Friday, January 4, 2008

The Shack

I bought and read The Shack a few days ago on the emotional recommendation of a friend who admitted that while he was not an avid reader this book moved him to tears.

The Shack is a book written by William Young that is flying off the store shelves. People are buying a copy , then coming back to buying several more to pass out to family or friends. The emotional reaction triggered by The Shack seems almost unprecedented and the book is enthusiastically endorsed by Christian bookstore staff as THE book to read !

But wait !!

I don’t know if you have read the book yet or not… if not, it is only a matter of time before someone hands you a copy or encourages you to run out and buy your own.
I am writing this post for those of you who have read the book and are wondering what to think about it.

We are called to be discerners of good and evil, of truth and error. We are called to test all things and to be on guard.
“Prove (test , examine) all things.. hold fast that which is good !” (I Thess. 5:21)

And we are warned that we need to be even more on guard as the end approaches when "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables...." ( II Tim. 4:3,4)
These are frightening words and should stir us up to be doubly careful and take to heart the admonition following in verse 5.."But you be watchful in all things"!!

Is this book what it is hailed to be ? A book on par with John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress -- or is there something dangerously deceptive lurking in its pages?
Have you questioned what you read in light of scripture ?

To be honest - I am very troubled by the book…. not because there is nothing good in it …the best deception has the MOST truth in it…. but because the foundation on which the truth is laid is not the same as the foundation we find in the pages of our bibles.

Is God ever pictured to be like a large black woman in an apron swaying to funk music?
No, of course not…and I know the defenders of the book will be quick to say that the author was employing his analogy to break people loose from a false preconceived idea of who God is ..
Granted … but consider this …what if your daughter is a chain smoker and out of concern for her health you endeavour to free her from her smoking habit by introducing her to alcohol instead . Not an advisable treatment plan, is it?
So also - to present a God so contrary to the God of our scripture is not setting anyone on a solid rock.

The Papa of the Shack is God stripped of His majesty, His glory, His Holiness. I personally am not attracted to the playful, at times silly god of The Shack, the god that would laughingly feed his child a dish of greens that would make him sick.
The God I know is Holy and Righteous and One to whom I gladly bow my knee… but how I love Him, knowing that He is my Father and I know I can run to Him any time , sit at His feet with my head on His knee and listen to His amazing Words of truth and comfort.
".... and Holy is His name!" (Luke 1:49)

The god of The Shack winks at sin and the consequences of sin, reassuring Mack that there is not one child of her’s that she will send to hell…but all will be brought into relationship with her in the end. And then she shows Mack that his abusive, cruel father who died in a drunken stupor after drinking his poisoned liquor - is indeed enjoying the delights of heaven.

“Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor DRUNKARDS, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6:10)

The Shack also takes license to change the Words of scripture. When Mack accuses Papa of deserting Jesus at the cross, Papa reassures Mack that this was not so. She insists that at no point did Papa ever turn away from Jesus on the cross but was there with Him the whole time. Really? What does William Young know that Jesus did not?
“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” is Jesus cry from the cross. (Matt.27:46)

Papa also teaches Mack that she does not require anything of him other than relationship. She has no intentions of turning any one into a Christian. Expectations and responsibilities are only part of a dead relationship …be it between you and God or in a marriage relationship.
Consider , my friend! Think of your best relationship…be it marriage or friendship. Is it free of expectations or responsibilities? Does a wife not expect certain things of her husband? I know I do .. I expect my husband to be faithful to his marriage vows “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” , I expect him to care for me, I expect him to react in certain ways in certain circumstances .. I expect him to be true to how I know him to be., I expect him to be home for dinner. … And yes , he has responsibilities as well. It is his responsibility to make sure our vehicles are in good repair, his responsibility to fix whatever goes wrong in the house, his responsibility to take out the garbage.
What Young seems to have overlooked is that expectations and responsibilities are not wrong in themselves… they can become bondage only when the LOVE dies in a relationship. Where love is strong, expectations and responsibilities are fulfilled with joy !

