WorldNetDaily's war on the Christian novel "The Shack" continues with a June 20 column by James B. De Young, author of the WND-published anti-"Shack" book. In his column, De Young portrays fans of "The Shack" as exhibiting "cult-like" tendencies and "Shack" author Paul Young as -- we are not making this up -- akin to Jim Jones:
There are certain characteristics of the people who love "The Shack" that suggest cultic-like devotion. Why would I suggest such a thing? Because the word "cult" suggests certain behavior and domineering personalities that have often arisen among Christians in the past. Remember Jim Jones and his People's Temple cult in the 1970s? More than 800 adults and children committed suicide in blind devotion to their leader who could do no wrong and whose teaching was beyond questioning.
But how do I know a cult when I see it? The dictionary says that a cult is 1) a system of religious worship or ritual; or 2) a quasi-religious group, often living in a colony, with a charismatic leader who indoctrinates members with unorthodox or extremist views, practices or beliefs and 3) a group of followers.
Some of these words do not characterize the readers of the novel by Paul Young. But Paul Young is certainly a charismatic leader who is gathering a significant following. He certainly propagates unorthodox or extremist views and religious beliefs (as I will show). And since he comes under no local church, he himself decides what is orthodox.
De Young goes on to complain about "The Shack's" definition of God as someone who would rather "cure" sin than "punish it, insisting that "the vast majority of the teaching of Scripture attests that God does indeed punish sin." De Young concludes with more cultic smears:
If you believe "The Shack's" pronouncements about judgment and sin instead of the Bible's, then you are in danger of being swept up into a cultic allegiance to a charismatic leader! And isn't this just the nub of what makes many people uncomfortable about "The Shack"? The novel projects "novel" views of a lot of the Bible's teaching that at least distort the truth and at the most slander God and Jesus Christ (as I show in my "Burning Down the Shack").
And in line with the novel's opposition to the local church, this charismatic leader refuses to come under the leadership and authority of any local church and decides for himself what is true. This is cult-like!
If "The Shack" is not yet a cult, it may be on the way to becoming one.
With smears like these, De Young is quickly building a case to be sued for libel.