Why have so many rejected the Christ of the Bible? Why have so many created a “Christ” of their own understanding? What happened?
This was driven home yet again when an allegedly Christian church decided on Mother’s Day to worship the Mother Goddess. How can this happen? And how can a book like The Shack, with its serpentine assault on the biblical God, be accepted by so many Christians?
I would like to suggest cultural and spiritual amenability to God in any shape or image began long before the unclean spirit moved on Paul Young to write The Shack. The now deceased Phyllis Tickle, queen of the emergent movement, knew exactly what has happened to the visible church:
“As Phyllis Tickle has noted, the development of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) probably did as much as other, more celebrated events to undermine our concept of religion. Emerging in the late 1930s, AA made it acceptable to talk about a generic God, a ‘higher power'” [A Heretic’s Guide To Eternity, by Spencer Burke (The Ooze) and Barry Taylor, pg. 34-35, foreword by Brian McLaren.]
Burke and Taylor further note what Alcoholics Anonymous has brought on us. Of course, they see it as a good thing: “Consequently, a generation of people began speaking about God in new ways not previously sanctioned by the consensual illusion and traditional religious perspectives began to change as a result” [Ibid.]
In the ground-breaking article by Jack Alexander, an article which is now official “A.A. General Conference-approved literature,” here is how the “god” of Alcoholics Anonymous can be defined:
“Any concept of the Higher Power is acceptable. [The alcoholic] may choose to think of his Inner Self, the miracle of growth, a tree, man’s wonderment at the physical universe, the structure of the atom, or mere mathematical infinity. Whatever form is visualized, the neophyte is taught he must rely on it and, in his own way, to pray to the power for strength.”(emphasis mine)
The article notes that even a tree can be prayed to. Interestingly, the Bible refers to this: “Who say to a tree, “You are my Father,” And to a stone, “You gave me birth.” For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face” (Jeremiah 2:27).
In The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, secular author Christine Wicker credits Alcoholics Anonymous with “hastening the fall of the evangelical church” [The Fall Of The Evangelical Nation, by Christine Wicker, pg. 134-138.]
Wicker states A.A.’s Twelve Step program “slowly exposed people to the notion that they could get the [higher power] without the dogma, the doctrine, and the outdated rules. Without the church in fact.” This has removed the authority and influence of “the preacher and the Bible and tradition” [Ibid.]
According to the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (the A.A. “bible”): "We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of the Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men. When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God” (pg. 55).
The Lord tells us: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is BROAD that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it" (Matthew 7:13).
Give credit where credit is due. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups have influenced the culture and so weakened the church over the last eight decades that it has been relatively easy for many to accept The Shack’s goddess version of the Lord.
It also has to be acknowledged that many well meaning Christians accepted The Shack as a good thing because they were drawn not to the mother goddess concept, but to the emotions the novel evoked.
Yet, The Shack was always an assault on the God of the Bible. Nine years after its publication, after Young charmed scores of Bible believing churches, he finally admitted his heresy. In his 2017 book, The Lies We Believe About God, Young wrote: "Are you suggesting everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying" (pg.118).