DON’T PANIC! IT’S ONLY A MOVIE, IT’S ONLY A MOVIE!

Posted by Ryan Cole on Monday, March 6, 2017 @ 11:20 AM

Once again there seems to be controversy related to the novel, entitled “The Shack,” authored by William P. Young. I remember when the book first came out years ago, and the controversy in the church surrounding it then; and now the movie version of the book has hit the theaters. I ran into a brother yesterday who said he 
actually loved it, and even cried four times during the movie; and this guy is a pretty “macho” kind of dude! He also said; “Hey pastor I now know, God is a “black woman!” (God is portrayed as a black woman in the film, so I’ve heard). I sort of chuckled, asked him if he enjoyed the movie, and went on my way.
 
I have neither seen the movie or viewed the film; thus, the next few comments I offer are based upon my opinion. To me “The Shack” is somewhat along the lines of “Pilgrims Progress,” or the “Left Behind Series,” whereby the author injects his/her perspective on biblical truths, for the sake of “entertainment.” To me these works may be entertaining, and in many cases stir up our imagination in regards to the Christian life. But “biblically,” as far as my theology and faith are concerned, I place them in the same category as “Bruce Almighty;” a Hollywood depiction of a man’s interaction with God. In that movie Morgan Freeman is God; I’ve had the privilege years ago, of meeting Mr. Freeman, and I can safely report, He is not God!
 
What I think is really silly, is the overreaction, and time wasted by many well-meaning believers, in responding to such “Pabulum,” (bland or insipid, intellectual fare, entertainment), like this. The reason, I believe, “The Shack” has caused such a ripple of controversy within the church, is God’s people do not read their Bibles. Thus, many start replacing the biblical view of God, with a cinematic “version” of God; which provides a more “palatable” (to the flesh), and less costly, version of God. When I was a child I remember going to the movies to see horror shows. As part of the movie theaters marketing strategy, trailers for up-coming horror movies, would add the line; “Keep telling yourself, its only a movie, its only a movie!” Which only caused me to want to see the film, even more! I think in regards to “The Shack” believers should step back and take a deep breath, and remind themselves, “It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie!” In fact, our “overreaction” many times gives  credence to that which is notcredible.
 
Spiritually speaking, (not my opinion, but God’s truth), we should view all references to spiritual things through the lens of scripture. Again, there was rigorous debate over The Shack, as a novel, when it first came out years ago,  but I’ve always wondered why? If there are things in the movie version which are not consistent with scripture, we should simply considered it as merely “fantasy”; understanding God has called the just to live by “faith,” and not “fantasy!” Peter’s words on the Day of Pentecost, brought clarity to the assumptions, of those who saw the aftermath of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but were not a part of it. (Acts 2:15-16) “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…” Peter went on to quote, Joel 2:28-32.  
 
As I’ve said many times, If this is not that (what was spoken in scripture), then that (whatever mankind’s assumptions are), is not this! (the word of God). I’m not telling people whether or not to see the movie; in fact, for many it is has been both entertaining and even inspirational. However, where The Shack, or any other “movie,” (or media outlet), veers away from clear Biblical teachings, we must regard it as “speculation” at best. To embrace non-biblically substantiated perspectives as “truth,” or to entertain them as possible truth, is both naïve and heretical. We Christians often get into trouble when we venture beyond what is “written.” Jesus rebuked the devil, in the wilderness by saying, “it is written!” The scriptures, andnot the scripts written by Hollywood or Christian writers, should be the foundation and guide, of our lives, in Christ! (1 Corinthians 4:6-7) Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
 
Let’s us not think beyond “what is written!” Ignorance of God’s word only produces spiritual simpletons, who are often easily deceived. The Shack may be an opportunity for us to speak the truth to believers and non-believers, as well; by addressing false analogies, and declaring God’s truth!
 
DON’T PANIC! IT’S ONLY A MOVIE, IT’S ONLY A MOVIE!
 
(Psalm 119:160) The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
 
For His Glory,
Pastor Al
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