is not to be taken literally. It is metaphorical, allegorical, illustrative, whatever you want to call it. If you insist on taking it literally, then you are going to continue to see things in the book that aren't there, such as goddess worship, graven images and modalism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKdJmIJOq74&feature=related

Pleroo
Aug 2nd 2008, 05:38 PM
I've perused some of the other videos on YouTube and the following is one that I believe gives a very balanced review, by an orthodox Christian, of The Shack .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK8gm0C3MCU&feature=related

Bethany67
Aug 2nd 2008, 06:57 PM
I used to be a goddess worshipper and what I've read about the book and seen from people like Mark Driscoll has made me decide this is one book I personally will choose not to read. God is my Father, not my mother - that's how He chose to reveal Himself in the Bible. It was imagining God as a softer more approachable feminine figure that got me into trouble in the first place and led me into much hellish deception. Not going there again. Usually in situations like this I'd read the controversial item, but this time round I'm just not going to.

apothanein kerdos
Aug 2nd 2008, 07:39 PM
I actually have read the book. Here is a review I put up and I think it will suffice for this topic:


One of the most perplexing questions humanity has faced is how can evil exist alongside an all-good and benevolent God? William Young’s book The Shack attempts to deal with this question in a fictitious manner.

The main character, Mack, grew up in an abusive home and eventually escaped the home after poisoning his father. Later on in life he takes a camping trip and, through a series of events, discovers that his six-year-old daughter Missy has been brutally murdered by a serial killer. After breaking down he one day receives a letter in the mail, inviting him to go to the shack his daughter’s bloody dress was found in. After arriving, he spends a weekend speaking with all three persons of the Trinity, discovering why his daughter had to die and how God operates.

Style

Stylistically the book does a good job during the emotional parts, but comes across as an over-glorified Christian track in other spots. When Mack loses his child (Missy) and finds the bloody dress in the shack, it is truly gut wrenching. When he sees her through a waterfall as she plays with Jesus, Young does a good job of portraying the appropriate emotional response that Mac would have had.

In other parts, however, the book is just cheesy. God the Father in this book really isn’t God the Father at all - He is a big black woman who decides to act as a calm and motherly manner. Later in the book He appears as an actual father, but even in this instance there is no hint of the power of God. There are hints, but such power is never displayed or explained in great detail. Thus, God comes across as a cheesy buffoon that is about as effective as a really good psychologist.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit hardly fair much better. The presentation of Jesus is of a Jesus that really is a buddy. He lies out under the stars, He takes walks, He becomes a buddy to Mack. This really isn’t the Jesus presented in Scriptures (who is no doubt a friend, but a friend with authority). The Holy Spirit is an Asian woman that brings comfort, but lacks conviction and judgment.

Overall, the style just isn’t up to the quality of ‘secular’ books. At times it has great potential to be a great work of art, but ultimately fails and ends up being a little better than the Left Behind series, but not something that is a great work of literature.

Evaluation and Comparison to the Bible

The Good:

There are many theological truths and falsehoods contained within The Shack. I want to first focus on what I found to be extremely true and beneficial before diving into what I see as troubling.

On the Trinity -

In explaining the Trinity, God (in the story) explains, “All love and relationship is possible for you only because it already exists within Me, within God myself (p. 101).” This is probably one of the best justifications for belief in the Trinity (outside of Scripture) because it explains how God had love and relationship prior to the existence of humanity. If there is no Trinity or different modes for God, then true relationship and love simply would not exist; God would be unable to relate to humanity in this manner or, worse, humanity would lack love and relationship.

On the Spiritual Life -

In dealing with forgiveness, Jesus says, “Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you and a bridge of reconciliation (p. 226).” This is a significant part of the book, because Jesus is asking Mack to forgive the man who killed Missy. To the average American reader, to forgive is to release someone from responsibility, thus Americans often have a hard time forgiving people. The Bible, however, is very clear that we are to forgive one another for God has forgiven us of much more (Matthew 18:21-34). Forgiving doesn’t require that a relationship be built or trust be restored; it merely means that we no longer hold animosity toward the person who committed an offense against us.