“You are my friends, IF you do whatsoever I command you !” (John 15:14)
"He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in Him." (I John 2:4)

In the writing of The Shack, William Young employs a couple of clever literary tactics.
A foreword of a book is usually written by someone other than the author for the purpose of introducing the author and speaking for his credibility. Young writes his own foreword to introduce and give credibility to the main character of his story , going so far as to explain why he himself is part of the story. Because a foreword is expected to be factual, I know of several people who were convinced that this book was the real experience of a real person.

Then in a clever plot twist at the end of the book the author divorces himself from being held accountable for any doctrinal positions he presented by revealing that the whole shack experience may have been nothing more than the imagined images in the mind of a man in a coma.

If this book was meant to be nothing more than a well written piece of fiction with a clever and entertaining plot… then why is it having such a deep spiritual impact on its readers?
What is the power in and behind this book?
Is it the power of the Holy Spirit?
Or is it an example of the ‘winds of doctrine’ we are warned against? (Eph.4:14)
Does this book align itself with scripture or is it presenting another Jesus, another God?
These are questions that must be asked.

Truth is never threatened or offended when questioned.

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free !" (John 8:32)

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very well written... thanks for saving me time, money and most of all keeping my feeble mind clear of the clutter of confusing doctrine that I would need to spend time sorting out. Thanks for doing that for me!

I love how you do all the dirty work for me! :)

Love ya,
Grace

Sara said...

Julie, thank you for this very thoughtful and truth-dealing post. I have not read or purchased the book, but I did look online recently trying to find some reviews about it...there certainly is a lot of hype going on about it. I appreciate your very cogent pointers to how we must be discerning in all things.

Lovella said...

Julie, thank you for helping me to sort through the complicated concerns I had. I appreciate the time and thought you put into dissecting the book and removing some of the emotional hype.

Well done.

Vicki said...

Julie, thank you so much for writing about this book. I've seen a lot of references to it in my online reading, and actually have it on my Amazon wish list, but just haven't been able to decide whether to order it or not. You have provided an excellent summary of the main reason why I should hang on to my money - too many questions about the truth, or lack thereof, within the pages of this book. Even the author's website is vague along these lines. My reading time is so limited, I prefer to fill my mind only with the things that are right and good and of God. A pastor friend once told us that she avoided the stories and music that played on people's emotions because it sometimes blurred the truth. Thank you again!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Hi Julie!
I flipped through the book while I was at B&N the other day. It just didn't feel right. Call it a spiritual insight or a librarian knack, but I took a pass on it, and re-read "Home to Harmony" instead. A funny fiction about life in the midst of believers in God.
I'd love to be part of a discussion group about that book. Hoo hee...lots of laughs, lots of truths.

Nicki said...

Thank you Julie. I haven't heard much about this book here in Australia. I'd like to pass your informative review onto others. Can I cut and paste from your blog into an email to send to friends or place it on my blog?

Nicki said...

Oops that should have read copy and paste from your site not cut and past. Sorry

Vicki said...

Hi, Julie...I just wanted to pop in and thank you for your comments, and to also let you know that I deleted your extra comments. Sometimes WordPress gets a little persnickety about posting comments. ;)

Judy said...

Thank-you for your discerning book review, Julie. I too had been hearing about the book and was planning to buy it...but I have lots of other reading material beckoning me!

Marg said...

Great Critique. I bought the book but have procrastinated reading it...maybe there's a good reason.

However, I'm not that good at critiquing books and so with your background knowledge, discernment and scripture I can read it in another view hopefully being able to questions others who want to read it.
I totally agree that so many parts of Christianity are being watered down by tolerance towards everything. YIKES!!

Thanks for the insight.

Nicki said...

Julie, I put your review on my sight and got an interesting reply (I'm amazed that he hasn't commented on your blog but maybe my access settings are different). I've included his comments here and would love your help in how to reply to him.

