Warning: The Shack May be Dangerous to Your Soul
If what this reader says is true, it is a BIG red flag and "The Shack" should be of great concern to the Christian community.
This is THE book for you, IF..., October 24, 2007 By Michael Burton
To the many 5 star reviewers, may I respectfully ask you to step back, take a deep breath, and then give this book a second look, viewing it only through the prism of Scripture? Upon sober reflection, perhaps you will discern that this IS an amazing book and THE book for you if, and only if...
You want to recreate God in your own image;
You find Isaiah's portrayal of a holy God seated upon His throne to be a disturbing image;
You would prefer to metaphorically cast God the Father as a loving and large black woman named "Papa," Jesus as a laid back and friendly Middle Eastern man, and the Holy Spirit as a calm and cool Asian woman;
You want a God so small that you and she/he/she can just hang out together as best buddies;
You regard the Bible as an extremely biased, narrow-minded, and insufficient revelation of God in leather binding with "guilt edges" (page 65);
You therefore believe that God talks to people today, and that whatever she or he says to people trumps biblical truth (page 66);
You believe that God is never to be feared (page 90);
You believe that Jesus' miracles do not affirm Him as God, but prove only "that Jesus is truly human" (page 99);
You want a God who does not hold people accountable for, nor punishes sin (page 119);
You want a God who does not demand that you submit to him or her, but one who submits to YOU (page 145);
You want a God who accepts everyone -- "Buddhists...Muslims, bankers and bookies" -- as his or her children no matter what their beliefs or behavior, and that Jesus has "no desire to make them Christian" (page 223);
You believe that Jesus lied when He warned, "Broad is the road that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13), because in The Shack Jesus says, "Most roads don't lead anywhere" (page 182).
Make no mistake... 90% of this book is spot on. But isn't that exactly what makes its 10% error so insidiously deadly? Look, we can allegorize many things, but we don't mess with the Trinity. This book is a Trojan horse subtly infiltrating the Christian community -- one that makes our God extremely small and completely manageable, a God who, in the final analysis, is no God at all.
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In Matthew 24 alone the Lord Jesus Christ tells us...
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
November 11. 2008 UPDATE
'The Shack' needs to be taken to 'the woodshed'
By Joseph Gleason / Readers Columnist
Monday, November 10, 2008
"Lies are one of the easiest places for survivors to run. It gives you a sense of safety. .... Lies are a little fortress; inside them you can feel safe and powerful." "Papa" says this on Page 187 of "The Shack" by William P. Young.
These words perfectly describe why "The Shack" is a bestseller, with 2 million copies in print. People ignore truth; they prefer comfortable lies instead.
This story supposedly helps us understand the Trinity - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Scripture. Yet, this book repeatedly contradicts Scripture.
The Bible says the Father never became man, and was not crucified. Only the Son did that. Yet in "The Shack," the Father has scars just like Jesus.
The Bible says that God punishes unrepentant sinners. Yet on Page 120 of "The Shack," God says, "I don't need to punish people for sin. ... It's not my purpose to punish it."
In Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus mentions cities where people "would have repented" if they had seen "mighty works" and miracles. Yet God sent no miracles. Instead, he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and judged Tyre and Sidon. God could have brought them to repentance, but he chose not to do so. He sent justice instead.
On Page 162 of "The Shack," we meet a different god, who does his best to make sure no one is judged. This god may make readers comfortable, but he is not the Christian God.
Throughout the Bible, God never appears as a woman. Jesus teaches us to pray, "Our Father," not "Our Mother."
Jesus is "the son of God," not "the daughter of God." Yet in "The Shack," God the father appears as a woman called "Papa," and the Holy Spirit appears as a woman called "Sarayu."
This is idolatry.
It is like Exodus 32:5, where Israel abandons God and worships a golden calf. Yet they call the calf by God's name, "Yahweh." Likewise, this book's characters may be called the "Trinity," but they are still idols.
In Scripture, Amos 3:6 says, "When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?" And Chapter 4 discusses famines, droughts, plagues and wars which God caused to come upon his people so they would repent.
Yet Page 185 of "The Shack" says that God never causes tragedies to occur.
On Page 182, Jesus says he doesn't try to turn people into Christians and hints that people may go to heaven even if they follow false religions and worship false gods.
These glaring inaccuracies make this book awful.
Non-Christians should avoid it, because it gives them an incorrect picture of Christianity. Christians should avoid it because it portrays their own faith falsely.
It is nonsense, like a Muslim honoring Christ's resurrection or an atheist praising God.
With "The Shack," Young created a new pagan religion, yet he muddies the waters by calling it "Christian."
"The Shack" needs to be taken out to "the woodshed" for a good whipping.
Contact Joseph Gleason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 16, 2008 UPDATE
God of the Bible and God of 'The Shack' not alike
Fictional book aims to teach theology -- and does so badly
By Alexandra Armstrong
November 15, 2008
"The Shack," by William P. Young, is still the No. 1 paperback book on the New York Times bestseller list. I'd rather it was still Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code."
What makes me nostalgic for "The DaVinci Code" is that its biblical contradictions are blatant enough for even a recent Christian convert to spot.
You only have to go to one Easter service to recognize Brown's account of Jesus running off with Mary Magdalene and raising a daughter doesn't square with the apostle's eye-witness account of his death, burial and resurrection.
The heretical doctrine of "The Shack" is more subtle. You won't spot the sacrilege if you don't know the scriptures.
