THE SHACK Controversy Continues

I received this today from someone I’d met a few years ago:

Hey Brother,
Sorry to see some people attacking you and The Shack. I don’t agree with the extremism of their reaction. I read the book and it was a big blessing to me personally.

How are you standing up? Have you formulated any kind of a response? If so I’d like to receive a copy. I suppose they have some points that are valid, but what are they missing here?

Maybe (your critics) bring up some valid points that you need to write other book(s) for, to bring in the catch of readers that have initially been brought in by the first books? What points do the critics have against the emerging thing that are valid? Which are invalid or misunderstood?

Anyhow, I love you brother and I thank you for your work.

I thought others of you might be also be interested in reading my response:

Thanks for your note and thanks for asking about my own well-being. I really appreciate that. I responded to some of these concerns on my blog a few months ago. If you haven’t read it, you can see it here.

But to answer your other questions, we love the genuine conversation that THE SHACK has spawned about who is God, really? We wrote the book to be provocative and edgy so that people would rethink their own relationship with him and whether they are coming to know the God of the Bible or simply following the rules and rituals of a religion called Christianity. When push comes to shove in the broken places of people’s lives, rules and rituals just won’t cut it. People hunger to know a Living God and a resurrected Christ who make themselves known in our lives through Christ’s work on the cross and who can intervene in the most devastated places of their lives. We love hearing that families, co-workers and neighbors have been able to have extensive conversations about God because they’ve read THE SHACK and want to talk about it with others.

Not every one has to agree with what we wrote. I don’t think there’s a book on my shelf, except for the Bible, that I would agree with cover to cover. We all see through a glass darkly while we are being transformed into his image. So we love the honest conversations and concerns that people have raised. It seems God wants to have a significant conversation with our culture about who he is and how he invites people back from the brink of sin’s destruction to embrace him and his forgiveness. We’ve been invited into a large space to interact with all kinds of people about God, who he is and what he wants to accomplish in our lives. We are blessed to be there.

We also recognize that there are those who are so threatened by the book and its success that they use dishonest means to discredit the book and those of us who worked on it. There is much that is untrue in the blogs and articles that are being written about THE SHACK and me. Their tactics are always the same: distort the content so you can disagree with it, marginalize the people behind it by calling them names (emergent or universalists) and make them guilty by association with others they read or relate to. How sad for them! Refusing to engage the ideas of the Gospel, they instead posture themselves as judge and jury and that on false information. Unfortunately they may miss a wonderful work Father wants to do in our world and in their hearts.

But just for the record, I am not a universalist or an ultimate reconciliationist. I believe in the God of the Bible and his offer of salvation for whomever accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And I have never been in the emergent conversation. In fact there is much in that movement that gives me great concern. While I love a lot of the questions they are asking, I don’t always agree with the conclusions they come to, their political answers, or their attempts to start another franchise of Christianity. But I know great brothers and sisters among them who love the God I love and who live deeply in him. I can overlook their faults as they overlook mine. This journey is not for people who have it all figured out and want to force others into their prejudices, but for people whom Jesus is transforming by a ongoing work of grace.

But how am I doing? Though I’m a bit overwhelmed with all that begs for my attention these days, honestly, none of this gets me down. I learned a long time ago that if you care what people think about you, you are owned by anyone willing to lie about you. This is all in God’s hands, and I truly believe he is even using the controversy and the lies that are told about us to further his purpose. I am more than OK with that. Everything about my life that matters, with God, my family and friends is fulfilling and complete. I don’t need to have others speak well, or even honestly, of me. That is God’s to sort out in his way and his time.

A wise man said to me years ago in the midst of a painful betrayal: “When you’re following Jesus time and light are always on your side.” It is my ongoing hope and prayer that God will bring all things to the light and let them be seen for what they truly are.

And we’ll write and publish more as God allows. And we’re well on our way to making that movie of THE SHACK, which will only bring another wave of frustration from those who believe we’re out to destroy God’s work in the world instead of spread it with joy into some pretty incredible places.

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54 Comments
  1. Bones September 17, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Wayne,

    The grace with which I see you all responding to the criticism and even slander is a strong object lesson for me, as I face criticism for being one who quotes, distributes, and supports The Shack and your books, podcasts, etc. May Father’s grace continue to abound in it all!

    Stay the course, brother!

  2. Peter September 17, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    These attacks sounds a lot like Jake’s story in “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Any More.” I guess you’ve gone through a lot of these over the last decade plus. Does it get any easier as you see it over and over again? Do you still have a John character in your life? Does Jesus fill that role for you now? Do you still see Dave Coleman?

    Sorry! Just some questions that came to mind while reading this blog entry. No need to answer if you’re pressed for time, its personal, etc. 🙂

  3. Bones September 17, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Wayne,

    The grace with which I see you all responding to the criticism and even slander is a strong object lesson for me, as I face criticism for being one who quotes, distributes, and supports The Shack and your books, podcasts, etc. May Father’s grace continue to abound in it all!

    Stay the course, brother!

  4. Peter September 17, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    These attacks sounds a lot like Jake’s story in “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Any More.” I guess you’ve gone through a lot of these over the last decade plus. Does it get any easier as you see it over and over again? Do you still have a John character in your life? Does Jesus fill that role for you now? Do you still see Dave Coleman?

    Sorry! Just some questions that came to mind while reading this blog entry. No need to answer if you’re pressed for time, its personal, etc. 🙂

  5. David September 18, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Wayne,

    Thanks for a further glimpse into your heart. I sense the graciousness of the Lord’s presence there. How wonderful to see you safely in Him and Him expressing Himself through you. What a sharp contrast between what you have written and what some of the critics have written. Their sharp words and attitudes remind me of the religios establishment of old who spent their time examining the words in a document and missed the WORD (which the document pointed to)standing right in front of them.

  6. Bob Quick September 18, 2008 at 5:55 am

    I seem to recall a fella whose parables were
    criticized by the “religious” of His day.
    He was only following the Father.
    Keep following Papa, Wayne.

  7. David September 18, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Wayne,

    Thanks for a further glimpse into your heart. I sense the graciousness of the Lord’s presence there. How wonderful to see you safely in Him and Him expressing Himself through you. What a sharp contrast between what you have written and what some of the critics have written. Their sharp words and attitudes remind me of the religios establishment of old who spent their time examining the words in a document and missed the WORD (which the document pointed to)standing right in front of them.

  8. Bob Quick September 18, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I seem to recall a fella whose parables were
    criticized by the “religious” of His day.
    He was only following the Father.
    Keep following Papa, Wayne.

