What do We do with "The Shack?"
The highly popular fiction book, “The Shack”, is now in theatres and has many followers of Christ asking, “Is it ok to watch this movie?”, “Is the movie an accurate representation of God and His character?”, “Can a Christian watch and enjoy a movie that presents false theology about God?”, “Can’t we just watch a movie to enjoy the cinematic value?”
These are all good questions. A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” It is encouraging that Hollywood has started to release movies that delve into the eternal questions about who God is, what He does, regrets, pains, depression, and loss with the release of “The Shack”, “Heaven is for Real”, or “Miracles from Heaven.” If nothing else, this should allow conversations to occur in regards to important questions of life, death, salvation and who God is. Dr. Mohler—President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary—has written about the need for discernment as we choose to view movies portraying God whose truths about Him may be misleading in a blog entitled: The Shack – The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment.
Michael Youssef has written on thirteen different heresies mentioned below:
- God the Father was crucified with Jesus.
Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).
- God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.
The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).
- On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.
Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).
- Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.
Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).
- God will never judge people for their sins.
The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).
- There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity.
The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.” Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit” (John 4:34, 6:44, 14:26, 15:26).
- God submits to human wishes and choices.
Far from God submitting to us, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.” We are to submit to Him in all things, for His glory and because of what He has accomplished for us (Matthew 7:13-15).
- Justice will never take place because of love.
The Bible teaches that when God’s love is rejected, and when the offer of salvation and forgiveness is rejected, justice must take place or God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for nothing (Matthew 12:20; Romans 3:25-26).
- There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.
Jesus’ own description of hell is vivid … it cannot be denied (Luke 12:5, 16:23).
- Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
- Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.
Jesus, who dwells in the splendor of heaven, sits at the right hand of God, reigning and ruling the universe. The Bible says, “In Him there is no change, for He is yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 11:12, 13:8; James 1:17).
- There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life” (John 3:15, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40).
- The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.
The Bible is God-breathed. Sure, there were many men through 1,800 years who put pen to paper (so to speak), each from different professions and different backgrounds, but the Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. These men were writing the same message from Genesis to Revelation. If you want to read more about the place of Christ in the Scripture, read “We Preach Christ” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Back to the original question, “What do we do?” When viewing all of the truths above in light of what Scripture teaches at the least the movie should not be regarded as a place to receive any truth or knowledge of God. This may be a movie to enjoy theatrically, but as believers we should “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and not allow any production give us a false sense of who God is, but rather depend on the Word of God to define Him.
- We only know the true God from the Bible, a movie or book will never suffice.
- We have no reason to fear a movie depicting a false God. People have been depicting God wrong since the beginning of time (see the Israelites and the golden calf). We use these as opportunities to lovingly share the true God of Scripture.
- We don’t place shame on anyone who views this or any other movie, but again look for opportunities to have conversations about the true nature of God. As people who Love God, Love Others and Make Disciples we don’t have to be afraid or quarrel over these movies.