Little House on the Sandlot

I see that a few visitors are linking from the “comments” section of some sites that I posted on over the last couple days regarding William P Young’s The Shack.  Here are some quick links to the posts on my site discussing my view of the book in more detail if you are interested:

The Shack or the Outhouse?

The Shack or the Outhouse – Take Two

The Last Word on the Shack

One of the endorsers on the back of the book read the Take Two post and left the following comment:

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

By Mike Morrell

In my reply to Mike, I wrote:

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.”

Now, if Jesus is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” as He claims to be, and if by faith we are saved by grace alone (and that not of our own), how is it possible that Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims, and Baptists can all belong to Christ when 3 of the 4 outright deny His deity?  Read what Young wrote again:

“I’m not a Christian… those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims…”

This seems to suggest that is not faith in Christ, but “being good and doing good” that merits God’s favor.  Being a Buddhist and stating that the Sermon on the Mount is a supreme teaching while denying the deity of Christ, sweeping sin and the need for a Savior completely aside–this is NOT loving Christ.  It is rejecting Him.  We do not have a right standing with God because of what we have done; it is all because of what Christ has done for us.

Beware the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. I highly recommend you read that post, written by the venerable JC Ryle over 100 years ago, still (perhaps even moreso) relevant today.

There are also a couple of good articles on John Mark’s site here:

Uncovering the Shack

The Shack Review

Peace & Blessings,
Simple Mann

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5 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, General, Heresy, Rant, Theology

5 responses to “Little House on the Sandlot

  1. “Now, if Jesus is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” as He claims to be, and if by faith we are saved by grace alone (and that not of our own), how is it possible that Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims, and Baptists can all belong to Christ when 3 of the 4 outright deny His deity? Read what Young wrote again:

    “I’m not a Christian… those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims…””

    Sorry to have to give you a lesson in basic grammar, but were is past tense. They were Muslims, Mormons, etc… The were is the key. He did not say they are.

    To be honest this feels like a deliberate attempt to distort something just for the sake of inditing the book.

    If the book is all that evil, then it would not be necessary to stretch.

    My guess is that at this point you have the comments moderated, and you will not have the courage to let this one through. I guess we will see.

  2. P2

    Kurt,

    Young makes a point that these people of various religions “love” (not “follow”) the Jesus in the shack after he makes the point that he is “not a Christian”. You must admit that grammatical games aside, the message seems to be the same one Young tries to establish throughout: “Think outside the box. Don’t get caught up in theological issues of doctrine.” To Young, religious institutions, traditions, and doctrines are unseemly and prevent people from having a relationship with God. Everything about this book is designed to make people rethink the God of the Bible, but if anyone points out the dangers of the theology in the Shack (and yes, it does have a theology), suddenly we are narrow-minded.

    Here is a clip from a C.H. Spurgeon that I think is worth pondering. I think it speaks to the “evil” of the Shack better than I can on my own.

    “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” [Luke 12:1]

    This age is full of shams. Deception never stood in so eminent a position as it does at the present hour. I fear that there are only a few who love the naked truth; we can scarcely endure it in our homes; you will scarcely find a person in business who absolutely states it. If you walked through our city streets, you might imagine that all the shops were built of marble, and that all the doors were made of mahogany and woods of the rarest kinds; and yet you soon discover that there is scarcely a piece of any of these precious materials to be found anywhere, but that everything has simulated grain, and painted, and varnished. I find no fault with this, except that it is an outward example of an inward evil that exists. As it is in our streets, so is it everywhere; graining, painting, and ornamentation, are at an enormous premium. Counterfeit has finally attained to such an eminence that it is very difficult to detect. The counterfeit so nearly approaches the genuine item that the eye of wisdom itself needs to be enlightened before it can discern the difference. This is especially true in religious matters. There was once an age of intolerant bigotry, when every person was evaluated, and if they were not precisely up to the orthodox standard of the day, the fire devoured them; but in this age of love and acceptance, we are very apt to allow the counterfeit to pass by, and to imagine that outward show is really as beneficial as inward reality. If ever there was a time when it was needful to say, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” it is now. The minister may not need to preach this doctrine in the days of severe persecution: when the stakes are blazing, and when the torture rack is in full operation, for few men and women will be hypocrites. These are the clear tests of impostors; suffering, and pain, and death, for Christ’s sake, for they will not be endured by mere pretenders. But in this silky-smooth age, when being religious is respectable, when following Christ is honored, and when godliness itself has become gain, it is doubly necessary that the minister should cry aloud, and lift up his voice like a trumpet against this sin, “the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

