Slightly OT: The Shack and Gloria Gaither

I hadn’t heard of this novel before this commenter brought it up, and as so often happens in these kinds of things, I immediately started seeing references to it. Most recently: today’s New York Times includes a story about the way the novel bubbled up from obscurity to the bestseller list.

I haven’t read the book and honestly don’t plan to any time soon, so I don’t have anything meaningful to say about the novel itself. But I did find this image from the NYT story interesting. It’s a picture from a reading that the author did in suburban Indianapolis recently and isn’t that Gloria Gaither standing off to the right? The caption doesn’t say, but it sure looks like her.

It’s really not that big of a deal, but I’m always curious about these sorts of “as others see us” takes on insular cultures from the outside. Assuming that’s Gaither in the photo, here is arguably one of the most influential writers and artists in Christian entertainment involved in the rise of a bestselling/controversial Christian novel, and she doesn’t even rate a mention (and/or the reporter had no clue who Gloria Gaither is and so didn’t know that it might have been worth mentioning). I’m not surprised, mind you. Just bemused at being reminded in an unexpected place just how “sub” the sg subculture really is.

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Comments

  1. Leebob wrote:

    Don’t we often get filled with our own importance to humankind, as if God couldn’t do it without us? Often times I talk to Christians and others about groups that in my mind ar every popular only to find out they have no idea who I am talking about.

    Point is, we need to get back to the task at hand of being a witness and edification of the church regardless of how high up the food chain you may think or actually get and don’t get high minded of your own importance because God will surely find a way to humble you.

    Once while singing there was a 4 year old boy in the crowd. I told him beforehand that there would probably be a song or two that he would like because we want to include everybody. One of our members was talking with him during the intermission and asked if he liked the music. He said, “No. But that’s okay I’ll come back when I am older and I will like it then!” Humbleness addressed from God through the mouth of babes.

  2. RF wrote:

    I really don’t believe it’s Gloria. Something different about the posture and I doubt Mrs. Gaither would be caught dead in that outfit or those glasses.

    But I could be wrong…

  3. steve wrote:

    Mark Lowry was extoling this book on his site last month:
    http://www.marklowry.com/inside/ramblings/2008ramblings/rambling_05_2008.htm

  4. sockpuppet wrote:

    According to Mark’s blog, Gloria gave him the book.

  5. steve wrote:

    William Young, author of “The Shack” was at Gaither Family Resources on June 21.
    I believe that is Gloria G. in the picture.

  6. Norm Graham wrote:

    The book is for sale on the Gaither website.

  7. Tom Smith wrote:

    Mark Lowry wrote about this book on his website saying Gloria told him about is and just loved the book. I’m sure that’s her. I have only read the summary of the book and don’t think I’ll be reading it. It really doesn’t seem like the kind of book that she would be promoting, but apparently she loved it.

  8. Edie wrote:

    That’s the Gaither Studio in Alexandria in the picture which is right next to Gaither Family Resources. Gloria holds many of her book signings, album premieres and other events there in the studio since it can accommodate more people than the bookstore can.

  9. Janet wrote:

    Conversely, if someone “important” from current pop-culture happened to be at an SG concert, (ok, I don’t know why, but humor me here!), would you recognize him or her?
    Incidentally, I bought the book last week because of Mark’s ravings about it. Haven’t read it yet, but will soon. I’ll let ya’ll know what, if anything, you’re missing!

  10. Diva0427 wrote:

    Give the book a chance b/c it will blow you away. Seriously. Don’t look at it as a theological study or anything about that. It is a fictional account of one man’s encounter with the Trinity. However, though it is categorized as “Christian fiction”, it is based completely on scriptures. Yeah, some people have a problem with it (the book), but then what, if anything, dealing with God doesn’t stir up a bit of controversy within (and outside) the Christian community? And yes, I’ve read the book, and I love it. I’ve passed it to my pastors, who passed it to the associate pastors, who then passed it to their friends and family. You can learn more about the book and the author here: www.theshackbook.com

  11. Irishlad wrote:

    #7.I’m slightly mystified to why Gloria Gaither would not be associated with this book. Judging by endorsements made, it has had quite a deep, even life-changing impact on readers.Curious also to the controversial nature of the book,if anyone can kindly enlighten me.

  12. 1 old fan wrote:

    I’ve not read the book, although I own a copy. I confess, I’m not a diligent reader.

