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Posted August 20, 2017

Truths We Believe About God, Part 12
Conclusion: Part 2

A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn 

Beware lest any man spoil you through
philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men,
after the rudiments of the world [i.e., naturalism, ed.],
and not after Christ.”
—The Apostle Paul, Colossians 2:8, KJV


NATURALISM: Undercurrent in Evangelicalism
Naturalism’s influence upon evangelicalism has earlier been traced in the movement’s history, observing the initial effect of the philosophy upon American Christianity evidenced with the rise of liberalism and its rejection of supernaturalism, then naturalism’s influence upon Neo-evangelicalism with that movement’s accommodation of evolutionary theory, then the Charismatic movement’s protest against naturalism by working of supernatural “signs and wonders,” then by the mega-church’s employment of humanistic means to produce “results” of church growth, and now the emergent church’s reinterpretation of the biblical mandate to fit this-worldly vision of reality by adjusting the church’s message to fit the ecological, social, economical, political and spiritual needs of life on this planet. (By saying this I do not suggest man has the right to abuse this planet and its life. God has given humans the right of beneficial dominion over, not destruction of His world, Genesis 1:26. And the Bible also gives instructions, even commands, about how we are to treat others, Galatians 6:10.)


As ideas have consequences, there is however a sequence of “isms” inherent within a naturalistic philosophy of life. We begin with the source, the philosophy of naturalism which at core is anti-Christ because Scripture presents the Lord Jesus as the supernatural creator and sustainer of the universe (Colossians 1:16-17); and that after His Second Coming, the whole cosmos will consummate in Him “so that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). The Lord Jesus Christ is the Omega point toward the universe is headed (Revelation 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13).


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Posted August 14, 2017

Truths We Believe About God, Part 11
Conclusion: Part 1

A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn 


“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the Lord. They continually say to those who despise Me, “The Lord has said, ‘You shall have peace’”; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’”
—Emphasis added, Jeremiah 23:16-17, NKJV


Evangelical Anarchy & Chaos
Wm. Paul Young admits The Shack is a story, but that it's wrapped in theology. Readers are thus challenged to discover the theology behind The Shack, and this has been the purpose of my interaction with Young’s book Lies We Believe About God. “Strictly, theology is that which is thought and said concerning God.”[111] So what does Young think and communicate about God? What is his theology which underlies Young’s writings?

It has been demonstrated that God’s Word is not core to Young’s beliefs. The assumption of Young’s big story, one contradicting Scripture, is that God is reconciled to everybody and everybody’s reconciled to God—that from time immemorial all people either now have or will develop a loving relationship with God. That The Shack has sold upwards of twenty-two million copies and the movie has attained star status indicates the “feel good” message of Universalism has become popular among evangelical Christians. So what’s going on here? It all begins with authority because theology is based on authority, on God’s Word, the Bible.

As they look at the development of American pan-evangelicalism over the last decades, conservative Christians try to understand and explain the phenomena of both the book (2007) and movie The Shack (2017). Beliefs that were subtly implied and peddled by author Wm. Paul Young in The Shack are now openly declared in his non-fictional work Lies We Believe About God, in which he claims to expose lies commonly accepted as truths among evangelicals. To expose the twenty-eight lies he believes plague evangelicalism’s collective psyche, the author cleverly frames arguments around his impressions, experiences, conversations, questions, misrepresented Bible verses, and personal convictions. In his “conversation” with his readers, he intends for his core beliefs to influence theirs and that they too will reject lies they believe about God. After all, if what he exposes are really lies, shouldn’t readers embrace Young’s truths?

So as he wrote The Shack to explain to his children what he grown to believe about God, ten years later he’s written a sort-of-theology Lies We Believe About God to make credible what he believes about God to his followers. Many pastors and Christian leaders have spoken out and written against The Shack, and their criticism has not been well received by those who are in love with the book and movie.

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Posted August 5, 2017


[Ed. Note: This post was requested by Pastor Larry DeBruyn to be included at this point in the sequence of his multi-part series (see previous post) reviewing the Universalism inherent in Wm. Paul Young's recent book Lies We Believe About God. Pastor Larry felt that this word of exhortation, just before his final conclusion, would be a good reminder to those who believe in Jesus Christ to hold fast to the faith.]


Bio: Ruth Paxson
Ruth Paxson (1889-1949)
was Bible teacher, missionary, and author. Born in Manchester, Iowa in 1889, and accepted Christ as her personal Savior when a child. She graduated from the State University of Iowa, and afterward spent one year at Moody Bible Institute. She served as YWCA secretary for Iowa and eventually traveled as secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement. Sponsored by the YWCA, in 1911, Ruth sailed for the mission field in China. Later she left that work to devote herself to evangelism and summer Bible teaching among missionaries in China. In that country her Bible lessons to pastors, evangelists, and teachers during the 1920s were well received. In response to requests from both Chinese and missionary friends, the lessons were expanded and originally published in three volumes, now combined in a one-volume edition of Life On the Highest Plane

Leaving China for health reasons, Miss Paxson went to Switzerland; then followed a period of Bible teaching on the European continent and at the Keswick Bible Conference in England. For fifteen years prior to World War II, Miss Paxson, with her friend and companion of 34 years, Miss Edith Davis, also a gifted Bible teacher, ministered the Word of God in various countries, including Holland. In Amsterdam alone there were forty-five Bible classes taught by people to whom these two Bible teachers had ministered previously. 

