Star of 'The Shack'? 'Not the God of the Bible'

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What god does “The Shack” tell Christians to worship?

“The Shack” has been a publishing phenomenon, one of the bestselling “Christian” books of all time and now one of the top-performing films in the country. Yet pastors and theologians have expressed concerns about the heretical teachings contained within Paul Young’s book.

One of the most persistent critics is James De Young, a New Testament language and literature professor at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, who holds multiple degrees from respected seminaries, including Dallas Seminary, Talbot Theological Seminary and Moody Bible Institute.

A former longtime colleague of the author of “The Shack,” De Young dissects the story’s troubling theological issues in his own book, “Burning Down The Shack.”

In a recent interview with Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries,” De Young said “The Shack” is dangerous because it presents universalism in a “creative and attractive way.”

“It’s a very subtle approach, and a very powerful approach, that this book and this film will make,” De Young said. “Everybody longs for a deeper relationship with God, especially we who confess Christ. And the book satisfies that to a certain extent and on a certain level. But everybody needs to back up and say, ‘Well, if I’m participating in a deeper relationship with God, who is the God with whom I’m having this relationship?’ And when we look at the total teaching of universalism, it is not the God of the Bible.”

The eternal consequences for believers, De Young warned, are serious.

“Universalism ends up blaspheming and cursing the truth as revealed in Scripture as Jesus spoke it,” he said.

By “universalism,” De Young means a belief that all of creation is ultimately reconciled to God. He argues this contradicts the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. But “The Shack” gives believers hope that ultimately, no matter what they do or believe, they will end up in heaven along with everyone else.

“In ‘The Shack,’ Paul [Young] has God say, ‘I don’t punish sin, sin is its own punishment,’” said De Young. “In another context, it says there’s not an eternal judgment, an everlasting judgment awaiting people. In his original commitment to universal reconciliation, Paul went much further and denounced any such view that there is eternal judgement at all.

“According to universalism, all people will be purified by the fires of hell. Not judged, not punished, but purified and chastised as it is. And they will repent and all of those in hell will go to heaven, including eventually Satan and his fallen angels. Hell ceases to exist. And this is standard universalism fare, because they argue logically, from reason, that it’s impossible for God’s love to have failed somewhere in the universe. And of course, what they do in saying that is to reject the biblical witness that there is everlasting judgment awaiting those that reject the person of Jesus Christ. So they let reason triumph over revelation.”

Is one of the most successful “Christian” books in history actually promoting anti-Christian beliefs? Don’t be fooled. Find out the terrible true story behind “The Shack” and uncover the heretical doctrines being promoted. Your soul could be at stake. “Burning Down The Shack” by James DeYoung, available now in the WND Superstore.

De Young maintains Christians who reject the authority of Scripture and try to “reason” their way to understanding God ultimately end up adopting unreasonable conclusions.

“They reject the authority of Scripture for what they think is reasonable,” he said. “And yet even their reasoning is clouded and perverse. Because by following that reasoning, you eventually have to say, well, then the devil could rebel from heaven again, and be cast out, and repent again, and on and on it goes. You have a cycle of repentance, judgment, repentance and so forth. And that’s impossible, but it’s the natural outcome of such reasoning that departs from biblical truth.”

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De Young also condemned how “The Shack” denies God wants all people to be Christian, essentially repudiating the Great Commission.

“They don’t want to be identified as Christians,” De Young said of universalists. “They think it’s a bad word. It tends to alienate people who are non-Christians and so forth. And they want to be known as followers of Jesus but not Christians. But when you take [The Shack’s author] Paul’s words … and say that they are people from all walks of life seemingly enthralled with Jesus, there’s never a statement that these people need to repent, read the Gospel and accept Christ. That they need to accept Him as both Savior and Lord, believe He died for our sins and rose again, and so forth.”

De Young also charged the book, and especially the film, of promoting idolatry. But he said the biggest problem with “The Shack” is how it attempts to ultimately redefine the entire Christian faith. While saying everyone will be saved may sound good to many people, he suggests, it ultimately is a direct repudiation of the Bible.

And the eternal consequences could be disastrous.

“The Good News to them is bad news as we evangelicals proclaim it, because we emphasize the need to be saved from sin and from judgment,” said De Young of universalists. “They want to recreate the terminology, they want to refocus the church, if they think it is even legitimate to think about a church, and they want to give us a different understanding of who God is, which is the primary problem.”

“It’s very, very troubling. And no Christian, frankly, could ever identify with such thoughts unless he’s deeply deceived.”

Is one of the most successful “Christian” books in history actually promoting anti-Christian beliefs? Don’t be fooled. Find out the terrible true story behind “The Shack” and uncover the heretical doctrines being promoted. Your soul could be at stake. “Burning Down The Shack” by James DeYoung, available now in the WND Superstore.

 

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