Sunday, March 5, 2017

"The Shack" Movie: 5 Biblical and Theological Reasons William Paul Young is right and two thousand years of orthodoxy is wrong; Part 2

March 3rd, my wife and I went to see "The Shack." It was indeed the best movie I have ever seen. It dealt with the MOST difficult subject that can ever be tackled; where is God in the midst of horrible evil. I am not a movie critic. I am an "amateur theologian" who has spent thirty years examining the gospel and theological views. I have therefore come up with five reasons that "The Shack" is biblical and theologically correct, while all of evangelical and orthodox Christianity is terribly wrong.

The Five Reasons:
  1. God has always wanted to have a personal relationship with humanity from the beginning forward.
  2. God created humanity the way it is, and in spite of that declared that it was "very good."
  3. Jesus overthrew the legal-constitutional focus of scripture in favor of seeing it as the redemptive narrative.
  4. God's ultimate purpose in creation was redemption.
  5. Humanities pathology results from mortality, and the ability to judge what is right and wrong.
Reason One: God has always wanted to have a personal relationship with humanity from the beginning forward

All one has to do is look at Genesis chapter three to find out that prior to the incursion of the knowledge of good and evil God had a close relationship with mankind. Now then, whether one believes that there was a literal Adam and Eve, or that the story of Adam and Eve is allegorical explaining the effect that gaining reasoning had on humanity, it is obvious, that the inspired authors of the biblical text put an emphasis on a personal relationship between God and humanity from the very beginning. Adam is portrayed as having a conversational relationship with God. One can reasonably imagine that this relational aspect is foundational and fundamental to the entire biblical narrative.

God had a personal relationship with Noah and called him to preserve humanity at the time of the flood. Once Abraham was called, God chose to communicate with Him in various ways. A most noticeable way was a trance. Jacob was able to wrestle with God according to the scripture. Moses saw God in the form of a burning bush, and then we are told in Numbers, that God spoke with Moses face to face. Ultimately, God came and dwelt among humanity in the form of His Son Jesus, and now, since the resurrection dwells with believers via the Holy Spirit. The precursor of this was the tabernacle in the wilderness. It was a figure of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Exodus 25:8 NKJV says it all;  "And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." God called Israel to have a relationship with them.

It is not strange that God would want a relationship with Mack. Nor, is it strange that He would present himself as an African American woman. Furthermore, the New Testament scripture clearly shows that all of the trinity is included in the relationship. Actually, the evangelical view of a relationship with God is the one that is unbiblical. God has stated through the writer of Hebrews that he would never leave or forsake us. Yet, evangelical doctrine insists on a person having an obedient, compliant relationship. They teach erroneously that one can be out of fellowship with God based upon their attitude and behavior. Yet Mack was able to wrestle with God, not unlike Jacob. He was able to show his anger toward God, thinking that God had abandoned his daughter. In a sense, he was a judge of God. In-spite of that, God loved and wanted a relationship with Mack more than anything. Evangelical and orthodox dogma does not stress how deeply God desires a relationship. It makes it seem as though God only wants a relationship base upon his terms. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Twenty-four years ago, I made a three day car trip alone from California to St. Louis MO. I was going there to work for about an eight-month stint. I remember so vividly traveling with the sense that Jesus was sitting next to me. He was an ever present companion on that journey. That was a time of great spiritual growth for me. Essentially, I was alone except for my relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. That was important in my paradigm shift. God poured so much in me as I prayed, read the scripture, and began to gain insights into His deep and abiding love for me.

There is a lot to be gleaned from watching "The Shack" movie. There was a lot in the book and in my view, the movie is very faithful to the book... it is just simply condensed.

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