Driscoll’s Doctrine Versus The Shack

(clip is 7 minutes, ht Emergent Village)

It was no surprise to me that my opinion and views about The Shack are polar opposite to Mark’s. To begin with, The Shack is not a work of doctrine or theology, it is fiction. However, to be fair, there are issues of doctrine and theology addressed as themes, conversations, and metaphors in the book.

The trinity is a major theme of the book. Mark’s view has no tolerance for God the Father represented as a female, and he believes that to represent Him as a fictional character is making a graven image. Also, Mark’s doctrine strongly opposes a non-hierarchical understanding of the trinity.

According to him, those who accept the picture of God – Father, Son, and Spirit – described in the book The Shack are undiscerning and embracing a heretical doctrine.

I agree with Mark’s conclusion that the book addresses the biggest question there is, “Who is God?”

Does the popularity of this book reflect a resonance among readers with an understanding of God as He really is, or is it the mindless embrace of a gullible public embracing a heretical view of God?

What do you think of Mark’s objections?

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115 thoughts on “Driscoll’s Doctrine Versus The Shack

  1. I’m copping out … I can’t stomach MD this early in the morning. The mere fact that you titled this “X’s Doctrine … ” tells me all I desire to know.

    I’d like to suggest that to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and the love of neighbor as ourselves cannot be contained in a doctrine. It’s just too small …

  2. While I’m not the least bit surprised that he doesn’t like it, I’m with Sonja about watching the video. All I know is this book changed me for the better in so many ways.

    For me it was all about the struggle to deal with any kind of tragedy in life where we might wonder “Where is God in all this?” It’s an age-old question, and this book shed some light for me.

  3. LOL! I get a kick out of how MD goes on and on about how we should NOT reduce God to graven images … but continuously refers to God as “God the Father.” Ah …

  4. we’re in school so i can’t watch the video right now either, but he “believes that to represent Him as a fictional character is making a graven image”?

    Really?

    Hmmm… makes me wonder about that vineyard owner in the bible. you remember- the one who went away and left his sorry servants in charge who later killed the vineyard owner’s son…

    apparently jesus was into graven images! perhaps mark should have a talk with him about that.

  5. I’m so sorry for him and his people. To have a ‘pastor’ tell me not to read something is a major problem with me. How about, “if you read this you may want to watch out for ….”

    Does he ACTUALLY think we will begin to worship a black motherly type woman as our God. Are we really that stupid to him?

    He probably won’t like Wayne’s books on the
    ‘church’ either. What do you think? ;)

  6. Ah yes, if God, the Father, choose to show Himself through a black woman we would be offended, wouldn’t we :)

    But when Jesus compares Himself to a hen with chicks, it’s OK.

  7. Father image only huh? Well how did this get in the bible:
    Isaiah 66:12-13

    For this is what the LORD says:
    “I will extend peace to her like a river,
    and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
    you will nurse and be carried on her arm
    and dandled on her knees.

    As a mother comforts her child,
    so will I comfort you;
    and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

  8. I can’t believe he’s read the book either. And I am weary of fear-mongering of this type rather than engagement with A WORK OF FICTION to see where there are gems to be mined. Sigh…. :(

    There are a few comments over at Brother Maynards from detractors — one is a long “review” which I just had to walk away from.

    Goddess worship….puleease. Just shows they don’t know their pagans, either.

    Okay…gotta stop before I go overboard! 8)

  9. Yeah Rick, you stole my thunder! God does have a feminine side, for sure!

    (as well as a chicken side as noted by ABMO!)

    well, the driscoll call to censor a book is an age-old tactic in oppressing people from freedom of thought and ideas. Ask Salmon Rushdie about this. He’s quite familiar with how a novel can provoke religious fervor. Or Dan Brown. His Davinci Code work of fiction resulted in heated discussions and follow-up books.

    Which proves the point of a quote I love to sling around that I heard from a successful novelist here in Portland:

    Fiction is the lie that tells the truth truer.

    Stories have power because they become vehicles in imparting moral codes and spiritual truth. This is why people get freaked out when a novel comes out with ideas or takeaway messages that are offensive to them. Driscoll obviously has a certain amount of respect for the power of a good story that captures imagination and how that story can affect people far more than a sermon or a youtube sound bite. Stories affect our mind, the rational as well as the imaginative, as we enter the story we read and discover the truths in the situations the characters encounter. We become involved in the story, we dream the fictional dream.

    And The Shack, well, it’s a phenomena, absolutely a freak storm in the publishing world. I just read that it’s at 400,000 copies. Unheard of for a self-published novel by an unheard of writer…and it wasn’t even written all that great, though the theological diamonds shine like gems unearthed in a dark cave.

    It’s unfortunate that Driscoll and other critics of The Shack, for which there are MANY, are unable to hear the longing in everyday people for a relationship with God that helps us deal with the suffering in this life. William Young did not write the story of The Shack all that skillfully, but he did portray the heart nature of that is resonating with thousands upon thousands of people. This is staggering to me.

    I remember years ago when my family attended a very conservative church that the pastor sermonized about a particular film that he found very offensive. “I don’t know how you can call yourself a Christian if you watch that movie,” he declared on a Sunday morning. My husband and I just smiled sideways at each other, for we had just rented the movie. We weren’t ruffled by the pastor’s sweeping condemnation of a film he obviously could not pay attention and learn from. And so, I suspect, will be the same for most people in Driscoll’s church. The ones who have read The Shack, and got it, will probably just smile sideways at each other. “Oh, that’s just Mark for you…” But hopefully they won’t hide their copies from view when their church friends come over. It does provoke fascinating conversation and discussion about the nature of God and love of God when “tragedy confronts eternity.”

  10. Couple of things.

    1. He conveniently forgets to mention that Papa changes images to an older male in the end.

    2. The context of hierarchy is in love, which is expressed in Jesus washing the feet. If Jesus is the purest reflection of the Imago Dei, then we’re to assume that God would love, which is what the book is trying to say.

    3. I too wondered if he read the book.

    4. I’m not really surprised by Mark’s response. In fact, I think it was pretty clearly in line with what I would expect Mark to say.

  11. “Oh, that’s just Mark for you…”

    Isn’t that just how everything he says and does should be taken? He’s the crazy uncle in the family that everyone knows is crazy, but has to put up with because he’s family. Keep him from causing damage maybe, but just smile and ignore him mostly.

  12. Wait … I have a better idea.

    Let’s carve those doctrinal lines in STONE, while we’re on a mountain top.