    I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some love it, others hate it. My understanding is that it presents God in a different form than many Evangelicals are comfortable with. That seems to be the controversy.

    I heard a bookstore owner say she wouldn’t carry it, because of what she’d HEARD about it, but didn’t plan to read it to form her own opinion. I thought that was a little narrow. I suggested she read it open-mindedly, knowing it’s fiction, and judge for herself, rather than just basing her decision on someone else’s opinion. Wouldn’t that be more valid?

    I’ve had a couple of people tell me reading this book was a life-changing experience.

    I guess I need to read it myself, and form an opinion.

    Gloria, as a former school teacher, has always been a big proponent of reading all kinds of literature. Bill, too, but not as overtly as Gloria. I don’t see this as being out-of-character.

  13. sockpuppet wrote:

    #11 irishlad,
    From the Tim Challies review mentioned on the other thread - “…errors abound. He presents a false view of God … downplays the importance and uniqueness of the Bible …making it equal to other forms of subjective revelation … misrepresents redemption and salvation, opening the door to the possibility of salvation outside of the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross … unbiblical understanding of the persons and nature of God and His work in this world. The author muddies the concepts of forgiveness and free will …oversteps the bounds of Scripture while downplaying the Bible’s importance. …All this is not to say there is nothing of value in the book…. subversive overtones seek to dismantle many aspects of the faith and these are subsequently replaced with doctrine that is just plain wrong”
    Obviously I did a lot of picking and choosing of what to include in the excerpt, but feel you will get the gist if you don’t choose to read the entire review, or book for that matter.

  14. Ocean View wrote:

    On another thread, SockPuppet posted this link, and it’s worth reading. It’s a very balanced look at the book.

    http://www.challies.com/media/The_Shack.pdf

  15. RF wrote:

    #8 - Edie:

    You’re correct. I didn’t notice Emily in the background.

  16. Irishlad wrote:

    #13.Thanks sockpuppet.I’ll probably read the book when i can get a copy. The problem most conservative Born again Christians have with material like this is,it goes against their literal inteperatation of the Bible,thus taking them well and truely out of spiritual depth.

  17. Irishlad wrote:

    Above post should have finished’thus taking them well and truely out of their spiritual depth’.

  18. Howland Sharpe wrote:

    Okay, let’s say YOU are going to write a book about God, specifically the 3 persons of the Godhead. Not very easy. It’s a minefield, where every step you take can cause you to trip the igniter of someone’s theology.

    Most who criticize the book haven’t read it. I have and loved it. I think one of the primary things messing with people is showing God the Father portrayed as a woman. And black.

    Why should this be a problem? God is spirit, and there is much we DON’T know about him. How could the pages of one book contain EVERYTHING about the Alpha and Omega?

    This IS a FICTION book, not a theology treatise. Sometimes the power of fiction writing is its ability to get us to question our preconceived notions.

    Does this book give a few body-blows to the century’s old misogyny that has been a part of the evangelical tradition? Damn straight.

  19. wotknot wrote:

    I read on Wes Hampton’s web-site (member of Gaither Vocal Band) that Gloria had recommended the book to him. He has an ongoing blog where you can read his 6/25 entry about the book.

  20. Gaitherite wrote:

    As mentioned before, that indeed is the interior of Gaither Studios and that is indeed Gloria Gaither.

  21. J wrote:

    #2 Did you happen to see the outfit she had on at the Rambo funeral….looks like she has a poltice on her neck. Yeah thats Gloria. Figures.

  22. Steve wrote:

    This is slightly OT, but Gaither-related. Maybe I’m late to the party, but this was news to me. And I can’t tell you how excited I am… via Joe Bonsall’s blog:

    “Later this month, we will tape a Gospel Special with Bill Gaither. It will feature the Oak Ridge Boys history in Gospel Music and beyond and yes, it WILL be a DVD. For the most part it will be the OAKS sitting around a piano with Bill and some other Homecoming Friends.”

    I have been waiting for this for a looong time.

  23. Janet wrote:

    #18 - Hallelujah! There is so much we don’t know about God - how dare we try to put Him in a box? Who’s to say that this book wasn’t divinely inspired, just to get people to open their minds just a crack?
    When Jesus appeared to those who knew Him best after His resurrection, many times they didn’t recognize Him. Did you ever wonder why? Who did He look like to them? Food for thought.
    I know what I believe, and why, but I’m not arrogant enough to think that I know it all. Far from it. The measure of what is known about the mysteries of God would fit in a thimble compared to what is unknown.

