26 April 2009

The Shack Attack

Ok, so I may be a little out of touch with modern literature (I tend to read more books by dead guys), especially when it comes to all of the modern day fiction that gets pumped out in the Christian market. When it comes to fiction, the main books which have caught my eye would be the more modern Hanegraaff/Brouwer Last Disciple series, of course the classics like the Narnia series and the Lord of the Rings series, as well as the even more classic Bunyan writings Pilgrim's Progress and The Holy War. With the tons of fiction that gets pumped out these days, it is no surprise that I missed hearing about The Shack by William P. Young until just recently.

I was intrigued by the comparison that this book might be potentially as influential on our generation as Bunyan's classic was on his, I thought it worth looking into what all the discussion was about. The book has obviously generated great interest in both the Christian and secular world, so what exactly is it about? I had noticed in passing that something about the book had been mentioned for a few weeks in our church bulletin, but never paid much attention to it, since they often mention book reviews, etc. in there. When I heard that the book was controversial, I read the mention in the bulletin more closely to find that our church had a couple printed book reviews of it on the church book table, so I picked up some copies and dug into them today.

I have not read the book, and from what I am reading review wise, have no plans on running out and buying or reading it (I have way too many other great books to read, why waste time on what I am finding to be less than truthful material). So, while there are tons of reviews on this book, I found the following ones to be quite informative and revealing, so simply wanted to share these links.

They reveal the attacks that the books make upon the modern Church, Seminaries, and many aspects of biblical theology (mainly God's sovereignty, free will, sin and the trinity). When books like Dan Brown's ridiculously fictitious Da Vinci Codeand Angels and Demons become so hugely popular in the secular market because of their attacks on historic Christian truths, it is understandable. The Christian market rose up and spoke out against such attacks. The books went on to be huge and became high grossing movies.

When a book like The Shack comes along, and has just as many (actually, it sound like it has even more) glaring historic and biblical errors in it (and talks of a movie seem to be in the works too), it is quite a surprise to find many in the church buying, consuming, and giving praise for it.

There are so many good points from these reviews that I would love to highlight to entice you to read further, but instead will just say please...read further. Be informed about the issues and controversy surrounding this book. It has become so hugely popular, even (oddly) by many Christians, that you will probably need to be equipped in case you run into someone (maybe even in your own church) praising this compelling and theology altering slab of fiction.

The first review is from Paul Grimmond written in Nov. 2008:

We Need more shack time

and the second is a bit longer and thorough one, being more of a booklet (in .pdf format) but well worth the time investment, by Tim Challies:

A Reader's Review of The Shack

Read...and be informed.

15 April 2009

The Nativity Myths? What Was the Manger?

As I continue to occasionally delve into cultural and historical studies behind the wording and understanding of Scripture, it shocks me often just how our "modern" cultural understanding and definitions can radically change the understanding of things. One such interesting understanding was revealed regarding the surroundings of the birth of Jesus and our common representation in the various nativity displays we see each holiday season.