When Young describes the Christian life, he does a good job of showing that it is more of a relationship than following rules. The Holy Spirit in Young’s story summarizes Christianity as, “The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules. It is a picture of Jesus. While words may tell you what God is like and even what he may want from you, you cannot do any of it on your own. Life and living is in him and in no other. (p. 198).” This, of course, is extremely true as Paul constantly warns believers to avoid works of the flesh for righteousness and instead trust in God. Francis Schaeffer, in True Spirituality, made it very clear that Christianity is not made up of rules. In depth, Schaeffer says (and more eloquently and completely than Young):

“Our true guilt, that brazen heaven which stands between us and God, can be removed only upon the basis of the finished work of Christ plus nothing on our part. The Bible’s whole emphasis is that there must be no humanistic note added at any point in the accepting of the gospel. It is the infinitive value of the finished work of Christ, the second person of the Trinity, upon the cross plus nothing that is the sole basis for the removal of our guilt…We do not come to true spirituality or the true Christian life merely by keeping a list, but neither do we come to it merely by rejecting the list and then shrugging our shoulders and living a looser life.“

Schaeffer argues throughout the book that change can only occur through constant “moment by moment” living in Christ. This is also a very Biblical concept as we are told by Jesus to die to ourselves.

The Bad:

Earthly Authorities -

The God in The Shack states, “I don’t create institutions - never have, never will (p. 179).” This seems to indicate that God never sets up governments (as stated on the same page), never sets up religion, never sets up rules, and so on.

The Bible, however, seems to take a completely opposite view of this Foucault way of thinking. Michel Foucault argued that institutions were simply a way of displaying and holding power over people and it seems Young is buying into this idea - the Bible, however, teaches that holding power over people - when done righteously - is actually a good thing. For one, God did set up many institutions that are full of rules (one merely needs to turn toward the Old Testament). Likewise, the New Testament isn’t limited to just rules, but it does contain rules. Every relationship has boundaries, which means every relationship has rules, which means every relationship is part of an institution.

Within the Church, the Holy Spirit - speaking through Paul - gave the church instructions for how to formalize their meetings and authority structure in 1 Timothy and Titus. This, of course, is an institution - it gives way to how something is supposed to run.

In the view that God doesn’t set up or partake in governments, here are a few passages that both demonstrated and teach that God is involved in Governmental affairs:

1 Samuel 9:15-17;10:1, Acts 13:22, 2 Samuel 7:13-16, Psalms 89:19-37, Acts 13:22, Amos 9:8, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 13-17.

This would indicate that God is involved in governmental affairs and sets up such institutions. This does not mean all of these governments are good or morally correct - merely that they have been established to fulfill God’s plan in some way.

Proverbs 16:12 teaches that a proper throne is established on righteousness. This seems to indicate that righteousness often leads to a position of power. Proverbs 29:2 even states that when the righteous are in power the people rejoice. This leaves little doubt that there is an authority structure here on Earth that we cannot escape - we are either ruled by the righteous or the wicked. One who is righteous will not abuse his authority or even seek his authority, but he will have authority non-the-less.

Trinitarian Authority -

In keeping with the issue of authority, The Shack teaches that there is no authority within the Trinity (122- 123), that all submit to each other and that we, on earth, should follow this trend (p. 145, 148).

In dealing with the lack of authority within the Trinity, one can simply look to the Gospels to dispute this claim. There is obviously some form of a loving hierarchy within the Trinity - not in the human sense, but in a sense where there is submission.

Matthew 11:27 shows that all things have been handed over to Jesus by the Father - both are God, but each is a distinctive person.

Matthew 26:39 shows Jesus asking for the Father to remove His cup of wrath - this indicates that the Father had control over the situation.

Mark 8:38 indicates that Jesus comes in the glory of the Father.

Mark 13:32 seems to say that the Father has hidden away the time of His (Jesus’) own coming.

John 3:35 shows that God has given all things into the hand of Christ out of love, but this also indicates that it was the Father’s to give (which shows an authoritative role).

All of this is meant to show an authority relationship within the Trinity. This is NOT to say that Jesus isn’t God, but instead that Jesus holds a different role than the Father (just as the Holy Spirit holds a different role). In The Shack all three hold equal roles and the same role (all talk the same, comfort the same, etc). The Bible, however, indicates that there are differences in how each Person operates - which is why it is important for Christians to focus on each Person of God.

