Facts, Faith, and Feelings

In the eighties and early nineties I had a pastor who preached over and over that we base our opinions on (1) Facts (2) Faith, and lastly, (3) Feelings. It made a lasting impression on me, and now whenever I’m looking for an answer from God, I use that equation to determine whether or not I’m “hearing” the right thing.

This is where I become unpopular. We all too often form our spiritual opinions (answers) based on our feelings first, rather than the facts. The movie, The Shack,
tugs at our heartstrings, and causes us to question our belief in who God is. The movie leads you to believe that God is whoever you need Him to be at different times in your life. It’s a feel-good, carnival-ride kind of movie, and in a weird way it makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. I’m a bit relieved when we get to the end and the character, Mack, seems to awaken from a dream, or maybe even returns from the rabbit hole he fell into. I feel less like I have to defend the biblical principles I know to be true, and chalk it all up to a well-written piece of fiction.

For all the feel good in this movie, there are as many inadequacies, and they matter because they are about who God is.

I haven’t read the book, but have no reason to believe that the movie isn’t scripted closely. The movie causes us to believe that there is no repentance of sin. That there is no punishment for sin. Papa says, “Sin is its own punishment”. The movie says there is no wrath of God. Papa says, “Wrath? You lost me there”. The author might not intend to mislead, but he misleads nonetheless. He wants us to see the God of love, but not the God of absolute holiness, or the God of final judgement. For all the feel good in this movie, there are as many inadequacies, and they matter because they are about who God is.

There is no question about who God is, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is.

  1. God is God.  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. ~ (John 1: 1-3) No mention of a woman named Papa. Who, by the way, looks more like a new-age Oprah than God.
  2. Jesus is God’s son. “Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who is coming into the world.” (John 11:27) Whatever else Christians may believe, of greatest importance is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Apart from this profession, there is no gospel. The movie comes closest in it’s depiction of Jesus, portraying him as an Israeli carpenter. And I say that tongue in cheek.
  3. The Holy Spirit is the power of God, a comforter, a counselor. The Holy Spirit is someone to call on when you don’t know what or how to pray. The Holy Spirit is not an Asian woman that floats in and out with a glow surrounding her.
  4. This woman called “Wisdom”, she scares me. I don’t know what to say about her, except she’s scary.  In Ezekiel 28 God says about Satan, “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.”

I’ll leave you with this essay popularized by syndicated columnist, Paul Harvey, in 1965.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Az0okaHig

If I were the devil … if I were the prince of darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness.

I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population; I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — thee.

I would set about, however necessary, to take over the United States.  I’d subvert the churches first, and I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”

To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince the children that man created God instead of the other way around. I’d confide that what’s bad is good and what’s good is “square”. And I would teach the old to pray after me, “Our Father, which are in Washington…” Then, I’d get organized.

I’d educate authors on how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting.

I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction.

I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves until each, in its turn, was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil, I would encourage the schools to refine young intellect but neglect to discipline emotions. I’d tell teachers to let those students run wild. And before you knew it, you’d have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

Within a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing and judges promoting pornography.

Soon, I would evict God from the courthouse and the schoolhouse and then from the houses of Congress.

In His own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion and defy science. I’d lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.

If I were the devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle. If I were the devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. I bet I could get whole states to promote.

I would caution against “extremes” in hard work, in patriotism and in moral conduct. I’d convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, and that what you see on television is the way to be and gambling as the way to get rich.. And, thus, I could undress you in public and lure you into bed with diseases for which there are no cures.

In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.

There are lots of things about this movie that bother me. See it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Don’t see it if you are not grounded in your faith, and unless you have a strong spirit of discernment. It will easily lure you into believing in a god, but not THE Almighty God. It seems to have come at a time when there is much confusion in the world about many different things. It’s up to God’s people to know and show the difference.


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Wife of Tony. Mom of Anna and Noah. Nonommy of Walker. I’m a school secretary, but my real job is leading worship at Point of Grace Church.

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