The Shack by William Young

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#31

Post by jlay » Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:41 pm

I assure you i take the charge of heresy seriously. and I am quite confident that this book has breached, in more ways than one, that line.

the way people defend this book is all the more revealing. Trying to compare heretical allegations of Mr. Young's writing to what the 1st cerntury disciples faced is preposterous. You have only shown how high you are trying to elevate this book and its author. Having an apologetics movement for the Shack is alarming to say the least.

By attacking someone who is actively ministering
So, he is actively ministering? Ministering what? The bible? A book that he claims was only for a few close family members? Is Papa God or fiction? Their are many who are not willing to accept God as He has revealed Himself in the scriptures. So, Mr. Young has formulated a God that is not, "angry with the wicked everyday." A god who is more into hugs than holiness. The problems that affect Christian culture are plentiful, but is the Shack the answer? Does the portrayal of the god head in the Shack fit with God's Word? does Aunt Jemima and the God of Sinai mesh in any way? If no, then what role could it have in ministering God's Word? So now we are claiming ministry. The more you explain, the more deep concern I have.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#32

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:31 pm

I'll say upfront that I've not read the book for the simple reason that I have entirely too many other books to read. I have been, of course, following the debate, and from what I've gathered, it seems to me that the authors are orthodox Christians. In light of this, I think that we should be careful about labeling them heretics or the book itself as being heretical.

BUT - I have three concerns:

1. Does the book imply a broader view of salvation than faith alone in Christ alone?

While the authors does not seem to believe it does, testimony of readers seems to argue against that. Bart, you say that the wrong use of the book does not invalidate the book itself, which is true. However, it is also true that teachers are going to be held accountable for their words. If my teachings are such that they can be so misunderstood as to give someone a false gospel, then I would do well to reevaluate my method.

The Gospel is not something to be toyed with. It is our job as Christians and ministers to God to make it as plain as possible. Anything we say that confuses it should be quickly and unquestionably removed from our language.

2. Does the book teach a heretical view of the Trinity?

Here, the authors' seem to admit that they do NOT hold to the "traditional" view of the Trinity, but rather to an older view that they defend as orthodox. Now, as I read them, it sounds very much like the modern egalitarian view of the Trinity, which I DO regard as heretical. This is a "chain of command" within the Godhead. To deny that results in massive problems throughout the rest of theology.

3. In what sense do the authors want to challenge people's theological constructs?

This is a matter of authorial intent, not the misuse of the book by its readers. The very notion that it seeks to challenge constructs implies rejection of certain constructs as currently formulated. What, then, are those, from the authors' perspectives? There is, of course, nothing wrong with challenging prevailing views in theology. Truth tradition does not make. Yet if the authors are not clear on precisely the nature of their challenge, then it leaves it very open to misinterpretation, in which foundational and fundamental doctrines can be considered open to rejection. And once these theological constructs--whatever they may be--have been challenged, on what basis is the reader to reconsider them? As I understand it, the book presents no exegesis of specific passages. What, then, is the basis for such reconsideration? If it is based on a broad picture of God painted by the authors' story, I would react negatively and harshly. Such stories are absolutely nothing more than constructions of the author's own theology, and there is a mile-wide gap between my theology and the Scriptural data that I use to create it. A proper basis for such reconsideration is only the exegesis of Scripture. If people, then, are reconsidering their positions without reference to such exegesis, and if that is the intent of the authors, I have grave concerns.

Perhaps all of these concerns are simply unfounded. But as someone who has not read the book but has read several of its defenders' and some of the authors' own comments, these seem to me to be the case.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#33

Post by jlay » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:48 am

I can't say it any better than this.

"To recognize that heresy is a judgment relating to the integrity of the church rather than the eternal destiny of the offender hopefully qualifies some of the harsher charges that have been launched against The Shack and its readers."

I know this book has taken on a life of its own apart from the author. On one hand I hear defenders saying, "it's just fiction, art, etc." If I had a nickel for everytime I heard, "it's just fiction," from a disciple of the Shack, I'd be rich. ON the other hand are the claims of this books ministry power, changed theology, life altering effects, and a breaking free from the confines of traditional Christianity. Now I am certain that the Bible plays a central role in shaping traditional Christianity. I have read testimony on Shack sites and heard it first hand from those who say it has changed their view of god.

I also understand that people can have their "lives changed," by diet books. That is not my contention. It is the fact that defenders of this book, are trying to position a hedge around this book. You can't attack it because it's art. Yet, at the same time ignore the fact that many of them are using this book to convey theological concepts.