  9. Theresa September 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Wayne- You always stir my heart to grow deeper in Him. Thank you so very much.
    Love and blessings, Theresa

  10. Kari September 18, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Wayne,

    I like the way you handle this stuff. You just keep on doing what Papa says and all will be well. Jesus did say that we would be persecuted just as He was and to Count It All Joy!!

    May you be blessed and lifted up during this time and filled with the precious presence of our Father! Let His love surround you and His wings encircle about you, hiding your heart from it all.

    Kari

  11. Theresa September 18, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Wayne- You always stir my heart to grow deeper in Him. Thank you so very much.
    Love and blessings, Theresa

  12. Kari September 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Wayne,

    I like the way you handle this stuff. You just keep on doing what Papa says and all will be well. Jesus did say that we would be persecuted just as He was and to Count It All Joy!!

    May you be blessed and lifted up during this time and filled with the precious presence of our Father! Let His love surround you and His wings encircle about you, hiding your heart from it all.

    Kari

  13. dwellceller September 19, 2008 at 4:03 am

    quote – “But just for the record, I am not a universalist or an ultimate reconciliationist. I believe in the God of the Bible and his offer of salvation for whomever accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”

    My dad died 3 weeks ago because of a heart attack. (one that put him in hopsital and another a week later that took him away finally) Despite my desperate prayers in his last week and words of love towards him I did not witness a ‘salvation experience’. Now all that is left for me is endless uncertainty about my dad’s fate the rest of my life. So in all likelihood he is in hell now and will be in torment for the rest of eternity! I feel i am dead too, and in the deepest darkest pit possible.

    I don’t know how i can recover ever from this. My deepest desire is to really know God loves me, but it seems it would have to be a miracle beyond comprehension for me to find peace in all this…..and presumably He would have to delete from my mind any real memory of my dad, cos whenever i’ll think of him i’ll be sad that i won’t ever see him again.

  14. Andrew September 19, 2008 at 7:01 am

    I lost my dad 2 years ago. I still ache. But have hope. Keep in mind that there is no sinner’s prayer in the Bible. Your dad may have trusted Father through death.

    While my dad wasn’t perfect (who is?) I got to love on him as much as I could. We developed a great relationship towards the end of his life and I am a better man for it. Honestly my relationship with dad was just a spark of my relationship with Father. I know now that Father has a great affection for me and loves me beyond my wildest imagination.

    Keep your head up, seek Father and let Him love you through this tough time. He loves you deeply. Let Him show you.

  15. dwellceller September 19, 2008 at 7:03 am

    quote – “But just for the record, I am not a universalist or an ultimate reconciliationist. I believe in the God of the Bible and his offer of salvation for whomever accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”

    My dad died 3 weeks ago because of a heart attack. (one that put him in hopsital and another a week later that took him away finally) Despite my desperate prayers in his last week and words of love towards him I did not witness a ‘salvation experience’. Now all that is left for me is endless uncertainty about my dad’s fate the rest of my life. So in all likelihood he is in hell now and will be in torment for the rest of eternity! I feel i am dead too, and in the deepest darkest pit possible.

    I don’t know how i can recover ever from this. My deepest desire is to really know God loves me, but it seems it would have to be a miracle beyond comprehension for me to find peace in all this…..and presumably He would have to delete from my mind any real memory of my dad, cos whenever i’ll think of him i’ll be sad that i won’t ever see him again.

  16. Andrew September 19, 2008 at 10:01 am

    I lost my dad 2 years ago. I still ache. But have hope. Keep in mind that there is no sinner’s prayer in the Bible. Your dad may have trusted Father through death.

    While my dad wasn’t perfect (who is?) I got to love on him as much as I could. We developed a great relationship towards the end of his life and I am a better man for it. Honestly my relationship with dad was just a spark of my relationship with Father. I know now that Father has a great affection for me and loves me beyond my wildest imagination.

    Keep your head up, seek Father and let Him love you through this tough time. He loves you deeply. Let Him show you.

  17. dwellceller September 20, 2008 at 6:44 am

    While I didn’t lead dad in a ‘sinner’s prayer’ in his last week for the first time in my life i was able to hold his hand and tell him I love him and he said it back to me – albeit feebly, but for the first time i saw more of the child in him. His whole life he showed be no affection, but at least a few times in his last week when i saw him in hospital i was able to say to him “I love you dad, and he responded”…but i didnt get overly into using bible verses etc….I felt too much pressure (cos of my old Arminianism background) and this made me feel simultaneously a great need to ‘preach’ to dad, but also the pressure was so much that i just couldnt’ cos the thought that my dad’s soul depended on me was just too much to bear.
    But since he has gone i feel terrible guilt and regret and anguish.
    I feel a dual feeling that is very strong – My deepest desire is to know that God totally loves and accepts me yet at the same time it seems like He has totally abandoned me and that i failed beyond measure. Whatever happens, it has to be a miracle of huge proportions in the revelation of His love for me to feel i can recover from my doubt.

  18. dwellceller September 20, 2008 at 9:44 am

    While I didn’t lead dad in a ‘sinner’s prayer’ in his last week for the first time in my life i was able to hold his hand and tell him I love him and he said it back to me – albeit feebly, but for the first time i saw more of the child in him. His whole life he showed be no affection, but at least a few times in his last week when i saw him in hospital i was able to say to him “I love you dad, and he responded”…but i didnt get overly into using bible verses etc….I felt too much pressure (cos of my old Arminianism background) and this made me feel simultaneously a great need to ‘preach’ to dad, but also the pressure was so much that i just couldnt’ cos the thought that my dad’s soul depended on me was just too much to bear.
    But since he has gone i feel terrible guilt and regret and anguish.
    I feel a dual feeling that is very strong – My deepest desire is to know that God totally loves and accepts me yet at the same time it seems like He has totally abandoned me and that i failed beyond measure. Whatever happens, it has to be a miracle of huge proportions in the revelation of His love for me to feel i can recover from my doubt.

  19. dwellceller September 26, 2008 at 5:33 am

    Thank u for your words Andrew.

    I guess my situation is too difficult for any one else to answer with some real hope. After all, it’s easy to hear the ‘good news’ stories, but not everyone has them.

    “A father dies without any sign of coming to salvation despite your prayers and love for them…..HE LOVES ME NOT?”….. I didn’t see an example like this in the book, unless i’ve missed it?

  20. Wayne September 26, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Dwellcellar,

    I think people have been trying to answer you. The truth is, this is not something that can be addressed on a sound byte on a blog comment section. I pray God give you an older brother who can walk you out of your torment. I am terribly sorry for the pain and darkness you feel. I appreciate the love you have for your father. Do you think the Father of all loves him any less? Will not God demonstrate his graciousness and justice with your Father as well.

