Monday, October 20, 2008

The Shack - A Review

If not for the fact that this book has become a major bestseller, I would not be taking the time to do a review. If not for the fact that many people have been deceived by the insidious material in this book, I would not have bothered to finish reading it. If not for the fact that professing Christians are passing this book around and begging people to read it as if it were the inspired word of God, I would have thrown it in the trash and laughed it off as yet another vacuous attempt to water down the truth of the gospel, another slipshod exercise in constructing a house upon the sand that would surely blow away in the next hefty breeze.

Yet, The Shack continues to dominate bestseller lists. Online reviews exclaim in ecstatic verbiage how the story has radically transformed lives. Shoppers arrive at the checkout line with a dozen copies declaring their intention to freely deliver this new gospel to their friends.

Such is the deception.

Although others have undertaken the task of exposing The Shack for the shoddily written, unbiblical, poisonous book that it is, I have decided to write my own report. Why? I will be commenting on issues that I have not seen in other reviews, and, frankly, there are people who have asked me to share my opinions, so I am responding to their requests.

The Shack begins with a man named Mackenzie (Mack) who receives a note from God, inviting him to visit a certain shack, a place where the murder of Mack’s daughter took place. The story then flashes back to describe the daughter’s (Missy’s) kidnapping, thus capturing the reader’s emotions and generating sympathy.
It is a rare parent who isn’t horrified at the thought of losing a daughter to a rapist-murderer, so the author, William P. Young, uses this bait-and-hook technique to its fullest. Once the hook is set, the story then turns to the longest sermon I have ever seen in a story, Mack’s meeting with the trinity in the aforementioned shack.

Since Young puts words in the mouths of all three persons of the godhead, it is crucial that the words reflect truth. Yet, they are often far from truth, as I will soon point out. Some people have defended the book by saying, “It’s fiction!” but that changes nothing. Fiction is a powerful vehicle for dispensing and illustrating truth. Fiction stories have altered major courses of events in nations all over the world and throughout history. If a fictional story teaches a lie, we must reject it and expose the story for the lie that it is.

Young reveals hints of his doctrine early on when he recounts an Indian legend about a princess who jumps from a cliff in order to bring healing to her tribe. Then, Missy asks her father a series of questions about the story. These questions, and Mack’s answers, foreshadow nearly everything that follows. The author ties Missy and the princess together when Missy asks, “Will God ever ask me to jump off a cliff?”
Although Mack replies “no,” the rest of the story makes the reality of an affirmative answer quite clear.

Mack equates the Indians’ Great Spirit with the true God. He also equates repent-free forgiveness of self-inflicted sin with healing of non-self-inflicted sickness. Both equations are troubling. Sure, Mack could simply be wrong, but the rest of story affirms these and many other falsehoods, as we will see.

Young sets up his errant view of revelation and authority in the following paragraph, in which Mack is pondering a note from God inviting Mack to a meeting at the shack:

Try as he might, Mack could not escape the desperate possibility that the note just might be from God after all, even if the thought of God passing notes did not fit well with his theological training. In seminary he had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course.

This paragraph becomes Young’s straw man, that is, the idea that must be destroyed, and, of course, the straw man is defenseless. The author uses the rest of the story (a protracted sermon, really) to destroy Mack’s ideas about the authority of the Bible. When Mack meets with this author’s God, he learns that revelation derived from a relationship with the divine supersedes (and contradicts) what he has learned from the Bible. Although Mack is a seminary graduate, his attempts to defend what he has learned from the Bible become laughable. Young uses Mack as a bumbling foil, apparently attempting to show that serious Bible adherents are incapable of defending the truths gained from Scripture. This is an insidious use of the straw man fallacy.

In fact, Young even denigrates family devotions in which the Bible is used:

Often, it was a tedious and boring exercise in coming up with the right answers, or rather, the same old answers to the same old Bible story questions, and then trying to stay awake during his father’s excruciatingly long prayers. And when his father had been drinking, family devotions devolved into a terrifying minefield, where any wrong answer or inadvertent glance could trigger an explosion.

