What’s the big deal?

Does it really matter that Disney released Beauty and the Beast with a gay character? Or does it really matter that the movie, The Shack, depicts God in a new way to “a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant?” What’s the big deal?

Disney director, Bill Condon, described the scene for the company’s first gay character as a “nice, exclusively gay moment.” The inclusion of the gay character is meant to be a tribute to the late Howard Ashman, who died of AIDS after writing the lyrics to the original film.

The movie is a live-action film of what was once an animation. It is said to have a strengthened plot, deepened characters, superb sets, fantastic costuming and great songs throughout. Most children would probably not give much thought, if any, to Lefou’s homosexual attraction to Gaston. Perhaps many would not notice either that Lefou dances with a man in the film. So what’s the big deal?

In 2015, the fiction book, The Shack, reached an astonishing level in sales—20 million copies! Recently, the book was released as a film, grossing $50 million in the first few weeks. The book and film attempt to answer the question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The narrative is one that draws in the moviegoer with emotion.

The story centers on the main character, Mack, who is mourning the tragic abduction of his daughter. Evidence, discovered by the police in a shack, proved that his daughter was brutally slain by a notorious serial killer. In the midst of his sadness and pain, Mack receives a note from God, called Papa, inviting him to spend time with him at the shack.

During his weekend visit to the shack, Mack encounters each member of the Trinity. Papa, whose actual name is Elousia (meaning tenderness) appears in the form of a matronly African-American woman. Jesus appears as a middle-aged Middle Easterner. The Holy Spirit is an Asian woman known by the name of Sarayu. Each character plays their role in the allegory to deconstruct and reconstruct Mack’s faith, resulting in his transformation at the conclusion. So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that both movies are discipling people, depositing unbiblical messages into their hearts and minds.

Our emotions are a great aspect of who we are, but emotions have a way of overshadowing facts, making us vulnerable to untruths. Clearly, homosexuality, like every other sexual experience outside of a marriage between a man and woman for life, is a sin. The Bible reiterates this fact in six separate passages. A movie, targeting children, depicting sin as normal and lighthearted is meant to disciple children and others to what it believes to be right and good. Without a biblical worldview and without being surrendered to God, “everyone does what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). I expect nothing less than gay characters from Disney or other companies that are led by people who are non-theocentric and are without a biblical worldview. However, it is big deal when we allow such people to disciple our families.

William Paul Young’s book and subsequent movie, The Shack, moves readers and viewers emotionally. For many people, the emotional impact of the narrative seems to impede their intellectual ability to engage the narrative through a lens of biblical doctrine and theology. Young’s theology is revealed in his latest book, Lies We Believe about God, a non-fiction book consisting of 28 chapters explaining the “lies” believed about God.

In his latest book, Young reveals his denial of the doctrine of human depravity and his rejection of the sovereignty of God. In chapter 13, Young embraces a form of universalism, writing, “Every person who has ever been conceived was included in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. When Jesus was lifted up, God ‘dragged’ all human beings to Himself.” Young doesn’t believe in hell. He doesn’t believe that the cross was God’s predetermined plan for salvation and doesn’t believe that sin ultimately separates mankind from God.

Young’s unbiblical beliefs have been cleverly packaged in an emotionally moving book and film. Had his recent book, explaining his true beliefs, been released first, exposing his heresy, The Shack would have remained unpublished and the film never made. It is a big deal when people, Christians and non-Christians, allow Wm. Paul Young to disciple them.

Christians should be insightful to the devil’s schemes. We should not crave entertainment so much that we forgo spiritual discernment. We should be so solid in our biblical worldview that heresies are easily spotted, evil is easily identified and both cause us to take flight, running away from them.

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