    First, I don’t think any of us speak with any certainty about whether or not someone in his or her own way opens their life to Jesus. We have certain expectations about what that moment might look like, but we don’t know what’s going on inside them. But if you think whatever disposition your father had is a proof on whether or not God loves you, then it’s no wonder you feel so lost. God loves you deeply. Always has, always will—even in the anger and loss you feel now. I think the freedom we have now in him is to trust him with your Father knowing that this God is all-loving and all-just.

    Do you not think that however his eternity resolves it will be with anything less than the incredible grace and love of God. While Scripture gives us glimpses into eternity, there is not enough there for me to feel comfortable embracing any particular road map. I think it is more profound and more incredible than temporal folks in this age can grasp. While I don’t embrace universal reconciliation, neither do I think hell is eternal torment for unredeemed humanity. I see no basis to assert the immortality of the soul apart from resurrection in Christ. We are not immortal beings by nature now. We are immortal when we are raised to it in him. Even Revelation says hell is eternal for the Devil and his angels, but calls it the ‘second death’ for those who do not want to live in God’s presence.

    However the final judgment sorts out, I think we’re going to stand before God and say, “What incredible love! What incredible fairness.”

    Dwellcellar, your hope right now is simply waking up every day and living in the reality of who he is. Entrust your father to the One who loves him more than you ever could and know that he is going to do what is best for him. You or I may not understand that here, but knowing the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that’s a great place to have him.

    I hope that helps a little. And I hope you find someone where you live who can help you sort through these things at a more extensive and personal level.

    Wayne

  21. dwellceller September 26, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Thank u for your words Andrew.

    I guess my situation is too difficult for any one else to answer with some real hope. After all, it’s easy to hear the ‘good news’ stories, but not everyone has them.

    “A father dies without any sign of coming to salvation despite your prayers and love for them…..HE LOVES ME NOT?”….. I didn’t see an example like this in the book, unless i’ve missed it?

  22. Wayne September 26, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Dwellcellar,

    I think people have been trying to answer you. The truth is, this is not something that can be addressed on a sound byte on a blog comment section. I pray God give you an older brother who can walk you out of your torment. I am terribly sorry for the pain and darkness you feel. I appreciate the love you have for your father. Do you think the Father of all loves him any less? Will not God demonstrate his graciousness and justice with your Father as well.

    First, I don’t think any of us speak with any certainty about whether or not someone in his or her own way opens their life to Jesus. We have certain expectations about what that moment might look like, but we don’t know what’s going on inside them. But if you think whatever disposition your father had is a proof on whether or not God loves you, then it’s no wonder you feel so lost. God loves you deeply. Always has, always will—even in the anger and loss you feel now. I think the freedom we have now in him is to trust him with your Father knowing that this God is all-loving and all-just.

    Do you not think that however his eternity resolves it will be with anything less than the incredible grace and love of God. While Scripture gives us glimpses into eternity, there is not enough there for me to feel comfortable embracing any particular road map. I think it is more profound and more incredible than temporal folks in this age can grasp. While I don’t embrace universal reconciliation, neither do I think hell is eternal torment for unredeemed humanity. I see no basis to assert the immortality of the soul apart from resurrection in Christ. We are not immortal beings by nature now. We are immortal when we are raised to it in him. Even Revelation says hell is eternal for the Devil and his angels, but calls it the ‘second death’ for those who do not want to live in God’s presence.

    However the final judgment sorts out, I think we’re going to stand before God and say, “What incredible love! What incredible fairness.”

    Dwellcellar, your hope right now is simply waking up every day and living in the reality of who he is. Entrust your father to the One who loves him more than you ever could and know that he is going to do what is best for him. You or I may not understand that here, but knowing the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that’s a great place to have him.

    I hope that helps a little. And I hope you find someone where you live who can help you sort through these things at a more extensive and personal level.

    Wayne

  23. dwellceller September 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Thanks for your comments Wayne.

    You are right about these kinds of deep heart issues being too complex to address in a sound byte of a blog…I have had a few friends who have talked about the very same things you have mentioned above – eg one said ‘Jesus loves your dad more than you can ever do so’.

    I guess the biggest thing for me is that the grief i’ve been going through is connected to my illusions being shattered – ie that i felt like i had to see my father come to christ before my eyes or from observation so that i could feel better – and this probably is a control issue for me – wanting to even control ‘christian circumstances’….. It’s also connected to many years of legalistic Arminianism which despite giving up 10 + yrs ago in my mind i’m still battling with in my soul – and more specifically the teachings of Charles Finney – a semi pelagian – an extreme form of Arminianism. This belief (that it’s ‘all up to me’)motivated me with incredible responsibility and guilt….and obviously made me feel responsible for other people’s lives.

    My grief is very deep – It will take time to recover from the illusions being shattered – i could have enjoyed a better relationship with my dad if i hadn’t been driven by ‘turn or burn type theology for so long – even though i gave it up 10 yrs ago it came roaring back when my dad got ill….One thing i did have however was being able to have some affection with my dad in his last week – he wouldn’t let anyone touch him cos of obsessive phobias, anxiety etc, but in this week in hospital i was able to hold his hand everyday even for just 30 secs and tell him i love him and that God loves him and he would feebly respond ‘i love you too’…This was huge considering my dad was very non physical all his life.
    I guess down the track i will treasure this greatly more cos my dad was so unaffectionate i used to joke to him that ‘hey have i got leprosy or something?’ …. I couldn’t ‘witness’ to him in the classic sense as the burden of responsiblity i felt only paralyesd me ironically….All i could do was love my dad by being there as much as i could for him. One friend did say ”Well that is the gospel- just loving them”. Dad died in hospital from a 2nd heart attack, and though i got in there while he was still alive and prayed over him and told him to just relax and accept Jesus love, he couldn’t respond as he was in an agitated state for his last 2 to 3 hours. I walked out of the hospital in shock saying “God why have u forsaken me?..the only one who could help me yet it feels like you’ve abandoned me”…but since then a few scriptures have come to mind quite strongly – “Love never fails” – 1 cor 13:8, “Be still and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10 saying that God is in control – not me!, and also Romans 16:9 – “It does not depend on man’s desire or effort but on God’s mercy” – ie His love.
    Over the last few yrs i have looked into the whole ‘universal reconciliation’ idea through sites such as http://www.tentmaker.org etc….and although i found alot of material in this area very persuasive i was never able to fully committ to this,despite wanting to….I guess the only thing we can depend on is God’s uncondtional love and that He is sovereign and will work ALL things according to His good plan…even if we feel like things are out of control or we feel like we’re floating in a cosmic ocean of helplessness….

