Monday, June 23, 2008

book review--the shack--the not-so-good

"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 ar enot part of any Sunday monring or religious institution. 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 Christians, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, in my brothers and sisters, into my beloved."

"Most roads don't lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you."
p. 128

I've seen this part of the book references in a few places as well, in regards to some questionable things in the book, and frankly I think they have a point.

For me, it's a bit unclear. It depends on what he means when he says that "Those who love me...They were...".When he says "They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims...", it is easy to read that as him saying that people in those religions were among those whom the author classifies as having loved Jesus. But when he then says "I have followers who were murderers...", it does kind of give pause to that conclusion. Is he saying that those who loved Jesus also committed murder, or that people who had committed murder then came to love Jesus?

Yet for all of that, I not so certain the author isn't saying that in his mind Mormons, Buddhists, and Muslims were among those whom he considered "Those who love me (Jesus)". Not that they had been in those religions before coming the Christ and becoming Christians, but that they were in those religions and still fall into Young's notiong of those who loved Jesus.

So, it seems in his mind, a Muslim who thinks Jesus just another prophet, who doesn't believe that Jesus was really crucified, and that God really spoke to some man named Mohammed, is one who loved Jesus. A Mormon who thinks God was once a man and that he will some day be a god and populate a planet with his children is one who loves Jesus.

Young doesn't explain his position here very well, and certainly doesn't deal with the Scriptures against his notions.

Such notions always surprise me. Upon what basis does he make such a statement? How does he determine the truth of it? What is his measure, his standard? What about the commands to take the Gospel to the world? What about Jesus being the only way to God?

And to say that Jesus isn't concerned that about those people becoming Christians is wrong. One may say that He isn't interested in htem only having the name Christian, that may be fair, but if the author is saying that Jesus isn't interested in people putting their faith in Him and trusting Him is unbiblical to the core. Belief in Christ is one of the main things in really loving Him.

"Honey, you asked me what Jesus accomplished on the cross; so now listen to me carefully: through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world."

"The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?"

"The whole world, Mack. All I am telling you is that reconciliation is a two way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally."
p. 192

This raises some questions. How was it that God needed to reconcile Himself to the world? What had God done wrong, and the needed to be reconciled?

Rather, I can think of passages in Scripture like this, emphases mine

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
II Corinthians 5:16-21

5:10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life;
5:11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

1:19 For it was the good pleasure [of the Father] that in him should all the fulness dwell;
1:20 and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, [I say], whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.
1:21 And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works,
1:22 yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him

Why is reconciliation a two-way street? Isn't it the one who has wronged who must be reconciled to the one wronged?

God did not need to be reconciled to us; rather, it is we who need to be reconciled to God, and the way for that to happened has been performed through the death of Christ.

Finally, for now, there is this, a statement made in regards to the man who kidnapped and murdered Mack's daughter...

But he too is my son. I want to redeem him.
p. 224

I've not doubt that God would want to redeem such a man, like he redeemed Saul who persecuted Christians, and others who committed crimes and did horrible things. And haven't we all done horrible things, even if no human court would say so?

But is such a man, who has not repented of such deeds, really a son of God? Are there not people who are not children of God?

Jesus, for example, tells the Pharisees, "You are of your father, the devil". I John 3:10 tells us "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."

In John, we are told of those who are children of God.

1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

Here are some things the Bible calls those who are not children of God

3:5 Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry;
3:6 for which things` sake cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience:
3:7 wherein ye also once walked, when ye lived in these things;

9:22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction:
9:23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory,
9:24 [even] us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?

I think these show that God does not view such people as sons or children of Himself. It may be a hard truth, but if it is true, and it is, then there is no use in trying to make Him say otherwise, no matter how nice it sounds.

This becomes especially important in regards to the episode with Wisdom, when she asks Mack to choose which of his children will go to Heaven, and which to Hell, and likens it to how what it would be like for God to send people to Hell. Whether or not Young believes in Hell is unclear.

The problem with the parallel is that, where does the Bible say that God will send His children to Hell? Where does it say that all of the people are children of God?

I think his idea is misleading.

No comments: