So I was listening to Mark Driscoll talking about the Trinity today, and he was talking about the Shack. which our church has recommended people read. I don’t usually post my disagreements with other church leaders on here, but I just had to. And normally I think Driscoll is encouraging and challenging in a good way, I totally dig on his teaching. But I couldn’t let this one go, because he’s painting everyone who reads this book as a Heretic, and that’s just wrong and it’s not his job.
I think that the biggest struggle that Driscoll is having with the book is Metaphor. William Young is not saying that God is a woman, or that the Holy Spirit is an asian chick. The whole thing is a metaphor trying to get across one of the most complex issues in our doctrine in an accessible way.
Driscoll argues that the book proposes modalism, which is a weak arguement because throughout the story you see that the Trinity is independent and yet unified. They are all working together, in Community and Love.
Pilgrim’s Progress, Hind’s Feet on High Places, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the Shack are all efforts to teach people the love and grace and mercy of God in a way that is accessible. Are they going to get it 100% accurate to the nth degree? Are they going to throw footnotes in all over the place? No. It’s a story, it’s a metaphor. If it helps people get a grasp on the love of God, and if it sets them in the right direction to ask more questions and to continue to pursue Jesus then it has worked.
Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like a woman who lost a coin and went looking for it. In all this kingdom of God, are we really just under the bed of this woman who is doing her spring cleaning? No, it’s a metaphor. So is the Shack.
The struggle that I am having with these hip, cool, new reformed Pastors is that they are uncomfortable with metaphor, and questions. And the danger is that they are going to get into a place where they are looked at like just the Reincarnate Jerry Falwell (but they vote democrat instead of republican).
Dude, It’s a Metaphor! You can’t read it like a treatise. Relax, breathe, take you meds and lay off the red bull.
11 thoughts on “Dude, It’s a Metaphor!”
Great post. I love it when people get all fired up about something that is “just a story.” I agree, no more Red Bull.
Smells a little bit Da Vinci Code to me…
Hopefully I’ll get time to read The Shack soon.
Do you think he really read the book?
I have been melted by the love of God in a powerful way because of The Shack. As I came to terms with how unconditional God’s love is for me I experienced a freedom that words can’t describe– all bitterness that I had towards others vanished! The challenge is this– God’s love is something that will never be recieved and understood intelectually. I was a full time pastor for almost a decade and struggled greatly because I was blind to the person of Father God. I helped no one by giving out my biblical formulas. Pauls words in Galatians have helped set me free and The Shack was more fuel to the fire. If you want to learn more spiritual knowledge please don’t read The Shack. If you want to encounter the living God you may want to get yourself a copy. I hope you are devasted by His love like myself and many others that I know!
Brian thanks for those thoughts.
Julie, I don’t want to speculate on whether or not Driscoll read the book.
Jesse, Don’t worry, there are no codes in this entire book, and no mysterious albinos out for blood.
Pastor Mark’s heart is to defend the truth and the Bible. If there is anything that is putting doubt in the church and in a believers mind, he will defend that which God has entrusted him with. It is the same heart that Paul had throughout the New Testament. Paul was constantly calling out false teachers and false beliefs. Unfortunately, books like this (as well as the Divinci Code, will sadly become someone’s belief system and foundational truth).
I acknowledge as well as Pastor Mark would acknowledge that he is not in any way the Apostle Paul, but would gladly protect the truths of the Christian faith so that people are not skewed as to what Christians believe.
Secondly, I recently read a response from a professor at Western Seminary. It was very informative into the life of the author of THE SHACK. Not details about his struggles but just some warning about the true beliefs of the author.
Click to access ReviewofTheShack.pdf
Again he is a guy who personally knows the author and is very concerned for a dear friend and what he writes about.
There is also a very informative article on this link as well:
Again, I am a member at Pastor Mark’s church and I also grew up at FH. Pastor Mark’s heart in all that he says is to defend the bible and help people in his context receive the truth about the Bible.
