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Tim Challis’s Review of “Burning Down ‘The Shack'”

The book The Shack by William P. Young has been record breaking for a multitude of reasons not the least of being on the bestseller lists for almost two years.  You would think the book’s popularity would have decreased by now but it hasn’t.

Tim Challis  has reviewed a new book that points out the fallacies in The Shack, written by James De Young called Burning Down ‘The Shack’: How the ‘Christian’ Bestseller is Deceiving Millions.

De Young believes that Young’s belief in universal reconciliation is absolutely crucial to anyone who would truly wish to understand The Shack. It is the key that makes sense of the book and the theology it contains. Though far from the only theological problem with the book, it is the one that makes sense of the others.



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The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown’s New Book & Freemasonry

Dan Brown is the author of the Da Vinci Code that was so popular a few years ago. His newest book is called The Lost Symbol. With the Da Vinci Code Dan Brown misrepresented the Bible and Jesus throughout his book. While claiming the Da Vinci Code is fiction, the down right lies about Jesus have been accepted as fact by many who would rather believe a fictitious story than the Bible.

Now Dan Brown’s newest book is due out. The fictional book The Lost Symbol is based in Washington, D.C. and involves the search for a masonic pyramid and a hidden code. While in the Da Vinci Code Catholics and Jesus are portrayed in a negative light, the newest book portrays Freemasonry in a more positive light.

Anything that encourages Freemasonry is dangerous. Many people may not even be familiar with Freemasonry (Masons, Masonic Lodges, Masonic Temples, etc.) but it is deeply ingrained here in the southern US. The Order of the Eastern Star is the women’s portion of Freemasonry. There are Freemasons that are upstanding members in many of the local churches and there are also pastors of churches that are members. This is something I grew up knowing about and never did really understand. I had an uncle who was a deacon of a SBC church and yet he was a Freemason. He would not discuss it. He also had a Freemason Funeral upon his death. So I have seen the Freemasons bizarre practices in person.

Even Dan Brown himself thinks the book will encourage others to check out the Masons: “I think there will be an enormous number of people who will be interested in the Masons after this book (comes out).”

Brown goes out of his way in “The Lost Symbol” to present the lodge as essentially benign and misunderstood. Masons are praised for their religious tolerance and their elaborate rituals are seen as no more unusual than those of formal religions. The plot centers in part on an “unfair” anti-Masonic video that “conspiracy theorists would feed on … like sharks,” Langdon says.

Freemasons await Dan Brown novel `The Lost Symbol’

(link no longer works)

Ex Masons For Jesus is a website that is dedicated to revealing the false teachings of Freemasons. Here is some information from their site.

How can you quickly know that the foundational teachings of Freemasonry are false?

Freemasonry requires its members to believe in the existence of a Supreme Being and also to believe that there is only One God. Freemasonry refers to its god as the Great Architect of the Universe. It teaches that all men, of all the various religions, worship the one God, simply using a variety of different names. It is on that basis that Masons may be Hindus, Moslems, Buddhists, or men who profess to follow Jesus. Freemasonry requires a belief in the existence of A Supreme Being, but does not define that being. …

… Freemasonry teaches that there is one God and men of all religions worship that one God using a variety of different names. In a Masonic Lodge, all join in corporate prayer to the Great Architect of the Universe, (GAOTU). …

… While we were Masons, we sometimes were asked questions about Freemasonry by other church members who were not Masons. Because we had taken an oath to ever conceal and never reveal the secret teaching of Freemasonry, under the penalty of having our throats cut from ear to ear, we were reluctant to respond truthfully. We beg the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in Christ for the less than honest answers we provided while we were Masons. Since we have repented (embraced God’s viewpoint on the issue) we have been released from the oaths. (Lev 5:4-6.) We came to realize that God did not want us to take the oaths to begin with. (Matthew 5:33-37 & James 5:12) As Christians who walk in the light of Jesus Christ, we are now willing to respond truthfully to the questions we continue to be asked. …

Notice these statements from Masons in the following articles.