Jac,
The view of the trinity as egalitarian is only a small part. Portraying God as a jovial black woman baking biscuits and talking in slang ought to be an obvious red flag. Here are some direct quotes from the bible and the book. I know you are well rooted. It's a quick read. Perhaps you should check it out. I'd appreciate your feedback.

"Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son" (2John 1:9).

The Shack
God: "I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature" page 93

The Bible
"The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name." Exodus 15:2-3

The Shack
God: "you do understand, she continued unless I had an object to love -- or more accurately, a someone to love -- if I did not have such a relationship within myself, that I would not be capable of love at all? You would have a god you could not love" page 103

The Bible
"He that does not love, does not know God; for God is love" 1 John 4:8

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:10

The Shack
Mack: "are there any who you are not especially fond of?"...
God: "Nope, I haven't been able to find any. Guess that's jes' the way I is" page 118 and 119

The Bible
"Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations;
And repays them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hate Him, He will repay him to his face. Deuteronomy 7:9-10

The Shack
God: "I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It's not my purpose to punish it; it's my joy cure it" page 120

The Bible
The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceptions while they feast with you;
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:..." 2 Peter 2:9-14

Just how much poison does it take to contaminate a glass of water?
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#34

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:03 am

Jac,

I think those are fair questions and I appreciate (and am not surprised by) your thoughtful approach even in the absence of having read the book.

The writer and publishers are orthodox as you surmise.

You should read the book yourself when you get a chance. It's not a long read.

The short answers to your questions are:

1. The book doesn't teach or imply Universalism, Ultimate Reconciliationism, or anything other than Jesus as the only means to the Father. Soteriology isn't even a primary theme of the book.

2. The view of the Trinity does diminish the traditional view of Chain of command and authority within the Trinity and you might indeed wrestle with that element of it. As my view of the Trinity is more in line with The Shack and I believe the idea of authority within the Trinity is projected upon it from sources other than the Bible itself and has been used historically and contemporarily to justify an ecclesiastical construct that finds its roots elsewhere, I don't have a problem with it. It's clearly a challenge however to others.

3. You'd need to read the book to understand the challenges present and it would take more time and effort for me to lay those out than for you to read the book, so I'll leave that conversation for such a time as when we can discuss that after you've read the book, if it raises in priority for you.

Appreciate your input.

blessings,

bart
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Re: The Shack by William Young

#35

Post by jlay » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:38 am

1. The book doesn't teach or imply Universalism, Ultimate Reconciliationism, or anything other than Jesus as the only means to the Father.
'jac, this is one of those tricky ones. Reading the book can shed more light, or darkness.
The shack saying Jesus is the only way is that veil of truth that cloaks the lie. Because, friends, this character in the Shack is NOT Jesus. This jesus' way is wide and broad. The one in the Bible is narrow, and few will find it. If Jesus is the way, and we can redefine Jesus, then we can redefine the way. And thus include the language that pacifies the minds of those wanting to justify this book.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#36

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:05 am

jlay wrote:
1. The book doesn't teach or imply Universalism, Ultimate Reconciliationism, or anything other than Jesus as the only means to the Father.
'jac, this is one of those tricky ones. Reading the book can shed more light, or darkness.
The shack saying Jesus is the only way is that veil of truth that cloaks the lie. Because, friends, this character in the Shack is NOT Jesus. This jesus' way is wide and broad. The one in the Bible is narrow, and few will find it. If Jesus is the way, and we can redefine Jesus, then we can redefine the way. And thus include the language that pacifies the minds of those wanting to justify this book.
You have a remarkable ability to not only know what is truth but you also possess the ability to see the underlying motives and hearts of those whom you disagree with. Is it a gift or do you have to work at it?
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#37

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:27 am

Bart,

Thanks for the reply. I'll find time sometime this year to read it. It might be nice to have something light between some of the heavy hitters I'm in the middle of now. I appreciate your honesty with reference to its view on the Trinity. I need to read it, obviously, to see just how far it goes, but egalitarian Trinitarianism, I believe, has caused a LOT of problems. Hopefully it doesn't go quite that far . . .

I'll also need to analyze the Jesus to whom the writers point. Is He the Jesus of Scriptures, or is He a caricature, as jlay seems to think? It's a valid question, one which I am obviously not qualified to assess. In any case, I appreciate this . . . ah . . . "discussion" . . . that's been going on. I think if/when I pick it up, I'll have a much better idea of what to expect.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#38

Post by jlay » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:29 am

The truth WILL set you free.

