I have not read The Shack. If I do, I’ll probably be intent on picking it apart, trying to see if I can identify all the errors that people more clever than I am have seen in the book’s theology. I have, however, watched a clip from an interview the author did on The 700 Club.
The interviewer (don’t recall her name, it’s been ages since I watched) quotes from the book:
My life was not meant to be an example to copy. (Jesus, p149)
Paul Young replies as follows:
“To me, the centrality of the New Covenant is not that He has come to give us the Holy Spirit to help us be like him. To me, following Jesus, being a Jesus-follower is not trying to be like Him, it’s allowing Him to be Himself in the uniqueness of our own personhood. And that to me is the New Covenant, that He has actually come to live inside of us. You know, Jesus is the only hope, not only for us as individuals, but… He’s the only hope for the world.”
I don’t want to be a Christian hating on another Christian, but this is IMHO one of those things that sounds so profound, but is unintelligible. I’m not getting what it means to allow Jesus “to be Himself in the uniqueness of our own personhood”. I’m always wary when people use important-sounding terms without explaining them: either they themselves don’t understand what they’re saying, or they don’t want me to understand what they’re saying. Of course, I could be wrong 🙂
And what about Jesus’ life not being an example? That troubled me to the point of looking it up in the Bible.There is no explicit command that I could find telling Christians to take His life as an example. There are a number of places where it is implied, though: 1 Corinthians 4:15-17, Ephesians 5:1-2, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Philippians 2:5-11. Sounds like the Apostle Paul was all for it.
That said, I do agree with some of the sentiments Mr Young expressed in the interview (e.g the prevailing view that God isn’t on our side). Based on my limited knowledge of him and his book, I really can’t and won’t say more…