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Why is John re-writing the Bible around a cheap paperback novel?

The funny thing is:  I’m not.  I was working on this project for over a year before I read THE SHACK.  Really.  I’ve spent the last decade studying ancient Christian theology, the stuff that found its most famous expression in the Nicene Creed.  The ancients took the Trinity and the Incarnation with utmost seriousness.  When they said the word “God,” the image in their mind did not look like Zeus; it looked like three people who loved each other, and who created people (ALL people) for the purpose of loving them and adopting them into the Triune life. 

And unlike today, they preached a Christ who was more powerful than Adam.  Really, imagine that!  The message that comes from a lot of pulpits nowadays is that Adam was powerful enough to separate the whole human race from God, but that Christ is not powerful enough to unite the human race with God.  But in the view of the Bible and the ancient Christians, that’s totally backwards (For example, Rom 5.18; Col 1.19-20; 1 Cor 15.22; 2 Cor 5.18; 1 Tim 4.10; Phil 2.10-11; 1 John 2.2; etc).  But then Augustine came along and replaced Trinitarian theology with Aristotle, and since then we’ve been stuck with a gospel that’s less than 100% good news.

So anyway, there I was, writing my Bible paraphrase in the light of the gospel as the ancients understood it.  And then a friend pushes this silly “spiritual novel” into my hands and tells me to read it.  So I did, and I was shocked to find the same theology at work there.  I was astounded!  And since this funny little novel was awakening the spirits of millions, I thought I’d write a version of my paraphrase that spoke the Word of God to them, perhaps in a way they were ready to hear.

So I may be accepting the shame of attaching my Enlish-major self to a cheap paperback, but then again, maybe I need help with not being snooty about being an English major.  =)


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