What are your thoughts on The Shack?
With the appearance on Netflix of the movie The Shack, folk are beginning to revisit the book again and controversy around this work is resurfacing. Here are my thoughts on this fictional work…
The Shack is a structure built on sand (Matt. 7:24-27). On closer analysis one soon sees it is sliding on its slippery slope about to crash upon the Rock below (Matt. 21:42-44).
The Shack presents a god who does not judge sin. This fictional god states, “Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.” Such a gospel requires no Saviour. Instead, the god of The Shack surrenders Justice by overriding it with a weak love, a ‘philia’ love which accepts the sin in order to keep the sinner. There is no hell, no eternal judgment in the world of The Shack.
But the Truth of scripture is this: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16, 18). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 3:23; 6:23)
The Shack presents a god who simply forgives all people, whether or not they recognize their sin, repent and reach out to Christ. The gospel of The Shack does not need faith or salvation; all people, of all religions eventually arrive at heaven.
But scripture is very clear: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12), “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” (1 Tim. 2:5, 6), “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9).
The Shack proposes that the Bible is an inadequate revelation of God. This teaching opens a door to inviting all sorts of ‘New Age’ type imaginings to mix with gospel Truth, “undermining the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:18).
Yet Jesus Himself used scripture to defeat the devil during His temptation thus teaching believers to do likewise. He also used Scripture in explain His actions, purposes and identity. (see Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 24:44-47). As Paul counseled Timothy: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:14-17)
These are but three heresies found in The Shack and these alone are enough to shun it. John MacArthur scrutinizes the following twenty-six deceptions.
1. God does not punish sin.
2. There is no absolute authority in The Trinity.
3. It is not okay for God to hate.
4. Authority is bad.
5. God does not exercise power over human will.
6. It is not necessary to please God.
7. God is not justifying His own; He is only redeeming the earth and humanity in general.
8. God is submissive to humanity.
9. Mankind has determined what is good and evil.
10. Jesus did not intend to be an example for us.
11. In eating the forbidden fruit, we demanded our independence from God and He granted it.
12. Justice and mercy are competitive, with the one over-ruling the other.
13. God requires only that we love Him and others.
14. Jesus does not associate Himself with the term ‘Christian.’
15. There is no need to grieve over our sin.
16. God’s love for believers, unbelievers, and creation is equal.
17. God is reconciled to all humanity, through Christ.
18. It would be unloving of God to over-ride our free will to bring us into relationship with Him.
19. The principles in the Bible are not important.
20. The law can no longer accuse or command.
21. We are free from responsibilities or expectations in any relationship.
22. Repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation can occur after physical death.
23. God is not involved in the humiliation, guilt, or condemnation of anyone.
24. God needs us to forgive those who have offended us in order to redeem them.
25. Jesus has forgiven all humans for their sin, but only some choose relationship with Him.
26. Chaos Theory, fractals, and time-dimensional coupling bring new and different truth about God.
Randy Alcorn notes, “My concern is for those who think they are coming closer to God, when they may actually be altering the biblical revelation of God into a form that is more pleasant to them because He seems less holy and fearsome…. a false God, an idol… forged by our resistance to repentance, submission, and accountability.”
If a truth-seeker were to get their first impressions of God and Christianity from The Shack, they would have no incentive to repent and no understanding of Biblical Grace or Mercy. They would leave thinking everything will be just fine. Nothing needs to be done.
Follow truth not emotion. “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matt. 24:24).
Be wise and alert. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8).
“The best place to meet God is not at the shack, but at the cross.” – Michael Youseff
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