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I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. -- Galatians 1: 6-9 (ESV)
The movie The Shack opened last week and undiscerning Christians everywhere are singing its praises and pretending God is somehow moving through this heretical pile of garbage. I have read stories of Christians organizing makeshift altars at the theaters and calling people down to give their lives to this false christ presented in celluloid. It is time to stop pulling punches beloved. The Bible is very clear on these matters. It says you can believe in vain. It says you can spend your whole life honestly believing you are serving God only to get to the last day and discover that He never even knew you. Matters of eternal life literally hang in the balance when we deal with matters of faith and what we choose to place ours in. Seriously, just take a second to read the key verses from Paul's letter to the Church in Galatia. Does it sound like he is joking? Does he sound as if these are trivial matters to be waved off with a nod and a wink? Let me break this down for you:
1) Believing in any other gospel means you desert Jesus Christ -- period.
2) There is no other real Gospel but His.
3) People will be troubled by people seeking to distort the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
4) If anyone, including angels, were to ever present a different gospel -- may they be cursed!
Are we getting the picture? Because it sure seems as if those who call themselves the church are deserting Christ as fast as the Galatians once did and this is their call to come back before it is too late. Whatever new wind of doctrine that tickles the ears and sparks the imagination has the church chasing them down like a dog after a rabbit. It is hard enough for the sheep to properly discern these days with such poor doctrine taught overall and more attention paid to the building fund than to doing the work of a Berean. The purpose driven mindset is theological mush. Those who demand sound doctrine are deemed legalists and blessedly subtracted from the sheepfold. The sermons are a hodgepodge of motivational seminars and self-help lessons with a little Christianese thrown in to give the appearance of piety. The worship is man centered. The doctrine is man centered. Is it any wonder then that so many would fall for the man centered heresies of The Shack? The truly sad thing is the pastors appear to fall for it just as easily because they are used to teaching so sloppily:
The above link is to a new article by a local pastor from New Orleans who has come out in favor of The Shack. He does so besides acknowledging the rank errors found throughout it. This is what the purpose driven mindset does. It creates compromising hearts and double minded Christians. It believes in the ridiculous analogy of eating the meat and spitting out the bones. One day under that thinking you choke to death. The poison in rat poison is less than one percent but it still kills the rat. Jesus said a little leaven will eventually leaven the entire lump. The purpose driven mind doesn't care because it cannot discern. It is about entertainment so vehicles like The Shack are tools to draw people into their churches. Purpose driven leadership is about emotionalism so The Shack is in fact a near perfect vehicle for them as it elicits such raw emotional responses from people. The problem is these are confused with spiritual experiences when they are far from it. Let us reason together as we go through the mind of a purpose driven pastor regarding The Shack:
"I had read criticisms of the author's portrayal of the Trinity, the gender of Papa (God) being that of a woman, and the near Universalist theology to which the book alludes. I also read reviews that celebrated the arc of the story of God's kind invitation to Mack, his redemption and the deliberative journey he experienced through the process of forgiveness and healing in the face of gut-wrenching circumstances." -- Jonathan Wiggins
So someone who fancies themselves a pastor starts by fully acknowledging that The Shack portrays God as a woman and that the overall theology espoused is "near Universalist." For the uninformed, Universalism is the belief that everyone goes to heaven, as we see in this quote:
"Jesus said, "Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptist or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my beloved."
Except Jesus did not say this. The Shack character that plays Jesus says it. This is not "alluding" to Universalism; it is the definition of it. God has no desires to make anyone Christian? Really? All a Christian means is a Christ follower. On the flip side of this opening admission to rank heresy, Pastor Wiggins balances it with the fact that he has heard that many people liked the story and the overall themes of forgiveness and healing. Mind you, not Biblical forgiveness and healing but pure carnality. You see the character Mack has to forgive the man who killed his child. He is also quite angry with God and must forgive Him as well. So while the story portrays itself as this grand plea for forgiveness there is no actual mention of sin; which is the thing we must all be forgiven for. Oh wait, I am wrong; as The Shack does address sin:
"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."
This statement alone should make all discerning Christians abhor The Shack. This is a key component of Universalism -- that there is no punishment for sin. This careless theology mixes things that sound right with things that will send you right to hell. Jesus did indeed "cure" sin in that His blood covers us on the Day of Judgment. That is not how the cure is presented in The Shack however. The author makes it abundantly clear that there is no need to repent. This quote is from God Himself in The Shack. If God does not need to punish sin then He is a liar. He is not a God of justice at all. Think about these things beloved and pray on them. Reflect how deeply offensive they must be to a holy God. Back to the article:
"I walked into the theater understanding the purpose of this book and the resulting movie was never to be a theological treatise any more than other fictional works that allude to various aspects of the Christian faith. I walked in thinking The Shack fits in a mostly non-theological-but-faith-friendly category with other important works like the Lord of the Rings or the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."