Posted by: Tim | October 18, 2008

Book Review: The Shack by William P. Young

I first heard about The Shack earlier this year as there was a lot of ‘buzz’ around it — stories of people buying cases for their friends, many, many claims that ‘this book changed my life’, a rave review from Michael W. Smith, even a statement from Eugene Peterson that it could be like Pilgrim’s Progress for this generation.

I then saw a few reviews from Christian leaders whom I respect, and they were all saying some variation of the same thing: The Shack may have some good parts, but it is full of unbiblical teaching. Many went on to describe the points of unbiblical teaching in much detail. While I like to make my own assessment, I just don’t have the time to read every book/fad that comes along in the evangelical subculture, so I often have to rely on others whom I trust to have good discernment. I have many good books on my shelf that I do want to read, or re-read, and reading something like The Shack takes away from my overall reading time.

So I didn’t plan to read The Shack myself, but it has kept coming up in the past number of months as different people I know have been reading it and often giving positive recommendations. I have been concerned because of the reported unbiblical teaching being received by so many people. If it is so unbiblical, then why are so many Christians recommending it, seeming to miss or ignore the obvious problems?

Seeing that The Shack has become a significant force that needs to be addressed, I decided to read it myself, so I would not have to go solely by others opinions, even if they are respected opinions. As a pastor, I have a responsibility for the people whom I shepherd, and with so many Christians reading this book, I want to provide some input and guidance regarding The Shack.

Admittedly, I was not exactly an unbiased reader, but I did try to be fair in my reading and in my review below.

Here are the main points of my review. Please scroll down below to read more.

1.The Plot of the Shack in 75 words or less

2. Biblical Teaching in the Shack

3. Unbiblical Teaching in the Shack

4. “C’mon, give it a rest, it’s just a novel, not a theological work”

5. “But this book has changed my life! It must be true!”

6. “Why are so many Christians reading and recommending The Shack?”

7. “So, should I read the Shack? Everyone else is reading it!”

8. What are some Christian books you would recommend?

9. Other Weird but Maybe Interesting Things in the Shack

10. Other Reviewers of the Shack who express concern

11. Conclusion

Book Review: The Shack

1.The Plot of the Shack in 75 words or less

A middle aged family man named Mack, who had terrible relationship with his abusive father, experiences tragedy when his young daughter Missy is kidnapped and murdered, while on a camping trip. Her bloody clothing is found at a mountain shack. Mack later receives a note from God to return to the shack, which he does. There he meets the Trinity, each in human form, and has many conversations and experiences personal healing and transformation.

Comments: The first third or so of the book is the story leading up to his meeting with God. I found this section of the book dull and a bit depressing, since I knew something bad was going to happen to his daughter. I found myself dreading that part and wanting it to just be over with. The final two-thirds where he meets God is much better as the conversations with God are often interesting and there are some truly moving parts.

2. Biblical Teaching in the Shack

The following biblical teaching themes arose in The Shack. The list below is not exhaustive of all biblical teaching in the Shack, but I think it provides a representative cross section. I have included biblical references in brackets.

a. Forgive others (Luke 17:3-4, many other passages). God teaches Mack that he needs to forgive others, even when they have done terrible things against him and his family

b. Stop blaming and judging God and start trusting Him (The book of Job teaches this theme). This is a constant theme in Mack’s conversations with God.

c. Christ lives his life in you instead of you trying to live the Christian life in your own strength (Colossians 1:27, 2:5, John 15). (p112, p149)

d. Jesus the Son and God the Father are not playing a game of “good cop/bad cop” with us, with Jesus as the loving, forgiving good cop and The Father as the angry wrathful bad cop. When we see what Jesus is like, we see what God is like (many references in John, i.e. John 1:1, 1:14, 10:30).

e. Don’t lie to your wife or to anyone else (Colossians 3:9). This is not a major point in the book, but it does come up a few times, and its a good one!

3. Unbiblical Teaching in the Shack

The following unbiblical teaching occurs in The Shack. Again, the list is not exhaustive, but I think it is representative, and again I have included biblical references in brackets. This section is longer than the one above, due to the need to explain why these teachings are unbiblical.

a. God submits to humans (Really…I’m not making this up!). (pp145-146)

To be extremely charitable, maybe what The Shack means is that Christ came to serve, and so we are to serve one another. This is a redefinition of the word submit, but if that is what the book means, then OK.

