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The Shack -- not "classical" but can we chat about it?


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#51 Beth in SW WA

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 06:29 PM

Melissa & gang,

No I don't think I will be misleading my neighbor. Good grief.

I'm tiring of this exchange. Its not going anywhere.

I've received my first little red box on my user profile because I'm somehow heading towards hell for reading this book -- and liking it. (according to a kind soul here) :)

Thank you also to the kind souls who are privately writing to say they agree w/me and support me (but are hesitant to say it on the forum for fear of getting 20 lashings).

If you don't like the book, don't read it. But for heaven sakes, can we live & let live?

I'm looking forward to posting questions about Great Expectations. I won't get bad rep for that, I hope :)

#52 newlifemom

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 06:42 PM

Beth,

I will rep you and still disagree with you. This has been a good conversation and made me really look at the book harder. As I have said before I will not read for the reasons I already mentioned. I too am wary about non-christians reading b/c I really do think it may give them a skewed view of the Trinity and salvation (you know all paths kind of thing). However, I am not the one witnessing to your neighbor, you are. I will pray God will guide you as you minister to them. :D

#53 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 06:57 PM

Melissa & gang,

No I don't think I will be misleading my neighbor. Good grief.

I'm tiring of this exchange. Its not going anywhere.

I've received my first little red box on my user profile because I'm somehow heading towards hell for reading this book -- and liking it. (according to a kind soul here) :)

Thank you also to the kind souls who are privately writing to say they agree w/me and support me (but are hesitant to say it on the forum for fear of getting 20 lashings).


If you don't like the book, don't read it. But for heaven sakes, can we live & let live?

I'm looking forward to posting questions about Great Expectations. I won't get bad rep for that, I hope :)


Beth,

I'm sorry you are feeling tired of this exchange and that someone gave you negative rep for your posts. I can't recall a single thing you've said that warrants that. Do remember, though, that you are the one who brought up the subject. I've known about this book for months. A dear friend of mine highly recommends it on her blog and I read her review and watched videos of Mr. Young being interviewed. I purposely have not brought this topic up because I really don't enjoy debating (honest!).

I know you couldn't have possibly known others might disagree with you, and for that matter, disagree so much. Maybe you weren't aware of how touchy a subject this is for many folks. Please know that I, for one, am not trying to make you feel bad or tell you that you are going to hell for reading or liking the book. Like I've said before, judging people is not my job.

Please try to understand that all the words I have spoken in this conversation were spoken out of a sincere desire to be kind and loving. You are recommending a book that I feel is spiritually dangerous and has the potential to mislead people in a way that could have eternal consequences. I cannot just sit here and let that go by - sorry - but that is just too serious a thing to overlook. We aren't talking about what Dickens meant by this or that - we are talking about the nature of God Himself.

The other day I had a copperhead in my garage. When the animal control guy and my neighbor (a policeman) came over to investigate they could find nothing. They moved stuff all over the place and couldn't find the little critter. Their advice was that the snake had probably left from fright and not to worry about it. It took me a few days, but I finally went back out there and actually got to feeling fairly carefree about it. Last night that stinking snake showed up again - the day after I had spent several hours defrosting my freezer out there. I really don't know how much danger I was in - how close the snake had gotten - while I was scooting in and out doing laundry and what-have-you. My point is, the animal control guy was wrong. I was wrong. My cavalier attitude could have gotten me bit by a poisonous snake.

I feel this book is like that copperhead. It is potentially dangerous. If people ignore the danger they could be putting themselves in a place of great spiritual danger. I know you don't agree with that and I don't suppose there is anything I can say to change your mind. But I can't just sit here acting like there is no danger. I feel it is important for someone to say something.

I realize we do not see eye-to-eye on this topic, but I hope that you know I never once meant to make you feel bad. My aim was to set the record straight about the book. Please forgive me if I said anything hurtful.

#54 Melissa in CA

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 07:17 PM

I've received my first little red box on my user profile because I'm somehow heading towards hell for reading this book -- and liking it. (according to a kind soul here) :)

Thank you also to the kind souls who are privately writing to say they agree w/me and support me (but are hesitant to say it on the forum for fear of getting 20 lashings).

If you don't like the book, don't read it. But for heaven sakes, can we live & let live?


Beth, I am sorry you got bad rep...now that's just silly to me. You haven't done nor said anything to warrant that!

As for getting 20 lashings. Again, people, that is silly. I don't believe anyone who has posted here feels a person who has read the book, and liked it, is going to Hell. It is the book's theology that is in question, not the theology of those reading it. If you have something to say in defense of the books theological position then post it...I personally would love to read it.