Does the author provide any contrast? Maybe a view of a family reading the Scriptures with real devotion? A loving father teaching the word with enthusiasm and without hypocrisy? No. Because for Young, Christianity isn’t defined within the pages of God’s holy word. It comes through subjective relationships.

When Mack meets God, “God” is an overweight black woman who claims to be the “Father” of the trinity and wants to be called “Papa.” Some claim that it’s fine to portray God the Father appearing this way, but they misunderstand the trinity. The Bible says of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God,” (Colossians 1:15) and “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.” (Hebrews 1:3) (These and all other quoted Scripture are taken from the New American Standard Bible.)

To see God the Father is to see Jesus. As Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9) Jesus is the appearance of God the Father. He doesn’t visibly appear any other way. To portray the Father physically in one form in concert with a simultaneous physical appearance by Jesus in a different form is to confuse the truth about the trinity, especially when the author shows nail marks in Papa’s wrists. The Father did not die on the cross. The Son did. Young sets the reader up for a warped view of the godhead.

Young portrays this Papa as a brusque, even vulgar woman. For example, at one point she says, “Don’t just stand there gawkin’ with your mouth open like your pants are full.” Would God use coarse jesting in violation of his own precepts (Ephesians 5:4)? I don’t think so. Young constantly tweaks the reader’s sensibilities and concepts about God in this way, lowering the Father to the status of a bathroom-level jokester, a gun phobic Aunt Jemima, and a lover of anger-inspired rock music (which would be in violation of Galatians 5:20, James 1:20, and Colossians 3:8).

Yet, every complaint I have so far is really minor compared to what I found in the rest of the sermonized story.

I could write on and on about the myriad fallacies the author puts in God’s mouth, the internal inconsistencies, and self-contradictions, which are bad enough, but I will focus on the worst of these errors—the author’s belief that God doesn’t punish sin and rescues everyone in a universal salvation, whether they call upon the name of Jesus or not and whether or not they repent of their sins.

These falsehoods begin when Papa tries to counter Mack’s view of God:

I am not who you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It is not my purpose to punish it; it is my joy to cure it.

The Bible says otherwise. Here are just a few examples:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18)

He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night. (from Revelation 14:10, 11)

And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. (Revelation 19:15)

Obviously God does need to punish people for sin, and it is in God’s purpose to punish it. Young’s view is clearly unbiblical. He paints a skewed portrait of God, a sugar-daddy deity who doesn’t demand obedience, as the following shows:

For now I just want you to be with me and discover that our relationship is not about performance or you having to please me. I’m not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way.

Yet, God does demand that we please Him. “The person who sins will die” (Exodus 18:20). “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might … for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 6:5, 15)

That doesn’t make Him a bully. He is God, and we are His sheep. We are not on an equal plane. And if we don’t obey Him, He sends us to Hell forever. That’s the biblical God, but Young is trying to invent something else, a god who just wants to be friends.

This becomes clear in the following conversation between Mack and Jesus, in which Mack is used again as Young’s bumbling foil (Note Abba is Papa and Sarayu is the book’s representation of the Holy Spirit):

“That’s the beauty you see in my relationship with Abba and Sarayu. We are indeed submitted to one another and have always been so and always will be. Papa is as much submitted to me as I to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way.”

Mack was surprised. “How can that be? Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me?”

“Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationship. I don’t want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me.”

The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that the Father is in submission to the Son. It’s the other way around. And submission really is about obedience as well as a relationship of love and respect. They are not exclusive. Young seems to want to pit obedience against relationship, as if they cannot exist at the same time. This is a false dilemma, another one of the author’s many fallacies.

Also, Jesus does not call us His friends unless we obey Him, as He said, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14), which clearly demonstrates the truth, that our relationship with Jesus is based on obedience. As John Wesley wrote about this verse, “A thunderbolt for Antinomianism! Who then dares assert that God's love does not at all depend on man's works?”

There are so many examples in which Young puts words in the mouths of his invented trinity that directly contradict the Bible, it would be impossible to list them all. So I will go on to the most dangerous teaching this book foists upon its readers, and it will take some time to present how the author sets up his emotion-baited trap.