    Incidently William P Young will be down here in Australia in November as part of the annual ‘Perichoresis conference’ – see http://www.perichoresis.org.au. It will be at a church very close to where i live so i will do my best to be there. Before my dad got ill with his heart attack i had read the first half of ‘The Shack’ and the time might be right for me to read the last half soon down the track… Maybe it will be just what i need to see William Young speak at this conference.

    By the way, also Wayne back in 2001 i received ‘He Loves Me’ from Lifestream with a receipt form..I never paid for it…..I will try to catch up with William Young when he’s out here and give him the money to pass on to you. I still have the receipt form somewhere i’m sure!

    Maybe God is there all along – i just can’t see it yet..cos of my grief and also the shock of my theological expectations and illusions being shattered…

    Thanks again for your words Wayne.

  24. David N September 26, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Hello.

    Sorry if I missed it, but I was wondering if you had replied to the points raised by Tim Challies review of The Shack.

  25. dwellceller September 26, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for your comments Wayne.

    You are right about these kinds of deep heart issues being too complex to address in a sound byte of a blog…I have had a few friends who have talked about the very same things you have mentioned above – eg one said ‘Jesus loves your dad more than you can ever do so’.

    I guess the biggest thing for me is that the grief i’ve been going through is connected to my illusions being shattered – ie that i felt like i had to see my father come to christ before my eyes or from observation so that i could feel better – and this probably is a control issue for me – wanting to even control ‘christian circumstances’….. It’s also connected to many years of legalistic Arminianism which despite giving up 10 + yrs ago in my mind i’m still battling with in my soul – and more specifically the teachings of Charles Finney – a semi pelagian – an extreme form of Arminianism. This belief (that it’s ‘all up to me’)motivated me with incredible responsibility and guilt….and obviously made me feel responsible for other people’s lives.

    My grief is very deep – It will take time to recover from the illusions being shattered – i could have enjoyed a better relationship with my dad if i hadn’t been driven by ‘turn or burn type theology for so long – even though i gave it up 10 yrs ago it came roaring back when my dad got ill….One thing i did have however was being able to have some affection with my dad in his last week – he wouldn’t let anyone touch him cos of obsessive phobias, anxiety etc, but in this week in hospital i was able to hold his hand everyday even for just 30 secs and tell him i love him and that God loves him and he would feebly respond ‘i love you too’…This was huge considering my dad was very non physical all his life.
    I guess down the track i will treasure this greatly more cos my dad was so unaffectionate i used to joke to him that ‘hey have i got leprosy or something?’ …. I couldn’t ‘witness’ to him in the classic sense as the burden of responsiblity i felt only paralyesd me ironically….All i could do was love my dad by being there as much as i could for him. One friend did say ”Well that is the gospel- just loving them”. Dad died in hospital from a 2nd heart attack, and though i got in there while he was still alive and prayed over him and told him to just relax and accept Jesus love, he couldn’t respond as he was in an agitated state for his last 2 to 3 hours. I walked out of the hospital in shock saying “God why have u forsaken me?..the only one who could help me yet it feels like you’ve abandoned me”…but since then a few scriptures have come to mind quite strongly – “Love never fails” – 1 cor 13:8, “Be still and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10 saying that God is in control – not me!, and also Romans 16:9 – “It does not depend on man’s desire or effort but on God’s mercy” – ie His love.
    Over the last few yrs i have looked into the whole ‘universal reconciliation’ idea through sites such as http://www.tentmaker.org etc….and although i found alot of material in this area very persuasive i was never able to fully committ to this,despite wanting to….I guess the only thing we can depend on is God’s uncondtional love and that He is sovereign and will work ALL things according to His good plan…even if we feel like things are out of control or we feel like we’re floating in a cosmic ocean of helplessness….

    Incidently William P Young will be down here in Australia in November as part of the annual ‘Perichoresis conference’ – see http://www.perichoresis.org.au. It will be at a church very close to where i live so i will do my best to be there. Before my dad got ill with his heart attack i had read the first half of ‘The Shack’ and the time might be right for me to read the last half soon down the track… Maybe it will be just what i need to see William Young speak at this conference.

    By the way, also Wayne back in 2001 i received ‘He Loves Me’ from Lifestream with a receipt form..I never paid for it…..I will try to catch up with William Young when he’s out here and give him the money to pass on to you. I still have the receipt form somewhere i’m sure!

    Maybe God is there all along – i just can’t see it yet..cos of my grief and also the shock of my theological expectations and illusions being shattered…

    Thanks again for your words Wayne.

  26. Wayne September 26, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    David,

    Not more than I did on a previous blog: http://lifestream.org/blog/2008/03/04/is-the-shack-heresy/

    We have kept this general for a number of reasons. Challies’ critique comes from his Calvinist theology, which he hasn’t been fully honest about. He also makes significant distortions to the meaning and content of the book and then disagrees with is own misinterpretation. I don’t see a point by point rebuttal as serving any purpose.

    Wayne

  27. David N September 26, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Hello.

    Sorry if I missed it, but I was wondering if you had replied to the points raised by Tim Challies review of The Shack.

  28. Wayne September 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    David,

    Not more than I did on a previous blog: http://lifestream.org/blog/2008/03/04/is-the-shack-heresy/

    We have kept this general for a number of reasons. Challies’ critique comes from his Calvinist theology, which he hasn’t been fully honest about. He also makes significant distortions to the meaning and content of the book and then disagrees with is own misinterpretation. I don’t see a point by point rebuttal as serving any purpose.

    Wayne

  29. David N September 28, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Wayne,

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    David

  30. David N September 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Wayne,

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    David

  31. marix October 1, 2008 at 6:58 am

    The Shack was life changing to me, as well as the MP3 Transition, I am still battling in getting it every day, but at least I am on my way, what a great blessing for a 68 year old lady in South Africa! each day is difficult but wonderful, if you know what I mean, living it and loving it. Marix of Potchefstroom

  32. marix October 1, 2008 at 9:58 am

    The Shack was life changing to me, as well as the MP3 Transition, I am still battling in getting it every day, but at least I am on my way, what a great blessing for a 68 year old lady in South Africa! each day is difficult but wonderful, if you know what I mean, living it and loving it. Marix of Potchefstroom

  33. Daniel Ray October 7, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Dear Mr. Jacobsen:

    Hi. My name is Dan Ray. I wanted to briefly share with you my experience with The Shack. In early August, I was given the book by a pastor. He believed it would heal me of depression. Incredulous but curious, I read it in one day.

    It did not heal me. I didn’t actually read it to be healed for I don’t believe that a work of fiction has that capability. I’m an avid reader. I love reading and discussion. I read The Shack to discuss it with the pastor who gave it to me, out of respect for him and our relationship. When he asked me what I thought, I told him I didn’t like it at all.

