Good God or Bad God?

“The theology is good.”

I have never been very clear what that statement conveyed.  It is a seal of approval I think.  That the bible and “it” agree.

Which makes me wonder … What if the bible and “it” don’t agree?  Does that mean that God doesn’t agree.  And how do we know?  Because theology is a just word for talking about God.

I know.

Because I can’t remember the number of times I have been chastised for using “that word” with a certain tone of voice – and being told that “that word” is just talking about God – no qualifications needed. It usually happens when we are talking about God qualifications – no God needed.

The theology is good.

Does that mean “it” is good God, true God, right God, the one and only … And does bad theology mean bad God, false God, wrong God , the many and fallen … ? And how do we know which is which (without God qualifications)?

Is it because “it’s in the bible” (which is used to support both good and bad theology)? Or because “it” agrees with how I been taught the bible?  And how do we know which is which (without God qualifications)?

Seems to me that God qualifications are central to whether theology is good or bad.

The theology is good.

The phrase came up in conversation about a film – about a book – called The Shack. Because there are claimants that the book is both good and bad theology.  In fact books have been written by those who claim good theology as well as by those who claim bad theology.

So I have a question.

And because I cannot remember the plot outline of the book. I cannot remember the central characters’ names. And there is so much more that I cannot remember than I can remember.  But I do remember this (and it is not even a quote from the book I found out when I googled).

“I can only be with you in the present.”

I can only be with you, Paul, in this second. I cannot be with you in the second just gone – that is just you.  Nor can I be with you in the second to come – that is also just you.  I can only be with YOU in THIS second – that is where I live.


That changed me. That changed my God. That changed how I saw, felt, and knew my God. That changed all the planning and the reviewing. That changed all the qualified faith. That changed all the doubts and the reservations. THAT was all me. THAT was not Him.

This second is where I live.

Now wonder I couldn’t hear God very well.  I was always talking to Him in the past and the future.  He couldn’t talk back.  Only I could.

So my question is this:

Why are we so concerned to only endorse something if it “good theology”?

The theology is good.

He talked to me today.

He asked me to do something scary. I asked Him if He was sure He said He was. That happened a few times. When something scary involves another person I don’t think He minds me checking.  And then I agreed.  And acted.  And was still scared.  But sure.

I dropped my pebble of faith in the still pond of His universe.  And the ripples are not mine.  They are the future seconds I will not see.  And as for the past memories of trepidation? They are also mine.  And now I am worrying about if those ripples come back to bite me(!).

I know He lives with me in this second.

I know all that worry about the past and future is just me. He told me that in a book called The Shack.

So I don’t know whether The Shack is good God or bad God (to a God qualified person).

All I do know is that God is real.

Right now this second.

He told me that in The Shack.


(with thanks to Mel Wild: “Why you should see The Shack”)

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