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LOVE WINS,  A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
Rob Bell, is in effect playing god, like so many before him. Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, L Ron Hubbard, Sun Myung Moon, Charles Taze Russell, the Pope, and the beat goes on, and on, and on. These all pretend to have esoteric knowledge, i.e. understandable by only an enlightened inner circle. They all regard themselves to be able to know some hidden interpretation of Scripture other than what is plainly stated. At least the others claim to have had some supernatural experience, or angelic guidance, but Rob, he just sucks his knowledge out of thin air, or worse yet relies on his heart, which the Bible says is “deceptive beyond all things.”

I will give credit to Rob for one thing, he got the title right. Unfortunately, everything else is wrong……

Read more: http://www.indywatchman.com/#ixzz1FGvsXN2t

By David Cloud

“The Shack” held first place on the New York Times bestseller list for Paperback Trade Fiction for many months. As of October 2009, it has sold ten million copies. It is being translated into 30 languages, and a motion picture is in the works.

Though its author, William Paul Young, is not a member of a church and is even reticent to call himself a Christian, and though its doctrine of God is grossly heretical, the novel is being touted as a helpful Christian book.

“The Shack” has been endorsed by Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, CCM artist Michael W. Smith, Eugene Peterson (Regent College professor and author of “The Message”), Mark Batterson (senior pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.), Wayne Jacobson, author of?So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore,” Gayle Erwin of Calvary Chapel, James Ryle of the Vineyard churches, and Greg Albrecht, editor of “Plain Truth” magazine. The premier issue of Rick Warren’s magazine, The Purpose Driven Connection, refers to The Shack as a “notable best-selling Christian” book (p. 24).

Young was one of the speakers at the February 2009 National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego, sponsored by Zondervan and InterVarsity Fellowship. The 1,500 attendees were pastors and Christian workers. Other speakers included Bill Hybels, Leighton Ford, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell. Young had his own break-out session and was interviewed in one of the general sessions by Andy Crouch, a senior editor of “Christianity Today.” It was said that 57% of the attendees had read “The Shack,” and Young was enthusiastically received. Crouch treated Young as a fellow believer and did not even hint that there might be a damnable theological problem with the way that God is depicted in the book. When Young said, “I don’t feel responsible for the fact that it [“The Shack”] is tampering with people’s paradigms” or how people think about God, the crowd responded with clapping, cheers, and laughter. The emerging church loves to tamper with traditional Bible doctrine and there is no fear of God for doing so!

Young was born in Alberta in 1955 but spent most of the first ten years of his life in Papua New Guinea with his missionary parents, who were ministering to a backwards tribal group called the Dani. He graduated from Warner Pacific College, which is affiliated with the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), with a degree in religion.
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In “The Shack,” Young presents traditional Bible-believing Christianity as hypocritical and hurtful. The book’s main character grew up under “rigorous rules,” and his father, who was an elder in the church, was “a closet drinker” and treated his family with cruelty when drunk (p. 7).

Hypocrisy is very injurious to the cause of Christ, but hypocrisy on the part of Christians does not disprove the Bible. Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4)! All too often this type of thing is used as an excuse by rebels. I know this by personal experience. In my youth I used the inconsistencies that I saw in Baptist churches to excuse my rejection of the church. The chief problem, though, was not the hypocrisy of others but my own rebellion and love for the world. When I repented of my wickedness at age 23 and turned to Christ and received the Bible as God’s holy Word, I stopped blaming others and took responsibility for myself before Almighty God.

Rules and obligations under God’s grace are not wrong. They are an integral part of Bible Christianity. We are saved by grace without works, but we are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). The New Testament epistles are filled with rules and obligations that believers are expected to keep and filled with warnings about disobedience. The true grace of God does not let us live as we please. It teaches us, rather, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). That is a very strict standard of Christian living.

There is hypocrisy in churches and there are false gospels that are law-based rather than grace-based and most churches today are corrupt, but the solution is not to reject the literal interpretation of Scripture and create a new God! God is amazingly compassionate and loving and He has proven that on the cross, but God is also holy and just and requires obedience and hates and punishes sin, and that side of God cannot be ignored without creating a false God.

The flesh wearies greatly of the holiness of God! I can testify to that. From time to time in my Christian life I have gotten discouraged at God. It is not a simple thing to reconcile God’s love and grace with His awful holiness and justice. On one hand, the New Testament tells us that the believer is forgiven, redeemed, justified, accepted in the beloved, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, holy and without blame before God, and seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1-3). On the other hand, the same New Testament tells us that the believer must be exceedingly careful about how he lives before God. We are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1), which is the highest conceivable standard. The believer who does not pursue this is in danger of being judged (e.g., 1 Cor. 3:13-17; 9:26-27; 11:27-32; Hebrews 13:4; 2 John 8-11; Revelation 2:4-5, 16, 22-23; 3:15-16). There is even a sin unto death (1 John 5:16-17; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:30). Thus there must be many warnings in the Christian life (Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:28; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15).

These things seem to be contradictory to the fallen flesh and to the natural man, but they are two sides of the same compassionate, thrice holy God, and to reject either one is reject the true God for an idol.