  24. Irishlad wrote:

    A resounding YES to Janet#23. Indeed how can you box God. You may never know an unknowable God, in this life at least,however,i surely believe one can get closer to him.How many people who read The Shack,believers and non-believers,will be brought closer to God.A God, some perhaps don’t even believe in.Heresy,i don’t think.The ones this book will help the most hardly need such awarnings.

  25. Leebob wrote:

    I will have to read this before I comment on the actual book. Imagine that. Since this is fiction it shouldn’t bother too many people regarding the theology. It certainly didn’t bother too many people in the Left Behind series.

    I guess I have always viewed God as revealing Himself through His Word. What He wants us to know about Him until we get to heaven can be found there. Anything else is presumption on our part. When we start to ascribe doctrine to fiction or the “extra” word from the Lord some people presumably receive, we are on the borderline of becoming a cult.

  26. Jim2 wrote:

    Janet,
    To answer your question, “I” will say the book was not divinely inspired. I have read the book, and enjoyed it for what it was. But it is replete with errors, and that is not the hallmark of a divinely inspired book. There is only one of those, or 66 if you count it that way, and there is a pointed warning in the Bible about adding to, or subtracting from, it.
    My understanding is that Mr. Young wrote the book as an aid for his children to understand God, much like Kenneth Taylor, the paraphraser of the Living Bible, but even though I can read both to enhance my understanding and to get another person’s perspective, neither one is to be confused with being the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of God.

  27. Howland Sharpe wrote:

    #26, “But it is replete with errors, and that is not the hallmark of a divinely inspired book.”

    What is the hallmark of a divinely inspired post? LOL

  28. Leebob wrote:

    Funny line Howland #26.

    Jim2, are you saying that I should not get as excited about this book as say “In His Steps”? While not divinely inspired as our precious Word of God, the impact that this classic has had on the church through the years cannot be mistaken.

    I wonder how many books other than the Bible are out there that has had an impact on the life of a believer and why.

  29. apathetic wrote:

    That’s right!!! No other book can be inspired by God. He’s not THAT big, come on! King James is the only real Bible. If it was good enough for Jesus, it should be…..oh, um, nevermind. Yes the Bible warns us not to add or take away from it, however, the KJV was put together by a bunch of scholars and preists, etc. during the King James era. There WERE things taken away. There are other books that were in the Bible before the King James Version that were taken out when KJ revised it.

  30. Jim2 wrote:

    Leebob,
    I tend to be a “Glass is half-empty” personality, but in this case I do see the potential for “The Shack” to have a tremendous positive influence on the modern day church. With that being said, I must reiterate (again) that there is a vast difference between one man’s insight and opinion and “Holy Writ”
    Here’s a few books to throw in the mix (in no particular order) Heaven by Randy Alcorn, Knowledge of the Holy by A W Tozer, Desiring God by John Piper, Know Why You Believe by Paul Little, What Love is This? by Dave Hunt, and of course, Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.
    Currently Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur is tops on my list and I’m working on Compelled by Love by Ed Stetzer.

  31. Jim2 wrote:

    apathetic,
    who mentioned King James? sounds like you may have an issue or two with biblical authority?

    There have been a lot of accusations posted about “putting God in a box” etc, but to me it seems like it is more the baggage of the accusers than what was said or posted. You may view me as a “stick in the mud legalist’ (your prerogative), however, I am unapologetic about believing in absolute truth, but then I also remember when “tolerance” meant putting up with someone until they figured it out, rather than “even though we believe in two opposite things, we’re both right”

  32. CVH wrote:

    I’m reading the book this weekend and interviewing Young just after the 4th of July. I’m looking forward to both.

    Along the lines of Howland Sharpe’s post (#18), “I think one of the primary things messing with people is showing God the Father portrayed as a woman. And black.”, a few years ago I was doing some creative work for an organization and decided to reposition the traditional Christmas story. The setting was Birmingham, AL, about 1959. ‘Mary’ and ‘Joseph’ were a black couple, hoping to make it home to Cleveland before their baby, which had been revealed to Mary by an angel (in the form of a garbage man) to be the Son of God, and due any day, was born. Their timing was a bit off and the baby was delivered in the ladies room of the Greyhound bus station. It had the dynamics and elements of the Christmas story transposed into a different time, place and socio-economic setting.

    The response was predictable; some skewered it as heresy, many thought it was visionary. A gratifying number of people “got it”. Certainly it was not a work on the order of ‘The Shack’, but the reactions from conservative Christians were similarly strident; subtly racist and misogynistic, delivered in a “how dare you?” tone.

    Wisely parsing and understanding the canon of Scripture is a daunting proposition, but the use of ’story’, in scripture or otherwise, is one of mankind’s universal means of relating truth and wisdom. If a fictional story raises questions or stirs interest I say, so be it. At the same time, God’s integrity is not threatened by the book or the piece I produced and He’s quite capable of drawing people to himself without our fussing over how He chooses to do it.

  33. art wrote:

    Re the ideas started by #18: It seems to me that SG lyrics often embellish the Bible and our view of God the way this book seems to. The example that comes to mind first is “My Name is Lazarus”, in which the lyrics acknowledge this with words something along the lines of “If we may create an illustration.”

    Other lyrics of other songs describe Heaven the way the writer saw it in “a dream”, and it’s not necessarily the way it’s laid out in the Bible.

    Come to think of it, I’ve heard some well respected radio preachers take something biblical and extrapolate their own unbiblical conclusions based on “logic,” they say.

    So my take on this subject is that non biblical fiction on biblical topics should be taken for what it is. Glean from it the insights and inspiration you can, but remember to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not.

  34. Adam wrote:

    If the lady in the picture is indeed Ms. Gaither, does this mean that she is the Oprah of Southern Gospel?

    Imagine Ms. Gaither and her own version of Oprah’s gal-pal “Gayle” starting a book club, Sirius Radio station, television super-power, etc. Call me crazy, but I could get into that…

  35. Janet wrote:

    Ok, I never said we should attach “The Shack” to the end of Revelation! Duh! However, if songs & poems & essays & paintings & sermons are created by the Holy Spirit’s leading, then why not fiction? (And just where do the talents to create such things come from, anyway?)
    And as far as God telling us what He wants us to know about Him ONLY in Scripture, then…what about personal experience? If the whole point of our Christian walk is to have a personal relationship with Christ, doesn’t that require intimacy? Uniquely to each person? Hmm…maybe we should dictate what everyone’s favorite Scripture should be?
    Obviously, this book is having a profound affect on many of those who have read it. My problem is with others who want to dismiss it out of hand, because it doesn’t subscribe to their particular beliefs or point of view.
    Imagine if Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John had tried to collaborate on one Gospel, instead of four. Methinks John would have been outnumbered - and what would have been lost? (Yes, I know they weren’t writing fiction - so not the point!)

  36. Sally wrote:

    to Adam - strangely enough she does do, or DID do, a local radio show about books with a gal out of Fort Wayne, IN!

  37. Wait a minute wrote:

    #35 Janet said:
    “Obviously, this book is having a profound affect on many of those who have read it. My problem is with others who want to dismiss it out of hand, because it doesn’t subscribe to their particular beliefs or point of view.”

    As someone who enjoys Christian fiction, I accept the book for what it is. Fiction. It can be thought-provoking (”Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn was an amazing book), but it does not and cannot stand with Scripture in its spiritual importance or its ability to last for eternity.

    You seem to be quite angry that people are choosing to weigh the truth and error of this book against rock solid Scripture.

    Fiction should encourage people to think.
    That’s fine.

    But this book is not Scripture, so stop defending it like it cannot be questioned.

    Seems to me that cults are often born because Christian spend LESS time being apologists for the Scripture — knowing exactly why it (and only it) can be trusted as God’s word, and they spend MORE time following a trendy, though interesting writer or public figure — whether featured on the news, or on Oprah, at Hollywood events, or on the shelves of a bookstore. Many of the “modern religions” started with best-selling books. So the number of people profoundly moved by a book cannot be its only defense.

    Any book written by a fallible human being should be cautiously analyzed; that’s healthy. Blind approval is not.

  38. Carol wrote:

    “Any book written by a fallible human being should be cautiously analyzed; that’s healthy.” …isn’t that the case with the Bible itself? Wasn’t it written by human beings inspired by the Spirit? Written by and inspired by aren’t the same thing. Just thinking out loud here. I haven’t read the book you’re discussing and don’t care to. I just thought that was an interesting, if not accidental, thought by #37.

