The Heresies of the Shack – Part Four – Numbers 4 and 6

By Karen Bledsoe

Recap: When the movie “The Shack” began showing in theaters a few weeks ago, I was shocked by how many of my Christian friends, and leaders within the Christian community loved this movie and thought it was entirely biblical. No matter what you tell them or show them from the Bible, they still believe this movie is a wonderful representation of the Gospel. They defend it, ridicule fellow Believers for not liking it, call those who do not approve of it names such as “Pharisees”, “Broods of Vipers,” “Judgmental,” and “Dissenters in the Body of Christ,” the list goes on and on. No matter what you say, you are a terrible person for speaking against this movie and the gospel that is presented in it. I posted the above graphic in a debate on Facebook. Most everyone involved thinks the movie is excellent, but there are those who do not, and I am one of them. When I posted this graphic that I had seen elsewhere, I was attacked and told that I did not prove what the graphic states, and that I did not post any Bible verses to refute its claims. I admit they were right, so I am writing this article about the heresies listed in the graphic above. The graphic is hard to read so I will list the heresies here, and today we will cover numbers 4 & 6.

  1. God the Father was crucified with Christ.
  2. God is limited by His love and therefore, cannot practice judgment.
  3. God forgave all of humanity, whether they repented or not.
  4. All hierarchical structures are evil.
  5. God will never judge people for their sins.
  6. The Godhead has no hierarchical structure, just a circle of unity.
  7. God submits to human wiles and choices.
  8. Justice will never take place because of love.
  9. There is no such thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell!
  10. It does not matter which way you get to God. Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys.
  11. Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.
  12. Everyone will make it to heaven.
  13. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.

Those of you who are discerning and know your Bible well, will be sickened by these 13 heresies. There are more than these, but I will stick only to those listed within the graphic.

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We will now cover numbers 4 and 6, they both cover the same topic: hierarchical systems, are they evil and do they exist in the Godhead?

First, let’s define what a hierarchical system is. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines hierarchy as “the classification of a group of people, according to ability or to economic, social, or professional standing, or a ruling body of clergy organized into orders or ranks each subordinate to the one above it.[1]

The fourth claim of The Shack graphic states that all hierarchical systems are evil, meaning the movie and book prefer anarchy over a relegated system of order or a chain of command. If there were no hierarchical systems, there would be no order, no law, no authority. It would be a free for all nightmare. Anarchists want complete freedom of religion and government, including law and order, because they believe without them, the world would be one big Utopia of peace and freedom. They could not be more wrong.

A world without hierarchy would be a literal hell to live in. Do you honestly believe that everyone on the face of the earth believes, that all men could live together peacefully without systems of order? No, there will always be those who crave power, who want something you possess and without law, they will take it from you or kill you for it. Those who are now fearful of committing crimes, would be released from that fear because there would be no enforcers of law and no laws to live by. They would carry out their crimes without any repercussions, including the monsters who torture and kill for pleasure. Imagine the increase in rape, murder, and drug abuse! It would be total anarchy! But remember this, there is always a head or leader in any criminal organization. Dictators will flourish, think of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, or North Korea’s Supreme leader Kim Jong-Un, do you think men like this won’t have enough of a following and the money to terrorize the world with? If so, you are kidding yourself. You may think you are living in a world with no hierarchies, but you will be, they just won’t be good ones.

A hierarchical government and a system of law and order is necessary in our country and the other nations to maintain peace and well-being among its citizens.  Even now, with law and order and hierarchies in the legal system and the military, we do not live in peace or security. It would be worse without them, and those who see it as evil are usually those who are evil, selfish, or foolish.

God has established a hierarchy in heaven showing us that we, too, need a hierarchical system in place for government and law to keep the peace and retain order. In heaven’s hierarchy, the Godhead is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are distinct individual Persons but One God. They are equal in nature, but are not equal in their function. They are God in three Persons, but each has his own role in their work and in our lives. Bible scholars distinguish the relationship of the Trinity between ontology (nature, attributes) and function (role, job).[2]

“I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him.”    ~John 13:16 (HCSB)

“And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior.”   ~1 John 4:14 (HCSB)

“When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me. ~John 15:26 (HCSB)                                                                 

These verses show the order of the Trinity’s functions. God the Father sent Jesus into the world to be a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the world to indwell us. Jesus always points us to the Father. The Holy Spirit points to both Jesus and the Father. The Father is top of the hierarchy of the Godhead. He is not above Jesus or the Holy Spirit in value or being, He is on top because of His function. The Spirit and the Son cannot operate outside of Him.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. … By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”  ~John 5:19, 30 (NIV)

“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18 NIV)

We do see that there is a hierarchical structure in the Trinity. The above verses show that they each have their own job or role to perform and one is greater than the other in function only.

“”You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” ~John 14:28 (NIV)

 

God the Father is greater in function, and Jesus is obedient to Him. Jesus tells us in the two verses above that the Father is greater. This is the example of the hierarchy. The Father is greater than the Son, not in value, but in nature. God the Father sent Christ to die for us. The decision was made by the Father and the Son, and the Son was obedient to the Father’s will. He came to earth to die for our sins, and as He did so, He honored his Father.

