Burning Down “The Shack”… Again

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288 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    But is it the love the God Who actually exists? Or some other god.

    That’s the problem.

  2. Xenia says:

    Young’s god loves you…. but so what? This product of his imagination does not exist, anymore than Gandalf, who is also quite loving, exists.

  3. A Believer says:

    In my opinion, this is the most thorough, balanced and fair review of “The Shack” out there.

    I should caution you that this review is very lengthy, but Randy Alcorn really leaves no stone unturned in the discussion, including the discussion of the appropriate and inappropriate use of fiction when addressing theological concepts.

    http://www.epm.org/resources/2012/Sep/26/reflections-shack/

  4. Michael says:

    Xenia,
    Most if the folks I know who enjoyed both were Christians…they know God and felt this helped them know Him better.

  5. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Its emotional theology. Its crap. Nice story though.

  6. Siggy the Terrible says:

    The world will always trend towards the path of least resistance. Therefore the more Christ like we are, the more they will hate us for it, as He said. After all, the Romans and the Jews killed Jesus. It was an ecumenical effort 🙂 That’s the problem with Young’s ability to communicate the “love of god” more effectively to the world than the church, he isn’t. Its not love, it’s license.

  7. Michael says:

    Theology that doesn’t touch the emotions isn’t true theology at all.

  8. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Emotions are God-given means, not ends. Emotions shouldn’t shape theology.

  9. Michael says:

    This is what happens when theology is reduced to a text…good theology will engage the emotions as well as the mind.

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    It’s funny – if my pastor said from the pulpit what Paul Young says in his book and the producers say in the movie, I would make a motion to have him fired.

  11. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Yes, that’s, why I read and meditate on scripture. Like I said, means not ends.

  12. Siggy the Terrible says:

    When I say I, I know it’s we, btw.

  13. Michael says:

    I would fire a pastor for some of it too. Paul Young isn’t a pastor.

  14. Xenia says:

    My point is that the characters that are portrayed in the book may be lovable and helpful on an emotional level but they are not God. The reader is impacted by “god-like” characters but they are not learning anything about God because the book does not portray Him. Readers become attached to figments of the author’s imagination, not God.

    One can actually learn a lot about love, faithfulness self-sacrifice and loyalty by reading the Lord of the Rings, which was written by a devout Christian. But Tolkien did not make the mistake of claiming any of the characters represented members of the Trinity.

    I think the book is blasphemous.

    Sorry.

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This just shows my main concern with today’s evangelical church. Manipulation through the emotions instead of sound theology.

    This is how Mormons grow. Lie about doctrine while getting people emotionally involved in “the family life.”

  16. TombstoneBlues says:

    Because the love of God he is presenting is man’s idea of love not what is presented in God’s Word, the Bible. The Shacks “god” is that white haired good old grandpa in the sky that is replete of Holiness or righteous judgemental. Of course the masses eat this up, it appeals to the carnal man. No repentance or obeying God. He just loves the whole world and everyone goes to heaven.
    The Shacks author has said that ” the God of Evangelical Christianity is a monster”. He doesn’t like the God of the Bible so he made up his own.

  17. Steve Wright says:

    C.S.Lewis refused his whole life to let the Narnia books be made into movies specifically because he felt an animated lion would diminish the awesomeness of Jesus Christ. That was his objection.

    His estate approved the recent movie when they were shown the lifelike technology that would be used, figuring Lewis’ objection would be moot.

    Not sure this relates to The Shack but I always found that interesting.

  18. filbertz says:

    To make a work of fiction and a movie fit a theological litmus test is absurdity beyond imagination. It is like vetting the personal beliefs of the employees of the company that makes plastic communion cups.

  19. filbertz says:

    At issue is the distrust/fear/discomfort that far too many Christians have with anything emotional. On the one hand we (rationally) acknowledge we are emotional beings created by God to be so, but on the other we won’t explore and understand and express our emotions–producing a Christian expression that is head-heavy and heart-empty. The only emotion Christians seem to express these days is anger and disgust.

  20. Michael says:

    “At issue is the distrust/fear/discomfort that far too many Christians have with anything emotional. On the one hand we (rationally) acknowledge we are emotional beings created by God to be so, but on the other we won’t explore and understand and express our emotions–producing a Christian expression that is head-heavy and heart-empty. ”

    Exactly.
    I wish I’d said every word of that to start with… 🙂

  21. filbertz says:

    an A Believer sighting is a source of rejoicing–great to see you John.

    Michael,
    When my son died last May, one of the most distressing things I have faced is the emotional immaturity and impotency of myself and so many other Christians who don’t understand pain, grief, loss, despair, depression, guilt, etc. and can only offer empty platitudes as solace. One of my greatest areas of growth has been in my ‘heart.’ Our Savior, the Bible, and our theology offers so much more if we would but let them off their leashes.

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To have a theologian of sorts portray his god (note the little g) as a god who does not deal with sin is perfectly within his rights.

    For Christians to pass it off as no harm, no foul is odious.

  23. filbertz says:

    no work of fiction can offer the full orb of God’s (or god’s) character, person, and work. The Bible can’t do it either. I’m not passing off anything except the premise that he should have. If that makes me odious, hold your nose.

  24. Michael says:

    I’m with fil.

    MLD will have to wait for “Batman and the Book of Concord”… or something…

  25. filbertz says:

    Let me go on record as one who is not a fan of The Shack in general, not because of its theological limits or liabilities, but because it is another weak example of so-called Christian fiction. I am consistent with my well-chronicled disdain for The Left Behind series, Randy Alcorn’s books, Peretti’s novel’s, etc. Books written for a Christian audience tend to be weak in nearly every way that quality literature demonstrates. Heck, any Newberry Award winning book for adolescent readers is superior to the titles alluded to above. But I will also counter the notion that a Christian novel needs to be theologically pristine because that is an impossible premise.

  26. filbertz says:

    …but those suckers sell well! The Shack sold over 22 million copies–there is an itch that needs scratching which isn’t reached by traditional preaching and teaching. There’s more to the story than what will be accomplished by discrediting the Shack.

  27. Michael says:

    “there is an itch that needs scratching which isn’t reached by traditional preaching and teaching. There’s more to the story than what will be accomplished by discrediting the Shack.”

    Exactly and my whole point.

    There’s a disconnect somewhere…

  28. Siggy the Terrible says:

    What do they call that now when a yuppie white dude starts using black slang, kinda like when Elvis stole Chuck Berry’s music, the opposite (basically) of gentrification? Cultural appropriation?

    This is the trick of Wm. Paul Young, and it IS a trick, a marketing scheme on the level of Oprah and Drucker: all he’s done is take the cool idea of a triune god, split it up into something relatable and quantifiable; something unexplainable, mysterious, and glorious into something mundane and harmless. There is no awe, no fear

    No wisdom

    All he’s done is take the grotesque glory of Christ’s sacrifice and turned it into a Starbucks, Disneyland experience. It makes a whore house of the relationship that God intended to be between He and His image; stop in, get some lovin’, thanks, Come again. McFaith. If one can’t see the harm this is doing to the Church, God help that one. The serpent beguiles, he doesn’t attack.

  29. Michael says:

    Well, almost all my family and some of my extended church family have seen and very much liked the movie.
    I will go back and see if any have grown horns or a tail tomorrow.
    Much ado about nothing…and even less understanding of the issue fil and I have both tried to raise.

  30. Siggy the Terrible says:

    No offense meant, Michael. It seems like thin ice.

  31. Jean says:

    “All he’s done is take the grotesque glory of Christ’s sacrifice and turned it into a Starbucks, Disneyland experience. It makes a whore house of the relationship that God intended to be between He and His image; stop in, get some lovin’, thanks, Come again. McFaith. If one can’t see the harm this is doing to the Church, God help that one. The serpent beguiles, he doesn’t attack.”

    I had an LOL moment when I read this. If this is the review of a fiction movie/book, which was not sanctioned (to my knowledge) by any church body, then I ask – Isn’t this type of thing actually preached from pulpits as non-fiction to a very large number of Christians every week?

    So, what’s it missing? The appropriate dose of moralism? Some therapeutic deism? Bible proof texts?

    (I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, and am not recommending either.)

  32. I think fil makes the point. The Shack, is just as unChristian and blasphemous as the Left Behind books, the Peretti, books and I will even add the Bob Larson novels of the 80s about the Illuminati.

    But hey, the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction also so I guess it’s OK to recommend to your friends as a feel good ‘god experience.’ – as I said in an earlier post, the guy has the right to publish his book – he even has the right to market it to church people – but it is my God ordained duty as a Bible teacher to warn the body of such error… which I am doing and I am surprised (well not much) that some of you are not.

  33. Michael says:

    MLD,

    This noble “warning of the body’ assumes that the Body is unable to think lucidly for itself and is completely unable to recognize theological aberration.

    If that is the case, then we have far bigger problems than the book.

  34. filbertz says:

    The Shack was not part of a slick marketing campaign until long after the author self-published the book and sold copies from boxes out of his trunk…it was the product of a word of mouth campaign of those who read it and found it met ‘felt needs’ in their lives. If you want to criticize the publisher, it was simply marketing an already hot commodity and capitalizing on it. From a business standpoint, that was a no-brainer, though it took the risk up front and the risk paid off. Again, Christian publishers don’t effect much control over the content of the books they sell…visit the bookstore and note the crap that is published for the Christian market. Much, perhaps the majority wouldn’t pass any form of theological litmus test, including all the non-fiction. The Shack is the lightning rod because it is successful and therefore a large target.

  35. A Believer says:

    I’m a little surprised that at least some of you haven’t addressed Alcorn’s concerns at all. I posted the link a while back up the thread.

    Well maybe I shouldn’t be. It is a very lengthy article! ?

    Especially since Alcorn as a well known Christian author specifically address the subject that the book should be evaluated as fiction at length.

  36. Michael says:

    AB,

    At the end of the day and many pages, Alcorn is concerned that the theology of the book is skewed.
    I still haven’t met anyone who read the book to learn theology.
    On my list of things that I’m worried about concerning the church,this uproar is at the bottom of the page.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    I find it noble that you are a pastor who is above warning the body of anything as you would never want to assume they are not lucid enough to see error on their own.

  38. Michael says:

    MLD,

    If I’m going to “warn” people of entertainment shows that will damage their walk with Jesus, I’d start with Rush Limbaugh and by the time I got to “The Shack” no one would care…

  39. filbertz says:

    ABe,
    I read the article and it is, indeed, long. I think it was balanced and I especially appreciate that he spoke at length with the author to better understand his views. One of the weaknesses of the Shack is that the author bit off more than he could chew with speaking for God–it is one of the reasons I didn’t particularly like the story and it made me uncomfortable. He isn’t a theologian and therefore doesn’t hit all the right notes in that regard. But it isn’t a theological treatise–it is a fiction novel that emphasizes emotional connection with God, not cognitive belief systems. Alcorn’s critique is a bit ironic in that his fiction wouldn’t withstand this type of scrutiny either, especially his book about heaven.

  40. So as I said, the book of mormon is fiction – do you suggest people read it for the good god experience they will get?

    The fact that you consider this no harm no foul is a serious issue.

    But then if you don’t feel “called” to warn people of theological error – well that is ….

  41. filbertz says:

    We can warn people all day long about real or perceived dangers & threats. At some point,we must realize that one of the big tasks of assisting others, whether our children as they grow toward adulthood or others in their journey of faith, is that at some point, they must stand on their own two feet, think and choose for themselves, and own the consequences of those actions. Pastors who micromanage their flocks are annoying at the least, over-bearing, controlling, and arrogant at the worst. We teachers/preachers can’t always tell people what to think, but how to think.

  42. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I haven’t endorsed or vilified “The Shack”.
    The Book of Mormon presents itself as a theological document,not an entertainment vehicle.
    As I said before, I find there is far graver theological error being consumed daily…my warnings have fallen on deaf ears…

  43. Michael says:

    “Pastors who micromanage their flocks are annoying at the least, over-bearing, controlling, and arrogant at the worst. We teachers/preachers can’t always tell people what to think, but how to think.”

    Amen and amen.

    John Piper was warning about how pets can ruin your spiritual life a couple weeks ago…I was deeply offended that he thought the need to speak to such.

    What the book and the movie has done for some is open them up to conversations about the goodness of God in a fallen world.

    Those are conversations I can work with…

  44. I just came back from walking around the lake here in AZ. The JWs had 4 stations set up to intercept people walking by (they are there 6 days a week). Should I expect some type of warning about the JWs from my pastor when he finds out I have been picking up their literature – or is it more noble on his part when he finds out I have adopted their theology after the fact?

