Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I read the book "The Shack" by William Young. It is a sleeper hit, being touted by word of mouth through Christian communities.

I found it theological very wrong, but still inspiring and thought provoking. I judge a book or a movie by how much I think about it days later. I have certainly thought about this one.

The story concerns Mack, a husband and father of four, living in the Northwest. On a camping trip, his youngest daughter Missy is abducted and murdered. He has a hard time with this. (Duh!) A few years later he gets a note from God in his mailbox asking Mack to meet God at the shack where Missy was murdered. The meat of the book is what he learns about God at the shack.

I thought it somewhat New Age, but the story I found seductive, and hope it does not lead anyone astray.

I found a review on Amazon.com that expresses my doubts about the book.

748 of 1,110 people found the following review helpful:
This is THE book for you, IF..., October 24, 2007
Michael Burton - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shack (Paperback) To the many 5 star reviewers, may I respectfully ask you to step back, take a deep breath, and then give this book a second look, viewing it only through the prism of Scripture? Upon sober reflection, perhaps you will discern that this IS an amazing book and THE book for you if, and only if...

You want to recreate God in your own image; You find Isaiah's portrayal of a holy God seated upon His throne to be a disturbing image;

You would prefer to metaphorically cast God the Father as a loving and large black woman named "Papa," Jesus as a laid back and friendly Middle Eastern man, and the Holy Spirit as a calm and cool Asian woman;

You want a God so small that you and she/he/she can just hang out together as best buddies;

You regard the Bible as an extremely biased, narrow-minded, and insufficient revelation of God in leather binding with "guilt edges" (page 65);

You therefore believe that God talks to people today, and that whatever she or he says to people trumps biblical truth (page 66);

You believe that God is never to be feared (page 90);

You believe that Jesus' miracles do not affirm Him as God, but prove only "that Jesus is truly human" (page 99);

You want a God who does not hold people accountable for, nor punishes sin (page 119);

You want a God who does not demand that you submit to him or her, but one who submits to YOU (page 145);

You want a God who accepts everyone -- "Buddhists...Muslims, bankers and bookies" -- as his or her children no matter what their beliefs or behavior, and that Jesus has "no desire to make them Christian" (page 223);

You believe that Jesus lied when He warned, "Broad is the road that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13), because in The Shack Jesus says, "Most roads don't lead anywhere."

Make no mistake... 90% of this book is spot on. But isn't that exactly what makes its 10% error so insidiously deadly? Look, we can allegorize many things, but we don't mess with the Trinity. This book is a Trojan horse subtly infiltrating the Christian community -- one that makes our God extremely small and completely manageable, a God who, in the final analysis, is no God at all.
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