I will probably return to this later and make this into a “formal post”, but for now I am just including a link to a review I responded to on Amazon’s website regarding the latest wind that’s blowing, The Shack…
As of today, there were 750 mostly favorable reviews of this work of fiction. In fact, the majority of reviews claim that this book was “Life-changing!” Someone from a church we used to attend (but left because their doctrine was taking them in a direction we did not want to go) sent this book to my wife out of the blue. I had heard of it, and what little I knew did not impress me. I went out to read some of the reviews on Amazon, and am including a couple of the reviews and comments I came across because I thought they were interesting and worth reading. I cut and pasted them into an email, but am having trouble finding them again on Amazon, so I’ll just paste them in here in case you’re interested.
the watchman wrote:
This book is nothing more than a clever re-telling of the Black Madonna heresy. The Black Madonna –Kali or the Black Queen, and her daughter Sara-la-kali ( the Black Queen in the spirit), and the finally Christ as the grown Osiris of Babylonian text.
If you read Reverend Dr Matthew Fox’s article on the Black Madonna, available on his website, the coincidences are too close, then do a little research on the Cult of Sara, and the picture becomes clear. “Papa” the black female and male god/goddess, Sarayu, Sara-la-kali, and Osiris, from the Madonna and Child as Jesus.
No wonder the emergent church is moved by this work. It is classic icon worship wrapped in a veil of Christianity. The move from the concrete foundation of the Rock to the instability of a Shack on the sand.
What bothers me, as I read through the blogs and comments on the Internet is that everyone loves this book.
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
I know that I will pick up a lot of flack for what I say in regards to this book, but I fear what I am reading in excerpts from the book. I am convinced that deception usually will not present itself openly, shouting out in an open square. “Here I am.” Rather, deception is just that
“the misleading of a person; the leading of another person to believe what is false, or not to believe what is true, and thus to ensnare him” from Websters dictionary.
any time that I have seen anyone question the validity or the doctrine presented in this book they are attacked as being unloving, unkind, or somehow being out of touch with God’s love. I regularly see in comments in many of the blogs an attack on doctrine, as its being unnecessary to a relationship with God.
We are told by some that doctrine gets in the way of a loving relationship. And that we don’t know God by way of doctrine or teachings. Yet we’re told Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, the word of God is doctrine and teaching, and he says it is one of the ways we come to know him.
Another problem I have with the book is on pages 122 and 123, Mac is told by Jesus, that hierarchies, organization, and law or regulations get in the way of relationship. It was my understanding that the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but then that’s just what the Bible says.
Now, I can already hear the comments coming at me. Somehow, somewhere, someone is going to think I am being unloving in criticizing a book that has emotionally separated some from the truth of God’s Word.
I like to find out who the author is of anything that I am taking as part of my spiritual journey as I seek to grow closer to Christ. I’d like to quote directly from Willie Young’s blog, that is attached to his shack website…
May 24, 2007
“The second element is this: if Jesus drew occasionally upon his `God’ capabilities, then how could he qualify as my representative and substitute, let alone model a dependent human life – I can’t do that? He would have ceased being a truly human sacrifice.
I am personally convinced that Jesus was born, lived, died, was raised and now reigns as a fully human being, and has not drawn upon his deity ever in that process.” Willie P Young
So tell me, who of you believe that God in the flesh, never drew upon his God capabilities? We are told that he is the same yesterday today and forever, His nature has not changed one bit! We are talking about the creator of the world, a man who was God in the flesh, who was capable of walking on water, walking through walls after his resurrection, was transfigured on the mount of transfiguration as he talked with the prophets, who was able to raise himself from the dead.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Joh 2:19
Secondly, Willie Young says. “I am personally convinced that Jesus was born, lived, died, was raised and now reigns as a fully human being, and has not drawn upon his deity ever in that process.”
Jesus is still fully human and has never drawn on his deity since the time of his resurrection?
I’m concerned when a man claims to have written Christian material, and yet when anyone comments negatively about it, suddenly, he says it was all just a novel, and never intended as theology. On the other hand though, when speaking about his book he tells us it’s about how much God loves us and cares for us, and how we become stuffy in our theology, relying on doctrine to reveal Christ to us.
Again I have to say that doctrine is important. Doctrine is how we come to know Christ and his workings after we have been drawn by the Holy Spirit, and convicted of sin by his law. It is only by confession and repentance that we can indeed have a relationship with Christ, and if we don’t know what we are confessing to, what crimes or sins we have committed against him, then it is futile and impossible to repent of them.
So am I unloving because I give you the truth? Do I hate Willie Young, because I criticize his work and words, and act as a Berean by comparing his words to Scripture, and his doctrines? God forbid!
Rather, I would rather be found as a watchman, shouting out a warning, the there are wolves in our midst! These wolves are like tares among wheat, and like wolves, with a sheep’s clothing. Watch out! Wake up! Be always prepared, for you to not know the day or the hour. We are told before Christ comes again that there will be a great apostasy. And apostasy takes place among those who believe, you have to believe before you can fall away.
We are warned, Christ said, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luk 18:8
So go ahead, let the comments loose. I just find so few voices who are willing to stand up for God’s Word, and to protect doctrine, when the doctrinal errors revealed are from this book “The Shack”.