Have you been taking classes on snarkyness? I give you a B+.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#39

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:35 am

jlay wrote:The truth WILL set you free.

Have you been taking classes on snarkyness? I give you a B+.
That was actually an honest question. Trust me. If I were to decide to employ sarcasm and ridicule, you'd know.

Feel free to answer the question as to your abilities at mind and heart reading in this realm. Is it more effective if the subject is sitting right in front of you, or are you equally adept at doing at a distance through internet communications?
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#40

Post by jlay » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:12 am

I'm dropping your grade to a C.
You have a remarkable ability to not only know what is truth but you also possess the ability to see the underlying motives and hearts of those whom you disagree with. Is it a gift or do you have to work at it?

Who is the author portryaing the character Jesus in the Shack to be?
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#41

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:22 am

jlay wrote:I'm dropping your grade to a C.
You have a remarkable ability to not only know what is truth but you also possess the ability to see the underlying motives and hearts of those whom you disagree with. Is it a gift or do you have to work at it?

Who is the author portryaing the character Jesus in the Shack to be?
Your question assumes the author is using the character to portray Jesus as opposed to a literary device to illustrate the point he is making in terms of the relationship that exists within the Trinity and the lessons he learned in an 11 year period of healing that took place in his life. That's actually a pretty clear illustration as to why you're having so much difficulty with this book.

When Jesus uses the parable of the Lost Coin in Luke 15, do you think Jesus is literally suggesting that God is a woman? Why or why not? Assuming you see it in this instance within Scripture why do you think you and others have difficulty accepting this form in a novel? Is it a lack of imagination do you think? Is there a need to assume literal because that's the way you believe the Bible should be approached and therefore you assume all writings conveying theological teaching should follow that same approach?

Thanks for the grade. It does illustrate a great deal about your approach. I prefer God's method though on the whole ... I'll go with pass/fail. ;)
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Re: The Shack by William Young

#42

Post by jlay » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:10 pm

Do you prefer God's method, or papas?
When Jesus uses the parable of the Lost Coin in Luke 15, do you think Jesus is literally suggesting that God is a woman?
Ah hah!! that is an actual proper use of metaphor. I am glad you brought that up, so you can see the difference.
Your question assumes the author is using the character to portray Jesus as opposed to a literary device
Because he is.
Assuming you see it in this instance within Scripture why do you think you and others have difficulty accepting this form in a novel?
Because it is not the same. Not even close. Again, in your efforts to defend, you are once again elevating The Shack by comparing it to scripture.

So, are you saying that the author is not protraying Jesus to be Jesus?
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#43

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:53 pm

jlay,

I'm finished discussing this with you. I accept that you don't like the book. You're free to hold whatever opinion you wish. I like the book. Further I believe it's doing a lot of good in a lot of people's lives.

When the emotion of your responses rises so high as to confuse a comparison of literary devices with a claim of scriptural equivilence then there's no basis for continuing the conversation. It's no longer a rational discussion.

If you wish to use your energy railing against the book, you're free to do so. Let me know how it works out for you.

blessings,

bart
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Re: The Shack by William Young

#44

Post by jlay » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:01 am

You say you like the book. Like is an emotion. Is that not an emotional position? It doesn't bother me. The level of one's emotion doesn't make their argument right or wrong.
When the emotion of your responses rises so high as to confuse a comparison of literary devices with a claim of scriptural equivilence then there's no basis for continuing the conversation.

Ditto. I coudn't have summed it up better. If the book is that, then why do you keep attempting to justify it by comparing it to scripture? You yourself said, that Jesus' parable of the lost coin justifies Young's characters of god, jesus, and HS.

The author and its readers have confused literature with scripture. If this book is having no theological impact, then so be it. But you and I both know that isn't the case. If the author wanted to prevent this, then he could have written a metaphorical book. Instead he decided to transmit his theological positions into a narrative to convey his ideas of the godhead. He uses this narrative to make specific points about god that are not consistent with what is revealed in the scriptures. That is not me judging his motives. That is a reasonble conclusion based on the book itself, and the Bible. contrast isaiah 6 with Mack in the kitchen with Papa.

Would you say, "this book is fiction, it is not meant to convery anything about the reality of God, Jesus or the HS. God would not reveal himself in a way that conflicts with what is revealed in the scriptures. The author's references to scripture is at the author's literary discrestion, and is not meant to teach or shape theology in any way."
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#45

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:47 am

Jlay,

For the record, I am no longer beating my wife either.

Which part of "I'm finished discussing this with you" are you finding confusing?

blessings,

bart
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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