The movie, "The Shack" was released last week nation wide. It is based on the best selling book of the same name by William P Young. The book (and subsequent movie) seems to generate two polarizing perspectives: 1) some love the book and have been deeply impacted by its teachings on Jesus, God, suffering and forgiveness. 2) others find the book to espouse at best poor exegesis of scripture or worst out right heresy.
While I have not seen the movie, I believe that the content that it focusses on provides an opportunity for all Christians to ask "are we discerning"? Do we know enough about scripture and what it says about Jesus, God, suffering, forgiveness or many other topics to be able to spot good, sound theology; questionable teaching or blatant false doctrine or heresy.
You see there are statements in "The Shack" that should cause a Christian reader to at the very least pause - is this right - & yet, very few questions are raised. When theologians or pastors raise objections to the content they are usually met with the bold statement - "this book is not a theology book"; "the author is not making doctrinal claims" or "the Bible uses allegory to explain truths we should not get hung up on the allegorical representations of God". The problem is this - the author tells us why he wrote the book: Paul wanted his kids to enjoy a story, and through the story, to understand their own father better and the God that their father is in love with. Isn't this the essence of theology - to understand God better. What we find of Young's theology is that God does not judge sin; God submits to human; & A god who makes no demands on people. Tim Keller says "The Shack effectively deconstructs the holiness and transcendence of God. It is simply not there. In its place is unconditional love, period. The God of The Shack has none of the balance and complexity of the Biblical God. Half a God is not God at all." But most people do not see that - they are so caught up in the story telling that they do not realize the story actually leads them farther away from the true character of the God of the bible, not closer to it.
If you and I are to be discerning - to be able to spot false gospels, distorted gospels or gospel light - we must immerse ourselves in knowing the real thing to so well that when someone, even a Christian says something that does not align with how God has revealed himself in his word we can spot it a mile away.
If you want to be discerning - don't spend all your time reading books about what others think God is like or listen to music about someone else experience or watch a movie - instead spend time interacting and growing in intimacy with God through his word - learn who he revealed himself to be, how he wants you to deeply know him & to understand how much he loves you in Jesus - the Bible provides that for you - open it!