In November 2016 EP Books published my book ‘Radical Church: A Call to Rediscover the Radical Roots of the Christian Faith”. This month author of the Shack, William Paul Young has published his book ‘Lies we believe about God’. Why do I mention these two titles together? In my book I argued for key truths that the western church has either neglected, rejected or lost sight of – and consequently needs to recover. Young in his book says many of these ‘truths’ are actually lies.
‘Radical Church’ was written as a rallying call. It’s a call to restore a dying church. Young’s book is also a rallying call, but I would say it is rallying call to put the final nail in the coffin of biblical Christianity.
‘Radical Church’ calls the church to rediscover the Sovereignty of God, the sinfulness of humanity, the authority and sufficiency of scripture, the Judgement to come, and the Divine-wrath absorbing and bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ. These are foundational truths – yet Young calls them lies.
For example, regarding sin and human nature, Young says:
“Yes, we have crippled eyes, but not a core of un-goodness. We are true and right, but often ignorant and stupid, acting out of the pain of our wrongheadedness, hurting ourselves, others, and even all creation. Blind, not depraved is our condition.”
In ‘Radical Church’ I make the point:
Humans were made in the image of God, and they were created to reflect God’s glory and greatness. However, when the devil told Adam and Eve that we could ‘be like God’ we reached beyond our station. We snatched a power that that is greater than our identity and purpose. We committed treason; we robbed for ourselves that which belongs to God alone. Consequently we have a higher view of ourselves than is actually true. We are pretenders to the throne.
In ‘Radical Church’ I explain the downgrading that has taken place within evangelicalism. This sheds light on some of the statements that Young makes in his book. In ‘Radical Church’ I argue:
The Bible’s teaching on the human condition is incredibly unpopular in our society today. Humanism boasts in the greatness of human nature. Humanism celebrates human potential and human goodness. To a self-assured humanistic culture, the idea that humans are sinful by nature, sinful in heart, and sinful in deed is a radical and prophetic rebuke. Society does not want to hear about sin, and neither do many quarters of the church. Even within evangelicalism there is a tendency to neglect or reject this teaching. Evangelicalism, in many parts of the West, has ceased calling sinners to repentance, and is instead celebrating the greatness of human potential. However, in order to see true gospel transformation, we need to understand the depth of the human problem: we are not just broken people in need of wholeness; we are rebels in need of redemption.
What I say is truth, Young claims is a lie.
Someone is wrong. One of these positions is not the truth.
If you do read Young’s book, I’d encourage you to read ‘Radical Church’ as a counter-argument. More importantly, test Young’s claims in the light of scripture. Because the real tragedy is not that Young’s book indirectly implies my book is full of lies, the real issue is that Young’s book makes the Bible a book of lies.
For a detailed review of ‘Lies we believe’ check out Challies’ article.