Next week I will address the third and final installment of our reflection on the Seismic Paradigm Shift within the culture and the church. This week I want to pause and address all the rhetoric in Christianity, through published articles and social media, concerning the movie The Shack. A number of years ago I addressed the book The Shack by William P. Young. I took the time to point out the aberrant theology and unbiblical notions of God, the Trinity, salvation and other doctrinal concerns about what was presented by Young. I also pointed out the lack of discernment in the Christian community and called for greater discernment. I have no desire to rehash all that was pointed out, but if you are interested, here are a couple of resources to consider:
Tim Challies offers a challenging book review of the Shack here:
Albert Mohler recently addressed the same matters, including the film, here:
Both of these resources point out important matters, but for today, I want to address the notion that perhaps this movie is a great way to initiate dialogue between believers and unbelievers. This is a curious notion, but it also odd. Did anyone stop and consider what that dialogue would look like? It certainly wouldn’t be positive, for anyone who has any biblical understanding would need to unravel all of the unbiblical notions and thoughts about God, as well as many other issues. Doing what would need to be done would create a very negative dialogue and there would be little hope of addressing the things that matter most. My suspicion would be that any unbeliever would dismiss the many concerns the believer would suggest as narrow, unloving, and judgmental. Certainly there must be a better way to engage in meaningful dialogue - I believe that there is!
Second Peter 1 reminds us that God has “granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness (1:16-21).” These “things” are addressed in the Word of God (II Tim 3:16-17). Here is a better way to enter into dialogue. Share the hope of eternal life in Christ when your neighbor loses a loved one. Offer encouragement, support and perspective when someone you know is laid off or loses a job. Pray for and pray with a Mom or a Dad when they are struggling with the choices (and consequences) of their children, reminding them of the reconciliation and restoration found in Christ. If you feel the need to address The Shack, when your friend who knows you are “religious” asks if you have seen the movie, tell them why you haven’t, and share what you know about the forgiveness and hope in Christ alone.
I grow weary of the Christian community and the gimmicks leaned on and adopted in the effort to share the truth and engage the culture. We have the answers in the Bible and opportunities are all around us. We simply need to be grounded in the Truth and sensitive to the people God puts in our lives. Of course, there is also the need to become more discerning. Discernment comes when we know the Truth, so instead of wasting time and money on a movie with little to offer in genuine hope, get into the Word and “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3:18).” Then, and only then, will you be “equipped” to offer hope and promise as you engage the culture.