  45. filbertz says:

    The book of Mormon is a theological treatise and foundational scripture of a Religion. For you to continue to flippantly refer to it as fiction is disingenuous and simply untrue. No one views the book of Mormon that way, and no one here, except you, would ever make that connection. There aren’t enough Sundays in a month to warn people of all the theological errors ‘out there,’ so the truth is proclaimed, the Spirit is trusted, and the Church rolls on.

  46. “about the goodness of God in a fallen world.”
    and who says nothing about the judgement of God.

    To the unbeliever who goes to see this movie – it is 100% the wrong message.

    The god of the ‘warm fuzzies’

  47. Michael says:

    It’s not the wrong message, it’s an incomplete message.
    That should be expected from a piece of fictional entertainment.

    That’s why God made preachers…to fill out the story.

    My dear Dr. Packer says that theology should lead to doxology…or warm fuzzies that lead us to break out in praise.

  48. filbertz says:

    Perhaps you should purge Romans 2:4 from your Bible.

  49. Xenia says:

    My dear Dr. Packer says that theology should lead to doxology…or warm fuzzies that lead us to break out in praise.<<<

    Correct theology will lead to doxology.

    Incorrect theology will lead to …. well, it leads to all the things we bitterly complain about here on the PhxP. And worse.

  50. This however is no different that those ‘fringe christians’ who walked away from George Burns in – what was it called? – O God – My God – or was it Oh my God? saying “now I understand better who God really is.”

    Come on…

    btw Creflo Dollar gives me the warm fuzzies everytime he tells me God wants me to be rich.

  51. Michael says:

    My church and my extended family of unchurched friends are not left at the mercy of a single movie to form their theological views.

    They have a pastor who is willing and eager to not only teach, but enter into discussions about whatever they have seen or read that they have questions about.

    I’m not going to worry a great deal about what provokes those questions as long as we can have the discussions.

    I would assume that to be the case for most Christians…

  52. Most don’t ask the question – they assume George Burns is the exact replication of God the father. And if you don’t tell them otherwise, well, then you end up with one more evangelical. 😉

  53. A Believer says:

    I’m not so sure that Young had no theological intention in writing the book.

    If we understand theology as the study of God, I would assume this would be done to better understand and experience Him.

    Young, like other authors before him, has used the powerful vehicle of fiction to correct what he sees as misrepresentations of God. While this may have been well intentioned, he creates more theological problems than he solves in the attempt!

    Just because people like something or say they have been helped doesn’t make something true. That is subjective relativism.

    I am convinced most on this blog would accept the Bible as authoritative as we attempt to study God, yet we have no consensus on the correct interpretation of scripture.

    With that said, good luck with coming to any consensus on what Young has presented about God. When pressed for clarity he has typically been evasive.

  54. covered says:

    “Pastors who micromanage their flocks are annoying at the least, over-bearing, controlling, and arrogant at the worst. We teachers/preachers can’t always tell people what to think, but how to think.”

    fil, this is a very valid point. I will never forget hearing my CC Pastor tell the entire church that if they or their kids are watching Twilight, they need to step down from serving in any ministry. Immediately, several people left and we had very few left to help with kids.

    Pastor Plank Eye went from over 250 to about 15 today. The idea that as a pastor I have the right to tell people what to think is ridiculous. I do however have an obligation in sharing what Jesus taught. More often than not, I am very convicted by my own message. The reality is, as a pastor, I am not the Holy Spirit and need to always trust that He is doing what Jesus said He would do especially when it comes to conviction and such.

  55. filbertz says:

    clearly MLD has interviewed the majority of Oh God! viewers and can speak with authority on the George Burns–Evangelical connection. Well done.

    Isawthelightfil

  56. filbertz says:

    ABe,
    I agree with your observation about the seeming impossibility of theological consensus. Have you heard of/read “The Bible Made Impossible” by Christian Smith? Intriguing book.

  57. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Young’s companion guide and follow up books make theological arguments, e.g. “Lies We Believe About God”. So does The Shack.

    Filbertz

    “The book of Mormon is a theological treatise and foundational scripture of a Religion. For you to continue to flippantly refer to it as fiction is disingenuous and simply untrue. No one views the book of Mormon that way, and no one here, except you, would ever make that connection.”

    __________________
    Holy Cow, dude. For real…?
    I would lol but it’s just not funny. Jeez

  58. Xenia says:

    Everyone except Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is fiction.

    Even Joseph Smith knew it was fiction.

  59. Rick says:

    Interesting discussion; I read The Shack years ago for what I think it was presented–a work of fiction, not a theological treatise. As a former elder perhaps the most frustrating part of ministry was the realization that congregants who were exposed to orthodox biblical teaching for years remained unconvinced that God loved them personally. Simply declaring that profound truth, in the context of both preaching and sacred music, does not seem to have the effect that church leaders would wish. Perhaps in the minds of theological purists there is no necessity to emotionally connect with God–I think the wide dissemination of The Shack argues against that point. I think those who are emotionally broken find solace and connection in narrative, rather than declaration–it is interesting to me that Jesus used narrative as well as declaration to reveal the heart of God to us.

    I also find it interesting that, as Challies trains his ‘considerable guns’ on something I would consider relatively harmless, and perhaps useful as a conversation starter, he has,through the years been silent on actual abuses in church systems such as Soveriegn Grace Ministries that have the fortunate characteristic of sharing Challies theology.

  60. Michael says:

    Rick…well said.

  61. Dan from Georgia says:

    Covered (54)-good points! -the conviction of the spirit is key for deciding what to put our minds and hearts to. Each person should decide for themselves what to think of The Shack, or for that matter, the upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie, rock music, dancing, whatever.

  62. JM says:

    Very good exchange. I tend to be conservative in my faith because of being raised with cult influence. My heart has been to not see others suffer the way I and my family did because we did not know any better. We did not know the truth. I wanted to make a line of demarcation the size of the Grand Canyon between truth and error. That being said, I realized that you cannot keep espousing orthodoxy and ignore the absence of orthopraxy (the abuse of those in the body of Christ). Some have held orthodoxy up so high that they have rationalized immorality among their leaders to further their cause. No matter how precious orthodoxy is to me–this is disgusting and reeks of hypocrisy. You cannot fight for the minds of people and ignore their hearts. Somehow, somewhere, there has to be a balance found. It feels like the body of Christ has been reduced to nothing but mere body parts functioning separately like something out of a horror movie. There’s a heart over here and a brain over there and the Church at Large continues to languish in confusion and a lack of care for its increasing number of wounded. There are few places to fellowship now that have not been politicized or split in some way. It grieves the heart.

  63. Bob Sweat says:

    Thank you Rick. That was well stated.

  64. a Believer says:

    Rick said,

    “…it is interesting to me that Jesus used narrative as well as declaration to reveal the heart of God to us.”

    This is true, but there are some interesting things to consider about Jesus parables.

    Jesus is divine and His use of stories to make His points is flawless. Our use of fiction not so much. I suspect ours will be more likely to support our own theological perspectives which can be flawed.

    And Jesus Himself suggested His use of parables was designed to keep meaning away from certain people, while revealing it to others.

    While divine love is consistent throughout the parables, that love is portrayed as love actually is rather than a truncated, one-sided, imbalanced, tolerant, feel good only kind of love.

    Biblical love as demonstrated in the parables will judge sin, sentence to hell, bring discipline, requires obedience, and a host of other challenging aspects along with it. It’s interesting to note that many parables have judgment as a theme.

    Sadly, many people only want the happy feel good aspects of love, while jettisoning love’s challenges and warnings. God is not half a being. There are other aspects of His character that can’t be ignored like His wrath and justice, and making us accountable.

    Because we live in a self absorbed christian culture that has itching ears and an abhorrence of anything involving death to the flesh, we are faced with the danger of accepting teaching that supports our wishes rather than what we need.

    Who doesn’t want a “Papa” that will hug and hold us, coddle us, and never correct us, challenge us, warn us, or (God forbid) lead us to a cross?

  65. a Believer says:

    Hey Fil,

    Long time no see!

    That does look like an intriguing book! I read through some of the positive and negative reviews on the Amazon page.

    Both positive and negative reviews comment on a proposed Christocentric Hermeneutic similar to Barth and note his own conversion to Catholicism which I found interesting. Of course Catholics depend on the Church for interpretation and reject the interpretive pluralism of Protestantism.

    Interesting stuff.

  66. a Believer says:

    Hey MLD,

    Do Lutherans have any great christian fiction novelists in their ranks?

    Or do they frown on mingling there fiction and their theology?

    I ask because Protestants are generally positive about Anglican C.S. Lewis’s writings, and of Course J. R. Tolkein, the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was Catholic.

    The Reformed have Bunyan’s Pilgrims progress.

    And the Baptists have well, La Haye! LOL. 🙂

    I’d be interested to see you take on this. Do you generally prefer your theology to be separate from your entertainment?

  67. filbertz says:

    of course I know that the book of Mormon is “fiction” but not in the sense that it is a novel, narrative, story-telling, let’s-make-it-a-movie, I-hope-there’s-a-sequel book. Mormons portray it as their scripture, so it is treated by others in that sense. I would never peruse it for a little light reading before bed.

    Siggy the T.,
    my comment to MLD was in response to him equating The Shack to the Book of Mormon, as though there were no difference in them because they are both “fiction.” I stand by my comment in that light.

  68. Rick says:

    Ah, a Believer, your point is well taken. There lies, I think, a perpetual struggle between the belief of unconditional love and the demands of love as you have stated. I read something once from theologian Sarah Sumner that the view of paradox in the western world is very different from the view of paradox in the ancient Jewish culture. We see paradox as contradiction–surely God cannot love us unconditionally and freely, and then have demands on our obedience. Sumner made the point that in Jewish culture, paradox is seen as two sides of the same coin. Both are utterly true–however, in my experience in church culture the part that you emphasized is taught with much greater emphasis, evidenced by the pervasive church culture of behavior management as a substitute for intimate fellowship with God.

    Ideally, we experience and engage both–my experience in leadership is that a fairly large number of those who name the name of Christ live in the behavior management side of the coin. It often appears joyless and I think is the enemy of true evangelism. I am much more prone to commit to behavior change if I know that my behavior does not predicate God loving me, but is a result of God loving me. Many Christians think God is just a little bit better than the nicest person they know–I try to discourage people from anthropormorphizing God in this way. I believe the Scriptural narrative supports a view of God as revealed to Hosea–He will never give up on us. God’s love for us is based in His character, not mine.

  69. fil, I luv ya brother but the book of mormon is not only fiction – it is plagiarized fiction from a novel by Solomon Spaulding.

  70. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Filbertz,
    Ahhh, I see. Joseph Smith was flippant toward God, so why shouldn’t we be flippant toward his books? Books like his and The Shack are no better than Dianetics – and we all know Hubbard was just in it for the money.

    How about the idea that The Shack is simply Hinduistic philosophy dressed up with a Jesus label? The Holy Triumvirate and androgeny?

  71. A Believer – I don’t know of Lutheran fiction writers but if there are any, and I am sure there are, we would know if there are good ones. So, since I can’t think of any (and I guess none come to youe mind) then we probably just have those who have attempted and faile.

    I have no issue with fiction crossing paths with theology — but since Christianity is the only true theology it had better be true fiction. Where would one draw the line? What if someone wrote a ‘christian’ novel that denied Christ and showed him to be fake – BUT – the moral of the story was that GOD made everyone feel good?;

    Also, I think many miss the meaning of giving a warning – it is not forbidding people – it is telling them the truth about the Shack, warning people it is probably not worth their time and effort – but id they are going to participate in it, do so with care.

    Not jusr “no harm, no foul – read and enjoy.

  72. Scooter Jones says:

    Is “a Believer” the same person as “A Believer”? If not, it’s not cool (in my opinion) to utilize a pseudonym on a forum like this that gives the appearance it’s someone who has posted on this forum for many years.

  73. a Believer says:

    Hi Rick,

    I really have no fundamental disagreement with you.

    I will say that you will never find a verse in scripture that says God’s love is unconditional, although I know what people mean by that.

    Even that great verse about God’s love John 3:16 conditions our eternal life upon our faith in Christ. God’s love does no good for the unbeliever except to grant their wish of final separation from His love. Forcing them to be with Him would be cruel.

    I think what we really mean by “God’s unconditional love” is to state that His love is His nature, that it is constant and unwavering, independent of us and our behaviors, and that it is a gift that cannot be earned, but must be received.

    As Peter states, God has given us promises that we MIGHT be partakers of His divine nature which is of course love.

    Why might?

    We have to believe the promises as a condition for receiving them.

    The subject of behavior management is interesting to me. Jesus states that our love for Him is demonstrated by our obedience to him, and self control is listed as a fruit of the Spirit.

    Our misbehaviors don’t exclude us from God’s love, but it may effect the way we experience it. As christians, our misbehaviors may put us in line for his loving correction and discipline.

    Is it possible that behavior management could be a sign of one’s love and obedience towards God and a desire for intimacy. In other words, does intimate fellowship exclude the concept of obedience?

