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Tear Down the Shack Part 2

  Monday, March 27, 2017

NOTE: Please read Part #1 of the blog to get the plotline context of “The Shack,” along with my introductory remarks about this faith-based movie. To read Part #1, CLICK HERE.

 

Part #1 regarding my analysis of the movie “The Shack” explained the basic plot line and emphasized my objection to God being portrayed in female form. I connected this to the ancient heresies of the Gnostics and teachings of Modalism. But the idea of a female godhead (remember both the Father and the Holy Spirit of “Shack” are female) has also been expressed in witchcraft and many false religions.

The idea of God as a woman has deep pagan roots, usually linked to qualities of love, motherhood, and fertility. Buddhism, Hinduism, and many polytheistic religions, including the Romans and Greeks, elevated female deities to a place of supremacy. We expect this sort of thing from the New Age and witchcraft, but not from an alleged Christian writer in a faith based movie. So, let’s get a few things straight. Though God is a spirit (John 4:24), He has revealed himself to humanity in Scripture, and in the Incarnation, as male. Anthropomorphism is the theology by which God is assigned human characteristics, such as references to his eyes and arms. This communicative device is nowhere in the Bible assumed to be literal. (In their perverted view of sex, Mormons make God into a deity who was once human and still retrains those same characteristics, including genitalia. In Mormonism, Mormons believe that is how Mary became pregnant.)

But what we have in “The Shack” is bald-faced blasphemy, accepted by many evangelical Christians for whom the sentimentality of “forgiveness” and the healing of painful memories takes precedence over Scriptural fidelity. Genesis 1:26 tells us that man was created in God’s image, not only the essence of God’s character but also his maleness. There are 170 references in the Bible to God as “Father.” If the Bible had meant “Mother,” it would have said so. Never once in Scripture is a female pronoun used to reference God. Jesus referred to the “Father” with distinctive maleness 160 times. John 10:30 says, “I and the Father are one.” Not “I and the Mother are one.” From Acts to Revelation 900 verses use masculine nouns (in the original Greek) when directly referring to God. Literary license can be employed in many motifs, but deceiving depictions of God the Father as if He were actually God the Mother isn’t one of them

“Shack” the movie may or may not be good cinema. (I personally felt it was a little sappy and disingenuously aimed at the sympathetic gut. On a human level, I was more inclined to be teary-eyed at “La-La Land,” by comparison.) It may even be emotionally moving. But when the writer of a film, or book, ventures into theological territory, and the author claims a cloak of personal, evangelical faith, he surrenders all rights to misrepresent the attributes, purposes, and gender of God. As for author Young’s sometime comparison to C. S Lewis’s use of allegory, remember that Aslan was a lion, a Lion of Judah (Genesis 49:9; Revelation 5:5). That is a consistent, permissible allegory with biblical roots. God as Octavia Spencer is not. Gender fluidity in secular culture may be a topic of political debate, but gender-bending the Bible is blasphemy! It’s time to tear down the shack!


An encouraging word: WORDS HAVE MEANING
Words are more than a collection of letters on a page or sounds spoken. The word “demons” is bandied about as some vague description of inner emotional torment, with no literal significance. Likewise, “hell” and “damn” are frequent epithets with no objective meaning in modern slang. But words are more than sounds and syllables. Words have meaning and influence. Check out the words you speak today. Speak good words to those around you, remembering Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Bob Larson has trained healing and deliverance teams all over the world to set the captives free and Do What Jesus Did® (Luke 4:18).  You can partner with Bob and support this vision to demonstrate God’s power in action by calling 303-980-1511 or clicking here to donate online

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Tear Down “The Shack” (3-20-17)

  Monday, March 20, 2017

I’ve seen “The Shack” and question its theology.

 

“The theology isn’t perfect, but it’s an amazing story of forgiveness.” So said one very respected Christian writer about the movie, “The Shack,” based on a best-selling 2007 novel by William Young. Here’s the basic story. A man named Mack Phillips has a faith crisis after his daughter is murdered in a shack. He receives a letter telling him to go to that shack. There he meets God in the person of an African American woman called Papa. (Papa says she has many names, a possible hint at Unversalism.) The whole trinity is there as well. Jesus is a Middle Eastern carpenter, and the Holy Spirit is an Asian woman. How convenient that the godhead has manifested as a politically correct, multi-cultural collection of characters. Mack also has a conversation with a being named Sophia, the personification of God’s wisdom. For those unaware, Sophia was a goddess of the Gnostics, a first century heretical sect whose teachings Paul condemned in the letter to the Colossians. She was believed to have fallen from grace and afterwards helped create the material world. Can we all say together, “Jezebel, Lilith!” Three of four divine beings are women? What’s going on here? After having suffered through God as George Burns and Morgan Freeman, what hath “The Shack” wrought? Artistic idolatry? We expected blasphemy from Burns and Morgan. But “Shack” is the product a confessing evangelical Christian.