When Mack visits another female, who seems to be the personification of wisdom or justice, he is invited to sit in a seat of judgment. When she begins her instructions, she says. “Judging requires that you think yourself superior over the one you judge.” It’s clear that Young is trying to take away the foundations by which we are to make judgments, and by doing so, the reader is made to feel wrong, perhaps prideful, when he or she makes a judgment.

Yet, we are told to make judgments all through Scripture (e.g. 1 John 4:1). We cannot survive without them. We cannot make sound decisions regarding whom to trust or to whom to render service unless we make judgments. And if the responsibility to judge is taken away and judgment itself is vilified, then the basis for God’s judgment is also swept to the side, which we will see.

When Mack is asked to make a judgment regarding a man who would prey on innocent little girls, here is how the conversation ensues:

“What about him, Mackenzie? Is that man guilty? Should he be judged?”

“Yes!” screamed Mack. “Damn him to hell!”

“Is he to blame for your loss?”

“Yes!”

“What about his father, the man who twisted his son into a terror, what about him?”

“Yes, him too!”

“How far do we go back, Mackenzie? This legacy of brokenness goes all the way back to Adam, what about him? But why stop there? What about God? God started this whole thing. Is God to blame?”

Mack was reeling. He didn’t feel like a judge at all, but rather the one on trial.

The woman was unrelenting. “Isn’t this where you are stuck, Mackenzie? Isn’t this what fuels The Great Sadness? That God cannot be trusted? Surely, a father like you can judge the Father!”

When Mack then says that God is to blame, the woman goes on to demand that Mack become a judge, a judge who fits Mack’s idea about God as judge. She says that Mack must decide which of his children will go to heaven and which to hell, and he must choose only two of them to go to heaven. The only basis the story gives for the judgment is that his children have sinned. But Mack refuses to make the choice and asks if he can go to hell in their stead.

To this, the woman replies, “Now you sound like Jesus. You have judged well, Mackenzie. I am so proud of you!”

Does that sound like Jesus? To the undiscerning reader, it might. Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to suffer judgment. But our salvation in Christ is dependent on our turning from sin, believing in Jesus’ atoning work, and surrendering to God in obedience. In Young’s world, you obtain salvation automatically. No turning, no faith, no repentance. There isn’t even a hint that anything is required, not even faith in Christ.

Young sets up a false view of God’s judgment, that God arbitrarily sends some sinners to Hell and other sinners to Heaven, without consideration for repentance and faith, and dashes that idea, thus killing a straw man. So, what is left to believe after this contrived debate? That God takes everyone to Heaven, because with Young’s false dilemma, that’s the only option remaining.

The following excerpt should make it clear that Young believes in universal salvation, even for those who don’t call upon the name of Jesus. In the book, Jesus says,

“Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.”

The key is the author’s words, “I have no desire to make them Christian.” This, by itself, should have raised red flags for every reader. Of course Jesus wants all people to become Christian. In the Bible, He tells people to come and follow Him over and over. They can’t be saved without being His followers. Yet, thousands upon thousands of professing Christians, lacking discernment, are singing the praises of this deceptive book.

Young portrays God as someone who has no expectations on our behavior (“I never placed an expectation on you or anyone else”). There is no judgment. Everything is about relationships. Although our relationship with God is crucial, it is not something that supplants our obedience and God’s justice regarding those who do not obey.

Are you still unconvinced that the author is pushing universalism? Read on.

As the story winds down, Mack is given a vision in which he sees his father in a heaven-like place. Of course, there is no hint given that his father ever repented and turned to God, so we are left wondering how he made it to heaven. Though in Young’s world, turning from sin has no saving value, so this is really no surprise. Mack, in concert with this repentance-free economy, forgives his father, again pulling the reader’s emotions into acquiescence with this false forgiveness.

False forgiveness? Yes. It seems that the church today has fallen for a false definition of forgiveness, that somehow we can forgive someone who has not repented of his wrongdoing. Without repentance from the offending party, the offended party can decide not to hate or harbor a desire for revenge, but that is not true forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the restoration of a relationship from both sides, both the one who offended and the one who was offended. If we decide that forgiveness is merely the cessation of a desire to punish the offender, we will short circuit true forgiveness. Why? Because thinking this revenge-free thought pattern is all we need to do, we will no longer seek the restored relationship only repentance will bring.