In an interview with the 700 Club in February 2009 Young described a “huge personal failure” that occurred in his life at age 38. He says, “My life crashed and burned, and I had to go back and deal with some stuff from being a child on the mission field along with other stuff in my life.” He speaks of “secrets” that he kept from his childhood and guilt that he carried. He doesn’t describe any of this in detail, but it appears that he felt guilty for not obeying God’s Word and perhaps went through psychological therapy. He talks continually of “pain,” “damage,” healing childhood memories, and such.

REDEFINING GOD

“The Shack” is about redefining God. Young has said that the book is for those with “a longing that God is as kind and loving as we wish he was” (interview with Sherman Hu, Dec. 4, 2007). What he is referring to is the desire on the part of the natural man for a God who loves “unconditionally” and does not require obedience, does not require repentance, does not judge sin, and does not make men feel guilty for what they do.

In that same interview, Young said that a woman wrote to him and said that her 22-year-old daughter came to her after reading the book and asked, “IS IT ALRIGHT IF I DIVORCE THE OLD GOD AND MARRY THE NEW ONE?”

Young therefore admits that the God of “The Shack” is different from the traditional God of Bible-believing Christianity. He says that the God who “watches from a distance and judges sin” is “a Christianized version of Zeus.” This reminds me of the modernist G. Bromley Oxnam, who called the God of the Old Testament “a dirty bully” in his 1944 book “Preaching in a Revolutionary Age.”

“The Shack” explores the issue of why God allows pain and evil. It is a fictional account of a man who is bitter against God for allowing his youngest daughter to be murdered and who returns to the scene of the murder, an old shack in the woods, to have a life-changing encounter with God. The “God” that he encounters, though, is not the God of the Bible.

Young depicts the triune God as a young Asian woman named “Sarayu” * (supposedly the Holy Spirit), an oriental carpenter who loves to have a good time (supposedly Jesus), and an older black woman named “Elousia” (supposedly God the Father). God the Father is also depicted as a guy with a ponytail and a goatee. (* The name “Sarayu” is from the Hindu scriptures and represents a mythical river in India on the shores of which the Hindu god Rama was born.)

Young’s god is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, puts no obligations on people, doesn’t like traditional Bible churches, does not accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and does not mind if the early chapters of the Bible are interpreted as “myth.”   

Note the following quotes from the god of “The Shack”:

“Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do” (p. 89).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2.

“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…” (p. 120).

Contrast Isaiah 13:11; Ephesians 5:5-6.

“There are lots of people who think it [Eden] was only a myth. Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales” (p. 134).

Contrast 2 Peter 1:16.

“[Your heart] is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process” (p. 138).

Contrast Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23.

“To force my will on you is exactly what love does not do. … True love never forces” (pp. 145, 190).

Contrast John 8:31-32; 14:15; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 2:14-16, 20-23; 3:3, 16-19.

“Our final destiny is not the picture of Heaven that you have stuck in your head–you know, the image of pearly gates and streets of gold” (p. 177).

Contrast Revelation 21-22.

“My church is all about people and life is all about relationships. … You can’t build it. … I don’t create institutions–never have, never will” (pp. 178, 179).

Contrast Acts 2:41-42, 13-14.

“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 Christian” (p. 182).

Contrast Acts 4:12; 26:28.

“Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world … The whole world. … In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine” (pp. 192, 225).

Contrast John 3:36; Acts 17:30-31; 1 John 5:12, 19; Revelation 20:11-15.

“The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules. … Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. … That is why you won’t find the word responsibility in the Scriptures. … because I have no expectations, you never disappoint me” (pp. 197, 203, 206).

Contrast 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:18. In Ephesians 4-6 alone there are at more than 80 specific obligations that believers are exhorted to keep.

“I don’t do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation” (p. 223).

Contrast Isaiah 2:11; 5:15; John 3:19; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 3:1; 5:9; Jude 4; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.

THE SHACK’S GOD IS EMERGENT AND NEW AGE

Not only is “The Shack’s” god suspiciously similar to the one described in the books of the more liberal branch of the emerging church (e.g., Rob Bell, Donald Miller, Brian McLaren), it also has a strong kinship to the New Age god promoted by John Lennon and Oprah Winfrey.

Lennon’s extremely popular song “IMAGINE” (1971) proclaims:

“Imagine there’s no heaven … No hell below us, above us only sky … no religion too/ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one/ I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”

William Young imagines the same thing in “The Shack.” If there is a God, he is non-judgmental. There is no hell. God just wants people to do their own thing and be happy.

Oprah preaches the same gospel to millions. Man is not a sinner; God is not a judge; all is well with the universe; and I just need to surrender to the flow. Her message is the celebration of self. She grew up in a traditional Baptist church, but she has reinterpreted the Bible and moved beyond its restrictions. She says, “As I study the New Age movement, it all seems to say exactly what the Bible has said for years, but many of us were brought up with a restricted, limited understanding of what the Bible said” (“The Gospel according to Oprah,” Vantage Point, July 1998).

DENYING THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE BIBLE

Another foundational problem with “The Shack” is its denial of the Bible as the absolute and sole authority. Note the following quote:

“In seminary he [the book’s main figure, Mack] 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. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (pp. 65, 66).

To believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and the sole authority for faith and practice is not to “put God in a box.” It is to honor God by receiving the Scripture for what it claims to be and what it has proven itself to be. If a father goes on a journey and leaves behind a written statement of his will for the family during his absence, the family that truly honors the father submits to that written record. To reject the Bible as the infallible Word of God is to launch out upon the stormy waters of subjective mysticism. It allows man to be his own authority and to live as he pleases, which is an objective of both the New Age movement and the emerging church.

CHANGED LIVES

The author of “The Shack” points to changed lives as evidence of the truth of the book and the grace of God in using it. At the National Pastor’s Conference, William Young told Andy Crouch that the book was setting people free from “addictive bondages and doctrinal bondages.” He said, “Even people who have been vocally against the book, people in their own family have been healed.”

Healed of what and healed in what way?

What is happening is that people who don’t like Bible Christianity, don’t want to obey the Bible, don’t want to feel guilty for their sin, and have rejected the “angry” God of Scripture, are responding enthusiastically to the man-made idol presented in “The Shack.” The following is typical of the postings at Young’s MySpace site by readers of the book:

“Your book, The Shack, is amazing! It has changed so many people’s idea of what God is really like! It has set some of my friends free!”

Miracles do not prove that something is of God. There is one that the Bible calls “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he can do miracles and answer prayers. I saw miracles and experienced answers to prayers when I was the member of a Hindu meditation society before I came to Christ. Miracles are not the proof of the truth; the Bible alone is the proof. The prophet Isaiah said, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

CONCLUSION

“The Shack” is another building stone of the end-times Tower of Babel.

God’s people must be exceedingly careful in these days of awful apostasy. The Bible warns:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:25-26).

The willful sin described in this verse points back to the sin referred to in verse 29. It is the sin of counting the blood of salvation an unholy thing. It is the rejection of personal salvation through the blood of Christ, which many in the emerging church are doing. You can’t be saved if you reject the substitutionary atonement.

In these days we need to stay in the Bible every day and be in sweet communion with Christ, confessing our sins and walking in the light.

And we need to capture the heart of the next generation and educate them so they will not be taken captive by the wiles of the devil and the guile of false teachers.

“It is a satanic trap denying essential beliefs taught by Jesus, the Apostles and Bible believers throughout the Church Age. It is also exactly what Young believed in 2004. It is what he believed when he wrote The Shack and whether he believes it today or not you can be fairly certain that with millions of dollars at risk he is not about to re-edit The Shack to try and make theological corrections – at least without an act of God anyway. “

From Eric Barger

TAKE A STAND! MINISTRIES

THE DEATH OF DISCERNMENT

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? – I Kings 3:9

I like Paul Young. Having heard him speak about his life and book three times recently in Portland, Oregon I found him to be passionate, witty and funny. While at Young’s alma mater (Warner Pacific College), I was able to spend a few moments with him privately during which time I asked him to personally respond to several criticisms and concerns that I and other Christians are raising about the theological contents of his book. I wish I could report that he allayed my apprehensions but instead, I went away convinced that The Shack is more than just a little offbeat but is, as Dr. Albert Mohler pegged it on his radio program, “blatant heresy.”

Yes, The Shack is indeed a novel. And many will wonder what could be wrong since it is identified as a Christian book and authored by a man who claims to be a Christian? After all, The Shack is heralded by many seasoned Christian leaders. Pastors are preaching from it. Sunday School classes and small groups are reading and discussing it. Many Christians are buying it by the case to give as gifts. Some Christian Schools are even sanctioning and encouraging the reading of the book. But this is not just a benign story of man overcoming life’s challenges. Make no mistake, the book presents doctrine throughout its clever and gripping story – something the author clearly intended to do. Therein lays the problem.

Trading the Kingdom for a Shack

For those unaware of the book’s storyline, here is the description of The Shack from Amazon.com.

“Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness.

Four years later in the midst of what he refers to as ‘The Great Sadness,’ Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant ‘The Shack’ wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

The Shack is a publishing phenomenon but you may ask “is it really any big deal?” This self-published book has sold 4+ million copies since its May 2007 release. It debuted at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List and has remained there for the past 25 weeks as of this writing. It has also held the #1 position on many other bestseller lists including Amazon.com, USA Today’s Top 150 Books, Barnes and Noble, Borders Books and is the #1 book of 2008 at ChristianBook.com. According to the author, the book is currently selling 87,000 copies a week in the secular book stores alone. All of this has allowed Young and his two publishing partners the luxury of holding out for just the right major motion picture deal as well. But there is a reason why several dozen publishers turned this book down. Here are a few of my observations – and objections.

The Shack’s Trinity

Several chapters into the book, a most unorthodox version of the Holy Trinity is revealed. Young’s tale diminishes Almighty God from His rightful position as a supernatural being. Instead of speaking by His Word and His Spirit, He is morphed into a feminine figure reduced to passing notes to those whom she wants to communicate with.

