I love reading C.H. Spurgeon. I love reading A.W. Tozer. And I love reading C.S. Lewis. They all wrote books lifting the name of Jesus Christ on high. All wrote of His greatness and majesty. To them, even now, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11
William Paul Young, in his new book, 'lies we believe about God" writes of a god who partners with us, co-creates with us. A god who is on our level. And a god who submits to man.
"The language of God is about partnering, to co-creating, and participating, it's about an invitation to dance and play and work and grow." Page 62
So very different.
I've never bowed down to a partner or a fellow participate. I do bow down before the almighty God.
Throughout the book there is a theme that God submits to man. This is a concerning issue. It's an attack on God's sovereignty. On His Holiness. On His Lordship.
It sounded so similar to the new age teachings of co-creating and combined effort to make the world better. Neale Donald Walsch ( an occult/new age author) says here on page 157 of his book 'Conversations with God'...
"...let me make something clear. The era of the single Savior is over. What is needed now is joint action, combined effort, collective co-creation."
This is eerily similar to the tone in this book.
This book is filled with errors. One right after the other. Page after page. At one point in chapter eleven, 'God blesses my politics,' I thought, finally, a chapter I can agree on, but then I got to the end and he says this:
"Government is not instituted by or originated by God." Page 103
2 Chronicles 20:6 says:
“O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?"
And here in Psalm 103:19:
"The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all."
God rules/governs over the nations...He always has and always will.
Again, the author belittles the sovereignty of God.
I found the author quoted 'The Shack' more than the Bible and when he did use Scripture he used it out of context, twisting it's meaning and at one point makes it up himself.
In chapter 17, where he says it's a lie that the cross was God's idea, he quotes a few verses from Isaiah chapter 53 (not telling us what verses) The first part of the quote 'kind of' sounds like verse 4, and the second part? I have no idea. It's not in the Bible, yet he quotes it like it is.
"Although he bore our sin and suffered at our hands, yet we considered him punished and afflicted and stricken by God...and in Jesus, God encountered/embraced (paga in Hebrew) our twisted rebellion and brokenness." Page 151
What verse is this? He has no notes to back anything up.
Here is Isaiah 53:4...
"Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted."
This is dangerous ground.
A.W. Tozer says here and I agree:
"God's words are not for me to edit and tinker with, but to believe and obey."
The author also didn't use Scripture to back up his claims and ideas, but instead used story and quotes from his own writings. This was disconcerting and left me feeling cheated.
It's very clear now that he wrote 'The Shack' to share his own ideas about his god.
Don't be fooled by his ideas.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction." Prov. 1:7
Now lets get to the part where he finally admits he is a universalist.
From chapter 13 where he teaches you don't have to get saved...
"Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!" Page 118
...in Acts 16 a keeper of the prison Paul and Silas were in, was about to kill himself after an earthquake had opened all the prison doors. Paul yelled at him “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Acts 16:28
The keeper than asked them “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30
They answered... “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31
So what does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
It means to put your trust fully in Him. To put your faith in who He is and what He says.
In Luke chapter 13 there is a conversation between Jesus and his followers that goes like this...
"There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
'I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
'Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
'I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5
What is Jesus saying?
He is saying, unless you repent, no matter who you are or what you have done, you will not be saved, you will perish.
Perish means: suffer death, typically in a violent way, sudden, or untimely way: Suffer complete ruin or destruction.
Not easy to read, but meant to be believed and obeyed. Why?
Because He is God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Another chapter that was upsetting to me was chapter 3, 'God is in control' which the author believes is a lie.
In this chapter he refutes that God has a plan for humanity.
He says here:
"What if there is no 'plan' for your life but rather a relationship in which God constantly invites us to co-create, respectfully submitting to the choices we bring to the table?" Page 39
There's that co-creating again and God submitting to our choices? What?
God does have a plan and He does not submit to ours.
Our plans come to nothing and have no effect...
"The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." Psalm 33:10-12
Again, the author belittles the sovereignty of God.
To love God is to love who He is, and He is sovereign. What does that mean?...
"a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler. a person who has supreme power or authority."
Is Jesus a friend of sinners? Yes, but He is also the King of kings and Lord of Lords. And He is close to those who humble themselves before Him.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way. Psalm 25:9
For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15
The author uses the story of Abraham and Isaac to make his point that God does not require a sacrifice.
He says here:
"Read again the story of Abraham and Isaac. (It's in Genesis, chapter 22). This is not a story about God requiring child sacrifice, but rather the opposite. The point of the story is that God will step into our darkness and speak our language in order to reveal something we didn't know: that this God does not require child sacrifice." Page 171
This is the most twisted view of Scripture I've ever read.
The story of Abraham and Isaac IS about the requirement of God sacrificing His Son.
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" Romans 8:32
Charles Spurgeon says of the story of Abraham and Isaac...
"Christ is certainly to be seen upon Mt. Moriah where the beloved Isaac willingly bound, and laid upon the alter, is a living foreshadowing of the Well-Beloved of heaven yielding His life as a ransom."
I highly recommend you read Charles Spurgeon's sermon on this topic. I've linked it here... Spurgeon's sermon
The story of Abraham and Isaac is a story foretelling what was to come. A Savior who would die in our place, take our punishment that we deserve, and set, those who believe in him, free.
I've decided 19 chapters is enough. I'm not going to read any further. There is so much more error then I've shared here, but this 'conversation' has just become to spiritually unhealthy.
Instead, I'm going to get on my knees and humble myself before God, thanking Him that He sent His son for me. Thanking Him for dying in my place. Thanking Him for taking the punishment I deserve and thanking Him for who He is...my Sovereign Lord.
"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Timothy 4:16
*Note - I thought I'd share this link to another review that may be helpful... Unshackled: The god of WM. Paul Young