Does God forgive those who don’t repent? Of course not. Yet, in Young’s world, God, because of the sacrificial work of Jesus, forgives everyone, whether repentant or not, whether a Christian or not. As “God” says in this book:

“In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.”

Convinced yet? If this isn’t universal salvation, then what is? I could write pages about Young’s warped view of forgiveness, but here it is in simplicity. Forgiveness is simply deciding not to punish someone, regardless of whether or not that person has repented. So God doesn’t punish anyone, whether they have turned from their sins or not, or even whether they believe in Jesus or not

This twisted view is exemplified in Mack when he “forgives” his daughter’s murderer, though he has no idea whether or not this killer is currently raping and killing another innocent girl. What nonsense! This isn’t forgiveness. The killer hasn’t repented. He hasn’t sought forgiveness at all. All this is is Mack trying to feel better. It is merely the self-centered flushing of negative feelings. It does nothing to redeem the offender, though Young thinks it does.

“Mack, for you to forgive this man is for you to release him to me and allow me to redeem him.”

Somehow, God’s redemption is predicated on Mack’s decision to forgive the unrepentant rapist-murderer. Such is Young’s view of God, a deity who demands nothing but a touchy-feely relationship. There are no expectations, no responsibilities, only a kiss on the lips and a pat on the head when his creatures rebel. Everyone will be saved, no matter what.

God has become the Great Spirit in the bedtime story who sends a princess to jump from a cliff, thereby healing all people no matter the condition of their heart or the confession from their lips.
It is such a tragedy that so many in the church are accepting this blatantly false view of God, judgment, and salvation. A book like this should never have become a bestseller. It is poorly written, it is obviously false, and it is an insult to God. But sales continue to skyrocket, forcing us to sound an alarm that really shouldn’t be needed.

25 comments:

Paris said...

I've never even heard of the book, but it makes my head spin reading about everything twisted in there. Great review!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bryan, I have to post as ANONYMOUS here b/c my school computer won't accept cookies. DOH.

In any case, thanks for the detailed review of the book. Y'know, I read The Shack, and it had a great emotional impact on me. And there were elements in the story that I liked. For instance, I found it interesting that meeting God would include many surprises. I'm convinced that there are some issues in Scripture that are unclear to us now, but in Heaven will become clear. I also really enjoyed Mack being able to walk and talk with Jesus. I want to do that too. And fiction can help me with that since, for now, I can't hug Jesus or have Him show up in my room for a chat.

That said, your point by point exposition of the errors in the story have given me more than a little pause. Some of what you wrote is indeed very troubling. Universal salvation, though I wish it was true, is not what we find in the Bible at all. Even common sense precludes it. If all were saved no matter what path they took, why would Christians be urged again and again to go tell others about Christ? Why is the reality of hell painted so painfully clear in Scripture? The reservoir of God's forgiveness is large enough that all mankind could be saved, but only if each person believes and accepts Jesus as Savior. Clearly, many people do not.

Young strikes me as someone coming to grips with loss in his own life. After all, we all write about what we are passionate about. But it appears in his zeal to communicate the love of God that he has made some grave errors.

I wonder though if there might be an unspoken suggestion regarding the concept of The Shack, something worthwhile. The idea of a person while on this earth meeting with a physical manifestation of God is really kind of intriguing. A person expressing all his fears, doubts, and pain and hearing God's response is something worth thinking about. I'd suggest it as a kind of exercise. If I could have Jesus sit down beside me on a park bench, and I could just tell Him everything I fear, hope, dream, and all my pains, worries, and doubts…what would He say? Then, go exploring in the Bible to see what God might Scripturally say to me? Just a thought.

Thanks again, Bryan!

-Wayne Thomas Batson

Bryan Davis said...

Wayne,

Good points, as usual.

I find this point you made quite interesting. "The idea of a person while on this earth meeting with a physical manifestation of God is really kind of intriguing."

It is intriguing, indeed. And we have such a story presented in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus is the physical manifestation of God, and He walked among us. And this story is true, and it reflects the real nature of God, judgment, and salvation.

