Another Good Question - Why I'm Not "Shack"-ing Up

OK, I've received my third or fourth independent inquiry for my perspective on the novel The Shack, and since there's that level interest I want to share a couple thoughts. If you haven't heard of it, The Shack is an unusual piece of fiction that has caught fire and sold well, despite the fact that its author is not a professional writer. I'm honestly not clear as to why it's been so popular -- then again, I have no idea why the Tickle Me Elmo doll went platinum a few years ago either! Perhaps trying to figure out why popular things get popular is a vain attempt at chasing the wind.

Except that books which purport to say something about God aren't as benign as Sesame Street dolls. As I noted just last week, books are an important part of our spiritual growth, because they speak to us. Good writing, especially good fiction, draws us in at an emotional level, bypassing the more critical faculties and resonating with us at a deep, visceral level. Ideas and impressions get absorbed into our view of life, sometimes without the benefit of critical analysis.

That's what makes fiction so powerful. As a preacher I know all too well the power of a good story or a poignant word picture to drive a point home. But it's precisely because I can wield that power when I preach that it's incumbent upon me to be as sure as I can possibly be that the point I'm driving home is accurate, and true. I have to study diligently to understand the truths of the Bible before I drive them into the hearts of my hearers with moving illustrations. The same standard applies to authors - especially authors of Christian fiction.

Good Christian fiction will always start with revealed truth, and then seek creative ways to expound, illuminate, and display that truth. It's disciplined imagination: seeking to advance the truths of Scripture and sound theology for the good of readers. On the other hand, one of the marks of poor Christian fiction -- in fact, of poor Christian thinking in general -- is that it doesn't start with the Bible-revealed God as the center. Instead it starts with man, and man's experience. It then moves outward seeking to fit God into that experience in ways that the individual feels will be meaningful.

Which brings me to The Shack. This is a raw, visceral dialogue between a man in deep pain and the three persons of the Trinity. In other words, the author uses his imagination to picture what God is like - a laudable aim in itself, but problematic in this case because the effort isn't disciplined to sound theology (as this review makes clear). Nor is anyone pretending it is. One reviewer said "People are not necessarily concerned with how orthodox the theology is. People are into the story and how the book strikes them emotionally..." In cases like this, one doesn't need to read the book to know that it isn't disciplined to sound theology. Parts of it are probably fine, while parts are wrong.

This leads me to a sincere question for Christians: then why read it? This question is not rhetorical, it's honest. Since the book will fill my mind with several images of God that do not line up with what he's said about himself, why fill my mind with it? Why not read engaging, well-written fiction that is disciplined to Scripture like that of C.S. Lewis or Randy Alcorn? If an allegory is a must for you, consider Alcorn's Edge of Eternity or Lewis' The Pilgrim's Regress. Lewis openly based the latter title on the all-time Christian classic allegory The Pilgrim's Progress.

Which reminds me of another thing. When Eugene Peterson (author of the Bible paraphrase The Message) recommended The Shack, he gushed that the book would have the same impact as The Pilgrim's Progress did in it's day. Dr. Petersen should know better. The Pilgrim's Progress is the best-selling Christian book of all time next to the Bible and has not once gone out of print for over 300 years. No matter what one thinks of The Shack, it stretches credulity to suggest it will still be in print even 30 years from now, much less 300. Let's not get too caught up in the hype here Eugene; or am I just chasing the wind again?

One final thought: I've heard it suggested that the allegory in The Shack (such as God the Father appearing as an African American woman) is no different than CS Lewis picturing Jesus as a lion in the Narnia series. Actually, it is a very different thing. Lewis never intended Narnia to be a direct allegory (word picture) of biblical truth like The Shack is. Rather, it's a fantasy adventure story with Christian thematic elements in it - a very different thing. What's more, Lewis' Jesus-like character Aslan, even though he's not a direct allegory, nonetheless stays disciplined to the Bible by using an image Scripture itself uses (a lion). I might choose to picture the Father as an African American woman, or as a talking toadstool for that matter. But it's not difficult to see which of the three best reflects God as he revealed himself in the pages of Scripture.

In the final analysis I think this book's popularity is yet another sign of our feeling-oriented, anti-intellectual times. We get excited about anything that makes us feel, and we're bored with God's description of himself and his plan in the Bible (bored with what God said! Wow...) And I'm a bit concerned about young believers being drawn in to it's sometimes unbiblical pictures.

