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Dr. Larry D Powers / CCGS Bible College / December 2016

If you havent heard of The Shack by William P. Young, you probably will. This 2007 novel
was a number one best-seller on The NY Times, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Borders, and in
many Christian bookstores. Still after almost 10 years it is making the rounds. And with an
upcoming movie to be released it will come to the forefront once again.
Its the story of man named Mack. While on a family vacation, Macks youngest daughter
Missy is abducted and brutally murdered in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness.
For many years Mack is hurt and angry at God. Then one day he finds a letter in his mailbox
from God, inviting Mack to meet him in The Shack. When Mack gets there, the God who
meets with him is not the God he expected. God the Father is an overweight African-American
woman named Papa? God the Son is a middle-eastern workman? And God the Holy Spirit is
a small Asian woman named Sariyu? The book is an unfolding conversation between Mack
and this trinity in The Shack.
To those who know and love the God of the Bible to those who know how carefully those in
Church History defined the doctrine of God to those who fear the Lord, the high, holy,
awesome God of the Bible, the depiction of God in The Shack is not just bizarre and crazy, it is
grievous and blasphemous! Among the many problems with the book are:

The Shack minimizes of the Word of God. The characters in The Shack demean the Bible
and say that God wants to be freed from His Word. Gods voice was reduced to paper
God doesnt want to be in a box or a book(pg. 63). But Psalm 138:2 says - "O Lord, You
have magnified Your word above Your name."

The Shack uses graven imagery (Ex. 20:4). God is Spirit (John 4:24), and in the Bible God
the Father and God the Holy Spirit are never imagined as having a body. Though Jesus
took on a body for our salvation, the Father and the Spirit never have or never will. To use
symbols of the Holy Spirit (like a dove) is fine, for the Bible does that. But to picture the
Father as an old man is wrong, for God does not sin and get old. But in The Shack, God the
Father is an overweight woman and the Spirit is a young girl. Such is graven imagery.

The Shack promotes goddess worship. Though God has no gender, in the Bible, God is
always described as "He" and for important reasons. In The Shack the Father and the Spirit
are female. Jesus didn't teach us to pray "Our mother who art in heaven" but "Our Father."

The Shack teaches tritheism and/or modalism. Though Papa says - we are not three gods
(pg. 100); if God has three bodies, this is tritheism. In The Shack, the unity of God is not
one of essence (the orthodox view), rather it is a social union of three persons. But
strangely, Papa also explains that he is not separate from the Son, but in the Son. This is
modalism. The right doctrine of God is - there is one God (essence) in three persons.

The Shack denies the need for the substitutionary atonement of Christ as the penalty for our
sin. In The Shack, Papa says - "I don't need to punish sin. Sin is its own punishment,
devouring you from the inside. It's not my purpose to punish sin..." (pg. 120) But the Bible
says - The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord
(Rom. 6:23); and God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become
the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

The Shack believes in universalism - that there are many ways to God. In The Shack, Jesus
says Those who love me come from every system that exists. They are Buddhists
or Mormons, Baptist, or Muslims, and many who are not part of any Sunday morning or
religious institution. some are Americans, Iraqis, Jews, and Palestinians. I have no desire
to make them Christians, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and
daughters of my Papa. (pg. 182). The Shack says - Jesus may be the best way to relate to
the Father, not the only way (pg. 109). But Jesus said that He was the way, the truth, and
the life, and no one comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6).

The Shack may be popular and very captivating, but in the end it is a very dangerous and
deceptive book. The god of The Shack is not the God of the Bible. My advice is to stay out of
The Shack.
For Further Information:
The Shack: Helpful or Heretical? by Dr. Norman Geisler (14 Problems)
Bringing Heaven Down to Earth: The Small God of The Shack by Travis McSherley
Stay Away From The Shack by Ken Silva
The Twisted Truths of The Shack by Berit Kjos