Wayne said,
I actually helped put this book together for publication and I am sorry that you've chosen to post comments from someone else about a book you've never read.

While I think the person you quote means well, she has distorted and misinterpreted a lot of what is in THE SHACK. People are free to read and question it, enjoy what helps them see God more clearly and toss out those things that don't.

But casting aspersions on an author she doesn't know simply because parts of this book challenged some of her religious preconceptions seems a bit unfair. Maybe she missed the point, rather than the author being from the pit.

This is an excellent look at a relational God, but anyone can take the analogy too far and see something in it the author or publisher never intended.

Let people read it for themselves and decide. It is connecting with people in a powerful way...

Wayne

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Jeepers...since when do author's friends respond to critiques? If the author wishes to clarify or rebut or what ever, that is great, and if a fellow reader wants to say what they personally thought, great too.
As a librarian, I get to see the reveiws of just about every book that is released (if I want to... and I usually don't...too many ucky topics out there.) Critiques are just part of publication. There is not one single book out that every reader will love. There are plenty of books that only one reader will love.
If people are moved to discuss a book, positively or negatively, the book is a success. A book that is read and no thoughts are stirred beyond "It was really good!"
or "I liked it" is a dud IMHO.

Books (and movies) sometime have an opposite effect upon the reader/viewer than what was planned. The movie "Dead Man Walking" was designed to speak against the death penalty. I was undecided about the death penalty until I saw that movie, and it made me become a staunch supported OF the death penalty. The writers/producers/actors would be horrified, but there it is.

baldguy said...

I have read the book and am speaking from my experience. This is the first written review I have read, but have discussed the book with friends who have also read it. I will continue to allow God to mule your opinions over in my head and spirit. The premise of your initial comment is a discussion I wanted to have when I finished the book. Even though it is categorized as fiction does it raise ideas that I can find supported in the bible or are the ideas heretical? Does it drive me to a deeper relationship with my God and Savior. I trust God to use whatever tools to bring me unto Himself. I trust the Holy Spirit to be alongside ME, so someone else's declaration of heresy or not won't block God's work in me.... but I am going to hang my thoughts out here.

Good: I Thess. 5:21 - we are to be provers and testers of all things and hold fast to what is good. Is that the same as judgers and declarers of Good and Evil? Do I trust that God is good? Do I trust God? The story says that we can't comprehend God's work and must trust that He is good? Not safe but good. Remember C.S. Lewis in Narnia. The lion is good, not safe, not witout risk, but good.

God as Holy: My first thoughts is that you too may be "stuck" and holding tight to a God that you control and a "taught" impterpretation of the scriptures. The second commandment often appears to us as a condemnation against worshiping small statues, but it is clearly a command to not put God in a box. Indeed God is holy and beyond our comprehension. No, God is not described as a large black woman in the bible. In fact is He described as all? No. Not in any human form, except when he came in the man, Jesus. Can he be comprehended? Can he be controlled by our imagination? No. That is the point. But His love drove Him and still drives Him to invade our lives today.

So being a DRUNKARD is a "go to jail, do not pass go" card for Hell? Does "not inherit the kingdom of God" = go to hell?

Expectations and Responsibilities: God's love is indifferent to our actions and performance. We are not responsible for His love. He chooses to love us, to covenant with us. The quotes of John 15:14 and I John 2:4 appear to be justification to perform. I read them as my desire to be in relationship will keep me aligned with His commandments. Love without expectations and responsibilities is VERY risky and does not appear fair.
There may be more. Thanks so much for your critique and bringing me to think upon Abba, Father, Papa today.

Anonymous said...

I work for a church and was given was given a copy of The Shack by my "boss" with a high endorsement. I began getting analytical of the book during the statements about God the father being submissive to other members of the trinity. I do not find any evidence of this in scripture. When I read some reviews of the book, I sent them along with my thoughts to my "boss." He quickly shut me down saying he was not interested in reading any reviews and was sorry I was too legalistic to enjoy the book. WHAT?!? In my mind he was saying, "Don't confuse me with the truth. My opinion and experience is more important than scripture."