We must also remember that his context is Seattle, WA and he says things a little different than he would if he was a pastor in Charlotte, NC. I am not saying whether this is right or wrong, but pastors are called to speak the language and the tone of their context.
Paul did this as well. He was the king of exaggeration and hyperbole.
Read what you want but please ask yourself this question: Is something wrong with God’s Word that it needs to be repackaged to “teach people the love and grace and mercy of God in a way that is accessible?” Let me get this straight, God did His best effort to teach people of His love, grace and mercy by giving us His Word and even died for the cause but this message on its own is not good enough? It needs some man-made “fixing up” to make it more relevant? Yikes!
People have been trying to communicate the truth’s of the Bible in ways that speak to that generation. Young is not the first, and he won’t be the last. Your point Greg drawn to it’s logical conclusion would end up saying, why have sermons? Why not just read the Bible, then go home. Sermons are taking the words of the Bible and trying to communicate those truths, “fixing them up” so that the words that are hard to understand can be made clear.
Just a thought.
My comment had nothing to do with sermons or expository teaching to help make things clearer. I don’t know where that conclusion came from and sorry if I caused the misunderstanding. It was aimed only at the idea I quoted that essentially implied God’s love, grace and mercy are not clearly “accessible” through His word alone. I respectfully disagree. Surely these things are the most evident truths. If someone reads the Bible and the Spirit does not make them abundantly evident, there is probably a bigger problem. I guess I just take the idea that faith comes from hearing the word of God to literally mean scripture. I would be concerned if someone told me they came to faith in Christ after reading the Shack. (Matthew 7)
Greg I don’t usually get this involved with comments, but are you saying that God can’t use a book like the shack to help people meet Jesus? Isn’t that limiting God? God can use all kinds of ways to get people’s attention back on his love and grace, and if he wants to use a book like the Shack, who are we to stop him?
The shack was written with good intentions, if people read it, and want to learn more about the Godhead, then that’s where people like you can help shape their theology.
Jason: I’m glad you are involved because it shows the limitation of the written word unless the author interprets the meaning – in a way my very point. No, I’m not saying God can’t use the Shack (or anything in His creation). Certainly His word proves He can. If the Shack TRULY helped someone, great. My hope is only to counter the claims that God is not accessible through His word. Above, Brian C. writes “If you want to learn more spiritual knowledge please don’t read The Shack. If you want to encounter the living God you may want to get yourself a copy.” He is making a claim (at least in part) that spiritual knowledge is separate from God and God can’t be found in His word. Imagine yourself standing in front of God and making such a claim! Wow! Does no one fear God anymore? Today many present a false (or at best incomplete) picture of God, like in the Shack. Let us not forget the God who after Satan and the angels fell, never sent them a savior; who caused Adam and Eve to hide in fear after one sin; who killed everyone on Earth (how many children?) except 8 people; and ordered Israel to kill everyone in the Promised Land, man, woman and child. Have we no fear of His absolute hate-filled reaction to and judgment of sin – statistics comparing today’s “church” with the world indicates we have forgotten. Doesn’t anyone read Matthew 7:21-23 and tremble that it might be referring to them? Most have been told a lie that if they ask Jesus into their heart, they are saved. You are saved when you are laid bare in front of God (Heb 4:13) and realize the only thing you have ever known is to sin (Gen 6:5, Gen 9:21, Isa 6:5, Rom 1-3, etc., etc.) and cry out for mercy and by faith believe in Christ and submit to his authority. So many people have a false hope. Read Ezekiel 36:22-32 and see the response (v31) AFTER salvation – loathing myself and my abominations. Most sit in church having “prayed a prayer” but since never had this reaction to sin or beatitude responses – realizing how spiritually poor I am, morning over my own sin, thirsting to be righteous, etc. God’s love becomes real to me and grows only when I realize how utterly unlovable I was (and still am!) (Rom5:8), not when I read the Shack. Let’s skip the Shack and go back to the Word of God and teach who God is and who I am (a wretch) and let the love of the Savior become real in the sinner’s heart.