If you want an emotionally moving film, this is it. A tear jerker. Who wouldn’t be moved by the story of a father whose daughter is abducted and killed, especially when the movie’s climax shows Mack being led to a cave where he find his dead daughter’s body. A five-handkerchief alarm. I do understand, as a writer, the use of allegory to fictionally make a point. But the Father and Holy Spirit as female? What’s that all about, and can such mistreatment of biblical truth be taken lightly? Just because the film/book emphasizes Christian themes of grace and forgiveness, does that make it “Christian?”

The message of “The Shack” is this: Papa, mother-god, is a graven image in cinematic form; it’s template is the New Age, not historic Christianity. Worst of all it promotes Modalism, the idea, borrowed from eastern religions, that god may manifest in many forms. Modalism, sometimes called Sabellianism, teaches that God has three modes of revelation, which is heretical to the doctrine of the trinity. (Modalism believes, for example, that Jesus was god playing a role as the Son. The same for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Just God in another mode.) This teaching that God is really one person in three modes of expression is in contrast the Christian doctrine that the Trinity is the coexistence of three distinct persons as one. Early church fathers, such as Tertullian in the third century, condemned such ideas as heresy. “The Shack” confuses Christian doctrine that the Godhead consists of three consubstantial persons, distinct, yet of one substance, essence, and nature.

Interestingly, in Hinduism, the second of the Hindu trinity, Vishnu (a demon I’ve face on many occasions), sometimes appears as a female god. Other Hindu demon-gods, appearing in female form, which I’ve faced as evil spirits, include Lakshmi, Kali, and Parvati (wife of Shiva.) The Shakti tradition of kundalini-awakening yoga sees god as a female (Shakti is the Divine Mother). The same for Bhakti yoga. Brahma, the first of the Hindu trinity, is beyond gender and can appear as male or female. Shiva, “the Destroyer,” is the patron god of yoga.

Whatever author William Young’s personal convictions and intentions, very serious issues about the nature and character of God are raised by “The Shack.” I’ll say more next week.

NOTE: Part #2 continued next week!


An encouraging word: GOD’S VOICE SPEAKS EVERYWHERE
“The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness.” That statement from Psalm 29:8 seems strange. What’s the point? The rest of the verse identifies the “wilderness of Kadesh,” an isolated and ignored place in ancient Israel. Perhaps the psalmist wanted us to realize that there is no place too remote to escape the voice of God. The impact of God and His Word knows no earthly boundaries. From the loftiness of Mt. Hermon to the lowliest of forsaken places, God speaks. And it is to all those places we must take the gospel. What is, figuratively speaking, the wilderness near you where you need to speak about Jesus? It may be friends, it may be family, it may be your own neighborhood.

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Exorcism Isn’t Easy (3-13-17)

  Monday, March 13, 2017
Scenes from recent YouTube exorcisms. As you can see, casting out demons isn’t easy!

 

A friend of our ministry, Krista, who recently completed the courses in our International School of Exorcism, made an interesting observation: “There seems to be so much detail and subtlety in exorcism. I would call it an art.” Put another way, some critics accuse me of being unbiblical when I encourage students of our School to learn many intricacies of information before attempting to cast out demons. In short, they argue, “Just do it like Jesus did. Tell the demons to kept quiet and come out.” They infer that deliverance should be quick and easy.

This critique is based on a lack of scriptural knowledge and many false assumptions. Some “experts,” who’ve never been involved in deliverance, argue that Jesus cast out demons quickly; however, to cite several cases in point, we don’t know how much time Christ spent ministering to the man among the tombs (Mark chapter 5); or the Syrophoenician woman of Mark chapter nine. We know by reading certain passages in which Christ cast out demons that He engaged in verbal interaction with evil spirits. What the gospel writers give us are sketchy, anecdotal accounts, not time-logged transcripts of what occurred. Furthermore, the only time Jesus directly silenced demons was the case of the demon possessed man who screamed in the synagogue (Mark 1:23-27). And this was because Christ didn’t want his identity prematurely exposed.

Yes, Krista, it is an art. And a complicated one at that. As explained in the School of Exorcism, an effective deliverance minister may face not only demons but several other states of consciousness. These may include dissociative identity disorder, ancestral dissociated soul-fragments, or absorbed soul-identities from living individuals (those whom the demonized host had soul-connections with). It is an art to sort through all these soulish identities to get to the demons. So why doesn’t the Bible tell us about this and why didn’t the disciples encounter such variations of possession? Well, they may have and didn’t tell us. Or it’s possible that such strategies of Satan have been devised or perfected in the last 2,000 years as defensive responses from the devil.

Exorcism isn’t easy. The effective exorcist/deliverance minister must know the Word, fast as needed, be aware of psychological mind states, have some understanding of mental illness, and be prepared to methodically proceed with ministry. “Out in the name of Jesus” is the end game. But what leads to that command of expulsion can be a challenging process. And it’s a lot more difficult for the person who hasn’t enrolled in our International School of Exorcism.