The danger of the book to me, is that cultural Christianity is looking more towards human wisdom than the pure Word of God in order to "feel" close to God. This is the perfect set up for Satan, the "angel of light" to deceive!

I loved your quote at the end, that Truth is not intimidated by questions. Unfortunately, many "Christians" are getting defensive of their subjective beliefs when presented with objective scriptural Truth.

Julie said...

Baldguy... I appreciate that you are willing to dialogue even when you do not agree ....and I pray that God brings you into that ever deeper relationship with Him that you seek .. and may it always be grounded on the the revelation of God through His Word and not man's imagined opinion.
One of your comments did leave me somewhat curious .. if one does NOT inherit the kingdom of God and does NOT go to hell.... what it the third option?

Julie said...

dear Anonymous... thank you so much for sharing your experience and your thoughts... You encouraged me.. I totally agree with you ... and you said it well..

"The danger of the book to me, is that cultural Christianity is looking more towards human wisdom than the pure Word of God in order to "feel" close to God. This is the perfect set up for Satan, the "angel of light" to deceive! "

That is sooo true !!!
May the love of God fill your heart and His strength keep your feet on the Rock .. when all around is sinking sand !!!

baldguy said...

Julie... I wasn't speaking of a third option. Sorry I wasn't all that clear. I believe in hell and I believe in heaven. I believe at some point God will restore his creation and we will live with Him in relationship the way he created it to be "In the beginning....". That is Heaven. I believe that Hell is a place that is without the presence of God and those that reject Him to the end will exist in that place for eternity...without God. My comment was that I am not sure that "inherit the kingdom of God" is a reference to entry into Heaven. The kingdom of God that Jesus introduced to the earth was a restored relationship with Him. They wanted a return to power. They were blind to what Jesus was offering. In the same way we many today are blind to salvation. Many want the good life, the calm life the successful life. That is their kingdom. No one will be in hell because they were a drunkard or a homosexual or a cheater or one who gossips. They would be in hell because they rejected God and continued to scheme (thru those things) to get what we wanted out of life. To find their own kingdom rather than inheriting God's kingdo. And becuase they pursued a life of fulfillment thru those activities. We won't go to hell because we gossip or get drunk.

Kathy said...

Hi Julie. I posted some of my take on this book on my blog yesterday. I really read it as a work of fiction so I didn't expect theology, although it has a theological theme to it.

The part I most disliked was the silly scene in the kitchen. In my book discussion group, one person said that Mack needed to see that God could be light hearted so this was highlighted for him. Another person may, at any given time, need to have God's holiness or power, or some other aspect of God revealed to them.

The trinity being submissive. I think this speaks of the trinity being one - mutually acting as one - expressed by this author as mutually submissive. Of course of Jesus' second coming it is said that only the Father knows.

My favorite line in the book says something about God not justifying evil - but working to redeem. I cherish the redeeming work of God.

Thanks for the dialog.

consideringlilies.blogspot.com

DeeDee said...

Hi Julie..Lovella sent me over to read your review on The Shack...I have been told by someone what a wonderful read it was...so I began reading it last night and featured it on my blog today....then I heard from Lovella...I'm glad I read this...hopefully only a few saw it...I would hate for those not firmly grounded in their faith to be misled by this...thank you for your review..Dee Dee

Anonymous said...

