Scales of Judgment

It has happened again, another lawsuit in the Christian publishing realm. Every time I hear of a Christian suing another Christian—including a Christian business entity—I think of I Corinthians 6 where Paul is admonishing the believers for taking their disputes to be judged by unbelievers.

Verse 7 of I Corinthians 6 states, “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

The latest report of believers in the publishing world taking their case to court involves William Paul Young (the author of the bestselling The Shack) and his former Windblown Media partners Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. Mr. Young is suing his former partners over accounting improprieties that he claims have deprived him of $8 million in proceeds of sales (just through December 2008).

I do not know if Mr. Young sought arbitration before taking his suit to the California courts. Nor am I here to judge William P. Young or the Windblown Media folks.

I am here to say that it breaks my heart to see Christians in the business of writing and publishing books designed to bring people closer to God end up maligning the name of Christianity, and undermining the message of their books. After all, isn’t The Shack all about forgiveness and God’s love?

For those of you who do not know the story, Mr. Young could not find a traditional publisher to produce his book, The Shack. So, he and two friends, Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings, formed Windblown Media to publish the book themselves. The book became an overnight success.

Wikipedia says that The Shack had sold over 10 million copies and had been at number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List for 70 weeks as of May 1, 2010.

That folks is a lot of books and a lot of revenue (meaning $$$). Instead of falling into the footsteps of Pastors Francis Chen and Rick Warren, who have renounced the millions of dollars their books have made to help the less fortunate and spread the gospel, Mr. Young is asking a secular court system to give him money that he feels he has been cheated of.

Oh that we would let God settle our disputes rather than attempt to settle them in a way that does not bring glory to God’s name and tarnishes the reputation of Christianity.

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9 thoughts on “Scales of Judgment

  1. Um well, The Shack is hardly a Christian book. It’s probably one of the most evil, most destructive books published of late.
    After knowing what The Shack contains, I would be far more worried about the author’s salvation than a silly lawsuit.
    The fact that The Shack is even considered to be Christian is the most saddening piece of news in this article. The Shack is an attack on God and His glory and certainly tarnishes Christianity.

  2. I agree with Alex. I started to read this book and found it so offensive to my faith that I decided I couldn’t continue reading it. To me this book is New Age paganism combined with leftover feminism and Christian Trinity overtones.

  3. I think whether Christians think the book is Christian or not is beside the point. The book claims to be Christian. It is sold in Christian bookstores and the secular public identifies it as a Christian book. The book’s theme is forgiveness and God’s love. Those themes do not appear to be being played out among the people who decided to publish the book, thus Christianity’s reputation is once again tossed among the wolves.

  4. Here’s what I was trying to say and not doing a very good job of it. If the book is more pagan than Christian, but the authors and those involved think it’s Christian, what does that say about the author. If the authors and those involved think this is Christian than maybe they think erroneously that they are Christians. When we think we are Christians and we are not, we do things that the Holy Spirit (who only lives in true believers) would never want us to do. My point is, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:16

    The actions they are taking are not the fruit of a Christian. Either they are Christians going against God’s Will or they are not Christians and therefore can and will do anything they want.

    Fortunately, Christianity is not based on its reputation in the world. If it were, Christianity would have collapsed long ago. After all, Christians do continue to live imperfect lives and sin. Christianity is of Christ, the eternal Son of God, who continues to live and reign in Heaven and will bring about what He has planned since the beginning. I acknowledge that it’s heartbreaking to see these things happen, but Satan is getting more desperate as time gets short.

    Let’s pray for those involved in this suit, that the Lord will bless them with wisdom and truth. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

    Mark

  5. I recently heard a pastor say if he could encourage one study in the Bible above all others it would be to study the relationships between Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He said we are made in the image of a relational God so to understand that brings us a clearer image of who we are. I think that could be why The Shack resonated with so many, it clearly demonstrates the relationships of the Godhead. I don’t understand how P Young can have well over $10 million and be greedy for more when just a few years ago he was a janitor. If it had not been for Windblown guys (Wayne and Brad) rewriting a majority of the book and investing their time and money publishing it, he would still be cleaning toilets. I just don’t get it.

  6. This is such a sad state of affairs. I’m afraid that in the midst of this regrettable situation is the fact that greed seems to have replaced love and forgiveness and reconciliation. I suggest that all parties to the dispute now agree that all profits go to some worthy cause which promotes healing and reconciliation – e.g. “Coming To The Table” (www.comingtothetable.org). Set up in fulfilment of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s “Dream” where black and white children would walk hand in hand. Wayne Jacobsen, Brad Cummings and Paul Young need to step away from the brink and start talking and listening in an atmosphere of grace and respect. Their actions so far have caused an immense amount of damage.

  7. I am wondering why The Shack is considered to be, “the most evil and destructive book of late.” Honest question, specifically what one thing about The Shack would lead you to feel that way?

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