Finding God in the Shack: Seeking Truth in a Story of Evil and Redemption  -     By: Roger E. Olson
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Finding God in the Shack: Seeking Truth in a Story of Evil and Redemption

InterVarsity Press / 2009 / Paperback

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The Shack has touched millions of readers with its portrayal of a compassionate God in the face of great evil. Many have identified with the main character's Great Sadness, the terrible burden of grief that often accompanies and follows a deep loss, for the Great Sadness is part of the human condition. And it compels us to ask, Where is God? Who is God? Roger Olson, who has faced his own Great Sadness, finds a good deal of comfort in this much beloved story, as have so many others. Some may ask, however, Is God really like that? Is that really how God responds to evil? Can God be trusted? Olson also views The Shack with a theologian's eye and finds much sound truth. He delves into many of the significant issues raised by the book, such as forgiving those who have done us great evil, how God acts in the world, how God is three persons in one and what difference this makes to us. While he offers his own criticisms of the book, he largely finds the truth about God in The Shack.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 168
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830837086
ISBN-13: 9780830837083
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

The Shack has touched millions of readers with its portrayal of a compassionate God in the face of great evil. Many have identified with the main character's Great Sadness, the terrible burden of grief that often accompanies and follows a deep loss, for the Great Sadness is part of the human condition. And it compels us to ask, Where is God? Who is God? Roger Olson, who has faced his own Great Sadness, finds a good deal of comfort in this much beloved, story as have so many others. Some may ask, however, Is God really like that? Is that really how God responds to evil? Can God be trusted? Olson also views The Shack with a theologian's eye and finds much sound truth. He delves into many of the significant issues raised by the book such as forgiving those who have done us great evil, how God acts in the world, how God is three persons in one and what difference this makes to us. While he offers his own criticisms of the book, he largely finds the truth about God in The Shack.

Author Bio

Roger E. Olson (PhD, Rice University) is professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is the author of and . He is also coauthor of and (both with Stanley J. Grenz), and of (with Christopher A. Hall).

ChristianBookPreviews

Finding God in the Shack, written by Roger E. Olson, is a readers’ guide to the recent hit novel The Shack by William P. Young. Though the writing is succinct, the materials and subject matter are heavy and aimed toward readers of greater spiritual maturity. Reader alert: Within the first chapter Olson reveals and begins explaining the story in its entirety, including the ending, so those who have not read The Shack may want to set this book aside until after reading the original.

Olson, also author of Questions to All Your Answers and Who Needs Theology?, tackles not only the positive spiritual impact of The Shack, but also the conflicting theologies that may confuse Christians. For example, in Chapter 4, titled, “Is God in Charge but Not in Control?,” Olson says Young “is over the top” in a passage describing God’s submission, but later in the same paragraph he writes, “There is some truth in it, but surely it could be expressed in a better way.” His style allows for both negative and positive aspects of the book to come to light, providing a neutral, yet informational, look at the spiritual elements of The Shack.

The most valued aspect of Olson’s guide remains his unwavering honesty and bravery in trying to tackle meaty and mysterious Christian questions, including why bad things happen to good people, why there is evil in the world, whether Jesus is more Jew than Christian, and how God can be comprised of a Trinity. Olson does not back away from making a valiant attempt to provide explanations for these difficult topics and rarely falls back on the stereotypical answer of “God works in mysterious ways.” He also makes a point to analyze the praise and problems that The Shack presents to theology and its sometimes vague representations of God. Olson takes into account that The Shack is a work of fiction and, therefore, he allows for a certain range of creative license, while simultaneously making an imaginative work applicable to furthering walks of faith.

Finding God in the Shack contains complex and heavy themes, yet explains them in a simple manner that readers will appreciate. It is the perfect reading companion to The Shack and is highly recommended to the Christian community. – Nan Johnson, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Editorial Reviews

For readers with religious or biblical questions, Olson offers a theological, easy-to-understand analysis on the "unusual portrait of God" found in The Shack.
The extraordinary success of The Shack and the wave of discussions it has engendered combine to make Olson's work an important commentary.
A helpful guide. At once a guide for the seekers and a reference manual for Christians who might be helping them in their search. Olson highlights each theological point raised in The Shack and expands on it from a biblical perspective. A handy study guide with questions is included at the end of the book. Finding God in the Shack would be a great companion to a book discussion group in your neighborhood or church.
Read The Shack first and then read through Olson's treatment of its themes. Olson's book also can be used in a class or group setting since it includes a study guide. Olson's clarifications are excellent. Finding God in the Shack will give us additional biblical information to keep us grounded in our faith.
"Olson offers a fair and wise assessment."
"I kept wondering what a good theologian would make of all this and was not disappointed when one of the nation's leading evangelical scholars stepped up to address the issues raised in The Shack. Dr. Olson, professor of theology at Baylor's George Truett Seminary, gives us his just-released Finding God in the Shack, a book conveniently divided into twelve chapters with a study guide; perfect for a quarterly group study or reading circle."
"If you have questions about The Shack, and if your questions are theological, and if some have suggested that this book is full of heresy and you are wondering about the book, then you need to read Roger Olson. The reason this book is the one you need is because Roger Olson is a very good theologian and Roger Olson has read the book (some critics haven't) and Roger Olson is not on some defense of the book or 'out to attack' the book. It is one of the only discussions of the novel that is both theologically alert and fair minded."
"Written by theology professor Roger Olson at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, the book attempts to defuse concerns over The Shack's unorthodox depictions of God and the Trinity. Dr. Olson correctly points out that much of Mr. Young's novel is actually quite biblical."
"Author Roger Olson takes the reader on a play by play of William Young's The Shack as he explores the book's many complex and controversial issues. The discussion is illuminating as well as intriguing."

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  1. Florida
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Loved reading the different perspectives.
    January 6, 2014
    Blessed Believer
    Florida
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Perspectives presented gives you more options to think about.

    Very interesting. Also really enjoyed "The Shack".
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 15, 2010
    Bible study teacher
    This book really helped us to put a more Christian light on The Shacks weaknesses allowing for meaningful and insightful discussion. While there is another book of the same name, don't be fooled. Olson has done his homework on this one. Anyone you says otherwise hasn't read it with an open mind if at all.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 10, 2010
    Kirk Morris
    I would like to encourage those who have not read the book (The Shack) to do so. For most of my life I have struggled w/ and been suspicious of the idea(s) and truth of Gods forgivness.The book (The Shack) aided me in my journey of understanding more of Gods forgivness causing me to reach into my past and forgive real people who hurt me deeply. Don't let the spiritual legalists turn you away from this amazing book. "All good things come from God"...This book is one of those things. I hope God will bless you and touch your heart and understanding w/ this book. The way He did me.
  4. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    May 10, 2010
    Frances Hilaire
    A good read...helped explain some things that I would not have thought of in relation to the book. As I have very little experience reading the bible, this book really broke it down and still did not condemn the book as other people have.
  5. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    January 30, 2010
    Jimmy Stewart
    Hm, I read "The Shack" which is a sad, sad mix of New Age spirituality, politically correct quasi-theological blabber and the inklings of a horror flick. Now this book is a commentary to "The Shack"? Like what is the Matthew Henry Commentary to the Bible? We should soon have The Shack study vs. a regular Bible study...
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