Our “Contributor Emeritus” Jerry Wragg made the following observations that we wanted to share with our readers.
In my relatively short 26 years of Christianity, I’ve marveled at the endless stream of bestselling fiction that induces the church to such strong “This-book-changed-my-life” sentiment.
It happened in the 70’s with “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” – And again in the late 80’s-early 90’s with Peretti’s series on spiritual warfare (touted by Peretti as “fiction” in one interview, then as theologically driven in another) –
All through the 90’s, Christian’s became intoxicated (pun intended), not with book-fiction, but with the supernatural-fiction of the laughing “revivals.” Once again, the latest “totally-changed-my-life fad was served up to a voracious evangelicalism hardly stopping to take a breath.
We seem perennially seduced by “answers” to life’s trials coming from every corner of human opinion and experience, in spite of weekly corporate-worship affirmations about the sufficiency of Scripture.
How can “The Shack” teach us anything objective about facing the terrors of life in a fallen world? How does one man’s fictional encounter with fictional deities provide more comfort than real revelation from the one true and living God? Has it come to this? Do evangelicals really prefer fiction to divine revelation?
I can only conclude that some professing believers often seem more interested in fashioning truth after their own experiences. In other words, though human drama IS our experience, we often would rather assess and face challenges in our own strength and wisdom rather than humbly submitting to God’s yoke. Why would we prefer the inferior perspective of humans? Because it’s just plain easier. God gets to fit Himself through our grid, respond to our burdens according to our timing and comfort, and allow us the pride to “save face” in the event a weakness appears.
“The Shack” is nothing more than the inner-musings of one person advertised and sold as the potentially universal and unconventional way God manifests Himself. And someone says, “This book changed my life!” Oh really? How? In what way were you sanctified by the truth? How was your mind renewed and constantly nourished on the words of faith and sound doctrine? Did you become more holy? Do you now have a greater understanding of the love of Christ which surpasses human, earthly knowledge?
But we are called to be sanctified in the truth…His word is truth (John 17:17). Jesus calls us to “abide in [Him],” and to let His words “abide in [us]” (John 15:7). No human drama, truth or fiction, can fashion our minds and hearts after the Lord Jesus Christ. Beware the novel that pretends fiction with a trojan horse of lies against the truth. Fiction can be fun…but then again, eternity is no fiction!