Beth....You said in a previous post that the discussion was not bothering you, but apparently that is no longer the case? So out of respect for your position as OP I will personally refrain from further comment. ;) Thanks for the fun discussion though...I have very much enjoyed reading everyones posts. :D

#55 RebeccaC

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 08:04 PM

People often cry out when there is some kind of tragedy, "Why doesn't (didn't) God do something?" They experience great pain and suffering and try desperately to find an answer to that grief that is not trite and lacking meaning. The answer to that question is that God has done something. He did it 2000 years ago on the cross at Calvary. This question reveals a basic lack of understanding of the nature of God and man.


I am sorry but are you saying that God has done nothing since the cross? That all that He ever wanted to do was on the cross and He has since removed Himself from our lives and our suffering?

It is my opinion as a seminary profs daughter, who has herself has about 72 hours of theology, ect... , that no one truly understands God or has a total handle on theology.

I have not read the book but having lived through a few tragedies and lived in a war zone during the Gulf War and know first hand that God is still active and did not finish what He does in our lives at the cross. In fact I think it could be argued that the cross was important but the cross without the resurrection is meaningless. It is the power of the resurrection, which was not at Calvary, that gives the most hope.

I think your answer about suffering show a real lack of understanding how God can and does do something today if we seek Him. I think He is more real in times of tragedy than not and I think that He will bring peace that passes understanding during those times. To tell some one that He did it all on the cross and He does nothing now lacks an understanding of who He is and how He works and moves today. Salvation is just the beginning of what He does in our lives there is more so much more.

If the cross was all why have the epistles, just stop at the Gospels and maybe Acts. He does make all things work together for good, He can bring peace when all is chaos, He restores, He gives hope when all seems hopeless, He gives wisdom when we ask, provides strength and joy when there should be none, and heals the deep emotional wounds that tragedies bring, ect..... These are works that are past/beyond salvation. Salvation is important and I am not minimizing it but I know that He does more than just save us from our sins. Saving us is the beginning, first step, of what He does in our lives.

Maybe I read your post wrong, I don't know.

#56 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 08:21 PM

I am sorry but are you saying that God has done nothing since the cross? That all that He ever wanted to do was on the cross and He has since removed Himself from our lives and our suffering?

It is my opinion as a seminary profs daughter, who has herself has about 72 hours of theology, ect... , that no one truly understands God or has a total handle on theology.

I have not read the book but having lived through a few tragedies and lived in a war zone during the Gulf War and know first hand that God is still active and did not finish what He does in our lives at the cross. In fact I think it could be argued that the cross was important but the cross without the resurrection is meaningless. It is the power of the resurrection, which was not at Calvary, that gives the most hope.

I think your answer about suffering show a real lack of understanding how God can and does do something today if we seek Him. I think He is more real in times of tragedy than not and I think that He will bring peace that passes understanding during those times. To tell some one that He did it all on the cross and He does nothing now lacks an understanding of who He is and how He works and moves today. Salvation is just the beginning of what He does in our lives there is more so much more.

If the cross was all why have the epistles, just stop at the Gospels and maybe Acts. He does make all things work together for good, He can bring peace when all is chaos, He restores, He gives hope when all seems hopeless, He gives wisdom when we ask, provides strength and joy when there should be none, and heals the deep emotional wounds that tragedies bring, ect..... These are works that are past/beyond salvation. Salvation is important and I am not minimizing it but I know that He does more than just save us from our sins. Saving us is the beginning, first step, of what He does in our lives.

Maybe I read your post wrong, I don't know.


Well, I'm really not sure where you are getting the notion that I think God has done nothing since the cross:confused:. What I meant to say is that this world is cursed and has been since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There is no hope in this world only in Christ's finished work on the cross. I guess I should have clarified that I include the resurrection in that concept. It doesn't really go without saying, but I figured folks would get my gist. Thanks for making the point because it truly is a very important one.

I only meant that this world is not getting better - it is getting worse and our hope does not lie here. Our hope is in heaven and eternity. Of course, the resurrection is important. The resurrection confirms that Jesus was God's Son and the Christ, the Redeemer, the Messiah. I agree that salvation is just the beginning. But it is a necessary beginning. Until you are saved you are blind to spiritual truth and cannot understand it. It is God who opens our spiritual eyes and gives us understanding. I may not have elaborated enough because I tend to write too much and need to trim my thoughts down so folks don't just say, "Whew! That's too much to read," and then skip to the next post.

I also can testify that God is closest and dearest during times of tragedy. I think one of my responses mentioned that: "God cares deeply and holds us very close as we go through those trying times." I also agree that God can do and does do much here and now. He answers prayer. I just wanted to point out that the beginning of all that was Christ coming to earth and shedding His blood on our behalf - became the Lamb of God - so that we might have new life in Him.

Thanks for adding that to the conversation.

