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The Shack is Powerful Medicine with Dangerous Inactive Ingredients

Discussion in 'TV Shows and Movies' started by Mark Corbett, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    I heard about the book shortly after it came out, but I did not take time to read it. When I heard about the movie, I also did not initially plan to watch it.

    However, since the movie came out, two men whom I deeply respect, each independently shared with me how much they felt helped by watching The Shack. So yesterday my wife picked up the dvd from Red Box and we watched it. After sleeping on it, I’m ready to share some thoughts.

    The Shack is Like Good, Powerful Medicine which Unfortunately Contains Dangerous Inactive Ingredients

    Medicine contains both active and inactive ingredients. The active ingredients are those which are intended to help you. The inactive ingredients do things like provide a smooth coating, or give a distinctive color, or hold the active ingredients together. Drug manufacturers try to include only inactive ingredients which are safe. However, occasionally inactive ingredients have caused serious side effects and harm to those who take the medicine.

    The Shack is like medicine that contains some very helpful and powerful main ingredients. These are truths which can help people who have experienced deep heart wounds. Unfortunately, it also contains some elements which were not necessary to the goal of healing broken hearts. Some of these elements cause doubts about important truths we learn from the Bible. Many people who watch The Shack will barely notice these elements, and for many these elements will likely have little, if any, ill effects. But it is also likely that some people will be adversely affected in serious ways by these harmful and unnecessary parts of the story.

    The Good Stuff

    The reason The Shack blesses many people is that it contains powerful truths that are useful for healing people’s hearts after they have suffered terrible tragedies. Also, the author of The Shack is a gifted storyteller, and the format of the story makes these truths available to many people who might not find them in other places.

    Let’s review some of these truths. The Shack effectively communicates these truths, but it certainly did not invent them or discover them. They come ultimately from God. I learned them from His Word, from Christian books, from other mature Christians, and through dealing with hurt in my own life and ministering to others who have experienced deep hurt.

    1. Really terrible, ugly, evil things happen in this world. The people who are victims of this evil are deeply affected by it at many levels.

    2. While evil harms us in many ways, the most significant harm is the way tragedy can warp our view of God and damage our relationship with Him.

    3. It’s not God’s fault. It is true that God allows evil temporarily, but God is not the one who did the evil and God never approves of evil.

    4. God does love you and He wants a relationship with you. This is true no matter how much you have sinned and no matter how strongly you have rebelled against Him.

    5. Forgiveness is a vital part of the healing process. If we have been hurt by someone, unforgiveness hurts us much more than it hurts them. But forgiveness is not easy. We need God’s help.

    6. Believing God’s promises about eternal life in a perfect world is absolutely essential to the healing process.

    7. We don’t need to dwell in the past. It is not helpful to fill our minds with past evil. However, we do need to apply God’s truths specifically to past evil events, and this does sometimes involve revisiting these events. This needs to be done in a safe setting full of God’s loving presence and support.

    8. God is all about relationship. Healing happens as we are engaged in a loving relationship with God.

    9. We can do amazing things when we are walking with Jesus.

    10. As God heals us, He also begins to use us to heal other people. God does not cause evil, but He does bring good out of evil.

    These good lessons (and more) are on display in The Shack. They are true, relevant, and important. People who have watched the movie have been helped by these truths.

    The Bad

    Unfortunately, Paul Young, the author of The Shack, holds to and teaches some really bad theology. Thankfully, this bad theology is not strongly emphasized in The Shack. For the most part, these errors are only hinted at. As a result, many people who watch The Shack may be helped by the truth it contains without being infected by the elements of false teaching which are woven into it.

    Since the false teaching is mostly just hinted at, you may wonder how we can even knows that Young holds certain wrong beliefs. The reason is that he has told us so. At the same time that the movie was released, Young also released a non-fiction book, Lies We Believe About God. In this book, Young attacks key elements of the gospel and undermines important Biblical truths. For two good reviews of this book, see Gavin Ortlund’s article and Tim Challie’s article.

    So what are these terrible errors (and they really are terrible, and will harm a person greatly if they embrace them). Here are a few:

    1. Young does not believe that anyone needs to believe the Bible’s teaching about Jesus in order to have their sins forgiven and be saved. He believes that everyone is already saved, whether they have faith in Jesus or not. Young writes,

    The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibility of salvation and you have been invited to receive Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into his life, into his relationship with God the Father, and into his anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less or more true. (117–18 of Lies We Believe About God, quoted out of Ortlund’s review).​

    This one error is so serious that I would be opposed to allowing Young, or anyone else who believes this, to teach at my church.

