Deceived by a counterfeit "Jesus"
The twisted "truths" of The Shack & A Course in Miracles
By Berit Kjos - February 14, 2008
"Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims.... I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters."
--The Shack's "Jesus." [1,p.182]
"The esoteric spiritual traditions -- whether Christian mystics, Hebrew Kabbalists, Zen Buddhists, Islamic Sufis, or Hindu yogis -- all have specific practices to help individuals overcome this great 'illusion of separation' and to experience the One True Self, which is in us all."[2,p.149]
--A Course in Miracles, as "dictated" to channeler Helen Schucman in 1977 by her spirit guide who claimed to be "Jesus."
"Jesus... said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." Matthew 24:4-5
Two books (one new, one old) have suddenly grabbed public attention and captured the hearts of multitudes. One is long and instructional -- a dictation from a channeled spirit guide. The other is a fictional testimony full of tear-jerking dialogue. A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is obviously occult, while the more subtle message of The Shack by William P. Young has been widely accepted in postmodern churches.
The two books share a common message. I saw a stark preview of it back in 1992. Skimming through a magazine called Well-Being Journal, I noticed this New Age "insight" from the author's "inner guide:"
"Many people believe in evil, sin, and dark forces. It is your purpose to teach the opposite which is theTruth: there is no devil, no hell, no sin, no guilt except in the creative mind of humankind."
I heard similar views at Gorbachev's 1997 State of the World Forum. At the time, keynote speaker Marianne Williamson was touting the Kabbalah, not A Course in Miracles (ACIM). While those New Age "insights" would fit both, they are best expressed through ACIM, which Williamson is now popularizing through Oprah Winfrey's weekly radio program.
The Shack calls for a similar denial of reality. Yet countless pastors and church leaders are delighting in its message. By ignoring (or redefining) sin and guilt, they embrace an inclusive but counterfeit "Christianity" that draws crowds but distorts the Bible. Discounting Satan as well, they weaken God's warnings about deception. No wonder His armor for today's spiritual war became an early victim of this spreading assault on Truth.
Roger Oakland, author of Faith Undone, hinted at this transformation in his article "My Trip to the Rethink Conference:"
"For nearly two thousand years, most professing Christians have seen the Bible as the foundation for the Christian faith. The overall view at the Rethink Conference, however, is that Christianity, as we have known it, has run its course and must be replaced.... Speakers insisted that Christianity must be re-thought and re-invented if the name of Jesus Christ is going to survive here on planet earth."No room for the historical Jesus? Must we reimagine God to make Him fit the rising universal church?
That seems to be the aim of The Shack's female "God." Here she is speaking to the main character, Mackenzie (Mack for short):
"For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning."[1,p.93]"Religious conditioning?" Is that how Mr. Young views Biblical Christianity?
It's easy to be persuaded by his clever arguments. The Shack is written as a personal testimony that draws readers into virtual dialogues with a playful, culturally relevant "God." In contrast to the dry, occult lessons in ACIM, The Shack leads readers into vicarious experiences in a world of revelations and sensations. The only sin-like issue here is independence -- what ACIM calls "separateness" -- a refusal to accept universal oneness with "God" and man. Unhindered by Biblical guidelines, The Shack offers no standard for right or wrong, so there's no real need for Biblical repentance. It fits right into the popular vision of a unifying, non-judgmental church.
"So how do I become part of that church?" asks Mack.
"It's simple," answers the counterfeit "Jesus." "It's all about relationships and simply sharing life... being open and available to others around us. My church is all about people, and life is all about relationships."[1,p.178]
That sounds partly true, as do most spiritual lies! For example, Jesus criticized the Pharisees who "searched the Scriptures" but refused to "come" to Him. Today's postmodern seekers are just as foolish. They ignore unwanted Scriptures, and then flock to the culturally attuned "Jesus" of their imaginations.
In The Shack, readers meet a permissive "God" that "submits" to their human ways. They look through the veil between life and death, see the joy beyond, and communicate with loved ones -- subtle examples of "calling up the dead," which the Bible bans (Deut. 18:11). Mack could "see" the colorful "auras" that showed spiritual maturity among the dead-but-alive. He even practiced astral travel -- or as The Shack calls it "flying" -- a word popularized by Maharishi Yogi long ago. ("Mack had learned inside his dreams to fly ... to ascend into the clouds..."[1,p.116])
"Such a powerful ability, the imagination!" said The Shack's counterfeit "Jesus." That power alone makes you so like us."[1,p.140]
Here the boundaries of the church are broadened to include almost everyone. The only exception seems to be "independent" folk who refuse to "come" to this universal "God." This isn't Christianity -- and this false "Jesus" would agree. When Mack asks him what it "means to be a Christian," he answer:
"'Who said anything about being a Christian? I'm not a Christian.' The idea struck Mack as odd and unexpected and he couldn't keep himself from grinning. 'No, I suppose you aren't.'"[1,p.182]
Of course, he's not! The word "Christian" refers to His followers, not Jesus Himself, and it has always clashed with trendy cultures. Even when 'the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:26), that word was a derogatory label used by enemies of the Church. Of course, that didn't keep faithful Christians from joyfully claiming that name and sharing God's Word.
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