Review of Crossroads, a novel by Wm. Paul Young

 

Introduction

During the last ten years Paul Young has written a total of 6 books (2 more novels with also a 365 day daily devotional connected with each of the 3 novels), and now, just released, the book, Lies We Believe about God. What I anticipated, that this would be a real eye opener—an “in your face” rewrite of biblical truth along the lines of universal reconciliation (UR), is exactly this. This book projects 28 lies that evangelical Christians believe and seeks to overturn every one. In chapter 13, the lie, “You need to get saved,” is addressed, and Young confesses that he believes in “universal reconciliation.” Everyone is already saved.  My review of Lies will be forthcoming; look for it on my web site where this review is.

Young’s other two novels (Crossroads, 2012, and Eve, 2015) are filled, like The Shack, with put downs or questioning of the same biblical core doctrines about the nature of God, the judgment of God, the meaning of the death of Christ and penal substitution, the Trinity in other forms, the order and causes of the Fall, what it means to be in fellowship with God, and many more.

Common traits to all 3 novels.

There are several common traits belonging to all 3 novels. All three involve the main character experiencing a dream brought on by a severe accident, medical emergency, or severe crisis (in the order of The Shack, Crossroads, and Eve). All experience an other-world journey of sorts in which the person (man, man, and woman) encounters the Trinity. In the 1st novel, the Father is portrayed or imaged as both a Black woman and an old Indian man; the Son is portrayed by a Jewish carpenter; and the Holy Spirit by a South Asian woman named Sarayu.

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Review of Eve, a novel by Wm. Paul Young

 

Eve is a novel by Wm. P. Young, but becomes a distorted rewriting of the Bible, of Genesis 1-3. It perverts the account of the creation, the making of Adam and Eve, the serpent, and the Fall. It treats mythology as authoritative as the Bible.

Introduction

The publication of Young’s second (Crossroads) and third (Eve) novels has great significance for several reasons.

(1) It shows Young’s desire to continue to write in the same style of fiction—theological fiction that uses fiction in the service of a particular theology. (2) It shows his desire to continue to propagate his doctrinal errors, in general stemming from his conversion to UR. (3) It vindicates the critique of his first novel, The Shack, that the claim that it centers on the heresy of UR, is basically correct and justified. He continues to propagate this heresy in his newer novels.

Now that Paul Young has released (March, 2017) his newest book, Lies We Believe about God, there can be no mistake about what he believes and thinks, and why he writes novels. He lists 28 lies that he believes that we evangelical Christians believe. Then he renounces them. A core one (ch. 13) is “You need to get saved.” This is a lie, according to Young, because all people are already saved. Then he states that he believes in “universal salvation” (p. 118). More than ever before any reader should be able to pick up the universalism in all of his novels.

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Comparison of Teachings

THE SHACK UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION THE BIBLE
“I am love” (101); God cannot act apart from love (102); love is holy (107) “There is one God whose nature is love” (Creed, 1899) God is love (1 Jn. 4:9, 16), light (1 Jn. 1:5), holy (3:25), righteous, (2 Thess. 1:6-7)
God does not punish sin; he cures it; sin is its own punishment (120) There is no eternal punishment for sin. The fires of hell are curative and purgatorial. “Righteous judgment of God” (Rom 1:32); judgment of God is against sin (2:2,3,5-6,9); God will judge secrets by Jesus Christ (v.16; 3:6; etc.)
God “redeems” the final outcome (127) There is no everlasting hell; all repent and go to heaven. There are two ways, one leading to everlasting punishment, the other to everlasting life (Matt. 7:13ff.;25:46; Luke 16:19ff; Jn. 3:16-19).
“Judgment is not about destruction, but about setting things right” (169). There is no final judgment; but “a setting of all things right” (apokatastasis, Origen, 3rd cent.=1st prominent Christian universalist). “Jesus will take vengeance and punish with everlasting destruction” (2 Thess. 1:8-9)
There is no mention of the Devil in the description of the Fall (134-137), of his present work, or future destiny. There is no Devil confirmed in his evil choice but he will repent and go from hell to heaven. The Devil was very real to Jesus as the one who sins from the beginning, who tempted him, is the god of this world, for whom hell was prepared (Matt. 4:1ff., 25:41; 2 Cor. 4:4)
At the cross “mercy triumphs over justice because of the cross”; justice was not exercised(164-165); justice flows from love. Justice is “born of love and limited by love” (decree of 1878). The death of Christ enabled God to be just (Rom. 3:25); “judgment is without mercy to the one who shows no mercy (he shows partiality); mercy triumphs over judgment” (Jam. 2:13)
Jesus is a wonderful companion in a “circle of relationship” devoid of authority, power, prominence of anyone “filling roles is the opposite of relationships” (167). Jesus is progressively humanized. To be a Christian is to confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; Col. 2:6; etc.) and “head of the church” (Col. 2:19; Eph. 4:15-16)
The whole Trinity became  incarnate and was crucified (99). UR progressively blurs the distinctions within the Trinity (creeds of 1878, 1898). The Father sent the Son (1 Jn. 4:9-10, 14) to be the Savior; the Father “smote him,” “laid on him our iniquity,” “was pleased to bruise him” (Isa. 53:4-10)
God is “reconciled to the whole world” even to those who do not believe (192) The creeds of 1878 and 1899 never mention “faith” or believing. People “are saved by grace through faith”; “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 11:6; 3:12; Rom. 10:9-10).
Love does not force its will; “relationships are marked by submission” (145) God’s will to save all cannot be thwarted; all will choose to respond. “Whosoever will shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13; cf. John 3:16ff.).
“love burns away every vestige of corruption” (227) The fires of hell are corrective, disciplinary, purgatorial, not punitive. Hell is punishment and torment (Matt. 25:41; Luke 16:24-25, 28).
All people are children of God and loved equally by him (155-156) All are God’s children and loved by him. While all are the “offspring of God” only those who believe in Christ are forgiven and receive eternal life (Acts 17:22-34; Jn. 1:12; 3:16ff; 11:25; cf. 1 John 5:11-12).
There will be a new revolution of “love and kindness” when all will confess Jesus is Lord (248). In the end, all in hell repent and go to heaven, and love finally triumphs over all. The enemies of Christ become his conquered footstool (Ps. 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Heb. 1:3, 13; Rev. chs. 19-22); God the Judge is able to “save and destroy” (Jam. 4:12; cf. 2 Thess. 1:5ff.). The day of the Lord is judgment (1 Thess. 5).
Institutions are diabolical schemes; Jesus “never has, never will” create institutions including the church, government, marriage (178) UR opposes evangelical churches and revival movements. Jesus began the church (Matt. 16:18; 18:15-17) & founded it on the apostles and prophets (Eph.2:20; 4:11-16). There are regulations (1 Cor. 11-14), and officers and ordinances (1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1; 1 Cor. 11-14; 1 Pet. 5:1ff.). Christians are to assemble regularly (Heb.10:25).

