Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Shack?

At the outset, I must admit that I have not yet read the book, The Shack, by William P. Young.  But recently while in a large gathering I was attending, the speaker recommended the book with unspecified caveats.  I was curious and perhaps even intrigued at the speaker's enthusiasm for the book, and thought I should promptly check it out.  With other books on my to-be-read list, I thought maybe I would try to find a good review or two, to see what made the book so special.  One such review actually found me.

I was forwarded (hat tip: Blake Derrick) a review by Tim Challies.  His review is well worth your time.  On his blog he has posted a brief explainer, and then his review in PDF format.  With care and respect, Challies writes a cogent piece wherein he specifies several points at which The Shack, even in its genre of fiction, communicates an understanding of God that seems foreign to the Bible.  Perhaps Young never intended to write a theological treatise.  But whatever his intent, when people are seeking to understand God through The Shack instead of The Bible, we have a problem.

If you have read the book or plan to read it, I encourage you to take the time to read Challies' review.  Even if you do not agree with everything in Challies' wording or argumentation, his central warning is well placed.  He calls the book "dangerous," due to the extent of error.  Quoting from the book in several instances, he articulates problems in what Young communicates about God in the theological concepts of revelation, salvation, and the Trinity.

Both Al Mohler and Mark Driscoll agree in calling parts of the book heresy, so you know that major lines of orthodoxy appear to have been crossed.

When I disagree over a book's premise or content, I usually let it go.  However, of grave concern to me is the widespread appeal, not of the fictional story, but of the perceived theology of this book (just check out the many "this changed my life" and "this is the best explanation of the Holy Trinity" reviews on  As of this writing, the book is #8 on Amazon's sales rank list.  It has become a phenomenon of sorts, and thus I sensed the need to flag these concerns here.