    That’s when he became very defensive and we have actually parted ways over it, believe it or not. He thought it was funny that I thought God being portrayed as a woman was blasphemous.

    I had to leave the church because of it. This pastor was handing it out to others in the congregation and told me quite plainly that I was the only one who didn’t receive “healing” from it, that I refused to allow God to “stretch me”.

    He also said he did not trust my theological convictions. I asked him if that was the case, how could I continue to serve in the body? He agreed. I left. He accused me of running away, but I told him I was more than willing to stay and discuss things in person if he so chose, but I told him the impasse we both faced was not going away. What were we going to talk about? Was he going to put me in a position of teaching in that body any time soon if he didn’t trust what I believed theologically?

    No way.

    I’m now driving 60 miles every Sunday to a church where doctrine is a priority and drives relationships, not the other way around. In my opinion, I think The Shack’s primary theological error is that it seems to suggest that relationship is paramount to doctrine, whereas I believe we cannot begin to think we have a true relationship unless we truly understand the nature of the Being with who we claim to have “relationship”, i.e. doctrine. In other words, there are a few people to whom Jesus will say, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you” who thought they in fact were known by Him.

    I’m sorry if that conclusion offends, I don’t mean to offend, it’s just what I’ve concluded.

    Here’s what I’ve learned from reading The Shack and witnessing the various and sundry reactions to it.

    Personally, I think it goes way too far in emphasizing relationship, as I mentioned. It makes God far too familiar than it does holy. It is, in my own estimation, very emotive, very therapeutic in nature. I lost a father to suicide and have wrestled with the “Noonday Demon” all of my life. The book appealed to me emotionally in some aspects, but it did not settle with me theologically at all. This was not a portrait of the God to whom I am to be reconciled. I don’t like Bruce Cockburn, either. Papa is a god created in your all’s image, not the Bible’s. Again, that’s my opinion, not meaning to offend.

    The Shack confused me; both the book and people’s reaction to it. I attempted to engage some folks on TheShackBook.com to see if I could gain a better perspective of how others were interpreting its teachings.

    But when I raised my objections as politely and humbly as I could, I was accused of a number of things such as of being “intellectually dishonest”, of “not reading my Bible”, of “judging”, of having a “high opinion”, of not knowing what “heresy” meant, of not understanding the difference between “metaphor” and “parable” and one person even sent me to wickapedia for a definition of systematic theology. Another individual suggested I repent after they read my first posting! I felt like I was in a bar fight and got tossed out on my ear for asking a few questions about the book’s theological content.

    I did not ask for this! I would never have picked up The Shack on my own, no offense. I don’t read Christian fiction. I’ve never been one to take my cues of understanding Scripture from a fictional perspective. I don’t like the Left Behind series. I don’t like the theology in Peretti’s novels. I like general fiction, but it doesn’t drive my doctrine or theology (2 Timothy 4:1-6).

    I have not tried nor will I ever try to slander those behind this book. I don’t know any of you. I’m not denying Mr. Young had some trauma in his life. I’m not trying to be personal about it, but whenever I attempt to raise theological objections to the book, it gets personal quickly. One person on the site I mentioned above said the reason I had problems with the book had everything to do with me and not the book! This was after my first posting! This person didn’t even know me! How can anyone say that about someone whom they’ve never met? How can someone counsel me to repent after I asked a few simply questions and expressed “my opinion” about the book?

    What I did was post thirteen topics/quotes I took right out of The Shack, complete with page numbers and next to them put Scripture references for comparison.

    You would have thought I crossed the Rubicon.

    I thought blogging forums were for opinions. I wasn’t there to get personal with anyone or to “set people straight” or “win an argument”. It seemed like I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion though, especially if it was critical of some of the theological issues in the text.

    Immediately the site supervisors jumped in and jumped all over me. I thus removed my post, changed my screen name and tried to reword my concerns. I wasn’t trying to be clever, I just realized that my first screen name and initial approach apparently offended people. So, back to the drawing board I went.

    Busted, again. My questions were too similar. I didn’t wait long enough I guess. Again, I wasn’t trying to be personal, but as soon as I reraised the concerns, I got jumped on, even though people were tagging their responses with “blessings”. One moderator even asked me if I was the “same person as last week”.

    And in the Christian school where I work, most of the lady teachers loved the book. I wrote to them regarding the concerns I had but was ignored completely.

    If this is such a wonderful work, why can’t I have dialogue with others who claim its inspired them to live more boldly for the Lord Jesus Christ? I am not trying to be argumentative, judgmental or disrespectful toward those who’ve derived inspiration from it’s pages, but it seems just having some objections to it puts me outside the camp, so to say. No one who’s told me they liked or “loved” the book is really willing to discuss it with me or knowledgeably address my concerns.

    I just am confused as to why a book that is allegedly so inspirational has been so divisive for me personally. It’s not like I went to the bookstore with the intention of reading to argue with people. It fell into my lap. I knew nothing about it when I read it.

  34. Daniel Ray October 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Dear Mr. Jacobsen:

    Hi. My name is Dan Ray. I wanted to briefly share with you my experience with The Shack. In early August, I was given the book by a pastor. He believed it would heal me of depression. Incredulous but curious, I read it in one day.

    It did not heal me. I didn’t actually read it to be healed for I don’t believe that a work of fiction has that capability. I’m an avid reader. I love reading and discussion. I read The Shack to discuss it with the pastor who gave it to me, out of respect for him and our relationship. When he asked me what I thought, I told him I didn’t like it at all.

    That’s when he became very defensive and we have actually parted ways over it, believe it or not. He thought it was funny that I thought God being portrayed as a woman was blasphemous.

    I had to leave the church because of it. This pastor was handing it out to others in the congregation and told me quite plainly that I was the only one who didn’t receive “healing” from it, that I refused to allow God to “stretch me”.

    He also said he did not trust my theological convictions. I asked him if that was the case, how could I continue to serve in the body? He agreed. I left. He accused me of running away, but I told him I was more than willing to stay and discuss things in person if he so chose, but I told him the impasse we both faced was not going away. What were we going to talk about? Was he going to put me in a position of teaching in that body any time soon if he didn’t trust what I believed theologically?

    No way.

    I’m now driving 60 miles every Sunday to a church where doctrine is a priority and drives relationships, not the other way around. In my opinion, I think The Shack’s primary theological error is that it seems to suggest that relationship is paramount to doctrine, whereas I believe we cannot begin to think we have a true relationship unless we truly understand the nature of the Being with who we claim to have “relationship”, i.e. doctrine. In other words, there are a few people to whom Jesus will say, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you” who thought they in fact were known by Him.