God is portrayed in The Shack as a large African-American woman named “Papa” also called “Elousia.” (Talk about gender confusion!) Jesus is a Jewish carpenter complete with a tool belt and the Holy Spirit is depicted as an Asian woman named after “Sarayu,” a mystical river in ancient India related to the Hindu deity Kali. Clearly, there is a trinity in The Shack but it is absolutely not the Trinity.

From my first glance at The Shack, it struck me that the idea of God in human form – even in the pages of a novel is more than just theologically questionable. It is forbidden by several passages from both the Old and New Testaments not the least of which is the Second Commandment (Exodus 20: 4-5). The Apostle Paul proclaims, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…” (Romans 1:21-23a)

Of The Shack, Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint contributing editor Travis McSherley wrote, “This is the root of the book’s problems. In the course of the biblical narrative, God the Father never reveals Himself in the form of a human. In fact, Christ rebukes His disciples for even suggesting it. (See John 14:5-10)

The Shack would not dispute these limits of understanding – it dedicates many pages to chastising believers who cling too tightly to traditional views of God’s nature. Yet, instead of expanding our thinking and our appreciation for divine mysteries, the book shrinks them quite dramatically by creating a deity so clearly influenced by human expectations of what God should be.”

Sin, Hell, Judgment, Salvation, the Incarnation,
Hierarchy and Authority in the Godhead, a Polynesian
Goddess and other assorted problems

Here are just a few of the many issues raised by The Shack:

– Young’s Papa character insists that sin is its own punishment. This distorts the reality of Hell and discounts eternal retribution for sin.

– Readers of The Shack are told that Jesus is only the best way to know God – not the only way.

The Shack teaches that when Jesus went to the cross, God Almighty died there too. This is a heresy known as patripassianism. (In our private conversation I challenged Young about this but to no avail.)

The Shack states that there is no structure or hierarchy within the Trinity and that the three personages of God are all equally subject to one another and to humans as well. I challenge fans of The Shack to open a Bible and try to make that square with the Scriptures!

– Young’s “Papa” character is suspiciously akin to a Polynesian/Hawaiian goddess who also happens to be known as “Papa.” When I quizzed Young on this he denied any knowledge of such a deity. However, the similarities with The Shack’s God character are stunning.

Now lets move on to perhaps the biggest concern.

Is Paul Young still a “Reconciling Universalist?”

I have noticed that in nearly every electronic or print media interview Paul Young volunteers that he is “not a universalist” and does so without ever being asked about it. But is he merely parsing words? Young is obviously nervous about the Christian world becoming convinced of any such thing. That said, it strikes me as odd that on a web page intended to answer critics of the book one of his editors, Wayne Jacobson, acknowledges that Young had previously embraced a form of universalism known as “universal reconciliation” and that this belief indeed appeared throughout the original manuscript. (Jacobson refers to it as “ultimate reconciliation” to avoid using the dreaded “U” word, universalism.)

Jacobson’s website states:

Does The Shack promote Ultimate Reconciliation (UR)?

 

 

“It does not. While some of that was in earlier versions because of the author’s partiality at the time to some aspects of what people call UR, I made it clear at the outset that I didn’t embrace UR as sound teaching and didn’t want to be involved in a project that promoted it. In my view UR is an extrapolation of Scripture to humanistic conclusions about our Father’s love that has to be forced on the biblical text.

Since I don’t believe in UR and wholeheartedly embrace the finished product, I think those who see UR here, either positively or negatively are reading into the text. To me that was the beauty of the collaboration.”  (See: http://www.windblownmedia.com/shackresponse.html)

It is obvious that Young, Jacobson, and partner Brad Cummings all have a great deal to lose by not doing their best to debunk the book’s critics. They are very aware of where Young was theologically when he wrote the book. And that is the point isn’t it? It is the contents of the book (and presumably that of the forthcoming motion picture) that is being criticized here.

In the very beginning, I began to smell universalism in The Shack by simply reading it. These thoughts were more than confirmed through a very scholarly paper critiquing The Shack written by Dr. James De Young. Other leaders who have been critical of the book including Dr. Michael Youssef, Janet Parshall, Jan Markell and Dr. Larry DeBruyn have quoted Dr. De Young’s research – and for good reason.

Dr. De Young is a conservative professor at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is fluent in Greek and Hebrew and also teaches an elective on the early Church Fathers. He is well equipped to expose universalism from both biblical and historical perspectives. Perhaps equally important to our discussion here, is the fact that for several years both Dr. De Young and Paul Young were members of a theological discussion group or “think tank” known as the M3 Forum. In response to the bountiful amount of universalistic ideas found in The Shack, Dr. De Young has published a well-documented 39 page paper which can be accessed at: http://theshackreview.com. Once on the website you will also find several shorter documents and a discussion forum with remarks from readers, many of which defend The Shack. These comments serve to illustrate the tremendous confusion and lack of biblically thinking we see abounding inside the Christian community today.

 

 

After having Young tell me face to face that he was not a universalist, I asked him about Dr. De Young’s paper. He bristled at me and made several accusations about De Young which I now understand to be unfounded. Since the meeting with Paul Young, I had the opportunity to meet personally with Dr. De Young for several hours. In our meeting he shared another yet-to-be-released paper with me which he has written exposing Paul Young’s very bold defense of universal reconciliation. I can best describe the information in it as shocking. In fact, in the Spring of 2004, Paul gave one of the most complete defenses of universal reconciliation imaginable and reiterated this position on at least two occasions – the latest being in May-June 2007 – after writing The Shack.

