The Shack or the Outhouse – Take Two

If you read my previous post, The Shack or the Outhouse, you know I already had misgivings about this book. What little I knew about it when my received it as a gift in the mail was enough already to raise a flag on my discernment meter. As I began to look into a bit more, my concern only grew.

Well, the number of five star reviews for this book just continue to pour in for “The Shack”. There are now over 770 review posted on Amazon for this doctrinally deficient work of fiction. I finally broke down and posted a 1-star review on Amazon, which I realize may not be entirely fair since I have not read the book. I *have* flipped through it and read enough in it to know I’m really not interested in devoting the time it would take to read it all the way through when I have so many other books on my list right now that seem to honor and glorify the God of the Bible so much more. But I went ahead and posted this review, which is really less a review than a word of caution to anyone who might be reading through the reviews trying to decide whether it’s a book they want to order. So, here it is. As always, your comments are welcome, invited, but rarely forthcoming. ;~)

Amazon Review: The Shack or The Outhouse?

Several people seem to have really enjoyed this book. Personally, I prefer the God of the Bible. It is not surprising, though, that so many people will gladly accept someone else’s idea of a God that is all love and no wrath. It’s also not too surprising that most of the real defenders of the faith here have been attacked by the people who have fallen in love with this god of The Shack rather than the Lord of the Harvest.

Here’s a passage of scripture taken from Second Thessalonians. Take especial note of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12:

2Th 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
2Th 2:9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
2Th 2:10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
2Th 2:11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
2Th 2:12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
2Th 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Those who reject the true gospel of Jesus Christ–the gospel of sin, repentance, and salvation–will look for alternates wherever they can find them. For many who want the warm comfort of salvation (like a cup of hot cocoa) without the excruciating torment required of the sinner (that is *true* repentance), then something of this sort of Christianity-like-lite can be very appealing. But God’s word is very explicit that for those who would prefer delusion to the way of eternal life, God Himself will send them a delusion. It is similar to the way that God hardened Pharoah’s heart after Pharoah repeatedly insisted on hardening it himself against God’s word and His will initially as Moses pleaded for His people.

We live in a time (and perhaps it has always been this way, I don’t know) when people want a quick-fix, an easy solution, and above all something they can feel GOOD about. Whether it is prosperity gospel in its variety of forms, books like this, or any of the myriad man-centered spin-systems out there (Tolle/Winfrey for example), true gospel Christianity is just not real popular. That’s because it does not, will not, has not, and never will elevate man above anything other than utterly depraved and corrupt in sin, and badly (if not blindly) in need of a Savior. Anyone who professes Christ that ever forgets this should question both their sanity and their salvation.

I don’t care how many people claim that this is a life changing book, I *seriously* doubt that is true for any of them boasting this claim on some book’s behalf. I think it is much more likely that someone reading this book would NOT change because they would have the false assurance that God is just so wonderful and loving that they could continue on in whatever messed up manner they might be in when they arrived at The Shack. I doubt anyone has given up a lifelong addiction to drugs, or alcohol, pornography, or any other form of idol-worship or sin as a result of reading this book. I wonder how many people staking that claim actually changed anything at all about their lifestyle besides discussing the book in some conversations and sending free copies to other people they know.

In short, I would be very surprised if ANYONE has made the radical life changes that I have witnessed first-hand in the lives of someone who has experienced a true conversion to Christ. Why is that? Because that kind of change only occurs when a person truly repents of their sin and believes in Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit can bring about true and lasting change in a believer’s life, but He only operates in those who believe and accept the real gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m sure this will invite some anger among some who have read this book and believe it changed their lives just because it made them feel better about themselves or about their idea of God; that is, a warm and loving God. However, though God is indeed loving He is also just; and is as much a God of wrath as of love. Many are willing to love God for His love as long as they do not have to fear Him for His wrath. But to only accept the love of God as good, and reject the wrath of God–which is also good, actually even perfect–is to misunderstand Him and His plan for salvation altogether. You won’t get it.