Freemasons await Dan Brown novel `The Lost Symbol’ (link no longer works)

… “The emphasis on secrecy is something that disturbs people,” says Joseph Crociata, a burly, deep-voiced man who is a trial attorney by profession but otherwise a Junior Grand Warden at the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia. …

… “I have enormous respect for the Masons,” Brown told The Associated Press during a recent interview. “In the most fundamental terms, with different cultures killing each other over whose version of God is correct, here is a worldwide organization that essentially says, `We don’t care what you call God, or what you think about God, only that you believe in a god and let’s all stand together as brothers and look in the same direction.’…

Freemasons hail Dan Brown’s latest novel as “good fun” (link no longer works)

Levenston said modern Freemasons are not as secretive as their predecessors, but said secret handshakes and special words are still used to help identify members as “men of trust.”

“The secret handshakes certainly do still exist, but we don’t roll up one trouser leg any longer. In the old days it was seen as a symbol of humility not for anything else,” Levenston said.


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The Shack – Still a Top Seller

I posted several times about The Shack over a year ago. Since then I would have thought that The Shack would have become less popular but it still remains one of the most read books, even by Christians.

There are so many problems with The Shack and people continue to read it and base their beliefs about God and Jesus on it.

This is an interesting compilation of several problems with The Shack.

13 Heresies in The Shack

1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.

Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).

2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.

The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).

3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.

Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).

4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.

Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).

5. God will never judge people for their sins.

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).

Be prepared to explain to others why The Shack is not suitable reading when compared to The Bible and it’s truth.

See also:

“The Shack” – A Warning

“The Shack” for Sunday School?

The Shack – still a best seller with “Christians”

More on the False Teaching of “The Shack”



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“The Basket of Flowers”


Book Review: “The Basket of Flowers” by Christoph von Schmid. from DefCon

What can I say about this book other than I absolutely loved it. This was the very first book published in the Lamplighter series and was the Lamplighter series “book of the year” in 1996. This continues to be my favorite Lamplighter book (see all Lamplighter books here [link broken]) and is easily one of my favorite books of all time. I couldn’t put it down and now I can’t stop raving about it.

I was skeptical at first–reading a book with the title The Basket of Flowers tends to lead one to believe it’s chick-lit (for lack of a better term). However, was I very, very surprised.

This is Christian literature at its finest. Each chapter imparts lifelong lessons and leaves you feeling like you just received a doctrinally sound sermon. The gripping story drives home the lesson to remain faithful and thankful to God even in the midst of great trials and especially when standing in the face of false accusation and persecution for crimes you didn’t commit. I cannot recommend this book enough for the Christian reader and even Dr. Tedd Tripp (who wrote Shepherding a Child’s Heart) wrote an endorsement for the book on page 4.

This book needs to be on the bookshelf in every Christian home and read by young and old, boy and girl, mother and father. You and your family will not be disappointed.

The publisher says:

This first book of the Lamplighter Rare Collector Series continues to be a best-seller. James, the king’s gardener, teaches his 15-year-old daughter Mary all the principles of godliness through his flowers. She is falsely accused of stealing, and the penalty is death. Mary remembers what her father had taught her: that it is better to die for the truth than to live for a lie, and that the worst pillow to sleep on is the pillow of a guilty conscience! This story will change your life forever!

Vision Forum says:

Within this simple, unassuming book is an inspirational story for young ladies not to be rivaled by any of the novels currently circulating in Christian bookstores. Set in Germany 100 years ago, The Basket of Flowers is the tale of a godly young woman and her father who wrongly suffer great persecution, but who learn to trust the sovereign hand of God through every difficult circumstance. My wife was so transfixed by this story that she read it in one sitting.

Other reviews:

“I am giving The Basket of Flowers to my grandchildren. I have no doubt they will devour it.” -Elisabeth Elliot

I enjoyed reading this book and I must say that there was more meat in a book simple enough for a child to read than in many sermons that are preached each week.

“Indolence and Sloth will whisper to you, perhaps, that if you are busy or tired, there is no great harm in omitting your daily prayer, and Presumption will add that you are in no particular peril at that moment.”  The Basket of Flowers

 

 

 


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C.S. Lewis – What Shall We Think of Him?

Many people quote C.S. Lewis and I have learned much from reading his materials and books, such as Mere Christianity. However, I greatly disagree with much of his material. One specific instance is in his book The Last Battle, from the Chronicles of Narnia series. In the chapter “Farther Up, and Further In“, Emeth, a young Calormene who has worshipped and served Tash, the false god, all his life meets Aslan, the true god.

“Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honor) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him.”…

“But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me….”

“Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. …”

In the book Prince Caspian, the travelers arrive at a girls school.