 

 

Having had no previous indication that a staunch believer was in their midst, Paul Young’s revelations heralding universal reconciliation came as a complete blind-side to the M3 Forum members. After the group contested Young’s ideas, Dr. De Young gave a lengthy rebuttal to all of Paul’s points, branding Young’s position as heretical, citing a church council decision from the 6th century. After this event in 2004, Paul Young ceased participating in the M3 Forum.

 

 

In reflecting on my personal conversation with Young at Warner Pacific in October 2008, I wish I had asked specifically “Are you now or have you ever been an advocate of universal reconciliation?” (Note that classical universalists believe that all religions lead to the same place where as those who hold to universal reconciliation believe that all men <read that “ALL”> are already saved because of Jesus’ work on the cross.) This position purports that there is no penalty for sin, no literal hell and no need to accept Christ and repent of one’s sins. It dramatically undermines the work of the Church, evangelism and the core teachings of the New Testament. It is a satanic trap denying essential beliefs taught by Jesus, the Apostles and Bible believers throughout the Church Age. It is also exactly what Young believed in 2004. It is what he believed when he wrote The Shack and whether he believes it today or not you can be fairly certain that with millions of dollars at risk he is not about to re-edit The Shack to try and make theological corrections – at least without an act of God anyway. Again, it is not how skillfully Young may craft his words in denial of being a universalist or even what he may actually believe today that is the real question. It is the theological contents of The Shack that orthodox Christian critics are concerned with. Besides, universalism is but one of the many glaring unbiblical aspects of the book.In reflecting on my personal conversation with Young at Warner Pacific in October 2008, I wish I had asked specifically “Are you now or have you ever been an advocate of universal reconciliation?” (Note that classical universalists believe that all religions lead to the same place where as those who hold to universal reconciliation believe that all men <read that “ALL”> are already saved because of Jesus’ work on the cross.) This position purports that there is no penalty for sin, no literal hell and no need to accept Christ and repent of one’s sins. It dramatically undermines the work of the Church, evangelism and the core teachings of the New Testament. It is a satanic trap denying essential beliefs taught by Jesus, the Apostles and Bible believers throughout the Church Age. It is also exactly what Young believed in 2004. It is what he believed when he wrote The Shack and whether he believes it today or not you can be fairly certain that with millions of dollars at risk he is not about to re-edit The Shack to try and make theological corrections – at least without an act of God anyway. Again, it is not how skillfully Young may craft his words in denial of being a universalist or even what he may actually believe today that is the real question. It is the theological contents of The Shack that orthodox Christian critics are concerned with. Besides, universalism is but one of the many glaring unbiblical aspects of the book.

 

 

The REAL Problem

The bottom line concerning books, movies, television shows and other input like The Shack is that if our emotions rule and we fail to use scriptural discernment we can be taken captive by “evil imaginations”

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit… – Colossians 2:8

Knowing that the author actually portrayed himself as both Shack characters Missy (the violated-then-murdered six year-old) and her father, Mack (the one searching for God in a painful world) one’s heart surely breaks for what Paul Young has evidently endured in his lifetime. However, if readers fail to think biblically and allow only The Shack’s emotional storyline to grip them, they chance becoming prey to the very thing that I believe has duped many Christians into accepting and even endorsing the book. Empathy towards the author or his characters or becoming enamored by what many testify to as the positive real-world outcome of reading the book cannot trump one’s biblical analysis of the work. Young plays upon emotions constantly in the book and also as he lectures publically equating that because hearts are allegedly being touched that God must be giving approval to The Shack. When speaking to me personally, he emphasized the concept that results are all that matters. I responded that just because people testify that the book is somehow helping them, this does not necessarily mean that it is actually ordained by God. After all, God can use many means to reach people. God regularly uses disasters, accidents and tragedy of all sorts – even unorthodox or cultic books for His glory. This however doesn’t mean that God somehow deems heresy or terrible events as somehow good or positive in and of themselves.

The Nicest Heretic

Paul Young is perhaps the nicest heretic I have ever dealt with personally. That may sound flip but it’s true. He is a very nice guy who is presenting and defending some very dangerous even seductive heresies. As one who wears his emotions on his sleeve and who found himself being swayed by the heartbreaking storyline of The Shack, I must again caution. To allow a gripping story to cloud our ability to detect even the subtle theological errors strewn throughout its pages is exactly what Dr. Michael Youssef meant when he described The Shack as “a deep ditch that’s covered by beautiful landscape.”