    Oh. It’s been done before. Rats!

  13. I agree Julie – except that if you had a crazy uncle in the family who was also abusive and manipulative and downright toxic, you’d probably do more than simply dismiss him. You’d probably warn off your cousins, keep your kids well in sight when they were around him and limit your contact as much as possible.

    If MD was just the nutty uncle it’d be ok but man, I’m just so frustrated with how far he chooses to go and how nasty he chooses to get.

    Not to mention that thousands and thousands of people don’t think he’s the crazy uncle. They think he’s the great father.

    oh and I can’t listen to him so I didn’t watch the video.

  14. erin,
    Isn’t it by the fruit that we are supposed to judge? It seems the fruit of the book has been pretty good in drawing people to God.

    shawn,
    Yes, it seems that Mark’s image of God is quite solidly engraved.

    cindy,
    You mean Jesus used stories with metaphors of the Father? Shocking!

    barb,
    To be honest, Mark personifies most of the qualities I view as representative of a toxic leader.

    abmo and rick,
    God might surprise Mark someday. ;)

    peggy and pam,
    I’ve observed Mark’s tactics often enough to recognize the pattern.

    1. Describe the problem in technical theological terms to give intellectual weight to your position. (pride)

    2. Declare the opposing view sin in order to scare people from considering its validity. (fear)

    3. Label those who follow the other belief heretics. (shame)

    4. Thus appointing yourself as the authority and guardian of truth. (control)

    jonathan,
    I’m guessing that, at the most, he read reviews and perhaps skimmed the book.

    julie,
    I wish he were as inconsequential as the crazy uncle. I am surprised at the extent and degree of influence he has over many young leaders.

  15. sonja,
    That’s okay, God’s love has a way of oozing outside the lines and ignoring the boundaries. :)

    mak,
    Exactly! You posted while I was writing.

  16. I have not read the book, and so have no idea if Driscoll is right or wrong.

    But all of you who have judged him, I have noticed a few ironies:

    1. Many suspect that MD did not read the whole, book.. How many have listened to his whole sermon in context or just the 7 minute clip?

    2. Many of you are disturbed that he is drawing clear lines of right and wrong… so how did you arrive at your DOCTRINE that MD is wrong about God?

    3. Many have made comments suggesting that in the Shack you find diamonds among the coal… do you find any diamonds in Mark, or is he all coal?

    Again, I am not on a side here since I have not read the book or listened to all MD had to say. I am just sharing an observation for your personal introspection. Be careful you do not become the very thing you despise.

  17. Well, I would be careful about saying things like “all you who have judged him.” There are a couple of types of judgement in scripture, and we tend to confuse them sometimes.

    Paul exhorted us to test all things, and judge all things. He also exhorted his listeners to judge what he (Paul) was saying to them. So, he wasn’t exactly a very controlling leader. In this way, I believe he taught us that we have to be able to talk openly about ideas, disagreements and such. So, according to my Bible, we are personally responsible to “judge” what someone says, and even to test the fruit.

    I think Grace’s assessment of the fruit (pride, fear, shame, control) was completely legal scripturally speaking. In fact, I believe that we need more discernment, more testing, more thinking-for-ourselves, more testing of things in the Church and less blind following.

  18. I just tried to listen to this clip and I had to stop before it even hit the minute mark. I cannot listen to this because the spirit with which he presents his view is just so polluted. I’m at the point in my walk that the spirit of the person coming forth carries as much if not more weight than any words he or she may be speaking. I’m just tired of dirty water washing over me, and I have to just walk away sometimes. This was one of those times. Maybe on a different day I could bear up better under it, but I’m in no mood for that to wash over me today. I will listen to all sorts of views from all sorts of people, but not when it’s so polluted like this.

    Am I crazy or does anyone know what I’m talking about?

  19. Fair enough Sarah.. but I tried to speak in Generalities without pointing fingers at any single person… but I guess I can’t win for trying when people only want to see the worst… they will see the worst.

  20. jrmiller – I think all of us who are critics of MD are keenly aware that just as we feel a need to warn off people and make some judgments about what he says, so too will he feel the need to warn people off us and make judgments about what we say.

    I’m not sure what the point of stating that obvious fact is though. I don’t think the point of “do unto others” is to just ignore everything that concerns us. Jesus certainly didn’t live that way.

  21. tracy – I’m completely on board with you. I can’t listen to a single word that comes out of that man’s mouth without getting sick to my stomach – – and that happened long before I really knew what he believed.

  22. As I said before, I have neither read Shack nor have I heard Mr. Driscoll’s comments in full… so I cannot really give a truly fair comment on either.

    I am able to give you a first impression. I think MD makes some good points, but I don’t know how relevant they are to the actual content of the book.

    Generally speaking, any claim that a literary work constitutes biblical idolatry is stretching the bounds of credulity.

  23. That is fine Mak, but please read my question. I did not say it was wrong to make judgement for either you or MD, I asked folks to consider their foundation for making criticism.

    In the end, no one need prove anything to me, I was just offering my perspective in reading the comments.

  24. joe,
    Most of the people who have commented here have had enough exposure to Mark’s teaching and opinions to have a realistic view of his position on certain doctrinal issues. Thus the statement that his views aren’t really a surprise.

    As far as judging or criticizing, no one here has called him a heretic, said he is going to hell, or said something nasty about his mama.

    Speaking for myself, I see him as a christian brother, but I am also aware that we view faith and doctrine very differently. My criticism for Mark isn’t based on the difference in doctrine. It is based on the fact that he repeatedly calls those he disagrees with heretics.

    I do believe Mark is wrong about the trinity. The Reformed camp has latched on to a hierarchical view of the trinity as a foundation for hierarchy in marriage and church authority. In my opinion the mutuality of the trinity is to be our model for relationship.

    This is an area where dialog and discussion isn’t likely to produce agreement. Ideally there would be tolerance for differences of beliefs on secondary issues. Many people have not experienced this kind of tolerance or respect from those in the more fundamental side of the Reformed church world.

    The purpose of the post was to provide a forum to express opinions concerning the doctrinal issues from either Mark’s point of view or from The Shack.

    I don’t believe that many of the comments have fallen outside of those parameters. Do some people have trouble with his demeanor? Yes, watching him can be somewhat triggering for those who have experienced abuse at the hands of an arrogant and authoritative leader.

    Anyway, I just wanted to give you some perspective about where I’m coming from. I don’t claim to speak for anyone else.