#57 RebeccaC

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 08:48 PM

Well, I'm really not sure where you are getting the notion that I think God has done nothing since the cross:confused:. What I meant to say is that this world is cursed and has been since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There is no hope in this world only in Christ's finished work on the cross. I guess I should have clarified that I include the resurrection in that concept. It doesn't really go without saying, but I figured folks would get my gist. Thanks for making the point because it truly is a very important one.

I only meant that this world is not getting better - it is getting worse and our hope does lie here. Our hope is in heaven and eternity. Of course, the resurrection is important. The resurrection confirms that Jesus was God's Son and the Christ, the Redeemer, the Messiah. I agree that salvation is just the beginning. But it is a necessary beginning. Until you are saved you are blind to spiritual truth and cannot understand it. It is God who opens our spiritual eyes and gives us understanding. I may not have elaborated enough because I tend to write too much and need to trim my thoughts down so folks don't just say, "Whew! That's too much to read," and then skip to the next post.

I also can testify that God is closest and dearest during times of tragedy. I think one of my responses mentioned that: "God cares deeply and holds us very close as we go through those trying times." I also agree that God can do and does do much here and now. He answers prayer. I just wanted to point out that the beginning of all that was Christ coming to earth and shedding His blood on our behalf - became the Lamb of God - so that we might have new life in Him.

Thanks for adding that to the conversation.


I posted what I did because there are schools of thought, streams of theology which hold that God removed Himself from mankind after the cross. Which goes back to no one really has a total grip on who God is or a prefect theology. There are fundamental truths but even those can be debated in part. God is too big for the human mind to totally wrap itself around if we could what would that say about Him? There are parts of Him that are a mystery. After all it is the same OT God who slew His enemies and yet Who said that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness....... He is a mystery that we will spend eternity exploring.

I understand that you feel strongly about this book and the subject holds strong emotions with you. I think your zeal is a wonderful trait. I just wonder, think, that maybe those feelings should be tempered/softened with love (which has been a very hard lesson for me to learn and which I have often had to ask the Fathers forgiveness) after all He is able and faithful to finish the good work that He has started in all of us and usually does so without our help. It is more in His interest to keep Beth and you and me and..... and to lead and guide all of us in His paths of righteousness. He, after all, paid the biggest price!

#58 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 08:59 PM

I posted what I did because there are schools of thought, streams of theology which hold that God removed Himself from mankind after the cross. Which goes back to no one really has a total grip on who God is or a prefect theology. There are fundamental truths but even those can be debated in part. God is too big for the human mind to totally wrap itself around if we could what would that say about Him? There are parts of Him that are a mystery. After all it is the same OT God who slew His enemies and yet Who said that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness....... He is a mystery that we will spend eternity exploring.

I understand that you feel strongly about this book and the subject holds strong emotions with you. I think your zeal is a wonderful trait. I just wonder, think, that maybe those feelings should be tempered/softened with love (which has been a very hard lesson for me to learn and which I have often had to ask the Fathers forgiveness) after all He is able and faithful to finish the good work that He has started in all of us and usually does so without our help. It is more in His interest to keep Beth and you and me and..... and to lead and guide all of us in His paths of righteousness. He, after all, paid the biggest price!


Well, I fail to see how I have not been loving. I have said many times that all I have tried to express is that this book is dangerous and expresses a false notion of God. We may not be able to know God in His entirety but He did choose to reveal Himself to a degree through the Bible. We can know that Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me." The Shack says the opposite. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for a person is point out error and point them to Christ. I do not think it is loving to overlook a book that is a bestseller and say "to each his own," especially when the true nature of God is being expressed falsely. We say we love our children and we often express that love by being firm and unyielding in our decisions regarding them, especially when our aim is to protect them from harm. Love can take many forms, not the least of which is telling someone when they are headed for danger.

#59 bkpan

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:33 PM

I wanted to jump in and let you know that I loved the book. It's funny to me, because I probably would not have read it had I known about the various mixed reviews it has been receiving in the Christian community. I picked it up rather ignorantly, which is unusual for me.

I almost didn't finish it. When I initially got to the (huh?!?) part, I put it down. Later, I picked it up again and found my thinking and my faith challenged and strengthened.

I belong to an ancient, liturgical, Traditional Church. And I am so grateful for Her direction. This book reminded me again of how BIG our wonderous God is. That my thoughts and assumptions are small, and He is more than I can fathom, but He is still close and concerned with each of us. That He is about relationship. I was blessed.

And I agree. It is simply a story. This all reminds me of the HP craze (and the strong fears of many in the conservative Christian camps). It is not a book for everyone.