The disturbing truth is that books like The Shack would never become a bestseller in the Christian world if Christians were on guard, thinking biblically and were willing to follow the Scriptures! In these dangerous days it is paramount that we actively develop “eyes of understanding” which constantly check everything by the Word of God – especially the stuff that claims to be of God. The Scripture implores us to prove or test all things (I Thessalonians 5:21-22) and this test can only be accomplished one way – by knowing the Bible and then utilizing what we know from it. Every Believer needs to be alert to the reality that in these last days deception is going to come at a rate never fathomed before. Mark my words, as time passes Satan is preparing to use unheralded and brazen trickery that will look and sound very spiritual, even Christian. The only hope we have to successfully avoid the traps is by prayerful, dedicated and aggressive study of God’s unchangeable Word. Otherwise, sooner or later we’ll find ourselves amongst a growing number from previously trustworthy evangelical circles that are heading straight for apostasy.

Jesus warned us in Matthew 24 that if the end days were not shortened by His return even the very elect would be deceived. Can we not assume that many who currently hang around the Church – and even some who preach or write books now popularly accepted in Christian circles – may in reality never endure to the end and are thus actually wolves in sheep’s clothing?

 

Source:

http://www.ericbarger.com/emailers/2008/update11-22-2008.htm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  out-of-india   Book Review – Out of India by Caryl Matrisciana- A true story about the New Age movement Upon ordering this book, I eagerly anticipated its arrival. I had already viewed Caryl’s extremely important and informative DVD, “Yoga Uncoiled.” I was not disappointed. Anyone growing up in the 60’s will be able to identify with this true story about Caryl Mastrisciana. She was born and raised in India, which gives her views about what she witnessed about the customs and religious aspects of the Hindu life authority. After living a privileged life in India she went on to England when she was twenty to witness some of same practices she had just left behind. In “swinging London” she was about to experience a new exciting blockbuster, “Hair.” She relates:

The show moved along captivatingly. In the same way that the Hare Krishna sect was glorified, suddenly so was Yoga. Yoga! Alarm bells rang in my mind. The Yoga I had seen in India was intense, arduous and serious — a discipline taught by avowed spiritual masters who prepared their disciples for death. So why did Hair’s hero in the song “Donna” go to India to see the Yoga light? Why was it associated with drugs and reincarnation and presented as such a sweet, new spiritual experience?

Why could I only remember the tragedy, the poverty, the disease, the cruelty, and the apathy? Surely all these people here tonight couldn’t be wrong. (1)

Caryl had been introduced into the New Age, the spiritual enlightenment, the Age of Aquarius. She then moved on from a stint in the Bahamas and took refuge from a failed marriage. But also she had already developed a drug habit. Then it was on to America where life was a maze of football games, rock concerts, The Moody Blues, and more drugs.

In search of the Lost Chord
–had a colorful cover depicting reincarnation and elevation to god-consciousness through meditation. The songs reflect the use of drugs and meditation and belief in Hinduism, UFO’s, and astral projection. With the sound of sitars and hypnotic music, I was led to a knowledge of the power of the mantra (the repetitious chanting of the names of the Hindu deities, vibrations, and other mysterious code words). Such albums tantalized the rightness of my drug experiences and my new sense of universal consciousness. (2)
Even though she had alarm bells go off in the past, Caryl found herself practicing Yoga anyway. Here is a sampling of what she has to say: 

I believed I was raising my psychic energy (said to be dormant) nestled in the lower extremities of the groin. Through imagination, I pushed the energies upward through my chakras, which I felt gave me maximum powers. Ultimately I trained these energies to fuse above, where I imagined my third eye to be, and created the most “peaceful” and “blissful” experiences.

I sensed these were the results of a deep spiritual union between me and a cosmic consciousness or divine essence.

…I began to realize I was experiencing the same thrills in Yoga as I attained on my drug-induced travels into altered states of awareness. (3)

but……

As my needs drew me into deeper dependency of these habits, I found I could no longer be sure of encountering pleasurable marvels. Instead, with more frequency, I had erratic hallucinations. (4)

I had erroneously become convinced that I had the power to alter my reality, when in fact it was demonic spirits that were at work in my life. (5)

Sometimes a whole day went by before I realized I had spent it meditating in my own “stoned” fantasy world….Unconsciously I was absorbing the basis of Hindu thought, that reality is maya, an illusion, and that illusion or imagination can be conjured into reality. (6)

This last excerpt is very important because it shows why many no longer today are able to accept the concept of absolute truth. The information, concepts or feelings that they download from the spirit world indoctrinates the mind. Everything is illusion and life is not a reality. Also the notion that that one’s desires can be transformed  into reality gives us the basis of Word of Faith, or positive confession teachings. The source is revealed.

There is a later chapter devoted just to Yoga and I will only give one quote from this section:

It is important to understand that the results of Yoga are real: the exercises and breathing techniques actually do release an energy and bring a change in consciousness…..The goal of both drug abuse and Yoga meditation is to shut down from life’s reality….Yoga, however, is endorsed as a beneficial mind-body exercise. (7)

Next Caryl tells some fascinating stories of her spiritual journeys which led her to “eat no meat”, with holistic reasoning see “the created as the Creator”, become tolerant of Eastern religions, and welcomed the idea that “all paths led to the same God.” These themes are repeated over and over again in New Age belief.

You will need to order the book to read her story of how she actually come to the Lord. But I would like to excerpt this part of a conversation she had:

“But Richard, I had such wonderful experiences of being in the presence of God. I saw him and touched him. I talked to him and he talked to me!”