We live in a time where truth is seen as passe. It's a time when even Christians - we who claim to personally know The Truth - show signs of postmodern thinking by how little we value theology, and how much we embrace (and create hype surrounding) anything that makes us feel. It's a time when Christians should be at the forefront of wedding passionate feeling with Biblical truth. In a nutshell, that's why I encourage Christians to spend their reading hours on books that are far more worthy of their time. And it's why I personally won't take the time to read The Shack.

Why bother?


Amy Guerino said...

The review you linked to was very thorough and I enjoyed ploughing through it. I especially liked the little side note of "Discernment." I feel the lack of discernment people take to their reading is one of the biggest problems with being swayed into false doctrines. Discernment takes mind power of comparing and contrasting what you are reading to the truths of Scripture. But then, we need to know what the Bible says well to even begin to do that. How many people are confident in what the entire message of the Bible is? Reading The Shack does not help you here. It only confuses. Knowing that, people may still do it for pleasure reading. I still find that dangerous.

I love Randy Alcorn's fiction. He studies the Word so carefully and his imagination can be better trusted as a result (but discernment is always an exercise even if you know the author). I highly recommend reading Edge of Eternity in place of The Shack. In Randy's book, "Nick Seagrave is a disillusioned business executive who has lost loved ones to tragedy and his family to neglect. Now, at a point of great crisis, he finds himself inexplicably transported to what appears to be another world," (part of the overview of Edge of Eternity at I read this book years ago and was thankful for a fictional story. The character does a lot of thinking and feeling that helped me evaluate my own life and the perspectives I have surrounding the choices I make or don't make....and how they affect my eternity.

Jerry Casper said...

Although it isn't fiction, I've always considered Job to be a very interesting conversation between God, a man who is suffering, and the man's friends. Since it is 42 chapters of dialogue, it is sometime difficult to get through, but the message is powerful and God breathed.

That said, I'm going to check out Randy Alcorn's books on your recommendation. Good Christian fictions is hard to find.

Tim KC6QLV said...

To Let you know I've ordered Charles Colson's The Faith from your book shelf of top books to read. Your Blog page has given me some insight and to learn more about my relationship with Jesus and God.


Matt Guerino said...


You make an EXCELLENT point which I had not thought of - comparing the conversation in The Shack with the conversation in Job. Interestingly, the words in Job that God speaks directly aren't very Shack-like, are they? The image of God thundering from on high against Job's arrogance ("Who are you to question Me!?!") is a direct self-revelation from God in the Bible, and it needs to be worked in to our image of who he is.

Great insight!

TimChalm said...

Why bother? Oh good grief! That review is nothing but sour grapes. It is so far off base that it's out by a mile; five bricks short of a load; three quarts low and the engine is seizing. The reviewer reminds me of the ancient Sadducees and the Pharisees: nothing but critical and judgmental. It looks to me like he was miffed because this runaway best seller was written by a salesman from Oregon. As if God can't use a salesman from Oregon, or a carpenter's son from Nazareth. That reviewer missed the point of "The Shack" completely and gave you, and probably many other people, a completely false impression. Judging by his standards, you would need to throw out "The Chronicles of Narnia" and burn all of Tolkien. You like to read Tolkien. I couldn't stand those greedy Hobbits and quit reading "The Hobbit" in chapter 4. How good is Tolkien's theology in among all of the allegories? You like to read C.S. Lewis. So do I. Did you get a little emotional while reading "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" or "The Last Battle"? Uh huh... so did I.

You like to use word pictures. And most of us appreciate a good word picture. Most of us understand complex theological ideas more clearly with an appropriate word picture; and yeah, sometimes word pictures break down. But is that a good reason to throw out the baby with the bath water? "The Shack" is an allegory, a batch of word pictures, not a theological treatise and it shouldn't be judged on that standard. Yes, discernment is important, but discernment is also important when reading book reviews. Let me put it this way: I hate movies, but once in a while I get coerced into going along with someone. I mean, like, why bother? Movies are all so long and boring. (Yeah, I have the attention span of a gnat.) But when I have gone to a movie, I have often noted that some reviewer must have had a stale batch of popcorn, or were in bad mood for some reason, or the movie didn't strike their fancy, or it wasn't up to their particular opinion of how much bad language or gratuitous bed scenes a movie should have. And, I have seen times when their reviews missed the point of the movie entirely. Well, it is my opinion that that reviewer missed the whole point of "The Shack".

Sure, you are welcome to your opinion. However, in this case, your second-hand opinion is based on someone else's off-base opinion. An incorrect premise will usually lead to an incorrect conclusion. It seems to me that an opinion should be based on a complete picture and/or a first-hand encounter whenever possible.

