Friday, May 15, 2009

Seems Right Doesn't Always Mean Right

Proverbs 14:12
“There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.”

God’s word is the final authority for what is right, not what I think, what I feel, what seems good or pleasing. If what I think, what I feel, what seems good or pleasing is in violation of God’s word, it is not right. We do not worship at the altar of our feelings, but we worship in spirit and in truth. God’s word is truth. Therefore, I must spend time in His word and in prayer, asking Him to grant me the wisdom to understand His word and rightly apply it. And also therefore, I must judge everything anyone attributes to God by what His word says. Personally, I'm glad I don't have to trust my feelings. I'd be in big trouble if that was my guide.

I have avoided mentioning this for a long time, but I just have to mention this in context with the chapter in Proverbs I read yesterday because it keeps on coming up in my circle of friends and acquaintances, so I know it must be coming up in a lot of groups, and I just need to get it out of my system and then I’ll move on. There is a book going around Christian circles that a lot of people are saying I just have to read and that it will give me such a better understanding of God and grace. That book is called The Shack. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard it mentioned favorably and quoted from and etc. I cannot tell you how many people, surprising people, have told me I just have to read this book.

Friends, be wary. I don’t care how much ‘good’ stuff might be in that book, there is also a lot that some very biblically wise men and women are saying is not biblical and is actually heretical. If what is being presented fictionally as something God would say doesn’t line up with what He has actually said in His word, run away. Personally, I’ve decided not to waste my time reading it. I’ve heard enough about it from sources I trust that I just don’t want to fill my mind with something I have to wade through to find some snippet among many other thoughts that aren’t right. Here are a couple of reviews I read or listened to that are worth pondering if you have read or are being encouraged to read that book: From Al Mohler and from Tim Challies.

Something I am becoming increasingly aware of in my journey through life is that just because something is in the Christian bookstore or has a Christian label or is on Christian TV or is presented as being Christian, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily theologically sound. Be careful, is all I’m saying.

And one more little pet peeve I just have to get off my chest. I am getting so tired of people saying I need to read a fiction book to gain a better understanding of who God is. Is what He has said in His word and shown us in Christ not enough? Rather I fill my mind with His word than someone’s speculations.

Because there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. How I feel about something cannot and must not be the ground of my determining its soundness. God’s word must be the final authority.


Lisa writes... said...

Where best to know God better? In the pages of His divine revelation of HIMSELF! Amen, sister!

Rachel Langston said...

I finally read this book after spending months trying to decide if I would. There were some descriptions of God in the book that I found easy to visualize. Overall, there were lots of bits and pieces that were similar to scripture but not exactly the same. I would be very scared of someone using this as their only picture of God and "His word".

Veronica @ A Quiet Heart said...

Amen and amen!! Both to what you said in your post, and to what Lisa said in her comment!!!

You said EXACTLY what I have been thinking:
"I am getting so tired of people saying I need to read a fiction book to gain a better understanding of who God is."

We gain a better understanding of God through His revealed Word! (John 1:1 anyone?)

Thank you!! :)

Annie said...

I read this book. However it did not leave a ever lasting path to my heart as 'The Last Lecture' did or Og Mandino and Max Lucado books did. Did I gain a better understanding of God? No. Was it worth the read? Yes, the images were wonderful. No, I had to read it with a very open mind as some of the things were not as I believed. It was fascinating but I have read other books that affected my faith much more.

Rebekah said...

Unfortunately, it is the imagery in the book that I have a lot of problem with, and I say that as gently as I know how in this format. Ultimately, even what I believe isn't my final authority, because what I believe must always be run through the grid of scripture. If in studying the Bible I find that what I believe doesn't line up, it's what I've been believing that must go and be submitted to the Word. And I have found that I am uncomfortable with a lot of Christian fiction because of the kinds of problems that The Shack presents. Too much of our speculation gets wrapped up into it too often and too often that speculation ends up not lining up with God's revelation of Himself. The problem I'm having is that so many people are recommending this book with no cautions at all and saying it has transformed the way they think about God. That is dangerous. I'm not necessarily saying what people should or shouldn't read, I'm just saying be very, very careful and I wish more would exercise discernment in what they recommend to weaker sisters and brothers in Christ to read. It bothers me that a lot of the people I've heard talk about this book say things like, "I tried to read the book and had a problem with God being portrayed as a woman, so I put it down until (insert name of a person that they respect in the faith) said I just had to read it, so I tried again...." To me that sounds like a lot of people are denying conscience to get through the book, and I wonder why? If at first your impression is to not read on because it isn't right, why do it? Why not go with that first qualm and put it down?

Those are just the thoughts that have struck me during the past several months.

Thelma said...

I did not like the book....I read me it was very disturbing...and very erroneus view of God..and left a very poor taste in my mouth......the real picture of our easily His word. what greater description is there than the words describing our Savior found in the words HE spoke....that was prophesied of His coming and so much more.

Anonymous said...

I don't really read fiction much. When on vacation or lately, as I recover from surgery during times when I'm trying to rest but can't really sleep.

I was given an autographed copy of The Shack by my in-laws. No interest. Sitting on the shelf in brand new condition. Maybe I'll sell it as a collectible and use the money to buy myself "Spectacular Sins" by John Piper - a book Lisa Writes suggested to me. Or maybe another C.S. Lewis book.

Fiction for spiritual revelation? Not so much. I'm with you on this one.