As for authority here on earth, many of Paul’s writings show that there are authority structures: husband over wife, parents over children, slave masters over slaves, elders over congregation, and so on. It is only in our perverse modern era, thanks to Foucault, that we somehow see “authority” as a grab for “power,” and of course all power is somehow “bad.” It teaches absolute autonomy to the extreme - no one should have any authority over you; instead close-knit servant relationships will suffice.

This, of course, is not the Biblical model (or at least not the complete Biblical model). A proper Biblical model does teach in servant leadership - where the leader puts the best interests of those he is in charge of first - but this still indicates that the leader holds the authority to say what can and cannot be done. A husband has authority over his wife, but this is not abusive authority - he is to do what is best for her, not for him, which requires a sacrifice. A parent has authority over her children - but this means she is to watch out for them even when it brings harm to herself.

God’s dealing with sin -

When the Father (still as a black woman) is speaking to Mack about sin, she says, “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.” This indicates that (1) sin exists and (2) there are consequences to sin, but (3) God doesn’t punish humans for sin. I believe this ignores not only Scripture, but also common sense.

Common sense would dictate that sin has consequences because God has placed those consequences there - indicating that God does, in fact, punish humans for sin (via natural consequences).

However, there is a more direct punishment from God. From Genesis 3 we see that God not only punished Adam and Eve for their sin, but cursed the entirety of creation. In Genesis 4 God punishes Cain for killing his brother. Throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and so on we see God is constantly warning of punishment and exacting punishment on Israel for her sin. Exile after exile merely serves as proof that God does, in fact, punish humans for their sin (sometimes not even as a natural consequence - many nations that worshiped pagan gods weren’t sent into exile, only Israel, showing it wasn’t exactly a natural consequence that followed every time).

In the New Testament Matthew 5:29 says that if one part of your body causes you to sin, it is better to chop off that part than have your entire body thrown into Hell. There are numerous parables that show when people live in sin, they have Hell as a consequence.

This is not to say God doesn’t forgive sins - for He most certainly does - or that there aren’t natural consequences to sin, but it must be understood that God gave both the natural consequences and divine consequences. God does punish sin.

Comparison to Job:

Imagine that you are a person of wealth and one day you’re sitting down you enjoy your meal. Then, out of nowhere one of your employees breaks through your door and yells, “the oil fields you invested your money in have been destroyed by raiders in the Middle East!” Realizing you have lost a major investment, you begin to feel a sick feeling in your stomach. Shortly after being informed about your investment, another employee shows up to say that land you were saving to build houses on had been completely destroyed, along with construction workers in a major landslide. You begin to worry for the worker’s families, but before you can show too much concern, you learn that terrorists struck the building your company resides in and all your employees (save the one that escaped) died in the attack. Realizing you have lost all your wealth and sources of income, plus the death of hundreds of your employees, one of your children’s friends busts through the door. He explains that a tornado ripped through your oldest son’s house, that all of your children were there, and that now all of them are dead. Imagine how you would feel.

As far-fetched as this story might seem, a similar one did happen to Job. Though The Shack presents a story that is horrible (the loss of one child at the hands of a murderer), the book of Job presents a story that is unfathomable. Job lost all his property, income, means of food, and children in one day. Just like The Shack, in the end God decides to converse with Job. The God presented in Job is far different from the God presented in The Shack.

In The Shack God comes across as this patient and comforting mother figure, that when Mack gets upset, she just laughs it off and ignores it. The God of Job (the correct God), however, is much more ‘abrasive’ in His approach to Job. After Job had questioned God, God responds that Job needs to “gird up his loins like a man” (38:3). This Hebrew idiom is the equivalent of the English (American) idiom of “cowboy up;” it is a command for the person receiving the message to toughen up and be prepared to take it. This is certainly a far cry from the God of The Shack.

As God goes on in His explanation, He never once directly deals with Job’s problems and questions, unlike the God of The Shack that - in an almost apologetic manner - deals directly with Mack’s problems. Chapter 38 of Job is God questioning Job, asking Job if he can control the entirety of the world. God, obviously, is showing that He is incomprehensibly more powerful than humans are and, subsequently, it makes no sense for us to question Him. Chapter 39 declares that God not only knows how to guide all of creation, but He has a perfect and infallible understanding of how creation works (God is the ultimate biologist, physicist, etc) because He caused it to work that way.