Why bother? Precisely because it is an instrument that God is using in the lives of many people who have been turned off by critical, judgmental, small "christians". Perhaps we need to agree to disagree on this one, but I would say that it is very important to read and understand the message of "The Shack" so that we can talk intelligently about it with friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives who would read it, but would not get near a church. If it's true that some people would pull some theology out of "The Shack" then it is our duty to be involved in gentle discussion with them and guide them further along their journey toward the true light of the world.

Give it a read, you will be glad that you did.

TimChalm said...

So, what do I think that the book is about anyway?

Thank me for asking another good question.

In the same way that the movie “Field of Dreams” is not about baseball and cornfields, The Shack is not about a guy dealing with a rough situation and having a weekend meeting with God.

Primarily, The Shack is about our relationships with God and with other people. Most people don’t have a very good idea about what it means to have a relationship with God. After all, God is some old dude with a long grey beard who stomps out anybody who is having a good time. Right? In The Shack, God appears to Mack in such a way as to totally blow his preconceived notions to pieces; God’s appearance makes a very strong word picture. God is not what we think God is.

Second, the relationship that God intends for us to have with Him is far beyond our wildest imaginations. So often, the way we define our relationship with God severely limits what that relationship can actually be. We need to see that prayer is far more than a one way conversation with us talking to the ceiling. God wants to converse with us, He wants to guide us, He wants to give us His grace, mercy and peace especially through the rough times in life. How often do we bottle up our struggles and refrain from telling God how we really feel. We need to see that we can build a real relationship with Him because He is right there with us.

Of course there is more, but hopefully someone else will jump in with their thoughts.

TimChalm said...

As long as I'm having this wonderful discussion with myself:

Here, read this interview with the author. .

Then read The Shack. Then say, "OK, OK, I was wrong; first time I've been wrong in oh, the past five minutes or so." I'll even loan you my copy of the book.

Matt Guerino said...

Tim, you crack me up bro! Two months later and you're back! I like your style. ;)

Well sir, here's the deal. I read the Paul Young interview you linked to. Interesting story from an interesting guy, who I have no doubt is a great guy. But the interview didn't say much about the book itself, and consequently it doesn't address what I wrote in my post.

And actually, you didn't either. My post contains a primary concern about The Shack - there's a main point. I haven't seen your response to that point yet, which I'd love to hear. Instead I saw a lot of very passionate and emotional dismissing of the book's critics without even engaging with their arguments - which strangely enough is the same thing you seemed to accuse Tim Challies (who wrote the review I linked to) of.

Sooooo... if you really want me to read The Shack, give me a good reason to, starting with a patient explanation of why my reason for NOT reading it is incorrect. In the meantime, until I become convinced otherwise I'm no more interesting in taking the time to read it than I was last June.

And for the record, I'm quite certain I'm wrong more often than I'd like to admit! But I don't think my view of The Shack is one of those times. So you'll have to wait on that much-anticipated apology from me!

TimChalm said...

Fair enough. I'll think about that.

However, your concerns are so off the base that it's as though we're talking about two different books. It's not even a matter of apples vs. oranges which are both roundish fruit. It's kind of like the difference between apples and hammers. I'll think about it and see what percolates out. (Now I'm thinking about a dark French Roast and a Marionberry scone.)
:) tc

Coolprof said...

I took 20 minutes to scan the book. I saw enough in 20 minutes to recommend to my university students that they stick with Lewis and Schaeffer if they want good stuff on the Christian worldview.

Matt Guerino said...

coolprof, welcome to my blog! Worldview is a good word to use in this context. Many supporters of The Shack have defended it by saying the author never intended it to be about theology. That may be true, but these same supporters are the ones saying they're learning a lot about God and the relationship with him by reading the book. Hmmm... information about God and my relationship with him - that's what we call theology!

The point is simply that readig books DOES affect how we see the world around us, so I for one spen the majority of my time with books that will help me see it in a way that's more in line with Scripture.

TimChalm said...

Well, Matt, I don't know. You have drawn an incorrect conclusion about a book you have not read. Your point about emotionalism is a very important point. However, you're barking up the wrong tree. You have inappropriately applied the grid of anti-emotionalism to people's response to the book. Furthermore, your interpretation of "what the book is about" is incorrect. You have placed the book in the wrong box. Your un-christian gun has hit the wrong target. I can't respond to your points because your points are misplaced. You can't eat a hammer and you can't pound a nail with an apple. You've got the wrong paradigm.

