It grieves me that people accept, as Gospel, opinions of others that were more than likely received second-hand from them as well. Why are Christians so afraid to hear something presented in a new way? I have to say that my God is a very creative God (take a look around you) and while the Bible may be the only inspired work of God, it is certainly not the only work He’s ever been involved in. He created us with gifts and abilities to glorify Him; He is naturally infused into all the creative efforts of His children by design, His design. To knock a work of fiction because it’s not Max Lucado is just plain ignorance, to be honest. If you actually took the time to read the book (what a novel idea), an individual would come away with an amazing glimpse into the heart of God. I’m not saying that I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that every element of the book is Biblically accurate, but it’s fiction, that’s not the author’s intent. In all honesty, I didn’t find any element of the book unlikely, but only a trip to eternity can prove that.
The most popular opposition to the book is that God the Father reveals Himself to the main character (MacKenzie) as an older Afro-American woman. Intersting, I agree. But, if you read the book, you would see that the main character has a hard time with the same issue and brings it up. The Father answers him that, of course God is not a black woman, but He choses to represent Himself to this man, this specific way because, knowing MacKenzie’s strained relationship with his earthly father, he never would have responded to a divine Father figure.
Let us consider similar passages in the Bible: God revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush. Does that mean that God is vegetation? Don’t think so. The presence of the Lord followed the Israelites in the desert as a pillar of cloud and fire. Is God simply a force of nature? Don’t think so. God revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus as a bright light. Is God an impersonal light as the New Age movement claims. Don’t think so.
So, can’t and doesn’t God reveal Himself to us personally, in a way He knows we can respond? After all, He made us, I think He knows what’s best for us. If you get past the creative licence, you can plainly see the truth and flawless presentation of the Gospel laid you in The Shack. This generation of believers reminds me of the Pharisees. They couldn’t see Christ, because they wanted Him to live according to their ideas, traditions and expectations; The real Christ was too profane for their spiritually refined taste. Would we recognize Christ now? Would He be sitting at Spirit West Coast reading Max Lucado while wearing a NOTW T-shirt? Would He drive a mini-van with Christian bumper stickers? Would He enjoy KWVE, agree with “The Bible Answer Man” and sit in a large church and not be accountable to anyone? These things aren’t bad, but if they define your Christianity, that’s just sad. We don’t like to think about Jesus in modern terms, it’s uncomfortable. Would He sit around with sinners and talk about Heaven with a beer in His hand? I hope so. Would He be real, transparent, vulnerable? I hope so. Would He spend His time talking about the “evils” of tattoos, modern music and alcohol? I hope not. More than that, I’m certain not. Having a healthy grip of the realities of what His glorious death bought for us, I know He wouldn’t be wasting His time talking about dribble. All that only deters from the reality of the spiritual blessings we have gained through Him. Aside from that, debating all the ridiculous non-essentials flies in the face of the Great Command. Because, seriously, who would want to be a part of something so shallow and contrived? He died to give us so much more.