“… their hair done very tight and ugly tight collars round their necks and thick tickly stockings on their legs, …

But upon seeing the lion Aslan, Miss Prizzle (the teacher)

… screamed and fled, and with her fled her class, who were mostly dumpy, prim little girls with fat legs. Gwendolen hesitated.

“You’ll stay with us, sweetheart?” said Aslan.

“Oh, may I? Thank you, thank you,” said Gwendolen. Instantly she joined hands with two of the Maenads, who whirled her round in a merry dance and helped her take off some of the unnecessary and uncomfortable clothes that she was wearing.

Don’t think that is so bad? Who were the Maenads?

Maenad

In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus [Bacchus], often portrayed as inspired by him into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh.

Dionysus aka Bacchus, Bromios, etc

The crowd and the dance round Aslan (for it had become a dance once more) grew so thick and rapid that Lucy was confused. She never saw where certain other people came from who were soon capering among the trees. One was a youth, dressed only in a fawn-skin, with vine-leaves wreathed in his curly hair. His face would have been almost too pretty for a boy’s, if it had not looked so extremely wild. You felt, as Edmund said when he saw him a few days later, ‘There’s a chap who might do anything — absolutely anything.’ He seemed to have a great many names — Bromios, Bassareus, and the Ram, were three of them. There were a lot of girls with him, as wild as he. There was even, unexpectedly, someone on a donkey. And everybody was laughing: and everybody was shouting out, “Euan, euan, eu-oi-oi-oi.

… One saw sticky and stained fingers everywhere, and, though mouths were full the laughter never ceased nor the yodeling cries of Euan, euan, eu-oi-oi-oi-oi, till all of a sudden everyone felt at the same moment that the game (whatever it was), and the feast, ought to be over, and everyone flopped down breathless on the ground and turned his face to Aslan to hear what he would say next.

At that moment the sun was just rising and Lucy remembered something and whispered to Susan,

“I say, Su, I know who they are.”

“Who?”

“The boy with the wild face is Bacchus and the old one on the donkey is Silenus. Don’t you remember Mr. Tumnus telling us about them long ago?”

“Yes, of course. But I say Lu —-”

“What?”

“I wouldn’t have felt very safe with Bacchus and all his wild girls if we’d met them without Aslan.”

“I should think not,’ Said Lucy.

I’ll leave you to research Bacchus (Dionysus), maenads, and Silenus more. Because I could find no discrete way to explain them. I would never want my children to look them up in the Encyclopedia or Wikipedia. They are that bad!

AWAKENING NARNIA WITH BACCHANALIAN FEASTS by Berit Kjos.


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Twilight – Praised by Christian Groups?

twilight


Lighthouse Trails has a lengthy post about the book series Twilight and the subsequent movie. I have noticed that several “Christian” sites have recommended the series for teens due to the supposed good qualities of the books.

SPECIAL REPORT: Occultic Twilight Movie Praised by Christian Groups

The church and Christians are being deceived by many new-age occult philosophies and are promoting them as compatible with “Christian” ideals. To name just a few: The Secret came out in 2006, A Course in Miracles and the movie The Golden Compass in 2007. The seventh book in the Harry Potter series was released in 2007. In 2008, there was The Shack and the Oprah Winfrey endorsed book The New Earth.

Simultaneously, in 2006 a teenage phenomenon began gaining incredible momentum–a demonically-inspired series of vampire romance, which surprisingly has hoodwinked Christian youth who are confusing God’s love with sensual, romantic lust and His Word with occult philosophy. As Twilight lulls the spiritually asleep into a darker 2009, the church needs to wake up to the supernatural dangers these compromises pose.

The article then lists several favorable reviews from “Christian” resources including:

And can it get worse? The following quotes are from a Christian teen magazine, Campus Life’s Ignite Your Faith, a subsidiary of Christianity Today, Stacey Lingle (after reading the series) writes in her article, “What Shines in Twilight“: Looking at four key ideas of the vampire saga that stand out for Christ followers. “What do these books say about God, about life, and about love? In over 2,300 pages of reading, there’s a lot to digest. What are the key ideas and attitudes in the Twilight saga? A few stood out to me as a Christian.”

A part of the post includes this information about the music that inspired the author Stephenie Meyer. Shouldn’t this in itself be enough to be a concern to others.