  25. Disclosure: I like The Shack and I am not a fan of Mark Driscoll. With that here are my thoughts:

    I have listened to the entire one hour and three minutes of the sermon…..and read the book.

    Yes, there are some diamonds in the coal in his talk. No, the seven minutes does not in any way distort anything by being out of context. To claim that the book’s representation of God the Father is a graven image and that by representing God the Father as a woman is worshipping a goddess seems straining to find something to complain about more than anything of substance. The third point on modalism, while only supported by one short sentence from the book that could be interpreted in more than one way, is worth further thought and discussion. The final point on the relationship among the Trinity, while worth discussing, seems to result from a misunderstanding of what is in the book.

    There are two problems as I see it. MD has a reputation, which seems well deserved, for being less than gracious in conveying certainty in areas of belief where he should perhaps be more open to revision and reform. The second is that in the format he uses of lecture in preaching/teaching there is no room for serious dialogue on these various points. This combination makes it very difficult to have a real discussion of the issues that would result in the opportunity for “iron to sharpen iron” in cooperation with the work of the Holy Spirit.

    J.R. Miller, while I agree with Sarah that we must be discerning of any teaching, I think your point about our questioning our own motives in all we do is something we should always remember and act upon. Personally, I thank you for the reminder.

  26. Thanks grace. I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    For the record, I did not intend the word “judge” in a biblical sense. I never said, or implied, that anyone called MD a heretic or called him nasty names, I simply said they had made judgments about him (not his theology). I found irony in some of the “assessments” (or conclusions if you prefer) and offered some questions for further reflection.

    And you are right, I don’t know the heart and motive and experience of everyone who posted. I am farily new to reading here and that is why I asked some questions meant for personal “INTROSPECTION.” I did not ask anyone to defend themselves to me or justify their comments. If everyone feels great about their motives and posts, fine.. If I had a problem with any specific comment, I would have said so, but I was not interested in pointing fingers. .. I was posting a feeling I got from reading all the posts as a collective.

    In the end, I feel like my questions have offended people (or maybe because I used the word “judge”…

    I apologies for sharing my perspective and asking questions that were so offensive. I did not mean to put everyone on the defensive.

    Peace…

  27. tracy,
    No you’re not crazy. As I said above, Mark’s demeanor is triggering for those who have had their fill of that “style” of leadership.

    steve,
    *snore*
    Could you explain that in theological terms? You guys aren’t making fun of me at your blog, are you? :)

    sarah and mak,
    I agree with you both that being able to talk openly about these things is important.

    traveller,
    Well said. Modalism is a topic I don’t know about or understand. From what I could tell, it isn’t a major theme in the book. I have told many people before reading the book that it isn’t necessary to agree with every aspect of the author’s doctrine in order to enjoy this work of fiction. There are probably a few areas I wouldn’t agree with if the details were hammered out in a debate, but that wasn’t how I read the book.

    joe,
    No problem. We’re pretty open to discussion around here, even when we’re discussing the discussion. :)

  28. Grace,

    Thanks for naming Mark’s tactics. Very well put. I’m not that familiar with Mark, but what you wrote and what I witnessed on this video were congruent.

    To the larger discussion, I’ve not read The Shack (but will soon) but MD’s arguments don’t make much sense. I’ve heard the story of the prodigal son many times. I’m pretty sure Jesus told the story so we would understand how God loves his children, I’ve never thought of that as a graven image. I believe the context of graven images was actually idol worship, where they really would make a physical statue of god(s) and worship them.

    I’m familiar a bit with MD’s views of women. He clearly has some issues if he equates a feminine image of God in The Shack with goddess worship. If God is Spirit as MD says then calling him Father would also be improper. Yet, Jesus did it all the time. His argument doesn’t make sense.

    If this is the kind of teaching that MD engages in, I wonder what all the fuss is about…

  29. Having read the book, at no point did I see this a statement of theological doctrine. It must be terribly sad to live in Mark’s little world of fear. This is art, a piece of creative writing…an writer who uses words like an artist would paint, images filled with metaphor and allegory. This is a book about faith…not so much theology. It is a wonderful piece of art to engage culture…to land it into a culture that is hungry for spirituality and faith. It’s at that table of engagement in conversation, one might want to mix theology into the images of metaphor and allegory. Mark Driscol continues to paint an image of God that is so small…it’s no wonder he has to protect Him.

  30. grace, your insight into controlling leadership is amazing. very articulate what you wrote in regards to the pattern of public communication from MD.

    now that i read it, i have to agree with Mak that this is not crazy uncle behavior, but scary uncle behavior.

    also, the comments about the strictness of reformed theology help us all in this conversation to remember that our world view is the filter by which we interpret art and life. On the one hand, MD is staying true and consistent to his world view, on the other, he comes off as mean spirited in the way he does it. And that, I think, is the issue a lot of us have. Not the disagreeing part, disagree with me all day long, I’m ok with that. But when I am talked down to it is demeaning and devalueing. And that, is what makes MD a scary kind of uncle.

  31. OK, I finally took the time to watch the video.

    Frankly, I’d like the last 7+ minutes of my life back.

    Not only have other previous commenters here pointed out the fallacy in his accusation of “graven image”, but he bases this interpretation of “graven image” on the Puritan interpretation, not even scripture itself. That’s pretty pathetic, if you ask me.

    And he basically is saying that the commandment to not make graven images only applies to the Father. That’s quite a stretch in interpretation.

    The way MD explains the trinity, he might as well just call it polytheism (or at worst, tri-theism). And quite honestly, it is this type of explanation of the trinity that makes me think the whole doctrine is messed up. The over-emphasis on “three” as opposed to “one” is a distortion of the revelation God has given us, in my very humble opinion.

    This rant by Driscoll is nothing but fear-mongering (“it’s heresy!!”), control (“If you haven’t read it — DON’T”), and arrogance (I understand the trinity and you don’t, so listen to me and I will make you wise — is basically the message here).

    Personally, I still say that if the doctrine of the trinity were that important to understand, we would have seen Jesus, Paul, and others being a whole lot more explicit about it.

  32. Grace, no, we’re definitely not making fun of you :) I only wrote “*snore*” because sometimes that’s how I feel when I see posts about MD. Not saying you shouldn’t post about it, but it’s just getting so tiresome to hear who’s in the “Heretic of the Month Club” for MD. It’s like “here we go again — same rant, same attitude, same smug arrogance, different names.”