I would have to say as a Pastor who has wrestled with the question of why did God allow________.? asked by desperate people, this book attempts to answer that. The idea of accusing William Young of trying to define trinity, to me seems a bit presoumtous. I think what william was saying was the God is all about relationship and He reveals relatonship through the trinity and that is the message God has been speaking to men through the trinity. He appeared to Mac as a women becase that was the way that Mac needed God to be revealed to him. Lets admit God revealed himself to men through out scripture in language and symbols that they could understand. He was a burning bush to Moses, a Pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day to the Isrealites he was a wheel in a wheel to Ezekial,YHVH Nissi - The LORD My Banner: (Exodus 17:15), to Abraham he was a shield Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield, Gen 15:1. Just to name a few. If you really read from the context of the setting i think we would see that God met Mac right where he was at. He removed the barriers that obstructed Macs view of the love God had for him. A father for Mac was, at that time, offensive,brutal, mean uncaring. God had to convince Mac that he was not like that at all, so he revealed his love to Mac in a language he could understand, because that was the most important thing to God his message of Love to humanity. The Book is about removing the obstacles that stop us from seeing that God Loves us and desires relationship, that is constant through every valley and mountain of life.

Anonymous said...

Can God not use books like this to actually lead some to want to know Him better and thereby search the scriptures for the real truth? I have only read about half of the book myself. For some reason I have not been driven to pick it up again just yet. I heard about the hype and went out and bought a copy, and while it intrigued me, was not yet emotionally connected to anything the book had to offer. I have read other books of fiction that have challenged the BOX I have God in, and the ideas and beliefs I hold.I delighted in picturing a God who was joyful, humorous, playful, and if I am to believe we are made in His image I can also believe He is those things (and so much more)as we are. As a Christian I would agree that we have to be careful about false doctrine. We need to know what the scripture says about the cross, about Christ's redeeming work, about our access to God because of it, about eternity, about judgment re heaven and hell,( which thankfully isn't our job), and so much more. I have been part of a Bible believing church since I was born, and accepted God's grace and forgiveness as offered through Christ at the tender age of 10. I have come to realize in my 5 plus decades on earth that the more I think I know, the less I actually know. Church, our parents, our friends,theologians, to name a few, have a great deal of influence on what we believe doctrinally. They give us insight.That doesn't mean we haven't picked up a few errors in thinking along the way.Ideally we would be sitting at the Lord's feet and asking Him all the questions and getting AUDIBLE answers.(I do sit at the Lord's feet, but it would be so much easier if I could just see Him and Hear more than just a still small voice; I am a tad deaf at times.:0) God obviously felt that the scriptures were enough for us to find the truth about what He wants for us, be it here on earth or in heaven. The Christian walk is often a struggle("work out your salvation in fear and trembling" sorry don't know the reference) and for those of us who don't know Hebrew, or Aramaic or Greek, it can be frustrating to know what is exactly meant in a passage and how does it relate to me? I guess what I am trying to say is that while we need to test things against the scriptures to see if they are true, we can still have our thinking about the interpretive stuff challenged. While I believe there
are fundamental truths, there are also many grey areas. Will God condemn us for thinking outside the Box if he knows our heart? I agree also that there is danger in the current "New-Age" mantra that all paths lead to the same God, as I believe Jesus is the only way and He says so Himself. May God give us the wisdom to be "wise as serpents" in all things that concern His Kingdom. Thank you for giving us your thoughts and ideas on this popular book. I will forward the info to the friends that I know have read the book.
BW

charlotte said...

julie, i see your heart and intention throughout all this and appreciate your thoughtful concerns. i personally am not that concerned...i am in the midst of reading it as well...it is fiction, we need to wise about all that we hear and all that we read and i think that it is a good thing to be challenged, and if this book and reviews like yours have done this....GREAT! anything to have more people think on God and ask hard questions....way to go. I am not a big theologian, my mind is too small to grasp at many of these bigger things. i do know that anyone who reads this will be challenged. my challenge is just take any good you can from it....know that God loves and cares for you....cries with you....laughs with you...wants a realationship with you. as far as truthfull doctrine goes...stick with GOD'S WORD and not that shack!

The Faithful Remnant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Faithful Remnant said...

I wanted to say that if someone desires to review a book then let them do so. If you have an opinion then continue to voice it. I must agree after having reviewed this book myself, things in this book seem very New Agey. Sorry for the bad grammar here. Does The Shack teach this, you be the judge, it sure seemed like it to me. But thats my take on it.

