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      Happy Flag Day, and The Shack Reconsidered

Utopia

OUR GOVERNMENT... WHAT WENT WRONG?

William J. MurrayA short time before the passage of what is now known as Obama Care, I was one of a few people at a private lunch with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), one of the premiere conservatives in the House. She is pro-life and pro-family, as well as fiscally conservative. She has a firm understanding of how the current entitlement culture is destroying not only the financial foundations, but the social foundations of our nation. During the lunch Congresswoman Bachmann asked me what might seem an odd question to some, unless they knew that I had myself been raised in an atheistic, Marxist home in the 1960's. She wanted to know why liberals can maintain such an attitude of superiority even when their concepts have been proven wrong so often and have led to such disasters.

I responded to Michele that the liberal mind functions according to "magic thought" which allows them to believe that their very opinions prove they have "evolved" further than other humans. Ultimately, I told her, they believe they are so intellectually superior that they have the ability to create a utopian existence for all humanity. I gave her as proof, the fact that liberals often refer to those who disagree with them as "Neanderthals." They actually believe their minds are further advanced. And they sell their ideas with great success to the young, the poor and the uneducated, who are promised they can be part of an intellectually and morally superior movement while also feeling entitled to be taken care of. 

My conversation with Michele Bachmann on the subject ended there, but it made me think about where the concept of utopian society comes from. Utopian ideas go back at least as far as Plato's Republic in which Socrates described a form of government called "timocracy" in which politically disinterested, honorable, wise men would govern society justly. Unlike modern utopians, Socrates understood fallen human nature. He said timocracy, even if attainable, leads inevitably to a state of oligarchy, which is eventually overthrown by a democracy. Lastly, in the democratic state the people themselves become drunk with their own power and entitlements, and society ultimately collapses into a tyranny.


James B. DeYoung Review of The Shack, by William Paul Young

By James B. DeYoung

Seldom does one have the opportunity to review a work of fiction written by a friend that has risen to the top of best seller lists. Recently The Shack has been approaching sales of one million copies. There is even talk about making the book into a movie. But while the novel breaks sales records, it also breaks with the traditional understanding of God and Christian theology. And therein lies the rub. Does a work of Christian fiction have to be doctrinally correct?

From the viewpoint of the plot, the story is quite common. The book is the fictional retelling by Willie of the story of his friend, Mackenzie Phillips, who has been estranged from God for several years. His past experiences under an abusive father leave him bitter toward God, the Bible, and the ministry. When his youngest daughter is kidnapped and brutally killed in a mountain shack, Mack's anger freezes his total outlook in sadness and despair. Then one day he returns to the shack and encounters the Trinity in the form of a large African woman (“Papa” =the Father), a Jewish carpenter (=Jesus Christ), and a small Asian woman by the name Sarayu (=the Holy Spirit). By their discourses with Mack these three lead him on a mythical journey to discover a fresh meaning of God's love and forgiveness.

Read On For Complete Essay»


"What You Need To Know About The Shack": A Review Article

by Barry Traver

William Paul Young's theological novel The Shack is a contemporary phenomenon that pastors, elders, and deacons must reckon with. Why? One reason is that—like it or not—so many people (church people and those outside the church) are reading the book.

Here are some of the specifics: The Shack was number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and since its original publication in 2007 (in spite of being self-published by an unknown author through an unknown publisher) it has sold two million copies. At the time this review was written, The Shack had received a total of over two thousand customer reviews on Amazon.com (most books get only half a dozen or fewer customer reviews). Two-thirds of the reviews of The Shack give the book the highest rating (five stars), many of the reviewers testifying “the book changed my life.”

It is important to recognize that the positive responses (on and off Amazon) are coming not only from those outside the Christian faith, but also from those who profess to be evangelical Christians. One oft-quoted example is Eugene Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College. Here is Peterson's praise (which can be found on the front cover of the book):

When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize, the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progressdid for his. It's that good!

But is The Shack that good? And is the teaching of The Shack in line with Bunyan and the Bible?

Read On For Complete Essay»


Links to Additional Articles:

“Is The Shack Heresy?”
A pro-Shack article by Wayne Jacobsen, collaborator on The Shack
http://windblownmedia.com/about-wbm/is-the-shack-heresy.html

“The Shack: Helpful or Heretical?”
A Critical Review by Norman L. Geisler and Bill Roach http://normangeisler.net/theshack.html

“Refashioning God
by Tom McMahon, The Berean Call Newsletter
http://www.thebereancall.org/node/7947


Featured Titles

Burning Down the ShackBurning Down the Shack: How the 'Christian' Bestseller is Deceiving Millions

by James B. De Young

Millions have bought into the theology of Paul Young. The story of pain and redemption resonated with the public.

Is Young's worldview important or his theology that big a deal? James De Young thinks so. In "Burning Down the Shack," De Young manages to shed important light on the implications of Young's pluralistic faith, and provides readers with a gripping counter-balance to the popular little volume that has spent many weeks on the best-seller lists.

Exploring the nature and character of God, from Scripture, De Young concludes that it is necessary to proceed carefully with "The Shack," lest important truths be skewed and even jettisoned. Without being confrontational, De Young makes the case that dangers can lurk under the foundation.

Paperback, 288 pages

Price: $16.00
Fear of God

THE FEAR OF GOD: A FORGOTTEN DOCTRINE (Expanded Second Edition)
by Dr. Arnold L. Frank

In "The Fear of God", Frank sets out to revitalize a doctrine that in times past – from the Biblical era to the founding of America – has empowered and emboldened Christians to lead lives that distinguished them among their peers as godly, meaningful and productive.

   Paperback, 228 Pages
   
     Price $16.95


Young Heart BooksNew from Nordskog Publishing Imprint, Young Heart Books

Burning Down the Shack With My Rifle by My Side: A Second Amendment Lesson AUTHOR: Kimberly Jo Simac
ILLUSTRATOR: Donna Goeddaeus 

With My Rifle by My Side is a story written for young children to encourage an appreciation and respect for appropriate firearm use. It is a charming children's story written in verse that reclaims American values through the perspective of a young boy. The boy enjoys sharing in the experience of hunting with his Dad and sister. He also learns about gun safety as he learns how to shoot his own rifle. After taking part in their outdoor activities, the boy's family learns about our nation's history as they visit American monuments. With My Rifle by My Side is a book with colorful illustrations and a delightful story that renews the spirit of American liberty and honor. 

BINDING: Hardback, full-color cover; full-color inside; 48 pages

Regular Price: $18.95
Pre-Publication Discount Price: $15.20
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