    May I remind those who get upset about comments about Mark that a “heretic”, by definition, is one who causes division. And Mark, by any standard, fits that description pretty clearly. So, it’s quite ironic that he would call others heretics (or, more accurately, call their teaching heresy) when he himself doesn’t even exegete scripture responsibly and he wants to cause division everywhere he possibly can.

    I agree with Mak. This is scary uncle stuff.

  33. PS
    I am more and more convinced that people who need to ‘rule’ or ‘be ruled’…will fight until their last, to maintain hierarchical structures that promise to keep them ‘safe’, or at least employed.

  34. 7catz – I hear big time fear in MD too – – he reminds me of a typical bully personality – over compensating tough guy image because he’s really very insecure and fearful, but then again, a lot of the Reformed Church stuff smells like fear to me.

  35. i disagree with driscol…and for the one who asked, here is what my view of the trinity is based on…

    gen. 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

    30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

    31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

    mark 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

    7For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

    8And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

    9What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    rom 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    so i find it hard to understand how driscol’s the view of GOD not having a female side, would at all support family or marriage…can three males bear children?…

    GOD did not pattern the world to work in such a way, yet HE patterned all things after HIMself…

  36. Grace, you wrote: “No you’re not crazy. As I said above, Mark’s demeanor is triggering for those who have had their fill of that “style” of leadership.”

    I don’t feel at all triggered by MD. Thankfully, I’ve never been under that “style” of leadership, so it’s not that he’s a trigger for me.

    It really is just that that sense from him that fear is fueling arrogance (I’ve been there, done that, so I can “smell” it a mile away!). It shouts so loudly from him that I cannot hear his words very well at all.

    My heart actually aches for this man and I will be praying for him. His passion is genuine, but it’s so misdirected. The body of Christ needs more passion like his, just properly fueled by love, grace, and humility, and not fueled by fear and arrogance.

    It also is so sad to think that the body of Christ is so undiscerning as to not pick up what the spirit of a man is, and to blindly follow. I guess that’s an age-old problem, though, so it shouldn’t surprise me! Right now I’m leaning hard on the fact that Jesus is going to have a spotless bride. Won’t she be a beauty to behold when all our “stuff” is gone?! Thankfully, MD will be part of the bride, so I’m glad, Grace, you see him as a brother. Same here!

  37. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that many Christians will tell you God does not possess gender.

    In Hebrew and Greek, as in many languages other than English, most/every noun has gender. For instance, in French “the cat” is “le chat”. “Le” is a male pronoun, but we can’t assume from this that all cats must be male, simply because the noun “cat” has a male pronoun.

    As another example, in English we have the words actor/actress. These nouns provide gender, however we often use the male form for simplicity sake ; this doesn’t mean that “actors” are necessarily male. So the word “God” having the pronoun of HE does not mean God is, in fact, male.

    Just my thoughts; correct me if I’m wrong.

  38. … and all the while people that God loves very much remain invisable in their dark and hopeless neighborhoods because the church hasn’t quite gotten enough correct information together to do anything about it.

    Maybe if we start being more obedient, we will discover more about the person of God as we go.

  39. Erin and wordsseldomsaid, I think you are both correct. When God says that humans, male and female, are created in the image of God then it must mean that in order for the full image of God to be expressed in humans both females and males need to exist. God’s image could not be fully expressed in only one gender. (As I have thought about this over the years this is an amazing and marvelous concept!) Further, I think male and female in the marriage relationship are also a form of reflecting the Trinity relationship.

    Yet, paradoxically, God is genderless. We are given an image of God as a Father as a way to convey an understanding of God. Of course, in our current Western culture the idea of a loving father is quite foreign to many today. In The Shack this is specifically the case because Mac had a very poor relationship with his father. So, God as an African-American woman was a way for Mac to get beyond his negative perception of father which would have affected his view of God. Does God show himself to us in different ways in order to get beyond our false perceptions? I think the answer to that is yes.
    Are there limits to this? Perhaps there are since it is possible for us to perceive God in a way that is pagan or false as opposed to true.

  40. Erin’s pretty much right on the gender thing (except it should say ‘article’, not ‘pronoun’ when talking about ‘le chat’), insofar as it relates to the use of pronouns.

    Most languages do have a concept of “gender” when it comes to nouns. But it has nothing to do with our sense of gender.

    For example, in Spanish, “el gato” (the cat) is masculine. But the word for mountain (la montaña) is feminine. If the gender were related to our concepts of masculinity and femininity, it would create all kinds of problems for John Eldredge’s writings ;)

    Greek has not only masculine and feminine genders in its nouns, but neuter as well. Ironically, the Greek word for “spirit” is neuter in gender. And God is spirit (John 4). But again, like Erin said, that’s related to language formation, not actual personal gender.

    The issue at stake here, though, is not necessarily related to noun gender. The issue is how God chose to reveal himself. In that sense, the prevailing metaphors that he uses are masculine (i.e., “father”), and I don’t mean just in the grammatical sense.

    However, the fact that he created “male and female” in his image, and the fact that he does on occasion use other imagery (mother hen, lady looking for lost coin) means that Driscoll’s argument about “goddess worship” is just wrong.

    One last complaint — his snide remark about Jesus teaching us to pray “Our Mother in the shack” was just plain childish.

  41. Thanks for expanding on my thoughts, Steve. I haven’t ever officially studied it, so what I know is self-taught and I knew I might be mistaken on some levels.

    Oh and if we are talking pronouns, or articles, or whatever, the original Hebrew for “Spirit” is feminine. I think that’s cool.

    I kinda like that “our Mother in the Shack”, in an irreverent sort of way. Hehe.

  42. Oh, I didn’t mean that I was offended by the concept of “Mother in the Shack”. I just was annoyed at Driscoll’s tone with that. He seems to enjoy the laughter that he gets from making fun of things. That bothers me.

    I think it would be interesting to compile an exhaustive list of all the ways God revealed himself throughout scripture.

    Burning bush
    Mother hen
    Blinding light

    Just off the top of my head, there are three that are not necessarily masculine or “father”. I think from that, African-American woman is not that big of a stretch when God wanted to reveal himself to someone who would not relate to “Father”.

  43. Okay … I’m having a brief charitable moment.

    Can I say this … besides Mark being the crazy uncle (and he is). There are people in the world who are very, very concrete. Their brains are not wired to understand or comprehend metaphors, syllogisms, analogies, etc. the way some other people’s brains are. They are still pretty smart, functional adults … but they really just don’t “get it.” Really, truly they don’t.

