The Shack by William Young

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#61

Post by jlay » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:43 am

I have taken the time to sift through these and I can tell you they do not answer the problems you've discussed. I'm not saying they don't address some of them, although some are not addressed. The question is not whether they are addressed, but how. And they fail to reconcile the objections and concerns that Jac and others have brought to debate.

In fact there is quite a hostile reaction to many of these questions, which are quite legitimate, escpecially considering the problems that plague the church today. The bottom line is this is an issue of people not being satisfied with God as He has chosen to reveal Himself in the scriptures. The author has presented an imaginary view of the god head that is not in agreement with what the bible teaches. Many readers have embraced this book, not because it is a touching story, but because it offers them a view of God that is more digestable with their own wants. In an attempt to shine light on personal intamacy with God, the book lumps sound doctrine and traditional theology in with all bad "church" experiences. It muddies the clear biblical concepts of salvation and judgement.
-“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

#62

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:43 am

jlay, I think I finally figured out how to boil my objections to the book down into one sentence:

The Shack waters down the Holiness of God.

All the specific objections I think they all come out of that one. The lack of God's majesty, the broader view of salvation, the lack of wrath and judgment, the lack of insistence on propositional truth, and even more theological objections like the egalitarian trinitarianism, and the incarnation and suffering of both the Father and Spirit all ultimately come out of this misconception.

Further, it is hardly surprising. The book does to God's love what Calvinism does to God's soverignty and Arminianism does to human free will: it uses that one aspect as the central theme by which all of Scripture is viewed. The result is a distortion. God's love is championed at the expence of His holiness, and with that fundamental change in the way one views God's nature, a totally different theology (which I believe to be deeply contrary to Scripture) emerges.

I suppose that is the great tl;dr of the entire debate from my perspective.
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

#63

Post by Byblos » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:22 am

Jac3510 wrote:jlay, I think I finally figured out how to boil my objections to the book down into one sentence:

The Shack waters down the Holiness of God.

All the specific objections I think they all come out of that one. The lack of God's majesty, the broader view of salvation, the lack of wrath and judgment, the lack of insistence on propositional truth, and even more theological objections like the egalitarian trinitarianism, and the incarnation and suffering of both the Father and Spirit all ultimately come out of this misconception.

Further, it is hardly surprising. The book does to God's love what Calvinism does to God's soverignty and Arminianism does to human free will: it uses that one aspect as the central theme by which all of Scripture is viewed. The result is a distortion. God's love is championed at the expence of His holiness, and with that fundamental change in the way one views God's nature, a totally different theology (which I believe to be deeply contrary to Scripture) emerges.

I suppose that is the great tl;dr of the entire debate from my perspective.
So the question then becomes (thought I'd throw my 2 cents in) was the book meant as a theological statement against which scripture ought to be measured? Not having read the book and relying solely on all of your comments, I would say no. That there are readers who take it as such is I presume the concern. To that end, I see several types of readers that might get affected differently by the book. There are those who are well grounded in their theology and knowledge of scripture to whom the book will be nothing more than a feel-good story but will not alter their perception of God, the trinity, or scripture as a whole. Those who are not well grounded or are on the fence, while the book offers a somewhat distorted view of God and the trinity, it may serve as a catalyst for change in the reader's life. Some change might be bad (based on faulty theology) but leaves the reader in no better or worse position that he was initially. Other change might be for the good (in bringing someone on the fence to investigate further and discover God all over again). And, of course, there are those readers who are totally over the fence (non-believers) for whom we hope the book will plant a seed. So where's the downside?
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#64

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:58 am

The book makes direct theological statements about the nature of God, the Spirit, and Jesus, Byblos. We aren't talking about a fictional God, Spirit, or Jesus. The book is an attempt to answer the problem of evil, and it does so by saying, "You just need to trust God, but the reason you can't is that you have misunderstood Him. This is how He really is . . ."

Obviously, such a picture must be compared against Scripture. Further, the author himself makes it clear that he thinks his position is the biblical one. While he doesn't quote Scripture directly, he alludes to it very clearly and very frequently--and that by the author's own admission.

So, yes, I think we ought to see if it compares favorably with the Bible picture of God.
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

#65

Post by jlay » Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:38 am

So the question then becomes (thought I'd throw my 2 cents in) was the book meant as a theological statement against which scripture ought to be measured?
I would say that based on what I have read, that yes, the author is communicating his theological views through a fictional story. We can't try to whitewash the impact of this book under the "fiction" banner. Jesus communicated spiritual truth in fictional narratives. And regardless of the author's intent, the book must also be judged by the reactions of those who have read it. "This book changed my life." "I see God totally different now."

My spiritual mentor said, "this book changed the way I see the trinity." He also later stated that it was a wrong view.
So where's the downside?
bad theology does not make up for bad theology. Adding error to error does not produce truth.
Many of Paul's letters would have remained unwritten if this was the approach. I would revisit that line of thinking. We are warned of false teachers, so to say that we shouldn't be concerned with false teaching is contradictory to the advice of scripture itself.
-“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

#66

Post by ageofknowledge » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:45 pm

Some guy gave it to me. I'll read it. I read very fast. I don't care what's in there I won't allow it to ruin my day. On to the next book.

