Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mark Driscoll on The Shack

Here's the second of two posts on the Christian publishing phenomenon known as The Shack.

This video features Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll debunking the book - which he refers to as heresy. As you'll see, Pastor Mark is one of these up and coming church leaders who is well-grounded in solid Biblical doctrine.

The purpose of this is to really lay out the facts about the book and let Christians decide. Is this a serious misrepresentation of Almighty God, or are we to view it as simply a harmless little allegory that deeply touches our emotions?


Adrienne said...

Driscoll makes some important and resonant points, especially about the presence of hierachy oustide of sin. Unfortunately, he also seems to intentionally misunderstand aspects of The Shack. For example, he makes a bit of a straw man out of The Shack by failing to mention that Papa explains that the members of the Trinity have appeared in a way that would be the most effective for communicating with Mack (not in some true form they always exist).

I'm not sure why God the Father and the Holy Spirit could not embody themselves as humans if they wanted to. I see no reason to condemn those who wonder aloud about what it would look like if they did.

I had never gotten the idea before that the no "graven image" rule had anything to do with attempting to metaphorically represent aspects of the true God, though I could be persuaded of my error. That passage seems to me to be aimed at banning the making of alternatives to the true God and there are much easier ways in our culture to fall into that trap than by daydreaming crazy stories about how the true God might attempt to talk to a hurting man.

I would be curious to know if Driscoll believes that the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a monument of heresy. I had never thought of it that way.

Frankly, I thought the most disturbing part of the book was its hint at endorsing polytheism. One of the Trinity members makes a comment that, if construed broadly, could be read as espousing an "all roads lead to heaven" view. That, it seems to me, comes a whole lot closer to breaking the core of the "graven image" rule.

Finally, I am taken aback by the suggestion that Christians should not read something just because it wrongly concludes on important subjects. Such a text is valuable as a paradigm for analysis precisely because its errors throw the truth into relief by comparison. If we can learn to recognize how The Shack got it wrong, we have added to our learning.

Pastor Kip said...

Good comments, Adrienne. I agree that Driscoll's strongest point comes at the end in his discussion on hierarchy.

Your final point about the errors in The Shack being a valuable paradigm for analysis are well taken, but I don't think most people tend to view things that critically (and when's the last time you heard your average person-on-the-street use the word paradigm?)

I think it is extremely important to point out these errors and direct people back to the Scriptures - ultimately that's where we've lost our mooring. It seems we're living in a time when truth is determined by whether or not it is endorsed by a celebrity and/or it makes us cry.

Adrienne said...

I can definitely see the risk for misunderstanding posed by The Shack if it is viewed as some kind of third testament. I think I diverge from others in the Christian community in that I understood the book to be asking questions, not purporting to answer them.

I am surrounded by question askers. Folks who don't believe humans have souls. Folks who believe God is a kind of positive myth that helps us make better life choices. Folks who don't know what to think. I like to ride the wave of question asking rather than trying to fight it. I get farther with my question-askers by asking questions along side them and listening along with them. It's risky and its hard, but it's effective. So I chose to view the book as being followed with a giant question mark.

By the way, blog readers, if you are looking for good Christian fiction to make you think about the heart of God and human nature, I really enjoyed The Horse and His Boy, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. Lewis is super cool.