    2. Young also denies that our sin separates us from God. He does not believe anyone will be destroyed in Hell. He believes that everyone will end up with God in Heaven.

    3. The error which is most explicitly portrayed in the film is that Young denies that God has wrath. It is one thing not to focus on God’s wrath, it is another thing to outright deny that wrath is a part of God’s response to evil in the world. Correctly understood, understanding God’s wrath can help us heal from evil. I’m glad that God wants to redeem people who have done evil. I’m glad He redeemed me. But, I’m also glad that God is angry at evil and that people who refuse to repent will eventually suffer God’s wrath. I thank God for His love AND for His justice. Young, undermines the Bible’s teaching about God’s justice.

    4. Young undermines belief in the foundational doctrine of substitutionary atonement. He creates doubt about whether Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sins by taking the penalty that we deserved.

    These are not the only errors. But these errors are so serious that they will deeply damage, if not destroy, the faith of those who embraces them. Thankfully, most who watch The Shack will barely notice these errors, much less embrace them. Still, they pose a significant danger.

    Pastoral Comments and Thoughts

    I want to close with some thoughts about how to respond to all this.

    1. I thank God for those who have been helped by the truths which are powerfully communicated in The Shack.

    2. We should not discourage people who have been helped by The Shack. We should affirm and reinforce the truths they saw in the movie. Some of the people who are most likely to be helped by the movie are deeply wounded. They don’t need to hear us attacking something which God has used to help them.

    3. We can ask people who saw the movie, “What did you get out of it?”. When they mention something positive and true, thank God and encourage them. If they happen to mention one of the errors (which thankfully are less obvious), we can show them truth from the Bible.

    4. We should be constantly, gently, lovingly, prayerfully, sharing the ten “good truths” I mentioned above. These truths are especially important for people who have been harmed by terrible evil.

    5. Some people, due to being wounded by evil, are isolated from many sources of Christian truth and help. We should thank God that some of these people will be helped by a movie. We should pray that the truths seen in the movie will lead them into healthy, evangelical churches and Biblical truth.

    6. I personally do not feel comfortable recommending The Shack to people because of the errors woven into it. However, I do not judge others who do recommend the book or movie. Some may judge that the good done by the story outweighs the risk of harm done by the subtle errors.

    7. We should continue to believe and teach all of God’s truth. The best defense against false teaching is true teaching. We should base our beliefs on the Bible, which is God’s Word. We should gently correct those who are confused or led astray by any false teaching. When necessary, we should boldly oppose false teaching.

    Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

    This OP is a lightly modified version of a post on my blog.
     
  2. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    The Shack is pure heresy. Trash coughed up from the pit of Hell.
     
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  3. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Wrong version the Trinity, wrong salvation message, pretty much gospel according to Satan!
     
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  4. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Sorry to say I read the book... Well did you see the movie?... I read the book and then I threw the book away... This fool and his money was parted from him once... I'm wiser now and it won't happen again... I learned a great lesson from the book... Don't see the movie... Brother Glen:D
     
    #4 tyndale1946, Jun 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
  5. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Active Member

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    So far I think everyone agrees that we would not recommend Paul Young as a theology teacher. I would not allow him to teach at the church I serve. But here's a different question. Imagine you had a friend who had suffered some really painful stuff growing up. Your friend struggles in their relationship with God because of this. All on their own, they go and see The Shack. Afterwards they enthusiastically tell you how they cried during the movie, and how it really helped them to see that what happened in their past was not God's fault and that God does love them despite their messed up life. How would you respond to your friend?
     
  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I would tell them that the real God is not the One of the Shack, and introduce them to the real Jesus!
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I would tell them that I am thankful that the movie helped them to realize this truth, and that God does indeed love them. I would suggest that, as great of an impact the movie had in revealing this to them, this impact is only a scratch in the surface in terms revealing the depth of the love of God. Perhaps this would be a good time to study His own revelation to us.
     
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  8. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The only real impact comes when the Holy spirit does his work, and find it hard to believe that He will bless either a movie or a book that denies His truths concerning God, man, and salvation!
     
  9. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yes, God's work is often unbelievable.
     
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  10. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    I would tell them God does not live in a shack as Jesus told us where he really lives... I don't know about you friend but I want to live in a Mansion... When Jesus comes again I'm exchanging this old shack for a Mansion... Brother Glen:D

    John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

    14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

    14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.


    I thought maybe you brethren would enjoy a song This Old House... Give it a listen and get your feet a tapping.

     
    #10 tyndale1946, Jul 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
  11. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Active Member

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    Indeed, God does not live in a shack, but . . .

    NIV Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    True, but then again, The Lord God is not the 3 pictured in the Shack!
     
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