    It could be possible that people could use behavior management as a substitute for intimacy, but it could be argued that some use if to attain intimacy. While relationship as God’s child may be maintained, fellowship and the resultant intimacy can be broken by disobedience which is a behavioral issue.

  74. a Believer says:

    Scooter,

    It’s me. The same guy who posted years ago. I forgot to capitalize the A.

  75. I don’t think the Apostle Paul thought much of behavior management – in fact I think he wrote a chapter on the impossibility of such.

    But that never stops people from denying scripture and giving it the old college try because if I can do it myself I won’t need Jesus.

  76. Jean says:

    IMO it is possible to explore Christian themes in a book of fiction. And do it extremely well.

    I will mention to such works:

    Les Miserables (including the musical) by Victor Hugo

    Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodo rDostoyevsky.

  77. Jean says:

    a Believer wrote:

    “I will say that you will never find a verse in scripture that says God’s love is unconditional, although I know what people mean by that.”

    This is absolutely incorrect. And it is one of the more odious doctrines of some evangelicals. I could post numerous verses in opposition.

    God’s love is unconditional, because Christ dies for the sins of the world and, in so doing, God in Christ reconciled the world to himself.

    So if Paul writing to the Corinthians or a pastor addressing his congregation opens his sermon with: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”; then God has just said I love you, you are forgiven and peace.

    What you or I do regarding believing or not believing God’s announcement does not render what God says or what Jesus did untrue. In other words, God does not take it back. You can reject it, but God stands by what He has done in love.

  78. a Believer says:

    MLD,

    You and I seem to have much history in the past of talking past one another.

    Why break with tradition! lol! 🙂

    Seriously, Why do you say things like this here?

    “But that never stops people from denying scripture and giving it the old college try because if I can do it myself I won’t need Jesus.”

    Do you know anyone here on this blog who feels this way? I know I don’t.

    I know that I cannot do anything apart from Jesus. Paul said that what he did he did through the indwelling Christ (Galatians 2:20).

    When I spoke of behavior management, I wasn’t advocating an unbiblical self-reliance. I was speaking of a yielding to God’s Spirit, of not resisting Him or grieving Him. These are matters I do have some control over. Otherwise you render legitimate verses which do address appropriate christian behavior meaningless.

    I know that in a forensic sense I am absolutely justified and declared righteous before God through may faith in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to make sure my position in Christ is realized in my day to day experience. Therefore I am told to not resist or grieve the Spirit.

    Please unwrap what you think it means when Paul says self control is a fruit of the spirit.

  79. a Believer says:

    Go ahead Jean post the verses. LOL.

    Not trying to pick a fight here.

    My point was that the term unconditional love is tossed around so much and in a way that even scripture doesn’t suggest IMO.

    God is love.

    Of course what we do or don’t do doesn’t change His nature, yet there are conditions that have to be met by us to receive the benefits of this love. The condition is of course faith.

    If anyone stays in unbelief, that love will do him no good, …unless you believe in universalism.

    But rather than enter a lengthy debate, I’ll post two links for you to consider. You need not agree,but It could provide for some interesting discussion.

    Blessings,

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1995/july17/5t8030.html

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kermitzarleyblog/2013/05/is-unconditional-love-a-biblical-concept/

  80. Jim Jacobson says:

    My concern is less about the Shack than the long term effects of Young’s influence. He seems to have followed in Rob Bell’s footsteps, endearing himself to the church while mimicking a kind of “has God really said?”…series of seemingly deep questions. What folks were concerned about in the book, now the movie, seems to be confirmed by this recent book, which if Challies’ summation is accurate, is full on heresy. (My $.02)

  81. Jean says:

    a Believer,

    I couldn’t read the first article because it asked for a log in, but I read the second article, and quote the conclusion:

    “In sum, God’s unconditional love was demonstrated in the cross of Christ; yet God still requires that we meet the condition of believing in Jesus Christ with a faith that to some degree keeps the commandments of God and his Christ. But we all know that in this life, none us are perfect; we all still sin.”

    This is unbiblical because the condition presupposes that humans have free will, in addition to the requirement of good works. The reality is that God gives Christians the faith to believe, and good works are the fruit of our justification.

    In other words, a Christian is unconditionally elected to salvation by grace through faith in Christ, which is a gift, so that no one can boast. The only contingency is that a person hear the Gospel.

  82. Mark says:

    It’s kind of funny how a movie stirs up so much emotion,if you read the word and listen to god none of this really matters except Christ unconditional love for his lost sheep,faith faith faith is the key not a movie or what other religions are doing that’s called pride and I’m hearing a lot of that on this feed,God bless!!

  83. Mark, the issue isn’t with the strong well grounded Christian – it is those who are not strong and well grounded. Their emotions will take over (I know some here think that is a good thing, but it is not) and those emotions will be tied directly to the piss poor doctrine presented.

    Then when one of these christians get down or melancholy they will look to the god of the Shack and not the God of the Bible.

  84. Hannah says:

    I remember this book discussed in great detail here many years ago.
    Chapter by chapter.
    I didn’t like it at all..
    I remember feeling like an outcast here since I was opposed to it after reading it.
    I guess I thought all Christians would have been on the same page.
    It was naive then.

  85. Hannah says:

    I was naive..

    MLD

    Too lazy to look, but had you read the book all those years ago when it was discussed here?
    I agree with your assessment..
    But my kids are now in their mid 20’s so I’m not protecting them anymore..
    I had a board meeting with the public school system over Harry Potter over 12 yrs ago.
    Not so much because of the books themselves which I never let my kids read ..or see the movies..but because the point value of those books in the accelerated reading program was triple what the other books were with same page amounts..my kids were reading three times as many books to get to the same levels..
    Well I digress… But I got those books out of the program.
    Scholastic books was behind this to encourage the success of the books and movie.

    In my opinion it’s a ploy of the enemy to take the kids way from wholesome classics and into the occult..
    I do think mystical, non biblical stories are more fascinating than reading the Bible to most.
    I object to this Shack because it presents itself as biblical representation.
    And it creates confusion in young impressionable, minds

  86. Steve Wright says:

    the issue isn’t with the strong well grounded Christian – it is those who are not strong and well grounded.
    ———————————————–
    Then maybe the larger question instead of why pastors are not warning about this movie is to ask “Why are the Christians in my church not strong and well grounded?”

    (The companion question in anticipation to the objection that not all in the congregation are serious about listening and learning each week from the pastor: “If they won’t listen to you teach the Bible, while actually attending your church, why would they listen to you when you do your Ebert or Medved impersonation as a movie critic?”)

  87. Steve,
    Again I will address this with you as others have given flip answers. Would you warn against the cults and their literature?
    If one of your “weaker’ brothers came to you and said “I had some Mormons on my door step the other day and they told me if I read the Mormon literature I will understand true Christianity – so I am having them over to the house to help me study.”

    Is your reply “no harm no foul – let me know what you come up with.” ?

  88. Hannah,
    I am not for banning books at all – I am not forbidding reading books – but I am a teacher of all things Christian and part of teaching is what is right and what is not. So in my class last week, we discussed the Shack in the general sense of things that are not healthy for a believer.

    On the other hand my 14 year old is a voracious reader and she is on her 3rd reading of the Harry Potter books and I see no problem with them and this is for 2 reasons; (1) they are pure fantasy and she knows this – she knows wizards do not exist – (2) Harry Potter is not sold as a ‘christian’ book where you will meet the ‘real’ trinity and be fooled.

    Now I cannot remember back that far as she probably began reading these when she was 10 – I may have said to her “remember, this is not real – but fantasy.”

    I am sure the motive for writing Harry Potter was not to promote the author’s ideas on witchcraft – but promoting his own (and I think false) christian ideas is the motive of Young.

  89. Steve Wright says:

    You’re making my point, MLD and don’t even know it.

  90. Steve,
    “Then maybe the larger question instead of why pastors are not warning about this movie is to ask “Why are the Christians in my church not strong and well grounded?”

    Perhaps when the pastors asks himself this question his lead in to his congregation is “hey, I have noticed that many of you have been reading the Shack, and now I see many of you going to see the movie. This concerns me and perhaps I have failed you by not giving you good, clear Christian instruction on discernment and how to apply it in your everyday life. So we are going back to the basics.: and then in good Vince Lombardi voice the pastor would say “this is a football.”

  91. Your point is to leave your weaker congregants fail on their own – and that was not my point.

    They didn’t listen to you during your 1 hour church service each Sunday so they are on their own against the cults so too bad, maybe next time they will come to church and sit up straight and listen.

  92. Hannah says:

    MLD

    Perhaps you missed my point.
    I pointed out that although I did not let my kids read Harry Potter or see the movies (My Pastor encouraged that and did a whole sermon on it-), it wasnt about the books- other parents can let their kids read whatever they want), it was abut the discrimination against parents and kids who were forced in school to get 1/3 less the points in the reading program NOT reading them.

    It wasn’t about banning books with Harry Potter.

  93. Hannah says:

    …and I think now as I did then..that the enemy will use people like Young to confuse non believers just as Gibson’s passion led you to believe Satan was behind the crucifixion
    (not God’s will). Anything other than the Word of God…

    Most of so called Christian movies don’t even have the gospel presented.
    But you know, I’m not looking for a demon around every corner now.. 😉
    So whatever anyone wants to do, that’s their call not mine!

  94. Steve Wright says:

    To recap. I took MLD’s own words and posed a couple questions. No reference to this movie, cults, what we as a church or yours truly does as a pastor. Nothing about how I would or would not respond to a private question.

    Yet, MLD runs with my simple initial comment and imagines all kinds of pastoral neglect, and apathy towards the flock of my charge.

    Not that this sort of response from him is surprising…

  95. Michael says:

    I actually asked some close friends yesterday why they liked the movie…just in case I had to nip some ancient heresy taking root in them in the bud.

    The answers were all about forgiveness, the love of God, and providence.

    Sounded like a Reformed Sunday school class.

    I’ll comb through my church members tonight like a monkey looking for tics…but I doubt I’ll discover that they have become modalists or universalists this week.

    On the other hand,they all voted for Trump,so error can creep in to the most sacred of places… 🙂

  96. Dan from Georgia says:

    “…like a monkey looking for tics”…great line and mental imagery!

  97. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Unfortunately, I’m at my best when snark is involved… 🙂

  98. Michael says:

    I don’t remember what we did here when the book came out.
    I remember that the book helped me address some personal issues in a rather profound way.
    I remember Paul Young speaking at a couple of Calvary Chapels and having those pastors tell me afterwards that what happened was as close to revival as they had seen since the days of the Jesus Movement.
    I remember that I concluded that God works in mysterious ways…

  99. Steve,
    Then you probably missed which comment of mine you chose to twist.
    I reacted to you claiming “You’re making my point, MLD and don’t even know it”

    Which may be a diversionary tactic on your part – but no, I was saying the exact opposite than your claim.

    I will just buy that several of you think “no harm no foul” and leave it at that.

  100. “Sounded like a Reformed Sunday school class.”

    and that is a whole issue in itself – 😉

  101. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, do you REALLY think that if someone at my church spoke to me and said the Mormons were coming over to help him study the Bible that I would reply no harm, no foul.

    Do you REALLY think that would be my reaction?

    If not, then why write it. Why engage that way?

    And if so, then obviously there is zero value in trying to convince you I take the spiritual health of the congregation very seriously.

  102. Steve, I have just been waiting for one of you to admit that you would warn about something — anything. It took 2 days to finally get something out.
    Congratulations. 🙂

  103. Steve Wright says:

    Actually, other than an unrelated Narnia reference, I didn’t respond until a few hours ago….and that was only to bounce off what you wrote about not fearing that strong, well grounded Christians would be swayed by the movie.

    I agree with that assessment of yours.

  104. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I think it would be assumed by the decent and charitable mind that orthodox pastors would have been warning against heresies during the course of their teaching ministry.

    For example, I don’t give two hoots in hell about ‘The Shack” but I will be preaching against idolatry and nationalism tonight.
    I haven’t seen those topics come up in your teaching…are you neglecting teaching the whole counsel of God?

  105. Michael – give me the clear anti nationalism passages and I will teach them. God was pretty clear in his teaching about nations and their sovereignty. Solomon made trade agreements with Hiram of Tyre for the Cedars of Lebanon trees – I think he had dealings with Sheba the queen of the south and several others.

    But you provide them and I will teach them.

  106. Michael says:

    I didn’t say I was preaching against nations and sovereignty, but nationalism and idolatry.

    I’m in Isaiah 2 and using well respected commentaries to exposit the text.

    My point is simply that the Bible speaks volumes about idolatry…and my job is to teach the Bible, not the latest movie.

