After reading some of the discussions around ‘The Shack’ and ‘Divine Nobodies’ over in Joel’s blog, it appears to me that the issue brought up by many is the issue of Universalism.
Though I am not an expert on Universalism, I can kind of figure out it as a belief that everybody is saved (some how). It wouldn’t take a whole lot of time to figure out from Bible that the idea of universal salvation is simply not true.
I am not going to do a detailed bible study on this other than quoting couple of key verses.
Does God love all? Absolutely!
Didn’t Christ die for all? Absolutely!
Isn’t it the death of Christ what provides forgiveness? Yes!
So, if Christ died for all and He loves all, didn’t He provide forgiveness for all? Yes!
So, aren’t we all saved? NO!
Because salvation is not getting our sins forgiven.
So, what is salvation?
For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! -Romans 5:10
We are saved through His life, not through His death. But the death (shedding of blood) was needed for providing forgiveness; which is a prerequisite for salvation. Unless we are cleansed of all the sins, He is not going to impart His life to us. Jesus died to take away our sins and rose from dead on the third day to give us salvation (life); and that happens when we put our faith in Him and in what He did for us. (John 1:12)
Aren’t all people created in the image of God? No!
Because Bible says so.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
“you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature”
According to the Bible, we are born into this world spiritually dead. As a dead person, what we need is life. In the entire history of humankind, there is only one person who claimed that He can give us life, that is Jesus (John 10:10). When we receive His life (by putting faith) , we are re-created (born again) by God to be indwelled by Him, there by restoring our true humanity (which Adam originally had before his fall).
I have greatly enjoyed both the books in discussion (I am half way through Divine Nobodies as of now). Do I agree with everything in those books? Probably not. But I think it is okay because those books are not meant to be doctrinal books anyways. The only reason I didn't include some of my negative comments when I did a review on 'The Shack', that I didn't want to discourage anyone from picking that book. Both books have more positives than negatives. I would very well agree with Wayne about any book: "I never view a book as all good or all bad. It’s like eating chicken. Enjoy what you think is the meat and toss what you think are the bones."