Meyer, a Mormon mother of three, states that some of her inspiration in writing her vampire saga came from a band of musicians called Marjorie Fair. “For New Moon, they were absolutely essential. They can put you into a suicidal state faster than anything I know . . . Their songs really made it beautiful for me.” Also an inspiration for one of her characters was a band called My Chemical Romance. She states, “It’s someone . . . who just wants to go out and blow things up.



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The Voice – The New Emergent (Mis)Translation

New Emergent Bible Translation: The Voice

“The Voice,” Dubbed a “New Bible Translation,” Bows in October

Featured writers, scholars, artists and musicians for The Voice include the president of Ecclesia Bible Society and internationally acclaimed speaker and pastor Chris Seay (project founder); Blue Like Jazz author Donald Miller; internationally known speaker and author of over 12 highly acclaimed books Brian McLaren; theologian, author, and futurist Leonard Sweet; and nationally renowned author Lauren Winner. The translation and literary style of The Voice have been checked by biblical reviewers, theological scholars and a biblical archeologist, among others.

Review of The Voice New Testament – Part One – Chris Rosebrough

I recently purchased a copy of this fresh “dynamic translation” of Bible and spent some time doing comparative work with key passages of the New Testament from The Voice, The ESV and the Greek text. Sadly I must report that this new Emergent “translation” is so far off the mark that I think one could reasonably argue that by producing their own distorted version of the Bible the Emergent church has crossed the line from being a ‘movement’ to actually becoming a cult.

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Twilight Review – Challies

I had no intentions to read the book Twilight but it had been mentioned frequently especially with the movie coming out. Tim Challies does a good review about the book.

Book Review – Twilight

I just don’t know that young girls will derive any benefit from spending hours reading and thinking about such an unrealistic, unobtainable, perverse kind of love. It glories in love that is forbidden, dangerous and just plain weird. The fact that the story involves vampires may be beside the point. My primary concern with Twilight, as I consider handing it to a girl of thirteen or fifteen or seventeen, is its sensuous quality.

See also: Do You Know What Your Teens are Reading?


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More on the False Teaching of “The Shack”

The Shack” as referred to in the post Why is God Referred to as Male?, is reviewed at Steve Camp’s site in THE SHACK REVIEW…a call to discernment. My husband said just last night that “The Shack” was still on the first page of the CBD catalog, it has been for months.

For more information on “The Shack” see:

“The Shack” – A Warning

“The Shack” for Sunday School?

The Shack – still a best seller with “Christians”

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The Shack – still a best seller with “Christians”

The shack is still listed as the number one seller on Christianbook.com. I do not understand why so many “Christians” are busy reading this book and yet don’t have time to read their Bible.

Open Mind, Closed Bible by Tim Challies at Challies.com.

Almost eight months after my review of The Shack I continue to get daily emails about it. This is proof, I suppose, of the book’s continued success. I do not know if the novel’s popularity has peaked yet but can see that it is still at the top of its category on many of the bestseller lists. The emails I receive typically fit into one of two categories: the “thanks for the review” category or the “how dare you?” category. Today I want to address just two of the more common critiques of my critique of the book.

Here is how one reader expressed herself: “Hello Tim. I read your review after I had already read The Shack and I think your review is ridiculous. Your review reminds me of exactly why ‘stodgy old religion’ is so unappealing to masses of people. …

Here are more links to information about The Shack.

Christian Research Network in the article A Preliminary Critique of “The Shack”


After listening to the audio interview below and more critically perusing through this book, I am led to think that the author of this book holds to some type of “Christian universalism”, i.e., a person that believes that all people eventually will be saved through Jesus Christ even though they never repented and believed in
Christ in this earthly life.


Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry in the article The Shack.


On page 145-146 we find, “Mack was surprised. ‘How could that be? Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me?'” “Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationship. I don’t want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me.” We have to ask. Is there any place in Scripture where God expresses a desire to be submitted to an individual human being? Nope. But, we have the incarnation of Christ where Jesus was made under the law (Gal. 4:4) and was therefore in subjection to his earthly parents. But, this is due to the incarnation and was part of the process of the atonement. Where in Scripture do we find God desiring his submission to individuals? I know of no reference. If anything, we the creatures are to be in subjection to the Holy and Majestic God of the universe, not the other way around. I found this to be a reduction of God’s glory and an elevation of man’s stature — something false religious systems do.

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