Beware of the Shack
The book The Shack by William P. Young is a bestseller and has now been made into a movie. However much this is hyped or praised, please do not allow yourself to be deceived by it. There are those that say that this is just fiction or this is just using a fictional story to explain truths to children. But does this book really explain Biblical truths concerning Christ? I will highlight 12 big errors and some other red flags of concern.
1) God is stripped of His fatherly persona.
He is reduced to a genderless Spirit that merely shows himself as whatever He wishes at the time.
(This is not the Biblical representation of God. Consider: I Cor 8:6, John 1:14, John 10:30 (both Jesus and the Father are male ie one God), Lk 1:35, Mt 28:19, John 14:16-17, I Pet 1:2, Eph 4:4-6, Col 1:15-17, John 10:30-36, and there are more… but the Bible is clear on it.
2) Christ is said to have been 100 percent veiled only doing miracles by God living through Him as he was obedient.
(This places Christ too far onto man’s level. It is a sure unbiblical extreme and one that ends up denying Bible truth concerning Christ. Consider: Heb 13:8, John 1:1, John 6:38, (limiting His use of divine attributes to only His Father’s will is not at all the same as never using them. Remember, Christ could have survived the cross but chose to die for us instead as servant to God’s will.)
3) God is said to be love and will not punish sin but only cure it.
This is 100 percent unbiblical and denies God’s Holiness, justice, and a whole multitude of verses. Consider: Romans 1:8 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth., Eph 5:6, Rom 2:5, Rom 5:9, Rev 14:10-11, John 3:36, Heb 10,Deut 9:8, Ex 15:7, Ex 32:10-11, Jer 32:29, Num 32:13, 2 Kings 13:3, Mat 21:12-13, Isa 13:9, (and to sum it up: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.)
4) It is said that all who love can come to God by various means.
(To me this is a start toward universalism. It is at least unbiblical. The way to God is very specific.)
Consider: John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved., I Tim 2:5, John 3:16, John 3:18, John 3:36, John 8:24, John 10:9, I John 5:11-12, Rom 10:14-17.
5) It is said that it doesn’t matter what we do as long as we do it with the right heart.
(The book has one of the god characters listening to funk music and teaching contrary to scriptures. Consider:Rom 12:1, Eph 5:8-10, 2 Cor 5:9, I John 3:22, Lev 1-7. God does have standards that please him and those that do not. The verses are too numerous to list.
6) The author insists that there is no hierarchy with God as in no authority or structure.
(This is then applied to marriage, the church, and human governments. The accusation is that these things are merely human constructs and therefore suspect.) However consider: Rom 13:1-7, Gen 1:1, Dan 4:35, Rom 9:19-21, Gen 2:22-24, Eph 5:22-33, Mat 19:4-6, I Cor 7:1-16, Col 3:18-19, John 17:1-5
7) It is said that man’s main problem is independence and the solution is to return to dependence.
Consider: Rom 6:6, Rom 8:8, Rom 5:12, John 3:6-7, Ps 51:5, Rom 3:23, Rom 6:23, Eph 2:1, Rom 3, Rom 8:6-7, I Cor 2:14, Rev 20:14-15.
8) The author fixates on the sickness of the earth.
(But the problem is not the curse on the earth through Adam but the curse on Adam and the rest of mankind through Adam.
Consider: Gen 3:16-19, Rom 5:12-14
9) The author mention fractals.
(Fractal theory is a big red flag and touches on new age and other eastern religions along with the occult. It is not a Biblical theory.)
10) The author states that God the Father also died on the cross through Jesus.
(This is a gigantic heresy. The Bible is very clear on this.)
Consider: I Peter 3:18, I Jn 3:16, John 10:17-18, John 3:16, Eph 1:7, Acts 2:24-36, 2 Cor 5:21, Lk 24:39-43, Gal 2:16, I Peter 2:24.
11) The author cautions against careful Bible study and places of higher learning that teach theology etc.
Consider: 2 Tim 2:15, Psalm 1, Psalm 119:105, Tit 1:9, I Pet 3:15, 2 Tim 3:16-17, Joshua 1:8, Ps 119:11, Prov 3:1-2, Acts 17:11, Heb 4:12, 2 Pet 3:18,
12) The author teaches that God veils himself of foreknowledge to the degree that it is as if He is learning though He technically is not.
(This is also a heresy that is not supported in scripture.) Consider: Ps 147:5, I John 3:20, Is 40:28, Romans 11:33-36, Heb 4:13, Isa 40:13-14.
Other concerns and flags:
13) The author mentions Gandalf and makes allusions to Star Wars.
(Ironically the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars books and movies are largely based off of Eastern and new age philosophy including Taoism etc.)
14) The author is irreverent, sacrilegious, and mocks God.
(I won’t quote the examples here but there are some throughout the book.)
15) The use of fiction is especially deceptive because it puts peoples guard down making the error more acceptable and less noticeable.
(In reality the god presented in this book, movie is more a concoction of new age philosophy and man’s reasoning. It is pretty much what you do end up with when careful Bible study is abandoned.)
The bottom line is that this book is to be avoided. It isn’t worth any entertainment factor either, even if you know it is false going in. Why bother? All it will do is desensitize people to error for the sake of a story. We have enough of that with most books and movies so why do that with something that purports to be representative of what God wants us to know about Him? For that, look to the Word itself. You don’t need someone like this author to mess it up for you. It is not even a good paraphrase of reality, but just an altogether alternate reality. The best advice I can give is to mark and avoid this book and share these warnings with others.