“THE SHACK” jealousy and selfish ambition

Posted by Michel Gutman in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

“THE SHACK”

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil practice.” (James 1:16)

Driving home yesterday, I was listening to a “Christian” radio program. I find them fascinating, because I’m often amazed at the self-righteousness that I hear. These “perfect” individuals are very good at finding fault in others.

Yesterday’s topic was the movie, “The Shack.” Of course it was. The controversy surrounding it creates an engaged audience, and increased listenership. The dollars usually follow. On the verge of tears, the various speakers were begging their audiences to boycott the movie. They viciously attacked the author, who was not there to defend himself. And they did all this with such passion and fervor that many listeners were probably duped into believing that they actually care.

If you plan to see the movie, you might want to stop reading this, because I will disclose a few things about it that you might not want to know yet.

I saw the movie last week. We sat in a packed theater, and there was not a dry eye in the house, from beginning to end. There were definitely some interesting “surprises,” especially seeing God being played by a woman. And for the most part, that is what all the ruckus is about.

The other main complaint is that it preaches “universalism,” which is the belief that all mankind will be “saved,” regardless of their beliefs. I didn’t see any evidence of this in the movie. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if it’s discussed there. But “universalism” was not a theme of the movie called, “The Shack.”

Getting back to the cast of characters, for most of the movie, God was played by a woman. He was also played by a man, but this radio show didn’t mention that, because they were only interested in talking about the controversial things. They tossed around words like “heresy” and “idolatry.” Here’s one thing they never mentioned. Not once. And it’s vital. But they didn’t talk about it because it would have completely invalidated their argument. And here it is. The story wasn’t real. It was a dream.

Yes, a dream. Can God speak to us through our dreams? Of course He can. When a man has lived a life of being abused and scarred by other men, can God temporarily appear as a woman in our dreams, to appear more comforting, only to reveal His masculinity later on? Sure, why not? God can do what He wants to do. His way works. Who gives us sleep? He does (Psalm 127:2).

The Holy Spirit was played by a woman. So what? It was a dream. I found two things very disturbing about the commentary coming out of my car’s radio. The focus was less about God and the Holy Spirit being played by women, and more about their ethnicities. Complaining about the actress playing the role of God wasn’t enough. It wasn’t just that she was a woman. She was an African-American woman. They kept saying it over and over again. Apparently, saying “woman” wasn’t enough to make their point. And the Holy Spirit was of Asian descent, specifically Japanese. Again, that’s all they focused on. This is what bothered them. I was embarrassed by their commentary, and even more so by their blatant racism.

Here’s one thing they didn’t talk about. Not even once. Yeshua (Jesus) was played by an Israeli man. What a brilliant concept, to portray Him as He actually was! I’ve never seen it done before. Usually He’s played by a light-skinned man with a British accent. They didn’t discuss this, because once again, it didn’t suit their agenda.

The hypocrisy coming out of the mouths of these people on the radio broadcast was blatant. They were judge and jury, performing duties that belong to God, including judging the author’s heart and intent. What a shame. Perhaps they should read James 4, verses 11 and 12.

Again, I stress that I didn’t read the book, which came out nine years ago. The main theme of the movie was forgiveness, letting go of pain and giving it to God.

God is not a woman. The word is very clear about that. But He is all-powerful. And He is wise beyond any wisdom we can understand. It is impossible to see that movie and not be moved by the story. As a believer and as a student of the Word, I paid close attention to everything in it. It wasn’t a factual Biblical movie, nor was it portrayed as one. It was a dream.

Are the people behind the voices on the radio jealous of the success of the movie? I don’t know. Do they have selfish ambitions? I don’t know that either. But God does. And if their motives aren’t pure, they’ll have to give account for their careless words (Matthew 12:36), and there were plenty of them.

Does the author have evil intent? Only God knows. But I enjoyed the movie, and I recommend it. It didn’t distance me from God. If anything, I felt closer to Him. This movie is not going to teach you anything about the gospel. But it is a great lesson in forgiveness. Of course it wasn’t real; most movies aren’t. But even our Messiah used parables to teach us, because sometimes we need an exaggerated story to get the message. And His message is good.

Have a great day everyone!

www.michelgutman.com

20 Comments

  • Reply March 13, 2017

    Dan Irving

    Many Christians view the book/film as demonic. From what I’ve heard about it, I tend to agree. What is occurring with the Shack is strikingly similar to what I believe is occurring with the Bethel movement’s New Agey practice they promote called “Sozo,” in terms of offering contrived views of the Godhead, and encouraging emotional/cathartic experiences within a contrived framework of the deity wherein they segment Father from Son from Holy Spirit. VERY dangerous for those who profess Jesus Christ. And yes, manifestations do follow in Bethel Sozo. So then, take this adventure at your own risk. I follow you not.

