A shack-full of heresies
William P. Young’s book The shack (Hodder and Stoughton) has become a best-seller. Yet it is full of false teachings. Here are some of them, with the biblical antidotes!
1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.
Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look on sin, the Bible says that God would not even look upon his own beloved Son as he hung on the cross carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:46).
2. God is limited by his love and cannot require justice.
The Bible declares that God’s love and justice are two sides of the same coin – equally part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8). ‘Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness’ (Romans 11:22).
3. At the cross, God forgave all of humanity, regardless of whether they repent or not.
Jesus explained that only those who come to him in repentance and faith will be saved (John 14:6). The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgement of God by believing in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-40; Romans 10:8-13).
4. God submits to human wishes and choices.
Far from God submitting to us, he ‘works all things according to the counsel of his will’ (Ephesians 1:11) and ‘does according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”’ (Daniel 4:35).
5. There is no such a thing as eternal judgement or torment in hell.
The Bible teaches that sin must be punished; God ‘will by no means clear the guilty’ (Exodus 34:7). Jesus’ description of hell is vivid – it cannot be denied (Mark 9:42-48; Luke 16:23). However, God has shown mercy on believing sinners by sending Jesus Christ to bear their sins on the cross – ensuring that sin was punished and justice was done (Romans 3:23-26). But those who do not believe ‘are condemned already’ (John 3:18).
6. Jesus walks with everyone in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to him. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
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). Only those who believe in him will have eternal life (John 3:15, 36; 6:40).
7. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.
The Bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Sure, the Bible was written by many men over a period of perhaps 1800 years, but God’s Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. ‘Prophecy [Old Testament Scripture] never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Peter 1:21).