TO ENROLL IN OUR SCHOOL OF EXORCISM,
CLICK HERE, OR CALL 303-980-1511 TODAY!

An encouraging word: FIND CHRISTIAN FRIENDS
God has created us for community. We are all healthier in every way when we are connected to the larger human family, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s why the Bible says that serious decisions in life should have the checks and balances described in Proverbs 11:14: “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Find friends. Develop solid Christian fellowship on a regular basis. Your life will be enriched and the devil will have less ways to attack you. Godly Christian friends are a must in our disconnected world.

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It’s not OK to be OK (3-6-17)

  Monday, March 6, 2017
“Love yourself-accept yourself-forgive yourself-and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia

 

This week, my wife texted me a sign hanging outside an evangelical church: ITS OK NOT TO BE OK. Laura chaffed when she saw it. So did I when I saw her text. Frankly, I’m getting a little sick of pop-culture-branded Christianity that subsists on trite slogans. Leo Buscaglia, known in the 90s as “Dr. Love,” and famous for his hugs, was a best-selling author who championed the now-in-vogue idea that love is all there is and love is all we need. As you can see from the quote above, this idea goes so far as to suggest that one can forgive oneself. No need for a transcendent Creator to whom we are accountable. Especially not one who is capable of judgment. That wouldn’t be OK. When was the last you heard a preacher deliver a sermon on Colossians 3:6: “The wrath of god is coming upon the sons of disobedience.”

I understand the sentiment that sometimes in life we’re not OK and it’s all right to experience times of self-doubt and discouragement. But I’m not for wallowing in self-loathing and depression. To enshrine and sloganize the idea that we should ever be resigned to life at its worst, is to forget that many adversities we face are from Satan. In that instance, it’s not OK to accept the status quo of spiritual oppression. If you are living under an unbroken curse, you can’t “accept yourself” out of it. You have to fight back in the name of Jesus. It simply is not OK to be OK, if your OK is a resignation to the way things are in spiritual bondage, instead of the way it could be if you were delivered from your demons. If you are about to ratify and normalize Satan’s attacks on your life as being OK, reach out to someone who understands inner healing and deliverance. Call our office and schedule a Personal Spiritual Encounter. Arrange a Skype or personal session when we can confront the demonic forces that want to destroy you. Be assured, that when I encounter your demons, I won’t tell them it OK for them to stay there!

TO SCHEDULE YOUR ONE-ON-ONE SKYPE OR PERSONAL ENCOUNTER 
CALL 303-980-1511.

An encouraging word: BE KIND
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate” (Albert Schweitzer). “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with . . . kindness.” (Col 3:12) In a world of harsh tweets, internet rants, and Facebook humiliations we could all use a little kindness. It’s in short supply with the caustic comments of politicians and crude comedians leading the way. Christians can do better. Try a little kindness today.

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Fake News (2-27-17)

  Monday, February 27, 2017

 

It has become a byword in conversation, an epithet thrown at the media, a point of contention between the Trump administration and news outlets worldwide. FAKE NEWS! The cry goes out across the land, and both liberals and conservatives have their own idea about what it means. To President Trump it’s scurrilous rumors about shenanigans in a Moscow hotel. To liberals it’s almost anything that Press Secretary Shawn Spicer says in media briefings. Crowd size at the Inauguration, intelligence leaks concerning Michael Flynn – if it’s controversial it potentially qualifies. Fake news is a deliberate lie, hoax, or collection of misinformation, often outlandish, disseminated by social media or major news outlets, intended to mislead those not aware of the facts.It’s nothing new. But recently, this news about the news has become the news itself. Movie stars have been victimized by it in the National Inquirer and politicians have been bitten by it in blogs and mainstream editorials. It’s been around a long time as propaganda and satire. To be sure that you’re getting the facts about the facts, journalistic experts advise giving any sensational information the test of “considering the source.” It’s also good to read beyond the headlines and consult a variety of information outlets.

Perhaps the greatest example of fake news occurred nearly 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. The Pharisees were fearful when they learned that Christ was risen from the dead so they created fake news. The gave a large sum of money to the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb of Jesus, and declared, “Tell them [the public and Roman officials], ‘his disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept'” (Matthew 28:13). The bribery didn’t work. Two millennia later, the Resurrection of Christ is believed by at least 2 billion people, for whom it is the cornerstone of their faith. And don’t forget the first example of fake news, in the Garden when Satan said to Eve, “You will not surely die.” The biggest source of fake news isn’t CNN or “The Onion.” It’s the devil!


An encouraging word: LOVE CONQUERS HATE
“Pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44 compels us. The “love your enemies” ethic of Christianity isn’t easy to practice. But if I’ve learned anything in all my years of dealing with demons it’s that love is more powerful than hate. Satan has a defense for almost every Christian counter-strategy, but he has no way to defend against unconditional love. Loving people is the path to their conversion and their liberation. The devil can’t understand Godly love and he is incapable of mounting a resistance against it.

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