Awhile ago, I posted a tiny blurb about Tim Challies’ review of The Shack, as featured on the Boundless webzine. I got an interesting comment today to the effect that The Shack is a novel, so it can’t perfectly give an accurate theology or view of God, but that it gives a wonder feel of having a conversation with God to help make sense of what life is about. The following is a more detailed explanation of what some of my concerns regarding The Shack are about:
…the reason I voiced some negative thoughts about The Shack was because of some excerpts that I read from it from the review. For example,
“In seminary he had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow 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” (65-66, emphasis added).
– According to Tim Challies, this excerpt is part ofThe Shack‘s tendency to downplay the importance of Scripture. From this passage, it even seems to denigrate the Bible (“God’s voicehad been reduced to paper”). This is contrary to what God tells us clearly in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Psalm 19:7 as Tim Challies pointed out. So if you believe that the Bible is merely God’s word “reduced to paper”, what you actually find in the pages of that paper contradicts that opinion.
Here’s another, quite different, example of what seems to be false teaching. Granted, I don’t know the entire context around this sentence, but the sentence itself doesn’t leave much room for doubt as to its meaning:
(as taken from Tim Challies review)
He is not a God who could have poured out upon His Son His just wrath for sin. In fact, God does not need to punish sin at all, says Papa. “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it” (120).
God doesn’t need to punish people for their sin? Sin itself is its own punishment? What the hell (so to speak)? While sin does often have nasty consequences here on Earth, those consequences aren’t truly just. Why else would the Bible speak/observe that the wicked often get away with what they’re doing? (examples) Sin itself is not its own punishment. Otherwise, there’d be nothing to worry about. Do something wrong or terrible? Just move on, because “sin is its own punishment”, so you’re good to go.
So those are my thoughts on a couple things that were pointed out by Tim Challies review of The Shack. My assumption is that little tidbits, or even overarching themes in the book, can easily be glossed over, but it’s a big deal if you actually stop to consider what they mean.