The Shack: Style and Semantics

I have finished listening to The Shack. The recording included an author’s explanation of how the book came about as well as a “friendly” interview (I have also just finished listening to an “unfriendly” interview.) Young answered my concerns about the quality of writing: basically self-published.

As stated in an earlier post, I struggle to comment on the book because I can’t remember the points I wanted to discuss, and I can’t go back and check what I thought I heard (actually, I don’t want to spend time rewinding and hunting, but I could). All that to say, I know some of Young’s theology is suspect, but I also know that he does some other things well. I have thought about commenting on other’s reviews, but you can read those yourself if you are interested.

I do want to comment on one argument in the “unfriendly” interview mentioned above. While Young did fail to answer some of the interviewer’s questions, they also wrangled over semantics. One might say, “We’ll just define your terms and move on.” The problem occurs when someone uses a term differently than how everyone else does. If the majority of Christians use a term one way, and someone else uses the same term differently, confusion can occur. 

When Bultman says he believes in the resurrection, someone might say, “So what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that Bultman does not believe in the same resurrection as most Christians. He believes in a spiritual resurrection. Bultman’s resurrection leaves Jesus in the grave. I can’t reconcile that with 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. 

So we must use care in using our terms, and if we use a term differently than it is normally used, we must define it to avoid confusion at best and accusations of heresy at worst. Young has left himself open to that charge.

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3 thoughts on “The Shack: Style and Semantics

  1. Pingback: What do you mean by that? Semantics Part II « Thoughts on what I am reading…

  2. I wrote a lengthy review on “The Shack” addressing the controversies

    http://tinyurl.com/56garc

    Bottom line- If the focus of your faith is a relationship with God The Shack will be wonderful. If your focus is on legalism, then The Shack will disappoint.

    I like the over all theme that takes God out o the box–Don’t worry about yesterday or fret over tomorrow. Enjoy God now. He has it all in control. Surrender and walk in joy.

  3. Robin,

    Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is as simple as “relationship people will like it and legalism people won’t.” The debate goes beyond that. For another review that touches on why the theology in the book is important (shorter than the one linked in the article), you can go here.

    http://www.insight.org/site/PageServer?pagename=shack

    There is a short version and then some links for more details.

    I appreciate your input.

    Michael

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