I was warning Nazarenes and other Christians several years ago about The Shack. I passed out hundreds of copies of Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon, which is linked here. I watched in amazement as Dr. Josie Owens, a former District Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, recommended the novel as a great resource for pastors- at a District Assembly! I wonder to this day of any pastor at that assembly dared to confront her for her lack of discernment. I saw Sunday School teachers mindlessly quoting ideas from the book. Some would try to argue with me how this book is so, so good, and I marveled a their lack of biblical discernment.
Now, the novel will be in movie form. It is mind boggling the level of deception I have seen as a result of this book. I have read the book from start to finish, and it is compelling in many ways; it tugs at your heart and emotions. Yet, it is evil; I recognized it as evil; but why are so many Christians praising this book? Why are many saying it is better than the Bible? Why is there such a lack of discernment today?
I believe it is a direct result of a growing phenomenon, in which Christians are seeking to tickle their ears with whatever makes them feel good. Emotion is not necessarily bad, but when emotions take control of a Christian’s mind, while setting aside sound doctrine and biblical teaching, then that is a bad thing. And that is what is happening today. Many Christians go crazy over the latest “Christian” movie, not seeing the false teaching in it, and instead loving the “spirituality” and the “fuzzy, warn feelings it brings. They follow after their pastor’s recommendation for anything, without being like the Bereans, who themselves tested what the apostle Paul himself preached! They praise the music of the latest “Christian” artist, not testing the words of their songs or the doctrine of that popular artist.
1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
I am afraid that many of you out there who are singing the praises of The Shack; who are falling for every word your pastor may preach; who are jumping on the bandwagon of the latest “cool” Christian song; you are being deceived, and you need to get back to the word of God. It is the only thing that will keep you from apostasy, and from damaging your own Christian life. Heed the warnings. I know some of you who are friends who love The Shack. Will you heed the warnings?
A Summary of Dr. Youssef’s 13 Heresies in The Shack:
- God the Father was crucified with Jesus.
Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).
2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.
The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).
3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.
Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).
4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.
Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).
5. God will never judge people for their sins.
The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).
6. There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity.
The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.” Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit” (John 4:34, 6:44, 14:26, 15:26).
7. God submits to human wishes and choices.
Far from God submitting to us, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.” We are to submit to Him in all things, for His glory and because of what He has accomplished for us (Matthew 7:13-15).
8. Justice will never take place because of love.
The Bible teaches that when God’s love is rejected, and when the offer of salvation and forgiveness is rejected, justice must take place or God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for nothing (Matthew 12:20; Romans 3:25-26).
9. There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.
Jesus’ own description of hell is vivid … it cannot be denied (Luke 12:5, 16:23).
10. Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
11. Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.
Jesus, who dwells in the splendor of heaven, sits at the right hand of God, reigning and ruling the universe. The Bible says, “In Him there is no change, for He is yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 11:12, 13:8; James 1:17).
12. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life” (John 3:15, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40).
13. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.
The Bible is God-breathed. Sure, there were many men through 1,800 years who put pen to paper (so to speak), each from different professions and different backgrounds, but the Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. These men were writing the same message from Genesis to Revelation. If you want to read more about the place of Christ in the Scripture, read “We Preach Christ” (2 Timothy 3:16).