Tear down “The Shack”

“The Shack,” the best-selling book that masquerades as Christian literature, is still influencing churches. Unfortunately the message in “The Shack” is contrary to Scripture, and so any influence it has is bound to be counterproductive to legitimate efforts at discipleship.

Here is a short list of out-and-out heresies contained in this horrid piece of writing. And here is a review of the book where you may listen to an interview with the author where the author actually denies the substitutionary atonement of Christ (a pretty important biblical doctrine).

That a book so blatantly contrary to Scripture could have this big an impact on the Church is evidence that many of us haven’t been taught how to study Scripture — or that we don’t care to study Scripture.


Since originally posting the information above, I’ve received a few e-mails asking for a full review of “The Shack.” I seriously doubt I will write a full review, but I will offer the following:

I first became aware of “The Shack” through a friend. He called and asked me if I had an opinion on it. I told him I’d never heard of it but would check it out. That afternoon I went to a bookstore on my lunch break and sat down and skimmed through the book. After about an hour I had read enough to convince me of the dangers contained in this book. Here is a summary of the notes I took:

  1. The Bible is portrayed as an insufficient revelation to man and it is only in his discussion with “God” in the shack that the main character begins to have even a basic understanding of the character of God.
  2. What the “God” in the shack says to the main character is to be considered superior to Scripture. This is a blatant endorsement of progressive revelation — which is a hallmark of cults. Furthermore, were God to audibly speak to any of us we could rest assured his words would NOT contradict Scripture.
  3. “Jesus” is stated to be “truly human.” When the main character asks about Jesus performing miracles — which seems to be an act of the divine — “God” tells the main character that Jesus had no power in and of himself to perform miracles. It was only in his relationship with “God” that Jesus did those things. A clear implication is made that we could have the same ability if only we would follow the example of “Jesus” and establish that same kind of relationship.
  4. “God” explains to the main character that he/she submits to man. This, “God” explains, is the same kind of submission the trinity makes with itself and invites man to join.
  5. A clear implication toward universalism is made. According to the book, Jesus’ death saved everyone but only a few choose a relationship.

Bottom Line: There are clear theological statements made concerning the nature and character of God that are contradictory to Scripture. These are not “minor” issues that can be overlooked in order to “get the main idea” the author is trying to convey. The main idea of the book is based on these erroneous notions of God. If we allow ourselves to accept (even briefly) unbiblical characteristics about God then we are in danger of worshipping a God of our own making. When we do this we end up worshipping a false God — regardless of whether or not we still use the same names for him. Remember, there are cults who claim to worship Jesus, too. But their “Jesus” bears no resemblance to the Jesus in Scripture. Theirs is a false God. Now, the “God” of “The Shack” can be added to the list.

About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

2 Responses to Tear down “The Shack”

  1. Pingback: The Need for Discernment | Thideology™

  2. pam clark says:

    ive only read the book. I did like the book,only from a entertainment side. After listening to rick wiles and reading your oppinion did I start to think about it. I am a born again christian .Which means I know theres only one way to heaven and thats thru the eternal sacrifice of jesus (god/man) who new no sin. Who bore all mankinds sin but we have to repent and turn and cofess HIM.You actually made me think about this movie.I told my friends it wS a good book go see the movie. I do not believe in universalism ,no way.The only way is thru christ jesus. God will judge us all. I hope this movie does one thing . I hope it makes people search and try to find the god of the universe who created all of us and Make our Hearts turn to the Bible and search it out .You have made me search my heart. I feel your concerned that people will die in their sin ,thinking ,God was suppose to find me before i die. You have made me think about this book differently.I hope the audience is intrigued to find god search for him after they see the movie or read the book. thanks .

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