  107. I never said that you or anyone should “preach” about the Shack to warn their folks or to cause discussion. Church emails (mine sends one out each week) – church newsletter (my church does both print and electronic each month) – could be a pastor’s column in the newsletter.
    Church blogs and church Facebook pages. There are plenty of church / pastor venues that do not require preaching from the pulpit – which I would oppose. and it is simple – one article in your church newsletter and it is done.

  108. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, Having discarded your strawman about personal conversations and inquiries (of which I have had zero as to this movie) I am curious as to the effective method used by your pastor to warn the congregation as a whole. Given it takes about 3-5 weeks of repetition for an announcement to be heard and understood clearly by an entire church.

    Will it then be repeated in a couple months when it is in red box and on ppv? Then a month or two later when HBO gets it?

    And given Netflix, maybe a special place on the church website in perpetuity?

    What did you ask your pastor to do in this regard?

  109. Steve Wright says:

    LOL. Boy did our messages cross!

  110. Steve Wright says:

    The weak, ungrounded Christians pour over the weekly email blast at your church?

    Fascinating.

    Hate to tell you Facebook might hit 10% without paying.

    I was under the impression you were concerned about the people, and not just superficially alleviating the conscience of a pastor who feels he “must say something”

  111. Jean says:

    My pastor does not provide a running commentary on what movies and books to avoid. If I had to guess, if asked why not, he would probably say that Lutherans are equipped via catechesis to exercise discernment about what they watch and read. Children, on the other hand, should be under the supervision of their adult guardians.

  112. Michael says:

    “My pastor does not provide a running commentary on what movies and books to avoid. If I had to guess, if asked why not, he would probably say that Lutherans are equipped via catechesis to exercise discernment about what they watch and read. ”

    Bingo!

  113. Babylon's Dread says:

    Isn’t a universalist just a Calvinist with a high view of God’s sovereignty and unlimited atonement?

  114. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Someone said earlier The Shack isn’t theology. Mr Young would like to dispel any notion that The Shack is just a novel.

    According to Warren B. Smith (i know, I know, just read on):

    “What [many] Shack readers fail to take into account is that the book is much more than just a novel. It is a carefully crafted presentation of Paul Young’s alternative ‘Christian’ universalist theology based on ‘real’ conversations he claims to have had with God. In Young’s forward to The Shack Revisited, a book written by his friend C. Baxter Kruger, Young corrects any misunderstanding that The Shack is ‘just a novel.’ He writes:

    Please don’t misunderstand me; The Shack is theology. But it is theology wrapped in story.1
    If you want to understand better the perspectives and theology that frame The Shack, this book [Kruger’s] is for you. Baxter has taken on the incredible task of exploring the nature and character of the God who met me in my own shack.2
    According to Young, God came to him in the “Great Sadness” of his own “shack” and communicated directly with him. Much of The Shack’s theology is based on what Young learned in his conversations with God.

    1. C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited: There Is More Going on Here than You Ever Dared to Dream ( New York, NY: FaithWorks, Hatchette Book Group, 2012), p. xi.
    2. Ibid., p. viii

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/

  115. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Since it is theology contradictory to scripture, it should be warned about, same as any false religion.

  116. If you want to know the heretical thoughts of William Paul Young, you need go no further than the book he released last week.

    But hey, I’m not warning anyone as that would be assuming that people cannot know on their own.

    https://www.amazon.com/Lies-We-Believe-About-God/dp/1501101390/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489378530&sr=1-1&keywords=william+paul+young

  117. Scooter Jones says:

    “With personal anecdotes and sharing the compassion readers felt from the “Papa” portrayed in The Shack—soon to be a major film starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer—Paul encourages readers to think anew about important issues including sin, religion, hell, politics, identity, creation, human rights, and helping us discover God’s deep and abiding love.”

  118. Hannah says:

    From MLD’s link

    Simply put, this book denies essential truths of the Christian faith. He teaches universalism (that we don’t need to be saved — all will get there) (Ch.13), denies the reality of hell (Ch. 15), tinkers with the Fatherhood of God (as in The Shack) (Ch. 7), denies that sin separates us from God (Ch. 27), scoffs at the sovereignty of God (Ch. 3), and denies that the atonement was unnecessary (Ch. 19).

    These are not simple disagreements or petty squabblings. The Apostle Paul boldly asserted: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8–9, ESV). Mr. Young’s errors strike at the heart of the Gospel message and are indeed another Gospel.

    _______________

    I was recently attending a synagogue that I was invited to by a Christian who cleans there.
    The subject was the New Testament and how it pertains to Judaism.
    I really did think that the Rabbi would read from the NT.
    Instead, he had a book called “Judas”..written by a non believing Israeli.
    It was fiction and he spent about 20 minutes reading from it.
    All the people gathered at the study listened as if what he was reading was the truth.
    I couldn’t contain myself when he said that Jesus got off the cross ans then said alive “Father if there is another cup..”..I said slightly loud..”That was at Gethsemane”.
    He said “WHAT??”
    I told him that what he was reading is not what the New Testament says.
    He threw me out and everyone there attacked me saying “This is our Rabbi and we respect him”.
    “we don’t believe what the New Testament says”!!
    So I said ” well, what he is reading is pure fabrication..I thought this is about the New Testament”
    He got some woman in the front to escort me out saying they were going to call the police! This was 3 weeks ago.

    Anyway, this came to mind when I think of this book-movie.
    Its not a good thing to represent God or the bible with fabrication.

  119. Hannah says:

    Michael

    I did a chapter by chapter review on this blog when the book came out.
    I was under a different name then.
    I don’t remember what..I also participated with the prayer thread.
    I know you weren’t too happy with my review. 😉

  120. Hanna,
    The thought of many here and in today’s American church is not what is true but how you feel.Emotional connection (whatever that is) trumps God’s word which is sound doctrine.

    For any interested Issues etc interviews Chris Rosebrough about Young’s latest book – which again, the evangelicals will eat up and make a best seller. They even play sound clips from Young’s reading of the book so you hear it from the horse’ mouth.

    But again ‘no harm, no foul’

    http://issuesetc.org/2017/03/10/0693-this-week-in-pop-american-christianity-the-theology-of-william-paul-young-author-of-the-shack-pr-chris-rosebrough-31017/

  121. Josh the Baptist says:

    Of course, the evangelicals that will eat it up … If you actually followed Challies link in the blog post, you would see that he, an evangelical, was talking more about the new book than the movie. And he was not complimentary.

    It looks like his critique of the book is dead on.

    Earlier, he commented on a movie that had not even been released, and told people why Christians should not watch it. That post was silly and off base.

    Two different issues, really.

  122. Hannah says:

    MLD

    Yes, how you “feel”..the flesh..if it feels right it must be right.

    I am presently in therapy for a severe wrist fracture.
    My OT (Occupational therapist) is Jewish, and other one there is Orthodox.
    Its been really interesting..
    maybe you can help me since I am going today.
    The orthodox lady (after I had some conversation on the “Law” and relationship to God based on it–or not) believes the reason for Yom Kippur was bc we can’t keep all the law, so we have the atonement for what we “miss”.

    well, that review I posted was an Amazon readers..but I think ti was spot on.

  123. Hannah,
    All I can say from my former Jewish life and what I know today is that Jews are confused and wrong about what they believe vs what they should believe. Just like so many who identify as ‘christian’

  124. Josh, I don’t think I know who Challies is but he is apparently going against the grain of this blog who believe that warning people of bad teaching by supposed christians is (1) wrong or (2) a waste of time.

    We can write articles warning about pictorial porn, but you cannot approach a critique of spiritual porn.

  125. Josh the Baptist says:

    I disagree, MLD. There are two separate issues.

    Challies critiqued a movie he had never seen. We were like, shut up.

    Chaliies wrote a critical review of a book that he read cover to cover. I think most here would agree with his review.

    I do think most here are conflating the two issues.

  126. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Josh the Baptist
    That’s like saying one shouldn’t critique evolution because one hasn’t read On the Origin of Species. Doesn’t really work.

  127. Steve says:

    Did anyone mention “The Da Vinci Code” yet? I really loved the book as well as the movie but I also realize it was pure heresy. I don’t think Dan Brown needed to include the heretical garbage to make the book fun to read but unfortunately his use of historical fiction presents huge problems. I don’t think this is a case where we need to judge the motives of the readers but rather the motives of the writers I think can be seriously questioned. Anyhow, I have no desire to read the “Shack” or watch the movie. But if people like this genre of writing, I’m not sure the best tactic is to judge the readers motives. However with that said, I don’t think the “Shack” or “The Da Vinci Code” should have any place in the church.

  128. No, the argument here was that the ‘well grounded’ should already know or figure it out on their own – and the ‘fringe’ christian will never listen so it is like tossing your pearls.

  129. Hannah says:

    just found out the Rabbi had a heart attack a week later. in the hospital…

  130. JDM says:

    I watched this movie with my girlfriend. Both of us have some Christian (Calvary Chapel) background but have since moved away from the church. Due to many different factors. Myself having gone through seminary in my younger years. And a past of teaching theology myself. All of that to say neither of us have been practicing “christians” for a few years now. Mostly it was cynical religious people that pushed us away from the church. But not from God. But still we left fellowship and ministry. What this movie did was re kindle in our hearts the love of God we once felt. It caused us to pray together. And to pick up the Bible and spend time with God together. Now I know not all of it was “Sound Doctrine” but that doesn’t mean God won’t use it.

  131. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Just stop it.
    Nobody here said we never warn people about anything.
    Nobody.
    I have said, and others have said that the specific controversy over the book and movie was grossly overblown.
    I haven’t addressed Young’s new book.
    As best as I can gather it’s some old heresies in a new cover.
    It’s nothing that hasn’t been said before and probably better.
    This all reminds me of the Rob Bell hysteria…Rob Bell, whose books are in the cut out bin in every Christian bookstore.
    He’s probably a barista now…

  132. Steve Wright says:

    MLD misrepresents again but as a reminder it was he that said well grounded believers need not worry about the movie. I simply suggested maybe the church should be about that business first.

    MLD, although you mentioned all the ways your church COULD warn (emails etc), I realized you never actually said what your pastor did. You seem to agree that the worship service was not the place to do this “warning” – so tell us, and maybe provide us the link or a copy/paste to your pastor’s warning and where he put it. (Email etc)

    Jean said Lutherans don’t warn about movies because they are catechized and know how to discern.

    So which is it. Because I think you are just looking for more opportunities to bash the Body of Christ rather than just go after the movie itself.

    You see, if you understood real pastoring (not simply Sunday School Bible teaching) – you might be able to grasp where others are coming from.

    I know you are a good parent. Imagine a parent who uncomfortably, one time over dinner, told their teenager to not do drugs (out of the blue), and then felt satisfied his parental duties over his kids was satisfied. Versus real parenting where a real concern for the well being of the child, and all the investment of time and love and concern necessary toward that effort

    Like I wrote above – the world (and certainly the Church) is full of people who make some minimal, superficial act in the name of some “problem” which really doesn’t do squat towards the problem, and then proceed to bash all the other “uncaring” people who “do nothing” for the problem. Hashtags and twitter action. Or some “boycott” or yeah, email or blog article.

    I look forward to your answer of what your pastor did to warn your Lutheran members about The Shack.

  133. Steve Wright says:

    I would add that I think of Augustine and the pears episode whenever this discussion arises.

    I would wager the bigger deal a church makes about the evils of any movie (DaVinci Code etc) the more people in that church that will see it for curiosity sake.

    The rock band KISS did an interview and said that once the Christians began to say that the band’s name stood for Kids In Satan’s Service that it was THEN their records began to skyrocket in sales.

    AC-DC said the same thing. Best thing that happened to their upcoming rock band was Christians falsely saying their band name stood for AntiChrist DevilChild

  134. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Steve Wright

    I.e.,”Your own pastor probably doesn’t do it, so you must be wrong”. Appeal to authority? Does it really work that way?

  135. Josh the Baptist says:

    “That’s like saying one shouldn’t critique evolution because one hasn’t read On the Origin of Species. Doesn’t really work.”

    Actually it’s not like that at all, to the point that I don’t know what you are talking about.

  136. Xenia says:

    falsely saying their band name stood for AntiChrist DevilChild<<<<

    So the moral of that story is not to tell sensationalized falsehoods.

    The critiques I've seen offered here about The Shack are not sensationalized falsehoods.

    Good grief, shall we avoid warning weaker brothers and sisters about anything lest they be titillated and chase after it?

    If some folks have read/ seen The Shack and were encouraged to return to God, glory to God. However, upon their return to the flock they need to get clear on Who this God they have returned to really is.

  137. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Can’t critique the theology of the movie because one hadn’t read the book the movie is nearly identical to…? C’mon Josh, you know what I meant.

  138. Michael says:

    I have an hour a week to speak with my congregation.
    I can teach them straight from the Word or I can address every cultural and political bit of horse hockey that came out that week.
    I’ll stick with my calling,thank you.