I, too, think it might be a worthwhile exercise to write about the meeting you describe, and I wouldn't mind reading one that you would write. To be acceptable, however, it would have to reflect the truths found in the original. I think you would paint an accurate portrait. The Shack doesn't.

Jordan said...

Hi, Mr. Davis,

Thank you for reviewing this book. I had heard the title tossed around a bit, but I'm glad to finally hear what it is! Always good to be fore-warned.

One little comment for you: Could you please tell which Bible version you are using?

Bryan Davis said...

Jordan,

Thank you for the reminder. I added a note in the original post that all Bible quotes are from the New American Standard Bible.

Jeff Draper said...

Thanks for such a thoughtful review. I wrote a story set in the time of Jesus with Him as a speaking character. Although He only had a few lines, I was very concerned that I got it right. You've given a lot of good stuff to consider here.

Kathy said...

yay! Someone else who shares my feelings. Well, I didn't read far enough to get all that from it. I picked up three copies in Orlando at ICRS and started reading it. Thought the front story with the girl was good and since Christian suspense (think Terri Blackstock or Brandilyn Collins) is my favorite, I thought I'd found a winner (although I didn't understand the into).

Then I got to the part where he meets the trinity. That was it for me. Those who worship God worship him and spirit and in truth and God as an AA women and Jesus dropping a bowl of sauce at a meal just doesn't cut it for me.

I've heard a lot of people say to lighten up, it's just for fun. Umm, not really. Kind of insulting to a holy trinity.

So I'm rereading the Left Behind series instead. They may not be 100% right but they base stuff on their own research of the Bile and with integrity.

I can't STAND that the Shack is #1 on CBA and on NY Times. Augh.

Pam Halter said...

Thank you, Bryan, for taking the time to read and review this book. I have many friends who have read it and loved it. But something about it has rubbed me the wrong way and I didnt' know why, even though I had not read it.

Now I know.

We really must stay on our toes!

Brandon Barr said...

I've heard of this book. Thanks for the review. My mom was thinking of reading it...I'll promptly direct her here.

Patricia said...

I, too, had read to the point of the "trinity" in the book and could not continue.

The book was recommended to me by the clerk at a Christian bookstore.

Thank you for your review.

Patricia

Sara said...

I actually liked The Shack a lot. I didn't agree with everything, but overall I found it to be a refreshing and unique portrayal of Jesus. I know people will disagree with me, but I read the book for myself and enjoyed it. I wouldn't hand it out as gospel, though.

Bryan Davis said...

Sara.

A "unique" portrayal of Jesus? Maybe. "Refreshing"? Not at all. I wasn't refreshed in the slightest.

Anyway, should we want "unique" or "accurate"? I would hope we would choose accurate, something based on a biblical representation of Jesus, which The Shack doesn't provide. In fact, it perverts the image of all three persons of the godhead.

Sara said...

That's okay; I realize we have different opinions on this. But I did find it refreshing. It's fine if you didn't. :)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Davis,

Thanks for the review! My mom read it and thought it would make a very nice debate for Bible class since I'm homeschooled. In our opinon you hit the nail on the head! You to Mr. Batson Yet I can't help but wonder... is this story a thermostat or a thermometer?

-Colton. S

Bryan Davis said...

Colton,

I think The Shack is both a thermometer and a thermostat. It reflects the church's departure from truth and is causing more departures.

shieldmaiden said...

Mr. Davis,
I agree with some of what you write here and some of it I don't agree with, just as I did with The Shack and every other thing I read. You have challenged my thinking more than once and I have really enjoyed it. I was wondering if you had the time or interest for me to return the favor?

Bryan Davis said...

Shieldmaiden,

Return the favor? Do you mean that you would do me the honor of challenging my thinking? I would welcome that, but it would be better by email bryan (at) dragonsinourmidst (dot) com

Kriegel said...

I went to the library today to pick up The Shack, and already I am two chapters into it.

Wow. Even that is more than enough. Mack/Young has already revealed that he doesn't understand the atonement, with the ridiculous Indian princess story.

And the writing is...bad.

