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About Eric’s Wife

Some may say I am a "Stay at home Mom," but that is not even close. I am Eric's Wife. I have exhilarating strokes of genius, followed almost immediately by paralyzing pangs of self doubt and, for whatever reason, here is where I blog about it - warts and all. I serve a merciful God with a clumsy hand and at the end of each day I go to sleep thankful to be His servant and Eric's wife.

“The Shack” Review: Part Two

August 26, 2008

Deuteronomy 6:13-15 (New International Version)

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

Aren’t you so glad that we aren’t like those crazy Israelites in the Old Testament? I know for a fact that there is no chance that we would ever be found bowing to a golden cow, or a pig, or really any kind of hand crafted idol.  Give those Israelites five minutes of time to tinker, and it seemed like somehow an altar was built and a foreign god was worshiped. God got a bargain with us.  No need for him to repeat all this business about “other gods” where we’re concerned.

We’d never be so easily deceived.  By a golden cow.

But what if it was a god that looked and sounded much like the God who has been proven, yet with just the slightest of adjustment?    I would submit that a good many people who claim to worship “God” are actually worshiping a god created in the image of both man and God.  He is a god who conforms in so many ways to the notions of modern man, be it in the way of women’s rights, global warming, or absolute evil of war.  He is easier to understand because he approaches this world in the way man would. This god is presented beautifully in “The Shack”.

After very careful consideration, I have chosen to focus on only one statement made by the “Jesus” of “The Shack” in a conversation with Mack, the main character.  I think that I could use any one of several, but isn’t it true that one lie is enough to ruin it for proper instruction as to God’s person?

“Remember, the people who know me are the ones who are free to live and love without any agenda.”

“Is that what it means to be a Christian?”  It sounded kind of stupid as Mack said it, but it was how he was trying to sum everything up in his mind.

“Who said anything about being a Christian?  I’m not a Christian.”

The idea struck Mack as odd and unexpected and he couldn’t keep himself from grinning.  No, I suppose you aren’t.”

They arrived at the door of the workshop.  Again Jesus stopped.  “Those who love me come from every system that exists.  They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions.  I have followers who were murderers and many who were self righteous.  Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians.  I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.” (p. 181-182)

So, it turns out that Jesus is not interested in us becoming Christians.  He is not a Christian.  Why would we want to bear a name He doesn’t bear?

The name “Christian”, meaning simply, “follower of Christ”, was first given to the disciples at Antioch.  This is recorded in Acts 11:25-27.  Christian is a Biblical term, not something contrived by people who create religious terms to make sense of things unclear.

I believe that Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, made clear his intentions.

Mt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Mt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mt 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We are to obey everything He has commanded us.  We are to follow Him.  We are to be Christian.

What harm is a little lie?

Ask Eve.

“Did God really say that you would die if you ate of this fruit?  You won’t die.”

Some of you rightly called this book a piece of fiction which should be handled as such.  I completely agree.  The problem is that this piece of fiction is being peddled from pulpits as being “inspired” fiction to the hands of people who would rather have their ears tickled by all things lovely and magical instead of solid Truth.  The problem is that the god of “The Shack” is becoming the god of many who have no clue they have eaten the cake.

My final thought on “The Shack” is that you can read it if you want to.  I don’t think it is necessary to show you any side of God that is not revealed in His Word.  If there is any new “truth” about God revealed to you in “The Shack”, I deeply implore you to test it against the Word.  And I encourage you to avoid the urgings of the publisher to purchase more copies for your friends and family. They’ll just have to settle for a plain ol’ Bible.

14 responses to ““The Shack” Review: Part Two”

  1. Chris says:

    It is like “Christian” is a bad label or even a dirty word, and that the effort to fit everyone into the big tent is more important than why there is a tent there in the first place.

    What is ironic is that the transformation the paragraph refers to (which I assume to be Romans 12, I have not read the book) the next sentence in the Bible is:

    Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

  2. Kim Heinecke says:

    Right on, Amy. Right on.

  3. deleise says:

    I get what you are saying now. I didn’t see it for myself that way because I am already in the word and could recognize it for what it was, but I see that it could be something different for someone who wasn’t in the word. Interesting.

  4. Kathryn Estrada says:

    Amy; this is the exact page when I stopped reading and thought “WHAT????? This does not make ANY sense!” I was also under the false lie that this was a “true story” that really happened…and so I read the book with that in the back of my mind…yet questioning…and at the same time thinking..’okay..I guess that works on THAT statement’. (Like how God can appear to us in any form He wants…so it was “smart” of God to ‘appear’ as a woman…a stereotype woman [hmmm] to Mack…because of his “whatever” with his own father. I don’t know!! It sounded good ‘back then’…ya know what I mean, Amy (and everyone)?! SO. It is just a fictional story…a nice…feel good story. In a way.
    But I’ll be the first to tell you…it messed with me!! I wanted to believe. I questioned and tried to understand. And I could have “fixed it” in my brain. I could have. Wow.