God, after declaring His power and knowledge, asks Job, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty; He who argues with God, let Him answer” (40:2). Job has the appropriate response of declaring that he will remain silent. The version of God in the book of Job has a God that, after He declares His glory, in a rhetorical manner tells Job to “shut up.” Compare this to Young’s God in The Shack that has no problem with Mack asking question after question. This is not to say God is afraid of our questions or won’t answer them, but He is hardly a comforting mother that bows to our pain - He is ultimately in control and all things ultimately happen to display His glory; until we recognize this fact, we will always suffer in our pain (something Young under covers).

God continues to question Job, asking him if he can possibly question God by holding the power of God (40:6-14). This seems to indicate that though we can question things that happen to us, we venture into the field of inappropriateness when we begin to question God’s actions and the nature of God.

The reason I bring up the book of Job is that Mack’s story has really already been done. Though every tale of suffering is unique to the person suffering, it isn’t unique in a true sense because God has already dealt with it in the book of Job. The book of Job shows that God guides all things, allows what fits within His purpose, guides things towards His purpose, and that man cannot understand the reasons God has allowed evil into the world. By reading The Shack, one could not possibly come to all these conclusions, which indicates to me that Young’s book is an incomplete version of the Biblical truth.

Final Word:

Suffering is a horrible thing. Though we can offer theories onto why suffering is allowed (see “The Metaphysical Necessity of Evil”), ultimately God has His own purposes for allowing personal evils. Instead of being angry at Him, we should consult Him and ask Him to reveal His purpose and bring us comfort in hard times. He is ultimately in control, so it only makes sense to have a relationship with Him rather than fight Him on what we cannot stop.

AndrewBaptistFL
Aug 3rd 2008, 04:54 AM
Oh, I wouldn't let that deter you from reading it. After all, the Bible itself is the best seller of all time, no? :) :saint:


Of all time yes, but not of this time, not anymore; my friend.

Toymom
Aug 12th 2008, 02:16 AM
i am reading it and loving it.
i am about 3/4 of the way done.
i can see why some people don't like it.
God is portrayed as being anti-religion and against the religious institutions.
That is just fine with me.
He is portrayed as love.
The trinity is portrayed as a union where no one of them is in charge, but they are all equal.
It is a fiction book and is expected to be taken as such and not as theology.
But, it does give the author a good platform from which to express his theological views.
I was disturbed by the first part of the book because of what the cause of the man's sadness is - it is very sad and was disturbing to me.
But I am not disturbed by the way that God is portrayed.
I really like it.

Athanasius
Aug 12th 2008, 02:38 AM
i am reading it and loving it.
i am about 3/4 of the way done.
i can see why some people don't like it.

1. Breaks the Second commandment - graven image of God the Father
2. Goddess worship (God the father is a woman? The Holy Spirit is a woman?)
3. Heretical theology concerning the Trinity

Are those some good reasons?



God is portrayed as being anti-religion and against the religious institutions.
That is just fine with me.

Except God isn't against religion... At least not pure and good religion.



He is portrayed as love.

To be honest... Irrelevant.



The trinity is portrayed as a union where no one of them is in charge, but they are all equal.

Heresy - the Trinity is very much hierarchical. Hierarchy is not 'sinful'.



It is a fiction book and is expected to be taken as such and not as theology.
But, it does give the author a good platform from which to express his theological views.

"Fiction" or not, no Christian should be writing what's in this book.



I was disturbed by the first part of the book because of what the cause of the man's sadness is - it is very sad and was disturbing to me.
But I am not disturbed by the way that God is portrayed.
I really like it.

It's a very dangerous book presenting a very dangerous theology.

apothanein kerdos
Aug 12th 2008, 05:07 AM
I think what worries me is that Christians have been so quick to embrace this book without thinking of the negative theological implications within the book.

Toymom
Aug 12th 2008, 01:07 PM
I think what worries me is that Christians have been so quick to embrace this book without thinking of the negative theological implications within the book.
I finished the book last night.
I really enjoyed it.
It made me think about a lot of things.
I think that Christians who are religious and into religion may not like it because it portrays Christ as being outside of religion. Well, that is true. He is. The only part that seemed a bit off to me was the celebration part - the description of the colors etc...