    Many of those people tend toward the fundamentalist end of the universe/spectrum no matter what religion they end up in. They just don’t understand how to function in another way. And they really don’t understand folks like us.

    I think the real problem lies in the lack of grace. I have no problem if MD doesn’t “get it.” Okay … but don’t go around calling people heretics and/or using scare tactics just because ya don’t understand something. That’s the over the top part. There really isn’t a lot of harm in allowing other people to face God on our own. If reading and believing what The Shack says is a mistake, then I’m going to have to bear that out. MD is not. Let it alone for heaven’s sake. But name calling and saber-rattling amongst brothers and sisters in the kingdom is really unseemly.

    And like so many others have said … yes, it borders on abusive. So … keep an eye on the weak and the children when he’s around and don’t let anyone talk to him alone, for heaven’s sake.

  44. So, Mark is at it again eh? :)

    Steve wrote: This rant by Driscoll is nothing but fear-mongering (”it’s heresy!!”), control (”If you haven’t read it — DON’T”), and arrogance (I understand the trinity and you don’t, so listen to me and I will make you wise — is basically the message here).

    What is it about Mark Driscoll that generates such flak & not say, John MacArthur, another high-visibility staunch Reformist preacher strongly anti-emergent?

    After all, complementarianism is part of many church expressions, not just Driscoll’s Mars Hill. And now I’ve learned that some of the reformed/Calvinist rooted churches have incorporated charismatic expressiveness. Sovereign Grace Ministries for one. I think it is Wayne Grudem that is their inspiration…

    But how can true charismatic “as the Spirit wills” gifts be released or fully expressed in a complementarian church arrangement?

    What does Driscoll think of Joseph F. Girzone’s book & movie, Joshua?

    Now I am not a Christian Fiction reader, but I happened to read this one & later saw the movie. I was not impressed with either its premise or its message. But it is a work of fiction nonetheless & not a theological statement. I suppose you have to remove any rigid Christianese boundaries of theological considerations to actually enjoy a work of Christian Fiction. But any such story will stretch theological considerations at the whim of the author, as it should be. I found the story, well, hokey. Sappy. Strangely uncomfortable. And totally unbelievable. But such is my overly realistic perspective. That is why I do not read Christian Fiction. But if such a book suddenly causes a stir like The Shack has, then I too take notice what all the fuss is about.

    I think Driscoll gets deserved flak from those that consider themselves ’emerging’ because he patterned his church expression on emergent/postmodern forms while staying firmly Protestant/evangelical/Reformed conservative in belief. I think he is riding the popularity wave of postmodern praxis but remains stodgily Reformed in theology. I think it rankles those that have exited a strong-armed church structure, especially women that want to be released to be more than a complementarist structure permits. He has declared he is not emergent at all, but still insists on being relevant & culturally sensitive to his members.

    I have made my statements before about Driscoll. I do not find him refreshing or relevant or cutting edge or whatever. Maybe he is like new wine in old wineskins, which may be showing strains of cracking/tearing within his little fiefdom. I do not think he will be successful attracting postmodern youth that have a more egalitarian concept of human relational interaction within & without a church setting. But he is very vocal & quick to use his pulpit as a club. I cannot agree with anybody that uses such a ploy to get their theological points across though. I makes for an overly inflated sense of importance & rightness. Too much for this deep thinker to stomach…

  45. Steve: Well at least MacArthur is a fundamentalist/Reformist in plain clothing…

    Driscoll likes to wear the “pomo” label & hairdo, but does everything possible to distance himself from emerging/emergent thought or anything hinting of deconstruction/reevaluation…

    Anyway, those 2 ‘sheriffs-of-conservative-theology’ not my idea of a WWJD apologetics approach, but then I am not enamored with conventional Christian posturing to begin with. It was one of the reasons I exited institutional church trappings…

  46. Joseph, I am not a big fan of John MacArthur either. But I do think he is much more gracious in tone than Driscoll. At least he was until his most recent book attacking all things pomo…..

  47. yes, I agree with the reasons many have given for why MD gets more attention – – and he has a bit of a dodgy history with emergent, you can hear how personal it is for him in his tone.

    also, I have found other critics to be more gracious or just less visible

    AND I have given the big Mac, Chuch Smith and others just as much flack … you know, egalitarian that I am ;)

  48. traveller & Mak: Yup, I was not a fan of MacArthur’s once he became a very vocal critic of Hayford’s charismatic teachings/expressions & then his over-the-top review of the renewal/prophetic movement. Not that many of the points he made did not have credence, it was the “holier-than-thou” tone that made me realize attitude speaks louder than words… :)

  49. yes GOD is genderless…because GOD is one…

    it is not to ascribe genders to GOD i wish to convey, but to understand on a deeper level the nature of GOD…like the man and woman becoming one flesh….GOD is one…

    so there is no gender in GOD, both GOD describes HIMself in both genders because GOD is both genders, meaning that, both display HIS image…in all creation it is reflected…male and female…two become one, GOD is one…

    like all in JESUS, for example, …there is neither jew nor gentile, but one new creation….

    it is a reoccuring theme…also…

    i did do a list once…of GOD in female…

    another possible example, though some disagree it is refering to any aspect of GOD, is when JESUS taught on the little woman who lost a coin…and lite the candle, then swept till it was found…i personally believe from what i have found in study that it is refering indeed to the SPIRIT of GOD….

    but this is just how i see it, which in and of itself should make it automatically suspect…

  50. ps..and let me go on record as saying…i personally had no real problem with md’s attitude or what he said…or being called a heretic by him…i have heard and said that plenty myself…for better or worse….

    i just disagree with his threology…on this issue….

  51. wordseldomsaid,

    I almost mentioned that parable of the woman and the lost coin. I thought of it, too, as one of those places where God chose a female image to represent himself (and I do believe it represents him).

    I think that MD was so eager to make his fear-inducing points that he failed to even consider what scripture actually says. He was too busy studying Puritan legalism, apparently ;)

  52. Steve, if you listen to the entire “sermon” MD states he has two PhD students doing all the research for him on his talks about doctrine, of which the Trinity is one. The research yields so much material he cannot actually use it all according to him.

  53. I have to admit that this book really scares me, I’m not sure why. I’ve always thought of God as father and mother, male and female. MD doesn’t scare me – just makes me mad. “Emerging Saul”

    I really miss my mother – in a lot of ways the most Godly person I ever have known. Her love for me thru all the lies, manipulation, disrespect, fights… saw me thru to a brand new day. Every day she prayed and on one December morning in 1981 – God saved her son.