    If they have questions about the other stuff, I’m not hard to find…

  139. Siggy the Terrible says:

    To follow Xenia’s point, maybe married couples shouldn’t warn each other of adulterers they are aware of who seek to harm their marriage, because that spouse can think for themselves, and God forbid they should be titillated at the thought of it and chase after an affair.

    If they are going to chase after it they will do out whether you warn them or not. Better to warn and err on the side of caution.

    I’m going to watch it, but I won’t shell out $10 in support of it.

  140. Xenia says:

    I can address every cultural and political bit of horse hockey that came out that week.<<<<

    So why did you bring it up here in the first place?

  141. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, you and MLD come from a theological position that those once in Christ can be lost.

    That probably is at the root of the difference of opinion on this issue.

    I’ve never warned the church that one day there might be a knock on their door, and two people will be there wanting to talk about “Jesus Christ” – that I must warn you that these people will almost without a doubt be either Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses. Now, let me tell you all the ways these two groups are wrong in their theology….

    I just teach the truth. Teach the Bible. Teach Christ, God Incarnate, crucified, resurrected, ascended. Consistently, expositionaly, The better we know the truth. The easier we spot error.

    As a result, I often have members come to me and tell me they were witnessing to Mormons and JWs the truth of Christ. And have never once had MLD’s silly experience of someone in my church saying he was inviting the Mormons over to teach him the Bible.

    And I teach the great security we have in Christ. And know that anyone truly entrusted to my pastoral oversight by the Lord to Whom I must answer, will have a steady diet of truth to offset whatever falsehood this movie MIGHT plant in their heads.

    Now, if a movie can be the first step towards a child of God being lost, then I see why you and MLD might have greater concerns about the “duty to warn” though I will repeat I do not know how effective any such warning can really be unless a truly momental effort and focus is made – giving it far more publicity than it is due.

  142. Michael says:

    “So why did you bring it up here in the first place?”
    This isn’t our church and I have no time limitations or higher calling that must be addressed here.
    This is another reason I haven’t brought the matter up in church…everybody and their mother has written an article on this subject.
    All of my parishioners have the internet…

  143. Steve Wright says:

    If they have questions about the other stuff, I’m not hard to find…
    ———————————————
    Yeah, and that is the point I should have added to my 141 above.

    Someone comes and says they have a Mormon friend or relative and they don’t know what it is that is different with Mormons, then we can talk all day and I can give them some points, recommend some books etc.

    Same with any movie.

  144. Jean says:

    “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” – Jesus Christ

  145. Xenia says:

    This is one of those times when I find myself at great odds with some of the people here and I can’t figure out why.

    It seems obvious to me that writing an article such as those that have been linked to, alerting unsuspecting people about serious heresies in a very popular book/ movie, is good and right.

  146. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Steve Wright

    If you really don’t warn of anything, then you don’t follow biblical example. Israelites and followers of Christ were consistently warned about false Gods, unsound doctrine.

    These were written as examples…

  147. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Steve and Michael,

    I had a friend who was falling off into full blown Pelagianism. He approached me instead of the Pastor, even though he breakfasted with the Pastor very often.

    You may not be hard to find, but you may not be approachable to some.

    Just out of curiosity, do you live in the town you pastor in?

  148. Michael says:

    Sig,

    I sit in a room with my folks and our service is interactive.
    For twenty plus years they’ve known they can ask me anything…and they have.

    In my opinion there are far greater threats to Christian thought and living than this damn book…and though I would very much like to address them, my job is to teach the Scriptures and minister the Lord’s Table.

    I have members that listen to other Bible teachers and right wing talk radio…I could rant on something every week.

  149. Steve Wright says:

    ou really don’t warn of anything, then you don’t follow biblical example
    ——————————————————
    Well, that’s nice.

    Maybe the difference is I don’t deem myself a modern Paul, Peter, or Moses.

    I teach and elaborate on the warnings that God has given us as Scripture. There are plenty and will more than keep us busy.

    And again, the people in my charge are not “unsuspecting people” – and frankly, I would rather prepare them for the REAL trials of their faith in this life, rather than make believe.

    Like being in Riverside when attacked by Muslim radicals. Like losing your health, your job, your house, your loved ones to death, adultery, drugs, or pornography.

    Maybe it’s where I pastor…but I have more than enough heartbreaking real problems to deal with. I did two funerals just this past weekend. That’s four for the year and we aren’t halfway through March. Two long painful battles with cancer by dear saints of the Lord, one sudden unexpected heart attack, one drug overdose.

    I’m not going to get worked up over a movie and devote my time to first seeing the stupid thing, then writing about it, then distributing those writings and the effort all that would take.

    Do you know how many movies (more popular than this one) have some sort of false spiritual teaching? Some heretical view on the things of God. Why do we pick and choose?

    The DaVinci Code got everyone upset for awhile…Pastors were encouraged to warn their people…meanwhile, there have been like 2 or 3 sequels in later years that I am sure are just as erroneous but I have not heard one single word about.

    I don’t think pastoral care blows with whatever is trendy.

    Nor does it go out of style….

  150. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michaels & Steven,
    So if there were a blockbuster book, selling in the 20 million range, followed by a big production movie, along with study guides for small groups and it was peddling strict Mormon doctrine disguised as regular evangelical teaching – you are still completely silent?
    I am not amazed by much, but…

  151. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Thank you for that, Michael. I suppose your blog serves as the threshing floor then?

  152. Xenia says:

    For myself, I don’t expect pastors/ priests to bring up every cultural novelty and base their sermons on warning people. I actually agree with this part of the discussion. Only bring it up in a sermon if it becomes a crisis, which isn’t too likely in this case.

    I heartily approve of Internet articles that point out heresies in popular books/ movies if done in a calm and truthful way, which is what the articles linked to here to have done.

  153. Steve Wright says:

    MLD…always asking questions without answering the ones asked of him first.

  154. Kevin H says:

    To this point I have not ventured in on this conversation as I have never read the book or seen the movie, so I can only go by what everybody else says about them. I probably won’t have much else to say about it besides the following thoughts.

    Is it possible that this book/movie is something that is worthy of warning in some circumstances? Where some may neglect prudence and not say something when it is needed? While others have made much too great of a hoopla in warning about it?

    And is it possible that God has used and will continue to use a possibly very flawed book/movie for His own good purposes and in drawing people to Him? Where it may actually be better for some people to read/watch it than to not? (While it may be the opposite case for others where it is better for them to not read/watch?)

  155. Steve Wright says:

    I heartily approve of Internet articles that point out heresies in popular books/ movies if done in a calm and truthful way, which is what the articles linked to here to have done.
    —————————————————————————-
    I approve of that too, Xenia.

    If I had been asked by ANYONE about The Shack, much less lots of people, then I might be inclined to link to one of those articles to the 20 people or so who still bother to follow me on facebook.

  156. Xenia says:

    A good place for churches to have these discussions would be a weekly get-to-gether w/ the pastor, featuring coffee, cookies and discussions about modern issues, in a non-lecture format.

  157. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Steve Wright

    Just incredible. Keep up the good work. 🙂 I wasn’t trying to be a prick, just didn’t want to waste space. I guess my presence here could be argued as such 😉

    Isnt it kind of a given that folks going through such troubling times will find solace in emotional claptrap and heretical doctrines such as The Shack so aptly sells to the reader? Might you, for the reasons you’ve described, think about bringing it up somehow to the congregation?

  158. Steve,
    I addressed the movie directly in my first several comments. I did not lead with the lack of warning stuff – that was all in reaction to those who claimed the body did not need such warnings and then I began with the “no harm no foul chant” to which some of you dug in deeper. Here are my first 3 comments;

    1.) “It’s funny – if my pastor said from the pulpit what Paul Young says in his book and the producers say in the movie, I would make a motion to have him fired.”

    2.) “This just shows my main concern with today’s evangelical church. Manipulation through the emotions instead of sound theology. This is how Mormons grow. Lie about doctrine while getting people emotionally involved in “the family life.”

    3.) “To have a theologian of sorts portray his god (note the little g) as a god who does not deal with sin is perfectly within his rights. For Christians to pass it off as no harm, no foul is odious.”

    After that is was all on a different topic of pastoral warnings.

  159. Xenia says:

    I know of one parish where during after-Liturgy coffee hour, there was for a while an “Ask the Priest Anything” session. I am sure this book/movie would have been asked about and a good answer would have been given.

    Another parish I know of has weekly teachings and a Q and A session mid-week. This is a great time to ask about things like this.

    Another parish has an extensive web site and weekly newsletter, with an opinion page for the priest. Another good opportunity to talk about popular heresies.

    If The Shack book/ movie is no big deal, no one will care. But it appears to be a big deal and should be addressed. It won’t be a big deal for long because this particular vehicle for heresy will fade away, only to be replaced by a new vehicle. No new heresies under the sun, just new vehicles for them.

  160. Steve Wright says:

    So MLD…bottom line. Your pastor did not say or do a thing to warn the church about this movie.

    Even with all those formats and outlets you bragged about…

  161. Xenia says:

    Steve seems to by saying that people don’t need to be warned about heretical teachings because they have repeated the Sinner’s Prayer when they were maybe eight years old?

  162. My #107 I think said there are alternative ways to get the word of warning out. In fact I even said the pulpit was not the right place.

    To Steve’s direct question – it doesn’t matter what my pastor has done or has not done. He can be just as wrong and negligent in this area as you — that’s why he has me. And to another one of your objections – I do not follow the method that says if I cannot communicate or get my message to all I will not send out the message or talk about.. If there are only 30 people in my class, those 30 people will hear my warning about the Shack.

  163. and, my people will also hear of the dangers of Mormonism and JW etc – unlike some I will not leave it to them to figure out on their own as I continue to teach through David numbering his men.

  164. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia.

    We have four Sunday services with a half hour in between. After each service I am there, available to talk and pray with anyone about anything. (We have others available to pray with people as well). In our announcements we encourage visitors to introduce themselves to the pastor, as I would love to meet them – and many do.

    I am available during the week for private appointments if people want to talk about something more detailed or serious than they can on Sundays.

    I get emails and facebook messages regularly. My personal email is published for any to access and goes directly to me.

    I arrive an hour early for the midweek service to hang out and talk with anyone who wants to, and again, I stay after service as well for anybody else.

    I quickly give my personal cell phone number to anyone I meet with, and always remind them to use it and not the church line which will likely go to voice mail.

    I know this may not me the norm at some churches, especially the big ones, but it is with me. If anyone wants to ask about The Shack, they can.

  165. I am glad that when I was a very young Christian that Greg Laurie taught about the cults and other such dangers to … yes me an unitiated new believer.

    But you know, Greg was one of those heretics who taught abiding faith so he thought we should be prepared against forces that might try to steal us away. He neglected to teach us The Sinner’s Prayer and being One and Done..

  166. filbertz says:

    Sig,
    thank you for kindly coming back around to the point I made @#19 and #21. If one could offer the person going through troubling times some solace that was truthful and accurate AND emotionally sensitive, compassionate, and caring it would be constructive, welcome, and affirming. The point I made then and will reiterate is that many Christians are head-heavy and heart-empty & the only emotions they readily demonstrate is anger and disgust. That is an affront to the One who created us both rational and emotional. If there was more balance in the doctrine–orthodoxy and orthopraxy–the Church and its members would be more healthy, vibrant, and less inclined toward error…hence, the answer to your Shack dilemma.

  167. Steve Wright says:

    Steve seems to by saying that people don’t need to be warned about heretical teachings because they have repeated the Sinner’s Prayer when they were maybe eight years old?
    ———————————————————
    Is anyone else shocked by this nonsense?

    Given it came from Xenia…MLD is beyond shocking us with his bombast.

    I really should not even bother anymore on this blog to offer another side to a discussion.

    It is only met with the worst possible accusations, misrepresentations, and most of all tremendous insult to how I discharge my sacred duty as a pastor.

  168. Xenia says:

    Given it came from Xenia…<<<

    Yes, dear old Xenia, babbler of nonsense.

  169. Steve Wright says:

    No Xenia, given you are usually kind, loving, and respectful.

    And not one to take insulting cheap shots….

  170. Michael says:

    Steve,

    For one of those rare times, we’re in total agreement.
    I’m shocked.
    I’m very saddened.
    This has gone from us not devoting time to a movie to not dealing with the major non Christian cults.
    It’s assumed that after we speak on Sunday we are ushered off into seclusion until the next Sunday.
    I’m available 24/7 to our church and to many unchurched folks as well.
    They ask me about anything…and I try to give a biblical answer.
    This whole thread blows me away…

  171. Steve Wright says:

    it doesn’t matter what my pastor has done or has not done. He can be just as wrong and negligent in this area as you — that’s why he has me.
    ———————————————
    LOL.