The 21 Statements by Which to Identify Universalism in The Shack

All of the following statements, unless otherwise identified, come from the mouth of Papa (who fills the role of God in the novel and in the film).

  1. “The first aspect of God is never that of the absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of the God who puts himself on our human level and limits himself” (from p. 88).This statement, to say the least, is over stated. God has revealed himself both as being Almighty, as transcendent, as beyond us in omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Yet he also is One who desires a deep relationship with his people, as being immanent or close to them.

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The Shack—Does It Promote Idolatry?

The Shack, the wildly successful novel by William Paul Young, is known now to millions of people. From the year of its publication in 2007, it has been on the NY Times Bestsellers List for over 100 weeks. This is quite amazing since it is written by one who once professed to be a Christian and was written for Christians with a Christian story line—or so it seems. But the story has touched the heartstrings of Christians and non-Christians alike because it deals with great questions: What is the meaning of suffering? If God is good why does he allow people to suffer? And even more significant: If God is loving why does he judge unbelievers worthy of hell and an everlasting judgment?

The answer that Paul Young gives to these questions is surprising. Instead of suggesting that the Bible has answers for these questions, Young propounds a different view of God that asserts that God is so loving that he does not punish sin, that all are his children, that “mercy triumphs over justice because of love.”

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THE MOVIE, “THE SHACK”: How the Film Is Anti-Christian, Anti-Marriage, Anti-American

The film “The Shack” will soon appear in theaters nationwide and probably beyond. If it is as popular as the novel on which it is based it will be a blockbuster.

For those who do not know, this is the movie version of the fictional novel, The Shack. This novel has sold upwards of 20 million copies over the last several years. It was on the NY Times best seller list for many months. It made the author very wealthy. This is quite amazing when we consider that this was written by a writer claiming to be a Christian and intended for Christians to give a Christian explanation for why people suffer. Obviously the story has resonated with a multitude of people, whether Christians or not, who have wondered about the love of God, eternity, and why Jesus Christ came into the world.

The story is about Mac and many Christians like him who are struggling with serious life questions and uncertainty about their faith. They have been challenged by severe suffering beyond their control. They feel that God does not care about them and perhaps has even abandoned them. Many are angry at God. Like Mac they may come to a shack where they come face to face with God. The Shack provides an explanation for their pain and anger, and a way of escape—back to God.

But deeper, more gnawing questions often lie behind the surface struggles. If God is a good God why do so many people suffer? If God is a good God why are so many people—those who are non-Christians—destined for eternal suffering? Why should people suffer everlastingly for sin and for sins committed during a short life time? If God is love, why does he judge people and send them to hell? At one time or another all have thought about such heavy questions.

It is really these difficult questions that The Shack seeks to answer. But the answer is surprising. The answer is not to explain the Bible’s teaching on these matters but to provide a new understanding of who God is—a God who is all loving and whose love limits his judgment and justice. Paul Young says that Christians have misunderstood God, indeed, the whole Trinity.

And this is where the rub comes in.

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Unmasking the Deceit in the Gospel Fiction According to Paul Young with Attendant Ethical Concerns

The following pages summarize the beliefs of various authors who defend a form of universal reconciliation by denying the Biblical view of hell, judgment, the gospel, the role of faith in actualizing reconciliation for anyone, the nature of God, and the meaning of the local church and its mission.  In recent years fictional writers expressing these views have become widely read.[1]

Paul Young’s The Shack (both the novel and the film) has out done all other fictions to sell such universalism. His earlier writing in 2004 is simply one of the more extended defenses of universal reconciliation (UR).[2] It provides the background and foundation for what his fiction unfolds. In the following pages I use Young’s 2004 defense to illustrate how detailed and far-reaching the case for UR can be.  In refuting the arguments that Young makes I am refuting the arguments of other advocates of UR. Continue reading

8 Questions for the Fiction of Universalism

The Shack by William P. Young
The Last Word and the Word After That by Brian McLaren
Love Wins by Rob Bell

  1. What’s all the fuss about? This literature is just fiction isn’t it?Yet this fiction is decidedly theological fiction.  These writers explicitly affirm the theology of it. It seeks to advocate a particular, newer view of God, the Trinity, the meaning of sin, reconciliation, the judgment, hell and punishment, the church and other institutions (government, marriage, etc.).

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