Saturday, May 3, 2008

"The Shack"

Tim Challies provides this helpful review of "The Shack." Chances are you have heard about this book or know someone who is reading it. Brothers and sisters, we must avoid being swept up in the latest fad. Rather, we must think biblically and reject that which is peddled to Christians which is contrary to God's Word.


Jenn said...

In his article he says:
"Rather, Scripture makes it clear that repentance must precede forgiveness. Without repentance there can be no forgiveness. This is true of God’s offer of forgiveness to us and, as we are to model this in our human relationships, must be true of how we offer forgiveness to others. So when, at the book’s climax, Mack cries out “I forgive you” to the murderer (who is not present and has not sought forgiveness) he cannot offer true forgiveness. Neither can true forgiveness exist where Mack is unable to pursue reconciliation with this man. Forgiveness makes no sense and means nothing if we require it in this way. It may make a person feel better about himself, but it cannot bring about true forgiveness and true reconciliation."
Todd, could you speak to this? I've always learned that we should forgive others even if they do not repent and seek reconciliation -- that forgiveness is still necessary on our part in order for us to be right with God. The author's words seem contrary to this ...

Todd Pruitt said...


Excellent question.

It seems to me that in the strictest sense forgiveness must be a two way street. In other words forgiveness must be offered but it must also be received in order to be complete. Certainly we can "forgive" someone in our heart but the relationship will remained severed if the offending party sees no need to be forgiven. Paul instructs the church at Corinth to shun the man engaged in immorality (I Cor. 5) until such time as he repents. They are not instructed simply to forgive him. They should not harbor bitterness against him but neither should they "forgive and forget."

God, for instance, does not forgive the unrepentant. Now, to be sure we are not God. We are sinners and therefore must work to forgive our fellow sinners. However, the wound will always remain so long as the one who has wronged us remains unrepentant. There can be no reconciliation unless there is both forgiveness AND repentance offered.

A more accurate response toward the unrepentant is to say, "You should repent but if you don't I will not hate you, nor will I destroy myself through bitterness. When you repent I will forgive."

Jenn said...

Thank you for clarifying this for me ... I think the key for me to understand was that yes, I must offer the forgiveness but yet it cannot be complete unless the other person has repented and accepted my forgiveness.
Again, thanks for taking the time to explain! :)