    So he gets a free pass, and your continued devotion and service, but all those other pastors out there get blasted by you. How can you sit under a man who neglects the flock so terribly. Who has so little concern for them.

    He has you? You mean your pastor called you into a meeting and delegated the responsibility to warn the flock on the movie. He said, “I want you to run with this, MLD” – then why haven’t YOU written the email blast, or whatever else to get the word out to your entire congregation.

    Or you are just using your sunday school hour to talk about whatever you want to talk about to whatever fraction of your total church membership happens to be there that one Sunday, so your conscience is clear that you “have done something” when you bash the rest of us.

    By the way, since there are certainly people talking about The Shack to each other in my church too, posting things on facebook and so forth, then I guess “that’s why I have them” – just like he has “you”. Problem solved and you can rest easy.

  172. Michael says:

    fil,

    Well said…

  173. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, the fact is that there is a difference when you are the pastor of the church – whether large or small. And some of the folks in this thread, (most of the folks in this thread) don’t have a clue what that is like – because they simply have never done it.

    The priorities and emphasis change – they sure did with me compared to when I was simply doing a lot of ministry at Costa Mesa. Then me and the people at my studies would talk about whatever was trendy and happening in the world and the Christian orbit.

    Because I was not the guy they called when they found their son dead of an overdose, or when their husband just walked out on them.

  174. Michael says:

    Steve @173,

    Exactly.
    On the list of things my folks are troubled by in life “The Shack” isn’t even on the radar.

    I’ve spent twenty two years on call 24/7 and have tried to be faithful in teaching the Word of God and now my ministry sucks because I don’t do movie reviews…

  175. Here is all I know – it’s not a matter that you have not spoken up about the book and movie that is all the rage in evangelical churches – it’s that you state that you refuse to do such. That the people are on their own in this area – hey, it’s only a movie.

    Even though I have said I would call for the termination of my pastor if he said the things Paul Young says because it is dangerous for the church to hear … but somehow it is not dangerous to the people of the church if they are taught those very things in book and movie form.

    Now done 😉

  176. Josh the Baptist says:

    This weekend between taking my son to Karate practice and spending 6 hours at the church on Sunday…

    I translated a Hebrew text for 13 hours.

    Unfortunately, the Shack is going to have to wait.

  177. Josh the Baptist says:

    Luckily, I guess, we have plenty of other people ready to tell everyone what to watch, what to eat, how to think…I’ll leave that to them.

  178. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Fil

    Well put.

    The only dilemma is that then we would be seeking to be like Jesus

    We certainly aren’t called to that are we?

  179. filbertz says:

    StT,
    not to replace, but to emulate, yes. I think there’s a term for that…the body of Christ?

  180. Steve Wright says:

    it’s not a matter that you have not spoken up about the book and movie that is all the rage in evangelical churches – it’s that you state that you refuse to do such. That the people are on their own in this area – hey, it’s only a movie.
    —————————————–
    You are the internet version of the child putting his fingers in his ears, refusing to listen.

    For starters, “all the rage in evangelical churches” means squat to me. What matters to me is what might be all the rage at one particular church – CCLE. And this ain’t it. Do you really think The Shack is celebrated in Calvary Chapel circles? Much less at my church?

    You offer a distinction without a difference. If your pastor has not warned your church, then he has refused to do so also. So get off the blog and go chip away at him and his oversight

    Or…like I have repeatedly said, anyone who has a comment, question or wants to talk about The Shack I am more than happy to do so. I have not REFUSED, nor said anything remotely like the portrayal you have offered here.

    It’s funny how some of you think the grossly false representations and slandering those pastors faithfully serving the Lord for some reason of your own priority is somehow no big deal before Christ. Trashing His actual BRIDE, His servants, for not serving YOUR desires upon Christ’s flock that Christ entrusted to those servants.

    Straining the gnat and swallowing the camel indeed.

    If Christ wants me to repent and make a big deal about this movie, then I will have my ear open to His direction. He has not yet done so.

    Whether some of you want to have your ears open to how you misrepresent those who are supposed to be your brothers in Christ, and fellowservants, just to win points in an internet blog discussion – points your actual arguments can’t make for themselves – then that is up to you.

  181. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Steve Wright

    I see where you’re coming from (you’re like, finally!)

    Addressing every concern of every weed puller out there leaves precious little time for pastoring. I think like MLD that there are other avenues of blanket warning besides making awkward statements like you are afraid of doing.

    I’m in the process of finding a new church after giving up on Calvarys. Went to an EV Free yesterday. Asked the Pastor of the elder led congregation if he got a lot of ex-Calvary transients coming through. He wasn’t even aware that they had split.

    At first I was like wha…?? But actually it was kind of refreshing.

  182. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Fil, filly!

    I was being ironical 🙂 we certainly are!

  183. Michael says:

    “Addressing every concern of every weed puller out there leaves precious little time for pastoring.”

    Truth.

  184. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Steve Wright,

    Do you really think The Shack is celebrated in Calvary Chapel circles? Much less at my church?
    _____________________________________________

    Gayle Erwin is one. There are others.

  185. Steve Wright says:

    Siggy…if you take the time I have no doubt you will find 10 criticisms minimum for every one positive within Calvary pastors out there. And that is probably too generous in favor of the movie.

    That’s the thing about the independence of the local church. Each church and each pastor can decide for himself, as he feels the Lord leading, to address this or not, and to what extent.

    Those who have, I assure you are overwhelmingly negative.

  186. Michael says:

    So…I’ve decided to do a weekly newsletter for our church and those associated in some way with it.

    Let’s say that I decided to write a blurb about “The Shack”.

    What should I say?

    “The Shack is theologically unsound”.

    Will that stop people from seeing it?

    How much is enough?

    Should I write a treatise on the Trinity that no one would read?

    How about if I forbid adults from watching a movie…in Jesus name of course.
    If they obeyed me, I’d immediately close the church and resign from the ministry,because I just usurped the Holy Spirit and they allowed it to happen.

    This is an endless pit…

  187. Steve Wright says:

    “Addressing every concern of every weed puller out there leaves precious little time for pastoring.”
    ———————————————–
    Yes, truth, but it is more than just time.

    In my opinion, John Piper is an example of a guy greatly diminished by social media and the power of celebrity. Somehow he feels his followers need to hear from him on every little detail that he ends up writing articles about the dangers of pets to your Christian walk!

    Yes, some might escape and find comfort in this movie. Others escape and find comfort in adultery, drugs, alcohol, or porn.

    Which should be my greater concern? I speak often about the dangers of such things and people still do them. (Which is why I could speak about avoiding a movie and people still will do that too)

    So how does one parse degrees of warning, when one warns on everything. “Now listen up congregation, THIS time I am REALLY serious.”

    So maybe warn in the areas and to the same degree that the Bible warns. How can I go wrong doing that? Teach the word. And yeah, sometimes a modern cultural example can illustrate a point. I’ve referenced “best selling authors who appear on Oprah that deny hell” for example, just like I’ve referenced the false teachings on Christ that the Mormons or JWs might hold – when it illustrates a point. Just like I’ve spoken on the false name it and claim it mindset…etc. etc.

    Any good teaching uses the present to illustrate from time to time.

    And here is the other thing. What about the Christian who maybe lost a child and found some comfort in the movie. Would my effort end up guilting them? Driving them away from our church (and maybe into the arms of some heretical sect out there). Have them thinking “God, what is wrong with me that I liked the movie” and NOW of course not wanting to come and talk to me because I have already blasted it to the masses.

    Same basic idea about why we don’t blast homosexual behavior every Sunday from the pulpit. Because if someone is visiting, or a member is wrestling with those desires, they need to know they can talk to the pastor about it. Likewise, their loved ones can feel safe in inviting them to church to hear the gospel knowing Steve is not going to go off to gain cheap amens from the choir and the harm of the hurting one God wants Steve to actually minister to…

  188. Xenia says:

    If you had a newsletter you could simply say that there’s a popular movies out there that promotes the heresy of universalism (among other heresies) and that if you are going to go see it, use caution and here’s some links to orthodox trinitarian teaching if you want to learn more. Some people might contact you for more discussion.

  189. Steve Wright says:

    MIchael @186 Amen

    Those are the points I tried to pull out yesterday in my own way…practically speaking, just what is one to do IF the REAL concern is care of the flock and not some superficial feel good that my token little comment is all that is necessary to make a difference.

    I find it disingenuous (to be kind) when people pretend to care about the health of the flock but offer no actual solution that would practically take care of the problem they feign caring about.

  190. Jean says:

    I would add to Xenia’s 188, that movies and books such as the Shack are inappropriate for children and young teenagers who may be impressionable in their faith formation.

  191. I agree totally with what Xenia just said. My #107 suggested the same thing but got shouted down.

    Michael – you can also have a recipe in each newsletter. 😉

  192. Michael says:

    Steve @187

    “In my opinion, John Piper is an example of a guy greatly diminished by social media and the power of celebrity. Somehow he feels his followers need to hear from him on every little detail that he ends up writing articles about the dangers of pets to your Christian walk!”

    Amen and double amen…that man has lost much respect for exactly that reason.

    “What about the Christian who maybe lost a child and found some comfort in the movie. Would my effort end up guilting them? Driving them away from our church (and maybe into the arms of some heretical sect out there). Have them thinking “God, what is wrong with me that I liked the movie” and NOW of course not wanting to come and talk to me because I have already blasted it to the masses.”

    I couldn’t agree more or louder…

  193. Steve Wright says:

    Good grief do some of you think the unwashed masses are children? Is your view of the power of God to secure His own that weak?

    If you are going to see the movie, use caution????

    What a joke,. You need to say this movie is like poison and can be the start of the destruction of your soul and should be avoided at all costs. If that’s what you believe.

    Or you assume that a fictional story where a BLACK LADY is represented as God is not going to be watched with notebook in hand to take theological notes.

    You think the people under the teaching and care of a decent pastor are going to be at risk over 90 minutes of movie fiction?

    You want to warn against universalism? That is done EVERY SUNDAY in preaching the gospel. That there is a hell to avoid, a judgement, that Christ is the only name whereby we must be saved and that we are all sinners and must receive the forgiveness of sins only Christ has accomplished. If you find me one person who attends our church and sits under the teaching and worship here who even ponders the idea of universalism as Biblical then I will eat my keyboard.

  194. Steve Wright says:

    To Jean’s point. For starters the movie is PG-13. You just moved the discussion to one of parenting, not pastoring.

    To my point…I am far more worried about the porn carried around in the pockets of teenagers via their phones.

  195. Jean says:

    Michael’s newsletter hypothetical would go to parents I assume.

  196. Michael says:

    My little flock has a number of issues right now.

    Some are facing really tough medical issues.
    Others have family problems.
    Others still are facing financial catastrophe.

    They don’t give a rats ass about this movie.

    When I could produce something that may encourage them in the Word between services, I’m supposed to act this this movie (or avoiding it) has some spiritual importance to them.

    I guess every week I can take the time to watch TV and tell them what else they shouldn’t watch.

    I’m wondering how to phrase the warning…”although you’ve faithfully attended church for twenty years,this movie will shipwreck you in an hour and a half”…

    The only thing I will do is point out it’s aberrance and invite people to chat with me if they have questions.

    I now understand why the Bible says not many should be teachers…

  197. “To my point…I am far more worried about the porn carried around in the pockets of teenagers via their phones.”

    Why? can’t they make up their own mind? I asked earlier why you draw the line with pictorial porn and not spiritual porn?

  198. Steve Wright says:

    I’m wondering how to phrase the warning…”although you’ve faithfully attended church for twenty years,this movie will shipwreck you in an hour and a half”…
    ———————————————–
    Exactly

  199. Steve Wright says:

    The wife and I stumbled across a movie the other day…very “supernatural” and not at all Biblical in its portrayal of heaven and salvation.

    Yet, it moved our hearts and did what a movie is supposed to do. Entertained us. It was very emotional, and in the end presented a message that the bad guy got his and the innocents suffering got closure and peace.

    Since apparently anyone else might stumble across this movie as my wife and I did, I wonder should I warn people about it. I wonder if I need to repent in NOT warning them about it 7 or 8 years ago when it first came out (it did win an Oscar for one of the actors).

    (As an aside, if any of you think The Shack is the sort of movie teenagers are going to flock to, you might need to get out and about more)

  200. Xenia says:

    How about this in an article:

    Curious about the popular movie The Shack? Come on over to the house next Thursday for pizza and beer and we can talk about its pros and cons.

    You can do this for all kinds of social issues that people might enjoy talking about.

    Group discussions about controversial issues, led by a respected pastor, in an informal setting, could be fruitful and maybe even fun.

    No, my current parish doesn’t do this but I think it would be a good idea if we did.

  201. You guys keeping digging in against what you know you should be doing.

    Yes, after 20 yrs people have shipwrecked their faith in a 90 min time period. Ask anyone of your faithful attendees who got caught up with someone other than their spouse at work.