Kim

#60 Jugglin'5

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 09:43 PM

Well, Kathleen, I thought you made your case in a very gentle, yet truthful manner, whether one agrees with your assessment or not. But I think you convinced me that it is not for me. I don't mind Harry Potter, actually, but I don't like playing around with God's Person and character.

Beth, I'm sorry you got negative repped over this. That has happened to me, once anonymously and once not, and it really bothered me (I don't know why, I don't even know these people in real life?)

#61 CAMom

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:09 PM


I've received my first little red box on my user profile because I'm somehow heading towards hell for reading this book -- and liking it. (according to a kind soul here) :)

Thank you also to the kind souls who are privately writing to say they agree w/me and support me (but are hesitant to say it on the forum for fear of getting 20 lashings).


Beth, I'm sorry you got a negative rep. I can't see how you deserved that. You have been very gracious through the exchange.:confused:

I would be interested, from anyone, who enjoyed the book and maintains that it drew them closer to God to support their view with Scripture. I've yet to see that in any forum in which I've discussed it.

#62 Melissa in CA

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:17 PM

Well, Kathleen, I thought you made your case in a very gentle, yet truthful manner


:iagree: I think maybe RebeccaC got you confused with my unintentionally offensive self. Your posts were well thought out and beautifully written...I, on the other hand, have a tendency to ramble on without thinking giving offense where ever I go...it is rather a trait of mine, I fear. :blink:

So glad my Lord isn't finished with me yet...

:001_smile:

#63 CAMom

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:21 PM

Well, Kathleen, I thought you made your case in a very gentle, yet truthful manner, whether one agrees with your assessment or not.


:iagree: Kathleen, you are very well spoken and I really appreciate your well thought out responses on so many threads. I have always seen you as gentle and loving while boldly holding up the Word as your standard.:grouphug:

#64 CAMom

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:27 PM

It is not meant to replace the Bible. It is not meant to supplement the Bible. Its a book about a man's faith journey. Simple as that.


But, it directly contradicts the Bible as I believe I've illustrated above. :confused:

#65 bkpan

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 07:57 AM

But, it directly contradicts the Bible as I believe I've illustrated above. :confused:



Could you clearly explain this direct contradiction you mentioned? Forgive me if I previously missed it - it's a busy morning and I don't have time to reread all the posts, BUT, saying that it directly contradicts Scripture is serious. I never found an instance of that during my reading. A very different way to look at my understanding of Truth perhaps, but a direct contradiction??

Kim

#66 Jennifer3141

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:50 AM

Now I want to read this book! :D

Jen

#67 CAMom

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:52 AM

Could you clearly explain this direct contradiction you mentioned? Forgive me if I previously missed it - it's a busy morning and I don't have time to reread all the posts, BUT, saying that it directly contradicts Scripture is serious. I never found an instance of that during my reading. A very different way to look at my understanding of Truth perhaps, but a direct contradiction??

Kim


I did explain several instances of it directly contradicting on page 2 or 3 of this thread. :) I'd be happy to discuss those if you disagree with them.

ETA: my examples are in posts 5-8 on page two of the thread.

#68 Beth in SW WA

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 01:13 PM


I would be interested, from anyone, who enjoyed the book and maintains that it drew them closer to God to support their view with Scripture. I've yet to see that in any forum in which I've discussed it.


This is one of my favorite parts of the book, on page 114, where Jesus and Mack are laying on the dock looking up at the stars together:

...Even in the darkness he could feel The Great Sadness roll in and over him.

"Jesus?" he whispered as his voice choked. "I feel so lost."

A hand reached out and squeezed his, and didn't let go.

"I know, Mack. But its not true. I am with you and I'm not lost. I'm sorry if feels that way, but hear me clearly. You are not lost."


This little tid-bit resonates w/ me. Psalm 139 has always been a favorite when I have felt "lost" for whatever reason.

I could list a few other scenes in the book that spoke to me. But I'll give someone else a chance (hint, hint) :)

#69 bkpan

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 01:27 PM

Sin:

At the very center of the gospel of Christ is the fact that all human beings are sinners (Romans 3:23) and, as a result, are separated from the Holy God. Christ came to live a sinless life and, thus, be an acceptable sacrifice to appease the wrath of the Father.

Sin demands punishment! That ultimate punishment is death (Romans 6:23, Hebrews 9:22). Jesus Christ took that punishment on Himself and provided atonement for those who place their faith in Him. Before that faith is placed in Him, we are, by nature, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).

In a nutshell, we are sinners (children of wrath), sin must be punished by death and Christ offered Himself in our place that we may have forgiveness through our faith in Him.