I have also noticed some of the people leaving comments refering to "taking God out of the box." This is wrong and this sounds oddly familar with a certain TV talk show hostess turn New Ager. Oprah said something very similar in here first internet lesson on Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" book which is a continuation of the philosophies of the New Age bible "A Course in Miracles", and also books like "The Secret." See this link to hear the words "Taking God out of the Box" used by New Ager Oprah Winfrey, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA

Guys there are many gone into the world to deceive us with there teachings, calling themselves Christ- Luke 21:8. I think you need to always be on the look out when someone attempts to redefine the word of God, or call God something else than He is. Is there any reason why we should believe God is a woman or man according to this book? No of course not we see the name of Father or Abba(daddy) used in the Bible which gives us a clue to the image God wants us to perceive of him. He is love, paitent, vengeful, jealous, long suffering, kind, almighty, quick to defend his people, slow to anger and comforting, and of course many more things. Read Isaiah 9:6 for more on who God is. If thats keeping God in a box then fine but thats what his word says and I take him for his word. 2 Timothy 3:16

Why do we only see what we want from God and put the other stuff that doesn't sit well with us out of our minds. If you are a drunk, you conviently avoid passages talking about those who don't inherit the Kingdom namely drunkards. If you are in an adulteress relationship you ingore commands that say that committing adultery is a sin and that these people unrepentant will not inherit the kingdom. We always talk about the gentle Jesus (which by the way I love) but what about the strong, and correcting Lord? The one who turned over tables at the temple for defiling the house of God and turning God's house into a market place. This is the image we see in Revealation 19 coming on the white horse. He is not coming to love everyone who is against him, he is coming like the conquering King that he was meant to be. Read the descriptions of him on that day, ruling with a rod of iron, a sharp two-edged sword shall proceed out of his mouth. This is the otherside of Christ rarely preached from the pulpits of churches today. May we return to the true word of God and stop trying to work out our own salvation and redefine the God of the universe.

Remember the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) and how the humans at that time spoke the same language and they desired to be great, to be one, build a city and then a tower to heaven. God scattered them across the face of the earth and caused the people to speak different languages. The more we seek our own conciousness and follow New Age style beliefs we will be doomed to repeat the Tower of Babel scenario.

If you must read this book please don't take it as doctrine. My own wife tonight commented that she was going to read it hoping to be awakened to God on a deeper level, but after reading some parts in the book I showed her she decided to not continue with the book. Please, please, please, if you want to be awakened to God on a deeper level read the letter he left for us and not some fictional novel of a god not described in scripture. Lets get back to the word. We must be in the times of the end for Amos said in Chapter 8 verse 11 "Behold the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord." Please read and be filled.

May God bless you all!

Mary said...

A friend of mine gave me the book. I kind of glanced at it and then decided to find out more before I read it. I didn't like what I found out, it made me uncomfortable. Then to confirm that, I heard a teacher on the radio that I respect greatly talk about this book and how it was not something beneficial. So it just sat on my shelf for several months. But it kept bugging me that I still had it. I finally tore it up, yes tore it up. I have never done that to a book before in my life. I think if I could have I would have burned it.
Maybe some people can read it and get some benefit from it, but I knew that I couldn't and feeling that way I didn't want to evenpass it on to someone else, I thought about selling it on ebay.
So now I feel like I have done the right thing for me. If you are thinking that you should read this book, please prayerfully consider it carefully..."all things are permissable, but not all things are beneficial" Be a Berean, don't be fooled by shallow doctrine.
God Bless
Mary

John said...

It blows my mind that so many have put so much thought (and effort tearing a book up?) into a work of fiction. What if this book is read by someone who does not know God at all? It is a wonderful read, very well written with a beautiful imagination. What if that non Christian reads it and thinks "man, maybe I should learn more about this God/Jesus/Holy Spirit stuff!" Keep your minds open lest you become like the ones that placed the crown on His head.
To condemn this book or proclaim it "heracy!" only concretes the non believers opinion of the Christian mentality.

jeanne Bonacci-Tiefenach said...