Athanasius
Aug 12th 2008, 02:15 PM
I finished the book last night.
I really enjoyed it.
It made me think about a lot of things.
I think that Christians who are religious and into religion may not like it because it portrays Christ as being outside of religion. Well, that is true. He is. The only part that seemed a bit off to me was the celebration part - the description of the colors etc...

Just conveniently going to ignore what I've said?

apothanein kerdos
Aug 12th 2008, 02:16 PM
I finished the book last night.
I really enjoyed it.
It made me think about a lot of things.
I think that Christians who are religious and into religion may not like it because it portrays Christ as being outside of religion. Well, that is true. He is. The only part that seemed a bit off to me was the celebration part - the description of the colors etc...

That's the only part? Not the fact that it denies a hierarchical Trinity (which the Bible states exists)? Not the fact that God is displayed as a woman? Not the part about God hating institutions (though all He does in the Bible is establish institutions)? Not that God appears weak? Not the fact that God appears as a buddy and a comforter when Job - who faced a much worse situation - was back handed by God into His senses? None of that bothers you at all?

I posted my review above - do you have anything to say about it? Any response? Or am I too much into 'religion' for you (which, btw, God created the Christian religion, with rules, institutions, authority structures, and doctrines...what you're supporting is a modernistic idea brought to us by Derrida).

Toymom
Aug 12th 2008, 02:22 PM
Just conveniently going to ignore what I've said?
have you read the book?

Athanasius
Aug 12th 2008, 02:24 PM
have you read the book?

You know this is a logical fallacy, right? But anyway... Yes, I've read the book.

Toymom
Aug 12th 2008, 02:31 PM
That's the only part? Not the fact that it denies a hierarchical Trinity (which the Bible states exists)? Not the fact that God is displayed as a woman? Not the part about God hating institutions (though all He does in the Bible is establish institutions)? Not that God appears weak? Not the fact that God appears as a buddy and a comforter when Job - who faced a much worse situation - was back handed by God into His senses? None of that bothers you at all?

I posted my review above - do you have anything to say about it? Any response? Or am I too much into 'religion' for you (which, btw, God created the Christian religion, with rules, institutions, authority structures, and doctrines...what you're supporting is a modernistic idea brought to us by Derrida).
The book is fiction, and is not intended to be taken as anything other than that.
I don't have a problem with God being displayed as a woman because it is fiction.
I don't think that God created the Christian religion.
Your verses that you listed about God and government all refer to the Old Testament except for the one that states all authorities are from God and your first Peter reference does not list a chapter - only verses.
Job is Old Testament.

I take the book as a thoughtful piece of Christian fiction that does contain some theological truths.

Toymom
Aug 12th 2008, 02:36 PM
You know this is a logical fallacy, right? But anyway... Yes, I've read the book.
i am not sure how that is a logical fallacy. i just think that if someone has not read it, they should not try to analyse it. but since you did read it, i will respond.

1. Breaks the Second commandment - graven image of God the Father
2. Goddess worship (God the father is a woman? The Holy Spirit is a woman?) 3. Heretical theology concerning the Trinity

Are those some good reasons?
it is fiction, not a theology textbook.


Except God isn't against religion... At least not pure and good religion.

i disagree. i don't think there is good and pure religion. which one do you think is pure and good? only God is pure and good.

To be honest... Irrelevant.

:confused

Heresy - the Trinity is very much hierarchical. Hierarchy is not 'sinful'.

i am not sure about the hierarchy business - but i just see it as fictional anyway so it does not bother me

"Fiction" or not, no Christian should be writing what's in this book.



It's a very dangerous book presenting a very dangerous theology.
i do not see it as dangerous.
i think it will make many people think.
as Paul said - Christ is announced and I will rejoice.

Athanasius
Aug 12th 2008, 02:43 PM
i am not sure how that is a logical fallacy. i just think that if someone has not read it, they should not try to analyse it. but since you did read it, i will respond.

It's comparable to this:

Are you gay? You can't talk about homosexuality unless you're gay.
Have you had an abortion? You can't talk about abortion unless you've had one.
Are you a liberal?
Have you read 'THIS'?
Have you taken part in 'THIS' religion?
Etc.



it is fiction, not a theology textbook.

It's irrelevant whether or not the book is fiction. If I wrote the most grotesque blasphemies and abuses of Christ and then declared it to be fiction it would still be unacceptable. For some odd reason, however, this book everyone takes exception too.

