strong words from ToddonGod

Todd Burus has written a two part “personal” review of the Shack. He pulls no punches on either the theology or the literary style of the book. Entertaining stuff. Now I think that I will have to break down and read it myself.

Here is part 1 where Todd addresses the book as literature.

for example:

So what did I think? Well, just to get it out of the way now, I think as a piece of literature this book was horrible. The author lacks all understanding of subtlety, choosing instead to beat you over the head with certain images he deems important and completely missing the concept of foreshadowing. Things like God’s dislike of Mack’s gun (cf. p.90) or the scars on God the Father’s wrists (cf. p.97) are repeated shamelessly and with the same words, making it perfectly obvious that the author wanted to make a point through them. And even if you were interested in what was going to happen next, there never was much anticipation because the author continually short-circuited himself by giving way too much information or using “suspenseful” sentences eerily reminiscent of the ones my 8-year old daughter uses in her 2nd grade stories about evil elves.

and here is part 2 where Todd addresses the theology.

for example:

Next, consider the other image which Young beats to death in the book, that being the idea that both Jesus AND God the Father bear the scars from the cross. There are two things wrong with this. First, it is inaccurate. It did not scar the Father to have his Son sacrificed. In fact, it was the opposite. Isaiah 53.10 says, “It was the will of the Lord (Father) to crush him (the Son).” The Father was not tortured in doing this; through the sacrifice of his son, God was propitiated, which means that his righteous anger was satisfied. God was satisified by the death of his son. Obviously, this is not a popular message in the era of belief in the “divine child abuse” theory of the atonement, but it is Scriptural nonetheless.

The second reason why depicting scars on the Father and the Son is inaccurate is because this, along with the statement on page 101 that the whole Trinity made itself fully human and limited in the incarnation, advances an old, old, old heresy known as Sabellianism, or modalism. This is the teaching that God exists in different modes as experienced by the believer. It also historically teaches that God the Father suffered on the cross. This heresy has been out of vogue for at least a good millenium and a half, but apparently is receiving a revival in the popular appeal of this book. As a note, if a heresy is so false that it goes dormant for 1500 years, it is probably a good indication that it really is wrong. Yet not only does Young present it, he goes back to it again and again by constantly retelling that the character of God the Father has scars on his wrists like Jesus.

Go read all of both parts linked above. Very entertaining.

I just can’t resist posting the conclusion as well. Sorry Todd.

Anyways, I’ll close with four words: don’t buy the hype. This is not a life changing book, unless of course you read it and embrace all that it teaches, in which case you have just become a heretic. Maybe that is strong language, but when I see a wolf like this coming in and devouring sheep the way it has I can find no better word. Well, maybe one: pathetic. Try reading the Bible instead. It has a lot more to say than this glorified dollar bin crap.

that is some good stuff right there.

4 Responses

  1. “Strong” words from Todd?! Too say the least! This is all fine coming from a Baptist, mathmatical, linguistic theologian wannabe, however, if The Shack can stir, create and instill the love of Jesus (bare minimum) and tell a story of Redemption, thus leading an unbeliever to want to read the Bible, I am all for it! Easy to judgementally say, “Try reading the Bible instead”, (when Todd already believes in it.) However, this “glorified dollar bin of crap” stirred up enough awareness in my unbelieving Jewish friend, that she is now reading the Bible and praying Jesus will reveal himself to her. I will continue to trust my God, that He will use The Shack however He chooses, whether to stir, make uncomfortable, allow for doubt/confusion, until the reader finds the real Truth in the Lord.

  2. Thanks for the response Paula. Good stuff.

    Now if I could ask you a question. Do you think that truth is different for Todd “a Baptist, mathmatical, linguistic theologian wannabe” in your words than it is for your “unbelieving Jewish friend.”

    The point is that if the Shack has an impact, then it is not altogether clear that it is an impact for good. It might be. Obviously God can use whatever tool he wants to use.

    What we do know for sure is that God has promised to bless his word. He has told us that his word is breathed out by himself and that it is useful for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness so that the man of God can be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    The question is do you believe that? Do you really believe that? because when you say things like you said above, it sounds like you believe that the Shack did something that God’s word was incapable of doing. Probably that isn’t what you meant, but I would encourage you to be very careful.

    Don’t start thinking that things other than the Bible are more important than or somehow a better tool than the book that God breathed out for us to have so that we could know him.

    Remember too that Satan’s favorite play is misdirection. Satan loves it when people are all churchy spiritual and miss the truth of God. Don’t think that people will automatically head down the road to truth because they got started with something heretical. It doesn’t follow.

  3. Thanks! You bring up some very good points! I, however, think there are some misunderstandings from my comments.

    The Shack is obviously NOT the Bible, nor is it “more important than or somehow a better tool than the book that God breathed out for us”.

    Let me be clear, in saying, that I agree with and truly believe your comment that is promised in the Bible; “What we do know for sure is that God has promised to bless his word. He has told us that his word is breathed out by himself and that it is useful for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness so that the man of God can be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This was never being questioned, in my comments, in the first place.

    The Shack most certainly didn’t “do” something that God’s word was incapable of doing.” The Shack was simply read by a non-believer, who later brought questions to me for discussion, which led to sharing the gospel of Jesus to her, which led her to start reading the Bible to find the Truth. It’s very simple. The Holy Spirit is convicts, not me, nor a man-written/inspired book. The Holy Spirit does the “doing”. Satan wants nothing more than to misdirect, create doubt and fear. I believe that God is in control as I pray for my non-believing friend and that the Lord is teaching her otherwise, as He convicted me.

    I certainly don’t think “that people automatically head down the road to truth”. Quite the contrary, which leads to my point that we shouldn’t be so judgemental as to recommend that someone just whip out a Bible and start reading it, when the non-believer doesn’t believe it in the first place.

    This “dollar bin crap” sure is stirring up alot of great conversations and I like it! BTW….I was at the Dollar Store the other day, and bought a couple of great Charles Stanley books…..

    I’m going to keep shopping in “dollar bins” while keeping the faith that God is in control, the Holy Spirit convicts, and that a loving Savior saved me. The people that God used, to teach me about the Lord, never judged what I read, nor did they have the “churchy spiritual” attitude and say, “try reading the Bible instead”.

  4. good debate, people!
    only point from me…….who has not yet read this book. i have heard several of my committed, believing friends say that they knew people who got thirsty for more and started reading a Bible after reading this book. It’s role is not to replace the Bible, but something that a non believer is more likely to pick up…planting a seed. I think we would all agree that anything that wets the appetite for Scripture is a positive thing. Like I said, I haven’t read it yet, I really need to so I am able to discuss it. I certainly cannot recommend it to anyone without reading it. It is sure stirring up controversy!

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