OK. Erase the whiteboard and start over. Recently, I was reminded of our ministry team's motto: "Creating moments of wonder that inspire life change." That is exactly what Mr. Young has done. He has created a worship experience of a different sort that is inspiring life change. People are reading this book and are inspired to dig into God's Word and get to know Him better.

It is true that you can't please all of the people all of the time. But the purpose of worship is to focus our minds, hearts and souls on God with all of our strength. We might have come to the time of worship with the weight of the world on our shoulders, but in worshiping God something happens that we did not necessarily anticipate. By getting a glimpse of God's glory through worship our hearts are prepared to hear God's voice. That is a non-intellectual, emotional experience. That is what music does and that is what Mr. Young has done.

Sure, some of the word pictures that he uses are outside of the standard religious box of tricks. But then, so is Jesus.

Matt Guerino said...


You wrote "People are reading this book and are inspired to dig into God's Word and get to know Him better." I wish that were true. What I hear from the majority of the book's fans is not a desire to read the Bible more based on The Shack. What I hear is a lot of criticism of theology. That's my concern.

I still don't think you're getting where I'm coming from, so let me state my point differently. Emotion isn't the problem I referred to. Being man-centered and experience-centered is the danger I'm warning against. Whenever Christians do theology from our perspective we get into trouble. Many emergent-type thinkers, including Young to a certain extent (by his own admission) are doing that. That doesn't make them bad people, nor is everything they say wrong. But there is that fatal flaw in their approach.

And that is my concern. Take the images you referred to as just one example: I'm not bugged by the picture of God as Aunt Jemimah in itself (I think it's kind of silly, but whatever). What sets off my discernment-meter is the notion that God goes massively out of his way to accommodate himself to us when we're in pain. Now that raises an interesting theological questions: does God accommodate himself to us or does he tell us to accommodate ourselves to him, even when we're in pain? What did he tell Job in Job 38-42?

You see, it isn't that The Shack is merely unconventional as a Christian book. I don't much care about that. It's that it's un-biblical, in the sense that it doesn't start with God's self-revelation and then work out from there to understand pain and suffering.

Jesus was emphatically not outside the box of sound Biblical theology. He lambasted religious teachers (who should have known better) for teaching dead formality instead of correct theology. Jesus' answer to this dead, legalistic formality was to contend for sound theology. Emergent-type thinking today often tries to respond to sound theology (mistaking it for dead formality) by contending for a man-centered, experience-oriented way of living that minimizes the importance of being theologically grounded. That's what I'm concerned about.

And when The Shack by the author's own admission is not operating from a basis of sound theology, it immediately goes on my I'm-not-real-interested list. That's why I don't agree with you that I need to read the book before I can voice the above concern. Young himself has freely acknowledged that he wasn't starting from a basis of orthodox theology. I take him at his word.

Amy Guerino said...

An old college friend is now a pastor and has done a review on the main website for their church. I found it interesting because I appreciate his honest reaction to how the book moved him and his thought out controversial issues the book contains. It is worth a look at. I still don't think I will take the time to read it though.
Parkway Community Church

Jerry Casper said...

I read the review at Parkway Community Church and found it interesting as well. I have no doubt that the pastor was emotionally impacted by a well written book. It has happened many times to me even reading secular novels. Just being a dad has made me more sensitive to the struggles of others in their relationships with their parents.

The problem with the pastor giving it four out of five stars is that he was obviously able to discern where the book deviated from a theologically sound background. Unfortunately, I doubt that many of his parishoners - especially the young adults - are as astute as he is.

Aaron said...

I hope it's okay I dredge up this old thread - I just got done reading The Shack after several people recommended it to me. I came over to your blog hoping to see a review, and sure enough, here you are!

I've got a follow-up question to this discussion. Rather than reading this book and discussing it with others as theology, I've found value in it for its ability to facilitate discussions on how messed up we humans tend to make life and how God can work to fix it. As a counselor, I can see how The Shack can invite a world of hurting people to begin a process of healing through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ, when these people might have otherwise been turned off to that idea.

Also, if millions of people are reading this book, shouldn't we, as representations of the Truth, also be reading it and discerning for ourselves and with others where the book's theology goes off-track? Rather than avoiding the discussion because it's off-base, shouldn't we be involved in these discussions to hopefully set the record straight, so to speak?

Matt Guerino said...

Aaron, thanks for chiming in! No discussion is ever "dead" so I'm glad you posted your thoughts.