  5. Jenni says:

    Remember when the “Joshua” series came out? Probably 20 years ago now. Are you too young to remember that, Miss Amy? Yeah, probably…but anyway, The Shack sounds a lot like that. Some truth, a few feel-good lies, and a whole lot of heart-tugging. Whateverdude. Like you said in your last post, writing like that should come with a warning: do not consume on a Biblically empty stomach.

  6. Briana says:

    I agree. I remember when I took Intro to Philosophy at ACC one semester and my prof tried to convince me that the God I was following was the same one the Muslims, Buddhists and many other religions were following. I did not agree with him then, and I still don’t. I am afraid that he was very convincing, though, and many students in that class agreed with him by the time we were done studying the “philosophy of religion”.

  7. Kristen says:

    That would be the exact page where things get a little anthrax-y for me and I thought, “Um…what?”

    Great thoughts.

  8. HAHA I’m on page 179 right now… but wow, I didn’t expect “Jesus” to say that…

    I guess this is where we need to heed the REAL Jesus’ warning to be as shrewd as serpents, but innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16)

    Thanks Amy!


  9. I totally agree that, while it has some good points, it should be chalked up to a piece of fiction, and that’s all. Taking things like this too seriously can be dangerous. Thanks for keepin’ it real!

  10. OK, well. No point in me even starting it. Not even gonna waste my time. Back onto! Thanks, Amy. I would have been really upset to be “Oprah-cized” by this book – reading something that sounded on track but was WAY off!

  11. Cat says:

    Amy, I so appreciate your boldness in speaking out, even though your opinion may not be popular with some. I love that you encourage and challenge us to hold everything up against the Word – the true measuring stick.
    you also saved me $10 :o)

  12. nicole says:

    Okay so my response is not going to be popular. I really liked the book. As one who was feeling VERY spiritually dry at this season in my life, it caused me to look at our God (Jesus and the Spirit as well) in a different way. It stirred my heart. It made me wonder. There are OBVIOUS flaws in the book theologically. It caused me to pick up my Bible for the first time in months, perhaps longer then that but I am to embarrassed to really think of how long it has really been.
    I have a lot I could write about, but perhaps I need to do my own review on my own blog (sorry this is so long Amy). If if it causes non-christians to seek God and Christians to re-evaluate, draw closer to God, and seek scripture I think it can be a good tool. It is our responsibility, as Christians, to search scripture for ALL our answers, regardless of the author. It is our responsibility as Christians to teach others the truth. Perhaps if we find out our non-Christian (and Christian) friends are reading this book, we should invite them to study God’s word and to learn more about Him through scripture. There are good things you can get from this book, and one of them may be to really talk to someone that is not in a loving relationship with our great and awesome God about a book that really stirred them. If your attitude is a condemning one of the book then you may miss an opportunity to study scripture with them. They will figure out the non-truth “ingredients” of the book as they seek the truth in scripture and as God reveals it to them.

    One more thing I might add, I think many people think of God as all fire and brimstone. Christians and non-Christians alike seem to easily see that characteristic. The loving, caring God that cares for every person and wants a deep relationship with His children is missed quite a bit…even among Christians. The Shack (and of course scripture) makes it VERY clear that God wants a DEEP relationship with each one of us. The Shack made me remember that and want to seek a spiritual renewal with Him. That makes my heart happy. God was able to use and work through this book for me despite its flaws.

    Sorry Amy, hope you are not offended. Looking forward to spending time with you at the retreat!

  13. Well said. I think I said that last time, but oh well…well said.

  14. Ginger says:

    I agree with Nicole on this one. I too was loaned a copy of the book after seeking advice on why I was unable to read Scripture. Long journey short, “The Shack” along with a few other books guided me back into the Word and helped me identify the source of my neglect and rejection. I completely agree that it is not healthy to read any book (fiction or non-fiction) without a good Scriptural comparison, knowledge and insight. And I do see much danger in it for people who are still on “milk.” However, this book also allowed me to have a wonderful, Biblically guided conversation with one of my kids who was seeking something different in regards to Christ. It spring boarded her into Scripture as well. Anytime I have recommended the book to people in conversation, I have suggested reading it with Scripture in hand.