But there is just no way we can say that God submits to us (John 13:13).

b. God the Father (who appears as a woman to Mack, because Mack had a bad relationship with his own father, but it would also seem the purpose is shock value for readers) has nailprints in his hands, just like Jesus. (p96)

Weird. Terribly speculative. And unbiblical.

c. God has already forgiven everyone, it is just that many choose independence instead of God. (p225)

Rather it should be said that God has made the way of forgiveness available through Jesus Christ, but people still need to repent and put their faith in Him. There is a big difference. We need to ask forgiveness to receive it (2 Cor. 7:14). Otherwise we remain unforgiven people in need of forgiveness (Romans 4:7).

d. God does not need to punish sin because “sin is its own punishment”  (pp119-120)

God is a God of love, and He is a holy God whose wrath is upon all mankind. To avoid his wrath, a person must repent of their sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Certainly sin itself causes us harm and God gives us over to the consequences of sin (Romans 1:24, 26, 28 “God gave them up…”). And certainly God disciplines his children out of love (Heb. 12:6).

But make no mistake, the Bible is very plain that God’s wrath rests upon all people who do not belong to Christ. Just ask the people getting the bowls poured on their heads in Revelation if part of God’s character includes wrath. Check with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and see if they would agree that God is not a God of wrath. Ask the Apostle Paul if God is a God of wrath (Romans 1:18, 5:9, Eph 5:6). I could go on and on, as the Bible consistently teaches and illustrates that God’s wrath is due to sinners, and we are all sinners who need salvation from our sins, which is given by God through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 8:1).

Just last Sunday, I preached from John 1:14 and as part of the message I referred back to Exodus 34:6-7, where God revealed his glory to Moses. God’s glory is displayed in his goodness and his character (see also Exodus 33:18-19). Here is the passage below, describing God’s glory as Moses saw it.

Exodus 34:5-7 (ESV) The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

In v7, the Lord shows Moses his glory, describing the steadfast love, faithfulness and mercy of God, and also the just and righteous character of God, “who will by no means clear the guilty.” We see that God’s glory includes his love and his justice.

Interestingly, God’s love and wrath come together most vividly at the cross. Here God shows His love for us in sacrificing His very own Son as the perfect sacrifice for our sins (Romans 5:8). At the same time, God pours out his wrath on His Son, who fully satisfies God’s wrath (Satisfying God’s wrath is the meaning of the theological term “propitiation”. See Romans 3:24-25, 1 John 4:10). God justly punishes sin, but His great mercy he gives His Son Jesus to receive the punishment for our sins, making a way for people to avoid receiving that punishment themselves.

e. God could never willfully choose some of his children to go to hell, anymore that an earthly father could willfully choose to send some of his children to hell. (pp161-163)

God is just when he sends people to hell, for that is what every person deserves, because all have sinned (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). God is not a man and he did willfully pour out all his wrath on his own Son, that a way of salvation might be made for you and I, as discussed in d. above (See also Isaiah 53:10 (ESV) “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief”, prophetically speaking of Jesus’ sacrificial death).

f. The cross is the triumph of mercy over justice. (pp164-165)

In reality, the cross includes a triumph of both mercy and justice. God’s mercy is seen in that he gave his son to die on a cross. Apart from the cross, it would be just for us to spend eternity in hell, but through the cross it is justice for us to be declared righteous in God’s sight, because Christ as paid the penalty in full for our sins, and when we trust in Him, his righteousness becomes our righteousness. Thus God justly declares us righteous.  To say that mercy triumphs over justice at the cross is to completely misunderstand the nature of Christ’s saving work and to miss the heart of the gospel.

Perhaps the Shack is referring to James 2:13, which says “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (ESV) This passage, in context, is a warning not to show partiality, not to judge people without mercy, for we are guilty ourselves. It is comparable to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:1ff, (Judge not…get rid of the log in your own eye first.) James 2:13 is not teaching about the cross.

g. Perhaps the greatest problem with The Shack is how little it actually says about the cross, the gospel and salvation. This is a gross error of omission.

h. Hierarchical structures in this world are human constructs that are thinly veiled attempts to grasp power and control people. Thus institutions are bad, as they are focal points for hierarchical structures. There is no ‘hierarchy’ in the Trinity. (pp121-125)

This teaching flies in the face of so many Scripture passages, it is hard to know where to start. Certainly power can be used inappropriately, and in this world it often is. But God has established many institutions and relationships that involve one person having authority over another (See for example the relationships described in Ephesians 5:22-Ephesians 6:4, or the authority granted to governments by God, as described in Romans 13:1). That authority is meant to be used in loving, God-honouring way. Government, marriage, work, and family come to mind as examples.