    I’m sorry if that conclusion offends, I don’t mean to offend, it’s just what I’ve concluded.

    Here’s what I’ve learned from reading The Shack and witnessing the various and sundry reactions to it.

    Personally, I think it goes way too far in emphasizing relationship, as I mentioned. It makes God far too familiar than it does holy. It is, in my own estimation, very emotive, very therapeutic in nature. I lost a father to suicide and have wrestled with the “Noonday Demon” all of my life. The book appealed to me emotionally in some aspects, but it did not settle with me theologically at all. This was not a portrait of the God to whom I am to be reconciled. I don’t like Bruce Cockburn, either. Papa is a god created in your all’s image, not the Bible’s. Again, that’s my opinion, not meaning to offend.

    The Shack confused me; both the book and people’s reaction to it. I attempted to engage some folks on TheShackBook.com to see if I could gain a better perspective of how others were interpreting its teachings.

    But when I raised my objections as politely and humbly as I could, I was accused of a number of things such as of being “intellectually dishonest”, of “not reading my Bible”, of “judging”, of having a “high opinion”, of not knowing what “heresy” meant, of not understanding the difference between “metaphor” and “parable” and one person even sent me to wickapedia for a definition of systematic theology. Another individual suggested I repent after they read my first posting! I felt like I was in a bar fight and got tossed out on my ear for asking a few questions about the book’s theological content.

    I did not ask for this! I would never have picked up The Shack on my own, no offense. I don’t read Christian fiction. I’ve never been one to take my cues of understanding Scripture from a fictional perspective. I don’t like the Left Behind series. I don’t like the theology in Peretti’s novels. I like general fiction, but it doesn’t drive my doctrine or theology (2 Timothy 4:1-6).

    I have not tried nor will I ever try to slander those behind this book. I don’t know any of you. I’m not denying Mr. Young had some trauma in his life. I’m not trying to be personal about it, but whenever I attempt to raise theological objections to the book, it gets personal quickly. One person on the site I mentioned above said the reason I had problems with the book had everything to do with me and not the book! This was after my first posting! This person didn’t even know me! How can anyone say that about someone whom they’ve never met? How can someone counsel me to repent after I asked a few simply questions and expressed “my opinion” about the book?

    What I did was post thirteen topics/quotes I took right out of The Shack, complete with page numbers and next to them put Scripture references for comparison.

    You would have thought I crossed the Rubicon.

    I thought blogging forums were for opinions. I wasn’t there to get personal with anyone or to “set people straight” or “win an argument”. It seemed like I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion though, especially if it was critical of some of the theological issues in the text.

    Immediately the site supervisors jumped in and jumped all over me. I thus removed my post, changed my screen name and tried to reword my concerns. I wasn’t trying to be clever, I just realized that my first screen name and initial approach apparently offended people. So, back to the drawing board I went.

    Busted, again. My questions were too similar. I didn’t wait long enough I guess. Again, I wasn’t trying to be personal, but as soon as I reraised the concerns, I got jumped on, even though people were tagging their responses with “blessings”. One moderator even asked me if I was the “same person as last week”.

    And in the Christian school where I work, most of the lady teachers loved the book. I wrote to them regarding the concerns I had but was ignored completely.

    If this is such a wonderful work, why can’t I have dialogue with others who claim its inspired them to live more boldly for the Lord Jesus Christ? I am not trying to be argumentative, judgmental or disrespectful toward those who’ve derived inspiration from it’s pages, but it seems just having some objections to it puts me outside the camp, so to say. No one who’s told me they liked or “loved” the book is really willing to discuss it with me or knowledgeably address my concerns.

    I just am confused as to why a book that is allegedly so inspirational has been so divisive for me personally. It’s not like I went to the bookstore with the intention of reading to argue with people. It fell into my lap. I knew nothing about it when I read it.

  35. Wayne October 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    To Daniel Ray,

    I have nothing to do with the Shack Forum. Those things are designed to pretty much run on their own and we ask people to play nice. But I am truly sorry for how you were treated both by your ‘church’ and by folks at the forum. Your report is incredibly discouraging. People who act as you described don’t have a clue who Jesus is or how he lived.

    I pray they come to know him. Again, I’m sorry for what has happened to you. People become zealots and use things for purposes they were not intended. It grieves me to know that people have treated you thusly over a fictional book of all things!

    Wayne

  36. Wayne October 8, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    To Daniel Ray,

    I have nothing to do with the Shack Forum. Those things are designed to pretty much run on their own and we ask people to play nice. But I am truly sorry for how you were treated both by your ‘church’ and by folks at the forum. Your report is incredibly discouraging. People who act as you described don’t have a clue who Jesus is or how he lived.

    I pray they come to know him. Again, I’m sorry for what has happened to you. People become zealots and use things for purposes they were not intended. It grieves me to know that people have treated you thusly over a fictional book of all things!

    Wayne

  37. GiGi October 9, 2008 at 5:10 am

    I liked The Shack. I passed it onto friends. As an African-American woman I chaffed a little at the overweight, mammy-esq, sho’ nuff, hand-on-hip, southern black woman version of God, but I overlooked that to see the heart of the book and as a result it touched me.

    (As a side note however: Please, Please be very sensitive about how you cast and portray that role in the movie version. Watch Gone with the Wind and other similar old movies then do it as different from those as possible. If not, you’ll run the risk of alienating an entire group of viewers.) 🙂

    Anyhoo, my professor at Bible school always used to say that the key factor of any example, sample, model or analogy is its inevitable “break-down point”. The example he used was of a model car… you could make an inch high perfectly working replica of say a ’62 Caddy to show someone what the full size model looked like. Even if everything down to the paint color was accurate, the “breakdown point” would be the size which doesn’t match the original. He used that to say that every model is in some way flawed or it would be… the real thing.

    I think the same is true of The Shack. Perhaps the scale or shade is off here or there (as every attempt to describe God will be), but the in the end it is still a good representation of the nature of God.

  38. GiGi October 9, 2008 at 8:10 am

    I liked The Shack. I passed it onto friends. As an African-American woman I chaffed a little at the overweight, mammy-esq, sho’ nuff, hand-on-hip, southern black woman version of God, but I overlooked that to see the heart of the book and as a result it touched me.

