“If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.
For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.”
—J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: 1993), 201-202
- Why is a critical (as in critical thinking) reading of this book essential?
- People are not reading this book as a work of fiction. As I encounter more people who have read the book, I hear more gushing over how they understand god (lower case on purpose) better than they ever have!
- Most heresies begin with the nature of who God is. If "The Shack" teaches a different god than the God of Scripture, and if the god/goddess of the book is the god/goddess that people are believing in and trusting - they are trusting a false god.
- As humans, we build for ourselves the god that we think we need - which is not necessarily the God that our Holy Father has chosen to reveal Himself as in His Inspired Word.
- As we build the god that we think we need - the god that we want, we humanize that which cannot be brought down to our human level.
So here are the questions to keep in mind as I read "The Shack":
- How does the god/goddess of the book differ from the God that reveals Himself in Scripture?
- What are the positives that can be learned from the book and can they be easily separated from the false teachings?
- How will I discuss what can be learned with people who are enthusiastic about "The Shack", with grace while teaching what is wrong with the book - how can I help others understand the difference?
- How will this book enrich my walk with God - whether as a positive teaching of forgiveness, or as a negative awareness of the danger of false teaching?