    Boom!! 20 yrs down the tubes. I am surprised you wouldn’t see that coming. So there – you have written your newsletter.

  202. Steve says:

    My advice, go read “The Da Vinci Code”. Its a great read, with very exciting plots and twists. I absolutely loved it until the end. But I will also be one of the first one to say its one of the most damming heresies I’ve ever read. Particularly at the end when it talked about Jesus. It ruined the entire book. When I keep those two things in tension, I’m doing good.

  203. Michael says:

    My folks aren’t curious about “The Shack”.
    They’re curious if the Lord will have mercy and heal their bodies and provide for their needs.

    They don’t have the time,energy, or interest in giving up another night for things that don’t really matter.

    Neither do I.

    There are multiplied thousands of such resources online should they want to engage with them.

  204. Xenia says:

    We don’t live in a village in 19th century Kansas or Bulgaria where everyone’s pretty much on the same page. We live in a very complex, overly-informed, diverse society where people are genuinely confused as to what is right and what is wrong. You ask a typical Christian of any denomination to explain the Trinity and you will get every heresy under the sun, in all innocence. I suspect many people do believe in some form of universalism, or at least hope it’s true. As for social issues, the problems are complex, as we discuss here daily.

    I really do think it would be beneficial to have informal church gatherings, outside Sunday morning, to discuss these things with one’s pastor.

  205. Michael says:

    “You guys keeping digging in against what you know you should be doing.”

    We’re the only guys who actually pastor churches…maybe we know what we’re doing and you don’t.
    I had another response but I gave up cursing for Lent…

  206. Steve Wright says:

    MLD has now compared teenagers getting hooked on porn, and also adulterous spouses with the dangers of a fictional movie.

    A movie where God is portrayed by “that black lady who was in The Help and Hidden Figures”

    I think MLD and I are done here….we just define “danger” far too differently.

  207. Josh the Baptist says:

    This really is the strangest thread…

  208. Victor says:

    I’m not sure the analogy to marital adultery applies, since most adulterers know it’s wrong, even if they are “swayed” by their own lusts.

    At first I thought The Da Vinci Code book was entertaining. When Brown introduced Leigh Teabing, I recognized it as an anagram of the authors of a book I’d read over a decade before, Holy Blood, Holy Grail>/i>, authored by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln. Two of the authors later sued Brown for plagiarism, even though HB, HG was “non-fiction.” The underlying plot of TDC (a literal bloodline of Christ) was an obvious rip-off of the previous work, most of which itself wasn’t original. So the issue in my mind was: who but the weak in faith and doctrine would be swayed by such nonsense? Aren’t the weak (or new) in faith and doctrine the children of Matthew 18?

  209. I never spoke of danger – just about church leaders warning and giving guidance.

    Porn is a fictional movie – so what is the harm?

    Michael, I do not need to be a pastor work in my vocation of loving and helping my neighbor. It is an evangelical trick and deception to pass off that pastors are of the greater or greatest vocation and that they know better than the common man.

  210. I do find it odd that you thought it note worthy to “warn” the church about the guy who wrote recently about Lonnie Frisbee, but can’t muster up anything to say about the Shack. Odd.

    Gotta run – time to make my 6 hr trip across the desert. 🙂

  211. Michael says:

    “It is an evangelical trick and deception to pass off that pastors are of the greater or greatest vocation and that they know better than the common man.”

    I agree.

    However, you do not bear the responsibility before God for a group of His kids.
    I do.
    I know the people God has given me.
    You don’t.

    To compare porn with a fictional movie is duplicitous and frankly, wicked.

    i did call one of our elders and asked if I should address this…he’s still laughing.

  212. Michael says:

    I didn’t warn anyone about Frisbee, I posted an article.
    My church wouldn’t have a clue who he was.
    You’re simply grasping for straws now…

  213. Bob Sweat says:

    #199

    Sounds like Ghost.

  214. Xenia says:

    Let’s return to Michael’s original question:

    “My question is this… why is a “heretic” seemingly more able to communicate the love of God than the orthodox church?:

    I will repeat myself that the god of The Shack is a product of Young’s imagination so he has not succeeded in communicating the love of the real God.

    But setting that aside for a bit, all I have ever heard at church is how much God (the real God) loves us. I heard it among the Baptists, I heard it at Calvary Chapel, and I hear it at the Orthodox Church. The days of depicting God as dangling us like flies over a flame are long gone in most churches. *Every* religious group I have ever been part of emphasizes the love God has for us.

    This book/movie may appeal to some people because of family problems. Maybe they have trouble relating to God as in the masculine because they suffered at the hands of their earthly father. Nevertheless, this is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, even though He knows many people have father problems.

    I think orthodox theology is good enough to cover all situations.

  215. Steve Wright says:

    I really do think it would be beneficial to have informal church gatherings, outside Sunday morning, to discuss these things with one’s pastor.
    ————————————————–
    Xenia, I’ll play along and keep it in the real world of having called many meetings, had opportunities for various informal gatherings and have a pretty good sense how such would turn out.

    Keeping in mind that Michael and I both have been very clear that we are personally available to any and all in our flocks that want to have informal gatherings on any and all topics. Likewise, keep in mind we have a variety of small group studies throughout the week, where there is much room for discussion.

    So let’s have a special church meeting about The Shack. First question would be if this meeting should have been held before anyone actually had a chance to see the movie. After all, the purpose it to make sure they are not exposed to its falsehoods. But then that makes for a strange sort of meeting. I guess rather than “curious” the meeting should be titled “Why You Should Not Think About Seeing The Shack” – and it would draw an audience of people who most likely have no intention of seeing it anyway.

    Or we wait and have the movie after it has been out. This would be the “corrective” meeting I guess for those who saw it, and still a warning for those who have not. Does the pastor only allow people who have actually seen the movie to speak or do we allow people who have never seen the movie to say all the things that are wrong with it because of what they have read on the internet. Because rest assured there will be those in attendance who are not “curious” about The Shack but whose minds are quite fixed as to its heresy and will be there to take advantage of the platform.

    But let’s say the skilled pastor navigates those waters and then what? He begins to lay out the doctrinal errors of the movie I suppose. With the appropriate Scripture verses. So basically another Bible study?

    Or does he ask the group who has seen the movie what they thought about it? And then fairly quickly get to preside over a small battle as people he loves from both sides of the aisle begin to hate on each other. “How could you like that heretical movie?” “How dare you tell me how I should feel about a movie. It’s a MOVIE”

    Then one dear saint who has been quiet all along, who teaches faithfully in the childrens ministry speaks up and says how she lost a child years ago and found the movie to be a great comfort to her soul – though she knows it is not an accurate portrayal of God.

    Assuming the pastor did not alienate half the crowd with his dogmatic views and insult them for daring to see a movie that was not approved by him (after all, this was supposed to be an informal discussion), then everyone will leave the meeting thinking the pastor agrees with them. And pretty soon, we can read facebook entries where someone writes “So glad to be able to discuss The Shack with Pastor X (tagged). He is a big fan of the movie” and another will post “Glad to discuss the heresies of The Shack with Pastor X tonight.”

  216. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” It is an evangelical trick and deception to pass off that pastors are of the greater or greatest vocation and that they know better than the common man.”

    This makes this thread even more confusing.

    This is what Steve, Micheal, and I have said all along. Hey, you’re a mature Christian, you don’t need me to tell you what to watch.

    MLD has argued against this, up until the comment quoted above. I think he gets his trolling mixed up sometimes. 🙂

  217. Steve Wright says:

    Sounds like Ghost.
    ————————-
    LOL. You know to this day I have never seen Ghost. It just did not interest me in the least.

    That is a good guess though…except I mentioned it was only 7 or 8 years old.

    I had to look it up just now (why I did not mention it earlier). I knew it had “bones” in the title.

    The Lovely Bones is the name of the movie. 2009 (And the guy only got nominated for an Oscar he did not win it apparently. My mistake)

  218. Michael says:

    “This book/movie may appeal to some people because of family problems. Maybe they have trouble relating to God as in the masculine because they suffered at the hands of their earthly father. Nevertheless, this is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, even though He knows many people have father problems.

    I think orthodox theology is good enough to cover all situations”

    I’m one of those people you speak of.
    I had enormous difficulty relating to God the Father, because both my “fathers” were abusive and harsh.
    My library of orthodox theology couldn’t reach my broken heart.

    This heretical book helped me greatly in moving past that.
    I consider that a gift from God…the Father.

  219. Steve Wright says:

    all I have ever heard at church is how much God (the real God) loves us. I heard it among the Baptists, I heard it at Calvary Chapel, and I hear it at the Orthodox Church. The days of depicting God as dangling us like flies over a flame are long gone in most churches. *Every* religious group I have ever been part of emphasizes the love God has for us.
    ———————————————————
    I plead guilty to regularly declaring the love God has for us.

    And I consistently declare that God demonstrates that love at the cross where Jesus died for our sins. The Bible does not promise riches, health, restored relationships etc. because God loves you. God’s love is seen at the cross.

    And I consistently say that God is holy and righteous, as well as loving and gracious, and the attributes of God are not subservient to each other. He is perfectly loving and righteous simultaneously. There is a heaven and a hell.

    And I know I am not alone in declaring such things. But therein is the problem. When one assumes because there is terrible teaching out there in the world in the name of “evangelicalism” then one is quick to assume there is no solid teaching – whereas those of us who know what we teach (and what the people hear week after week) do not fear over our flocks and thus press our concerns towards the many truly damaging and heartbreaking things in life which we have already listed many times in this thread.

  220. Jean says:

    Michael,
    By most measures, your article has been very successful at generating a diversity of comments. I hope you aren’t agitated by the heterogeneous response.

    Peace! 🙂

  221. Josh the Baptist says:

    I had visions of Steve with the potter’s wheel…and Whoopie Goldberg. Weird.

  222. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Not at all…I am no fan of echo chambers. 🙂

  223. filbertz says:

    according to the Bible, people should be perplexed at our lifestyle and mindset–provoked to inquire the reason for the hope that is in us. I haven’t been asked about my hope, love, faith, joy, or peace…ever. That troubles me. Either scripture is wrong or I am. Perhaps the reason a movie/book moves people to consider a loving God is because his followers don’t.

  224. Siggy the Terrible says:

    I’m wondering how to phrase the warning…”although you’ve faithfully attended church for twenty years,this movie will shipwreck you in an hour and a half”…

    We all know that there are plenty of folks who’ve faithfully attended church for thirty or forty years who can’t tell sanctification from justification from a hole in the ground.

    I think you say it like that. Not “will” but “can”. “I’m not saying don’t see it, but I would be remiss if I didn’t caution you to be aware that the god it presents is not the God of the Bible.”

  225. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, I often acknowledge to the congregation that “some of you may have difficulty relating to God as a Father because you have such a bad experience with your earthly father”

    I think it wise for pastors to recognize that reality….especially those blessed with good fathers on this earth

  226. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m just not terrified of PG-13 fiction movies.

    I saw Howard the Duck when I was a kid. Sure, it did some damage, but it didn’t totally destroy my faith.

  227. Xenia says:

    Perhaps the reason a movie/book moves people to consider a loving God is because his followers don’t.<<<<

    What people are you talking about? Every Christian I know, all the Baptists, the CC-ers, and the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics, too, believe in a loving God.

    We ourselves may not be good reflections of this loving God. Is a heretical book/ movie going to fix this?

  228. Xenia says:

    Well, I’ve wrung everything out of this topic that I can wring. All done, folks.

    -Xenia the babbler

  229. Siggy the Terrible says:

    I’m wondering how to phrase the warning…”although you’ve faithfully attended church for twenty years,this movie will shipwreck you in an hour and a half”…

    __________________________________

    We all know that there are plenty of folks who’ve faithfully attended church for thirty or forty years who can’t tell sanctification from justification from a hole in the ground.

    I think you say it like that. Not “will” but “can”. “I’m not saying don’t see it, but I would be remiss if I didn’t caution you to be aware that the god it presents is not the God of the Bible.”

    The androgynous concept of God portrayed in the film is hinduistic. I’m with Xenia and Michael. My father was very abusive, I had trouble relating to a heavenly father as well. But He was big enough, gentle enough, and patient enough to overcome my troubles with the patristic aspects of His nature, and as,a father, not as a “Papa”(as in the film), or through some other mediator but through Christ alone.

  230. JoelG says:

    Lol Josh

  231. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Fil

    God can use anything. Doesn’t mean we should endorse anything or be silent on everything.

  232. Jean says:

    Here’s the thing, God is loving in Christ. In that specific Way and Person. Outside of Christ, God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness.

    I think many churches are absolutely terrible at portraying these two sides of God.

    One the Christ side, many churches restrict His grace, make Him a life coach or a moral example.