  39. Janet wrote:

    #37 - Not defending the book, certainly not weighing it AGAINST Scripture. Read more carefully, please.
    Now, I’m going back to my book…

  40. Wait a minute wrote:

    #38 Carol:
    Actually, I think you answered your own question. Written by humans (fiction or non-fiction) and inspired by God (the Bible) are clearly not the same thing, so the phrase “cautiously analyzed” was purposefully directed to the fiction.

    #39 Janet:
    Since I did go back to re-read your posts more carefully, I’ll respectfully suggest that you might consider posting a bit more carefully as well. I’m still surprised that you aggressively argued for a fiction book you haven’t yet finished reading, and in the same breath (more than once) talked about Scripture in a way that equates it with a fiction book. If that was not your intention, that’s encouraging to hear!

  41. Blake Edmondson wrote:

    apathetic,
    I think you need to quit believing everything you hear. There was not other books of the Bible before the KJV translation. All of our books of the Bible we have today were considered canon before the end of the first century. That’s 1500 years befor the KJV. You should take a day or two and read some history of Bible translation. Your post was way off topic but, after that DaVinci Code book/movie there was some real lies about how the Bible was organized that floated around and they were untrue. Email me at bedmondsonshsstclair@yahoo.com and I can tell you about other falshoods that came about after this book/movie i.e. Constantine,etc.

  42. Blake Edmondson wrote:

    In response to criticisms of this book and the Gaithers, I wanted to ask if anyone else was alarmed by the song “One Big Heaven” by Randy Owen that was included on the “Rock of Ages” Gaither video. Wow, that song could be the anthem of the Universalist movement. He speaks of Jews, Buddhists, Muslims that he knows that are living a “good life” and says he just believes in “One Big Heaven” for all of them. I was sick at my stomach listening to it. I got the same feeling reading that excerpt from “The Shack” where Jesus is telling that many of his children are Muslims, etc. BTW, the only way anyone gets to God is by salvation from the blood of Jesus!!! No other name, no other way, the end of discussion. That’s what the Bible says and that settles it!

  43. Joshua Cottrell wrote:

    Gloria’s endorsement of this book has really surprised me. I know that the Gaithers run in all sort of circles, and are not necessarily confined to one denomination, but surely they couldn’t support or recommend a book that in it’s :fictional” theology is so blasphemous. Just a note, Fiction is NOT Fact. What makes this book blasphemous is that it wants to be on the level as The Bible.
    Then again maybe I am equating the book with its readers.
    Thank you Mr. Edmondson, for your post. It is truly not “One Big Heaven” but a land of the redeemed, a land for those that accepted the sacrifice of Christ.

  44. Diva0427 wrote:

    Heaven…and God…is big enough for everyone. If someone was once a Buddhist or Muslim or Jewish or even born into that religious thought (or whatever), and they make the choice to become a follower and believer of Christ, then Heaven is certainly for them. God made each and every one of us, and loves each and every one of us…not just those of us that have labeled ourselves as “Christians”. Plus, we’re not the Judge. God is…so don’t try to knock Him off His throne.

  45. Rod wrote:

    Wow!!! Great posts on this one. Thought I’d weigh in…I for one have not read the book nor have I even heard of it until I read this blog today…Since I haven’t read it I can’t comment on the actual book…However I do have an opinion (as usual) on the whole KJV/Inspired/Fiction thought process…Jim2 wrote:
    “Even though we believe in two opposite things, we’re both right”
    The older I get the more I believe this…I think we are going to be greatly surprised that most of us have no clue what we are talking about in the end…I am one who does believe there is (or was) more out there…There are just too many gaps, inconsistencies, and not enough information on of all people JESUS himself…Now I am not taking away the bible itself but we have to remember that it IS a guidebook not a rulebook…I love people who try and hit people over the head with the 1611 KJV that is most likely as fallible (in some ways) as “the Shack”…I will be labeled a heretic for writing that but I just can’t believe that as many hands that it passed through, translations that took place (prior to 1611), scroll burnings, age, loss of the original Greek and Hebrew, not to mention several Latin translations…People just want to believe what they have always been taught and TOLD instead of studying and reading (Other works) and PRAYING for Gods guidance. Yes it was inspired but DO NOT tell me that God ONLY inspired a few authors to record 6000 years of biblical history…As my granddad said, “that dog just won’t hunt”. Maybe I am wrong or most likely partly right…Ultimately I know Jesus as my Savior…Beyond that…Maybe we are all right…Hmm. Here we go scholars…BANG BANG…I’m dead

  46. apathetic wrote:

    Blake, I am not talking about recent “revelations” as a result of Hollywood influence. I am talking about the truth. There were in fact books that were not included in the King James Version you read today.