    (As a side note however: Please, Please be very sensitive about how you cast and portray that role in the movie version. Watch Gone with the Wind and other similar old movies then do it as different from those as possible. If not, you’ll run the risk of alienating an entire group of viewers.) 🙂

    Anyhoo, my professor at Bible school always used to say that the key factor of any example, sample, model or analogy is its inevitable “break-down point”. The example he used was of a model car… you could make an inch high perfectly working replica of say a ’62 Caddy to show someone what the full size model looked like. Even if everything down to the paint color was accurate, the “breakdown point” would be the size which doesn’t match the original. He used that to say that every model is in some way flawed or it would be… the real thing.

    I think the same is true of The Shack. Perhaps the scale or shade is off here or there (as every attempt to describe God will be), but the in the end it is still a good representation of the nature of God.

  39. Danny October 14, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I wonder if God the Father desires a relationship with me like I desire a relationship with my son. Does he love me as much as I love my son? Does he feel that breathlessness that I feel when I am away from my son for an extended period of time? Is it righteous indignation that he feels when I sin or does his righteousness allow him feelings at all?

    Recently my young twelve year old son made some choices that were extremely damaging to himself and definitely far short of the standards of our home. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t hurt. I wasn’t offended. I felt physically ill and my heart was broken for my son. My base instinctual reaction was to hold my son and let him know that my love for him had not changed one bit. I wanted him to know that having our sin exposed gives us the opportunity to run toward God, not away from him. It was an opportunity to teach him about the sin-shame-separation cycle that deeply affected my life into my 30’s.

    I wonder if God the Father loves me with the same unreasoned intensity that I love my son.

    I wonder if the Father actually wants to know me.

  40. Danny October 14, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I wonder if God the Father desires a relationship with me like I desire a relationship with my son. Does he love me as much as I love my son? Does he feel that breathlessness that I feel when I am away from my son for an extended period of time? Is it righteous indignation that he feels when I sin or does his righteousness allow him feelings at all?

    Recently my young twelve year old son made some choices that were extremely damaging to himself and definitely far short of the standards of our home. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t hurt. I wasn’t offended. I felt physically ill and my heart was broken for my son. My base instinctual reaction was to hold my son and let him know that my love for him had not changed one bit. I wanted him to know that having our sin exposed gives us the opportunity to run toward God, not away from him. It was an opportunity to teach him about the sin-shame-separation cycle that deeply affected my life into my 30’s.

    I wonder if God the Father loves me with the same unreasoned intensity that I love my son.

    I wonder if the Father actually wants to know me.

  41. Mike Nixon October 14, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Wayne,
    we met at retreat for tehachapi Grace Fellowship. I am overjoyed with what you are doing with the Shack. I have read of and watched your walk with the Lord for a number of years. This book continues your effort to get people to realy look at what God wants from us and what we need to have a relationship with Him.

    To those who are reading this, the books and writings should just be the opening of your minds to what God has for you. I could spend hours listing the damage of the past and using that to justify the resistance to what God has. However He keeps calling out to all of us through all the various ways we experience His existance and love. The response we have to the Shack is going to reflect our past experience. Now the issue is what are we going to do with it. Flee, fight or embrace it and let us get a tast of what God has for us and those around us.

    Our retreat was very much the same. Some fled, some fought and some embraced your message. However we all had seeds planted in us that are continueing to sprout. Discussions continue and our eyes are opened. We are slowly repenting in our thinking and our actions.

    Christians, like Rome arn’t built in a day. Keep up the good work and take time to take care of you.

  42. Mike Nixon October 14, 2008 at 6:11 am

    Wayne,
    we met at retreat for tehachapi Grace Fellowship. I am overjoyed with what you are doing with the Shack. I have read of and watched your walk with the Lord for a number of years. This book continues your effort to get people to realy look at what God wants from us and what we need to have a relationship with Him.

    To those who are reading this, the books and writings should just be the opening of your minds to what God has for you. I could spend hours listing the damage of the past and using that to justify the resistance to what God has. However He keeps calling out to all of us through all the various ways we experience His existance and love. The response we have to the Shack is going to reflect our past experience. Now the issue is what are we going to do with it. Flee, fight or embrace it and let us get a tast of what God has for us and those around us.

    Our retreat was very much the same. Some fled, some fought and some embraced your message. However we all had seeds planted in us that are continueing to sprout. Discussions continue and our eyes are opened. We are slowly repenting in our thinking and our actions.

    Christians, like Rome arn’t built in a day. Keep up the good work and take time to take care of you.

  43. Lisa Collins October 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I loved The Shack! We had a son that passed away when he was 15 and so the book brought a lot of insight to us. Thank you so much for your amazing book! It was very uplifting! Lisa

  44. Lisa Collins October 18, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I loved The Shack! We had a son that passed away when he was 15 and so the book brought a lot of insight to us. Thank you so much for your amazing book! It was very uplifting! Lisa

  45. Pastor dan October 23, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Just wonderif C.S. Lewis went though any of this… when he wrote his books.

  46. Pastor dan October 23, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Just wonderif C.S. Lewis went though any of this… when he wrote his books.

  47. Dan Ray October 30, 2008 at 4:44 am

    Pastor Dan:
    I don’t think C.S. Lewis works advocate anything like what appears in The Shack.

  48. Dan Ray October 30, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Pastor Dan:
    I don’t think C.S. Lewis works advocate anything like what appears in The Shack.

  49. Allen July 29, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Interesting site, I just finished reading “The Shack” and because of the epilogue I thought it was a true story. Silly me, I just don’t read much. I must say I was a bit embarassed and dissappointed. And when I decided to take a look at all the blogs and you’d think the gates of Christianity is at risk. It just reaffirms my believe that christians as a whole suck. Not to say I haven’t met some christians who impressed me. I’ve read the Bible or should I say the alexandrian Bible voted in during the 300s (Misquoting Jesus: Bart Ehrman). And I’ve been to church, many actually, beneath it all is power, control and money. Grace is secondary. As proof I offer all the old ladies who juudged me on my appearance when I walked in and the pastors asking for money. Being 51 I’ve observed all of us can be evaluated by the things we say, the things we do, and the effect we have on the people around us. The first two we can manipulate – the latter tells the truth of the type of people we are. The most amazing “christian” I know is a teacher who teaches austistic children with a love and tenderness I’ve never seen. When I asked her if she was a christian she replied she was brought up in a strict catholic home and will have nothing to do with God. I told her it was too late, while she denied the father and the son she lived the holy spirit. Thats what The Shack did for me – I see that some christians are not about theology or rules but about the way we live and the relationships we forge…that living the kingdom of heaven thing Jesus is big on.

