I don’t remember the exact year that I first read The Shack, but it was somewhere between 2007-2010. I had just graduated with my Bachelors degree in Religion, from Liberty University, where I had taken Bible classes yearly as a general requirement for all degrees, and an additional 15 or so Theology & Bible courses just for my major. I had also attended Chapel 3 times a week. After graduation, I started doing ministry at a Baptist Collegiate Ministry, where I led in women’s ministry.
I loved, LOVED reading, and a good Christian friend lent me her copy of The Shack after she finished reading it. She LOVED it, and just knew that I would, too. She was right. I cried through the story so many times. I LOVED it. When I finished it and returned her book, I told her, “This was the BEST description of the Trinity that I’ve ever seen!” I was amazed! I felt like I knew God like I had never known Him before. I even had a list of quotes I shared on Blogger that I felt each revealed something amazing about God. (For this post, I tried to go back to my old Blogger account to find this list, but alas–it has been deleted after years of not logging in. Sigh. I suppose I’ll never be able to find that heresy again.)
After reading it, my Dad stumbled on an article about the book that talked about it being heresy. I hadn’t read the article, but I looked at my dad like he HAD to be crazy. He then said, “Does it portray that God is ______?” Sorry, I can’t remember exactly what he asked me, but it was something about God’s character, and it was something that God’s character is NOT. As he asked the question, my eyes widened as I began to see that all throughout the book, it made God feel more easy to understand. BUT, and this is a big BUT, the things you “understood” about God through reading this book were NOT TRUE! Remember how I said “I felt like I knew God like I had never known Him before”? Well, I did. I had never known God to be the way He was presented in that book, because He was presented in a way that was contrary to Scripture. I had never known that God, because that God was a false god, and I had fallen prey to the deception.
It was as if I had soaked in all the doctrine of the book, and with one question, my dad had successfully set off thousands of alarm bells about it. I quickly unpublished my post on Blogger, and I stopped recommending the book. As I had returned the book, I couldn’t really go through it again for a more thorough understanding of what I thought about it. So for years, I just felt unsure and unsettled about what I had read there.
Several years later, while my husband and I were at Seminary, he was given the assignment of reading and critiquing The Shack. I decided to read along with him, and this time I was alert for the heresy that I knew lied within its pages. If I hadn’t been alarmed before, a second reading solidified my belief that this book was nothing more than heresy.
Here’s a short introduction from my husband’s review:
New York Time’s best seller, The Shack, is an almost believable fiction story of a man who encounters God after dealing with emotions triggered by the grizzly death of his daughter Missy. Though the book was written with obvious superiority that gripped the hearts and minds of the readers, the theological aspects of the novel resemble more than mere fictional parts. The apparent doctrinal claims made in this work contradict numerous biblical doctrines including the nature of God, man’s condition, the Church, and salvation. Readers should be made aware of Young’s apparent agenda and blatant disregard to God’s Word. The spiritual and theological stances taken within this writing have implications of eternal consequence. Though the writing contains some information that matches that of scripture, the content is far less than inspiring, but insulting to God and should be labeled nothing more than heresy.
Here’s why I won’t be watching the movie:
- The things that happen to his daughter aren’t entertaining. If I’m seeing the movie for entertainment-purposes, this would ruin it for me completely.
- It teaches lies about God. If I’m seeing the movie for spiritual purposes, this would make that null and void. The only God I want to know is the One Who is revealed to me through Scripture. The “god” that Young portrays in the book does not match the God of the Scripture.
- It teaches lies about salvation. The book gives the implication that all are saved, regardless of what they believe about Christ, or if they have a relationship with God at all. I cannot EVER support anything that might lead people to believe they are “saved”, when they are indeed bound for an eternity of torment.
- The book’s author believes the book to be just as inspired as The Bible. If I had known this from the beginning, I would never have picked up the book. Anyone or anything that claims to be the divinely inspired Word of God is something we should be skeptical of! As Christians, we believe the book of Revelation is “the last revelation” of Christ until He returns. So then any books that come along after should be rejected as a false gospel or heresy. While I believe God inspires people to write books today, it is not in the same way that He inspired Paul to write the epistles. The words in our Bibles were “God-breathed”, not just generic messages or stories that were laid on human hearts as passions or ideas. God literally breathed out each word of Scripture and gave it to us as His infallible, inerrant Word. That is NOT what happened with Young and this book.
I don’t usually write and encourage people not to watch specific movies, though I could do so with movies like Shades of Grey, or even Noah (It was not even close to a Biblical portrayal!) This movie is different, for one reason only. If it is anything like the book, it has the power to lead even Christians to believe a false gospel about a false god. I urge you not to allow that opportunity into your life, or the lives of your children. False doctrines are more dangerous than any earthly danger. These doctrines have effects that stretch beyond this life and into eternity, and I desire that none will be led astray by the heresies this movie presents.
- What’s Wrong with The Shack? 13 Heresies by Generation Cedar
- The Shack by Matt Slick
- Why You Shouldn’t See The Shack-but Why So Many Will by Grayson Gilbert
- Reflections on the Shack by Randy Alcorn
- Christian Leaders Express Concerns (Including Depicting God as a Woman) with Film Adaptation of BestSelling “Heretical” Novel, ‘The Shack’ by Sergio Mims