The Shack – Good or Bad concept of God?

Is The Shack truly a Christian book or another version of humanism and heathen idol worship?

Is The Shack truly a Christian book or another version of humanism and heathen idol worship?

Not long ago, I was in Costco and was by the book table. A woman was there with another lady and they were picking through the selections trying to find something that sounded good to them. One of them picked up a copy of The Shack and told the other that she heard it was a good book, so she tucked it under her arm and, I assume, bought the book.

That was the second time that week that I had encountered someone who was interested in this book because of what they had heard. A lady in the church we used to attend told us that her ladies’ group was preparing to do a study of this book. If their intention was to examine it in order to be able to teach themselves how to address the heresies contained in it, they would have done well, but their goal was to draw spiritual lessons for their lives from it.

The Shack has been endorsed by the likes of Eugene Patterson, the author of the very loose handling of scripture known as The Message, to christian “rock” Idol Michael W. Smith. Patterson, as Tim Challies records, says this book will be as significant to Christian theology as was Pilgrim’s Progress, and Smith says that The Shack will leave you craving the presence of God. This would seem possible, given that the true God is apparently not reflected in The Shack, however, I feel that this is not what Smith was saying in his statement.

Challies has put together a very good critique of this blockbuster best-seller, and you can read the entire article here.

The Shack is another example of a man assembling an image of God out of his own mind, and making that God serve his own human wants and desires. Essentially, those that imbibe the theology of The Shack are in danger of being those described as apostates by Paul.



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5 responses to “The Shack – Good or Bad concept of God?”

  1. Jeff says :

    Obviously, these comments though well meaning, lack the full understanding of Loss, separation, and anger towards God. These are feeling we all go though in life, eventually.
    To think that every book, especially fiction, must be theologically accurate to make a point, or shift a paradym of how we view God wreeks of fundamentalism.
    If you want theology, open your bible. If you want your paradyms to be truely challenged, dare to read this book.


  2. thirstyman says :

    The Shack definitely stirs up the emotions of its readers, just like any good piece of fiction should. A friend of mine called me after I put up this post about The Shack and told me how helpful the book had been to him. Jeff’s comments here echo that sentiment, however, unlike my friend, Jeff demonstrates the flaw in thinking that is rampant amongst the “emerging” church today: that adherence to a rigid interpretation of God as revealed in scripture is a bad thing.

    Yes, we all experience loss and separation, but I would argue that we “all” feel anger towards God. In fact, being angry towards God demonstrates a lack of understanding about who God is and His very nature towards us.

    Also, if a book, even if it is fiction, is attempting to convey a principle about God, then it must be theologically correct, or it is not conveying truth, but error. That is what The Shack is doing. It is making God conform to the imagination of the author. Sadly, his perception of who God is, is distorted and erroneous.

    Yes, I have to admit, I want theology. Theology is the study of God. Jesus told us that the essence of eternal life is to know God, and the way to know Him is through the study of Him, and that only comes through the Word of God, hence, we have the science called Theology.

    The study of God challenges my paradigms because He is 100% truth, and all that I am must conform to what and Who He is. God is not obligated at all to fit into what we want Him to be.

    Jeff, thank you for your comments and your input, however, I would challenge you to pick your Bible up and put down The Shack, because the former will reveal the one true God to you, while the latter will only lead you into an experiential vagueness of what you want God to be, which, in the end, is a god of your own making.


  3. katelynn says :

    this book was the most amazing book i have ever read and i am on 16……….. it really touched my soul i want to pick it up and read it again. i have told many people about this book and all the people i have told read it just like me and also loved it. This book is neither a girl nor boys book that also makes me like it. i read it every night to my mother, i will cherish these moments with her always and forever

    thank you

  4. Darryl Pendlebury says :

    As a former Christian and now an avid follower of Jesus ( if you don’t know the difference then you are obvioulsy still believing the lies and untruths of 2,000 years of church theology ) I read the shack and was relieved to finally see somebody else who understands the real God How sad for you se-rightoeus narrow minded fools calling yourselves “christians” at you stiil don’t get God’s plan of reconcilliation. Salvation by grace ? yes. but you poor blind brainwashed fools still believe you have part to to play in it. The book never waivers from the idea that the only way to the fathe ris through Jesus. how confronting it must be for you elite Christians to think that the Muslim or the Jew or the Buddhist gets to heaven. Must be awefully confronting to know your life is built on a lie.

  5. thirstyman says :

    Boy, I really debated whether or not to even publish Darryl’s comment because I didn’t see any profit in it at first. It would be easy to want to lump all readers of The Shack into the same class as Darryl, but my guess is that Darryl is an aberration. It looks like he’s on the prowl, trying to start an argument or a fight, using insults and setting himself up as part of the exclusive group that “understands the real God,” much as the 1st century Gnostics did.

    This is the inevitable outcome when we use the fictional writing of an author as our basis for truth, rather than the inspired word of God, as he has revealed it to us in scripture. Therefore, I thought there would be some profit in publishing the comment because it really shows the degree to which someone can be sucked in to letting go of what God has given for the comfort and guidance of his people.

    Yes, Darryl, it would be “confronting” to know that life was built on a lie (I assume you meant “comforting” though I’ll take you at what you have written – it serves my purposes well), so I would suggest that you “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord,” and get off the pedestal you have climbed on. Peter has some good advice for you, and Nebuchadnezzar follows it up with a warning.
    “…be clothed with humility…” (1 Peter 5:5)
    “…those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” (Dan. 4:37)

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