Contrast that with this comment by “Papa,”:

“At that, Papa stopped her preparations and turned towards Mack. He could see a deep sadness in her eyes. ‘I am not who I think you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. 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.’” (pgs. 119-120)

Granted, Mack had just revealed that his assumption was that God actually enjoys pouring out His wrath by punishing sinners. Of course, it does not bring Him joy that people sin. There is also no evidence that He takes any sort of joy in punishing sin. But, He is just and sin must be punished. “Papa’s” statement above is, frankly, unbelievable.

Even if we give the benefit of the doubt in this instance, assuming that “Papa” is not talking about the ultimate punishment for sin, we still know that God disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:5-6)

In either case, “Papa’s” theology is way off and is directly in conflict with the Scriptures inspired by the One true God.

Other than that discourse on sin, there is hardly another mention of it. Mack is certainly not confronted with his sin. He is not called to repentance which would have definitely been the message if God were speaking to him.

When “Papa” does explain what Jesus accomplished on the cross, it is quite incomplete. He tells Mack that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, he is now fully reconciled to the whole world. (pg. 192) Now, my own persuasion disagrees and says that Christ accomplished reconciliation for His people alone. Even with that aside, “Papa’s” statement is woefully lacking as it, again, does not deal with the issue of sin and the penalty thereof.


I'll try to make a few comments, but forgive me if it's confusing since I'm not tech-savy:D

but, I still do not see where the book is a direct contradiction to Scripture. I see where YOU feel that things were left incomplete, unsaid, or not stated fully to your understanding. The author of The Shack does not say that we are not all sinners. He agrees that sin has definite consequences, namely death. But his point is that those consequences are not necessarily punished by God (ie. the mean judge up in the clouds), but that sin is a self-inflicted wound which separates us from our Father, eternally. But, Christ has conquered Death! We need only seek His forgiveness to begin again completely clean, pure and worthy of Him. It is in our court, so to speak. Christ came to heal, not to punish. It is sin which inflicts "punishment" in our lives.

Where you say that "Papa's" statement is unbelievable, that He came to bring joy (forgiveness and healing), I find to be the message of Hope in the Gospels.

I'm not sure how you can claim that the main character is not confronted with his sin nor called to repentance. That is the whole last third of the book, and in my feeling, the book's most powerful message. Mack was called to forgiveness (on several levels in his past) to a level that I find hard to imagine. (I would like to believe that I can forgive as God forgives, but the message in the book kept having me ask myself, "Could I forgive to the level that God was calling Mack to forgive?") I pray I never need to know! His call to repentance was excruciating.

And, Christ's resurrection was complete. He has conquered sin and death. Only we allow it to stain us again and again. Thank God He gave us a Savior to return to.

As you said, your own persuasion may cause you to find some ideas in the book incomplete or not to your understanding of Scripture. I would only argue that you disagree with perhaps some of the author's interpretations of the Christian faith. That is different than saying he is directly contradicting Scripture.

I found parts of the book jarring, disturbing, and powerful. But mostly I was convicted of how often I "think" I understand Who the Person of God is - and how often I am probably way off. That is not to say that the author of The Shack has it figured out either. I think that is the point. It is a story. One to make us think and hopefully, to fall in love with our great God again. I do not think that it is intended to be a study of theology or an interpretation of Scripture presented as Fact. Just a story.

I still contend that it is not a book for everyone. But some may be blessed by it without being led "astray". We'll probably just have to agree to disagree on this one. My guess is that no one this side of heaven has the complete picture yet.

Kim

#70 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:01 PM

...throughout this entire thread. This is obviously a very emotion-laden issue, and challenging to discuss so thoughtfully and yet candidly.

Personally, I just loved the book. It elucidated 'Emmanuel--God with us' better than any other fiction that I can think of. It reminded me of the way that some of C. S. Lewis' fiction has made me more able to imagine what the Bible means about something over the years.

Having said that, there is one really glaring issue that I have with the book, and it is the reason that I will not be recommending it to non-Christians lightly or giving it to me 12 year old DD to read right now.

That is the chapter on judgement. Don't get me wrong, it is really great in the way that the MC is led to conclude that he would rather die himself than let any of his children die. But OTOH, I think that it could easily be interpreted as universalist, which could be very dangerous. That would be my concern.

#71 newlifemom

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:10 PM

...throughout this entire thread. This is obviously a very emotion-laden issue, and challenging to discuss so thoughtfully and yet candidly.

Personally, I just loved the book. It elucidated 'Emmanuel--God with us' better than any other fiction that I can think of. It reminded me of the way that some of C. S. Lewis' fiction has made me more able to imagine what the Bible means about something over the years.

Having said that, there is one really glaring issue that I have with the book, and it is the reason that I will not be recommending it to non-Christians lightly or giving it to me 12 year old DD to read right now.

