You may or may not have heard, but the bestselling book, The Shack (selling over two million copies in under two years), came out in movie theaters everywhere on March 3, 2017.
There’s been a lot of hubbub about it and for good reason – I mean, the book/movie deals with who God is and what He’s like; kinda, maybe, possibly important.
So, to help you think about without myself having to get into all the dirty details, here are three reviews with significant quotes therein that are worth reading before you buy a ticket for yourself or encourage others to do likewise.
The Shack – Impressions by Tim Keller. “Here is my main problem with the book. Anyone who is strongly influenced by the imaginative world of The Shack will be totally unprepared for the far more multi-dimensional and complex God that you actually meet when you read the Bible. In the prophets the reader will find a God who is constantly condemning and vowing judgment on his enemies, while the Persons of the Triune-God of The Shack repeatedly deny that sin is any offense to them. The reader of Psalm 119 is filled with delight at God’s statutes, decrees, and laws, yet the God of The Shack insists that he doesn’t give us any rules or even have any expectations of human beings. All he wants is relationship. The reader of the lives of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Isaiah will learn that the holiness of God makes his immediate presence dangerous or fatal to us. Someone may counter (as Young seems to do, on p.192) that because of Jesus, God is now only a God of love, making all talk of holiness, wrath, and law obsolete. But when John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, long after the crucifixion sees the risen Christ in person on the isle of Patmos, John ‘fell at his feet as dead.’ (Rev.1:17.) The Shack effectively deconstructs the holiness and transcendence of God. It is simply not there. In its place is unconditional love, period. The God of The Shack has none of the balance and complexity of the Biblical God. Half a God is not God at all.”
The Shack – The Missing Art of Biblical Discernment by Albert Mohler. “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.”
Papa of the Shack is Not Aslan of Narnia by Tim Challies. Tim Challies writes to show the major differences between The Shack and Narnia. “Papa of The Shack is not Aslan of Narnia. I will argue they are not the same in three key ways: they are from different genres of literature, portray different characters, and teach different messages.” Also, see his review The Shack here.
I offer these articles not to condemn anyone who has read or liked the book or who plans on watching the movie, but only to help Christians think a bit more deeply than we may be used to. If you watch the movie, I will still be your friend, promise. But, remember, Jesus taught that our eyes are the lamps into our body and what choose to look at affects deeply who we become (Matthew 6:22-23). At very least, that should cause us to be a wee bit more careful about what we choose – and pay – to see.
For the more theologically oriented, this book review of a book that wasn’t The Shack by Fred Sanders is still relevant and helpful in delving into the theological issues at hand.