When on earth, Jesus repeatedly says that he is sent from God to do His Father’s will. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and by the Son. In heaven He is portrayed as being the exalted King at the right hand of God. A King by definition has authority over his people. A Kingdom is the realm where the kings reigns. Believers will one day reign with Christ.  All of this suggests that leadership and submission is a very normal part of how God functions and how his people are to function.

(See John 5:30 & 6:38 and consider how the Son related to the Father while He was on earth. See 1 Corinthians 15:28 and consider how the Son relates to the Father in eternity. Consider also the phrase ‘at the right hand of God’, which is consistently used to describe Jesus’ relationship to the Father. All of these references plainly suggest hierarchical relationship between Father and Son. This relationship in no way suggests inequality and more than a husband’s leadership of his wife or a mother’s leadership of her children implies inequality between husbands and wives or children and parents.)

i. Many people have expressed concern about the human portrayal of God in The Shack, feeling it breaks the second commandment by setting up an image of God. I somewhat share this concern, since only Jesus can be described as being in human form. God is spirit (John 4) and the Holy Spirit is spirit as well, so to portray either as human seems inappropriate and confusing at best. However I have not made a big point of this in my review, because while I do not appreciate these portrayals, it is a written book and it would be of much greater concern to me if it were a painting, or a movie (which sadly, I hear they are planning to make, based on the book).

I am more concerned that God the Father is portrayed as a woman, simply because it directly contradicts the consistent revelation of God as a Father. Yes, I am aware that God is occasionally referred to in feminine imagery, but is this really the main thrust of Scripture regarding the nature of the first person in the Trinity? Clearly it is not.

j. Universalism. Some reviewers have suggested that the Shack teaches universalism, and that the author is a universalist.

There are times when I wondered about this myself, when I read The Shack. It certainly doesn’t close the door on universalism (a belief that all people will be saved). There is one line in particular, where Jesus says he is the ‘best way any human can relate’ (p110) to God the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Bible says He’s the only way (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). I don’t know why the author chose to have Jesus say He’s the best way (implying there are other, but less effective ways) to know God, when the Bible is so plain in saying He’s the only way. It is easy to see why some accuse The Shack of treading the path towards universalism, with a line like that.

There are also parts where it seems to be saying that God may find people in other religions. The language is vague, so it is hard to know if it means to say that God can be found in other religions, or if God will call people in any religion to follow Him (but not through that religion). There was no need for vagueness, for the Scriptures are very plain that salvation is found in Christ, and not in any other religion. God calls people from many religious backgrounds, but He calls them all to repent and follow Christ (Acts 17:16-34, esp 16, 30-31).

k. The Shack is often vague and it mixes biblical and unbiblical teaching, making it difficult to discern truth from error.

I found myself often rereading a section and asking myself “Is that right? It sounds almost right…but it’s not quite right.” Then the more I thought about it and compared it with the Bible, the more I realized the error(s) mixed in with the truth.

This mix of truth and error makes The Shack potentially more dangerous than a book that is a blatant in speaking out against Christianity. A book that is blatant would be rejected out of hand, but The Shack often sounds right (and is right many times) so it is accepted by many people who may miss the serious problems discussed above. In this way the truth and error are digested together, giving people a confused understanding of the nature of God as taught in the Bible and other biblical teaching.

4. “C’mon, give it a rest, it’s just a novel, not a theological work”

I have read some people who respond to critics by saying that The Shack is a novel, not a theology text book and thus it should not be scrutinized like a theology textbook. They will often admit the presence of some of the unbiblical teachings listed above, saying something like, “There may be some theological mistakes, but it’s just a novel”.

I have two responses to this:

a. While it certainly is a novel, there can be little doubt that one of the novel’s purposes is to teach theological truth, through the conversations Mack has with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Imagine if I told you that the stories in the Bible where people meet God, such as Jacob wrestling with the angel, or Moses at the burning bush, or Paul on the road to Damascus, were in story form (as opposed to teaching like in Romans or Ephesians) and thus were not intended to teach us about the nature of God. I think you would say I’m very mistaken. In the story of Moses at the burning bush, we learn deep things about the character of God, and it is all the more powerful because it is God speaking directly to him. The Shack is a novel that blatantly attempts to teach theological truth and it is having precisely this effect on the hundreds of thousands of people who are reading it and saying that it changed their lives, as they learn the author’s flawed views about the nature of God and other biblical subjects.

b. Is it too much to ask that a Christian novel at least try to be biblical? If you were writing a Christian novel, and putting words into the mouth of God (probably not a good idea to start with, but just play along!), would you not at least try to have God saying things that are biblical? I think that most Christians, if they give it some thought, realize that they respect, love and fear God too much to start speculating about what he might say, or to have him saying things that seem to contradict Scripture. God cares deeply about his word and we must not treat it lightly. It truly saddens me that Christians are rushing out in droves to buy and recommend a book that plays fast and loose with the very words of God.

5. “But this book has changed my life! It must be true!”

Several years ago, the Christian group, All Star United, opened their self-titled album with these words from the song “La La Land”:

The question isn’t whether it’s true,
The question, “Is it workin’ for you?”

These lyrics illustrate the danger of basing truth on our experience, rather than on the Word of God.

If The Shack has helped you to forgive people, to love them more, or to love God more, then I am happy for you. If God can use even the rocks to cry out in praise to Him, He can use even The Shack to bless your Christian walk. However, if it has had this effect on you at the expense of teaching you an unbiblical view of God and His word, then I am deeply concerned for you. You need to ask yourself if you are making Scripture the measure of what you allow to transform your life, or if you are letting your individual experience be your guide. Are you measuring truth by what God says, or by what you feel?

6. “Why are so many Christians reading and recommending The Shack?”

My first response is that George Barna’s statistics are generally true — the stats which show that North American Christians think and act virtually the same as their non-Christian neighbours, that Christians do not think biblically, etc…. — and thus many Christians do not recognize the many unbiblical teachings in the book.

But Barna’s stats only provide part of the answer.

Clearly The Shack is meeting a need(s), or people would not be so strongly recommending it to others. Here are my thoughts on what needs are being met.

a. It seeks to answer the the often-asked question, “Why doesn’t God stop terrible things from happening to people?” In our globalized media culture, we hear about bad things happening all the time, making this an urgent question.

b. It attempts to give people a very personal understanding of the nature of the Triune God. Many people want to better understand God, so The Shack’s personal, humanizing approach to the Trinity is appealing.

c. It emphasizes God’s love and denies his wrath. There are many Christians who grew up in a church that overemphasized God’s wrath at the expense of God’s love. The Shack makes the opposite mistake, but it is comforting to people who experienced the other extreme.

d. It comforts many people who have experienced deep pain in their lives. As a pastor, this tells me that the church needs to do a better job of comforting and helping people in their hurts. God describes himself as “The God of all comfort”, and gives us a mandate to comfort others with the comfort we have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). We need to take this mandate seriously.

e. It has a huge emotional impact by touching on some of the deepest human relationships, such as the relationship between a father and a son and how damage to that relationship impacts a person (Mack and his dad), or the relationship between a father and daughter and how precious that is, and how painful it is when a daughter is lost prematurely (Mack and his daughter Missy, also his other daughter Katie) The Shack’s strong emotional impact may cause many people to miss, overlook or even attempt to justify its unbiblical teachings. It is the spirit of our age to let experience be the measure of truth, instead of God’s Word.

7. “So, should I read the Shack? Everyone else is reading it!”

One of my fears in writing this review is that it will have a reverse psychological effect and more people will rush out to buy The Shack. Please, be more spiritually mature than that!

I would only suggest it be read by people who need to be able to give a firsthand, informed response when asked about it (perhaps to respond Christian friends who are being misled by it, or in my case as a pastor to give an informed response to the people whom I shepherd, as well as to others who may read this blog). In any case, it should be read with caution and with a Bible nearby to compare what The Shack says with what God says.

Certainly there is some good teaching in The Shack, but there is so much bad teaching that it becomes a chore to sort out the good from the bad, and you need to ask yourself why it is a good idea to read a book where you will have to spend so much time sifting the wheat from the chaff (and there’s quite a bit of chaff to sift!). As Barna has shown, many Christians today are not well equipped with spiritual discernment, and when you recommend this book to them, they may not be able to sort out the good from the bad, and will be left thinking the unbiblical teaching of The Shack is true! You don’t want to share any responsibility for that before God, by having recommended it to them in the first place.

8. What are some Christian books you would recommend?

Reading a book takes a lot of time (a number of hours for the Shack, depending on how fast you read), and if you are going to give hours of your life to something, why not read some books that are known to contain sound teaching, that will bless your walk with God rather than cause confusion.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are few good Christian books which I recommend to you, with links to chapters.ca, where you can buy them (and, no, regrettably I don’t get a cut from Chapters!).

1. Christ for Real by Charles Price

2. Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

3. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller (click here for the review I did of this book – I expressed some reservations about a few things, but overall, it’s very good!)

4. Pilgrim’s Progess by John Bunyan (I recently enjoyed the audio version in the car, available for purchase here)

5. The Passion for Souls by Oswald J. Smith (Note the link is to “The Revival We Need” which is the same book under a different title)

6. Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn

7. City on a Hill by Philip Ryken

8. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (other “Case for…” books by Strobel are also good)

9. The Courage to be Protestant by David Wells

10. Maxwell’s Passion and Power by Howard Fuller (available from the Olford Center)

9. Other Weird but Somewhat Interesting Things in the Shack

God listens to a lot of Bruce Cockburn (I wonder whether “If I had a Rocket Launcher” is on the playlist?)

Mack uses God’s name in vain while talking to God.

There is a bit too much kissing on the lips between the members of the Trinity, and with Mack too.

The Holy Spirit is big into fractals. Who knew?

When you walk on the water, you get wet up to your ankles.

God the Father is a good cook (I guess that’s not really surprising, since He is good at everything!).

10. Other Reviewers of the Shack who express concern

Here are some other reviewers who have expressed concern about The Shack. I might not necessarily agree with everything they say, but I have found them to be helpful and I thought it would be helpful to link to them.

a. Tim Challies – Tim has written a detailed and well presented review of The Shack. Tim is a Christian blogger in Oakville, Ontario with about 7000 daily subscribers to his site (a signficant number in the Christian blogosphere).  He is an avid reader and his site has many reviews of mostly Christian books.

b. Dr. Michael Youssef – You can watch a video here of a sermon that Michael preached about The Shack. There is also a pdf document about The Shack comparing what The Shack says with what the Bible says. Dr. Michael Youssef is the pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta and the host/preacher on Leading the Way radio and TV programs.

c. Mark Driscoll – You can watch video here of a portion of one of Mark’s sermons where he talks about the Shack. Mark is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in urban Seattle.

d. Dr. Albert Mohler – You can listen here to a radio program where he reviews The Shack. Dr. Albert Mohler is the President of Southern Seminary and the Host of the Al Mohler Show.

11. Conclusion

I hope this review of The Shack is helpful to you. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my assessment, but even if you disagree, I hope you will at least consider the concerns I have raised, and look to the Bible and ask if yourself if you can justify supporting a book that so plainly contradicts significant biblical teaching.

Thank you for reading this review. I welcome your comments below.

Tim Strickland

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Responses

  1. Thanks a lot, Tim. That review was just like your sermons, thoughtful and well laid out, yet you have the wisdom to stand back and let scripture speak for itself. I really appreciate that you took the time to read through this book and give us an honest, detailed assessment of it.
    The book recommendations are a great idea too, I just might put a few of those on my list.

  2. Hey Tim,
    Thanks so much for this review. You are bang on and I thank you for your honest and biblical thoughts.
    Thanks!
    Vanessa (Strickland)

  3. Pastor Tim,
    I knew from first hearing of the book (oddly enough in Three Hills over the August 16-19 weekend, by more than 4 people) that it was somehow meeting a need and that somehow became in a very short time a fad. I bought the book (sadly a waste of my money) for the return flight home to Manitoba. It immediately set me at odds. I found myself thinking the exact same thing, to quote you “I found myself often rereading a section and asking myself “Is that right? It sounds almost right…but it’s not quite right.” ”
    Thank you for putting to ‘pen’ what I couldn’t put to words. I appreciate the time it took you to read and assess The Shack and, with your permission??, will print out your assessment and tape it inside the book should I choose to let anyone read it, or give to the thrift store.