There is also ontological equality. The three Persons of the Trinity are equal in nature. Here we see the equality between the members of the Trinity, and the order of the Hierarchy. First the Father, second the Son, and third, the Holy Spirit.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” ~Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

Because God is at the top does not mean He is greater in value to the Son and the Holy Spirit, for they are all One God, but His function is greater. This gets tricky to explain because the concept of the Trinity is difficult to understand. Think of it this way, we are a trinity. We have a body, soul, and spirit. Each works together, but they are one. My body houses my spirit, and my spirit is where the Holy Spirit dwells and where my spirit communicates with Him and He empowers me to do whatever God wants me to do. My soul is my essence, my thoughts, feelings, loves, etc. All three have different functions but all three make up the person that is me.

The Bible tells us that each member of the Trinity has His own uniqueness and character.

“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. … By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”   ~John 5:19, 30 (NIV)

“”When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father–the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father–he will testify about me.”   ~John 15:26 (NIV)

“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”   ~Ephesians 2:18 (NIV)

They each have their own personality in the Trinity,[3] and are equal in thought and mind, yet they have different roles. The first among equals is God the Father. Jesus is equally God and Man and His role is our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit, equally God, resides in the Elect, those who are saved, and He empowers, teaches, comforts, guides, and regenerates us.[4]

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me, because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.””    ~John 16:7-15 (NIV)

Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to those who are saved. All that the Father has, Jesus has, and all that the Holy Spirit gives us, comes from Jesus. Jesus glorifies the Father and the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ. Each One glorifies the One who is in position (function) above Him.

In the very first chapter of Genesis we see the Trinity.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)

God created…” This is Jesus. How do we know?

John 1:1-4 tells us this,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” (NIV)

Jesus is the Creator God. We see that in His act of creating the Earth, that God the Father was present with Him: “He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:2) In the beginning is Genesis 1:1. So here we see two of the Persons of the Trinity. Jesus, the Creator God, and God the Father. Verse 2 goes on to say: “and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. He is the breath of God.

The Hebrew word Ruach means “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit.” (the corresponding Greek word is pneuma). Both words are commonly used in passages referring to the Holy Spirit. The word’s first use in the Bible appears in the second verse: “The Spirit of God [Ruach Elohim] was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). In Genesis 6:17 ruach is translated “breath of life.” Genesis 8:1 uses ruach to describe the “wind” God sent over the earth to recede the Flood waters. Altogether, the word ruach is found almost 400 times in the Old Testament.[5]

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” ~Job 33:4 (NIV)

We see in Psalm 33 that Jesus created the host of heaven, how do we know? Because through Christ all things were made. We see that He used the Breath to create it.

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth”  ~Psalm 33:6 (NIV)

Jesus is the Word (John 1:1) and the Holy Spirit is the Breath (Job 33:4). With these verses, we see the entire Trinity in the creation of all things. Genesis 1:2 talks about the Spirit of God hovering over the waters, He was in the role of protector here because the word “hovering” means “brooding” He was hovering over the waters like a hen broods over her chicks, protecting them. All three Persons of the Trinity were involved in the Creation. God the Father was with Jesus as He commanded each thing to be done and the Holy Spirit is the God who did the work. He is the “action,” or “energy” whenever Jesus commands something to be made, such as

We also see the Trinity in Genesis 1:26:

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”(NIV)

And then in Hebrews we see God the Father calling Jesus God:

“but to the Son: Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.”   ~Hebrews 1:8 (HCSB)[6]

We see this again in Psalm 110:1:

 ‘A Davidic psalm. This is the declaration of the LORD to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ (HCSB)

In the Hebrew this says, ““Yahweh says to my Adonai…” God the Father is speaking to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and that is not all, when David wrote this psalm, he was being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

All of this shows us that there is a hierarchy in the Godhead and it can be proven by Genesis 1:26 and John 1:1.

There is also a hierarchy of angels. They are, in order, the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Ministering Spirits, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.

There is even a hierarchy set for God with mankind.

1 Corinthians 11:3 says:“But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

 Christ is our covering, We do all things through Him. Christ only does the will of the Father and the Holy Spirit is doing the work of Christ in us. God works through a hierarchy even within Himself. God has a set order for all things and if we stay in His “chain of command” we will enjoy the fullness of His blessings and His covering. If we break it, we lose this and our fellowship with Him until we repent. We now know that no, not all hierarchies are evil and that God does have a hierarchy in heaven and on earth. They are structured and this is what gives us structure and order to live our lives in God’s will by following His own perfect and given order.

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Sources:

Christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/2881/is-there-a-hierarchy-in-the-trinity

Baptistboard.com/threads/is-there-a-hierarchy-in-the-trinity.45950Tonyevans.org/mobile/hierarchy-gods-chain-of-command

Letusreason.org/Trin20.htm

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary ©2002 Merriam-Webster Incorporated

Blueletterbible.org

e-Sword Electronic Bible Software, Version 11.0.6 ©2000-2016 Rick Meyer, http://www.esword.net

[1] Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, ©2012 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated,

[2] Christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/2881/is-there-a-hierarchy-in-the-trinity

[3]Christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/2881/is-there-a-hierarchy-in-the-trinity

[4]Baptistboard.com/threads/is-there-a-hierarchy-in-the-trinity.45950

[5] “What is the meaning of the Hebrew word ruach?” — https://www.gotquestions.org/meaning-ruach.html

[6] e-Sword Electronic Bible Version 11.0.6 ©2000-2016 Rick Meyers http://www.esword.net