For the past month, I heard dozens of my Christian friends rave about a 'spiritual' book called The Shack. Since I love to read, I scribbled the title in my notebook as a gentle reminder to buy it the next time I went on an Amazon shopping spree.
Recently, a Godly friend of mine warned me about The Shack with no knowledge about the scribble that was burning a page in my notebook that was tucked away at home. With a puzzled look on my face, I made a mental vow to do a little bit of research before I made the purchase. Sadly, I was shocked with the findings and I know I won't be able to rest until I get this off my chest.
If you google The Shack, you will see many Christians applaud the book. But if you look hard enough, you will see Christians who share a different standpoint with unmistakable facts. My favorite article is written by a man who used to live in my hometown, it is called From the Lighthouse and I will be making my excerpts from his article as well as a few other articles. I will list my sources at the end of my blog.
If you have read the book, considered reading it, or simply have friends who are loyal fans. I urge you to read through this post at least once and then I encourage you to pray to God to lead you to the right conclusion. It is long but well worth the read!
I separated them in categories and used excerpts to support my case:
---- First, let's take a look at William Young. He is the author of the book and he writes in a blog, let's see what he believes in. You can find the blog in his Shack website.
May 24, 2007
"The second element is this: if Jesus drew occasionally upon his `God' capabilities, then how could he qualify as my representative and substitute, let alone model a dependent human life - I can't do that? He would have ceased being a truly human sacrifice.
I am personally convinced that Jesus was born, lived, died, was raised and now reigns as a fully human being, and has not drawn upon his deity ever in that process." Willie P Young
If you believe that Jesus never drew on His Deity in His life on earth or since His death and resurrection, than you make him out to be weak and impotent, and not God at all. He was God in the flesh, the very statement declares his deity.
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
If Jesus reigns now as a fully human being, then he is not in heaven and has not inherited the kingdom.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
----- If we follow just a few of the bad doctrines of The Shack to their logical conclusions, we end up with some very twisted theology.
1.) Making God into a woman. Over 2300 times God is referred to as He in the Scriptures, and not once is He a She...God declares himself to be masculine. Flat out, it is heresy to say that God is a woman.
"As he tried to establish some inner mental balance, the anger that he thought had so recently died inside him began to emerge. No longer concerned or caring about what to call God and energized by his ire, he walked up to the door. Mack decided to bang loudly and see what happened, but just as he raised his fist to do so, the door flew open, and he was looking directly into the face of a large beaming African-American woman."
God the Father ("Papa" as he/she is referred to in the book) is represented in the personage of an African-American woman. Near the end of the story, because Mack requires a more fatherly-figure, she turns into a gray-haired, pony-tailed man. Aside from that one instance late in the book, however, God the Father is this woman. Jesus is represented as a Middle-Eastern descent with a big-nose and a rather unassuming appearance and the Holy Spirit is played by Sarayu, a woman of Asian descent.
2.) In The Shack, there is not hierarchy within the Trinity. On page 121, "Papa" says, "...we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity. We are in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command or 'great chain of being' as your ancestors termed it. What you're seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power. We don't need power over the other because w are always looking out for the best. Hierarchy would make no sense among us. Actually, this is your problem, not ours."
This is great news to those who desire no authority in their lives. The Scriptures are clear that a hierarchy exists within the Trinity. Though we know and recognize that all three are equally and fully God, there is nevertheless a clear indication of hierarchy among the Father, Son, and Spirit. Jesus says that the Father has sent him; Jesus clearly sends the Spirit; Jesus states that he does not know when the end will come, and that only the Father knows such information Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane for the Father to allow the cup to pass, but submits to the will of the Father and goes to the cross. These, along with others, are clear example of hierarchy among the Trinity. Speaking of submission, Jesus (in the book) says,
"We are indeed submitted to one another and have always been so and always will be. Papa is as much submitted to me as I to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way."
Did you catch that? The godhead is submitted to us? According to the author, this is apparently the God that he serves. Jesus (in the book) continues by saying, "I don't want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me." The Scriptures are clear through the Pauline epistles, along with Christ's own words in the Gospels, that we are to be slaves and servants to the will of God, not merely "buddies" who are walking along life's path with him. We are to be submitted to the death to his glory and purpose in our lives. Not so if you follow the example of The Shack. If this example of submission is to be followed, the entire structure of the family as is laid out in Scripture crumbles. Fathers are no longer responsible for the spiritual lives of the families or the overall leadership within the home.
3.) Salvation is another topic that is broached rather quickly within the pages of The Shack.
On page 109, Jesus (in the book), in talking to Mack about salvation, says "I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu. To see me is to see them. The love you sense from me is no different from how they love you." This would have been a great opportunity for the author to clear up any ideas or misconceptions that he might be rejecting the exclusivity of Christ and holding on to at least this tiny sliver of orthodoxy. Instead, we see that according to Jesus, he is only the best way. In another portion of the book where, again, Jesus is speaking with Mack, he says the following in relation to what it means to be Christian.
He [Jesus] says,
"Who said anything about being a Christian? I'm not a Christian. Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptist or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.
Does that mean, asked Mack, that all roads will lead to you?
Not at all, smiled Jesus...Most roads don't lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you."
According to this text, God will use any means necessary to draw you to himself, but does not desire for you to leave that particular system? If you're a Muslim, you can remain a Muslim. He has "no desire to make them a Christian." In other words, He has no desire to make them conform to the stuffy rules and regulations we find in Scripture.
4.) The Shack points out that we need to "allow" God to redeem individuals.
"Mack, for you to forgive this man is for you to release him to me and allow me to redeem him."
Since when does God need me to forgive someone who has wronged before He is able to redeem that individual? God is not bound by my actions in regards to the redemption of another soul! If God sees fit to save that individual, they will be saved, regardless of my heart toward that person.
5.) In terms of the holiness and righteousness of God, The Shack again fall short.
On page 119, "Papa" tells Mack, "I am not who you think I am, Mackenzie. I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It's not my purpose to punish it; it's my joy to cure it."
In this view, God doesn't have a need to punish sin, but takes great joy in curing it. Again, there is no real clarity on the author's view of a literal place the Bible calls Hell, but this statement surely calls his belief in such a place into question. The holiness and righteousness of God simply has no place in The Shack
6.) The Shack encourages our free will and independence instead of being Christ-like.
Jesus [in the book] tells Mack, "...my life was not meant to be an example to copy. Being my follower is not trying to 'be like Jesus,' it means for your independence to be killed." So much for trying to live our lives by the example set by Christ. Additionally, Young seems to view God as being captive to our free will.
Sources: From The Lighthouse, Addison's Walk
I thank God for showing me the truth before I exposed myself to this book, PTL! Now that you know the truth, will you spread it?
UPDATE: The genre aspect of The Shack is irrelevant to my post, distorting the truth for a fictional book is still considered blasphemy. God does not turn a blind eye to heresies merely because of the "fiction" label on a book. I strongly believe no one should ever narrate for Jesus in any sort of book, we need to look to the Bible and quote from scriptures. The Bible is the living Word of God.