The Shack by William P. Young
The Shack is a book I had planned to just ignore, as just one more thing that needed to be trashed (or bulldozed). I had heard several critical comments and had glanced at them but was not really interested in dealing with it. Then in the course of a week, I have been made aware that a previous acquaintance has a blog with bragging about how life changing the book was to him. Then I saw another website of young moms that were thrilled about how great the book was. It was beginning to sound like the hype about A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Then CBD (Christian Books Distributors) were pushing the book on their website as a top seller. So I had to research the book in order to be able to give a good answer if questioned.
The Characters in The Shack are:
Mack is a father grieving the murder of his daughter years before.
Papa reminds me of Aunt Jemima or Mammy, an older African- American woman, who in the end becomes a pony-tailed, grey-haired man.
Jesus is a young man of Middle – Eastern nationality.
The Holy Spirit is Sarayu, a small, Asian woman.
The following quotes are from:
“A question worth asking is this one: does The Shack point Christians to the unfailing standard of Scripture or does it point them to new and fresh revelation?”
“Though the cross is central to the Bible and central to the Christian faith, it appears only sparingly in The Shack. A person who is unfamiliar with the Christian faith will not be able to glean from this book a biblical understanding of what the cross was for and what Jesus’ death accomplished. Nor will he understand how God saves us and what He saves us from.”
“In fact, God does not need to punish sin at all, says Papa. “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it”” (120). “Those who love me come from every stream that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions”” (182).
“Jesus says to Mack, “I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu.” Jesus does not say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” as he does in John 14:6, but merely states that He is the best way.” “The book presents less than the full gospel message. It teaches that God died for the sins of the whole world and that He now waits for us to respond to this potential gift. It teaches that God does not punish sin, but that sin is sufficient punishment in itself. It opens the possibility that people can come to God in ways other than a saving faith in Jesus Christ.”
“Quoting Buckminster Fuller, a Unitarian-Universalist who wrote a book entitled I Am a Verb, he has Papa say, “I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active, and moving. I am verb” (204).”
“… in The Shack we find a man who stands in the very presence of God and uses foul language …This is not a man who is in the presence of One who is far superior to Him, but a man who is in the presence of a peer.”
“But this is not all. The discerning reader will note as well that the author muddies the concepts of forgiveness and free will. He introduces teaching that is entirely foreign to the Bible, often stating with certainty what is merely speculative. He oversteps the bounds of Scripture while downplaying the Bible’s importance. He relies too little on Scripture and too much on his own theological imaginings.”
“In The Shack ‘god’ the father is an African American WOMAN called Papa (a goddess!), ‘god’ the son is a plain looking Middle Eastern man with a big nose and ‘god’ the spirit is a small, delicate little Asian girl (another goddess!). The Shack also teaches the heresy of modalism and is chock full of other serious doctrinal errors.”
“That seems to be the aim of The Shack’s female “God.” Here she is speaking to the main character, Mackenzie (Mack for short):
“For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning.”[p.93]”
“No one has seen God at any time,” said the true Jesus. (John 1:18) Yet, here we see all three in human form — on earth! “God” explains:
“‘By nature I am completely unlimited… I live in a state of perpetual satisfaction as my normal state of existence:’ she said, quite pleased. ‘Just one of the perks of Me being Me.’ “That made Mack smile. This lady was fully enjoying herself… “We created you to share in that. But then Adam chose to go it on his own, as we knew he would, and everything got messed up. But instead of scrapping the whole Creation we rolled up our sleeves and entered into the middle of the mess—that’s what we have done in Jesus…. When we three spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed. …flesh and blood.”[p.98-99]”
“In this new story, sin no longer separates unholy people from our holy God. It fits right into postmodern churches that ignore Biblical commands such as “Do not be conformed to the world” and “Abhor evil” (Romans 12:2,9). Chipping away at the reality of sin, guilt and God’s just judgments, this transformational process undermines any real understanding of our need for discernment, repentance or the cross. Even God’s amazing grace becomes meaningless!”
The actual discussion of The Shack starts around 30 minutes into the audio so you can skip ahead if you want then it ends abruptly at 45 minutes.
Please read this book with much discernment and “be Berean” and compare it to the scriptures.
Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the
Thessalonians,for they received the message with great eagerness and examined
the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” NIV
Eve was the one deceived and we as women will often let our emotions rule our beliefs. Just because something appeals to our emotions does not make it worthy. Fiction either reveals the truths of the Bible and lines up totally with the Bible or it takes away from or adds to the Scripture and teaches falsehoods.
“In one of his first encounters with Papa, “Mack noticed the scars in her wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his” (95). Note that these scars were present on the wrists of the Father and not just the Son.”