    It’s a tragedy that anyone would feel that the Shack portrays a more loving god than the One who died for them. I can, however, see how that could come across. The answer should be one of reflection and repentance by pastors.

  233. Michael says:

    I’m with Xenia…this is exhausted… and exhausting.

    Both Steve and I have strong political opinions, though almost opposite one another.
    Some churches expect those to be aired during services…we don’t.

    There are innumerable things that I can hold a bible in my hand and opine on…almost all of which would betray the calling I have.

    For example, I believe that watching TV every night is a scandalous waste of time.
    You could be reading church history, or Calvin’s Institutes, or some such godly pursuit.

    My church would opine that what they do with their time is none of my business.
    I concur.

    If I’m asked about this movie, I’ll respond.
    Just don’t ask me about “The Batchelor”… cause I will not watch that crap…

  234. Xenia says:

    One more lil’ thing…

    It might be interesting to casually ask folks in your congregations and Sunday School classes to define the Trinity. If they all give a good response, you have done your jobs well. If you get all kinds of (unintentionally) crazy answers, this may be a good time to review the theology of the Holy Trinity, No need to mention any movies, just expound on how the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Spirit and how the Spirit is not the Father and how they are distinct Persons yet one in Essence. Maybe go over a few common trinitarian heresies that some of them may unwittingly hold to. This will inoculate them against the trinitarian problems in The Shack without preaching a sermon on The Shack. You can use the same subtlety with universalism.

  235. Xenia says:

    AND you can emphasize that the members of the Trinity relate to each other with bonds of love, which is what I think Young was probably trying to get across.

  236. Xenia says:

    AND I don’t mean to say this in an anti-evangelical snarky way. We Orthodox sings songs each Sunday that define the Trinity and I suspect that half of us would get it wrong if asked.

  237. Xenia says:

    AND Orthodoxy has a strong universalist streak. Still heresy, but it’s the way we want to lean.

  238. Steve Wright says:

    We all know that there are plenty of folks who’ve faithfully attended church for thirty or forty years who can’t tell sanctification from justification from a hole in the ground.
    ——————————————————–
    I’ll close now too, with Siggy here allowing me to repeat something.

    The above statement may be true, but I trust it is not true at my church with my flock. I have more than a little evidence I feel to back up that opinion.

    And my flock is the only flock I am responsible to God for. I don’t have vain imaginations of being a celebrity that people around the country look to for opinion. Should we boycott Target? Should we petition this, protest that?

    Now, if in fact Siggy’s statement is true of people at our church. It is not because they have not regularly heard otherwise. Maybe their attendance is hit and miss, maybe they daydream during the message, but if they are not growing in their understanding of the Bible and the things of God it is not the fault of the pastoral leadership at the church. Just like the divorces that take place are not the fault of the pastoral leadership because we did not have enough marriage conferences and retreats. At some point people are responsible for their own health in all areas of life, including spiritual (and that includes finding a good church that does not teach the nonsense that people here complain about in evangelical circles). The doctor can’t want you to be healthy more than you want it for yourself. The doctor does his job or he is guilty of malpractice and I certainly affirm there is pastoral malpractice aplenty in this world.

    And this is where MLD grossly misrepresented my point. If someone has faithfully sat under my teaching for years and years, and yet does not have the first clue about the things of God, then they clearly are not paying attention. They are not listening. They don’t care to learn. In reality of course this does not happen. People just stop coming to church but hypothetically if someone made the effort week after week to deliberately sit under the teaching they chose to ignore…..(And it is to such a person that one can ask the question,) “If he does not care to pay attention to the Bible teaching he sits under, why would he pay attention to a warning about a movie?”

  239. Steve Wright says:

    this may be a good time to review the theology of the Holy Trinity,
    ——————————————-
    Again. The point is that in weekly preaching one does this on a regular basis as the months go by. Not every week of course, but regularly.

    At least, I seek to do so.

    Likewise the Hypostatic Union. The attributes of God. The demarcation of justification, sanctification, glorification (which I did yet again yesterday in my message).

    I understand the starting point held by many that no solid doctrinal teaching takes place in evangelical circles.

    I just disagree with the view…and seek to refute it in my own ministry. Which at the end of the day is all I am responsible for.

  240. Steve Wright says:

    As I leave now, I find a great similarity in this discussion with the one about how negligent Calvary pastors were for not getting their congregations all involved with the split.

    I bet if you compared my reasoning in both discussions, you would find the same philosophy of ministry running through it.

  241. Xenia says:

    I understand the starting point held by many that no solid doctrinal teaching takes place in evangelical circles.<<<<

    I didn't say that in my post 234-7, you know.

  242. Xenia says:

    I don’t think this thread was about Calvary Chapel.

    It was about a book/movie that some found heretical and some found very useful, and what should we do, if anything, about it.

    Should people be warned? (Yes/no)

    If so, how? (Suggestions offered.)

    If not, why not? (Reasons given.)

    Not about Calvary Chapel at all.

  243. JoelG says:

    “The androgynous concept of God portrayed in the film is hinduistic.”

    Well, God did create male and female “in His image”. So this means God has feminine characteristics, no? Maybe this film portrays God in a way that’s closer to the truth than manly men would like to think. 😉

    “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.”

  244. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t think this thread was about Calvary Chapel.
    ——————————
    I don’t either. I said there is a similarity in the two discussions from my personal perspective….”Why aren’t you warning the congregation”

  245. Michael says:

    I do see the similarities in approach.
    Turns out that those who care about the CC split are few, despite the coverage and the attention it’s been given.
    My guess is that the noise over this movie will have the same effect…

  246. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Joel G

    No, that’s not correct. In our makeup and in matrimony and childbearing we model the triune aspects of God. God is neither male nor female but chose to create us as such for His Glory. The same as we are physical, reasoning (knowing ourselves and possessing theory of mind), and spiritually eternal, so is God the Father Spirit, Christ Jesus in the flesh, and also a reasonable, compassionate God, knowing the secret things of God, the Holy Spirit. I probably just said something heretical to someone.

  247. JoelG says:

    Ok how about this: God has attributes that we would usually categorize as more on the feminine side: nurturing, gentle, comforting, tender, etc. yes

  248. Dan from Georgia says:

    JoelG (247)…I tend to agree with you. A LONG time ago when I first came to the Lord and started attending church, I picked up a tape cassette (WHAT?!?!?!) series on God – don’t remember who it was produced by – that stated that God was indeed both male and female, or had characteristics of both men and women, or something to that effect. Similar to what you stated in comment 247. I’m out.

  249. Dan from Georgia says:

    OK, back for a minute. Back to the original topic….

    There’s this

  250. JoelG says:

    #249 Lol Dan

    Fil said it twice up the thread:

    “many Christians are head-heavy and heart-empty & the only emotions they readily demonstrate is anger and disgust.”

    Why do we have such a hard time seeing the feminine attributes of God and acknowledge how much we need those from Him? We need His comfort, care and nurturing. We are emotional beings and so is God. The world needs to see these attributes in us, male or female.

  251. JoelG says:

    I’m being a comment-aholic and getting out before MLD throws another penalty flag on me. 🙂

  252. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Joel G

    Ok how about this: God has attributes that we would usually categorize as more on the feminine side: nurturing, gentle, comforting, tender, etc.

    _________________________________
    How aboot this

    Due to the fall, men and women now possess certain characteristics of God, like you have listed about women, that apart from Christ are contradictory, in Him are complimentary. Hence why Jesus would not be shy to compare himself to a mother hen, not in an xx vs xy manner, but expressing his heart toward Israel.

    Where once in the first Adam we possessed all those attributes in harmony, we now possess them in disharmony.

  253. Victor says:

    This thread seems to be slouching towards idolatry.

    Also, I know it isn’t intentional, but it’s an insult to loving and gentle males. It also denies that women are violent and aggressive as well.

  254. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Oh man…

    Hello…?
    *Hello* *Hello* *Hello*…?

  255. JoelG says:

    Got it Siggy. Thank you.

  256. JoelG says:

    Victor, what are you referring to as “idolatrous”?

  257. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michaels, I did not say you gave a warning about Frisbee – you gave warning about the guy who wrote the article about Frisbee.

  258. Michael says:

    No, I did not.
    I’m getting tired of this.

  259. bob1 says:

    Everyone vote.

    Who’s more pain in the ass on this thread —

    siggy or MLD?

    from my standpoint, it’s MLD, with siggy a close 2nd.

  260. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Bob1

    You think? I vote the guy that brought it up 😉

  261. bob1` says:

    See 259.

    You’re closing in on 1st.

    Poor Michael…the patience of Job.

  262. JoelG says:

    Victor,

    I’m sorry for the insult. I think loving and gentle males are a blessing. Most people that know me would describe me as gentle and emotional. I was trying to say that isn’t usually the norm, or at least how we’re “supposed” to be, at least according to American culture. I think this carries over to our view of God in American Christianity. Therefore I was trying to convey that the reason The Shack resonates with many is because it acknowledges Gods “feminine” attributes that largely get ignored.

  263. JoelG says:

    I’m done, sorry Michael.

  264. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 – “Who’s more pain in the ass on this thread ”

    Hey, John the Baptist and Jesus were pain in the asses in their venue also.

    The message I give is tough for some to handle.

  265. bob1 says:

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    Keep telling yourself that.

    Get over yourself.

  266. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Bob 1
    Maybe I am. :-\ I don’t think I’ve been completely useless though. I don’t see where you commented much, if any. Not sure why you pop on to call MLD and myself a pain the ass. Trolling, maybe? Everyone does from time to time. No offense.

  267. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    I’m not sure what offended you, but I do agree with your thoughts on the male/female attributes of God.

    That’s a big subject unto itself…

  268. JoelG says:

    Michael,

    I wasn’t offended at all. I just meant I was done posting on this thread after it was clear you had enough of this subject. I wanted to apologize to Victor for anything insulting or offensive I might have clumsily said.

  269. Michael says:

    I was just tired of all the clatter…not with you.
    I went to bed. 🙂

  270. JoelG says:

    Thank you Michael. This is a special place and I appreciate you and everyone here.

  271. Josh the Baptist says:

    Tell me how much you appreciate me, JoelG.

    Come on, let me here it…

  272. JoelG says:

    I appreciate you Josh. 🙂 I really do.

  273. Josh the Baptist says:

    That’ll do for now.

    AS it is, I’m trying to get Michael to double my salary for commenting here. Ednoresements like that help to build my case.

  274. JoelG says:

    Josh, someone needs to be here to irritate Jean’s and MLD. I admire your steadfast defense of evangelicalism. And your Howard the Duck joke yesterday had me laughing a good part of the afternoon. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  275. Dan from Georgia says:

    Y’all are appreciated!

  276. Josh the Baptist says:

    You here that Michael? I’m looking for DOUBLE in the next contract negotiations. 🙂

    Howard the Duck was probably the worst movie ever though, right?

  277. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But Howard the Duck was more theologically correct and showed the love of God better than The Shack 😉

  278. Josh the Baptist says:

    Maybe, but I’ve only seen one of the two. Could only tell you about Howard the Duck. If I get around to watching the Sack one day, I’ll let you know.

  279. Josh the Baptist says:

    The Sack?!? I think that’s a different discussion altogether.

    The Shack is the movie I haven’t seen.

  280. Victor says:

    JoelG- I’m not offended by you specifically (your apology is graceful, and I’m sorry that I didn’t mean to elicit such). It’s just that some of us have experienced abuse from females (mothers, spouses) which belies the conventional wisdom nurturing female attributes, juxtaposed to what society tells us are the general attributes of males (violent, emotionless). I was raised by a single mother, and had no father. I always thought our Father in heaven was my father. I’ve tried to model fatherhood (as one professional commented towards me, “you’re inventing.”) thusly towards my 7 year old boy and 4 year old girl. My personal feelings given my life experience— and here I’m not holding anyone else responsible for my feelings—- is that I cringe at assigning attributes based upon gender. My life, my research, and the experiences in peer support groups I’ve encountered have altered the views of what I grew up being taught, both implicitly and explicitly.

  281. JoelG says:

    That is beautiful Victor. Thank you.

  282. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m going to top your demands and pay you the same amount I make… 🙂

  283. Josh the Baptist says:

    Wooo, yeah.

  284. Kevin H says:

    Hey, hold on there! All this big pay to Josh isn’t going to take away from my salary now is it?

  285. Michael says:

    Kevin,

    You too shall make what I make…tax free. 🙂

  286. Josh the Baptist says:

    A.) Kev – don’t mess up my deal.

    B.) I’m about to get into some of that independent blogger money. I’ve heard that pays more than amateur part-time theologian.

  287. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m going to write a book about how to make money as an independent blogger…as soon as I make some. 🙂

  288. Josh the Baptist says:

    The book that tells people how to make money is probably the one thing that would make money.

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