If you want to know what God is really like, read the Bible. Not some work of fiction by an author that has put his words into God’s mouth, but the 66 books of Scripture written down by people whom God chose to put His words in theirs. There is a big difference.

May the Lord bless you, keep you, and guide you into all Truth. In Jesus Name, amen.

Simple Mann

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5 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Culture, Rant, Theology

5 responses to “The Shack or the Outhouse – Take Two

  1. Supposedly about a Christianity without any system, religion, or agenda yet in the back of the book, the author’s agenda for ways everybody should promote his book is as long as your leg.

    “If you abide in Me (person) and my words (system) abide in you…”

  2. P2

    Z Anderson – thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to post your thoughts. Yes, I think you point out very astutely that the author William Young does have an agenda. All authors have an agenda when they write. I know I do when I sit down just to post here on this blog. But I think there is a sad lack of discernment among many, many people who seem to be so completely enamored with this book. It does not promote the true gospel of our Lord, and I think it has lulled a lot of people into a false sense of assurance. Paul urged the early Church to work out their salvation individually with fear and trembling. That is because we serve a holy God. Jesus made it quite clear that there is a distinct division in this world–those who belong to God the Father, and those who belong to their father, the devil. If you say these things publicly, people will accuse you of being judgmental. In fact, it is only being honest to warn people that there IS a coming judgment, and it will not do to live as if there isn’t.

  3. I finally broke down and posted a 1-star review on Amazon, which I realize may not be entirely fair since I have not read the book

    Wow. That’s pretty low, dude. Kicking something you’ve never even walked with. Oh well, at least you’re honest…

  4. P2

    I normally wouldn’t review something I have not read like this. However, I did flip around and read a few pages here and there. Interestingly, one of the first passages I read when flipping through the book was on page 123: “Don’t confuse adaptation with intention, or seduction for reality.” While this might have been a good statement from the real Holy Spirit for anyone reading this pseudo-Christian New Age tripe, in The Shack that was actually a comment from Sarayu (William Young’s interpretation of the Holy Spirit) in a conversation where Young’s trinity was educating Mack not to buy into hierarchical systems, whether political, social, religious, or what have you because they are all man-made… in Papa’s opinion, “Such a waste!” In essence, the teaching here is against Biblical submission because if there is no hierarchy, there is no authority! This seems to me to be much more Buddhist or New Agey than Biblical, however. If you read the Bible, you will see that hierarchy, order, and authority have been established since, well, “In the beginning…”

    Then I happened upon page 182, where Mack and Young’s Jesus are talking about “what it means to be a Christian.” Actually, Mack apparently felt “stupid” for even asking what it means to be a Christian (or Christ-follower), although I think it is a question that many who call themselves Christ-followers today would do good to ask. The Jesus in The Shack answers by saying, “Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian… those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans, and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.”

    Then when Mack asks if that means all roads will lead to Jesus, Young’s Jesus answers, “Not at all. Most roads don’t lead anywhere.”

    Hmmm… so what does the God and Messiah of the Bible say?

    Joh 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
    Joh 14:7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
    Joh 14:8 Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
    Joh 14:9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
    Joh 14:10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
    Joh 14:11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

    And in Matthew, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches:

    Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
    Mat 7:14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    Obviously, according to the words of the REAL Jesus of the Bible, all roads do not lead to Him. In fact most lead to DESTRUCTION (or the lake of fire)–there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth, as he repeatedly teaches in many other speeches and parables when he taught on the Kingdom and the coming judgment.

    The true Savior of the Bible, our Lord Jesus Christ did not mince words or seek to appease those who were lost by dealing gently with them; He preached repentance and salvation in all His ministry. Some responded, most did not. It is not too surprising really that MOST people respond very favorably to The Shack. It presents a sort of Christian-flavored sugary-sweet Kool-Aid drink that goes down smooth and seems pleasing to the taste-buds of the world. It also eats away at the enamel and leads to rot, but hey as long as tastes good, as long as it feels good…

    Mmmmmm… you want another cup? According to the world, it’s so much better than the one our Father gave His son.

  5. Pingback: simplemann.net » Blog Archive » Little House on the Sandlot

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