Dec 23

Fear, Worry, Anger and God’s Grace

Dan a friend of mine told me recently “I am reading The Shack, it is an awesome book.”  We read the book as a family about a year ago and it really impacted us as a family.  My thirteen year old son said “This is the best book we have ever read.”   There was something in the story that really spoke to him deep in his soul.  Some time after we read the book, Linda and I had the opportunity to hear William Paul Young speak.  I was deeply moved by the story behind the book, and his personal testimony.

Just after I talked to Dan, we got an email from a retreat center (Sandy Cove) saying that they had on their website the sessions that William Paul Young had done at a recent retreat.  Well I just couldn’t resist listening to them.  (Yes I had to download them to have and share with others)  Wow I was impacted all over again.  Often times I have been moved to tears, at the powerful and personal God we have.  It created in me a hunger to live in more freedom, to ditch the guilt and shame based religion I grew up in.  it encouraged me that God brings beauty from the ashes of our lives.  I have been pointed back to learning to live in relationship to God and others.

Today I finished listening to the fourth session.  There again were more nuggetts.  During a Q & A at the end of the session he said these lines that really caught my attention.  Read his words below or listen to the audio throgh the link or embedded player.


When it comes to the issue of worry, I’m not a great fan.  There comes a point where we begin to walk in the freedom of being a child of God, rather than being adults.  It’s taken me a long time to become a child, I’m not going back to being an adult, it was like way to much work.  But to do that you have to let go of control.  Because you know frankly we use the word trust, but we really believe we know how to love our children better than God does.  And so we don’t want him to have the control over the situation, we want to maintain it.  And worry is
one of the ways that we think that we can change the future. You know?  We are created to live inside of one days worth of grace.  Tomorrow is a total myth.  We don’t know if some cell won’t go sideways this afternoon.  Don’t know.  And we take todays grace, that is given to us to stay present, inside the day.  Which is real.  And we use it on imaginations that don’t even exist.  What if this happens?  What if that happens?  We will spend todays grace on imaginations that hvae no existence, and that is why it freaks us out, because God is not in those imaginations.  Because he doesn’t live in anything that’s not real.  So we want to take and project, and then freak out now, and try to use worry and fret and anger whatever, to control the things that we are afraid of, that don’t even exist.  And he says “take no thought for tomorrow.”  “Tomorrow has enough trouble of it’s own.”  But you will have grace that is sufficient for the day.  I’ve got grace for today, I am staying inside of today.


Doesn’t this give you a new perspective on how we need to live.  We need to live in the moment knowing that God has it all in control and all we need to worry about is hearing his voice moment by moment.  I have a long way to go on that score.  I still worry and fret way to much.  I have become way to aware of how much of my emotional energy I spend on anxiety.  It saps the life out of your soul.  William Paul Youngs words above give some light to why this is.

Now is the time to press on in the journey of becoming a child.  I to am tired of being an adult.

Oh by the way you can listen to or download all four sessions from the following link http://www.sandycove.org/theshack


  1. Nahawee

    Hi Ron,
    I thought that you needed to see this. I am sure that you are just not aware of this deception. I enjoy your posts. Please continue.

    A Lighthouse Trails Research Press Release
    The Shack Author Denies Biblical
    Substitutionary Atonement

    booksonshelfIn a recent radio interview, The Shack author, Paul Young, told the interviewer he did not hold to the traditional view of the atonement in that he does not believe Jesus Christ bore the punishment (i.e., penalty) for man’s sins when He died on the Cross (transcript).

    He also stated, with regard to this topic: “I don’t know if you’re aware, but that’s a huge debate that’s going on in theology right now within the evangelical community.” That debate, to which Young refers, is the new theology (or as we call it the new spirituality) that is entering Christianity through contemplative and emerging figures such as Brennan Manning, Brian McLaren, and Marcus Borg.