  4. Hey Ben, Vanessa, & Leah,

    Thank you all for the feedback and the encouragement on the review.

    Leah, please feel free to print it and share it with anyone you think it would help.

    God bless,
    Tim

  5. Very good review, Tim! I know several people who swear this book has changed their lives, and after reading what Hank H. (yeah, I’m not going to even attempt to spell it!) had to say about it, I was very leary of it. May the Lord continue to bless you as you excercise discernment, just as the Bereans did, comparing everything to Scripture.

    *high five from an old pal,
    Karyn
    P.S.: thanks to your wifey for posting your blog link on FB… I’ve not bookmarked you! :o)

  6. Tim,

    I appreciate your review of The Shack. I have not read it myself, and I enjoyed your detailed thoughts. I thought you might be interested in asking William Paul Young some questions of your own. He is going to be chatting on Abunga.com tomorrow (10/22) at 2 pm EDT. If you’re interested, you can log in at http://www.abunga.com/authorsatabunga.

    Brittany
    abunga.com
    blog.abunga.com

  7. Thanks, Tim. I too, am leary of things that become fads. When I find myself on a wide road agreeing with the general public, I get nervous and feel a strong need to re-evaluate my thinking. I haven’t read the book and wasn’t planning to. I didn’t know if it was just because, having experienced violent murder in my family, I didn’t want to be reminded or what my reason was. But now I certainly won’t bother. Thank you for evaluating it so clearly. That must have taken a significant amount of time. May God bless you for it.

    Since this is Pastor Appreciation Month, let me say. I appreciate you as my pastor.

  8. Tomorrow Oct. 22, William Paul Young will be on Abunga.com’s “Author Chat” program for one hour to answer questions from fans and readers about “The Shack.” Join us online from 2-3 p.m. EDT at http://Abunga.com/AuthorsAtAbunga.

    Questions are currently being accepted at the “Authors at Abunga” Web page and will also be taken during the chat. An archive of the chat will be available at Abunga.com on the following day if you are unable to attend. Thanks!

  9. I meant, I’ve NOW bookmarked you! ROFL!!!

  10. Hi Pastor Tim,
    (I still get to call you that, even tho I rarely see you anymore!!!)
    I haven’t fully read this, as I haven’t fully read The Shack. I had warning bells go off when I saw how many people so quickly jumped on the band wagon, but I am in the catagory “I would only suggest it be read by people who need to be able to give a firsthand, informed response when asked about it ” as many saved and unsaved around me have read it and been so impressed and I need to have my own response.
    I cannot deny that I have wondered where you stand on the issue though and I am very thankful that Carol let us know on facebook that we can get your thoughts here!

  11. Tim,

    Great review. I haven’t read this book myself but it’s running around out here too.

    What people will swallow without discernment just amazes me.

    I didn’t even know you had a blog so I’ve bookmarked you…

    Take care.

  12. Thanks to everyone who has read and commented on this review. I appreciate your feedback.

    God bless,
    Tim

  13. Tim, i really appreciate your thoughtful review – so many people in our churches here are raving about this book without really stopping to think critically. i’m linking your review to a pastor’s wives group that i am a part of through our denomination, i know it will be helpful.

  14. Hey Krista,

    Long time no see! I am glad you appreciated my book review of the Shack and I hope it will be a blessing to the ladies in your pastor’s wives group too.

    Please say ‘hi’ to Brian for me.

    God bless,
    Tim

  15. Hey Tim,

    I was googling “charles price and the shack” to hear some other opinions from people I know and respect regarding this book that I was given. I was so thankful to come upon your blog. A friend gave me the book and said that it has changed the way that she thinks about God and that everyone at her church in MB is reading it. I asked her (before reading it) if she had found the book to be Biblically accurate and she said that she didn’t know much about that but someone’s grandmother really knows her Bible and she said it was!
    I have begun reading it and find that it makes my brain tired and I struggle so much with the imagery and ideas in the book. But yet I feel compelled to persevere so that I can discuss it more with this friend. Thanks so much for your very readable, succinct review. I will definitely print it off to her.

    Hope you and your family are doing well. We will have to hook up one of these days.

