Updated: 3-11-17 ~
I just finished listening to this Olive Tree podcast with Dr. James DeYoung, author of “Burning Down the Shack” (referenced below) ~
Essentially, “The Shack” deconstructs the entire Bible. It rejects Christianity for agnosticism.
“The Shack” the newly-released movie based on a 2010 novel of the same name by William P.Young, is peddling a brand of faux-Christianity that believers would do well to avoid.
An engaging work of fantasy-fiction, “Shack” plays fast and and loose with scripture, reinventing God Himself to appeal to our 21st century post-modern mores and a humanist worldview. (I’d really like to tell you how it ends so you won’t even be tempted to watch/read the story. But since the entire premise was so foreign to Christian theology I simply couldn’t finish the book and tossed it aside in frustration about halfway through.)
The narrative draws us in by appealing to our human nature. “Mack,” a father grieving the kidnapping and brutal murder of his young daughter, receives a mysterious message inviting him to a meeting in the very shack where the crime took place.
Sudden tragedies understandably create a deep longing in each of us for solace and comfort, along with a desperate need to make sense of the event. Our world has suddenly been knocked off-kilter. It’s certainly natural to cry out “Why God, why?” And while Young seems to be trying to answer our “whys” and offer consolation and hope, he does so at the expense of God’s Word.
Beyond the fact that God the Father is clearly not a black female who calls herself “Papa”, scripture in several much more disturbing ways. According to “Shack” theology, in the end there is no justice, no judgement and no hell to fret about. All paths lead to God – and apparently all dogs go to heaven.
Deeply concerned about “Shack’s” misguided messages, James B. DeYoung, professor of New Testament language and literature at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., wrote *”Burning Down The Shack,” critiquing the popular novel. Michael Foust writing in August 2015 at the Christian Examiner quotes from DeYoung’s book ~
“(T)he theology promoted in [William Paul] Young’s novel is of a particularly sinister and heretical variety.”
“William Young departs from an evangelical understanding of God, in whom holiness and love are equally balanced, to a universalist understanding of God, in whom love is paramount and judgment and holiness are considered to be in conflict with his love,” DeYoung wrote. “In comparison with Bunyan, Young denies that there is future punishment and that God punishes sin.”
DeYoung provides some background on Young’s goofy theology ~
“I have known the author of The Shack, Young, for more than a dozen years. In 2004, Young wrote a lengthy document in which he rejected his evangelical faith and embraced universalism,” DeYoung wrote. “… He said then: that evangelical faith and its teaching about judgment makes God ‘grossly unjust’; that ‘Jesus is a million times more vicious and vindictive than Pharaoh, Nero or Hitler put together’; that Jesus Christ is ‘not the Savior from sins’; that Jesus died ‘a failure and in vain and never saved anyone’; thus Jesus ‘is not even a good man but a liar, a rogue and a deceiving rascal’; that ‘Calvary is a farce, a travesty and a sham.'”
Young then “began work on a novel proclaiming universalism for his children.” And then three years later Young “rewrote the fiction and published it as The Shack, in part his autobiography.”
In a very contemporary way William P.Young has created his own “truth” and would like the rest of us to buy into it. Don’t.
Here’s a better suggestion: Start at Genesis 1:1 and read the Bible from cover to cover. When you’re finished, start over. Repeat. The only way to KNOW God’s eternal truth is to immerse yourself in His eternal word.
Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment ~ Albert Mohler exposes the dangerous messages hidden in “The Shack” ~
In evaluating the book, it must be kept in mind that The Shack is a work of fiction. But it is also a sustained theological argument, and this simply cannot be denied. Any number of notable novels and works of literature have contained aberrant theology, and even heresy. The crucial question is whether the aberrant doctrines are features of the story or the message of the work. When it comes to The Shack, the really troubling fact is that so many readers are drawn to the theological message of the book, and fail to see how it conflicts with the Bible at so many crucial points.
IHOP-KC (International House of Prayer-Kansas City) Supports “The Shack” ~ Which of course is another good reason to avoid it ~
… the continual mantra that The Shack has “ministered healing” to its readers or viewers shows just why William Young’s work is so seductive in its nature: because it attacks a person’s soul at its worst. Many people I’ve encountered who liked the book read it when they were struggling with depression or some deep sadness in their life, and felt that the book assisted them. However, just as one might be tempted to harm their physical bodies by turning to alcohol or drugs to combat depression, so too can the devil tempt one with spiritual harm by leading a suffering person into false doctrine. Being personally satisfied is not a mark of being healed, but rather complete, perfect healing found in the comfort of the true God, and the true Gospel – and one will find neither in The Shack.
As Jefferson famously excised from his Bible all those passages he considered unbearable, Young has gutted the Christian faith of anything he considers repugnant. What remains bears only a passing resemblance to the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.”