    At the time of Jesus, the Septuagint was the commonly used Bible, and it included the deuterocanonicals. The Jews canonized without them in AD 90 to distance themselves from this new sect called Christians, but this was 55 years after the new church was founded by Jesus, so the Jewish leaders had lost their moral authority to the Christian leaders, (Christianity is simply a maturing of Judaism).
    The Jews still believe in and use them though. For instance, Hanukkah come out of second Maccabees.

  47. Blake Edmondson wrote:

    Divo: Go and listen to the song I was referencing. It says they are still Buddhists, Jews, Catholics, etc. and are going to heaven. That just isn’t true.

    Rod: God bless you, but if you think the Bible is “fallible” and there are many ways to heaven, you’ll find one day that there is only one way and your way will lead you to Hell. I’m not judging your soul but no true Christian can say the things you said and it not bother you.

    Apathetic: Those books you mentioned, such as 1&2 Macabees were rejected as Canon by the Christian church 1500 yrs. before 1611. If you would research that, you’d understand. God is soveriegn and if that’s true, He wouldn’t let man leave out books of His word.

  48. Jim2 wrote:

    Rod,
    Actually I was arguing the opposite point, you cannot have one person say that white is white and another person state that black is white and both be correct. However, in our “tolerant” society, that is what we are being pushed towards.
    On another note, I believe that God is big enough to protect His Word through the ages. Even though I don’t understand enough about circuits and electrons and current and AC or DC, I can still turn on a light switch and benefit from the inventiveness and education of other people. So, since God has said that His word is inspired and I believe in Him, it is my responsibility to walk in the “light” he has provided. If you want to read a really good book on all of this instead of rely on prejudice and hearsay, Geisler and Nix wrote a book years ago titled “From God to Us”
    All of this bickering accomplishes little, if we would each actually DO the thing that we are arguing about, “what a wonderful world it would be.”
    Diva, help me understand - if these Muslims, Jews and Buddhists you reference have become “followers of Christ” does that not make them “Christians”?
    Doug, Doug, wherefore art thou Doug?

  49. Rod wrote:

    Jim…I also didn’t say you couldn’t benefit form the bible…I just believe there’s more. Why is it modern day Christians do NOT believe in spiritual enlightenment…Man if the early church would have done what we do today…If there was no Great awakening…Etc, etc, etc…If you think it stopped in 1611 or 1832 or 1971 you my friends are sadly mistaken…Keep livin in that box. Blake…I am saved…End of story.

  50. apathetic wrote:

    Blake, thanks for proving my point. Books of the original Bible were rejected through history. In fact, books that Jesus himself read in HIS Bible. They weren’t rejected by Jesus. They were rejected by man. They were left out of the interpretation you read today. My point exactly. Thanks for that.

    As for God “allowing” it to happen, God has influence over man, but not control over man. If God had control over man, then we’d all be born saved, now wouldn’t we? Therefore, God can influence men to reassemble His word in the way He wants, but He can’t control them into doing so. Fact is, the Bible you read is missing books that Jesus read and considered part of His Bible.

  51. Joe wrote:

    As I mentioned on another thread, one of the saddest and starkest predictions of the Lord Jesus is of a day when He will stand behind an eternally-locked door, listening to the pleas and cries of those who thought they’d be in Heaven, but find themselves forever cast out. Amazingly, they own the Lordship of Christ. They claim miracles seen and done in His Name, and having accomplished many wonderful deeds by this same Name (Mt. 7:13-14, 21-23; Luke 13:23-30). They thought they knew Him. He never knew them.

    They are not part of the “few that are saved”.

    One reason is found in the words of Jesus Himself, in John 8:24. He plainly told the Jewish leaders “if you do not believe that I AM (literally, “that I AM the I AM”), you will die in your sins.” He took the same title of Deity that Jehovah did, when He spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

    If any human does not accept that Jesus is God, they will never be in Heaven. No Muslim does. And none of the cults do.