A story written for his children or an espousing of this mans Trinitiarian doctrine... It's irrelevant.



i disagree. i don't think there is good and pure religion. which one do you think is pure and good? only God is pure and good.

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.



i am not sure about the hierarchy business - but i just see it as fictional anyway so it does not bother me

I believe it's Hosea 6:4... "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge".



i do not see it as dangerous.
i think it will make many people think.
as Paul said - Christ is announced and I will rejoice.

It was Paul who also said to beware of those who preach a different Christ, and that is what's being announced in this book.

apothanein kerdos
Aug 12th 2008, 02:46 PM
The book is fiction, and is not intended to be taken as anything other than that.
I don't have a problem with God being displayed as a woman because it is fiction.

Ah, so if I make God look like a little confused child that needs help, but it's written as fiction, it's okay? Or what about a God that - like the kings of old - just enjoys orgies. I mean, so long as it's fiction it's okay, right?

Or maybe I should be more honest and realize that God demands proper thinking about Him regardless of if it's fiction or not. Maybe I should be honest and realize that 'fiction' doesn't matter with God.


I don't think that God created the Christian religion.

So you just ignore the Gospels and Paul's epistles?


Your verses that you listed about God and government all refer to the Old Testament

And your point is...?


except for the one that states all authorities are from God and your first Peter reference does not list a chapter - only verses.

And your point is...?

It's chapter 2.



Job is Old Testament.

And your point is...?

The Old Testament carries just as much authority as the New. In fact, when Paul says that all Scripture is inspired, he would have only had the Old Testament in mind as these were the only Scriptures available.

Pointing out that it's the Old Testament means nothing to me.

Theophilus
Aug 12th 2008, 02:48 PM
I haven't read the book, but I'm going to comment, anyway.

I think this may fall into one of those categories where it wouldn't hurt a mature Christian to read, but might be troublesome for one new in the faith. It probably wouldn't be recommended reading for a non-Christian either...but it might also cause a non-Christian to become more curious about God.

It's kind of like what Paul was talking to the Corinthians about. They were saying that, as a Christian, "Everything is lawful for me"...and his reply was that not everything was helpful or edifying, even if it was lawful. Mature Christians need to mentor (and sometimes, protect) new Christians from things that might be confusing...or that seem to veer away from orthodoxy.

FWIW...

apothanein kerdos
Aug 12th 2008, 02:52 PM
I haven't read the book, but I'm going to comment, anyway.

I think this may fall into one of those categories where it wouldn't hurt a mature Christian to read, but might be troublesome for one new in the faith. It probably wouldn't be recommended reading for a non-Christian either...but it might also cause a non-Christian to become more curious about God.

It's kind of like what Paul was talking to the Corinthians about. They were saying that, as a Christian, "Everything is lawful for me"...and his reply was that not everything was helpful or edifying, even if it was lawful. Mature Christians need to mentor (and sometimes, protect) new Christians from things that might be confusing...or that seem to veer away from orthodoxy.

FWIW...

I agree with this view. In fact, I would argue that the mature believers might actually want to read this work in order to know exactly how to refute it.

Younger believers or those struggling in their theology, however, should avoid this book like the plague.

Pleroo
Aug 12th 2008, 03:44 PM
Well, I appreciate you trying to find a balance, Theo, except that there's nothing wrong with the theology of the book or "veering from orthodoxy". The author simply has a unique way of communicating the orthodox. :)

I would especially recommend the book to anyone who struggles with the hurts of their past impeding their relationship with God, whether they be new Christians, old Christians or pre-Christians.

Pleroo
Aug 12th 2008, 03:58 PM
Ah, so if I make God look like a little confused child that needs help, but it's written as fiction, it's okay? Or what about a God that - like the kings of old - just enjoys orgies. I mean, so long as it's fiction it's okay, right?

That's a bit of a red herring, don't you think? God is not portrayed as either of those things in this book -- not confused, not sinful -- so why bring it up?

I'm curious, do you take issue with CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, too? Christ is portrayed as a lion ... and "not a tame lion, after all" :). But many truths about Him are present in those books -- not all truth, but simply the things that the author decided to portray. I didn't think of Jesus Christ as a lion after reading those books, but they did give me some insight into His character, seeing it through the author's eyes. He used an allegory to communicate those insights, just as the author of The Shack does.

