Gavin Ortlund’s review of William Paul Young’s “Lies We Believe About God”

I was planning to write a review of this book myself (and may still) but Gavin Ortlund’s review for the Gospel Coalition’s website is already here. Take advantage of it.


In short, those of us who thought we saw the seeds of all kinds of heretical views in The Shack get our worst suspicions confirmed and witnessed in full bloom in Young’s “Lies.” Perhaps better titled “Lies I Believe and Tell about God.”

For me, Young’s book boiled down to these main problems:

1. An exercise in selective proof-texting. Taking one text as the whole on any view he holds without regard for the immediate context, nor that of the balance of the Bible.

2. An exercise in mutilated word studies. Almost as bad (perhaps even worse) than concluding butterflies have something to do with butter and flies because of the name.

3. An exercise in applied eisegesis. If you do not know, eisegesis is the opposite of exegesis. In exegesis, you do your best to dig out what is actually in the text. In eisegesis you pour into the text the meanings you want. Young does this over and over and over.

4. An exercise in agenda driven theology. Young’s ideas about God inform his understanding of Biblical texts, instead of the text informing what he OUGHT to know about God. It is wholly upside down.

5. It is an exercise in refusing to incorporate the greater storyline of the Bible. Like plucking 10 sentences at random out of a Shakespearian play, and then stringing them together to tell the story you want to tell.  The result is incoherence and utter confusion.

Enough of my stuff – read Ortlund’s review for yourself.

2 thoughts on “Gavin Ortlund’s review of William Paul Young’s “Lies We Believe About God”

  1. Reid: His name is “Gavin Ortlund.” Check your spelling of his last name in 4 places in your post including the title and link.

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