I hate to be a frumpy, grumpy old man, but if the new movie, The Shack, is true to the book of the same name, it is really whacked.
If you're not familiar with it – the runaway bestseller was released in 2007 and was simultaneously praised AND criticized across the theological spectrum.
And it is royally messed up. Which is hard to say from watching the previews! Because the previews are heart-wrenching, heart-warming, with good actors, and it looks like it would be a good Christian movie.
Unfortunately, that's not the case.
Interesting that the star of The Shack is the same guy from Avatar. I like him! And both movies have a religious aspect, neither of which is Christian. Obviously, Avatar has an otherworldly, science fiction religion that the author "made up" for the story.
In the book The Shack, the author also, "made up" the religion for the story.
How can you say that David?!? It's a Christian book! It's been endorsed by some famous Christians! The author says it's Christian! The MARKETING CAMPAIGN SAYS IT'S CHRISTIAN. NOBODY WOULD LIE IN A MARKETING CAMPAIGN.
Really? I get so weary of folks accepting that everything called Christian just must be. Jesus Himself said people would come in His name – not to save you but to deceive you! Jesus the Son of God said don't just accept something because someone stamps His name on it! You can read it yourself here: Matthew 24:5.
Here's the bottom line on The Shack: If anyone truly believes God's Word to be, well ... God speaking, then "anyone" should realize that the author of The Shack doesn't believe what God Himself has already said and he (the author) has made up his own version of a god.
I lost count after about six heresies (beliefs contrary to Christian doctrine) in the book, so I'll bullet point four major ones.
Here's a little bit of what I mean:
1. In the book, God the Father presents Himself as Goddess the Mother. Apparently, the god of the Shack was suffering from the same gender confusion our culture is experiencing!
Think I'm overstating?
God the father/mother speaking, "For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning."
Woman? Papa? Which is it??? The author made God transgendered way back in 2007! Way before Target let men in the women's bathroom!
This in spite of the fact that God has chosen to verbally and specifically call Himself, "God the Father" from the time of Adam and Eve all the way through His Word to Revelation.
For at least 5,000 years God has deliberately chosen to represent Himself as God the Father.
That alone should be enough to trash the book. According to the Shack – Jesus blew it when He prayed "Our Father in heaven." Jesus should've prayed, "Our Mother in the Shack."
When we start making God in whatever form WE choose, we might as well make Him into anything – a piece of wood, Chewbacca, Kanye "Yeezus" West, whatever. It doesn't matter – because we're making it up as we go along and that's ALL idol worship.
And personally? I don't ever want to stand before God and explain why I decided His description of Himself was SOOOO inadequate that I, in my finite ignorance, chose to change it. That's the definition of arrogance and foolishness.
Note: Later in the book the god the mother turns into a ponytailed old man hippy. I'm really not sure which is more annoying ...
2. The Jesus of the Shack is a counterfeit Jesus (kind of a karmic/universalist Jesus).
Referring to Buddhists, Mormons, and Muslims, Jesus of the Shack declares "I have no desire to make them Christian," (wait, wut?) and paints Christians as religious fanatics and part of a sinful world system. That may be a lot of things, but that's not the Jesus of history OR the Bible.
Jesus also tells Mack that he is "the best way any human can relate to Papa (god the father/mother) or Sarayu (The Shack holy spirit)."
Best way of what? Many ways? Lots of ways? "Best" implies there are options for relating to God.
Jesus said He is the only way:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." John 14:6
One way. Not "best" way. Only way.
3. The goddess of The Shack doesn't punish sin. "She," says, "I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It's not my purpose to punish it; it's my joy to cure it."
The author is making it up as he goes along ....
The real God does take joy in saving people. That's what John 3:16 is all about. But:
God NEEDS to punish sin because He is a just and good God.
Crooked evil judges let the guilty go free. Crooked judges must themselves be brought to justice.
God is NOT a crooked judge. He's a good judge. He's love and justice. So He must punish sin.
She (the goddess of the Shack) says, "In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship."
If all humans are forgiven, then all go to heaven, even Hitler. Lest you think I'm making too much of this, the author of The Shack has refused to affirm that only the sins of those who repent are forgiven (read more by clicking here-last paragraph).
God has not forgiven all sins. In Acts 3:19 Peter says, "Repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away."
God's punishment: "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life." Matthew 25:46 (NLT)
God really punishes sin. Every. Single. Bit.
But Jesus willingly took my place, so that if I repent of my sin, and follow Him, His sacrifice will wipe all my sins away.
4. It's irreverent. I'm not quite sure how to communicate this in a way that sounds "right" when I write it, but the Jesus of the Shack is just a little bit of a ridiculous goof. He's dropping stuff on the floor and chasing fish that He can't catch and talks like a child at times (according to the author).
66 books in the Bible, lots and lots of words – so wordy! But God never presents Jesus like that. Ever.
So those are my top four reasons The Shack is wrong, whacked, wretched and the worst.
Now you might say:
a. "But David, it's fiction!"
So if it's fiction, anything goes? Like I could write a book about how Jesus didn't die, didn't rise from the grave but married and had little Jesuses, and the church covered it up for 2,000 years? That would be ok?
Then how come Christians got all worked up about the DaVinci Code? It was just fiction.
b. "But David come on! It has caused some people to hunger for God!"
Ok! All aboard the money train! I'm publishing a picture book that presents Jesus as Ariana Grande! I'm sure lots of the 12 to 30 male crowd will have an increased hunger for my Jesus, and I'll get rich!
Is that what we've come to? As long as the "Jesus" you present makes people hungry, it's good? I'm hungry for the bacon god!
Here's the issue that's critical for our souls:
Run from anyone that tries to sell you a different God than THE One revealed in His Word. Worship God the Father, creator of heaven and earth. God the Son, who died for our sins and rose to give us eternal life, and God the Holy Spirit, our counselor, and comforter.
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11 (NLT)
Amen and amen.