    How can anyone look at motherhood and not see God?

    One of my favorite verses to share with someone who comes to the Lord is:

    “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19)

    I can just see momma crying to God in the back room and dad standing out on the porch looking down the road to see if this kid is coming home.

    Then one day – Jesus shows up in this kids life – casts out a legion of demons – and sends him home. wow.

    Do you reckon MD was raised by wolves?

  54. my fleshly mother now admits she was no kind of mother…she really was not, in any real way, a mother…and i did not know my father very well…at all..

    GOD is my/our mommy and daddy….

    is. 46:3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

    4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

    5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?

  55. Anybody remember the movie What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams & Cuba Gooding Jr.?

    I actually enjoyed the imaginative look behind the veil. And Robin Williams actually did a good job with this dramatic role, unlike all the other bombs he did later.

    Anyway, the tie-in here is the manner which a person would “visualize” God or the afterlife or the way we will interact in a spiritual way devoid of the more common hang-ups & misrepresentations we deal with in this existence.

    How we envision God is a deeply personal thing. I don’t think God is upset with how we attempt to make a connection, whether through our imaginations or our emotions. We are the creation. Limited of course, but designed to have that divine connection. And God will not require a theological exam covering orthodox doctrine prior to entrance through the Pearly Gates.

    I also liked the premise behind the short-lived TV show: Joan of Arcadia. God was always choosing a different manifestation when interacting with Joan.

    Driscoll is out-of-line when making emphatic statements about the individual’s manner which they “envision” God. If we are to abide by Driscoll’s rigid guidelines he is in danger of being the biggest offender any time he ‘imagines’ God. Such would be a graven image not at all representative of the true reality.

    Old man with a long, white beard? An orb of blinding light? A portly sort with a Yiddish accent standing with open arms? Or an older black women that exudes comfort & wisdom…

  56. I also want to point out that I abhor MD’s views on gender in all domains and with both genders. I think his ideas about women are offensive to both men and women and vv. However, there is just “something” about him and the way he talks about these things that is just so much worse than other patriarchal types I know – maybe it’s his machismo that is just personally distasteful to me or something, I don’t know.

    because frankly, I can handle theological differences to a very high degree, I work in ecumenical ministry for pete’s sake – – it’s the tone and attitude of people like MD that I cannot abide.

    1. As a fellow Pastor, I am with you on this one. If someone asks my opinion, if I’ve read a book, I give it. The people at our congregation, I’ve found, are VERY discerning, and I suspect people are far more than MD gives them credit for being. I’ve never found the need to preach about any book- The Shack, Da Vinci Code, The Secret, any of it. None are ever the harbingers of doom some make them out to be.

  57. michael,
    You are right. Mark’s arguments don’t make sense. They are twisted and exaggerated in an attempt to try to make his point.

    ron,
    A picture of God limited to our understanding is much too small.

    pam,
    It is especially sad when that kind of mean-spiritedness is viewed as a strength in leadership.

    7catz,
    The doctrine police often seem very afraid of what might happen if they let up on their watch.

    steve,
    Sorry you watched the video. I only watched it so that I could accurately describe what it said. Honestly I think there is a willingness among the emerging crowd to embrace Mark in spite of differences, but he seems determined to maintain a separation because of differences in beliefs.

    wordseldomsaid,
    The Genesis account is very trinitarian and descriptive of how we are patterned after God, and I appreciate your emphasis on His unity within Himself. I believe that is a pattern for us in finding unity within diversity.

    tracy,
    I’m sorry to generalize. I was trying to be somewhat vague about what is off-putting in Mark’s demeanor. Sadly, I believe that his arrogance is harmful to many, and that ultimately it will prove harmful to himself also.

    erin,
    I would agree that God does not biologically possess gender, and yet I also believe that His nature encompasses the entirety of both genders.

    ken,
    So true, we encounter God’s nature and character as we discover Him in the people around us.

    traveller,
    I agree that the marriage relationship is also a reflection of the trinity.
    I don’t think the father metaphor was intended to represent a male authority figure, but rather relationship, adoption, and inheritance. It is our own cultural lens that limits the depths of what Jesus intended to convey in referring to God as our Father.

    sonja,
    Really, what is the harm in allowing people to think for themselves? The same leaders who insist on spoon feeding doctrine are often then condemning the sheep for being stupid.

    joseph, traveller, and mak,
    I see little difference in Mark and MacArthur’s tactics, only in their wardrobe.

    heidi,
    I hope you enjoy the book!

    jerry,
    I am curious as to what about the book scares you.

    joseph,
    Those were my thoughts also concerning graven image. Aside from an actual statue, I believe that for any of us, a graven image could be a religious idea of God that we are unwilling to have challenged.

    mak,
    Yes, there is an “edge” to Mark’s tone concerning anything gender related.

    pastor astor,
    Absolutely. And how are you doing? Just the other day, my husband said, I wonder how pastor astor is.

  58. Oh dear Papa..

    I see that I am stumbling in a bit late.

    1. Mark Driscoll needs to be pastored.

    2. The Shack is an amazing book. I’ve passed it on to my “Way of the Master” listening father so that we can chat about how we don’t need to be afraid of different ideas.

  59. david,
    I hope you have a great conversation with your father. My mom was concerned that the depiction of God was possibly irreverent. I understand her reaction because she comes from a paradigm that views intimacy with the Father as too familiar. In spite of that, I believe the book spoke to the desire in her heart to experience the love of the Father.

  60. Grace, I agree the metaphor of God as Father is not intended to mean a male authority figure. Unfortunately, this interpretation is then used to justify, along with other misinterpretations, that women should submit to men as authority figures.

  61. I am no great scholar or bible expert, but did Jesus in fact make it a point to be ‘asexual’ in His incarnation?

    I no, I no…after a few glasses of my better ‘cellar’ Cab, I am glowing theological… :)

    But as a Man, didn’t Jesus make it a point to avoid the masculine stereotype in His interactions with others regardless of status or gender?

    Maybe I am stretching the point based on my alcoholic haze, but hell, I do not think that Jesus at any relational point in the gospels ever made a gender related point that supports what either Driscoll or MacArthur read into the narratives…

    Is this just me, or is it my prophetic gifting suddenly expressing itself… :)

  62. well jbo…JESUS definitely did have HIS very masculine moments…

    steve,
    thanks….

    grace,
    please share how you see the gen. account as supporting a trinitarian doctrine…GOD bless…

  63. ps…i just wanted to add i also hold to the trinity…

    like..a family…FATHER, SON, SPIRIT….