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#67

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun May 03, 2009 7:35 am

Jac and others,

Again, thanks for the comments and it's fine with me that you don't agree with me on the value of the book.

Jac, the link I gave you was not to a resource thread linking to other sources but a commentary thread written 100% by me. It's quite alright if you don't have the time and inclination to read it. I don't have the time or inclination to cut and paste portions back here, nor do I think it would be helpful in this environment. I appreciate that you took time to read the book. I did not ask you to do so as a personal favor to me. I simply suggested that addressing the book without reading it precluded any basis for in depth discussion. I appreciate that you did so and respect you for it.

You boil the objection you have down to one element, the holiness of God. I reject that argument on several levels. The reader's digest version is that the book is not a systematic theology and never claims to be. It is written from the perspective of a man who has gone through a long period of healing in his life. A great part of that healing as I read it (and it is similar to my own path and relational growth with God) has been moving from a view of God as distant, forboding and waiting for us to step out of line to understanding the furious, passionate and overwhelming love of God for us. That love is fully tied into God's Holiness. Mack, the main character, is not an unbeliever coming to God but rather a believer who has been damaged in their relationship because of beliefs as to the nature of God that were wrong and impacted his walk with God. The claims of overfamiliarity and a lack of appreciation of God's holiness are misplaced in my opinion. They are appropriate in terms of a sanctified walk and drawing closer to God. I'm sad for those who elevate their view of God to the point where they believe that God's love or desire for a relationship is diminished by His holiness. The veil was ripped with the finished work of Christ on the Cross and God invites us to move past those elements of His Holiness that would preclude fellowship and relationship because Christ resolved those issues once and for all. The value to The Shack in my life has been tangible. It's impacting many others and I'm glad for it.

I will likely be dropping back in my participation in this thread, not because I'm not capable of continuing to argue, but because I have no desire to continue interminably in this forum to convince others to think differently of the book. I can be an apologist but the impact of the book goes well beyond any need for me to do so here. Also as a moderator on this board, I think it might cross some lines and I have no desire to confuse those issues.

God's doing a lot of work in my life right now and I'm going through many changes and implementing many decisions in my life and The Shack is but a part of that.

If any wish to discuss it with me, positively or negatively, please either pm me or follow the links I placed earlier to The Shack site where I participate and also help moderate on one of the forums there.

That's all I have to say. Thanks Jac and others for your weighing in and I respect your dissent despite my convictions otherwise.

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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Re: The Shack by William Young

#68

Post by Jac3510 » Mon May 04, 2009 12:43 pm

Bart,

I appreciate your not wanting to debate the issue further for more than a few reasons (the ultimate reason I stepped down as a mod years ago was precisely because I did not want to cross the advocate line). In any case, I just want to be sure that my objection is very clearly registered. I do NOT believe that you can write off my objection by claiming that it is not a systematic theology and thus should be allowed to gloss some issues.

I want to point out something in your own words:
Mack, the main character, is not an unbeliever coming to God but rather a believer who has been damaged in their relationship because of beliefs as to the nature of God that were wrong and impacted his walk with God.
THIS has been my central complaint, and THIS means that the fictional/narrative approach of the book (rather than the didactic, systematic approach of most) cannot provide a basis for overlooking its heavily theological and apologetic nature. The book is trying to teach a theology. More specifically, it has certain views of God that it sees as wrong, and it is trying to replace those views with its own. Indeed, your own statement provides us with the very basis on which we must severely critique the work.

It is THOSE views that I find deeply disturbing. While God's holiness does not downplay His desire for relationship, God's desire for relationship must be understood entirely within the bounds of His holiness. Holiness first. Relationship second.

I notice that Job didn't exactly get a "honey" treatment . . . GOD'S answer to this problem is more along these lines:

"OK, Job, you think you can judge me evil -- that must mean that you are in possession of enough facts to make that judgment. So, are you? Let's test your knowledge, and see if your ability to judge stands true!"

So, yes, while you clearly disagree, forgive me, but I have a severe problem with any book that attempts to paint God as anything less than the Sovereign and Holy God of the universe, before Whom ALL tremble in unworthiness. It is THAT fact, my unworthiness before God, that both answers the problem of evil and makes God's desire for a relationship with me such a very amazing grace in the first place.

The Shack's God is a small, man-made God. It is nowhere near the majestic and awesome God Whom we serve, my friend.

This is simply a matter we will have to agree to disagree on, but if this is the theology that the Church wishes to embrace, I think we have found the root of our complete and total impotence against evil in the West.
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

#69

Post by Canuckster1127 » Mon May 04, 2009 12:57 pm

Jac,

I'm not glossing over anything. I disagree with you on the substance of your evaluation and address those points and continue to address them in in the links I provided you.

As for your reference to Job, I appreciate the point. I'll stick with the New Testament and the new covenant we are now under as a result of the finished work of Christ. Those who wish to compare where and how judgment is being applied between the positions espoused by the two of us are free to do so.

Now I'm done, and I'll give you the last word. ;)

blessings,

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

//bartsbarometer.com/

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Re: The Shack by William Young

#70

Post by Jac3510 » Mon May 04, 2009 1:08 pm

quod erat demonstrandum

I took six. ;)
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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