  50. Allen July 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Interesting site, I just finished reading “The Shack” and because of the epilogue I thought it was a true story. Silly me, I just don’t read much. I must say I was a bit embarassed and dissappointed. And when I decided to take a look at all the blogs and you’d think the gates of Christianity is at risk. It just reaffirms my believe that christians as a whole suck. Not to say I haven’t met some christians who impressed me. I’ve read the Bible or should I say the alexandrian Bible voted in during the 300s (Misquoting Jesus: Bart Ehrman). And I’ve been to church, many actually, beneath it all is power, control and money. Grace is secondary. As proof I offer all the old ladies who juudged me on my appearance when I walked in and the pastors asking for money. Being 51 I’ve observed all of us can be evaluated by the things we say, the things we do, and the effect we have on the people around us. The first two we can manipulate – the latter tells the truth of the type of people we are. The most amazing “christian” I know is a teacher who teaches austistic children with a love and tenderness I’ve never seen. When I asked her if she was a christian she replied she was brought up in a strict catholic home and will have nothing to do with God. I told her it was too late, while she denied the father and the son she lived the holy spirit. Thats what The Shack did for me – I see that some christians are not about theology or rules but about the way we live and the relationships we forge…that living the kingdom of heaven thing Jesus is big on.

  51. Henry October 2, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I’d like to wade into this whole universal salvation business just for a moment. I come from an eternal hell for all the lost background myself but have only recently begun to question this theology because I can’t reconcile who I’ve come to know God to be. When Jesus says in John 12:32,”And I , if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” And what about 1 Cor.15:22 where Paul says,”As in Adam All died, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” How many is all? Do you really think that the God that’s depicted in the Bible and demonstrated 21st century style in “THe Shack” would do such a thing as predestine 99% of lost humanity to endless torment, especially when Jesus says in John 6:44 that NO ONE can even come to Him except the Father draw him? Since I began to question this theological construct, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject and I’ve found that the main verse that this whole thing seems to be based on is Matt.25:46. Most versions of the Bible do read eternal punishment but when you crawl behind the english and see what the greek has to say, this is not nearly as black and white. The greek says “aionian kolasis” which directly translated means age-lasting correction. Just what would be the purpose of correction if there’s no reprieve at some point? Does that mean that there is no hell? It doesn’t appear that way, only that it’s not endless. I know I open up a real pandora’s box here and would immediately be branded a heretic by much of the evangelical community without even entering into a debate on this. But let’s not forget that much of the tradition that a lot of the modern church holds to, almost as sacred, can’t be meshed with scripture. Reading much of Wayne’s material as well as other stuff that’s out there has confirmed my restlessness on that point. I also struggle to find anything in scripture that says anything about the door of God’s mercy closing after we breathe our last here. When the Psalmist declaes that God’s mercy is as high as the heavens, and we know that’s endless and when we boldly declare His infinite love, I find it hard to reconcile all this with eternal puishment. THere is much more that I’ve discovered in my research that room will not allow me to divulge here but I’m coming to the opinion that perhaps we need to look at this much more carefully than what has been the case. I hesitate to begin to fly any big flag on this because of the stereotyping it immediately creates but I wouldn’t mind some feedback on what I’ve said.

  52. Henry October 3, 2009 at 12:29 am

    I’d like to wade into this whole universal salvation business just for a moment. I come from an eternal hell for all the lost background myself but have only recently begun to question this theology because I can’t reconcile who I’ve come to know God to be. When Jesus says in John 12:32,”And I , if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” And what about 1 Cor.15:22 where Paul says,”As in Adam All died, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” How many is all? Do you really think that the God that’s depicted in the Bible and demonstrated 21st century style in “THe Shack” would do such a thing as predestine 99% of lost humanity to endless torment, especially when Jesus says in John 6:44 that NO ONE can even come to Him except the Father draw him? Since I began to question this theological construct, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject and I’ve found that the main verse that this whole thing seems to be based on is Matt.25:46. Most versions of the Bible do read eternal punishment but when you crawl behind the english and see what the greek has to say, this is not nearly as black and white. The greek says “aionian kolasis” which directly translated means age-lasting correction. Just what would be the purpose of correction if there’s no reprieve at some point? Does that mean that there is no hell? It doesn’t appear that way, only that it’s not endless. I know I open up a real pandora’s box here and would immediately be branded a heretic by much of the evangelical community without even entering into a debate on this. But let’s not forget that much of the tradition that a lot of the modern church holds to, almost as sacred, can’t be meshed with scripture. Reading much of Wayne’s material as well as other stuff that’s out there has confirmed my restlessness on that point. I also struggle to find anything in scripture that says anything about the door of God’s mercy closing after we breathe our last here. When the Psalmist declaes that God’s mercy is as high as the heavens, and we know that’s endless and when we boldly declare His infinite love, I find it hard to reconcile all this with eternal puishment. THere is much more that I’ve discovered in my research that room will not allow me to divulge here but I’m coming to the opinion that perhaps we need to look at this much more carefully than what has been the case. I hesitate to begin to fly any big flag on this because of the stereotyping it immediately creates but I wouldn’t mind some feedback on what I’ve said.

  53. Randy August 12, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Henry,

    I will comment on your post. I too just like you have the same hell fire and brimstone background. And even though I was taught it for 40 or so years, It never did sit right with me. Something always felt wrong about it. I could remember asking my parents stuff like, “If God is love and he knew ahead of time that a vast majority of his creation would reject him and burn, then how could he do it ? Would you have done it to even one of your kids?”, The answer was sometimes churchy, like “well God is sovereign or God is holy” ,neither answered the question or reconciled a loving God with those actions. Sometimes I got an honest answer, of “I dont know the answer to that and no I could not do it to my kids”. It forced me into my own study and I am concluding the same things as you. I have read those same verses and come away with the same thing.

    To add a verse to your post, Romans 11:32 says “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

    Just think of the imagery in that verse, being bound over , like tied up, and it was his doing and plan. Notice it does NOT follow that by saying, “so he could torture us all”

    I continue to search…

  54. Randy August 12, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Henry,

    I will comment on your post. I too just like you have the same hell fire and brimstone background. And even though I was taught it for 40 or so years, It never did sit right with me. Something always felt wrong about it. I could remember asking my parents stuff like, “If God is love and he knew ahead of time that a vast majority of his creation would reject him and burn, then how could he do it ? Would you have done it to even one of your kids?”, The answer was sometimes churchy, like “well God is sovereign or God is holy” ,neither answered the question or reconciled a loving God with those actions. Sometimes I got an honest answer, of “I dont know the answer to that and no I could not do it to my kids”. It forced me into my own study and I am concluding the same things as you. I have read those same verses and come away with the same thing.

    To add a verse to your post, Romans 11:32 says “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

    Just think of the imagery in that verse, being bound over , like tied up, and it was his doing and plan. Notice it does NOT follow that by saying, “so he could torture us all”

    I continue to search…

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