Two of my favorite comments were not actually posted, but were sent to me via email. The first, written by a Bob Cleveland, one of the wisest SBC layman you'll ever want to meet, wrote the following:
"Unless I'm mistaken, a non-believer reading The Shack would get the idea that God is approachable, redeeming, and loving. I also don't think the church does nearly as good a job of getting THAT message out as many seem to think.
I'm just sayin'"
Emmanuel Baptist Church will baptize new converts during each of our five Sunday services on Easter Sunday. I am personally aware of two individuals who will be baptized on that day who credit the Holy Spirit using The Shack to cause them to begin asking questions that led them to become followers of Jesus. I am confident that all Southern Baptists can rejoice in that fact.
The second email I received is from distinguished Baptist scholar Dr. Curtis Freeman. Dr. Freeman wrote:
"You really struck a nerve with your blog on The Shack. Our church recently formed a reading group. The first book they read was The Shack. Everyone loved it. Last week was Marilynne Robinson's wonderful book Gilead, which in my view is a far superior book, both in a literary and theological sense. But many of the group found it tedious, while they related to The Shack.
My wife teaches our Sunday School class. One of the members has an adult son whose life has taken a very tragic turn. The man told me, with tears in his eyes that after reading The Shack he realized that God really does care about him. While I have some reservations about the theology of The Shack, I find it speaks to people about the love of God in a remarkable way. It has also started a discussion about the Trinity which is far more than many sermons, books, and articles have done. So perhaps we should first say “thanks” before we voice our concerns."
This Baptist scholar makes several great points. All of us would be hard pressed to find anyone that would agree with every theological tenet to which we hold, but theological discussions that begin because> of a book can be a very good thing.
For example, one of the charges that is made about The Shack is that it does a very poor job portraying the Trinity. I would agree simply becaue the book, a work of fiction, was never designed to present a doctrinal view of the Trinity. However, if The Shack causes others to begin to discuss theological issues like the Trinity, that's a good thing.
Finally, for those who want a really sound theological paper that refutes the eternal subordination of the Son as the basis for the eternal subordination of women to men (a very hotly debated theological issue today), then I invite you to read my father's most recent post entitled "Is Jesus Eternally Subordinate to the Father? - My Two Cents"
I think you'll see an example there of how to present a position with both grace and humility.
In His Grace,