I was asked about the book “The Shack” today and I thought it helpful to point to a few worthwhile reviews here.
The first I’d suggest is the audio Al Mohler’s radio program when he reviewed the book. Get it here: A Look at “The Shack”
Mohler caution’s readers to beware of The Shack’s “serious, even dangerous, theological deficiencies”.
Tim Challies says,
I urge you, the reader, to exercise care in reading and distributing this book. The Shack may be an engaging read but it is one that contains far too much error. Read it only with the utmost care and concern, critically evaluating the book against the unchanging standard of Scripture. Caveat lector!
We’re headed out for a week of camping in the morning but when I get back if I find other worthwhile reviews I’ll link to them here.
Update Monday; September 8, 2008
The Shack, while occasionally getting things right is, in the end, a dangerous piece of fiction. It undermines Scripture and the church, presents at best a mutilated gospel, misrepresents the biblical teachings concerning the Godhead and offers a New Age understanding of God and the universe. This is not a great novel to explain tragedy and pain. It is a misleading work which will confuse many and lead others astray.
Update Wednesday; October 15, 2008
Young, in an attempt to wipe the blood off of God’s hands, ends up diminishing the transcendence and power of God. The best way to correct an unbalanced view of God is not by introducing an opposing unbalanced view of God.
Update Thursday; October 23, 2008
My worry is that many Christians will read The Shack, assuming it articulates sound theology. It doesn’t.
Update Sunday; March 1, 2009
Insight For Living shares this helpful review — The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity, by Glenn Kreider. In his conclusion he says this:
I first read this book because it was recommended to me by several people I know and trust. Most significantly, I read Eugene Peterson’s recommendation: “This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!” (front cover). That is pretty high praise. I began reading with a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm. The story hooked me from the first couple of pages. Although my experience of suffering and pain is not to the same degree as Mack’s, I have many of the same questions he has. As I read this book, I waited with anticipation for the conversations with God to begin. As they did, I felt an increasing feeling of sadness in the depths of my being. This is not only not literarily comparable to the work of John Bunyan, it is even less worthy of theological comparison. This is a dangerous book. Its view of the Trinity is inadequate and its view of Christ is unorthodox. That is not good.
Update Monday; March 2, 2009
Though some parts roughly align with biblical teaching (and many others explicitly contradict it), the book’s overall attitude toward Scripture is persistently dismissive. Mack’s own disdain is conveyed early on: “God’s voice had been reduced to paper. … Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (p. 65-67).
Young’s ramshackle theology, unfortunately, is giving a lot of people an incomplete and false image of God. He is doing them no favors.
Update Tuesday; March 10, 2009
Thanks to Tim Challies for pointing to this interview with William Young (MP3). Tim notes: “Here is an interview with The Shack author William Young. In it he flatly denies the substitutionary atonement (which was one of the questions many people had as they read the book).”
Update Friday; January 29, 2010
Al Mohler has also written a piece, The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment – AlbertMohler.com saying,
The popularity of this book among evangelicals can only be explained by a lack of basic theological knowledge among us — a failure even to understand the Gospel of Christ. The tragedy that evangelicals have lost the art of biblical discernment must be traced to a disastrous loss of biblical knowledge. Discernment cannot survive without doctrine.