Friday, April 21, 2017

Simple and Summary Addendum to The Shack, Lies, and the Theological Molestation of Paul Young

In my recent blog post and YouTube, I raised the question of the “theological molestation” of Paul Young – author of The Shack and Lies We Believe About God.

But I left the definition of “theological molestation” too implicit. I have thus edited the blog, and am much more pleased with it.

The theological molestation to which I refer begins in a socio-cultural form of missionary Christianity in which Paul Young was raised.

1. His father, as a missionary, was himself theologically molested by doctrines where he was taught that God, salvation, identity, hell and sin are all arbitrary – apart from any sense of real justice, love and mercy. This molestation was enforced by the prohibition of questions about these doctrines.

2. Young’s father was violent with him as a boy, thus passing along this theological molestation in a visceral capacity.

3. This led Young – in also having to overcome the sexual molestation he suffered at the hands of tribal people in Papua New Guinea, and missionary boarding school (!) – to became fully reactionary while groping to seek the true God.

4. This sexual molestation was made situationally possible – if unknowingly – due to the prior theological molestation.

5. Paul Young’s reactions include, among others: a) a pagan syncretism that vitiates the Golden Rule, b) a pagan feminizing of God the Father, c) a misunderstanding of the difference between God’s government and human sinful government, d) an unbiblical understanding of hell and judgment, e) an unbiblical view of salvation, and f) a de facto dethroning of the incarnation of Jesus.

Thus, in my own pursuit of the biblical beauty of justice, mercy and love, I invite Paul Young to consider my detailed observations in my prior blog post. Is my diagnosis of the prior and deeper theological molestation he suffered accurate, and if so, can the next stage of his journey begin?


Richard Barr said...

Dear John, We met when I was in Conn and went to YDS. I am now Christian counselor working with several women and man who were sexually abused. Could what you call "theological molestation" be simply another word for "shame"? I was struck by Genesis 2 that says the man and his wife were "naked and not ashamed" which is a double negative to describe perfection. Why not "naked and at peace" or "naked and in delight" or even, as a Gnostic might say, "naked and blissfully ignorant." By why "naked and ashamed"? My explanation of why God finally clothes the man and his wife is because now they are "naked and ashamed" and shame is the experience we have been made wrong. God wanted to clothe them of their shame to protect them from their shame to convince them while they were not made wrong, but that they did wrong. In the dying scenario in Psalm 22, the grieving person but "I am a worm and not a man." That is a lie. He is not a worm, but created a man. He should have said "I feel like a worm" but the shame in sense of abandonment causes that sort of injury. When Paul says "I am not ashamed of the Gospel" he discovers that the pagan has no shame given over to a depraved mind, the Jew by the Law is ashamed of his shamelessness, and finally as a Christian faith overcomes shame where the Law just hid it.

I remember reading "the Shack" years ago and said it was a piece on grieving but a bad piece on theology, especially in making God a black woman, regardless of the fact that I accepted Christ because a black woman that had raised me had more courage than my father.

Dr. Rick Barr,

John Albert said...


I must confess when I read The Shack years ago, I certainly did not see all that you bring out in your review. Usually, my memory is short months after a book, not to mention years. I do not remember the universalism per se, although I do remember that God was portrayed as a black woman. I did realize that the book was controversial at the time. As a charismatic, I thought the author was just presenting different ways to understand the Godhead using metaphors. I guess I saw it mostly in this light because of my own experience with other believers who often limit God in His expression and unintentionally relegate God to their own limited experience. Perhaps in hindsight, I faintly remember some discomfort with parts of the book, but can't remember details. Anyway, thanks for your knowledge and insights to bring out not only the theological error in the books, but also the motivations of the author in a way that might bring true restoration in his life.

John A.