The critics of The Shack appear to be everywhere, at least on social media! Most of these critics are truth-loving, Bible-believing, truly concerned Christians. They deserve grace and love extended to them. There’s no a need to be offended. Hardy conversation should be welcome within the body of Christ. Yet in many of their calls to discernment, warnings of idolatry and concerns for doctrinal purity I hear a smidgen of hypocrisy. The one that calls for discernment must be aware that when one makes this call, they are potentially bearing a double edged sword that cut both ways. Much care must be taken or they will get cut by the backside of the blade. Let’s process this together and see if their is merit to what I am arguing.
Does your tone sound like you’re against everything? I don’t think it’s only me, but from my vantage point, it appears that the loudest voices against The Shack are the loudest voices against anything innovative, edgy, different, creative. The litany of prophetic cries doesn’t seem to stop, but are they really just scarecrow arguments that justify continual worship at the idol of nostalgia? Their moaning ranges from coffee bars to lighted platforms, from charismatics to Rick Warren, from the extremes of the prosperity gospel to the Christian Coalition, from griping about newer forms of church architecture to contemporary services. I believe most of them are still angry about having chairs rather than pews. If they could hit the reset button, then they would teleport the church back to 1940. Are your scarecrow arguments justifications that keep you from tackling the real difficult issues of change in society and the need for nimble change in the church?
Have you upheld your method over your message? Could it be these unbalanced technocrats have led the evangelical movement to the edge of the abyss? Could it be that these shallow and aloof platitudes have exiled the masses to hell? How could I say this? From my vantage point, the unwillingness to change has not caused these believers to water down the gospel, but to not communicate the gospel. I don’t want to stand before the Lord having squandered my talents because I was unwilling to take a risk.
Have you missed the whole point? I warn you that purism in the technicalities of Christianity can hide the fact that one has missed the true essence of the faith. Many of these critics offer definitions for what the church should be. They survey their perceived boundaries of acceptable Christianity. The only problem is their form of Christianity is personified in the church of Ephesus. A church that on the outside had everything “right.” Yet Jesus threatened to close this church because a Christianity that is totally correct in the peripheries can be totally wrong at the core. Yes, the church needs a brain, but Jesus declares boldly that a church without a heart is not a church at all. Have you lost the essence of the faith?
Has your wisdom produced fruit? I have little tolerance with these high-minded, standard-bears that speak platitudes of discernment based on self-assured conservatism and perfect idealism, but fail epically at discerning how to navigate the times, love people well, take advantage of opportunities and connect on a deep level. Their lack of perspective exemplifies why present day evangelicals that have demonstrated a total ineptitude in connecting with post-modern generations in any form of meaningful or missional way. So before you herald the need for discernment, know the sword of the Lord has two edges. This cry for discernment cuts both ways. Make sure you pass the test!
The God of judgement is watching to see if we will invest our talents and opportunities shrewdly. So in regard to The Shack invest your time, energy and conversations judiciously so you can reap the maximum amount of eternal fruit. My friends, be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. God Speed.