Perhaps what amazes me the most about this book, “The Shack”, is its almost hypnotic power to take captive the hearts and minds of believers, as if they were under a magical spell. They throw all caution, doctrine, and wise counsel out the window, because this book has touched their emotions so deeply. I think it also ironic, that Willie Young’s personal website is called windrumors.com, and that his publishing company is called Windblown Media.
Please notice, the Scriptures are specific, he gave us teachers, prophets, pastors and evangelists,for the perfecting of the saints and the edifying of the body of Christ. In that we might become perfect men and women reaching the full stature of the fullness of Christ. We are not talking emotions here, but truth and doctrine!this is to protect us from being windblown by every wind of doctrine. We are not to rush after rumors, or deception, cleverly crafted in the form of a tale or fable.
Michael Burton wrote:
To the many 5 star reviewers, may I respectfully ask you to step back, take a deep breath, and then give this book a second look, viewing it only through the prism of Scripture? Upon sober reflection, perhaps you will discern that this IS an amazing book and THE book for you if, and only if…
You want to recreate God in your own image;
You find Isaiah’s portrayal of a holy God seated upon His throne to be a disturbing image;
You would prefer to metaphorically cast God the Father as a loving and large black woman named “Papa,” Jesus as a laid back and friendly Middle Eastern man, and the Holy Spirit as a calm and cool Asian woman;
You want a God so small that you and she/he/she can just hang out together as best buddies;
You regard the Bible as an extremely biased, narrow-minded, and insufficient revelation of God in leather binding with “guilt edges” (page 65);
You therefore believe that God talks to people today, and that whatever she or he says to people trumps biblical truth (page 66);
You believe that God is never to be feared (page 90);
You believe that Jesus’ miracles do not affirm Him as God, but prove only “that Jesus is truly human” (page 99);
You want a God who does not hold people accountable for, nor punishes sin (page 119);
You want a God who does not demand that you submit to him or her, but one who submits to YOU (page 145);
You want a God who accepts everyone — “Buddhists…Muslims, bankers and bookies” — as his or her children no matter what their beliefs or behavior, and that Jesus has “no desire to make them Christian” (page 223);
You believe that Jesus lied when He warned, “Broad is the road that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13), because in The Shack Jesus says, “Most roads don’t lead anywhere.”
Make no mistake… 90% of this book is spot on. But isn’t that exactly what makes its 10% error so insidiously deadly? Look, we can allegorize many things, but we don’t mess with the Trinity. This book is a Trojan horse subtly infiltrating the Christian community — one that makes our God extremely small and completely manageable, a God who, in the final analysis, is no God at all.
Kathy Kelly wrote:
Michael’s Burton’s assessment of the book, The Shack, is right on… I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment. The book contradicts Scripture; re-arranging the words of Christ, himself, thus rendering an opposite message from the Gospel message. The Shack has been compared to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, yet John Bunyan never contradicted scripture. Neither did he attempt to couch the message of the gospel in acceptable, popular terms, such as found in The Shack. John Bunyan, in Pilgrim’s Progress, did not attempt to present a new message. Bunyan’s book is an allegory of the Gospel that follows and quotes Scripture, ver batim, consistently from beginning to end. The Gospel message, the words of Jesus Christ, is a hard line, non-compromising message of laying down your life for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Truth, in it’s purest form, isn’t warm and fuzzy… It does not “tickle the ears.” Yet, when believed and acted upon, it will set the seeker free.
The message presented in, The Shack, is couched in Christian terminology, even backed with Scripture here and there. But, it’s over-all message is far more in line with the New Age doctrines of today… doctrines that “tickle the ears” of it’s followers, while holding no true substance. These “doctrines” in Scripture are called “doctrines of demons”; they are doctrines of tolerance–tolerance for all lifestyles and religious beliefs. They teach that all is good, there is no sin; that we do not need redemption (the message of salvation); that truth is relevant; that we just need to see each other as fellows strugglers on different paths to the same end. They do not teach that Jesus Christ is the (only) “way, the truth, and the life.”
The Shack, while sounding Christian, in reality is yet another speak easy that fits in well with the New Age doctrines of (supposed) love and peace as evidenced through the doctrines of unconditional acceptance, tolerance and diversity; a message that is sweeping the world, and sadly, is infiltrating many of the Christian churches of today… A message, by the way, that doesn’t “tolerate” the message of the Gospels.
In closing I must ask the question…Why is it that every few years someone feels compelled to change, that is, to repackage the message of the Gospel in a more “enlightened” form, in order to make it more acceptable to today’s audience? Isn’t the message of the Gospel clear enough? Jesus said in John 14:6-7, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know the Father as well. From now on you do know Him, and have seen him.” Did Jesus mean what he said? Does he need to come again, packaged in different form to re-explain things in clearer, more acceptable terms?
I’m not saying that Biblical commentaries, and books that help us to better understand Scripture, are wrong…There are many excellent books out there for just such a purpose, and I read them as well. What I’m saying is this: when a book presents a whole new concept of God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ, from that which is found in the Bible, then we need to be wary and check it, word for word, against Scripture. We need to ask, where is this truly coming from? God gave us his Word, and he gave us his Spirit that, if we ask in earnest, will open the truth of His Word to our hearts and minds. Why not pick up the Holy Word of God, and see what He has to say about love?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whom-ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3: 16 (The Holy Bible)