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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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). 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