    Jess, Jon and the boys

  16. Hey Jess, Jon & family,

    Glad you came across my blog and that my review of The Shack was helpful to you. It has been encouraging to me that it has helped many people who have read the book or heard about it but had questions about whether it was biblical or not.

    It’s been far too long since we last saw you guys! I hope things are well with your family.

    God bless and have a Merry Christmas!
    Tim

  17. Tim, In your review under your point number 6

    “Why are so many Christians reading and recommending The Shack?”

    Point C

    It emphasizes God’s love and denies his wrath. There are many Christians who grew up in a church that overemphasized God’s wrath at the expense of God’s love. The Shack makes the opposite mistake, but it is comforting to people who experienced the other extreme.

    And Point D

    It comforts many people who have experienced deep pain in their lives. As a pastor, this tells me that the church needs to do a better job of comforting and helping people in their hurts. God describes himself as “The God of all comfort”, and gives us a mandate to comfort others with the comfort we have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). We need to take this mandate seriously.

    can not be emphasized enough. That is why I read the book when it was recommended to me. For sure I saw many of the bogus theology that I found awkward to deal with.

    Edwin Platt

  18. Thanks Edwin for the feedback. Our God is “the God of all comfort” and we need to share it.

    God bless!
    Tim

  19. Hello webmaster
    I would like to share with you a link to your site
    write me here preonrelt@mail.ru

  20. Enjoyed your review! I read the book and there were parts that bothered me and I did not find them biblically.However I was wondering if the dipicating of God as a big black woman,might of been trying to draw attention to the fact of descrimination against people of race,people with weight problems and weomen in general!We are all part of the same body regardles of color size or gender! just a thought! Carol PS Gods word teaches us that God is Spirit and those who worship Him must do so in body and in truth!

  21. sorry Tim that should read God is spirit and those who worship Him must do so in SPIRIT[not body] and in truth!! Carol

  22. Hi Carol,

    Thanks for reading my review of The Shack and leaving a comment.

    It is a wonderful truth that we are all members of one body in Christ.

    God bless,
    Tim

  23. Thanks for a very thorough review. I couldn’t agree more. This is Modalism in modern dress. As Job42:7 indicates, God takes very seriously how people speak about Him; we either honor or dishonor Him in this way. Too many favorable reviews of this book only under scores the great lack of discernment in the Church today. Thanks for all the time you took with this.

    • Hi Dr. Wheatley,

      So glad you found my blog and saw the book review of The Shack. With so many people reading it and discussing it I felt I needed to read it for myself. What I found deeply concerned me. This review has been one of the most visited pages on my blog so I hope the Lord uses it to encourage and challenge all those who read it.

      I hope you and your family are keeping well.

      God bless,
      Tim

  24. Pastor Strickland:

    I just read your review of the shack. It was recommended by a friend. I also just finished reading the book. It was recommended by my brother.
    Like you, I had a hard time discerning the truth from what I though was a lot of confusing dialogue that didn’t quite make sense. But instead of taking it at face value, I left it alone.
    However, I thought God showed Himself as a human when talking to Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah? I could be wrong.
    I wouldn’t recommend this book because I happen to Love My Adonai and respect Him. If I want people to know who He is, I’ll buy them a Bible. Simple really, yes.
    Bless you for taking the time to research the Bible for your findings. Being a good stewart is the way to healing the hearts of those entrusted to you.

    Sincerely,
    Wanda Janz

  25. Thanks for doing this research. There are way too many Christians who have been shacking up with this book.

    John

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for visiting the blog – I’m glad my review of the Shack was of interest to you. It has been one of the most visited posts on my blog.

      Tim

  26. I have to say that “The Shack” by William P. Young was a very thought provoking read.

    After reading the book, I was left pondering several things about it – which is a true testament to the book’s worth. I had several questions on the validity of some of the descriptions of God but I had to humbly admit that there may be no answers this side of heaven for how God presents Himself to each individual.

    I posted a more in-depth review of this book on my own blog http://www.tracysbooknook.com.

    -Tracy

    • Hi Tracy,
      Thanks for dropping by my blog. I think one of the challenges with the Shack is that it’s presentation of God is often difficult to reconcile with the Bible’s presentation of God.
      Blessings,
      Tim

  27. […] – 1169 views – Book Review: The Shack by William P. Young – I didn’t want to read The Shack, and plenty of other people wrote reviews of it […]


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