another review of The Shack

Trevin Wax has the same problem with The Shack that I do. I really like his approach to the “it’s just fiction” argument.

Check this out:

Let’s say you meet an author who wants to use your grandparents as the main characters in a novel. The author tells you that the narrative will be fictional, but that your grandparents will have the starring roles. Sounds great!you think.

But when the manuscript arrives in your hands, you discover that the story does not accurately represent the personalities of your grandparents. The relationship between them is all wrong too. Grandma berates Grandpa. Early on, they run off and elope (which is totally out of character). At one point, they contemplate divorce.

When you complain, the author responds, “Remember? I told you it would be fictional.”

“Yes,” you say, somewhat exasperated, “I knew the story would be fictional, but I thought you would get my grandparents right. The grandparents in your story aren’t anything like my grandparents.”

“Who cares?” the author responds. “It’s a work of fiction.”

“Well, I care,” you say, “because people will put down this book thinking that my grandparents were like the way you portrayed them.”

My biggest problem with The Shack is its portrayal of God. I understand that the book is a work of fiction, not a theological treatise, and therefore should be treated as fiction. But the main characters are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are actual Persons. To portray God in a manner inconsistent with his revelation to us in Scripture (and primarily in Jesus) is to misrepresent living Persons.

When people put down The Shack, they will not have a better understanding of the Trinity (despite the glowing blurbs on the back cover). They will probably have a more distorted view of God in three Persons.

What he says nicely is exactly what I said not nearly as graciously.

I am afraid that if someone reads the Shack and falls in love with Papa, then all they have fallen in love with is a fictional African American woman who likes to cook and give hugs. They have not been led to God. They have not fallen in love with the biblical Jesus.
They have instead been distracted by an anthropomorphic three headed idol created by Wm. Paul Young.

Do not read The Shack and think that you have gained insight into the Trinity as it is portrayed in Scripture.

Trevin goes on to point out some other problems with the book as well as things it does well. Definitely worth a read.

HT to Justin Taylor.

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what he said

here is Mark Driscoll talking about holding truth tightly while being relevant to the culture.

Bumped up from last July, because it is still relevant.

here is the page where you can download the entire message that the above video was advertising.

using spiritual gifts

James McDonald has posted about the great damage that can be caused by people using the spiritual gift of discernment in their flesh and not in the Spirit.

I have been a pastor for more than 25 years and I have heard some pretty harsh things; but the deepest wounding by far has been at the hands of people using the gift of discernment in the flesh. Most often, these are the folks that separate friends, divide churches and destroy families. It is a very dangerous gift when not under the Spirit’s control. Maybe you have experienced this personally, or worse, have been the one doing it. Here are five ways to know if you or someone you know is using the gift of discernment in their own strength and not the Lord’s.

James also says that in a larger sense, all spiritual gifts need to be exercised under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but the particular example on his mind is the gift of discernment.

Hat tip to Challies.