This book really made me think about the bible and my faith in a different way. Even if it is a work of fiction and doesn't portray things exactly like the bible it is a great story with a great message. It took me several tries to really get into the book but was able to once I used the audio version. Would love to experience this deep of an immersion to fully deal with the struggles we face. Would recommend to anyone who is looking for something different with a deep desire to dive deeper into faith.
Even if you don't read the book, go on YouTube and listen to the author himself explain what he means by the things he wrote in his book. When interviewed about The Shack, he said, "The Shack is about theology." That means those who say this is just a story do not understand what Young intended. I have dear friends that adore this book. I can understand that because it is a compelling story. The problem is when made aware of some troublesome and unscriptural elements, will we defend the book? or be Bereans and see whether these things are true or not?
1. Bottom line, the book teaches universalism, the believe that all people are or will be saved. He believes all people have been redeemed. There is no repentance or faith necessary for salvation.
2. He has a different view of hell than the Bible. He believes that hell is actually just a restorative process.
3. The book promotes extra biblical revelation. The letter from Papa (a woman representing the Father) is extra biblical revelation, as well as all the conversations between Mack and the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If God actually said all these things, then they should be added to the canon of Scripture.
4. It places words and false theology in the mouth of God. It goes against scripture in so many ways including teaching that the Father was crucified with the son. Papa shows Mack the scars on her wrists.
5. It promotes feminism. The Jesus of the book said, "the world....would be a much calmer and gentler place if woman ruled.
6. The author believes God is neither male nor female. This goes entirely against the Scriptures where God is referred to as male, and never female.
READING THIS BOOK IS LIKE SAILING A SHIP IN THE BEAUTIFUL CARRIBEAN, IN THE DISTANCE OF A GORGEOUS ISLAND, WITH ROCKS AT EVERY TURN, AND ROUGH SEAS.
The good: really creative story telling, and good perspectives that challenge us in our way of thinking about relating to God and people.
The bad: God is not represented accurately. His purpose, his mission, the trinity. Do not look to this book to define your theology. and the logic behind explaining suffering is poor (but that's due to it's aberrant theology).
I fear this book will lead some to the rocks, and some will be ok navigating the waters. I guess we can appreciate the authors creativity - I particularly don't find an issue with that. and I don't take such a harsh stance against everything he communicated.
after reading this book - if you do - I recommend reviewing some theological criticisms of the book.
If you're a new Christian, or have never read the bible, I kindly affirm that you should not read this book, but at some point, I think all Christians should read this book, because it reveals the spiritual pulse of our culture, and we need to understand just what that is.