That is the chapter on judgement. Don't get me wrong, it is really great in the way that the MC is led to conclude that he would rather die himself than let any of his children die. But OTOH, I think that it could easily be interpreted as universalist, which could be very dangerous. That would be my concern.


Interesting. I cannot really say one way or the other as I have not read the book, but that has been my main concern as well. I continue :lurk5:.

#72 FloridaLisa

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 08:59 PM

Instead, I was left with an incredible sense of God's goodness and his love. I think this book communicated this in a huge way. I can see how reading this book could be useful to anyone who has been through difficult life circumstances that have caused them to have a hard time believing in God's essential goodness or his love for us. It's definitely not perfect, but this book could possibly be someone's first step in turning or returning to God.

I would love to read a book based on conventional Christian doctrine that addresses these issues on the same level emotionally. Anyone know of one?


Chiming in late (as a dear friend is giving away The Shack to her friends and family) but have you read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom? I highly recommend it. And it's not fiction. She and her sister, their elderly father and entire family lived it. It's a story of the love of God and sovereignty of God in the midst of the hopelessness and suffering of the Holocaust.

HTH!
Lisa

#73 lovelearnandlive

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 09:45 PM

Chiming in late (as a dear friend is giving away The Shack to her friends and family) but have you read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom? I highly recommend it. And it's not fiction. She and her sister, their elderly father and entire family lived it. It's a story of the love of God and sovereignty of God in the midst of the hopelessness and suffering of the Holocaust.

HTH!
Lisa


Thanks Lisa! I have read that book a couple times, but it's been a very long time since my last read. I think I need a copy of it for my personal library. Corrie Ten Boom is an amazing woman and her faith is extraordinary. Thanks for reminding me about this one. :001_smile:

#74 sandellie4

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 10:31 AM

I've read the book twice as it was recommended by one of my homeschool friends. The first time I read it, I was a bit bored, especially in the beginning. Young's not the best writer and I found that really distracting. To be honest, I thought the discussions were fascinating because they made me look at things in a different way. The discussions didn't change my beliefs, but they were interesting. Then I started reading some of the reviews, showing the disconnect between "The Shack" and the Bible. I was SHOCKED at how much I had missed. I mean I knew not to take it *too* seriously, but I hadn't realized how much I hadn't questioned. I read the book again, much more closely, and I realized how much it says things I *want* to hear (God maybe being even a little "chummy"). It was tricky that way, and I wouldn't suggest any of my own children read it. I would worry that young Christians would be particularly susceptible to the style of "The Shack." I've spent time worshipping in barns, in fields, all sorts of places that helped make teachings more accessible to me. But only the teachings that matter, the ones that are in the Bible, really matter in the end. It doesn't matter what *I* want to hear.

Sandy

#75 CAMom

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 12:46 PM

The author of The Shack does not say that we are not all sinners. He agrees that sin has definite consequences, namely death. But his point is that those consequences are not necessarily punished by God (ie. the mean judge up in the clouds), but that sin is a self-inflicted wound which separates us from our Father, eternally. But, Christ has conquered Death! We need only seek His forgiveness to begin again completely clean, pure and worthy of Him. It is in our court, so to speak. Christ came to heal, not to punish. It is sin which inflicts "punishment" in our lives.

Where you say that "Papa's" statement is unbelievable, that He came to bring joy (forgiveness and healing), I find to be the message of Hope in the Gospels.


“At that, Papa stopped her preparations and turned towards Mack. He could see a deep sadness in her eyes. ‘I am not who I think you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. 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.’” (pgs. 119-120)

I still maintain that this is a direct contradiction of Scripture. God does, indeed, punish people for sin and He "needs" to do it to remain just. For those whose faith is never placed in Christ, that punishment will be eternal separation from God.

For those who do have faith in Christ, God does still discipline them for their sin. The ultimate price is paid in the death of Christ and we are reconciled from being children of wrath to children of the living God but we are still disciplined. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

I hadn't been back to this thread since it had dropped to another page but thought I'd take the chance to respond since it was bumped back up.:)

#76 Beth in SW WA

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 02:03 PM

[quote name='CAMom']“At that, Papa stopped her preparations and turned towards Mack. He could see a deep sadness in her eyes. ‘I am not who I think you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. 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.’” (pgs. 119-120)

QUOTE]

This quote makes much more sense taken in context of the conversation between Mack and Papa. Mack wants to know why Papa isn't more wrathful (like in the OT).

I agree w/ this statement by Papa. Sin is its own punishment.

Yes, I know Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sin. As a sinful (yet redeemed) person, I am forgiven for my sin. But I still feel false guilt and a sense of punishment for some of my choices. Not punishment from God, though. Myself.

For instance, I struggle w/ the sin of overeating. Gluttony. Whatever you want to call it. I am free from the bondage of this sin. But I choose to sin by stuffing my face w/ junk food or fatty foods when I know its wrong -- even a sin.

