Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Shack & The Gospel According to Mack Part I

I know that this is going to surprise some people, and maybe offend others, but I am not a big fan of Wm. Paul Brown’s The Shack, nor do I recommend it to anyone. “Gasp!” There! I said it! I can just hear the comments streaming through cyberspace and radiating through my computer: “What can you possibly have against this beautiful book?” “How dare you say anything negative about this theological masterpiece?” “Where do you base your opinions? Did you actually read the book?” Well, Yes. I finally conceded and read The Shack. Being in ministry, I thought that it would only be fair to delve into this phenomenon and develop my own opinion, rather than relying on word of mouth. And I have to admit, it was somewhat entertaining. It is very creatively and thoughtfully written. Brown obviously poured his heart and soul into this writing, and the issues he writes on are obviously very close to his heart. It’s engaging. It’s thought provoking. And it's heresy; plain and simple. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Heresy is not a very popular word these days. We live in a very politically correct culture, and unfortunately that sort of mindset has seeped into the Church. I mean, how dare I judge someones theological views of Christianity that might differ from mine? Aren’t we supposed to have a mind of tolerance in today’s postmodern culture? Well, Yes! I would say we should, and 99% of the time, I do. In fact, I’ve been accused of being somewhat of a “liberal thinking Christian” by some of my friends in ministry.

But regardless of social trends, and the Church’s attempts to remain culturally relevant, the very basic teachings of Christianity cannot be compromised. I think we have to eventually draw a proverbial line in the sand and stand by the truths of Scripture: God’s word revealing Himself to the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and fulfilled in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Basically, heresy is a thought or belief that rejects, or teaches something that is contrary to a basic belief system or a particular religious doctrine. Within the Church, there are certain truths that define Christianity and make it what it is. Heresy is a teaching that denies one or more of these basic truths. For instance, there was a movement within the early Church called Docetism, that rejected the fact that Jesus was human. Since this thought went against the basic teachings of the incarnation of Christ, and the humanity of Jesus, it was classified as heresy and dangerous to the early Church. The Docetists also denied that Jesus rose from the dead, which is essential to the basics of Christianity. Another group called the Nicolaitans were considered heretics because they believed that sins committed in the body did not affect the spirit. Because of this, they believed that there were no sexual sins that were off limits! Maybe an appealing thought in modern culture, but heresy none the less!

So, why do I consider The Shack to be heresy? Well, give it some thought, and I’ll let you know what I think in my next post!

Ha Ha! Now I’ve got your curiosity peaked!


shemaromans said...

Calling a spade a spade, Jake. Excellent!

Stephen Ley said...

Waiting with bated breath for part II. I might just have to break down and read the dang thing...Young's book that is.

Actually, I liked it better when "the Shack" referred to a certain chain of electronics stores usually found in rundown strip malls.

MS Quixote said...

That cliffhanger borders on heresy, my friend, but it's a great hook :)

I agree with shema...call a spade a spade. Besides, you're a man of God so you'll have to preach the word whether it's popular or not.

The reason the church is not culturally relevant now might just be becuase it's trying so hard to be culturally relevant. It often has nothing to say that you can't get down at your local cinema.

looking forward to part II.