I no more think of God as a woman than I did before reading the book, but I did appreciate the insights that the author conveyed through that allegorical device.

Pleroo
Aug 12th 2008, 04:10 PM
It's comparable to this:

Are you gay? You can't talk about homosexuality unless you're gay.
Have you had an abortion? You can't talk about abortion unless you've had one.
Are you a liberal?
Have you read 'THIS'?
Have you taken part in 'THIS' religion?
Etc.

[/color]



That isn't comparable, Xel. 4 of those things are apples an oranges. You can be informed about something without taking part in it. But if you have not read a particular book, then, no, you can't speak with any authority on it. You can only speak on what you've heard OTHER people say about it, and you have no way of knowing the veracity of what those other people are saying. They bring their own biases and life experiences to the reading of the book that will color their perceptions.

I don't expect you to take my word about this book, but just as you, I can express an informed opinion about it, because I've actually read it. :)

Pleroo
Aug 12th 2008, 05:07 PM
That's the only part? Not the fact that it denies a hierarchical Trinity (which the Bible states exists)?

Ever read the Athanasian creed?


24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. 28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.


Hardly an unorthodox view, since it's a view held to by major protestant denominations. You may not agree with it, and I have no problem with that, but it's not heretical simply because you don't agree with some of your fellow Christians.




Not the fact that God is displayed as a woman?

I've written many posts in this thread on that topic. You disagree, and that's fine. But it has been addressed.


Not the part about God hating institutions (though all He does in the Bible is establish institutions)?

Could you point me to where in the book this is? I'd like to take a look at that for myself. I'll reserve comment until I have -- perhaps you are correct, but I don't recall this being the thrust of what the author was saying.


Not that God appears weak?

This is where the subjectiveness of the reader comes in. I didn't see God portrayed as weak.


Not the fact that God appears as a buddy and a comforter when Job - who faced a much worse situation - was back handed by God into His senses? None of that bothers you at all?

The Holy Spirit is actually called the Comforter in the Bible. And the idea of God comforting us in our sorrow is certainly not a foreign concept in the Bible. And have you ever sung the old hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"? You may not agree with the sentiment, but it's certainly a widely accepted concept in the Christian world (again, not something unorthodox or heretical), and one that brings much peace to those of us who embrace it.

Pleroo
Aug 12th 2008, 05:39 PM
1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

2. Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

3. Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

(Just in case you weren't familiar with the hymn. :))

Also, I was reading in 2 Sam this morning, and I came across a passage that I think is relevant here. Remember when Uzziah was struck down by God? Do you recall David's response? He was angry with God but God didn't "backhand" David back to his senses. Two different men here, Uzziah and David. Two different response from God. The Father is not a static Being. He deals with each of us in the way that is appropriate for us, individually.

I don't know much about Uzziah, but the Psalms give us a glimpse of David's heart. We know that he questioned God ... "How long, Oh Lord?!" Just as Habakkuk and Job did. The emotions behind that question are age-old. And David, Habakuk and Job all came to the same conclusion ... they glorified God. Just as, I believe, the author of this book intended his book to do.

apothanein kerdos
Aug 12th 2008, 06:26 PM
Well, I appreciate you trying to find a balance, Theo, except that there's nothing wrong with the theology of the book or "veering from orthodoxy". The author simply has a unique way of communicating the orthodox.[/quoe]
:o


You can read the review I posted to get a lot of the answers to your questions.

[quote]

That's a bit of a red herring, don't you think? God is not portrayed as either of those things in this book -- not confused, not sinful -- so why bring it up?

What I was arguing is that if we say anything we want about God, but then immediately qualify it with, "Oh, but it's fiction," then we can get away with saying anything.



I'm curious, do you take issue with CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, too? Christ is portrayed as a lion ... and "not a tame lion, after all" . But many truths about Him are present in those books -- not all truth, but simply the things that the author decided to portray. I didn't think of Jesus Christ as a lion after reading those books, but they did give me some insight into His character, seeing it through the author's eyes. He used an allegory to communicate those insights, just as the author of The Shack does.

I was waiting for someone to bring this up.

There is a reason C.S. Lewis wrote his story in such an allegorical manner. Anselm is a type of "Christ." He is an allegorical representation of who Jesus is supposed to be. Lewis admitted this as much.