    This “huge debate” states that a loving Father would never send His Son to a violent death on behalf of the sins of others. And while they do not deny that Jesus did physically die on a Cross, they insist that His death was not to be a substitutionary act wherein He was punished for our sins. Rather, they say, He was killed by man, not for man. And he was a perfect model of sacrificial servanthood. As Episcopal new spirituality author, Alan Jones, states, “Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry God. Penal substitution was the name of this vile doctrine” (Reimagining Christianity, p. 168).

    Contemplative proponent Brennan Manning, quoting Catholic mystic William Shannon, says: “[T]he god who exacts the last drop of blood from his Son so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased . . . does not exist” (Above All, pp. 58-59). Mystic Marcus Borg has this exact same view. He is opposes the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement and sees the Cross as merely a metaphor for transformation in the mystical sense. 1 Brian McLaren shares this view (and indeed resonates with Borg) when he says that hell and the Cross are “false advertising for God.” 2

    The Shack, still at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, is being heralded as one of the best Christian books ever. But as Lighthouse Trails and other concerned ministries have reported in a number of documented articles, The Shack is not a Christian book, and it should not be packaged, presented, and promoted as such.

    While many who have read The Shack, tout that it has changed their lives, what these people do not understand is that the book appeals to people’s senses; thus, the book is sensual. And because it makes people feel good, they assume (wrongly) that it must be from God. But The Shack is appealing to the carnal man and not the spiritual, and as the Bible warns, there is a “wisdom [that] descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3: 15).

    With this in mind, Lighthouse Trails has posted an article by free-lance writer, John Lanagan, who attended a large evangelical church meeting this past weekend in which The Shack author spoke. The church is presenting a series on The Shack and began the series by having Young address the congregation. It is not the intention of this report to single out this particular church but rather to warn believers of The Shack’s interspiritual, panentheistic, and non-biblical theologies and the book’s major impact on many many churches. Please click here to read this article.

    We have also posted an article this week of a serious nature regarding the heightened involvement by Nazarene pastors worldwide with contemplative spirituality: “Nazarene General Assembly Welcomes Contemplative Spirituality–Nazarene Pastors Worldwide Invited.”
    In His grace,
    Editors at Lighthouse Trails Research
    Lighthouse Trails Research Project

    P.O. Box 958
    Silverton, Oregon 97381

  2. ron

    I personally believe that Christ’s death was substitutionary, and that is central to the saving gospel. It is troubling to hear that William Paul Young sees it differently. If there is no price to pay for sin why was Christ’s death necessary?

    I also find nothing of that theology in the posted excerpt from William Paul Young above, and as such still find it a valuable perspective. Living in the grace given for today instead of borrowing trouble from tomorrow by worrying is still a constant tension, and one Jesus speaks to in the gospels.

    I have also heard him speak and read the book and found it very thought provoking and enlightening. It has not changed my thinking of Christ’s death nor effected my core beliefs. Maybe this is just me trying to pigeon hole what he is saying into my belief system. Kind of like people wanting to say Elvis was a Christ follower because he sang gospel songs. I guess this requires some more processing.

    There is however a definite reason for concern about the church being lured away from sound doctrine. How many evangelical Christians actually read the bible on a regular basis? If I had to guess I would say that christians spend much more time with media (TV, movies, internet, radio) than they spend reading the scriptures and praying.

    I also believe that there is also a danger looking at persons doctrine with too fine a comb. To often people use this as a way to discount all others as their teachers, leaving oneself as the only person who can speak into their lives. How dangerous is that? The enemy of our souls is very deceptive, and we need each other to help us find our blind spots. (My wife has been very helpful at uncovering my blind spots)

    We also can make doctrines carry to much importance. When the emphasis is on what we believe with our heads and not who we are, we are imbalanced. The fruit of our relationship with Christ will be the way we treat others. Just read 1 Corinthians 13 again. There is an old Don Francisco song that says “Do you love your wife, for her and for your children are you laying down your life?” He is asking where is the fruit. So if we have all the right doctrine and no evidence of Christ working in our hearts what is it worth?

    I don’t know the author of the above response and have not checked out his resources and the links to web pages. I don’t know their contents, and whether I agree or disagree with them, however if his comments have peaked your interest check them out and form your own conclusions.

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