Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stay Out Of The Shack...And A Book Review

At the risk of beating the proverbial dead horse, I wanted to post this book review by local pastor Jeremy Jernigan. After reading his comments about how much closer he felt to God after reading it, pay attention to the video at about 3:18 in from Horizon Christian Fellowship. It is troubling that a shepherd responsible for the feeding of his flock would be getting any of his own nourishment from man-made wisdom. What does this say about his view of the sufficiency of scripture.

Here is the book review:

After hearing much talk about it (I'm not even sure who the person was who actually
persuaded me to buy this and read it) I got to reading William
P. Young's book, The Shack
. It is a fictional story of spirituality. As
such, I've definitely read a few good ones and a few that made me want my money
back. But this book was incredible.It is the story of a man who experiences
extreme hurt and then is able to have a dialogue with God about it. I was most
amazed by how I felt closer to God after reading this and how I couldn't get my
mind to shut down as it replayed parts of the book over and over for me. If you
need a good boost with God right now, or if you have experienced some tragedy in
your life and are still processing the pain, or if you are in to reading good
books....read this one! I give it 5 out of 5 stars. --Jeremy Jernigan

The question may arise about why I have chosen to further post articles concerning this particular church and one of it's young leaders. It is because I attended there for nine years and have several close friends that are still there. The departure of my family from there had everything to do with reading the clear signs of where they were going with their ministry.

My heart also goes out to the senior leadership right on down to those in children's ministries that served and loved my children so well. If I truly love them, why would I not make attempts to reach them with this information. Right or wrong, it weighs on my conscience.

As always, I would like to admit that I am but a fallible man, fully capable of being flat out wrong about these things. If so, because I have been so public with this issue, I am willing to accept public rebuke if any of what I say is un-biblical or unloving.

Soli Deo Gloria


Richard said...

Well sir, first of all, I find it hilarious and flattering that you have suddenly began using "Soli Deo Gloria" as a signature. What does it mean to you? I surely hope you didn't just start using it because I did, although I do appreciate your educating the uninitiated on it's meaning and origin via Wikipedia.

Secondly, I believe that there is an inherent bone of contention between your style of reading and that of Jeremy Jernigan. I would attempt to explain yours, but you have already taken that upon yourself, so I will endeavor to help you understand where he is coming from, as one who has seen value and beauty in both styles.

See, you worry about Jeremy getting "any of his own nourishment from man-made wisdom", and the video would indicate that you are are alarmed by the way The Shack (which is a fiction, by the way) offers a picture of God as a stereotypical large black housewife.

However, the large black housewife is most likely an allegorical reference to one of the names given God in the old testament, Jehovah Jireh (God, our provider). As far as the problem he has with The Shack's version of Jesus... I don't see how you could get much more accurate than a middle-eastern, outdoor-loving carpenter.

As far as the cussing at God... I'm pretty sure there are words in the Psalms that are translated in a much more tame manner than the original Hebrew. Even the ESV has the excessive use of a word some consider cussing (whore) in Ezekiel 16 and Hosea. In Philippians, Paul tells us that he considers everything else "shit" (yes, the dirty form of the word excrement, the strongest form in the original language) compared to Christ.

God is huge, and His majesty knows no bounds. He is worthy of our complete and utter devotion, and His perfect nature can only be reconciled with our sin nature by Jesus Christ.

That being said, Jesus Christ humbled himself (Philippians 2) to the form of a suffering servant, and even God has lowered himself to such base emotions as jealousy and anger in dealing with us, because He has allowed us relationship and the type of love C.S. Lewis refers to as Charity, wholly and completely undeserved.

Therefore, I posit that God is not at all hurt or put out when one of his children is hurting to the point of using words out of character, knowing that he made us with a capacity for anger and emotion. He has allowed us to come to Him as little children, and forgiven us already for the words that may come from a hurting heart yearning for Him. You can agree or disagree, but my prayer of ignorance two days after I got saved included a plethora of words that would make George Carlin blush.

Finally, your comment on the church shows me more of what I have seen since I got here six months ago, that being a complete lack of appreciation for the beauty that is in this church. Every week I hear about lives being changed more and more, and the nearly 1000 baptisms since I got here amaze me, especially those in Third Format, which have occured for higher than 15% of the congregation within the larger church.

I come from small churches where one baptism per month would be cheered, where the idea of church growth on this scale is almost unheard of, and where the range of personalities and theological views within the church is much, much smaller. I can't help but feel that those vocal people leaving this congregation don't know what it's like to be truly stuck in the mud as a church, and are in fact quite spoiled.

When people dare to use "concern" and "love" as a clever disguise for their treasonous tounge, it hurts me. This is what causes division among us... a desire to be right, and thereby to gain a sense of our own worthiness where we should be satisfied with Christ and Christ alone.

I urge you, brother, to be careful with your tongue, with your words and ideas posted in the markeplace of ideas. I heard once that Christianity is like an army that kills and eats it's wounded. Please do not prove that true.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Anonymous said...

I sincerely pray that beyond the numerous baptisms are truly changed eternities as reflected on the day of judgement as well as in this life. No sarcasm here in that. In love I believe we all desire more than large numbers of people baptized (our Mormon friends also have numbers to show) but that those people also be truly redeemed souls through our merciful Savior Jesus Christ that mature as disciples.

Narrow is the way and the path. Few find it. I pray that ALL of these are of the few that find Him. May God be glorified and the gospel preached and lived.

Love, Rob-roy

Anonymous said...

Regarding Paul's use of strong language in Philippians 3:8 I will provide some thoughts and links to consider. Was it cussing (profanity) or use of strong language? Is there a difference? I pray it will be a blessing.

Love, Rob-roy

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

I hadn't read your blog until this discussion came up. I'll be sure to check it out a bit over the next month. I posted Shacking Up after reading Richard and your post.

In Christ,