What The Shack does is present his version of God as the actual God, as "this is why God is like if this event were to occur."


Ever read the Athanasian creed?


24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. 28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.


Hardly an unorthodox view, since it's a view held to by major protestant denominations. You may not agree with it, and I have no problem with that, but it's not heretical simply because you don't agree with some of your fellow Christians.

[quote]Ever read the Athanasian creed?


24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. 28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.


Hardly an unorthodox view, since it's a view held to by major protestant denominations. You may not agree with it, and I have no problem with that, but it's not heretical simply because you don't agree with some of your fellow Christians.

That's a huge misrepresentation of the Athanasian Creed. The Creed is speaking of their equality in being and essence, not in terms of their role and function. Athanasius says as much in his book "On the Incarnation".


Could you point me to where in the book this is? I'd like to take a look at that for myself. I'll reserve comment until I have -- perhaps you are correct, but I don't recall this being the thrust of what the author was saying.

“I don’t create institutions - never have, never will (p. 179).”



The Holy Spirit is actually called the Comforter in the Bible. And the idea of God comforting us in our sorrow is certainly not a foreign concept in the Bible. And have you ever sung the old hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"? You may not agree with the sentiment, but it's certainly a widely accepted concept in the Christian world (again, not something unorthodox or heretical), and one that brings much peace to those of us who embrace it.

"Comforter" in the Bible has a far different meaning than it does in our modern understanding.

Also, I can't stand the hymn "What a Friend We have in Jesus."

tt1106
Aug 12th 2008, 06:31 PM
I pulled my daughter out of her Sunday School class because they were reading this.
I think it is probably a little lofty for an 11 year old. I haven't read the book but form the information I gathered on-line, it seems a little heady for a seventh grader.
It's hard ot explain how God can manifest as a black woman named PAPA to a middle schooler.

Toymom
Aug 12th 2008, 06:42 PM
I pulled my daughter out of her Sunday School class because they were reading this.
I think it is probably a little lofty for an 11 year old. I haven't read the book but form the information I gathered on-line, it seems a little heady for a seventh grader.
It's hard ot explain how God can manifest as a black woman named PAPA to a middle schooler.
i would think the problem for 11 year olds would be the death of the child in the book as well as the abuse of Mack by his father.
i used to teach middle school reading and I do NOT think this book is appropriate for children that age.
they may also have trouble with seeing God manifested as a black woman.
as theo previously stated,
I think this may fall into one of those categories where it wouldn't hurt a mature Christian to read, but might be troublesome for one new in the faith. It probably wouldn't be recommended reading for a non-Christian either...but it might also cause a non-Christian to become more curious about God.
and i agree with that

Athanasius
Aug 13th 2008, 01:20 AM
That isn't comparable, Xel. 4 of those things are apples an oranges. You can be informed about something without taking part in it. But if you have not read a particular book, then, no, you can't speak with any authority on it. You can only speak on what you've heard OTHER people say about it, and you have no way of knowing the veracity of what those other people are saying. They bring their own biases and life experiences to the reading of the book that will color their perceptions.

Belief on the basis of authority, we do it all the time.

I don't know what it feels like to be gay, but I've heard other people speak of it. What I believe about homosexuality likely, for the most part, stems for what they've said. I've never had an abortion, but I'll still tell you that it causes severe emotional trauma because that's what I've been told by women who have. I've never read the holy books of Buddhism, but I'd tell you that the eight fold path has more rules than the United States government has laws.

Why? All beliefs on authority.

I've read The Shack, but even if I haven't I'd still get my information the same way - on authority. If my information is wrong then anyone who has read the book is welcome to say "No, this is what...". Problem is, however, that what I've been saying isn't wrong. The most anyone here has come up with is 'but it's fiction!' and sorry, that doesn't cut it.

As per the video you posted (I watched it and am referencing it because of your comment about bias), by the way. There's nothing wrong with bias and life experience. This view that we should get rid of bias is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. There is nothing inherently wrong with bias.



I don't expect you to take my word about this book, but just as you, I can express an informed opinion about it, because I've actually read it. :)

Be careful of those who preach a different Christ, and I'm going to call it like it is. This is a different Christ, and you advocating the book for Christians is a very dangerous thing.