Wednesday, January 14, 2009

scraps from The Shack

I have written a review of The Shack separately.

Here, I want to split out a host of interesting passages...

on sola scriptura...

In seminary, [Mac] had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God's voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects....Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. (p. 65-66)

Of course, few of the "authorities" would describe it in this manner. But here, Young (intentionally?) echoes what would be an able critique of the Pharisees.

The question of God in a book, only, takes us to legalism (religion as rules) and a key aspect of hermeneutics (the over-emphasis on literalism when not appropriate and seeing Scripture as the "only authority" rather than the "ultimate authority".

on salvation and universalism...

Jesus: "Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions....I have no desire to make them Christians, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of [God], into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved."

Mac: "Does that mean that all roads will lead to you?"

Jesus: "Not at all. Most roads don't lead anywhere...[but] I will travel any road to find you." (p. 182)

Obviously, Young takes a more "inclusivist" view of salvation (one reason for some to dislike his book). But it's not universalism, since "all roads" won't get you there-- and by implication, most roads won't get you there.

Young also wants to take a poke at labels and categories-- and for good reason.

Here's one more:

God: "...what Jesus accomplished on the cross...through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world."

Mac: "The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?"

God: "The whole world, Mack. All I am telling you is that reconciliation is a two-way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally. It is not the nature of love to force a relationship but it is the nature of love to open the way."

This reminds me of Col 1:20 and the verse William cited a few posts ago, I Tim 4:10.

There are other areas of potential disagreement or discomfort with Young's effort-- in particular, in his depiction of the Trinity and the members of the Trinity. (Interestingly, God the Father is without gender. For Young, the depiction is a woman named "Papa".) But I can't describe those easily with excerpts-- and I don't want to spoil it for those who might read it! So, I'll leave it here...


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