I remember when “The Shack” first came out—it seemed every Christian I knew was reading it. A friend gave me a copy and encouraged me to read it. As I started I just didn’t feel right about how the author was portraying God and I stopped reading it.
I saw my friend who gave me the book and he asked “Are you enjoying it”? to which I responded that I quit reading it because it was not sitting right with me. He encouraged me to tough it out because the book had a great message. So I finished it.
In my opinion, there are some good messages in “The Shack”—messages of redemption and the importance of forgiveness. But theologically, the book is very weak—even dangerous—as the implication is one of universal salvation because God’s love and mercy trump any potential judgment he would ever hand down.
And my major concern with the book is not mature Christians who read it and can sift through the bad theology—but rather young Christians who do not yet have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to separate fact from fiction. This is the pattern of emergent teachers like Bell, Campolo, McLaren and Young—take some biblical truth and through careful manipulation, lead people to false and dangerous conclusions. Look at how McLaren starts off sharing the depths of God’s love and leading people to a dangerous theology that denies Jesus’ substitutionary atonement on the cross.
Look at how Rob Bell does the same thing with eternal hell—he states the truth of God’s love and mercy and twists it into a suggestion that hell certainly could not be a permanent place of separation and punishment—even though Jesus in Matthew 25 stated that there will be a place of eternal punishment for many.
The argument has been made that “The Shack” is a beautiful piece of fiction and therefore no harm can come from reading it. But the danger is we are stalked by an enemy that is the father of lies and half truths, just waiting to pounce on us at every chance. When you combine that with our flesh, which is always eager to find an easy way out of any problem or dilemma, it is a dangerous combination. And of course young, immature Christians who are not grounded in the truth of God’s Word are subject to theology that tickles the ears—and what can tickle more than a suggestion that God would never judge anyone?
There are enough temptations and people out there trying to detract from the truth of God’s Word these days—we don’t need another “Christian” author spreading more doubt about the character, nature and Word of God.
- Spotting counterfeit truth (standupforthetruth.com)
- The new “Shackafied” Bible
- Wake Up Church! (standupforthetruth.com)
- Unity Around What? (standupforthetruth.com)
- “Contextualization” of the Gospel – A Free-Falling Catastrophe (standupforthetruth.com)