16 June 2010

New Book Examines Seduction of "The Shack"

A recently published book by James De Young tackles the now ever-popular topic of theology in the runaway bestseller The Shack. De Young's book, entitled Burning Down 'The Shack': How the 'Christian' Bestseller is Deceiving Millions promises to approach Paul Young's book chapter by chapter, taking each theological issue to task. World Net Daily reports:
As a seminary professor and a former colleague and neighbor of the author of "The Shack," James De Young has a unique perspective on the mega-best-selling work of fiction that has captured the hearts of many wounded Christians and skeptics and become the topic of sermons and Bible classes in churches nationwide. 
While well aware of the testimonies of many who claim they have experienced emotional and spiritual healing from the book's portrayal of God, De Young warns in a newly released book of his own that "The Shack" author William Paul Young's primary intent was not to tell a good story that happened to contain theology but to teach an unorthodox view of God he claims changed his life. 
Undergirding "The Shack," De Young told WND in an interview, is an age-old heresy – universal reconciliation – that diminishes the work of Jesus on the cross and the holiness and justice of God by asserting that everyone eventually will be saved from eternal damnation.
Now, with 10 million copies in print, "The Shack" has been on numerous best-seller lists for more than two years and become an iconic work among enthusiastic evangelicals, with many buying multiple copies to hand out to their friends.
But De Young believes the acceptance of "The Shack" by evangelicals and their institutions is evidence of a church in need of renewal. 
"I'm really dismayed to see that Christian publishers and radio programs, TV programs have basically imbibed the feel-good spirit of 'The Shack' and have not critically examined the theology," he told WND. "If you point that out to them they feel offended. They feel that you're being overly critical. They feel something like, 'Well, you can't you look beyond the doctrine and appreciate the story.'"
De Young laments "a great lack of discernment" in Christian media and publishing that is willing to "look askance at the doctrine" if a book enjoys widespread popularity and makes a lot of money. 
[...] De Young said the book's "Christian bearings and overtones" encourage many Christians to accept the book and its message, particularly those unaware of the teaching of universalism.
[...] Churches have failed, he said, to teach the meaning of biblical inspiration and the authority of Scripture, so "people begin to form their own doctrinal positions and beliefs based upon not only the teaching of Scripture but other things they hear elsewhere." 
Read the entire World Net Daily article here.
Coincidentally, my copy of De Young's book just arrived in the mail today. I may have to pray one of Steven Furtick's famous "Sun Stand Still Prayers" in order to find time to read it, but I will be sure to share my thoughts once I've finished! In the meantime, if you'd like to know more about James De Young and this book, listen to this episode of In the Market with Janet Parshall.

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