    Sadly, to this day, Jesus’ words still ring true.

    There are few truly getting saved.

  52. Jim2 wrote:

    I’ll try this one more time. 12 or so years ago when I worked in a Christian Bookstore, we had tons of people coming in wanting to order “The Lost Books of the Bible” this is a collection of pseudopigraphal books that are purported to be Scripture. My attitude then as now is, “we know that the 66 books of the Bible are truly inspired and God’s message to us. If we aren’t willing to DO everything that we KNOW He said (Love your neighbor as yourself, submit to your spouse, love them like Christ loved the Church, etc.) then what is the point of seeking other revelation? So we can disobey that as well?” I just think our effort would be better spent getting to know and serve the God of the Bible, rather than seeking to make Him in our image and serve our own selfish purposes.
    If we were actually commited to the principles He outlined in just the Gospels, we’d be too busy to fight amongst ourselves.
    Leebob, any room behind that anti-stone barricade?

  53. Blake Edmondson wrote:

    Apathetic: If you actually believe these agnostic and aporyphal books written in the second and third century were in Jesus’ Bible, you are TERRIBLy misinformed. You obviously have been told things that are untrue and you really need to do some research. These “Lost Books” that Jim2 spoke of are available to read. Read them and then make the decision for yourself. They are absurd and at sometimes laughable. And I also know about “Baruch and the Dragon” and those and they were fictional novels never considered canon. And God does have complete control over man, he only lets us exercise free will SOMETIMES!!! There are times when the soverignty of God steps in and I believe He did this to preserve His word. Again, may God bless you but don’t believe every theory you hear or read about on some internet site.

  54. cynical one wrote:

    I have to weigh in with Jim2. Are we majoring on the majors, or majoring on the minors? Let’s BE the church, as Jesus and Paul outlined, and follow God’s commandments we already have. THEN, if we have time (which we wouldn’t have if we were doing all that), we can look into other writings, to see if they agree with what we already believe to be God’s Holy Word.

  55. Trent wrote:

    Anyway….back to “The Shack”…..

  56. JW wrote:

    Wow, wow, wow.

    Reading some of these, my main thought is we as the church family need to make Bible history and education one of our top priorities. It’s simply amazing reading some of the things here.

    If you are so diligent in reading “The Shack”, may I recommend “Reinventing Jesus” by Ed Komoszewski? Reading about Bible history is a passion of mine.

    OK, if anyone wants to read “The Shack”, fine. But, at least put in some time to find out what we believe and why. Just a little time spent on Bible history will show how awesomely trustworthy our Bible truly is, how utterly diligent the early church was in making sure it was true history and not forgeries, how the Bible actually came to be, and the truth about the so called “lost books” and such and why they were not included in The Bible.

    Don’t believe me! Read and study for yourself.

  57. apathetic wrote:

    Blake,

    I’m done with this thread as Pearls before Swine comes to mind. You are the one who has some studying to do. The Septuagint WAS the Bible read in the time of Jesus. I am not talking the other “lost” books. It proves my point that the INTERPRETATION of the bible we have today does not contain all of the same books that were in the Bible that Jesus himself read and studied. Look it up, ask a Jew.

  58. solace wrote:

    apathetic, how would you know exactly what “Bible” Jesus read from? Were you there?

    And aren’t you forgetting that the New Testament came AFTER Jesus? Isn’t that what applies to us TODAY?

    Uhhh - YES! Get your head out of the sand in case God comes back and passes you by because he thinks you’re an ostrich

  59. apathetic wrote:

    Listen Solace, the point was the Bible we read today is missing books that the original had in it. Of course I wasn’t there when Jesus read the Septuagint. Neither was I there when Abraham Lincoln was assasinated, but that doesn’t change the fact that history has recorded it that way. Historically the Septuagint was the common Jewish Bible at the time of Jesus. So, that is what He read. Facts are Facts. Get over it. Yes the New Testament applies today. That wasn’t the point. The point was the Bible as we read it today has changed throughout history.

  60. Joe wrote:

    apathetic-

    Your point that the “Jewish Bible” (really the OT with Apocrypha) was the Bible Jesus “read”, is as moot a point as one can argue.

    He didn’t need to read the word; He WAS the Word.

    He came to usher in an entire NEW Testament, written by His blood. The books and epistles not yet written, were added to exactly what God wanted from what had been written before.