Richard smiled knowingly. I was to learn week later that he had had the same encounters on drug trips and the same occultic experiences as I’d had. “It is all a counterfeit,” he said……..[8]

As with many who become “undeceived” Caryl wanted to alert Christians of the deceptions “that were leading even God’s flock away from the truth.”

Along with a burning desire to inform and warn, I had an almost insatiable hunger for information. How do the cults really compare with true Christianity? I immersed myself in Bible study day and night…..God is putting me through His own kind of schooling, I remember thinking. (9)

And so because of this above resolve, Caryl Matrisciana has served the Lord by founding Caryl Productions, which “produces cutting edge video journalism and information to help discern the times in which we live.”

This book clearly describes how the deception entering the church can be directly traced back to Hindu Eastern principles.

Also look for interesting information on the emerging church, the Hindu Swastika and Hitler.

This is an important Christian book to have in one’s personal library.

http://www.caryltv.com

http://www.lighthousetrails.com

1. pg. 19
2. pg. 71
3. pg. 73
4. pg. 74
5. pg. 75
6. p.p. 76-77 7. pg. 187 8. pg. 96 9. pg. 119          

 faithundonelarge.jpg                    oakland-roger.jpg

                                                        “FAITH UNDONE” by Roger Oakland 

                the emerging church…a new formation or an end-time deception

One would be hard-pressed to find a more complete description of the various end-time deceptions currently exploding in our churches in one single paperback book.   Roger has accomplished this feat in “Faith Undone”.

Why is his book so relevant today? Consider this statement.  “In the near future, Christians of every denomination will have to decide whether to support or reject the spirituality behind the emerging church.”

Here are some of the topics he covers in his 13 chapters.

  • Emerging Spirituality
  • Mysticism
  • Post-Modernism
  • Labryinths
  • Contemplative Spirituality
  • Yoga
  • The “Eucharistic” Christ
  • Purpose Driven Ecumenism
  • The Kingdom of God on Earth
  • The New Reformation

From Chapter 1 – A New Kind of Church

“It is not the ambience of the emerging  church that causes me to write this book. It is the theological underpinnings….But is this ‘new reformation’ actually the way God has instructed us to go?… A new form of Christianity will replace faith with a faith that says man can find his own path to God and create a perfect kingdom of God here on the earth.  The Word will become secondary to a system of works and rituals driven by ancient mystical practices.” (pp. 12-13)

This last sentence “The Word will become secondary to a system of works and rituals driven by ancient mystical practices”, is so very true of every deceptive practice being introduced into the church and the world today. This falls in line with occultist Alice Bailey who said “the teachings of the East and of the West must be fused and blended before the true and universal religion could appear on earth”.*  When the church embraces occult teachings, we have to come to our senses and take notice of what is happening right in front of our eyes. The Bible warns of this deception but people do not want to listen.

Roger also says:

“This book does not attempt to identify every key player in the emerging church movement. There are too many…my objective  is not to attack individuals but rather to unveil a belief system. Thus, this is not a book out to get the bad guys. On the contrary, it is a book that seeks to rescue those involved with the emerging church and countless others heading in that direction.”

“In the near future, Christians of every denomination will have to decide whether to support or reject the spirituality behind the emerging church. If the emerging church continues unfolding at its present pace, mainstream evangelical Christianity will be restructured so that the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ will be considered too narrow and too restrictive.” (p.20)

This is happening this very instant and many are totally unaware. This is why Roger’s book is so important. Let’s take a look at some of his other findings. This is from Chapter 6, When West Meets East

“In the early ’80s, I became aware of a major shift in thinking that was sweeping the Western world. Religious pagan practices of the past, once relegated to a world of darkness, were now being embraced as the ways and means of ushering in an age of enlightenment….Every method and therapy imaginable imported from Hinduism, Buddhism and every form of Eastern mysticism suddenly was in vogue. The age of enlightenment had arrived, we were told.” (p.93)

This cannot be more true.  Think back even farther when the Beatles swept in from England in the mid 60’s.  They themselves delved into Hinduism and Transcendental Meditation because of George Harrison’s fascination with the East. The baby-boomers of today are already familiar with these practices so it is no wonder that it is not a stretch for them to readily accept yoga and meditation into their life. What does Roger have to say about this?

“Today it is  becoming increasingly common to hear about churches promoting Christian yoga or Christian leaders suggesting the best way to enhance one’s prayer life is by getting in tune with God through repeating a mantra. What was once described as New Age and occultic is acceptable now in some Christian circles. ”

“Anyone who cares to do the research will find that yoga and its connection to Eastern religion remains the same. Linking oneself with the universal energy is still its goal. A Christian can believe that yoga is for health and well being if he or she wants, but the facts have not changed.”

“Can a Christian incorporate Hindu spiritual practices in order to get closer to the Jesus Christ of the Bible?” (pp. 94,96) 

Roger goes on to explain why the answer to this question is NO. But you will have the read the book for the remaining argument. Let’s go on to Rick Warren and some of his extraordinary quotes found in Chapter 9, The Kingdom Of God On Earth.

