Showing posts from May, 2017

William Young's ‘The Shack’

When I read William Young's novel The Shack shortly after it was published in 2007, I was so struck by its theology that I wrote a summary -- not of the story but of its theology, much of which is fairly explicit in the dialogue and the narrative. Having seen the movie a few days ago, I reread what I had written. In broad outline, the movie certainly captures and conveys what Young intends to say in the novel, and I hope and pray that it will move Christians who watch it (including me) into a relationship with God more like the one God wants to have with us, and move others to find faith they have not had before. So this seems an opportune time to post my summary from a decade ago. It follows below.

I know that The Shack generated controversy when it was published. The main criticism seems to be that Young's theology is universalist, i.e. that all human beings will enjoy eternal life with God. I'm not sure where this idea comes from. After all, the novel strongly expresse…

N.T. Wright’s understanding of Jesus

N.T. (Tom) Wright is a favourite theologian of mine. I appreciate his approach to the New Testament. He is a historian by training, and he researches the background to the New Testament writings punctiliously in order to cast light on what the earliest Christians believed, on the principle that their beliefs should inform the faith of today’s believers.

A week or so ago I came across a summary I had written in 2010 (or perhaps earlier) of Wright’s chapters in a book published in 2000, The meaning of Jesus: two visions (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco). Its two authors, Marcus Borg and Tom Wright, contributed alternating chapters such that each pair of chapters was on a particular Jesus-related topic. I don’t have access to the book now, but I think the topics are (more or less?) reflected in the section headings of my summary.

Wright’s chapters provided me with an excellent introduction to how he sees Jesus (this must be one of the first writings of his that I read), and I am putting …