Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Shack - Revisited

by Robert Fraire

I recently read the book "The Shack" and I have a series of things I want to talk about concerning the subjects covered in it as well as the overall value of the book.

In short I would say that "The Shack" is a dangerous book that fosters all sorts of ungodly understandings of: who God is, what is our relationship to him, what is God's will concerning His people.

I bet that in calling "The Shack" a dangerous book, some may think that I am overreacting. But instead I think I am actually downplaying the problems with this story. I was reading some reviews posted about "The Shack" and I found them very interesting. Some reviews called "The Shack" a wonderful and powerful book, others called it a good story, but with some bad theology. One post specifically brought forth my main point for this blog post and is the reason I call "The Shack" dangerous. The site where I read reviews allowed for people to comment on the book and many people had done so. The post that struck me the most was from a woman who said that she had read all the comments people left and that her summary of the arguments by people who didn't like the book came down to the idea that it contains bad theology. This woman then wrote: "I liked the book a lot, those who concentrate on the supposed bad theology are overreacting."

Here is my question for you. How important is it if "The Shack" contains bad theology? What if the story is uplifting and God honoring (I don't believe it is) isn't that what matters? What importance does the Bible place on correct theology. Or asked another way, how important is it if we portray God, as the Trinity, differently then the Bible does? My answer is that it is of the utmost importance. We don't have to go any further then the 10 commandments to understand what God thinks of portraying Himself in a way other than how He does.

Now before I go to scripture let me clear something up right away. When I say that "The Shack" portrays God in a way other than the Bible does, I am not talking specifically or solely about physical appearances. The Shack portrays The Father as a black woman, Jesus as a Jewish man and the Holy Spirit as a young Asian girl. Instead I am talking about the character, mind, and reasons for acting of God.

In Exodus 20: 4
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

This commandment has been thought of throughout the years as a prohibition concerning statues, pictures, etc. But there is much more than that in this commandment. God has revealed himself in the Bible. It is in the Bible that we see what he likes and dislikes, what he commands and what he cares for. Scripture tells us how we are to relate to him, what is the purpose of life, and on what basis will he judge us. When we make idols, or false pictures of God, we are indicating in one way or another that we do not accept God's self revelation.

When the people of Israel built a Golden Calf (Exodus 32) what were they building? Did they build an idol as a "New" God? Aaron told them "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt." Now who was it that brought them out of Egypt? It was the true God. So the people weren't turning to other gods instead they made an image of God.

Now someone might say, what is wrong with portraying God as a young calf? Doesn't that portray strength, power, and other things that are true of God? In verses 7 and 8 God tells Moses that the people have corrupted themselves and worshiped an idol. Again, only God has the right to portray himself.

In my estimation this is where "The Shack" goes wrong. Its whole premise is bad. It tries to portray a God that is not consistent with scripture. So back to the woman's comment I relayed earlier in this post. How important is it if "The Shack" has bad theology? If you believe the Bible, there isn't much more important. This fatal flaw of "The Shack" is sufficient for me to label the book dangerous. But what about the idea that it has a good, God honoring message? In later posts I will deal with many of the main points made in this book and see that there is not much in it that is God honoring.

If you have read the book and liked it, let me ask you to consider whether the portrayal of God is consistent with scripture, and how important to you is it how God is portrayed. If you haven't read it yet, don't bother; there is nothing of value to be found in it.


Bruce Mills said...

Welcome back to my long lost blog partner! Glad to see you are going to burn down the Shack! As you said, there is nothing God-honoring about the book. The fact that it is still a best seller just reveals the lack of spiritual discernment among professing believers, Christian book sellers, churches, etc., all of whom have been pushing this piece of heretical garbage as if it is some kind of new revelation from God.

Marty Winn said...

Thanks for your review Robert. I was eating out last Friday and heard a group at the next table discussing the book and had to restrain myself from jumping into their conversation.

Unknown said...

This morning in our church, a lady on our worship team spent ten minutes of our service reading about judgment out of the SHACK. My husband and I were dumbfounded. We think it is finally time to turn away from this church that we have belonged to for 25 years. I started reading the Shack on my way home on an airplane. A chapter or two into it..something(the Holy Spirit) told me to put it down and I did. Sad to say in our church service this am..there was only a couple of verses of the bible quoted.

Anonymous said...

It is funny Robert that you like movies like the Matrix and Lord of the Rings that suggest a different way of thinking about the afterlife than the bible but yet you come down hard on The Shack. If someone found the love of God, as they understood it, why would you object? The bible doest describe God as a guy in a white robe with a white beard. I prefer to have a personal relationship with God rather than have the likes of you tell me what my relationship should be. My guess is you will edit this comment because you cant stand the truth...