For those of you who have not kept up with the discussion happening over on Dave’s earlier post entitled “Righteous Revolution?”, I invite you to join in on the discussion. It has been a very stimulating conversation to say the least. In it, Dave raised a challenge for anyone to find a verse in the Bible that corroborates the statements made in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. If you want to read my answer to Dave’s challenge you’ll have to visit the post and read it for yourself.
The point of this post is to affirm my respect for Dave’s approach as he rightly identifies that the Bible is the ultimate source of authority on any matter. After all, it is from Scripture alone that we, as Christians, derive the morals and values that direct us in our course of actions throughout life. Through the pages of Scripture alone can we learn the true heart of God. It is my desire to draw near to God, and to do that I must immerse myself in his Word and the knowledge of God that is presented therein.
Now, I’m willing to bet it would be difficult to find any christian who would deny the authority of scripture if you asked them directly. However, there are those who, sadly, deny this truth in both their actions and words. Allow me to elaborate.
As a published author I recently had the privilege of attending the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando. For those who don’t know, ICRS is the annual gathering place of all the major players in the Christian publishing world. Publishers, Booksellers, Authors, Agents, Content Creators, TV and Radio Broadcasters, and Journalists all come together to get acquainted with the latest offering of books, gifts and movies that are being created within the Christian community. The primary purpose of the show has always been for publishers to meet face-to-face with the booksellers and show off their catalog of products in person. However, it also provides a unique mechanism for other networking opportunities to exist. As an author I was able to meet with others in my field and enjoyed getting to know the passion for why they wrote what they wrote.
During my stay this year I was engaged in a brief meeting with someone who was praising a popular book that has been flying off the Christian bookshelves. The book is entitled “The Shack” and while I have not had the opportunity to read it myself, I have heard it has caused some significant controversy because of its representation of the trinity and God’s personality. You can read a detailed review here. Anyway, as our conversation continued the other individual boldly stated, “I think people need to put their theology aside and just enjoy the book for what it is because it is a anointed work and God is using it.”
I was caught a bit off guard by the statement, and wondered to myself. “If God is anointing it, shouldn’t it fit within his claims of Scripture? If God is the same yesterday today and forever, and Scripture reveals his charcter why should I have to leave theology at the door to read a new book by an unknown author and accept it as truth?”
Granted, as an author myself I don’t expect any literary work to be perfect when it comes to describing God. However, I also don’t expect my readers to forget all they know about God in order to encounter him through my work. The thing that probably disturbed me most is that this fiction book was being marketed all over the conference under the slogan “Who is God, Really?” It is modern day fiction that is posing as inspired words of God – a very dangerous trail to blaze and I can’t help but wonder if God is pleased, really!
From what I know, William Young (the author of the book) sounds like a really nice guy, who wrote an exceptionally best-selling book, that deals with facing adversity and coming face-to-face with the living God. But Paul warns us that the evidence of a teacher’s work is the fruit. Let’s take a moment to look at a sampling of “The Shack’s” fruit. In addition to my friend’s reaction to the book, take a look at some other quotes from people who have read this book:
“I truly believe that ‘The Shack’ has the potential to shake up and alter the entire Church. This book will seriously mess with your theology — and you will be GLAD. Yeah, it’s really that good.”
“Wish I could take back all the years in seminary! The years the locusts ate???? Systematic theology was never this good. Shack will be read again and again. With relish. Shared with friends, family, and strangers. I can fly!”
“Never will I look at the Trinity in the same way again.… I have entered the shack and I will never be the same.”
“People are not necessarily concerned with how orthodox the theology is. People are into the story and how the book strikes them emotionally…” (Lynn Garrett, Senior Religion Editor for Publishers Weekly)
“With every page, the complicated do’s and don’t that distort a relationship into a religion were washed away as I understood Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for the first time in my life.” (Patrick M. Roddy, Emmy Award Winning Producer of ABC News)
Hmmm…I would be heart-broken if these were quotes from my readership, especially the ones who are so ready to abandon all they have studied about God from Scripture. The last thing I would want as a Christian author is my readers alter their view of God in direct opposition to what is taught in Scripture simply for the sake of a good read or an emotional experience.
Not wanting to pick exclusively on The Shack, there was another book that was highly acclaimed at ICRS that was titled “UnChristian”. Another acquaintance of mine attended a panel discussion for the book (with the authors, publishers, CBA executives all on stage). Here is a brief synopsis of what he saw happen.
“Their premise is that the church is too antagonist toward unbelievers. This is “proven” by the fact that their perception of believers is that we’re judgmental, hateful, and hypocritical, and also that their perception of Jesus is much more positive. Therefore, if we would be more like Jesus, unbelievers would have a better perception of us as well. They said we need to stop criticizing and start being more loving and accepting. One on the panel went so far as to say, “We need to stop the apologetics and start apologizing.
That’s when I almost lost my lunch. These panelists have it completely backwards. The church needs to engage with more of the truth, not less. We need more, “Repent, lest you die,” not “I’m sorry you’re upset.” Unbelievers will never come to true faith with a watered-down gospel of “acceptance.” They need to repent of their sins and turn to the living God in obedience.
The makers of the book and its associated film criticized a group of teenagers who demonstrated in front of San Francisco’s City Hall. All the teens did was to protest the city’s legalization of homosexual marriage. They didn’t carry insulting signs or shout insulting slogans. The counter protesters, however, did shout offensive chants and carry offensive signs.
Who did these authors side with? The homosexual activists. They said the Christians were wrong and needed to apologize.”
It seems to me there is a growing trend within the Christian community to abandon truth for the sake of feelgood, politically correct, relationships. The modern day christian would rather entertain themselves with heresy and accept a false teacher’s claims than try to read the Scripture and understand who God is and what he wants us to do to reach the lost.
Loving someone is not lying to them, and it is not being silent when something needs to be said in order to protect them from danger. I propose that we as Christians should and must stand our ground on the truth of Scripture if we have any hope of loving the lost.
If Scripture is NOT the ultimate authority in our lives, then we run the risk of opening ourselves to all kinds of false teaching. Something the Bible clearly warns us of in many places. So, in a world full of self-proclaiming Christians who are ready to “change our minds” about how we approach life and godliness apart from scripture I emplore us all to realize the importance of clinging to the rock of truth. The Authority of God’s word in all things.
But – that’s just my two cents, why don’t you read the Bible and see what it says for yourself.