  • Reply March 13, 2017

    Michel Gutman

    Instead of “tending to agree” based on “what you’ve heard,” I recommend seeing it and then forming an opinion. Do you understand that this whole story is a dream? Doesn’t that make a difference?

  • Reply March 14, 2017

    Link Hudson

    I don’t think it is appropriate for a white or Jewish man to portray God the Father in film.

  • Reply March 14, 2017

    Brian Roden

    It’s not just The Shack that has critics sending out warnings. William Paul Young has written a couple of other books after The Shack, that from what I have heard are more disturbing in their theology. (No, I have not had a chance to read them, as I have more than enough to read for my seminary studies. But I do read reviews by people I trust. And the warnings about Young I am seeing are coming from a broad cross-section of Evengalical leaders and scholars, both Calvinist and Arminian, both cessationist and Pentecostal/Charismatic)

    That’s the way heresy works. An author writes something that is a little different, a little edgy, that raises questions. Then they move further and further away from orthodoxy, in small steps, taking the readers who became fans at the beginning along for the ride. This happened with Brian McLaren, and again with Rob Bell.

  • Reply March 14, 2017

    Timothy K. Wiebe

    If you don’t believe in the message the shack offers, you don’t know the message of the gospel.

  • Reply March 14, 2017

    Randy Buchanan

    First of all God is neither male nor female. God is God. The “he” used in scripture is due to the patriarchal culture of the authors. Nothing more or less.

    It is not from the book or the movie from which I have drawn my conclusions. Those conclusions have come from excerpts of his latest book as well as some of the interviews he has provided.

    These give me pause to question the authenticity of any true biblical relationship to Christ by Mr. Young. However, the depiction of God as a woman has no influence whatsoever.

    God has been revealed by a burning bush, a talking donkey, and can chose to be revealed in any form desired.

    Anyone who gets upset with God being revealed in a non-traditional gender is more concerned with form than substance and needs to get over themselves.

  • Reply March 14, 2017

    Timothy K. Wiebe

    Can’t say that I’ve found much to disagree with Mr Young about in his interview

  • Reply March 14, 2017

    Link Hudson

    Does this post we are responding to come off as a tad judgmental?

  • Reply March 15, 2017

    Timothy K. Wiebe

    This movie is simply about God calling a man to repentance for unforgiveness and judging others. It’s a powerful message, and THAT is why Satan is fighting the book and movie so much, IMO.

  • Reply March 15, 2017

    Timothy K. Wiebe

    FYI, rotten ? gives it a terrible review. They don’t like movies that preach Jesus and His blood.

  • Reply March 15, 2017

    Steve Butcher

    Without playing “judge” or “jury” I have to sigh in frustration over this. It just seems like every Christian movie that comes out has to have some forms of controversy. The makers of this movie had to know that ahead of time. So I ask why? Why not have God as a man? Why do they have to put controversy into the middle of what could’ve been a great movie? Are the critics going overboard? Probably. But it just seems to me that everyone would get so much more out of these movies if they stuck to scripture. Just my opinion. Even though many may be drawn to the Lord, couldn’t it have been even better without all the issues that were obviously put into the mix on purpose. “SIGH “.

  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Katelyn West

    First and foremost, ultimately what you decide to do needs to be between you and God. If you feel like it’s not something you should do then don’t. You need to cling to what the spirit in you is saying. But, if you aren’t sure what the deal is or how you feel, then of course pray about it and take what I’m going to say (as well as what others have to say) into consideration and make an educated decision.

    I personally feel that much of the controversy that has ensued with both the book and movie is that people were expecting a theological masterpiece. They were hoping for some deep, theologically sound masterpiece. And while there are certainly things that can be very powerful, that’s not what this is. William Paul Young wrote a fictional novel, a very well written one at that. It is exciting, emotional and thought provoking. It is not, however, a solid theological narrative. So if you are hoping for a biblically sound masterpiece then I would advise you to not read or watch it because you will be sorely disappointed and perhaps even angry. But if you read it with an open mind, as a fictional story with some great truth in it then you will be pleasantly encouraged. It’s one of those things where you have to chew the meat and spit out the bones.
    As a side note, we don’t, At least I don’t, watch or read fictional things and then get mad because it wasn’t “theologically solid.” I read many novels in high school that would be argued as “demonic,” “heretical,” and “blasphemous,” but I still read them. Why? Because they are fictional stories that still have thought provoking ideas in them. I don’t open fictional books and expect to have a theological enlightenment. Just a side note though.

    Now for those who feel that the author was wrong in portraying God the way he did, I have some thoughts for you. First, take into account that Young was trying to describe that which cannot be describe. Although the Bible never references God as a “she,” it is clear that God is neither male nor female. He is not a being but actually so much more. To attempt to encompass all that God is in a book is impossible. But what I think Young does really well is He tries to include many different characteristics of God. The Bible does not describe Him as one thing or a few traits but rather SO many that one portrayal of Him would not even come close to what He truly is. And while Young’s portrayal still fails to encompass ALL that God is, He still paints a beautiful picture.
    Secondly, think about this. If you have kids then you know that they are each different. My siblings and I are VERY different. Our personalities, our thinking, our passions, our fears everything that makes us up is different. Therefore, my parents had to approach discipline and relationships differently for each of us. My dad did not build relationship with me the same way that he did with my brother. It’s not that my dad suddenly changed who he was or became something that he is not but rather he extended his love in different ways. Similarly, I don’t believe that God reveals himself the same to all of his children. He speaks to each of his children uniquely and reveals different characteristics of himself to everyone based on who we are and the seasons we go through. It’s not that God is changing who He is, but rather extending His love in ways that we, individually, will receive and accept. He is still God but He has MANY characteristics. He is not just the American God. He is not just how you imagine Him to be. He is the God of the universe, the God of all. The same God who CREATED us knows us better than we even know ourselves and to say that He would speak to all His children in the same way is foolish. ??

  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    I’ve never read the Lord of the Rings and all other books which take Biblical truth and twist re-tell it with a novella spin but without Biblical language and power

  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Katelyn West

    Well I can’t say that I’ve Lord of the Rings because it never interested me. But if that’s what you are saying then any book that isn’t written by a theologian, with solid scriptural backing, should be avoided and is heretical, am I correct? Fiction is fiction. If you are somebody who constantly feels that everything has some deep underlying, anti-biblical, anti-God theme or intention you must live a rather boring and judgmental life.
    I know that my entire life growing up in the church, attending bible college, having a grandma who traveled as a revivalist and was very in tune with the Lord, and preaching myself, I KNOW when something is demonic. I know beyond of a shadow of a doubt when something isn’t right. And I avoid that thing from that point on because we do need to be discerning people. This book did not do that for me.

    But to each his own. We each have to adhere to what the spirit in us does or does not bear witness to. But with that comes being able to let others live accordingly. Just because something didn’t sit right with you doesn’t mean that it is some big heretical mess and that anyone who watches it or reads it is not truly a Christian. That is for God and God ALONE to know and judge. But we absolutely cannot tell somebody that what God told them is wrong or that they didn’t really hear from God.

  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Katelyn West

    But I did grow up and am still in the AG so I know we can be really out there and all so take what I say with a grain of salt? but really it is so so important as believers that we uncover truth for ourselves and not just listen to the opinions of others, even those we trust. Pray, seek His word, educate yourself and decide for yourself, between you and God, what you believe and why! That applies to everything in life not just this

  • Reply March 17, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    The shack is a smack in the face of true Christianity today…

  • Reply March 17, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Michel Gutman Biblical purists will find many fault with The Shack. Many details of this story and the Trinity are contradictory to Scripture. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God sees people as rainbow-colored blobs, yet that is a climactic scene in the film. This is a Hollywood interpretation of a God who says one-line zingers and dances to pop music alongside the Holy Spirit, not the holy God we know from the Bible

  • Reply March 17, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Michel Gutman Did the Wizard of Oz try to mess up with your theology? The characters of the SHACK dream parable are insignificant. The book is written from a Universalist perspective. That is the purpose and intent of the book “The Shack”. To clarify that, one can look at “The Shack Revisited” and “The Lies We Say About God”. All written by the same author who recently spoke at “The Forgotten Gospel” Conference, promoting religious and non-religious inclusivism. Like my once favorite teacher, Carlton Pearson said: “all men are saved they just don’t know it”! So to the universalists, evangelism is telling men that they are already saved. Yet, the Scripture does not portray or say that. Jesus said “He that believes in me has eternal life”….those who don’t “are already condemned”.

  • Reply March 17, 2017

    Michel Gutman

    Troy Day, we’re not going to see eye to eye. And I’m not going to get dragged down into your mud. Have a nice day. “But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13)

  • Reply March 17, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    I just wish more people were on fire for GOD as much as you are emotional about the “The Shack”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.