The Christ in Prophecy Journal

The Sign of Apostasy: Apostasy in The Shack

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Ron Rhodes on the Sign of Apostasy


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What are the arguments that the book The Shack is not doctrinally sound?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2013 conference theme was Living on Borrowed Time.

One of our speakers was Dr. Ron Rhodes, the president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. He’s a prolific author of more than 60 books. He holds a doctorate in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and he specializes in the field of Apologetics. He also serves as an adjunct professor at several seminaries. Dr. Rhodes’ topic at our conference was “The Sign of Apostasy” (watch).

Apostasy in The Shack

We also have to look at the weakened view of the Bible and the effects that has on the Bible-reading habits of some people.

I know I’m about to step on some toes probably, and if I am about to step on some toes, I apologize in advance. But, I must speak the truth of the Lord here. Can I do that?

The fact is, The Shack is full of problems. Sure it’s a book that is so incredibly popular and it’s inspirational when you read it, but it is wrong. We’ve got bookstores lining up to sell this book. I don’t blame them as I know it’s making them a lot of money, but just look at some of the problems.

The Shack

The book by the way was endorsed by Eugene Peterson who put together The Message Bible. He said that The Shack has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress did for his. I don’t think so! I don’t think so.

The book communicates that traditional Christian teaching and Sunday prayers and hymns and a traditional approach to Christianity are all wrong. His concept of the Trinity concerning the Father is a large beaming African American woman. Jesus is a Middle Easterner dressed like a laborer, complete with a tool belt and gloves. The Holy Spirit is named Sarayu and is a small, distinctively Asian woman. That’s Tritheism, that’s not Trinitarianism. This is putting the Trinity into three people, and that’s heresy.

William Young, The Shack‘s author, argues that we should forget our preconceived notions about God. Forget your seminary training! God appears to us in whatever form we personally need.

Christianity, he says, has to be revised in order to be understood. How dare any human being say that Christianity which is based upon revelation from God Almighty say that Christianity must be revised! I hesitate to think about William Young at the judgment when God says, “What’s this about a revision?”

Personal experience is supreme in The Shack. It communicates that personal experience trumps revelation. If you’ve got problems, you don’t go to the Bible, you go instead to your experience. Experience is used to interpret the Bible instead of the Bible being used to interpret Scripture.

As for sin, Papa or the Father, says this, “I am not who you think I am. I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment devouring you from the inside. It is not my purpose to punish it; it is my joy to cure it.” I agree that God’s curing, but God does punish sin. In fact, unbelievers will be punished for all eternity in a politically incorrect place that we call Hell.

There is also a false view of Christ’s incarnation. Instead of Jesus coming in the flesh, we’ve got the entire Trinity coming. “When we three spoke ourselves into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed even though we have always been present in this universe. We now became flesh and blood.”

The Shack‘s heresy in terms of salvation teaches that Christ is just the best way to relate to the Father, not the only way.

The fact is that Christian bookstores should not be selling The Shack. That they do leads me to believe that there are landmines in Christian bookstores today, and innocent people walk in there thinking they are safe, but they step on a landmine and their whole faith blows up. It’s dangerous! That’s why we need spiritual discernment.

In the fifth and last segment of Dr. Ron Rhodes teaching on apostasy as an end times sign, he will explain what the current apostasy looks like from merging false religions into Christianity.

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Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones

Assoc. Evangelist and Web Minister for Lamb & Lion Ministries, reaching out to the nearly three billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

13 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • HOGWASH The Shack is a work of fiction, I am a Pastor and its one of the few books I recommend, if we avoided everything people considered evil or wrong we would be sitting in our homes with only the Bible. While in and of itself that isnt a bad thing where is the diversity, get real this is the 21st century!

    • We could do worse than actually have just a Bible in the home. At least that’s not a work of fiction, and Christians might actually read it more than all the so called Christian Fiction.

  • "Pastor" Rose and those with her line of thinking are an ever-growing part of the last days landscape. And all the believers, and so called believers who must have everything the world has. If they can have "The Shack" why can't we? If they can drink and party, why can't we? And the list goes on. Let's try to Christianize everything somehow so that no "Christians" run away from the church. It's not bed bugs or need for diversity; it's itching ears and love of the world.

  • Nathan,
    So glad to hear you speak up about the apostasy in The Shack. I read it years ago,it was recommended by a devout christian friend,as wonderful and awe-inspiring. I didn't say how I felt feeling not as knowledgable about christian things. However something in my spirit was very offended. Now I know why. Thank you so much. I must listen to my spirit more and not worry if I can't quote scripture. God bless.

  • "That's Tritheism, that's not Trinitarianism. This is putting the Trinity into three people, and that's heresy."
    One of the lessons of church history is that ANY attempt to present the Trinity coherently falls apart. The reality is that you can't do it logically, and it is ALWAYS possible to complain about how it is being done in any specific writer. In that context, and given that the story of Jesus' baptism can be seen to present the Trinity in three distinct persons (The one speaking, the descending dove and Jesus), it is plain wrong to complain about THIS element of The Shack. There may be other areas of concern, but let's be careful about what ISN'T right.

    • But John, the shack writer made it clear, that instead of Jesus coming in the flesh, we’ve got the entire Trinity coming. I like your referring to the time the “Father” spoke to “Jesus” standing in the Jordan and the “Holy Spirit” descending on him. This does show 3 distinct personages.

      But here is the rub, no where in the bible does it say the Father or the Spirit came in the flesh! Only Jesus, as John 1:14 say’s; “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” This same word that was with the Father in heaven verse 1. So, this writer who said different is a heretic. Thanks

  • May I just say this entire site and everything it stands for is so hypothetical. You say something and 1/2 way you quote the bible-giving a very subjective and twisted meaning to the words of the bible that ANYONE can take as they like. I could take quotations from the bible and just as efficiently prove that homo sexuality is not a problem for God…so please if you really are so faithful and knowing of God realize your holy book has just enough proof opposing what u believe in. Do NOT used it for your advantage, as the bible is not something to be used to condemn, subjugate, nor label people. We are ALL people. That's all we know for sure and that is what we should be focusing on-not finding reasons and things to explain the things we cannot.

    • “I could take quotations from the bible and just as efficiently prove that homo sexuality is not a problem for God” You fall into Acts 20:30. Why don’t you just go ahead and enlighten us all with your scriptural expertise and show us where God will let homosexuality fly right on by as fine? Don’t forget to post the actual Book, Chapters and Verses!

    • ” Do NOT used it for your advantage,” Well, the Bereans did not think that way, as they searched the scripture to see if what they heard was accurate.
      Acts 17:11
      “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” As the scriptures are all we have to use to line up, doctrinaly, what we hear. Thanks

  • Lena, Man isn't the judge, but we are give the Bible to know right from wrong so we can live according to God's will.

    You used homosexuality as an example. We can know exactly what Jesus believes about this topic in Matthew 19:5-6 when He said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh… So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

    Here we're told that marriage is between one man and one woman for life, and sex outside of marriage is a sin and harmful to them. Live God's best and by His only will.

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