“Rick Warren’s reformation, which will bring in the Kingdom of God through global cooperation for a common cause, will include Catholics, Muslims, and homosexuals – a combination hardly similar to the 16th century reformation…Rick Warren believes that God has shown him not only the boundaries (or lack of them) of this coming global kingdom, but also the strategy to bring it about. Before Warren came up with the plan, he says he asked Jesus to show him how to reach the world. He explains:” (p.149) (Warren’s comments in red)

RW   “Then I said, ‘How did You do it? You wouldn’t have left us without a strategy.’ And I found the answer in a passage in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 where Jesus sends His first followers out…He says, ‘When you go into a village, you find the man of peace in every village, in every government, in every business, in every church.* The man of peace does not have to be a Christian believer. Could be Muslim. Could be Jewish. Because when Jesus said, ‘Find the man of peace, there were no Christians yet. Jesus hadn’t died on the cross. There was no resurrection. He’s just saying, go out and find somebody to work with.” (pp. 149-150)

“Jesus did not say they were to look for a man of peace of every town, Rather he said ‘whatsoever city or town ye shall enter , enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go hence”  (Matthew 10:11)…it is important to realize that the criterion for staying in a house was not the greeting of peace itself but whether those in that house received their message.

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)

“Let me speak very boldly here: if we are going to link hands with those who believe in another gospel or no gospel at all for the sake of establishing an earthly, unified kingdom, we will not be building the kingdom of God.” (p.151)

RW  “I stand before you confidently right now and say to you that God is going to use you to change the world…I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are telling God they will do whatever it takes to establish God’s Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ What will happen if the followers of Jesus say to Him, ‘We are yours’? What kind of spiritual awakening will occur?” (p. 153)

“What does Warren mean by ‘whatever it takes’?

I am going to advance to Chapter 12, A New Reformation, for the next Rick Warren quote.

“In an article written by Rick Warren, “What Do You Do When Your Church Hits a Plateau?”, Warren told pastors and church leaders not to be discouraged about slow change in their churches. He told them it would take time…and in many cases, it would take these resisters either leaving the church or simply dying. Warren exhorts:” (p.204)

RW  “If your church has been plateaued for six months, it might take six months to get it going again. If it’s been plateaued a year, it might take a year. If it has been plateaued for 20 years, you’ve got to set in for the duration. I’m saying people are going to have to die or leave.  Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land.  That may be brutally blunt, but it’s true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.” (p.205)

“By making statements like this, Rick Warren marginalized those who won’t go along with the new reformation that he is hoping for. While Warren doesn’t say that people should kill them, he does say that God may have to end their lives, just like when ‘God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land.'” (p.205)

These are frightening statements and I am sick of Rick but he will have to be dealt with. There is so much more in “Faith Undone”, like Warren telling his followers that the details of Christ’s return are none of our business, (I can’t tell you everything!), but we must move on to the emergents.

There are so many involved in the emergent movement that one needs to go to www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com or http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/ to check out all the names, but Roger gives much attention to Brian McLaren. (blue comment) McLaren was named one of the country’s top 25 “Most Influential Evangelicals” in 2005 by Time magazine.

“In an interview, Brian McLaren questioned the idea of God sending His Son to a violent death, calling it “false advertising for God”:

BL  “One of the huge problems is the traditional understanding of hell. Because if the cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching then-I won’t say, the only, and I certainly won’t say the primary–but a primary meaning of the cross is that the kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of this world, by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing, voluntary sacrifice. But in an ironic way, the doctine of hell basically says, no, that’s not really true.  That in the end, God gets His way through coercion and violence and intimidation and domination, just like every other kingdom does.  The cross isn’t the center then. The cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God.”

“What an extraordinary example of faith under attack and the consequences of thinking outside the box. If McLaren is right, all those who have ever lived and believed in Christ’s atonement have been misled and wrong. McLaren has taken the freedom to to reconstruct what faith means by distorting the Scripture, or worse yet, saying the opposite of what the inspired Word of God says. This is blasphemy!” (pp.192-193)

I have resisted taking the final comment from Roger’s book from the last chapter, Or An Endtime Deception, even though there are many gems to pick from, and have selected this from p.217

“The emergent reformation, when it comes to fruition, will stand on the side of the line drawn in the sand that says all humanity is One–regardless of religion, beliefs–we are all One. That One-ness will mean one with all creation too, and inevitably with God. This is what the New Age movement is striving for–a time when all of mankind will realize both their unity and divinity–and the Gospel as we know it, according to Scripture, will be no more.”

****************************************** 

Others mentioned in the book – Alice Bailey, Rob Bell, Ken Blanchard, Marcus Borg, Bob Buford, Tony Campolo, Peter Drucker, Richard Foster, Matthew Fox, Thomas Keating, Dan Kimball, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Erwin McManus, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Doug Pagitt, Leonard Sweet, and Robert Webber among others.

How is it that this one book can cover so many names and issues?  It is because they are all related and together they have one goal and purpose in mind, which is Faith Undone, a must read for every Christian.

Order this book at Lighthouse Trails Publishing.

* Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy p.280

* Government, business, church is Druckers 3-legged stool.

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