" 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.
" 'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, "Where is the whitewash you covered it with?"
" 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. So I will spend my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, "The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD." '
Written so long ago, but oh how relevant for today. How familiar are those comforting but ultimately false words: 'peace, peace', when there is no peace. Because when we reduce the gospel to a simple 'God loves you', that is in effect what we are saying. We're saying 'sin isn't a problem, you don't really need to change anything to be made right with God, his love covers everything and you're ok as you are. You just need to believe you have peace with God already and then you will have it'.
This belittles both God and people. It belittles God because it does not do justice to the true Holy love of God that demands justice but makes our rescue possible by punishing sin in Jesus on the cross. And it belittles people because it is false hope. It isn’t even good news; it just lures people into a trap. It is exactly like building that flimsy wall described in Ezekiel above, and whitewashing it over, hoping no-one will see the holes. But it will not stand. It may fool people for a while but on the day of the Lord it will NOT STAND.
Not to go into too many details, or go off on a rant (which isn't really my thing) I believe this false 'peace, peace' theology is ultimately the message of the book The Shack, and I am very concerned about this, especially because of the way it has been embraced by many people.
"...they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace." Declaring peace when there is no peace is not good news. It is a death trap.
So if we're not to preach false peace, what are we to preach? What is the good news?
“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
The good news is that although we are separated from God because of our sin, we can be reconciled to Him, because Jesus became sin instead of us, bearing the wrath we deserve and crediting God’s righteousness to us instead. It is with urgency that we must make this appeal to be reconciled to God, not simply announcing that everyone is already reconciled. If we announce such a message I believe we are just like those false prophets in Ezekiel 13.