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I have just read The Shack. When Mack asked Jesus about church, he said that churches are man made institutions. Does this mean we should not bother with Church? What does the Bible say?
Thank you for your interesting question about the book 'The Shack' and the Church.
It is important to note that the novel ‘The Shack’ is a work written by one man and contains some of his views of God. The book is written by William Young about a made up character called Mack. The book is a work of fiction, a story of events which are not real, but rather, imaginary and theoretical, made up by the author. The novel is a story depicting the writer's understanding of how God relates to man.
The Shack is simply a work of fiction about how Young would like God to act and manifest Himself in the events that take place.
In contrast, Christians believe that the Bible is written by around 40 different authors and over a period of around 1500 years. The authors were inspired by God to write how God has actually interacted with His people over the years. Therefore the Bible is an inspired eyewitness account of what God has both said and done. Unlike the novel, The Shack, the Bible is fact and not fiction.
Therefore, for an accurate description of the church, it is far better to go directly to the eyewitness account of what Jesus said about the Church.
So then, what does the Bible say about the church?
Jesus declares ownership and control over the church, saying "I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). Jesus also makes it clear that the church has authority when its members have a dispute, saying that "if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:17). Jesus' last words to his followers were to go into the world and make other disciples by baptising them into the Church family and teaching them all that Jesus had said. This can be seen in Matthew 28:16-20.
Following on from the Gospels, the book of Acts is the story of how the first Churches were formed, led, how they met and loved one another.
Indeed, The Apostle Paul spent all of his life starting new Churches because Jesus told him to do so.
Furthermore, in Revelation 2-3 Jesus writes letters to seven of the Churches that existed at the time to tell them what he wanted them to do.
The whole of the Bible can essentially be summed up in God's rescue plan to save people and have them as part of His family in the Church. Most of the New Testament is dedicated to informing God's people of what the Church is to look like and how important it is to the world.
In summary, the Bible is an eyewitness account about the good news of Jesus, the rescuing of humanity and the forming of the church. I encourage you to look further into what the Bible says about the church and not any work of fiction.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Revelation 2-3
- Matthew 16-18
- Acts 1-28
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The New King James Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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