Saturday, March 7, 2009

Evaluation of The Shack

Dear Bereans,

I want to share with you a brief summary of my review of the novel The Shack. You can receive the entire review by getting it off the book rack in the narthex of the church. Or, if you are out of town, you can request it from our church office at Berean. Just send us an email and I will have it sent to you by mail.

I am writing this review because I believe that this book is very dangerous. It completely distorts the gospel of God's grace and misrepresents many other doctrines as well. I hope that what you read here will be of help to you. Here are a few of the pages that this review contains:

As I began to read The Shack, I was shocked and appalled by what it contained. The review that follows here will be the analysis of my time spent going over this book and studying its pages. I assume the author must have written this book with all good intentions to being a blessing to the body of Christ. Having read this book I am convinced that, whatever the author’s intentions and motives were for writing it, he knew exactly what he was doing. The author is promoting a Christian worldview that is Postmodern, contemporary, and Arminian in its presuppositions.

Let me say up front that this book is an engaging story. It touches the emotions of the soul on a number of very deep levels. This is one of the reasons The Shack has had such an impact on those who have read it. The book is a novel, and the story is very moving. One almost feels he is in a Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kincaid painting when reading this book. All the human emotions of sight, sound, smell, and feelings are utilized to make it a very dramatic experience when reading it. But aside from the popularity of an emotionally gripping narrative, one must ask-- “Does this justify reading a book that is seriously flawed in its theological and worldview foundation?” I think there are many other books that could and should be read that are not filled with the doctrinal errors and the heresies that this book is riddled with. In these days in which we live, we need to give ourselves to reading the best of Christian literature from both the past and the present. I am always a bit skeptical of anything that is being produced in our current culture. We are a culture that has been described as being Postmodern. It is a culture that has embraced, in the area of Christian values and thought, much that is man-centered, Arminian, and has been corrupted by what some have called the cult of Pop-culture.

Author- William P. Young was born in Canada and raised among a stone-age tribe by his missionary parents in Papua, New Guinea.

Synopsis- The Shack is a fictional story that seeks to provide answers to the great question, “Where is God when people suffer with pain, sorrow and disappointments?” Mack, the main character, has lived under the burden of The Great Sadness since the abduction and murder of his daughter four years previous. He then receives a note from God (”Papa”), inviting him to return to the shack — the scene of his daughter’s murder — for a time together. When he returns to the scene, Mack is treated to a weekend encounter with the Godhead. Each member of the Trinity is present: “Papa” - a large, jolly, Aunt Jamima-type, African-American woman (representing the Father); “Sarayu” – a beautiful, sensual woman of Asian descent (representing the Holy Spirit); and “Jesus” - a Middle Eastern carpenter who is portrayed as a silly and almost goofy person. Most of the book is Mack’s dialogue with these characters from this point on. They discuss a number of topics, all of which are to help Mack deal with The Great Sadness from his little girls murder. By the time the weekend is over, Mack is a changed man because of his conversations with the Trinity. This change in Mack’s character is not clearly defined or explained. It is hard to see that Mack has come to what we would call true regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit. So much has been left unsaid that the reader is left to guess whether or not Mack has been born again.

Dr. Al Mohler, who serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary gave a review of this controversial book entitled, “A Look at The Shack” on The Albert Mohler Radio Program ( Dr. Mohler states of The Shack:

· “This book includes undiluted heresy.”
· “This book simply, by any measure, falls far short of biblical Christianity.”
· “Regardless of intention (I can’t read the [author's] heart), I can tell you that the effect of the book is indeed deeply subversive of the Christian faith, and I think inherently seductive as well.”


Unknown said...

Thanks, Pastor, for reviewing this book. It is amazing what a prominent spot it is holding on the shelves of "Christian" bookstores.

momsal13 said...


Thank you for sharing this with me. I have heard of this book from so many family members and friends, and have truly questioned the content of it.

I would love a copy of the full review. Thank you so much!

jennkpaul said...

thank you pastor for the review and the booklet. will you have the booklet available for download or just availble for pick up at the church?