I just want to share this profound experience as a result of my husband reading "The Shack". He was not a 'church goer', although I am. We are Catholic. He chose the book himself. That was amazing to me. He started to read it and immediately got caught up in it. He usually read sci-fi 'stuff' Cleve Cluster is #1 [not sure if I spelled that name correctly.] But he would say Jeanne, come here I want to read this part...and later..this part. You are Nan, I'm Mack. When I 'm done you have to read this. When he was close to done, he said he didn't want it to finish, he didn't want it to end. I started to read it. How far are you now. What's happening now. Oh you go ahed and read. He would be quiet so i could read.He recommended it to our Pastor. He already had it. All along he would do wonderful things for me. I know he loved me. On January 28th, we had a story book morning. It was a snow day. We watched videos of my daughter's wedding and camping. He shoveled a snow path. He came in, and although he complained of symptoms he refused to go to the hospital. He had a cardiologist appointment next monday...he looked at me as we stood face to face, said my name and floated to the floor. WE gave him oxygen, cpr, the paramedics came, but he was already unresponsive. In the hospital he already had a look of peace on his face. He passed, no, he fell asleep in this world. He was not afraid. We put a copy of the Shack in his coffin and recomended the book to everyone as homework from Frank.

This was his last wish for for his daughters, his friends and all who came. The line was so long, it wrapped and wrapped to another room and down the hall and around the staircase and out the door. I knew who to give the 'homework'. If this could be considered a ministry of evagulization, wow, from a man who silently, humbly got it right. He was affirmed that his 'church' was in his feeding the hungry, caring for those in need, loving his wife and children with honesty, devotion....

Thank you for writing this book.

Oh the visions, I have to mention, at least 3 people had visions of him smiling, beaming, holding God the Father's hand, and angels.

It's worth a read, and you can gain and eternity of blessings. We will bury him Monday.

Oh, sorry, it's so fresh, He asked me to go online and get involved in this blog..that's why I am writing in the midst of the 'time'. What happens now will be surrounded by a peace in my heart that he is , is truly, in good hands. The embrace of his creator who loves him in such a way as no other.
Peace be with you,
Jeanne
I could say so much more...but for now this what I can share.

Julie said...

Thank you so much, Jeanne, for sharing your raw emotion and experience in such a difficult time.
My heart aches with you in your grief and my deepest sympathy goes out to you as you try to deal with this tremendous loss that came at such a brutally unexpected time.

I do believe that God can reach out and use anything available to touch a person’s heart. He used the old TV show Battlestar Galactica in my life ….as He used The Shack in your husband’s .
But all truth stands or falls measured by God’s Word and only His truth and Word will endure.
I don’t deny that there are good things said in The Shack… and those things could leap off a page and touch a person’s heart… but that does not validate the error and the false teaching in the book. It was the false teaching that concerned me enough to write my review, because I know it has the power to deceive and draw people away from the Truth.
If a TV show or a novel has a profound effect on our life, and it leads us to a passionate love for God as He reveals Himself in His Word - rather than a passionate love for the TV show or the novel - then we have allowed Truth to change us. and not error to ensnare us.

Anonymous said...

As I read this book I recognized the non-Biblical aspects throughout the story and would have preferred that the author chose to tell his story following Biblical truths.
For myself, I enjoyed this very light read where the author was able to translate, in a way that I hope many can understand, the concept of submission to God- in all things.... and to live trusting Him only, today..everyday, day by day. The book also attempted to illustrate that we can have a personal relationship with Christ. BUT... there's no getting around the fact that our God is Sacred and worthy of our praise and worship...beyond what we even can understand. I believe that the author loses a lot of credibility by choosing to portray the Trinity in such a casual manner. William P. Young did manage to convey the idea that we humans have only glimpse of what God has in store for us who believe in Him and accept Jesus as His Son, and our Savior. I also know that without accepting Christ and having a repentant heart we will not live in eternity with God in heaven.
The author found the words to explain to those who might not be believers, or to new believers, what a waste of time and energy it is for us to worry and attempt to control our lives when we should be living communing with God and living through Him in all that we do. The book told of God's unconditional love for us in a way that I pray reached many, provided them hope and prompted them to find a Bible and learn who God is.
I would not freely recommend this book but I did enjoy elements of it. I was reminded to pray for God's discernment always.
Barbara

Myles said...