    FATHER, MOTHER, SON…all one….

    like the jew and gentile thing…we have one jew, one gentile, in one JESUS…all one…

    as HE is in the FATHER and the FATHER in HIM and HE in us so we can be one…like GOD is one…

    maybe somehow…we can be one…GOD be praised…for YOU!…

  64. :)

    Thanks Steve, I was stumped.

    traveller,
    True and in that misinterpretation they miss the potential beauty of the mutuality that God intended in our relationships.

    joseph,
    While I can’t match your theological glow, I would say that Jesus was fully male but not stereotypical in any way. He upset traditional stereotypes of every kind and reordered relationships in every arena.

    wss,
    gen. 1:2 And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    gen. 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness

    john 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

    God – father, son, and spirit – were present in the beginning creating in their image and likeness.

  65. Grace, are you aware of the interpretation that says that the “plural” in Genesis 1 is what is referred to as “plurality of majesty”? Apparently, it has been a practice in some cultures to refer to their king or other sovereign ruler in the plural. And some suggest that Genesis 1 could be using this device.

    At any rate, Genesis 1 does not have to imply specifically a trinitarian Godhead.

    I have often pointed out in discussions of this nature that Paul often omits the spirit from his references to God. For example, in all but one (I think) letter, he begins with a blessing invoking “our Father and his son Jesus Christ” or other such language.

    This is why I find it hard to see trinitarianism as anything that was existent or emphasized in the early church. Whether or not it is correct (and please do not misconstrue my comments as saying that it is incorrect), it is a doctrine that was formulated a few centuries after the New Testament was written.

    Furthermore, I think the doctrine was articulated primarily in order to preserve the concept of the deity of Jesus. Most of the language used in doctrinal statements about the trinity come from the church councils of the 4th and 5th centuries, not scripture.

  66. hi grace and thank you for taking the time to respond…please know i am not trying to hog up your blog, but this topic is quite dear to me…and one i love to talk about…when you wrote those verses in your response to me, you included this one…

    gen. 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness

    i have often wondered about that verse…it is truly one that cause much pondering…i have often questioned it, what is meant by,” let US make man in OUR image”….

    is it the same ..”us”…as here?…

    gen. 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    who is the US here?…is it the same US in 1:26?…

    any thoughts?…

    GOD bless…
    seldom

    (i know the teaching of 1 gen being written by different authors…i know it is not up to me, but i would rather not go down that road for this discussion…but whatever…)…

  67. steve and wss,
    We are getting in over my head here. I am not a bible scholar or a theologian, and I have not done an indepth study of the trinity.

    I don’t doubt what you have said Steve about doctrine being later established. As to the genesis account, the oneness of God would allow either a plural or singular interpretation. I believe His entire being, whatever we can grasp of that, was involved in creation.

    Doctrines I don’t know. I do know God – father, son, and spirit. I am united with the Father and Jesus through the Spirit living in me, revealing to me the Father’s love and His will. By the Spirit, I am in Christ and He is in me, and usually, I don’t try to separate it all out.

    Most of my understanding of the trinity is from John 14-17. The 3 are too distinct to not be acknowledged in being, yet too interrelated and united to be completely dissected.

    The Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Jesus is the Son, yet He is the being of God in flesh. God is the Father, yet he chooses to reveal Himself in Flesh and in Spirit. It is all beyond my understanding, yet a real part of fully knowing God through my relationship with Him.

  68. Brava, grace!!! Brilliantly said, and I couldn’t agree more.

    Wow, that comment is one of my favorites of all time, I think. And it demonstrates for me the essence of “practical theology” and why we shouldn’t be dividing over the nitpicky details.

  69. “I am not a bible scholar or a theologian..”

    me either…

    perhaps i do have too many questions though…lol…GOD bless…

  70. To answer your question Grace – I thought about it all day today – I think it’s shame. The old system that MD so typifies – is shame based – and I’m just not quite free yet. It’s like reading that book is a shameful thing to me or something.

    My reaction to it really has been to hide – like Adam & Eve after the fall.

    I long for the day when I can be naked (no titles, no positions, nothing to hide behind) and not be ashamed.

    Jesus DESPISES shame, but yet most sermons you hear – at their very core – are shame based.

  71. Has no one who has read the book got an issue with the concept of “The Wastefulness of Grace”?

    The comments that I’ve read seem to be picking sides as opposed to trying to find truth.

  72. jerry,
    I found the book to be revealing, but not in an exposed and shameful way, but rather more revealing of the Father’s love.

    jeff,
    Thank you. I fixed the link and hopefully this one will continue to work.

    stephen,
    I don’t understand your question, but feel free to share your thoughts about that concept.

  73. I agree wholeheartedly with what Driscoll says. the guy puts the authority of the Word WAY ABOVE the mindset of man.

    Even the Father puts His word above His Name. For some schmuck to come along and belittle the Godhead, and for the droves to follow him, is a sad reality indeed.

  74. Well I see this conversation is pretty much done, but I thought I would chime in…

    First, let me say that I often times disagree with Mark’s theology, I am not much of a reformer myself.

    Second, let me say I attend Mark Driscoll’s church regularly, and am even involved in a community group, and thinking of serving (trying to figure if if God wants me at Mars Hill or another church I go to…every 20 year olds battle).

    (awkward, yeah)

    I am trying really hard to not just go off and say a bunch of terrible things about MD right now (though that would be easy) because I know how little help that would be (and I know you have all thought them too :). Anyways, a few things I was going to say:

    1. About the congregation that makes up MH. From the people I have talked to (keep in mind I am in a community group that meets weekly), they pretty much think Mark is the greatest theologian ever. No I am not exaggerating that much (but a little). The thing is, many of the people that attend, come from one of two backgrounds. 1) White, evangelical, (maybe homeschooled), suburbs..you get the picture. I hate to stereotype, but those types (of which I am) often times believe anything they hear if it has the word “Jesus” attached. I hear VERY little challenge to Marks teaching. 2) Unchurched hipsters in the urban Seattle area. I have NO idea why they like MD, but they do. My guess is that MH being their first church experience, the loud rock/worship band draws them in, and they don’t have any other church opinions so they just believe Mark. Obviously not a good thing, but probably better than them believing in Hinduism or any other spirituality here in Seattle (of which there is a lot).

