Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stay out of the Shack

Several weeks ago I wrote on the book- The Shack- and strongly warned against its content. Normally I do not blog on the same thing twice because I don’t want to beat a dead horse in the ground. This isn’t a dead horse however. A couple of conversations I’ve had with people regarding the book and some things I’ve read recently from its author have convinced me to stress this point again.

First, no one is arguing whether the book is engaging. Of course it is! I am not even saying that the author is intentionally trying to spread false doctrine or harm the church. To give him the benefit of the doubt I’ll assume his errors are born from ignorance which is still no excuse. The common response I get is “well its only fiction”. That is a slippery slope and to be frank is idiotic. What about writing a fiction book that said Jesus was romantically involved with a woman- and this fiction helps our devotional life with God because it helps feel closer to Jesus because we see His humanity? That’s outrageous! By the way… wasn’t that book published as The DaVinci Code and Christians were pretty upset about that? False doctrine always presents itself in an appealing way. That is how it creeps in and does its damage. The particular false doctrine espoused in Young’s book is a misrepresentation of the nature of the Trinitarian God and it directly violates the 2nd Commandment by creating an image of God the Father. Here is my previous post with some helpful links to read more.

One of the scariest comments I’ve read regarding the book is by the author himself. William P. Young said in an interview with the Baptist Standard, “All over the country, I meet nonreligious people who have read the book, bought copies for their religious friends, and told them, ‘I like the God in this (book) a lot more than yours’.” So according to Young, his portrayal of God is more credible that God’s portrayal of Himself in His Word. Blasphemous and very very dangerous. Take my advice… Stay out of this Shack!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happiness in God

Does God want His children to be happy? Well, that depends. So many preachers today are spreading a false prosperity gospel that the Bible does not teach. God’s ultimate goal is not to make us rich and happy through material possessions. We exist for His glory and we bring Him glory when our happiness is in Him.

  • In James 1:2 we are commanded, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter trials of various kinds.”
  • Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 9:7, “Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.”
  • In Job 5:17 Job says, “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”
  • Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
  • Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17, “God… richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
  • David proclaims to God in Psalm 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

My last two sermons (interrupted by two hurricanes) have covered Matthew 5:1-12 (the Beatitudes). These verses comprise the introduction to Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” which explains what it means to be a disciple and to belong to the kingdom of God. In these introductory verses Jesus describes the source of blessing from God or true happiness in God.

  • True happiness is not in itself the end for which we were created.
  • True happiness is not in itself the end for which we were saved.
  • True happiness is not something for which we can demand or are deserved.
  • True happiness is not something grounded in earthly treasures, circumstances, or your mood.

Let me recap those sermons and lay out the principles of “the beatitudes” in Matthew 5:

  • True happiness comes through acknowledging your own spiritual poverty (v. 3).
  • True happiness comes through sorrow (v. 4).
  • True happiness comes through controlling our passions and focusing them on our eternal purpose (v. 5).
  • True happiness comes through a pursuit of righteous living and righteous thinking (v. 6).
  • True happiness comes through demonstrating the mercy of God which we first received (v. 7).
  • True happiness comes through guarding your heart from impurities (v. 8).
  • True happiness comes through spreading the gospel of peace (v. 9).
  • True happiness comes through persecution and suffering (v. 10-12).