I'll probably finish, if only as a means of "affirming my right" to call the book what it is. (Don't want to deal with the "You don't know, you didn't read it!" response.)

Bryan Davis said...

Kriegel, yes the Indian princess story definitely foreshadowed Young's unbiblical view of the atonement. Just wait. The worst is yet to come.

And the writing is quite bad, awful really. That, too, gets worse. Try to count how many times Jesus chuckles. Also, I counted five point-of-view shifts in a two-paragraph section. There were way too many errors for anyone to consider this book anything but very poorly written.

Sonbeam3 said...

Thank you for your review of the The Shack. I read the review just in time to warn my mother not to read the book (she was trying to obtain a library copy at the time). She is not well versed in Scripture and could have been misled by the inaccurate theology presented in the book. I would rather she read your review than the book. Thank you for the warning.

Kriegel said...

I finished The Shack tonight.

It is obvious that Young was pushing universal reconciliation, even though Wayne Jacobsen denies that the doctrine is taught in the book. (However, he does admit that Young is/was partial to UR.) At the same time, on page 192, we're given the following exchange:

Papa sat forward and crossed her arms on the table. "Honey, you asked me what Jesus accomplished on the cross; so now listen to me carefully: through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world."
"The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?"
"The whole world, Mack. All I'm telling you is that reconciliation is a two-way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally. It is not the nature of love to force a relationship but it is the nature of love to open the way."

It's the phrase "reconciliation is a two-way street" that would enable some supporters to say that universalism is not taught in the book because it (to them) implies that not all are reconciled to God. This is Jacobsen's argument.

But I have a question for "God." How can you be reconciled to someone who rejects you? Unless the other party is willing, reconciliation cannot take place. It's just another example of Young's false forgiveness.

I also don't understand how Young's antinomianism has gone unnoticed by some. In Chapter 14, Mack and Young's god talk about responsibility and expectations. God has no expectations, he (I was tempted to put "she") just wants a relationship. In the following excerpt, Sarayu and Mack are talking:

"...Jesus laid the demand of the law to rest; it no longer has any power to accuse or command. Jesus is both the promise and its fulfillment."
"Are you saying I don't have to follow the rules [Law and Ten Commandments]?" Mack had now completely stopped eating and was concentrating on the conversation.
"Yes. In Jesus you are not under any law. All things are lawful."

And there we have a gross misapplication of 1 Corinthians 10:23. In Young's world, people are allowed to do anything they want. Since no clarification is ever given, does this mean that we can steal, commit adultery, or lie? (Apparently so on the last one, since "God" excused Mack's lies.)

What does Scripture say?
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15)

"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." (John 14:21)

"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." (1 John 2:3)

It looks to me that we are supposed to keep God's commandments.

And was anyone else bothered by the insinuation that Jesus did not know what He was talking about when He was on the cross?

Bryan Davis said...

kriegel,

You're absolutely correct about the antinomianism. The book is full of it.

There are so many unbiblical teachings in The Shack, I couldn't possibly mention them all. There was no requirement for repentance for salvation, and no expectation of obedience afterward. It doesn't even resemble true Christianity.

In fact, because of its attack on those who follow the Bible, I would call it an anti-Christian book.

Heidi said...

Hi Bryan,

Thank you for the great review. I've had discussions with my christian friends, some who love it, and some who call it blasphemy. I agree with the latter. I've never been able to articulate my repulsion to it clearly though. I'll refer everyone I know to your review now.
P.S. Great blog overall! My daughter got me hooked on the Dragons In Our Midst series...can't wait for more!

Anonymous said...

May I make one point? The Shack is a novel, a work of fiction.

Bryan Davis said...

Anonymous, yes, I knew that. In fact, if you had actually read my post, you would have seen this:

Some people have defended the book by saying, “It’s fiction!” but that changes nothing. Fiction is a powerful vehicle for dispensing and illustrating truth. Fiction stories have altered major courses of events in nations all over the world and throughout history. If a fictional story teaches a lie, we must reject it and expose the story for the lie that it is.

So you have defended the book exactly as I said some would. The "it's fiction" defense is completely inadequate.