If you're not familiar with "The Shack," it's a fictional story of a man named Mack who wrestles with the question of why God allows evil. He's granted a weekend at the scene of his daughter's murder (hence the book's title) with the three persons of the godhead to ask his questions.
Here are a few examples of what this quirky trinity teaches Mack about God:
* God has no expectations of man, and man has no responsibilities (page 206). However, Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will keep My word."
* God will not punish people for sin, because sin is its own punishment (page 120). But Jesus said he will divide the blessed from the cursed and send the latter away into everlasting punishment.
* God does not care to talk about sin and does not want man's sorrow for it (page 184). Yet the call for repentance is a major theme of the gospels. Jesus told people that, without repentance, they would perish.
I have heard several people comment that Christians shouldn't get our feathers ruffled over this book because it is, after all, a work of fiction.
However, this particular work of fiction includes an end-page appeal to help broaden the distribution of the book so that others will get " ... a magnificent glimpse into the nature of God that is not often presented in our culture."
We cannot ignore that the book itself purports to teach theology.
What "The Shack" presents is a sentimental deity stripped of any pesky trappings of transcendent glory or sovereignty. God has been pulled off his throne and made into a celestial concierge obliged to satisfy his creations' demands for answers and service. (Really, at the end of the book, Mack says, "God, the servant ... is more truly God, my servant" page 236).
Think through the implications if our Most High God were indeed like the degraded god of Young's imagination. If God is man's servant, it is not man who should be judged. If sin is unpunished, then God is unjust. If God is not in control of all things, suffering -- including Jesus' on our behalf -- is purposeless. Thankfully, none of this is true.
TV personality Kathy Lee Gifford offered this endorsement: "'The Shack' will change the way you think about God forever."
I pray it doesn't.
You can contact Armstrong at email@example.com.
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From Another Blogger:
"Despite the great amount of poor theology, my greatest concern is probably this one: the book has a quietly subversive quality to it. Young seems set on undermining orthodoxy Christianity. For example, at one point Mack states that, despite years of seminary and years of being a Christian, most of the things taught to him at the shack have never occurred to him before. Later he says, 'I understand what you’re saying. I did that for years after seminary. I had the right answers, sometimes, but I didn’t know you. This weekend, sharing life with you has been far more illuminating than any of those answers.' Throughout the book there is this kind of subversive strain teaching that new and fresh revelation is much more relevant and important than the kind of knowledge we gain in sermons or seminaries or Scripture."
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Here's Another Reader's Comment from Amazon.com:
When Emotion-packed "Sheep" Fiction Cloaks a Wolf's Blasphemy, November 16, 2008
By George Wearteborough "drjjsj" (Lewisville - Double Oak, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
Religious humanism at a new and putrid low, purportedly teaching the "truth" about forgiveness, yet only delivering a cheap (bait-and-switch) counterfeit to the reader. Many insist on eating nutritious food, and drinking safe (potable) water, yet would nonetheless read and even recommend the theological pollution (marketed as "The Shack") passing as "sheep" fiction, when (in theological reality) this humanistic novel is nothing but a "wolf-in-sheep's-clothing" product that mischaracterizes the triune God of the Bible as a sub-divine trinity of happy-silly-emotional (and truth-evading) HUMAN fools: 1 man, 2 women, with one of the females sporting a masculine name. In "The Shack", fiction-pressed emotions are used to disarm and dismiss doctrinal truth, employing a blasphemously farcical (and minimally "holy") "trinity", who conveniently deny that human sin is divinely punished, and who are repeatedly "emerging" in silly and human-like ways that somehow can't seem to match the doctrinal content of the Holy Bible's teachings about Who God really is and how God reveals Himself to mankind. This is post-modern false prophecy "emerging" in all its anti-Biblical pollution and epistemological bankrupty, exposed for anyone duped into reading it. If you begin to read and then want to vomit, there is hope for you! If not, shame on you -- try to repent! God said that He honors His Word even above His own name, so you can can guess what He (not "She") thinks about this humanistic Trinity-trivializing, Bible-denying "literature".
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William P. Young
William P. Young is an American author, best known for The Shack, a Christian novel. Young initially printed just fifteen copies of his book for friends who encouraged him to have it published. Unable to find a publisher, Young published the book himself in 2007; word-of-mouth referrals eventually drove the book to number one on the New York Times trade paperback fiction best-seller list in June 2008.
In an interview with World Magazine's Susan Olasky, Young, who is no longer a member of a church, said "(The institutional church) doesn't work for those of us who are hurt and those of us who are damaged. . . . If God is a loving God and there's grace in this world and it doesn't work for those of us who didn't get dealt a very good hand in the deck, then why are we doing this? . . . Legalism within Christian or religious circles doesn't work very well for people who are good at it. And I wasn't very good at it."
An article in MacLean's Magazine in August 2008 indicated that Young, is a "Canadian raised from birth by his missionary parents in Dutch New Guinea, Young was sexually abused by some of the people his parents preached to, as he was again back home, at a Christian boarding school. Young drifted through life as an adult, buoyed a little by his faith and a lot by his wife, Kim, keeping his secrets and building his shack: "the place we make to hide all our crap," he calls it. Until, at 38, he found himself at the nadir. "I had a three-month affair with one of my wife's best friends. That was it, that just blew my careful little religious world apart. I either had to get on my knees and deal with my wife's pain and anger or kill myself."
Young currently resides in Gresham, Oregon with his wife and six children