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I have been woefully absent from blogging for a long time. In the midst of life adjustments I forgot about blogging, but I think I’m back. And I have also moved.

Come check out the new digs here: www.EveryManComplete.com

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I was directed to Tevin Wax’s blog to read his review of “The Shack” from Justin Taylor’s blog. I have been following Trevin on twitter (@trevinwax) for some time and have been impressed with his viewpoints and comments.

His review seems to be very balanced and clear on his likes and dislikes of the book. As I was when reading this book, there are some things that are positive like his portrayal of evil and how God can comfort us in our suffering. But the list really ends there and then is filled with a lot of negatives. My biggest beef is the shining reviews on the book itself and by other “christiasns” that say it changed their view of the Trinity. I think it really confuses what scripture says about the trinity and probably does a lot of harm.

Wax’s review of using non-fictional characters in a fiction story is right on:

Let’s say you meet an author who wants to use your grandparents as the main characters in a novel. The author tells you that the narrative will be fictional, but that your grandparents will have the starring roles. Sounds great! you think.

But when the manuscript arrives in your hands, you discover that the story does not accurately represent the personalities of your grandparents. The relationship between them is all wrong too. Grandma berates Grandpa. Early on, they run off and elope (which is totally out of character). At one point, they contemplate divorce.

When you complain, the author responds, “Remember? I told you it would be fictional.”

“Yes,” you say, somewhat exasperated, “I knew the story would be fictional, but I thought you would get my grandparents right. The grandparents in your story aren’t anything like my grandparents.”

“Who cares?” the author responds. “It’s a work of fiction.”

“Well, I care,” you say, “because people will put down this book thinking that my grandparents were like the way you portrayed them.”

My biggest problem with The Shack is its portrayal of God. I understand that the book is a work of fiction, not a theological treatise, and therefore should be treated as fiction. But the main characters are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are actual Persons. To portray God in a manner inconsistent with his revelation to us in Scripture (and primarily in Jesus) is to misrepresent living Persons.

I guess this was my view, but couldn’t express it as well as Tevin does. I am also baffeled on why this book is still being “sold out” on bookshelves everywhere and the most downloaded Christian audiobook on iTunes. Tevin covers that too:

  1. Missing fathers. So many people have grown up with absent daddies or abusive father figures. For many, the mother is the rock of the home. To portray God the Father as a matriarch is bound to resonate with a good number of people.
  2. The anti-authoritarian tendency of our culture. At one point in the book, God speaks of there being no roles of hierarchy in the Trinity. God even submits to humans. This resonates with a culture that already eschews traditional understandings of role and authority. (I can picture my Romanian friends rolling their eyes at The Shack and saying, “That’s so American!”)
  3. The immanence of God. Evangelicals too often bring God down to the level of understanding, faithful friend. Ultimately, this view of God is shrunken and reductionist. Just like it is misrepresenting God to make him so other that he is virtually unknowable, it is misrepresenting him to make him so close and human that his God-ness is absent.

You can read the whole review here.

HT: JT

God’s immutability is enormously important. It engenders stability and elicits worship.

“The doctrine of God’s immutability is of the highest significance for religion. The contrast between being and becoming marks the difference between the Creator and the creature. Every creature is continually becoming. It is changeable, constantly striving, seeks rest and satisfaction, and finds rest in God, in him alone, for only he is pure being and no becoming. Hence, in Scripture God is often called the Rock…” Herman Bavinck – The Doctrine of God

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I’m a book reviewer

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers