The Shack has sold twenty million copies and along the way generated at least twenty million conversations. Many of these have been attempts to discern the fact behind the fiction, to interpret what Paul Young means to teach through his story. Some have read the novel as a fresh expression of Christian orthodoxy while others have read it as rank heresy. In the end, only Young knows what he really believes.
At least, that was the case until the release of his new non-fiction work Lies We Believe About God. In this book he tells what he believes about sin, religion, hell, substitution, submission, salvation, and a number of other issues that cut to the very heart of the Christian faith. He does this by addressing a series of twenty-eight “lies” people—evangelicals, that is—tend to believe about God. In Baxter Kruger’s foreword he insists that Young “is standing in the mainstream of historic Christian confession.” For the sake of time and space, I cannot evaluate that claim against all twenty-eight chapters. Instead, I have chosen to focus on the few that are most central to the Christian faith.
In this section I provide a brief overview of the most important chapters in Lies We Believe About God. As much as possible, I allow Young to speak in his own words.
Chapter 2: “God is Good. I am not.” This chapter looks at the human condition. “Many of us believe that God sees us all as failures, wretches who are utterly depraved.” But the reality, he insists, is far different: “Yes, we have crippled eyes, but not a core of un-goodness. We are true and right, but often ignorant and stupid, acting out of the pain of our wrongheadedness, hurting ourselves, others, and even all creation. Blind, not depraved is our condition.” First falls the doctrine of human depravity.
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