Julie,

I can understand the legalism behind your review, but it seems as if you read the book with opinions and beliefs before being able to understand the specific direction the author was going with THE SHACK. I believe that not everything in this fiction book aligns with God's Word and the trinity is described in a way different from what we as followers of Jesus would expect. I also believe that God would do whatever He could to restore a relationship with one of His lost sheep, whether that meant coming as a woman, laughing at problems to loosen Mack's stress and tension, etc.

I have read your review and profile and I think it's great that you are looking to "discern" good from evil which we are called to do, but I think you've completely missed the point of this story. It's not meant to be about how we perceive God, I read it and believed it to teach me how much God loved me. How many times do we have to hear "God works in mysterious ways" before we actually believe it. If God could send Himself down to Earth to become man (Jesus), which meant He left His throne from Heaven as King to live a humanly life, I believe He would go the extra step and become a woman to appear to one man in need. Sometimes we limit God to these qualities that we make up because of specific passages in the bible. Also, when you commented on the trinity mentioned in the book, you said there was no evidence in the bible that backed up the Son submitting to the Father, the Father to the Son, etc. However, if we believe that Jesus is God, then how is this not possible. I do believe they are in such a perfect relationship that they already submit to each other, they are 3 in 1, not three separate identities. Sorry if this sounded single-minded and not scripture quoted, but this book was fictional and written to share God's love in a way we are not used to.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the Shack, A WORK OF FICTION, alegory type.
I have studied the Bible for over 28 years and I found this book to refreshing. In a day and age where there are no Fathers, it made a great point that this character would not have accepted FAther God as a Man, you see God is Spirit #1, but He was a Man at the End after He forgave his own Father. If you know anything about the psche of man, you will see how this will touch millions of fatherless people. I am saddened by the way some of you hav attacked a work of FICTION. It reminds me of the Pharisee when Jesus came on the scene. How interesting that you did not mention anything about the countless things there are scriptural. You will see but not see with spiritual eyes. Be well and May open your eyes to see.

Romay said...

The Shack loses with one simple fact. In this modern era man desires to be like God - equal in all ways. Plain and simple. Human kind no longer wishes to answer to a higher power and instead we seek to satify our flesh with no strings attached. We no longer respect government or our employers. We no longer respect police. We no longer respect teachers, doctors, or our parents. So why should we respect God? Read your Bible. God will not be mocked. He is a comsuming fire. God is coming to judge and that makes many people uncomfortable. Plain and simple.

Mark said...

I want to pass along my recent review of ‘The Shack’. This review deals specifically with the issue of Christian Universalism. My approach was to compare Paul Young’s theology in ‘The Shack’ to the doctrinal statements of ‘The Christian Universalist Association’. Most reviews I have read critique the book by reacting to phrases and sentences by Paul Young. I do some of that too. But one thing that makes this review unique is showing how Christian Universalism is woven throughout the story. This is especially clear in the chapter “Here Come Da Judge”. Here I take some creative liberty to rewrite the dialogue in a way that gives a different perspective on the Universalist doctrine. I hope you can take some time check out this review at:
www.witte2020.wordpress.com

KathyB. said...

Amen Sister~ well said!

Anita said...

I too read the book, and I couldn't quite put my finger on all what was wrong with this book, I just knew that deep within my being something was not right - thank you for sharing your thoughts, I believe you are spot on!
press on sister!