Young, author of The Shack, gives us his thoughts on the character of God. He says he is not presenting certainty but is establishing a conversation over rearranging his theology. Each chapter contains a statement he once believed and then his exploration of his change in belief.
While I do not agree with much (or most) of what Young says, I do think this book is good in that it makes us look at what we do believe about God. Young portrays a God he can live with, understand, and like. He is a God who likes us and behaves the way we think He should. He is a God who wouldn't “use” anyone and is submissive in His love relationship with us. He is a God who creates only good things so we humans are all good, we are all children of God.
Young presents us with many thought provoking ideas. These ideas are not a result of an exposition of Scripture but rather Young's thought process. That makes us think about our own ideas of God, where we get them and how we can evaluate them. It makes us think of where we should be getting our information about the character of God. Is it from our own reasoning or is it from the Bible?
Young does identify some areas where Christian have, I think, gotten it wrong. We have sometimes given people the wrong impression of God. Young has come across many who have been hurt by people misrepresenting God's character. That should make us stop and think about how we view God and how we represent Him to others.
Does this book contain what evangelical Christians would call heresy? Definitely. But this is not a theological treatise. This is one man's attempt to define a God with which he is comfortable, one that is rational and behaves the way we would like Him to behave. Is this the God of the Bible? That is what readers must decide.
It would be so nice if God were like the one Young describes. It is up to readers to evaluate what Young says against their source of truth. For me, it is the Bible, the one that says my human thoughts don't even come close to God's. I'll not presume to understand God nor attempt to define Him in a way that conforms to my expectations.
You can read an excerpt here.
My rating: 4/5 stars because this book is provocative without being dogmatic.
William Paul Young is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Shack. He was born in Canada and raised by missionary parents in the former New Guinea. He lives in the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more at http://wmpaulyoung.com/.
Atria Books, 272 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.