I am aware that the Shack has already been ripped apart on many of the evangelical blogs but when I spoke about the book at Church last week there were many who had not yet heard about the it. So I felt the need to address it in the form of a blog. I was also asked to provide something of a resource for the discussions that probably will come.
I want to say also that in terms of quality of writing style I didn’t find it as bad as many others have . Yet that is not the reason to reject the Shack or be concerned about it. The reason is that the book is selling well (#2 on Amazon right now) and it contains a great deal of unbiblical teaching that may be swallowed accidentally, because of the nature of fiction. So I feel that we must address this kind of error and prepare ourselves to correct the deception so that we can proclaim the true Gospel.
I have broken down the errors of the book into three categories and will address them accordingly.
First – An Unbiblical View of God
· He says that submission is sinful yet it is clearly a part of how the members of the Trinity operate, for example,
· John 6:38 - For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
· 1 Cor. 11:3 - But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
· 1 Cor. 15:28 - When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
· In these passages we see Jesus submitting to His Father. Denying hierarchy in the Trinity has wide and often unforeseen consequences.
· There is an ancient heresy that often reappears called Modalism - this is the denial of the Trinity that says that it is only apparent - there is only one God but He shows Himself in three different forms.
· There are hints of this in the shack - all three members of the Trinity bear the nail-marks, they say that the Father was on the Cross when Jesus was, they all became fully human when Jesus did.
· Without these distinctions we have another God, whose holiness and grace make no sense.
· However the most recurrent error in the book is his presentation of God. First there is the gender problem, God is presented throughout this book in female form, but God is neither male nor female, and He has chosen consistently to refer to Himself in masculine terms - we are not free to change that.
· Second there is loss of God's majesty and terrifying holiness. When Isaiah saw God, he was terrified and cried out that he was a sinner, when Job was confronted with God he fell on his face and stopped his complaining.
· However when Mack meets God nothing like this occurs - we have a God in our image
· There is no awe, only comfort - Mack swears in front of God, Mack yells at God, accuses God, makes God cry because he is being so mean - this is not awesome God of the Bible.
Second - Unbiblical View of the Bible
· Let us first look at what the Bible has to say about itself
· 2 Tim. 3:16-17 - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
· Rev. 22:18-19 - I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
· The Bible demands a place of prominence in the life of a child of God.
· Because of our sin our access to God is given only through mediation - this is where the Bible comes in - we hear God's words to us in His Word - a gift to us
· Yet The Shack paints a very different picture
· He says "God's voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects." - He is ridiculing the Bible as being prominent in the life of a believer.
· At one point Sarayu says, "You will learn to hear my thoughts in yours, you might see me in a piece of art, or music, or silence, or through people, or in creation, or in your joy and sorrow. My ability to communicate is limitless, living and transforming, and it will always be tuned to Papa's goodness and love. And you will hear and see me in the Bible in fresh ways. Just don't look for rules and principles; look for relationship - a way of coming to be with us."
· Without the solid ground of the Bible - we are subject to every whim of our heart or lie we hear.
· We must uphold the Bible and cling to it, love it, love it, and relate to God in the ways that He has shown us in His Word. We have no other option, only the gracious gift of the Bible.
Third - Unbiblical View of Salvation
· The cross is central in understanding how salvation is accomplished and applied
· But Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:23 - but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
· Jesus said in John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
· We have a sin problem that had to be dealt with - this is where the Cross comes in, Jesus being punished in our place, bearing our sin, bearing the wrath of God that we deserve, and through faith and repentance in Him we find salvation and forgiveness
· The author has God say "I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. Its not my purpose to punish it, its my joy to cure it."
· This reveals a misunderstanding of God's nature, of sin, and it simply makes a mockery of the cross, if Jesus was not dying for sin what on earth was He doing.
· There is also a misunderstanding of how one becomes rightly related to God - The author has God say that those who love him come from every kind of human division, including other religions.
· This is not exactly universalism, but it certainly error, He is saying that people from other religions are in a true relationship with God without trusting in Christ.
· He has Jesus say "That He is the best way to any human can relate to Papa and Sarayu" not THE way, only the best way.
· Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to the holy God that we have sinned against - we must reject anything that proposes anything else.
· We must embrace Jesus and proclaim Him.
I am not recommending that you read this book (unless maybe there is someone close to you being led astray by the book, then you may want to consider reading to better help your loved one or friend), if you are looking for a book to read, we can make some recommendations but this one will not make the list. However, I do believe that this book will be read by many and we as Ambassadors for Christ should be prepared to answer the questions and use these opportunities to point people to the True Gospel of the Crucified Savior found in the inerrant Word of God.