Sunday, September 14, 2008

My new blog: Wesleyan Arminian

I have decided to divide my blogging into two separate sites:

1) Wesleyan Arminian
This blog will focus on theology from a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective. If you follow Seekadoo because of an interest in Arminian Theology, please update your links to the new blog. All future theology posts will go there. I have imported all relevant posts and comments from Seekadoo into the new blog.

2) Seekadoo (My current blog)
I like to post on topics other than theology. However, this can be a distraction for readers. Seekadoo will be devoted to everything but theology. I will also keep all old theology posts on Seekadoo (in case they're referenced somewhere else).

Thanks! -Kevin (Pizza Man)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Book Review: The Shack

What would you do if you were invited to spend a weekend with God? What questions would you ask him? Maybe why evil exists? Why is there pain? That is the background for the book "The Shack" (Author: William P. Young).

The Shack has become a phenomenon. As of today (9-8-08) it is ranked #6 in sales on, and has over 1,200 reviews.

There is a dual reaction to the book in Christian circles. People either love it or despise it. I fall into the former category, with a reservation. I enjoyed the story. It brought me to tears a number of times. As the father of two girls, I empathized with the main character, "Mack".

The Shack is about the problem of evil. Why does God allow for terrible things to happen? Mack's youngest daughter Missy is brutally raped and murdered. This causes a rift in his relationship with God. Mack cannot trust a God who would allow such a terrible act. In the story God invites Mack to come to meet him at the site of the murder. Mack goes to meet God, and so the story continues.

The Trinity is represented by three persons: Papa (who is a black woman), Jesus (as himself), and Sarayu (an Asian woman). Some people have been bothered that the Father and the Spirit were represented by women. However, in the storyline it is made clear that they are not really female, they are simply an anthropomorphism of God - much like "Aslan" represents God in the Narnia books.

What I liked about the book was how well the author illustrated the loving nature of God. This aspect of God' s character shined through. God deeply loves Mack. He desires to heal Mack, to be in relationship with him, and to set him free. God loves all of us that way, the author makes it clear. A phrase that is repeated is that God is especially fond of you (each of us).

In the story God does not desire evil, it is not ordained by him. Yet God is able to accomplish his purposes through the way he responds to evil - with his unconditional love.

One concern I have about the book is that it seems to imply universalism - the idea that everyone will be saved in the end. This concept is not explicitly stated, but I can see readers arriving at such a conclusion.

The outright hostile reviews of the book are unwarranted. They seem to primarily come from Calvinists who have an ax to grind with the (Arminian) theology of the author. This is unfortunate.

In conclusion, I recommend this book. However, it should not be taken as "gospel". It should not be read in place of scripture. In the end it is simply a story - but a very moving one at that.

Some other reviews:
Greg Boyd (positive)
Tim Challies (negative)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

General Atonement

Truehope over at Thru Faith has a new post entitled: Atonement for All. He gives a great overview of General Atonement, and how it is biblical. Be sure to check it out.