    I am sure that every true child of God will, at times, doubt themselves, and their fear will probably take the shape of a suspicion concerning their own state. They will at times begin to be terribly alarmed, lest, the reality is that their godliness is only external, and their profession of faith is nothing but an empty vanity. Those who are true Christians will sometimes suspect that they aren’t truly saved, while those who are false believers will wrap themselves up in the constant confidence of their own sincerity.

    My dear Christian brothers and sisters, if you are at this time in doubt concerning your own salvation, then the things I have to say this morning, will perhaps, help you in searching your own heart and evaluating your faith, and I am sure that you will not blame me if I should seem to be a bit severe, but you will rather say, “Sir, I desire to find out for certain the true condition of my own soul, tell me faithfully and tell me honestly what are the signs of a hypocrite, and I will sit down and try to read my own heart, to discover whether these things have a bearing on me, and I will be happy if I will come out of the fire like pure gold.”

    -C.H. Spurgeon

  3. Kenny Kirk

    Kurt,

    You said: “Sorry to have to give you a lesson in basic grammar, but were is past tense. They were Muslims, Mormons, etc… The were is the key. He did not say they are.”

    If you will read the section that has been quoted from “the shack” once more you might see that the author did use the word “are” more than once. As far as your “basic grammar lesson” you have failed to grasp the fact that the writter is giving an overview of all those that are “followers” past ,and present. In doing this he used the words “were”, and “are”.

    Are you a Christian Kurt?

  4. Jennifer

    Simple Mann, I agree with your line of thinking. I recently just finished reading The Shack. And honestly I was quite disturbed. Yes..part of it was that “Papa” wore a dress for most of it, and the Holy Spirit was disguised as Tinkerbell. But mostly because I am now being faced with people all around me who are part of the “Shack movement” as a pastor friend of mine calls it. “This book has changed my life” and “NOW I understand who God is” ….these are the things I am hearing. I read in one blog that “The Holy Spirit breathed on Paul Young to write this work…..” (or something close to that about being Holy Spirit breathed) Would that not put him right up there with those who were inspired to pen the Word of God?
    I am just so thankful that someone is willing to stand up and say that there is something wrong with this book. Thank you!

  5. P2

    Jennifer, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I have caught a lot of flack for my view of The Shack. I really don’t mean to sound uncharitable, but the problem that I see with The Shack–and the Emergent Church movement that influenced it, and that it seems to be influencing)–is the same problem that I see with the Word-Faith movement and John Crowder and Co. Granted, William Young and the emergent folks aren’t nearly as egregious in their error, but the error is still the same. They want to redefine the character of God to something that does not line up with who and how He reveals Himself to be from the divine revelation of His Holy Word.

    I have a high view of the church; my Savior died for her. I hold to a high view of the local church. I think that every believer should be a part of a healthy local church, but Young’s position seems to suggest that believers can have an independent relationship with God and reject His bride In fact, he seems to make several statements that reveal an aversion to any sort of “organized religion”. I can tell you, anyone who thinks they can have a relationship with me and yet rejects my bride–well, they can’t have a relationship with me. That’s just the way it is. And I truly believe it is the same for us. If we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with His bride. On that point, I will not budge.

    Grace and peace to you.

    Simple Mann

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