The Shack

Dear Fellow Clergy:

The novel, *The Shack,* is getting tremendous amount of play nationally. The book is currently ranked number eight in sales on The story is a fictionalized account of a man, Mack Phillips, who is emotionally dealing with the brutal murder of his young daughter. Mack is overwhelmed with questions about the suffering of the innocent, and as a result, has an unusual encounter with the Holy Trinity in a shack. Yes, I said a shack. In the novel, the Trinity is an African-American woman (the Father), a Middle Eastern man (the Son), and the Holy Spirit is an Asian songstress named Sarayu. The book has major theological problems: modalism, rejection of Biblical hierarchy, overemphasis on free-will to the neglect of God's sovereignty, and a misunderstanding of the concept of submission, feminism, etc. Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church Seattle, addresses these concerns here ( seven minute YouTube video) and Tim Challies, a Reformed blogger/reviewer, writes here.

If your folks have gotten fascinated by this book, I would suggest addressing these theological problems on May 18, Trinity Sunday. Get a good simple systematic theology like Wayne Grudem's. For the everyday layperson, Grudem does an excellent job of explaining the key issues surrounding the doctrine of the Trinity. Read again the church's classic understanding of the Trinity. In the simplest manner possible, explain the main points concerning the Trinity using basic scripture texts. Your congregation will not be bored. Your folks will be excited about being equipped to defend the Historic Christian faith. You do not need to mention the book, *The Shack.* However, you may want to show the cultural relevance of your sermon by pointing to the current controversy.

As Article One of The Thirty-Nine Article states:

Faith in the Holy Trinity:
There is only one living and true God, who is eternal and without body, indivisible and invulnerable. He is of infinite power, wisdom and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible. Within the unity of the Godhead there are three persons who are of one substance, power and eternity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Christus Victor,
Cn. Glenn

"Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life.It is worse than useless; it does positive harm.Something of 'the image of Christ' must be seenand observed by others in our private life, andhabits, and character, and doings." --J.C. Ryle

1 comment:

Joshua said...

To deny the Trinity is to raise the spectre of Modalism, Sabellianism, and modalistic monarchianism; Heretics of the second and third centuries that were all refuted by the earliest of our church fathers like Hippolytus of Rome, Tertullian, and Demetrius Patriarch of Alexandria.

All Christians hold the unity in Trinity of God as a fundamental doctrine.

Yet there are modern variants even today such as Oneness Pentecostal who are also in some respects 'Modern Montanists'.

Oneness theology teaches that there is only one person in the Godhead whose name is Jesus. (albiet The Christ Child was named by his father Joseph, to be Yashua) Jesus is the Father and the Holy Spirit. Regarding His incarnation, Oneness theology teaches say that Jesus was in heaven at the same time that He was on earth. This theology neglects the scrpture when Christ was praying in the garden, (Luke 22:42), "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."

This teaching has of course no grounding, and it is refuted at length by Tertullian as Heresy.

The sect of Moalism probably died out about the middle of the third century, and can never have been numerous. All our knowledge of it goes back to Hippolytus and Tertullian.

This is very disconcerting theology it is adhered by the mormons, and Jehovah's witness... it appears to be gaining strength and followers... yet in our 2000yr history these things have come and gone an important thing to remember is that we need to take our time, not just years but centuries, and see how these things play out... we have all the time we need to figure out these problems... yes it may appear thet the end is near but it has always been so, and these dangerous theologies must always be countered, not debated or considered but countered...

There is a resonable debate at: with some good video.