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William Young finally makes matters plain.

Years ago, all manner of biblically illiterate Christians were raving about the book, “The Shack”, by William P. Young.  Young has been in the news again because his book has been made into a movie.  And most recently, in his work entitled, Lies We Believe About God, he states the matter emphatically…

“Who originated the Cross?.. . If God did, then we worship a cosmic abuser, who in Divine Wisdom created a means to torture human beings in the most painful and abhorrent manner. Frankly, it is often this very cruel and monstrous god that the atheist refuses to acknowledge or grant credibility in any sense. And rightly so. Better no god at all, than this one.”

Consider well, the last line in the quote.  “Better no god at all, than this one.”  Consider that statement in the light of Jesus own statements about the cross.  In John 12:27, as Jesus begins to speak about his own death, he says, “Now is my soul troubled.  And what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour?  But for this purpose, I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.”  Several verses later, in John 12:32, Jesus adds, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all people to myself.”

Further study might bring to light Matthew 16:21-23, in which Jesus indicated that he must go to Jerusalem to die and be raised on the third day, and Peter then rebukes him.  We might turn to Matthew 20:28, in which Jesus teaches that the Son of Man came so that he might give his life as a ransom for many.  Or we might study the famous highly priestly prayer of John 17, as Jesus, speaking about his cross, in verse 5 prays, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence.”  But ultimately the Bible reader is drawn to Gethsemane, wherein Luke 22:42, Jesus prays, “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.”

Let us be unmistakably clear.  Jesus believed that it was the Father’s will to send him to the cross.  And just so we are equally clear, according to William Young, “Better no god at all, than the God that Jesus believed in.”

But where did Jesus get the idea that God the Father was deliberately sending him to the cross?  For one, Jesus was a man who believed that the Old Testament was God’s word.  Consider Isaiah 53:10.  “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him.”  Isaiah is plain.  God the Father, in his sovereign will designed to crush his son.  And Jesus, for his part agreed completely.  When explaining the events of his death to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:26 records Jesus as saying, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

Consider the words of Scripture.  “The cross was the will of the Lord.”  “The cross was necessary.”  “The cross represents that God’s will is being done.”  “The cross glorifies God.”  “The cross represents the reason why Jesus came.”

Now consider William Young’s response.  “Better no god than this one.”

I for my part am glad that William Young finally said these things.  The many biblically illiterate evangelicals who praised “The Shack”, paid no attention to the mountains of unbiblical statements made in the book.  Evangelical bookstores sold out of the book when it came, and I know of more than one home bible study group who decided to study it together, and praised its contents.

What we are witnessing is the Evangelical Movement’s widespread disconnection from its biblical, historical, and gospel-centered roots.  Let’s pray that William Young’s disclosure shocks some evangelicals into recognizing how far the movement has strayed from its roots.

For more resources on the Cross of Jesus Christ listen to Dr. John Neufeld’s 5 episode series “Mysteries of the Cross”.


Dr. John Neufeld

Dr. John Neufeld

Dr. John Neufeld is the national Bible teacher at Back to the Bible Canada. He has served as Senior Pastor, church planter, conference speaker and educator, and is known both nationally and internationally for his passion and excellence in expositional preaching and teaching.

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