A personal assessment of “ The Shack” by Bro. Warren Jones
Prelude: I took up this book to read because of all the alarms that were being sounded against it .
I approached it with a prayerful, open mind and will try to give a balanced view while
maintaining my conservative values and high regard for the final authority of the Word of God.
Wm. Paul Young is a teacher. His approach is definitely didactic , yet he cleverly veils it in a tale
that touches his reader’s tenderest emotions and the inner passion for justice. He avoids a”preachy “
style in order to appeal to his “entertainment addicted” generation.
He weaves his theology and reasoning into the narrative so well that the reasons given by the chief
characters, namely Elousia (Papa), Sarayu,seem to be the thoughts of the very reader and well explain the difficult experiences of the main character Mackenzie ( Mack).
The effect is that you begin to trust the author and believe that the account is both real and accurately retold.
The good part:
1. The author grabs hold of the passionate love and patience of God in a way that few that I have read
– one begins to feel that there is a “bigger good” and a “Real Planner” in this life .
In this , it strengthens one’s faith in God and holds His love even amid tragic losses of our
seemingly random human experience.
2. Theologically, the author’s belief in the Trinity is strong and refreshing in a day when such
orthodox doctrines are being dismantled and challenged.
3. I like the possibility that every “sad and bitter” soul like Mack that we see around us could truly
find a response to the love of Christ . I am not so sure it is true , however, but the possibility
drives me on to bring the world to Him Who came “to seek and to save that which was lost”.
“ A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” . ..”there shall arise false Christs..” Gal 5:9 Matt 24:24
The poplar religions today have created a Jesus that is of “Divine origin” and is of the Masonic
thinking that sees Allah, Buddha, Krishna… as equals. Such seems to be the drift of the message
when Jesus says” I’m not a Christian”… Those that love me come from every system that exists”..
Buddhists, Mormons,Baptists, or Muslims.. “ pg 197, ch12, “In the Belly of the Beasts”
Notice a few concerns:
1. God the Father illustrated as a jolly African woman.
– While it may be popular , this is not the God of the Bible.- Duet. 6:4
– any God than what the Bible depicts is but another god
– God is always and without one exception depicted as “Him,He, “ and when
appearing as an angel, always male.
So.. why is this so important in this age of gender equality. ? Because God Himself
set a difference between man and woman and has chosen to spiritually bless male
authority in the church and in society. I know that is an unpopular stand.
– Gen 3:16 , 11Tim 2;9-15. Do I know why? No- but He chose to.
– such is not the case with God who is over all and in all.
The false religious systems of the world all include female deities such as :
Babylonian Ishtar, Ephesian Dianna, Syrian Ashara … which this book seems
to give support to. Again, see the”little leaven”.
2. Chapter 6 – Depicting God as gyrating to the music of “ Eurasian funk, blues, and the likes of Larry Norman, DC Talk, Bruce Cockburn” is borderline sacrilege if not blasphemy .
I guess we love to see our “god” as like us , but that is not the real God.We are a self- centered age and like to see God in our self chosen experiences.
– I see no hint of God loving our fleshly indulgences let alone doing them. John
Baptist was called “great” and was self- denying.
3. Chapter 7 – Jesus is seen bumbling and , spilling the oriental sauce batter on the floor. In this scene, The Trinity are laughing so hard that they are hardly breathing and “Papa has the batter spilled down ”Her” apron and Her feet are covered with the “gooey mess”
While this was all in fun and adding a humour to God’s nature, the allowance of error
and lack of foresight into God’s experience as NOT characteristic of the God of the Bible.
– if we allow such depictions, we are soon to lose confidence in the unchangeable
perfection of a Holy God, Whose Name is Jesus. Mal 3:6 Heb 13 :8 Ps. 18:30
Final words: While I realize this is but an allegory, some have commented that this may be the
“Pilgrim’s Progress” of the 21st Century( Eugene Peterson , Regent College, Vancouver BC).
Some have violently opposed this book because so many Southern Baptists are shaping their
theology by it. I do not believe that to be the goal of the author, but such may be the sad
condition of Bible- ignorant church goers of the day.
I see the danger of this book in the “God -revealing” parts where His ways and habits are seen
so foreign to the Word of God, and yet we are told that it is indeed Him ( Her). It is subtle that
Jesus is the only male among the company, the Holy Spirit being female as well , while the
Bible clearly depicts Him as male or neuter in gender in Romans 8:26.
I rather enjoyed the read, but felt that the Spirit of God was grieved by certain parts that
needed pointing out.
Thanks for reading my opinion,
Brother Warren Jones Nov 12, 2011