The consequence for my sin is real. I have to live w/ my choices. The expanding waist-line is the least of my consequences. Gluttony reflects a deeper spiritual issue. But that's an entirely different conversation.

I do agree w/ you that this book in NOT theologically sound in every instance. It is just a story. After reading it, I'm not worse for it. Just the opposite actually.

I apologize if I'm not making much sense. Not. enough. Coffee. :)

#77 Elizabeth Conley

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 10:25 AM

It's an excellent book. Don't read it as a theology manuel, because it isn't. Read it because it's thought provoking and it has a wholesome message.

#78 Elizabeth Conley

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 10:49 AM

PS. I have read some of the complaints that The Shack is heretical. Ironically, every complaint I've read so far has required the reader to decontextualize lines from The Shack and interpret those lines in a way it's doubtful the author meant them.

That's not to say that there isn't some error in the book. Just that isn't a good book for the very young, or anyone whose inclined to literalism. It's a novel, and a good one at that.

I thought C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce would have gotten a real work over by these same critics, and yet these people's objections shouldn't prevent us from reading his work.

I would place The Shack and The Great Divorce on par with respect to "theological correctness" and "spiritual impact". Reading them should not harm an adult.

#79 chalkboard

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 11:20 AM

Opinions on The Shack run the entire emotional spectrum and the entire theological spectrum. Stating an opinion about the book that stays middle of the road is like asking a homeschool mom to not get excited on box day! It's not like asking if you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

Those who have read the book usually have a strong opinion about it one way or the other.

That said, overall, I think the tone of the discussion here has not gotten out of hand.

May as well add my two cents. I have read the book, based upon the recommendation of a friend. I didn't much care for the story line at all. I found it rather creepy.

As a Bible believing Christian, I will join the ranks here who have found the book offensive to basic Christian doctrine as revealed in the Scriptures. To say it is just a fiction book and therefore is not meant to influence (teach) anyone about the author's particular theological pursuasion is utter nonsense. It is indeed highly influencial!

Read the book? I'd say don't bother.

Chalkboard

#80 MIch elle

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 11:36 AM

there is nothing new in The Shack. The plot was very predictable. I still cried and enjoyed it but it wasn't a big deal. What was a big deal was that my evangelical CHristian friend recommended it to me!

#81 MIch elle

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 11:42 AM

Beth~ How disturbing is the book? Part of me wants to read it, but I really can't take vivid disturbing regarding kids.


:glare:

#82 Elizabeth Conley

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 12:24 PM

“At that, Papa stopped her preparations and turned towards Mack. He could see a deep sadness in her eyes. ‘I am not who I think you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. 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.’” (pgs. 119-120)


This is a line from The Shack which many sincere Christians find objectionable. They read this line to mean that the character Papa, (God the Father), denies ever having punished anyone, and declines to punish anyone for sin in the future.

That's one interpretation. If you interpret the line this way, then you understand it to be counter to what The Bible teaches. This interpretation makes The Shack an offensive heresy. Christians should never endorse heresy, and are indeed obliged to decry it. I respectfully salute anyone who does so in this spirit.

On the other hand, if you interpret this line to mean that God the Father does not enjoy punishing people for their sins, that sinful acts are inherently bad for people, and that God the Father would far rather people chose to cease sinning, then you aren't offended. With this interpretation, you conclude that the Author's portrayal of a loving Father God is consistent with the Word.

#83 Elizabeth Conley

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 12:41 PM

“In seminary he (ie Mack) had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow the sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. It seemed that direct communication with God was something exclusively for the ancients and uncivilized, while educated Westerners’ access to God was mediated and controlled by the intelligentsia. Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?”


Here's another potentially offensive line. If you understand it to mean that the Author is claiming that the Bible has no value, then you see this as deeply offensive. The Bible is God's Word. To treat is with derision is counter to Christian Doctrine.

On the other hand, If you read this passage to mean that the protagonist, Mack was disillusioned by what he was "taught by man" in seminary, then you can feel empathy for him. We know that the teachings of men often confuse sincere students and distance them from God. If this passage is about Mack's earnest confusion, which resulted from poor teaching, then it's not an attack on God's Word at all. The Bible warns us of this sort of pitfall.

If you interpret the author's line in one way, you encounter heresy, or at least offense. If you interpret it in the second way, you find a very well-developed study of a common condition of Christian pain, confusion and disillusionment.

Either understanding is based in the love of God and His Word. I can fault neither perspective.

This book may be enjoyed or eschewed in good Faith.