If unbelievers in particular read the book and are open to talking about Jesus, then I'm all for that. If I knew an unbeliever who was reading it and was interested in talking about God then I'd pick up a copy myself.

Personally I haven't read it to date, but that's not deliberate avoidance of the discussion on my part. Rather it's simply because I'm constantly making choices of how to spend a finite amount of reading time, and I have a large pile of books waiting to be read already.

About the only thing that would entice me to read it is if I needed to guide someone through it personally, so if other Christians who are already well grounded theologically read it for that purpose, I'm great with that.

That's a little different scenario than what my original post was addressing, which was the idea that Christians should read it to learn more about God themselves. I wouldn't encourage that in general for reasons of discernment, which I've already mentioned. This doesn't mean it's an evil book or that I don't think it has any good in it whatsoever. It just means I wish the author had made a record that didn't need as much straightening by discerning readers.

Aaron said...

Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I've really been chewing on and digesting this idea for quite some time - actively, truthfully, since reading your reply, Matt. Thank you for it.

I think I see what you're saying now. The importance of contemplating and imagining God's nature within His own revealed framework (aka The Bible) is critical because doing so otherwise is putting Him into my own selfish or self-derived persona. While this can be entertaining and even enlightening to some degree, it is most importantly damaging because of the path it takes you (away from God, as He has revealed Himself to be). Is that more in line with what you were saying? I hope so, because that's the conclusion I've come to... and already started thinking of new questions for that discussion! ;-)

Matt Guerino said...

Exactly what I'm getting at!

With respect to non-Christians spiritual interest is certainly a good thing in general, but it's not always an automatic good in and of itself. I think we tend to underestimate the dangers of wrong ideas about God. Is atheism really worse than worshiping Molech? I think a more Biblical view is that mis-representing God is the problem, whether that's miscalculating his very existence (atheism) or thinking he's something fundamentally other than what he's revealed himself to be (a la Oprah). Young's book is much better than Oprah's view of Christianity for sure, but it still leaves enough wanting that I feel my general lack of enthusiasm for it is justifiable.

Which leads me to believers. Young, and the book's supporters, are fond of pointing out that it's not a theology book and shouldn't be read as such. There's some legitimacy to this argument - I can understand the value of taking a work on its own terms. But two complications also attend to this view. First, it is a theology book at some level, since anything that purports to say something about the nature and character of God is theology by definition. Which leads to the second observation: many Christian fans of the book have noted how it has changed their view of God and the way they relate to him. In other words, what they're saying in so many words is the book has shaped their theology. But have they allowed their view of God to change based only on the good parts of the book and not the, er, questionable parts? This would require a level of discernment that some Christians possess, but I'm confident many do not.

Anyway, the basic point of all my rambling is that getting our ideas about God directly from him as best we can is absolutely vital, and that substituting one wrong idea about God with another is not necessarily progress. I think Christianity generally underestimates this value of accurate theology today, and the sooner we quit thinking of theology as a dusty, dry subject for scholars and start thinking about it as a highly relevant and engaging discussion about our basic convictions on who God is, the better!

Thanks for your thoughts & questions - keep 'em coming! You all are helping me think this stuff through more thoroughly, and I appreciate you taking the time to do so.

Aaron said...

You're right - I've heard from many people who recommended this book to me that it changed their understanding of God. I even thought that for a while, since it was so outside the box. In one sense that's good because it can open me up to a greater faith and trust in God and not limiting my understanding of Him, but it must always lead me back to His revealed self to gain that understanding.

And you're right again - many people I've talked with reference it unknowingly as some kind of theology book. In doing this, it would mean on some level that God's revealed self is incomplete, outdated, or even boring, and that in order for us to relate to Him better we need to update those ideas of God to make Him relevant. THAT'S dangerous.

Very interesting... thanks for the discussions, Matt! I'm enjoying reading your other blog posts, and I think I'll engage in some more conversations about those! =)

BigOfficeMan said...

