I said that I would write a follow-up about The Shack after reading the book for myself. Fiction has not been on my reading list for quite some time, and it was not the easiest read for me. I found myself pressing through to read it because I said I would. I took notes to reference back to when writing this post. It did not take me long to read through the book, but after nearly two months it seems as though I have misplaced all of those notes. That’s no big deal though because they largely supported what I wrote in The Most Dangerous Lies as well as the other reviews that I linked there.
I do, however, want to touch on a few things that I think are important to keep in mind if you’ve read the book, seen the movie, or choose to do either of those things in the future.
I’ve never thought of it that way
Like so many others who have read The Shack, I found myself reflecting on new perspectives of God, mankind, and the relationship between us. On more than rare occasion, the thought that I had never seen things that way before crossed my mind. When that thought is tied to Scripture, it is a great way to experience how alive God’s Word is today. When it occurs multiple times in a fictional book, there should be a red flag that goes up. There is probably a reason that you haven’t thought that way before, or heard that perspective before.
Let me make this clear. I believe that The Bible is God’s Word, and the gold standard of Truth. I believe that it is alive and speaks to us today. If another book or voice is giving you a new perspective about God, His Word, or your relationship to Him, you need to test it against Scripture.
Issues of interpretation vs. issues of truth
I’ve had conversations with old friends that I grew up with in recent years. Facebook has been a great tool for staying in relative touch with them. While a number of us had the same upbringing with similar parents and the same pastors and church, there is a vast difference in how we handle and interpret Scripture. At first I thought it had a lot to do with what college we chose to attend. I thought where we moved to after college maybe played into it as well. Some of us went to the same college. Some of us still live close enough to meet up for lunch. I don’t know where our perspectives went so different, and I might not ever know.
As much as I disagree with many of the ways William P. Young handles The Trinity and how we relate to Him. I can accept that some of it is a matter of different interpretations of what God reveals through Scripture. But there are other points that I cannot chalk up to interpretation.
The primary issue I have is the way that Young attempts to diminish God’s sovereignty and flatten the concept of submission down to a level playing field. God is not submissive to us as Young tries to push. God is sovereign. There are numerous passages of Scripture that show His sovereignty. Some may point to Jesus dying on the cross as Him submitting to mankind. In reality, He was submitting to the will of The Father. It was the will of God The Father to send Jesus as an act of love to repair our relationship with Him.
Dangerous things and how we handle them
I said in my last post that The Shack is a dangers book. The most dangerous lies are the ones we don’t recognize as lies. We live in an era where we are constantly bombarded with information, news, fake news, entertainment, and different perspectives of all of those things. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell affects how we perceive our surroundings. Our senses affect our emotions and even our understanding of truth. Just like scientist need a constant when conducting experiments, we need a constant to refer to for matters of truth. Without a constant, it will get increasingly more difficult to recognize what really is true. If you are skeptical about how our senses warp our perspective of truth, maybe this video give you a new perspective.
Would you handle a hot pan out of the oven with bare hands? Does the idea of climbing a shear cliff face with no training and no ropes sound like a good idea? When we know something is dangerous, we use that knowledge and use equipment to properly handle it. Information and fiction books are not inherently dangerous, but when they affect how we see truth, they can be. With that knowledge, I want to encourage you to use the right tool to handle all the information you receive. When something gives you a new perspective on God, His Word, or His relationship with mankind, test it against The Truth of Scripture.