#84 laughing lioness

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 02:58 PM

I read it. I didn't agree with all of the theology or doctrine but the book really spoke to me, reminding me that God loves me in simple, profound and huge ways.
I didn't read it with the assumption that it would be "sound" doctrinally or theologically. I read it with the assumption that the author was working out his salvation with faith, trembling and lots of life experiences, just like me.
I read lots of books that I don't agree with. That doesn't stop me from gleaning and growing from interacting with them. I did recommend this book to my kids.

#85 asta

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 06:50 AM

It is a theology manual cloaked in the garb of a story. It is not great. It is blasphemous and contradicts the Bible constantly. People are saying it has changed the way they view God. The way you view God is your theology.


No, that is incorrect. The definition of Theology:

"The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions."

If you want to know God then study the Bible. Everything we need to know about God is in the Bible.

II Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."


I'm sorry, perhaps I'm taking this sentence wrong, but I think it is pretty dang prideful (firstly) to say that a human being is capable of knowing everything about God, and secondly, that a person is incapable of knowing their creator through anything but the Bible.

So, what? Muslims can't know their creator? They don't use the bible. How about Hindus? Is the fact that they view their creator to be one of many make them somehow "godless"? How about the Jews? The Torah is not the *bible* - does that make them not count as well?

If people don't want to buy the "big God" concept over the "little God" concept, that is fine, but to claim that one is a Christian (with all of the peace, love, judge not) etc. that is supposed to be inherent in its doctrine, and then insist that others are misinterpreting a fictional book and endangering their faith is just... I don't get it. Especially when referencing a book (the bible) that wasn't even written by "mainstream Christians" - it was written by the Catholics! And the Catholic Church doesn't even have a problem with Harry Potter!

Can you tell that I'm getting tired of this?


a

#86 Michelle in MO

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 09:19 AM

No, that is incorrect. The definition of Theology:

"The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions."


make a couple of minor points here. First of all, I think you have a decent working definition of theology. I'm not Kathleen in VA (obviously), but what she may have meant to say was the way we view God is our philosophy of life, and I personally see philosophy and theology as very often intertwined.


I'm sorry, perhaps I'm taking this sentence wrong, but I think it is pretty dang prideful (firstly) to say that a human being is capable of knowing everything about God, and secondly, that a person is incapable of knowing their creator through anything but the Bible.



Secondly, what Kathleen said was "Everything we need to know about God is in the Bible." I don't think that's quite the same thing as saying that a human being is capable of knowing everything about God. I certainly don't know everything about God, and I doubt if anyone else has the corner on the market. However, Christians do believe that the Bible is primary means in which God has revealed Himself to mankind. I do, however, believe that God has the right to reveal Himself to whomever He wishes.

Especially when referencing a book (the bible) that wasn't even written by "mainstream Christians" - it was written by the Catholics! And the Catholic Church doesn't even have a problem with Harry Potter!


Perhaps what you meant to say was that the canon of the Bible was agreed upon by the Catholic Church within the first three to four centuries A.D. The Old Testament was written by numerous authors in both Hebrew and Aramaic, and the New Testament likewise was written by numerous authors in Greek. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches vary according to which Scriptures they consider canonical, but the differences seem (IMO) primarily to be differences over the acceptance or non-acceptance of certain historical books. The standard for accepting certain books into the canon of Scripture is a fairly high bar, and this process was undertaken with the utmost scrutiny by the early church.

As a disclaimer, I have not read "The Shack" and may not read it; I can't say I have a strong inclination to do so.

I commented here mostly because I remember this discussion from almost a year ago and noticed that the topic had been revived.

Edited by Michelle in MO, 16 July 2009 - 09:27 AM.


#87 Beth in SW WA

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 09:51 AM

Just popping in to say "hi!"

I am tickled to see this thread revived. I just gave a copy of The Shack to a Buddhist friend last week. He's diggin' it.

Happy Summer, ladies & gents!

#88 bclerkin

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 11:48 AM

I threw the book away @ the halfway point.

#89 Rose in BC

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 12:50 PM

Beth, as my sweet hubby would say to me, and has on many occasion to my utter...frustration:glare:..."Experience is not a valid test of truth." Because you are experiencing something emotional, does not make it from God. He would say that your tears and emotions do not mean for sure that God is speaking to you. You must take everything and test it by the word of God. Everything. ;)


:iagree:

#90 KnightMaiden

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 06:31 PM

I read it last summer. I really enjoyed the book. I did let my 15 yo read it too. But I just told him to remember that it was fiction and not to take it as "truth". It opened my eyes..not that I really believe the way it goes..but just to the fact that we so often put God in a box. So, it was a great read...and I really want to read it again soon.

#91 KnightMaiden

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 06:33 PM

I would love to hear what you've heard that is heretical about it. I have never heard the author so that might be something interesting to know.


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