In 1947, Miss Paxson, with a traveling companion, flew across the Atlantic to minister the Word of God in Europe and at Keswick, England. The impact of the testimony and Bible teaching ministry of Miss Paxson has been felt around the world because of the circulation of her books. Miss Paxson was called Home to be with the Lord, October 1, 1949. This selection is taken from the third volume contained in her one volume book, Life On the Highest Plane.[1] In this selection she writes that one “relationship” to which the Spirit calls all Christians is discernment (See 1 John 2:18-27).

Note: To this point, we can contrast Wm. Paul Young’s emphasis upon “relationship” in The Shack (“We are a circle of relationship... Submission.... is all about relationships of love and respect.” (The Shack, 122, 145) Centuries ago Paxson wrote about relationships, but not the kind of relationships Young would stand for; that in days of “deepening apostasy” God calls every spiritual Christian “to three things: discernment, devotion and division.” Nine decades ago Ruth Paxson wrote this encouraging word to Christians who engage in their relationship with God and His Word through discernment [2]:

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Posted July 28, 2017

Truths We Believe About God, Part 10

A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God

Part 1: Truths We Believe About God

Part 2: Doing the Universalist Twist

Part 3: OUR Way or THE Way?

Part 4: An Imaginery Cosmic Reality

Part 5: Universalism & Trinitization

Part 6: A Catena: The Chain of "All"

Part 7: A Catena: Universalism's Troubles With "All"

Part 8: A Catena: Universalism's "World" and "Everyone"

Part 9: A Catena: The "Catenization" of Universalism

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn


Electric barbed wire at Dachau

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will
of my Father which is in heaven.”
—Jesus, Matthew 7:21, Emphasis added.

Review of the Book’s Chapters, Concluded

"A Final Word from Dietrich Bonhoeffer" and

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
Paul Young concludes his book by drawing upon the emotional memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) who has achieved iconic status among evangelicals. Bonhoeffer is to be admired for opposing the evil of the Reich and paying the ultimate sacrifice for his resistance. But as Young’s quotations from Bonhoeffer’s book Ethics indicate, he apparently believed in universal salvation.[104] (LWBAG, 249-250) As William Macleod assessed:

Bonhoeffer was a universalist, believing in the eventual salvation of all. He wrote that there is no part of the world, no matter how godless, which is not accepted by God and reconciled with God in Jesus Christ. Whoever looks on the body of Jesus Christ in faith can no longer speak of the world as if it were lost, as if it were separated from Christ. Every individual will eventually be saved in Christ.[105]

The soteriology (teaching about salvation) articulated by Wm. Paul Young and C. Baxter Kruger (that Jesus’ incarnation revealed His primordial identification with humanity, that all people were positioned in Him before creation, LWBAG, 9-10, 119) bears similarity to that of Bonhoeffer’s; that people are saved not because Jesus atoned for their sins on the cross, but rather that from before time they shared being in union with Christ. Thus Jesus’ incarnation becomes a cosmic announcement of His identification with humanity and their salvation for reason of their being in Him.

Ignoring the Fall, the entrance of sin into the world and the curse upon creation (Genesis 3:1-7, 17-19; Romans 5:18-21), universalists believe the incarnation was the event which shows that from eternity all humanity was, is and forever will be united with Jesus inside the Trinity. Jesus’ incarnation and suffering highlighted His identification with humanity and that corporately, they shared in Jesus’ suffering, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. The incarnation was the event in which God wrapped His arms around humans to remind them that they’re not alone in a suffering universe, but that they really do live, move and have their being inside Jesus and the loving Trinity (Acts 17:28). Hugs all around! To quote Macleod again,

Indeed Bonhoeffer [ed., as Young and Kruger] would argue that we are saved by the incarnation—Christ taking our nature—rather than by His atoning death. He taught that in the body of Jesus Christ, God is united with humanity, all of humanity is accepted by God, and the world is reconciled with God.[106]

Curious it is however, that Bonhoeffer’s belief in universalism did not translate into the reality of his earthly ministry. As the apostate Reich Church began to dominate Germany, many pastors believed Adolf Hitler was another Christ. So opposing that church, Bonhoeffer established a seminary to train pastors to minister in congregations that shunned the Reich Church. This seminary, the ministerial alliance and these congregations belonged to the “Confessing Church” and opposed and separated from the Nazi religion.[107] Bonhoeffer’s separation from the Reich Church may indicate he was not the universalist some make him out to have been. Nevertheless when good confronts evil, subtle or blatant, “life together” does become impractical; that is, if evil is still going to be considered evil.

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