In case you haven’t heard, there’s a movie called The Shack coming out this weekend based on the book by William Paul Young, which sold over a million copies. This article is not a book or movie review, but is a call to believers to exercise discernment regarding pseudo-Christian media. Pseudo-Christian media is any book, movie, etc. that presents itself as Christian, but is an imitation or intentional deception of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
For the sake of transparency, I want to state upfront that I have not (will not) read the book, and I will not watch the movie. I have chosen to forego both based on the “theology” presented therein. In fact, I rarely watch movies or read books that appear Christian but fail to hold true to God’s revelation of Himself.
As Christians, the world around us watches closely to see our response to pseudo-Christian media. Our support immediately lends credibility to the theology (whether mildly or overtly false) that they present. So I ask myself: What does the book/movie teach about God? Is it accurate based on Scripture? Is it what I want others to believe about God, or does it present a false god? If the book or movie doesn’t pass this test, then I don’t endorse it with my time. I do this because I believe that I’m obeying the instruction of Romans 14:19, 21:
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. …It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”
Some have said that these books and movies are good for nonbelievers because they “introduce” them to God and Christianity. I wholeheartedly disagree. They introduce nonbelievers to a false god, a mere shadow of the true God. I do not believe that we bring people to faith in Jesus Christ by first introducing them to a false picture God. We must be discerning regarding our witness to the world and be willing to follow Paul’s example in I Corinthians 9:19, 22-23:
“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. …I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessing.”
I am not saying that you are a “bad Christian” or are wrong to invest your time watching movies like The Shack. Mature Christians can certainly watch or read this form of media and recognize the false doctrine that they contain. I see no danger to the mature believer in pseudo-Christian media. However, I see a great danger to those who are immature in faith or believe a non-Christian faith.
Dear readers, I am not your Holy Spirit and do not claim to be infallible. I simply ask that you prayerfully consider the message you send to the world by watching pseudo-Christian movies and by publically endorsing them on social media.