I've never read the Shack. Nor do I have any plans to do so. But it has certainly been causing a stir lately as the movie comes out in just a few weeks.
Personally, I didn't think there were any serious Shack supporters within the circles that hang out in but I noticed the comment below on Facebook:
"I have read the [Shack]. I did not think it was blasphemous. I thought it portrayed the Father Son and Holy Spirit in a way that this man could relate to them in his time of pain and definitely not that they would appear in the same way to anyone else. Just my point of view."
A few issue there but here's the one I'd like to focus on: it's not ok to think of God in any way we want. Whether we are in pain or joy. Sadness or jubilation. It's not ok to portray God in a way that makes Him more 'relatable' to us.
Primarily for the reason that He has already revealed Himself to us in the one way we can relate to Him. Our Triune God has set the parameters for which we may think of Him in His Word and has shown us that the way to Him is through the person and work of Christ. This doesn't 'limit' God's 'godness' but rather shows us who He is as He is. For example, Jesus says "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). It's not ok to worship God in anyway that is not 'truth'. And you or I don't get to define truth. Truth isn't just 'whatever feels true to me today,' rather, truth is objective. Truth is truth and that's the truth. Truth is the Word of God.
To worship our 'ideas' of what God is like separate from what the Bible actually reveals God to be like is idolatry. Time and again God scolds His people for not thinking of Him rightly (see Psalm 50:21 for example).
"Yeah but the Shack is fiction." Well, we've already seen how it causes people to give acceptance to 'any view of God goes as long as it works for you.' So, it maybe fiction, but it doesn't take away from its danger in making us think wrongly about God.
This Sunday we are beginning a new sermon series at our church on God's holiness. It didn't click with me until today just how closely this is connected to the current hubbub over the Shack. You see, God has revealed Himself to us as the Holy One. One eternal God in three co-equal and distinct persons. We didn't make up thinking about God this way. Instead, this is who God is and we know so because He has told us. So, I don't get to define God in such a way that 'works for me.' I don't get to say God's holiness means whatever I'd like it to mean today. I am obligated to define Him the way He defined Himself. Furthermore, I am only hurting my joy in Him when I seek to define Him in ways I think are more convenient for my circumstances. Only the eternal, Triune, holy God of the Bible can grant me life, satisfy my deepest longings, and pardon me of my sin against Him.
And if at this point you still don't see the big deal, consider what Jesus says the essence of eternal life is: "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3). You don't have eternal life if you don't know God. Yes, this isn't merely intellectually, but also gloriously relationally. However, it's impossible to be in a true relationship with someone you don't also actually know intellectually. Does this mean we must be able to exhaust God before we can have a relationship with Him? Of course not! For you cannot exhaust the inexhaustible! Our knowledge of God now barely scratches the surface of who He is. We will spend an eternity knowing Him and growing in our knowledge of Him. So, let us not think lightly about how we think of God. To consistently and consciously think of God in such a way that is wrong or contrary to Scripture suggests that we do not have eternal life. Again, that's just what the Bible says "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God." There aren't many versions of the only true God as if we are ok just because we use the term 'God' and 'Jesus'. No. There is One God and this God must be thought of the way He as told us to think of Him.
Let Scripture be your plumb line. But let it also be the hammer that smashes faulty thinking into dust. Let it be the chisel that conforms our mind and heart. Let it be the fire that burns obliterates all idols. Let it be the sword that protects us against any false teaching on the character and nature of God. Let it be the anchor that keeps us from drifting away. Let it be the light that shines on all that God is for us in the person and work of Christ. Let it be our treasure in the morning and our solace in the evening. Let us love it, not because it is an end in and of itself. But because it shows is the one true God. In Him and to Him be the glory alone. Amen.