    I attend with some friends (now my ex girlfriend, but we still get along), and this is the most troubling thing to me. Every time we go out to dinner after service (we go to an evening service, mostly filled with college kids), and we get to talking about the sermon….I am really the only one even questioning what Mark says. When I ask what people thought, they say something along the lines of “Yeah, sounded good. Mark was right on.” It is usually clear they have no prior opinion to what MD was speaking about that night. (This is where I need to practice humbleness, and not just say “Well Mark was wrong for these three reasons…etc”)

    2. It is very hard to tell form watching the video’s online, or the podcasts, and I know this will be VERY hard for some to believe…

    Mars Hill is maturing as a Church. Especially in the last two months I feel. Anyone who attends the services can tell a difference, it is starting to become a somewhat grace filled community (this is downtown seattle, some of the snobbiest people ever, behind the french). Even though I theologically disagree much of the time, I am trying to recognize that God really is using this ministry to reach thousands of people. Now of course I wish MD were less harsh, didn’t think of himself as the heretic police, and wouldn’t wear jeans with pre-made holes in them…

    If MD would just keep his yapper shut about everyone else being a heretic, I think some even greater things could happen.

    3. Wanted to briefly mention…I go to Seattle Pacific University which is just down the road from the main MH campus. Many of the students around here don’t like MH for various reasons. I just wanted to say that there ARE discerning people in Seattle (granted I am at a very socially conscious Christian campus).

    Also, since this is such an old blog and I doubt many will read this…I may copy/paste this on the next MD post (you know there will be more).

    (yeah, I use parenthesis a lot)

  75. One thing I find amazing is how so many people can defend a book and declare what a life changing experience the reading of it has had in their lives. It is ONLY a book of fiction. It is not the Word of God. To see so many against one person who happened to disagree with the book…wow!

  76. Oh yeah, one other thing. I’m not advocating nor disputing MD’s belief system. I have no way of knowing is he stands in contradiction to the Word of God. I think that’s what we all should look. How does “it” line up with God’s Word?

  77. If you’ve listened to Mark Driscoll’s commentary about pretty much anything for just about any length of time, you’ve discovered he’s a bully.

    He takes cheap shots and just shouts louder than his (often unwilling) opponent. He also often says things that are half-truths, even quoting Scripture out of context when it suits his argument.

    I didn’t like the Shack that much (and yes, I read it), but not because of some great theological issue. I recognize it’s pure fiction, so I cut the author some slack in that area. It was just a bit cheesy for my taste, though I certainly get why other people like the book so much. I have no problem with that.

    However, Mark Driscoll, though he’s often painted as an emergent leader, is nothing of the sort. The guy doesn’t appear to have a discerning bone in his body, so he can’t see the good in anyone or anything unless they are just like him. He’s not gracious and doesn’t seem to have the ability to take the good and leave the bad. It’s always black-and-white (and, of course, he’s always right).

  78. Hey John,

    If Mark Driscoll isn’t an emergent leader, then maybe we ought to listen to him . . . When Christ taught about the kingdom, it was always “black and white.” And He was always right.

  79. I wonder what is Mark’s take on C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. It is filled with the heresy of talking animals and God being reduced to the physical state of a talking big cat. Besides, we might be stupid enough to worship Aslan instead of God.

    Did the man really read and understand the book?

  80. I find there is a lack of depth in the Christian world today. I am reading this book and have the same objections as MD. How can we really find God without first confessing our sins? That is what is lacking in this book. Read your Bible.

    1. Wow
      Really
      Wow.
      Just reading this thread reminds me of arrogant prideful new atheist in their hidey holes minglin together thinking of snide remarks to post on blogs ; or even, a bunch of hypocrites. Seriously urge you to read what you are writing with an open heart and think
      Am I writing this for gods glory or for the sake of recognition or esteem
      Frankly almost all of you are not showing anything that you call out md for not having.
      And read your bible
      Consider this a rebuke

  81. Grace,

    God made the way for us to find Him. That way is Jesus Christ, not Oprah. My God is not a big fat black gal. There are so many glaring lies in this new age piece of fiction. I would not recommend this book to anyone. Grace, read your Bible.

  82. As a pastor, I couldn’t recommend this book more highly, no reservations.

    Where Driscoll loses me is before he even opens his mouth, with the title screen, where it says, “What Christians Should Believe.”

  83. There are fundamental beliefs that are fund in God’s Word. This book does not even touch them but makes a mockery of them. This is not a Christian book, it is a New Age book where God can be anything you want Him to be.

  84. This is kind of funny to me now Grace – I finally did read the book a year ago – and I loved it. I was kind of where Ken is. Now I look at it like this:

    The Trinity is relational and the Three actually interact with one another – honor one another – cherish one another – promote one another…. The scriptures are quite full of what I’m saying here. The Shack brings this into focus quite clearly and creatively. When we do the same with “one another” – we are living in the practicality of that belief.

    When we live in a hierarchical belief system – then we treat those “under” us as inferiors – and those “above” us as superiors. This is quite unfortunate in that we miss Christ about everywhere we turn.

  85. Well, the Bible, the book we as Christians are suppose to read, says that God is the Father, not the mother, that Jesus is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Comforter. There is a hierarchy for Jesus said that all He spoke was from the Father and all that the Spirit spoke was from the Son. The Trinity are three in one. One God. Jesus said He and the Father are one. That is one and the same. He was call Emmanuel, God with Us.

    We can have command and order without lording over one another. This is from God.

    I am always amazed at the poor understanding of basic Christian truth today. Paul was right in II Tim. 4:3, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”

    1. Not sure what your point is Ken. So the Three (Trinity) are One – but the One aren’t Three? Jesus prayed to the Father – and the Father told Him what to do. Right? How about Gen 1:26 – Let US Make men in OUR image …. Many think the creation was a result of the interaction of the Three. My wife and I are one – the scripture says that plainly. But that doesn’t stop us from talking to one another (in fact, quite the opposite).

      Isn’t it possible that the Trinity interacts with one another – that the Father talks to the Son who talks to the Spirit who talks to the Father?

      Many of us believe that God models community in the Trinity – and that it is a very important concept in the understanding of how Christians are suppose to “be one” as in John 17.

      I might be able to grant you a “loose” sort of hierarchy in how you’ve described the Trinity – but it’s not like Jesus is ordering the Spirit to do something the Spirit disagrees with.

  86. We are one in the truth. Eph.4:3-6,Being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all.

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