Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Shack

So I finally gave in and read it.

The book is worth reading, but with discernment (duh...). Anytime most of a book is quoting God, metaphor or not, there is sure to be error. But as Paul would say, "Test everything- let go of the bad and cling to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." (1 Thess. 5:21-22)

I could probably go on about what I didn't like about it. I won't. I already linked to some concerns I (still) share with Mark Driscoll about this book. But I think he goes way too far when he says you shouldn't read the book.

Now for some highlights for me...

- "Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship."

- Jesus is not good looking (Is. 53, "there was no beauty to attract us to him...")

- "Inside me? Not just some positional, theological thing?"Mack asks. Jesus responds, "[true spiritual life] requires that a very real, dynamic and active union exists."

- Mack's main problem is doubting the goodness of God.

- Regarding worry and the future- God lives in the present, not our imaginations about the future. So live in the now.

- Mack's experience is more real than this life. I've often thought about this- oh the foolishness of naturalism! There is a world unseen that has been and forever will be.

- "fears and lies become bigger in the dark- they are more a shadow than a reality. When light shines in you, you start to see them as they are."

- There was great insight into the question, "Do all paths lead to God?"... "I will travel any road to find people."

Overall, this challenged my view of God. I think I'm the better for having read it. But I would still rather let Isaiah 40-66, rather than The Shack, shape my understanding of God.


Ed Noble said...

Glad you finally got around to reading El Shaq.

I'd be interested to know in what ways the concerns you share w/ Mark D were sustained. Did you see modalism here? I sure didn't.

I agree the scriptures are the last word especially when it comes to who it is we are dealing with and 3rd Isaiah (3rd scroll) can't be improved upon. Could that not be said of say, the Confessions, Imitation of Christ, or Divine Conspiracy? Just wondering.

You da man!


Metropuritan Mark said...

As I read the book, there were a lot of times I was uneasy. Many (most?) of them b/c I was forced to re-think my view of God in a good way. But the problem is that there were a lot of other times...

For example, I think his view of authority is a little jacked up. He seems to have a view of the church as being in its purest form without it.

Another fear is that Americans know so little about the God of the Bible. This book will no doubt shape people's thinking about God. I'm not sure it's the best starting point.

I think this book is in a whole different category than all the books you mentioned. The book is basically quoting God. Given the genre of literature, of course there's some latitude. But we have to tell people- this is fiction. There's some good insights here, but God didn't really say what is written and he doesn't interact with himself as in the book. That sounds like a "duh" statement, but I don't place a lot of trust in people's discernment when it comes to knowledge of the Holy.

In the post I did my best to receive the good. I'm trying to let go of the bad. Even here, I don't think it's helpful to go back and try to figure out everything I didn't like. I tried to enjoy it for what it was- a fictional account of God interacting with someone who's dealing with pain and full of questions for God.

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact this book will have long term.

Anonymous said...

Al Mohler put it best about The Shack when he said, “This book includes undiluted heresy.” His audio review is worth listening to: http://www.albertmohler.com/radio_show.php?cdate=2008-04-11 I read it to respond to the heresy it has filled peoples minds with. Theologically it is laced with error. Another review worth looking at is http://www.challies.com/media/The_Shack.pdf

With all due respect, your using 1 Thess. 5:21-22 out of context. It says prior "19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil." The context is around not quenching the Spirit by despising prophecies. Instead test them. This is NOT a passage encouraging us to mingle with outright heresy and fill our minds with bad theology.