The Shack...Again

This is a great review of The Shack. Check it out.


Greg said...

I'm worried a lot of people have missed the mark on this issue regarding "The Shack". Not so much in their different opinions of the book, but in their actions taken in attempting to prove or disprove opinions. I was one of the first people to pick a side on this debate that has been surrounding "The Shack". I read the book very early on (Dec. 2007) and I found the book to be very effective in bringing Glory to God, the God of the Bible. I had the fortune of reading this book before any of the negative critics surfaced, so my opinion wasn't swayed either way before I started. I found the book to be a pretty accurate (but not perfect) representation of an all-powerful and all loving God, and a God that desires a loving response from His individual believers (His children). And in my attempt to share what I felt to be just a good book, I felt alienated from other believers. The issue became quite divisive in the Christian community. So I got the feeling early on that this book was separating the "sheep from the goats", but at the same time I was confident that there were Believers on both sides of this issue.

The book has had incredible success and I feel most of it's readers are people who possess (and/or confess) a genuine faith in Jesus. So as I read all the reviews (positive and negative) and all the debates, I am not too proud of the way Christians are interacting over this issue. If I am wrong in my understanding of the God of the Bible, or if I found someone else is wrong in their understanding, then either way there is an opportunity to share the Truth of God. And rarely is the Truth of God ever effectively expressed apart from love...and it's the love of Christ that I feel has been left out of these debates.

So here is scripture and an attitude of the heart that I believe could make these debates more God honoring:

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. (Romans 14:1)

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. (Romans 14:13)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1)

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Phil 1:18)

Right or wrong, "The Shack" has got people talking about God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and the Bible perhaps more than ever in this country's history. But it is being attacked like it is a "pro-choice" or "pro same-sex-marriage" issue. In Acts chapter 15 there were some Believers who were in obvious disagreement, but those on the wrong side of the debate still carried the title of "Believers" in the scriptures. So having a difference of opinion is natural, but how we view and handle these differences is what should set us apart from the world. And I say all this to point a finger at people on both sides of this debate. Do you think the topic of this book can ever come up without some tension arising between Christians?..Probably not, but this is my new goal regarding "The Shack".

I hope all my friends at Redeemer church are doing well and we hope to do a pop in for a visit on a Sunday morning in the near future...there's your warning.

God Bless!


Eric M. Ashley said...

Greg, I agree that there are believers on both sides of the issue. The reviewer does call some aspects of the book "blasphemous" (i.e. depicting the Father in feminine language), but I have earlier expressed similar concerns, though not with the same language. Maybe the reason that Lane and others react so strongly to the Shack's depiction of God--as One who needs to explain Himself-- is because we see such views at odds with the way God has revealed Himself in the Word. God does not answer to man, man must answer to God. To make this statement is not to deny, that God is a loving God...which He clearly is.

In my opinion, just because a debate is taking place does not mean that love is absent. Although I cannot speak for Lane (i.e. Greenbaggins), I am sure that he has chosen to discuss the book out of love for God and his fellow brothers and sisters. He feels that the truth of scripture is at odds with some of what he reads in the Shack, otherwise, I believe he would remain silent.

I am sorry that you feel alienated because of this discussion. As I mentioned earlier, I do not think this is a sheep/goat discussion. Instead, it is a discussion between brothers and sisters who have different perspectives on nature of God. (It is inevitable that believers are going to disagree.)

The reason I maintain this blog is because I have a deep love for God and His church. So, I hope that you will always feel welcome to come and express yourself here. I can assure you that love is not absent here.

Thanks for the "warning" about visiting! We'd love to have you and your family. I was just thinking about your kids, how old are they now?