Why does Hillsong advertising and their stage productions/layouts appear to have continual New Age/occult themes? While this may not be apparent to many people today, it’s glaringly obvious to those who have come out of the occult/New Age movement. Is this just a coincidence in their attempt to be popular and relevant to “outreach” to the world? Is this why we are seeing a “resurrection” of a once popular, now denounced as New Age, book “The Shack”? This article will be looking at Julie A’bell of Hillsong and examining her controversial endorsement of this incredibly dangerous book. At the end of this article, we will link/post to reviews refuting the errors of the book.
WHO ARE JOEL AND JULIA A’BELL? Julia A’bell is the wife of Joel A’bell. Joel A’Bell is the lead pastor of Hillsong Church. Recently, Jules A’bell endorsed and promoted the New Age mystic/occult book “The Shack” on her instagram account. Once again, Hillsong proves that its leadership are incapable of fulfilling pastoral duties in rightly discerning Christianity from paganism. What makes this promotion from Jules A’bell worse is another Hillsong pastor’s endorsement of it. Take note of Christine Caine’s “approval” in the comments section. And even more troubling there are at least 726 “likes” by Julia A’Bell’s Instagram followers. By endorsing this book Hillsong, Christine Caine and Julia A’Bell need to be warned that Christian leaders are subjected to a “stricter judgment,” (James 3:1) with James making it clear that those who teach the Word of God are under the magnifying glass of God’s Word. Pastors are judged even more severely, than those in the general congregation because with greater responsibility comes greater accountability.
Source: https://instagram.com/p/zTzoQniVI2/?modal=true, Accesssed 27/02/2015.
Dr. James DeYoung, Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Western Seminary, does a review of TS entitled Revisiting The Shack and Universal Reconciliation. That longer version doesn’t seem to be available online but it is cited in Dr. James DeYoung Revisiting The Shack & Universal Reconciliation. DeYoung gives us this personal testimony:
Seldom does one have the opportunity to review a work of fiction written by a friend that has risen to the top of best seller lists… Who is the author? For more than a dozen years I have known William P. Young.”
We have discussed much theology in a “think tank.” Over four years ago Paul embraced universal reconciliation and defended it on several occasions. He claimed that universalism changed his life and his theology.
The core belief of universal reconciliation asserts that love is the supreme attribute of God that trumps all others. His love reaches beyond the grave to save all those who refuse Christ before they die.
Source: Dr. James DeYoung, Guest Contributor: Dr. James DeYoung Revisiting The Shack & Universal Reconciliation, https://gospeldriven.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/guest-contributor-dr-james-deyoung-revisiting-the-shack-universal-reconciliation/, 15/01/2009. (Accessed 12/04/2015.)
In Dr. Gary Gilley Shuts Up “The Shack” we read Gilley’s dead-on-target review of Young’s musings:
nowhere in The Shack is the reader given a clear understanding of the gospel. When Mack asks God what Jesus accomplished by dying Mack is told, “Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.” When pressed to explain, God says that He is reconciled to “the whole world,” not just the believer (p. 192). Does this mean that all will be saved?
Young never goes that far, however he certainly gives that impression when Mack’s father (who was an awful man and showed no signs of being saved) is found in heaven (pp. 214-215), when God says repeatedly He is particularly fond of all people, when God claims that He has forgiven all sins against Him (e.g. 118-119), that He does not “do humiliation, or guilt, or condemnation” (p. 223) and, contrary to large hunks of Scripture, God is not a God of judgment.
“I don’t need to punish people for sin, sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my job to cure it” (p. 120). While Young’s comment has some validity it does not faithfully reflect the teaching of Scripture which portray God as actively involved in the punishment of sin.
Source: DR. GARY GILLEY SHUTS UP “THE SHACK”, Apprising Ministries, http://apprising.org/2009/03/22/dr-gary-gilley-shuts-up-the-shack/, Published 22/03/2009. (Accessed 13/04/2015.)
Ken Silva’s also observes that the New Age writer Eugene Peterson also endorses ‘The Shack’,
There’s no secret that many in and around the sinfully ecumenical cult of the Emergent Church aka theEmerging Church [1 ] love The Shack (TS); e.g. a couple of years ago I showed you what contemplative andEC fav author Eugene Peterson had to say about TS at Amazon.com. He gushes:
When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of “The Shack.” This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” did for his. It’s that good! –Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C. (Online source)
As I said before, at least I agree with Peterson this is fertilizer alright. However, for him to even try and equate this man-centered rubbish of Paul Young to the work of John Bunyan gives us even more reason to find Peterson’s spirituality suspect. So right now let’s look quickly at a real Christian review of TS.
Source: Ken Silva, OPENING UP THE SHACK, Apprising Ministries, http://apprising.org/2011/08/03/opening-up-the-shack/, Published 03/08/2015. (Accessed 13/04/2015.)
Tim Challies reviewed the book and stated,
“Because of the sheer volume of error and because of the importance of the doctrines reinvented by the author, I would encourage Christians, and especially young Christians, to decline this invitation to meet with God in The Shack. It is not worth reading for the story and certainly not worth reading for the theology.”
Source: Tim Challies,”The Shack” by William P. Young, Challies.com, http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/the-shack-by-william-p-young, Published 15/01/2008. (Accessed 13/04/2015.)
Qualified men have already proven that the Jesus presented by William Young is not the Jesus of the Scriptures. Therefore we need to be asking the question – why does Hillsong leadership endorse such a dangerous New Age book?