Your comments remind me of when I was in high school and Jesus Christ Superstar came out. My dad would not listen to it because it was evil rock and roll, and did I know Jesus committed adultery and was drunk? I studied the words and could not come to those conclusions without a great deal of stretch. But that is what the theologians were putting out. The musical did bring to life in a very real way what was only previously on a flat page (or a flannel graph). Was it 100% scriptural? No. But neither is CSLewis, which I cannot get into, and holds no more relation to Scripture than Lord of the Rings.
The issue to me seems to be one of the heart and not of the head. God wants us to love him, with all our heart and soul and mind. Faith is the foundation, not intellect.
I was moved by this book. It did stir up emotions but also made me question certain fundamental truths about the trinity. Why can’t a holy spirit take on the form of a black woman? Are we willing to limit God to images that are only familiar to us? The Holy Spirit is just that, spirit.
I heard a pod cast of this fellow speaking at George Fox who said he wrote this for his kids to better explain the trinity. He almost could not get published because it was to Jesus for the non-believers and to edgy for the Christians. That sure jives with your analysis.

Matt Guerino said...

Thanks for the comment Dave! But understand my point: My problem with this book has nothing to do with it being "edgy" (what exactly does that mean, BTW?). My issue is that it is not accurate. Period. It purports to explain the trinity but it doesn't start with what the Bible teaches about the trinity. There's danger in that, and if pointing that out makes me "too conservative" or "too stuffy" or "an old, dead, lifeless, intellectual theologian" in anyone's eyes, then I guess I'll have to live with that label!

This doesn't mean I hate the book - it just means I don't think it's worth my time to read. This doesn't mean I think Paul Young is a bad guy - to the contrary I bet I'd really dig him and his personal story if I sat down & talked with him.

What I'm saying is we need discernment, and I think it's lacking. This is the one point in your comments where I disagree completely with you. You say you were moved by the book. OK, great. But as a Christian do you want to be uncritically moved by things? I get moved by sunrises, but I recognize them as God's handiwork. Other people who get moved by them don't recognize that, so how we understand moving experiences is vitally important. I get moved by some forms of dance, and the beauty of the human body in motion. But I have to be guarded here because I can appreciate that lady dancer a bit too much if you know what I mean!

My point is this: if we're thinking biblically being moved is not an end in itself . So I disagree with your assertion that it's more about heart than mind. I don't think the Bible separates them like that, and I think we get into all kinds of trouble when we try to. What it's all about, as I taught during the Psalms series, is heart AND min fully engaged in worship. Not heart being moved and mind tagging along for the ride, and only coming in when it's not inconvenient.

Anne said...

I don't know if anyone will see this comment nearly a year after the last one, but I just found this post and thread of comments and wanted to toss in 2 more cents for whatever they are worth.

Matt, I appreciate your initial post and subsequent defense of it. I agree.

I wanted to address a previous poster who wrote, "Are we willing to limit God to images that are only familiar to us?"

That question right there is a large part of the problem with The Shack. We are not to make images of God - anyone remember the Reformation? And how can we dare to make God in our image, after our conception of what we think He might look like?

Also, any time "God" is a "character" in a novel, you're on dangerous ground, certainly, like it or not, on theological ground.

You defended you position very well, Matt, but I couldn't resist throwing in my voice as well.

Soli Deo Gloria

TimChalm said...

Given that line of thinking you would have to throw out every word image in all of Scripture.

The Shack never produces an idol. It's word pictures, word images, its like art, music, and Psalms. It hits our hearts in ways that a dry exegesis can't. Matt explained that concept very carefully and completely in his series on Psalms.

Does Scripture say that God is a mother hen? No, it's a word picture. The Shack paints word pictures. That's all.

Judy Cahill said...

I read The Shack years ago upon the enthusiastic recommendation of several Christian friends. As I got into the book I was appalled at the errors and heresies I perceived. One of the previous posters said it should be read with discernment. That is a must. God has granted me the ability to discern what is true and biblical and that certainly came rushing to the forefront as I read The Shack.

In spite of my hesitation to finish it I did indeed read it to the end hoping to find some redeeming quality to the novel. I found none.

I've heard some say it changed the way they view God and the trinity and I have to wonder what their original concepts were. They certainly would not gain a true concept of God and the Trinity from The Shack. I came to realize that the friends who enthusiastically embraced The Shack had a shallow understanding of scripture.

I also, read Burning Down The Shack by James B. DeYoung. He was a close friend of Paul Young author of The Shack and together they co-founded a Christian think tank called M3 Forum which met monthly to discuss and probe Christian topics. They met for several years. DeYoung says that his friend has strayed into heresy since he knew him. Paul Young has reportedly embraced Christian Universalism. This idea promotes the view that all will come to Christ either before death or after death when the fires of hell will purge away unbelief. Thus there is no eternal hell. A dangerous belief.

Judy Cahill said...

To clarify...William P. Young the author of The Shack is known by his friends by his middle name which is Paul. That is why DeYoung refers to him as Paul.

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