Error is like leaven, of which we read, ‘A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.’ Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died. -Harry Ironside
As Christians, a lot of us love to read, do we not? We love to read books that will inspire us, teach us, encourage us, affirm us. I know I sure do. I don't think I will ever know or care to admit to how many hours I have clocked in my life with my nose in a book. Unfortunately, Satan has not left that area of our lives unscathed from his deceptions and propaganda. There are many, many books circulating amongst Christian circles that should never have been allowed access. Of course, in his usual method, Satan has used authors to package his lies amid the prettily packaged "Christianese." Some more subtly than others, there are many authors who have managed to sneak their books into Christian circles, and have thus have opened up a large number of Christians to begin to unsuspectingly embrace their New Age, contemplative, universalist, ecumenical, or emergent ideologies.
There are so many that a person could name, but a couple of examples would be The Shack by William P. Young, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul books by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. I would guess that most Christians have at least heard of these books from one Christian friend or another. They are pretty well-known. The problem is that the content of these books are doing more harm in leading believers astray than they are encouraging a right and true understanding of the Lord and His Holy Word. Warren Smith, a Christian author/speaker who was saved out of the New Age movement, coined a phrase that I think pretty accurately describes the state of the Church these days. His definition is as follows:
evangelical – in, of, or according to Gospels or the teachings of the New Testament.
gullible – easily tricked.
evangullible – easily tricked by teachers/teachings that seem to be biblical but are not.
With books like Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, Eugene Peterson’s The Message, Leonard Sweet’s Quantum Spirituality, and Paul Young’s The Shack, what once was an evangelical church has, in a very short period of time, become an “evangullible” church.I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to be is gullible.
I think most people are aware of the common objections to The Shack, such the portrayal of God as a woman, that God was crucified with Jesus, and so forth. There are quite a few heresies woven throughout the story that I would hope Christians would be able to discern. By the way, The Shack is in the very beginning stages of eventually being made into a movie. However, there are also New Age undertones subtly included. Because of his past in the New Age movement, Warren Smith was able to discern the way Young included a "God in everything" message in The Shack.
However, the author’s use of poetic license to convey his highly subjective, and often unbiblical, spiritual views becomes increasingly problematic as the story line develops. This is most apparent when he uses the person of “Jesus” to suddenly introduce the foundational teaching of the New Spirituality/New World Religion — God is “in” everything. Using the New Age term “ground of being” to describe “God,” the “Jesus” of The Shack states:You can read the entire article that Smith wrote HERE.
“God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things….” (p. 112)This false teaching about a “God” who “dwells in, around, and through all things” is the kind of New Age leaven that left unchallenged could leaven the church into the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. And while many people have expressed a great deal of emotional attachment to The Shack and its characters — this leaven alone contaminates the whole book.
Also, check out this short interview of Paul Young about The Shack.
"[...]but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15,16
"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps..." 1 Peter 2:21
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." 1 John 2:3-6
These are just a few of the verses that instruct us to practice holiness, to be like Jesus. That is a lot of essential doctrine and Scripture for Young to decide to toss out.
As for the Chicken Soup books, I have never personally read any of them. I have, however, read up on the author/s of them, which for me was more than enough to convince me that I was not missing anything that would be helpful to my walk with the Lord. In fact, I think reading them would do quite the opposite. A quick search on the internet showed me how they can look pretty innocent. I typed Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul into google and clicked on the first link. It was a link to buy the book for $2 (tempting, eh?!) with this description:
These stories will deepen readers' Christian faith & expand their awareness of how to practice Christian values in their daily life: at home, at work & in the community. This collection will open readers' hearts to the experience & expression of more love in their lives. This collection will open your heart to the experience and expression of more love in your life and will remind you that you are never alone or without hope, no matter how challenging and painful your circumstances may be.Doesn't look so bad. Nothing overtly alarming there, and easy to see how one could get sucked into it. Especially for that kind of deal... I was tempted to buy it myself just on principle! ;) But then I did some digging on one of the authors, Jack Canfield. It would appear that Canfield is quite strongly embracing New Age philosophy, and is even considered by some to be a guru. These are his own words from Choosing to be Happy:
"Every religion I've looked at has some technology--- ... I've studied all of them and found what works for me and I've tried to make it available to others. What works for me is a combination of disciplines: I do yoga, tai chi which is a Chinese martial art and three kinds of meditation-vipasana, transcendental and mantra (sound) meditation. If you have to pick a yoga for me, I lean towards bhakii in the sense of devotion, adoration, singing, feeling love and joy exist in my heart."There is a another article HERE that more fully delves into the overtly dangerous New Age teachings of Canfield. I did not look much into the other co-author Mark Hansen, as by the time I got to him I had seen enough to not go near their books. However, there are indications that he is on the same track as Canfield...not surprisingly. I would encourage you to go ahead and do your own research on them both if you are not yet convinced. These books, to me, represent the perfect example of how Satan is managing to infiltrate the Church through nicely packaged, innocent sounding Christianese.
On a parting note, I came across this handy dandy list today which consists of tons of authors/books whose teachings have been found to be errant, or at least concerning. It is divided by topics of concern, and even includes names of "Christian" book sites to be wary of. The purpose of the list is to give you a warning and jumping off point, so that you can do research on your own and come to your own conclusions about whether the authors are safe to read or not. It is a very extensive list, and the outreach ministry that compiled it is continually adding to it, as things are brought to light. You may be surprised by some of the names on it. Check it out! Master List of Authors and Books Not Recommended