    The entire canon of Scripture (both Jewish OT and NT as we now know it), is enough, and nothing is lacking.

    If it is not enough for you that the books of Enoch, Esdras, Judith, Tobit, Bel and the Dragon etc. are not in your Bible, then I feel sorry for you.

    John himself said that enough HAD been written, for all the world to believe that the Lord Jesus was exactly Who He said He was. And He knew Jesus better than any man who has ever lived.

  61. solace wrote:

    The New Testament as we know it today has not been changed throughout history and that’s all that matters. End of story.

    Rev.
    18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

    19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    Let’s not add to the book, people.

  62. Jim2 wrote:

    apathetic,
    Perhaps you can force yourself to cast just one pearl before all us swine.
    Would you mind sharing one of the “great spiritual truths” that you have gleaned from any of the books that is now missing from our modern day Bible?
    I’d be interested to hear some of your insight.

  63. apathetic wrote:

    I guess someone got it wrong in the past since our Bible includes an Old Testament and it is irrelevant now, huh?

  64. solace wrote:

    The Old Testament is full of God working, and a showing of history. It showed a need for a Savior. It’s the preface to the real thing - the New Testament.

    No less important, but the New Testament is the guide. Follow that, and no “lost book” that does or doesn’t exist will affect your eternal destination.

  65. Joe wrote:

    apathetic-

    Not sure who you’ve been listening to, or what you’ve been studying. Referring to the OT, Paul reminded the Corinthians that “all these things were written for examples, and our learning…” (1 Cor. 10:11), and numerous, literally hundreds of OT illustrations, types, structures, sacrifices, colors, etc. are there to further amplify the manifold beauties of the Lord Jesus.

    In addition, some of the passages in the OT are quoted numerous times in the NT. For example, Isaiah 53 is quoted over 85 times in the NT. Jesus quotes from over half the books of the OT.

    “Irrelevant?” Who here even hinted that?

  66. tangie wrote:

    solace 61:

    do you not know how our Bible (canon) was put together? There were many books of the Bible that leaders of the early century church felt did not need to be canonized. Some of these books didn’t make the cut just because they repeated other books and some because (at the time) there wasn’t enough documentation to prove their validity.

    If the Bible were to be “recanoized” today, I have a feeling some of the books would be added due to discoveries of other manuscripts etc…

    I think our Roman Catholic brethen were correct in adding the Apocrypha. If you have never read them, I suggest you do. It is great reading w/lots of helpful insights.

  67. tangie wrote:

    Oh by the way… the beloved gospel of John was almost left out of the Bible altogether due to its gnostic tone.

  68. Dick Hardin wrote:

    Solace, do you realize that the Gospels were not taken down by a court reporter? They were passed along orally and written down later. Thus, your argument falls apart. You can’t pass a story from one side of a room to the other without it changing. And…haven’t you noticed all of the translations of the New Testament? Not to mention the languages. Oh…I’ll bet you thought that the disciples took notes as Jesus was talking and they no doubt wrote it down in King James English, bless God.

  69. Don Blosser wrote:

    Just curious if, a year and a half later, Diva0427 is capable of seeing just how ridiculous her comments are. She said of the Shack, “Don’t look at it as a theological study or anything about that. It is a fictional account of one man’s encounter with the Trinity. However, though it is categorized as “Christian fiction”, it is based completely on scriptures.”

    Huh???? Not theological but based completely on the scriptures? And page after page of dialog coming out of “God’s” mouth but none of it has the slightest theological implication?! No offense but either you are not very bright or you don’t think that any of us are. I mean, Where in the scriptures do you find a Jesus who clumsily drops things? And where in the Bible does it say that God doesn’t need to punish sin or that Jesus never died for our sins? Oh, and that murder isn’t really all that bad (didn’t you notice that “Papa” never got around to talking to Mack about giving rat poison to his dad). No biggee, minor point, right? Huh? HUH???

  70. Rick Hynek wrote:

    I’ve read the book with an open mind but found it’s theology not just disturbing but extremely dangerous. I deem it to be a cross between the “emergent church” and New Age. Although Mack talks at length with each member of the Trinity, Satan or evil is not mentioned (in its proper context anyway). Jesus tells us he’s not into Christianity and we never really know why he had to die. The heart of the Gospel is absent! The sad thing is that, although some say that the book is only fiction, people who do not know the Bible, including many Christians, take it as Christian theology.

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