"By this Praxeas did a twofold service for the devil at Rome: he drove away prophecy, and he brought in heresy; he put to flight the Paraclete, and he crucified the Father." (emphasis mine)(2)That the Father was crucified is precisely what we find in The Shack. Young develops his cast of three divine “personas” as Papa, a “large black woman” (p. 84) who also goes by the name “Elousia”; Sarayu, who is revealed to Mack as a slim Asian Woman, represents the “holy spirit”; and Jesus who is depicted as a man of Middle Eastern decent. As the story unfolds Mack realizes Papa has scars on “her” wrists:
”Papa didn’t answer, only looked down at their hands. His gaze followed hers and for the first time Mack noticed the scars in her wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his…. ‘Don’t ever think that what my son chose to do didn’t cost us dearly. Love always leaves a significant mark,’ she stated softly and gently. ‘We were there together.’” (emphasis mine, p. 96)Interestingly enough, Young doesn’t describe Sarayu as having scars on her wrists. Although, he does write, ”When we three spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human… we now became flesh and blood.” (p. 99) Later in the dialog Mack once again notices the scars on “Papa’s” wrists and says, “I’m sorry that you, that Jesus, had to die” to which Papa responds, “…we aren’t sorry at all. It was worth it.” (p. 103)
”Jesus is fully human. Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being.”Astonished by this revelation Mack asks, “So, when he healed the blind?” to which Papa responds, “He did so as a dependent, limited human being….” (pp. 99,100) Here Young describes his Jesus as being “grounded” and it is permanent, he never draws upon his divine nature. Mack is confused and continues his questioning to Papa, and keep in mind the context here are questions to Papa. He asks her, “So does this mean that you were limited when Jesus was on earth? I mean, did you limit yourself only to Jesus?” The Papa persona responds, “Although I have only been limited in Jesus, I have never been limited in myself.” (p. 100)
”It is quite simple really. Being always transcends appearance—that which only seems to be. Once you begin to know the being behind the very pretty or very ugly face, as determined by your bias, the surface appearances fade away until they simply no longer matter. That is why Elousia is such a wonderful name. God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things—ultimately emerging as the real—and any appearances that mask that reality will fall away.” (p.112)Young’s “trinity” is simply personifications of a being that dwells in all things. Indeed, he verges into pantheistic thought with the idea that it is “god” who emerges as “the real” and that the world of appearances mask its reality. This concept of “god” is one where the individual’s perceptions of “god” determine how the deity is seen. So, “god” can be a “mother”, or a “father”, or anything else the religious adherent perceives, but they are all expressions of “the real”: the One.
”…if you had eyes to see the greater reality, here is what you would witness: As you continued your current conversation, a unique combination of color and light would leave you and wrap itself around the one who had just entered, representing you in another form of loving and greeting that one.” (p.214)In The Shack what turns out to be “really real” is that we are all beings of light with varying patterns of color defining our uniqueness. This is simply mysticism. The idea is that the real is an all pervading light emanating from a single source; in this case Young’s deity. Mack wasn’t able to see this “truth” being limited to the world of appearances. It took the power of Sarayu to heal Mack’s eyes so he could see reality (p.208). Once his eyes were “opened” he could see that everything was comprised of light and that how we are expressed to each other through our senses is really a matter of changing patterns of unique colors.
”Once you have a hierarchy you need rules to protect and administer it, and then you need law and the enforcement of the rules, and you end up with some kind of chain of command or a system of order that destroys relationship rather than promotes it…. Hierarchy imposes laws and rules and you end up missing the wonder of relationship that we intend for you.” (pp. 122, 123)It is Young’s anti-establishment/anti-institutional ideologies that allow him to embrace universalism. Mack asks Jesus, “is that what it means to be a Christian?” and Jesus responds, “Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian.” Young's Jesus continues,
“As well-intentioned as it might be, you know that religious machinery can chew up people!’, Jesus said with a bite of his own…. ‘You’re not too fond of religion and institutions?’ Mack said…. Jesus paused, his voice steady and patient. “Like I said, I don’t create institutions; that’s an occupation for those who want to play God. So no, I’m not too big on religion’, Jesus said a little sarcastically, ‘and not very fond of politics or economics either.’ Jesus’ visage darkened noticeably. ‘And why should I be? They are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those I care about. What mental turmoil and anxiety does any human face that is not related to one of those three?” (p. 179)
”Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian….” (p. 182)Here Young has clearly denied that God has established an earthly hierarchical system through which He works. The church is not one where Jesus is its “head”; there is no order to creation such as woman created for man. Indeed, throughout the dialogue between Mack and the “trinity” one gets the sense that man is an equal partner with God. More to the point, Young's thoughts about hierarchy implies a rejection of authority as being God pleasing, which clearly contradicts Holy Scripture,
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." --Romans 13:1-2According to Young, it isn’t the will of God that there is civil government, or even marriage, those are all institutions we create allowing us to “play God.” In The Shack God is only concerned with relationships; in fact, he wants to set us free from systems altogether (p.123). What Young is advocating in The Shack is not the denial that Christ is the only way; instead, it is more akin to the New Age philosophy that “Christ” is mystically found in all religions, or in no religion, per se. In fact, we see this with the words expressed through Young’s “Jesus” who says, “I will travel any road to find you” (p. 182). In other words, “Christ” will find you in Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, or anywhere else: Jesus isn’t a Christian and neither are his followers which are found in every human made institution which the god of The Shack detests.
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.There is no meeting Jesus in other religions, or life philosophies, outside the Christian Church. The Holy Spirit delivers us from false religions and sets us on the one true road to salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority." --2 Peter 2:1-10
“When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine. In my relationship with those men, I will never bring up what they did, or shame them, or embarrass them”. (p. 225)Contrast what Young writes with the Word of God:
”Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” –Romans 3:19-20Scriptures are clear that the law brings knowledge of sin, it convicts of sin. Furthermore, we know from the Bible that God is holy and must punish sin. If sin isn’t punishable by God, then there is no need for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Worse still, in the above quotes from The Shack, is the implicit rejection that Christ was punished on the cross for our sins. Indeed, why did Jesus have to go to the cross at all, if God doesn’t punish sin, requiring redemption? Gone is the substitutionary atonement of Christ in Young’s writing.
“Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. –Matthew 13:36-43