Why is this Important?
This is important because a
little error can lead to a lot of lies. The Bible says, "A
little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough," (Gal. 5:8).
Is The Shack Dangerous?
Yes, the book is dangerous because it hides false doctrines
in a feel-good story and presents to Christians a form of
God that is not biblical.
But it is only fiction!!
So what if its fiction?
Is it okay to speak for God in a fiction book and also
directly contradict His word in the process -- as long as
people feel better about God?
Quotes from The Shack
"Whoa,' said Papa [God the Father], who had returned from
the kitchen with yet another dish. 'Take it easy on those
greens, young man. Those things can give you the trots if
you ain't careful.'"
Questions for Mr. Young
1. Should Christian fiction try to represent God as
accurately as possible or is it okay to actually
contradict scripture if the intent is to make God seem
more palatable to people?
2. Do you see any danger to Christians, and others, in speaking for God, putting words in his mouth, and having him say things that directly contradict His revealed word? (Think of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Islam, etc.)
Quotes from The Shack, by William P. Young
It is one thing to talk about a book, is another to quote
it. Following are quotes from Paul Young's book. Is this the
manner in which God represents himself in the Bible? No it
- Jesus speaking to Mack about the Father who is an
African American Woman (p. 89).
- "Jesus laughed, 'She's a riot!'"
- Is any kind of speech like this from Christ
found in Scripture? It is not. But, it makes
Jesus more likeable, more palatable, less
sovereign, and less ominous.
- Here is a dialogue found on page 90. Mack is
speaking to the Father who is listening to music.
- "May I ask what you're listening to?"
"You really wanna know"?
"Sure." Now Mack was curious.
"West Coast Juice. Group called Diatribe and an
album that isn't even out yet called Heart Trips.
Actually," she winked at Mack, "these kids haven't
even been born yet."
"Right," Mac responded, more than a little
incredulous. "West Coast Juice, huh? It doesn't
sound very religious."
"Oh, trust me, it's not. More like Eurasian funk
and blues with a message, and a great beat." She
sidestepped toward Mack as if she were doing a dance
move and clapped. Mack stepped back.
- Such a dialogue can help people feel better
about God because it makes God more likable.
But it is putting words in God's mouth and is an
shapes him into a more "cool" and "hip"
presentation. It is a changing of God's
revealed character as is described in
- Jesus wiped the Father's (Papa) feet. (p. 105)
- "'Ooooh, that feels soooo good!' exclaimed Papa,
as she continued her tasks at the counter."
- Sigh.... Is this how God the Father speaks
in scripture? No, it is not. But, that hasn't
stopped The Shack from putting words in God's
- Jesus and Mack together (p. 108).
- "'C'mon,' said Jesus, interrupting Mack's
thoughts. 'I know you enjoy looking at stars! Want
to?' He sounded just like a child full of
anticipation and expectancy."
- Is it okay to describe Jesus as sounding
like a child? Is this the image of the holy and
infinite God where the second person of the
Trinity became one of us and died for our sins?
Is putting words in to Christ's mouth and
describing him as a child acceptable? Where is
this in scripture?
- The Father and Mac are talking about punishing
people for their sin (p. 120).
- "I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is
its own punishment, devouring you from the inside.
It's not my purpose to punish it; it's my joy to
- On the contrary, God does need to
punish people -- not because it is joyful, but
because that is what his righteousness requires.
If God were to ignore the sins of people and not
punish them, then he himself would be approving
of sin. Furthermore, sin is not its own
punishment. That is a New Age kind of man-made
philosophy. The punishment of sin is eternal
separation from God (Isaiah 59:2) and death
(Romans 6:23). Check out Deut. 28:63, "And
it shall come about that as the Lord delighted
over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so
the Lord will delight over you to make you
perish and destroy you. . ." Also, Prov.
16:4, "The Lord has made everything for its
own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of
evil." And, Psalm 11:5, "The Lord
tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one
who loves violence His soul hates." The
truth about God is found in his word, not
sentimental, fictional dialogues and our
understanding of God needs to be shaped by His
word, not our wants!
- Food is being passed around at a table (p. 121).
- "'Whoa,' said Papa, who had returned from the
kitchen with yet another dish. 'Take it easy on
those greens, young man. Those things can give you
the trots if you ain't careful.'"
- God the Father is talking about diarrhea?
Seriously? Biblically, anyone in the presence
of God bows his face to the ground and begs God
to leave because God presence is so ominously
powerful and holy that the sinner knows his own
unrighteousness. See Isaiah 6:1-5. But in The
Shack, God the Father (who is a female) talks
about diarrhea and Mack isn't bowing in his
presence. What God is this before which a man
is casually having a conversation and diarrhea
is the topic? Is that the God of scripture?
- By a lakeside, skipping stones (pp. 170-171).
- "As he entered the clearing, he saw Jesus still
waiting, still skipping stones." "Hey, I think my
best was 13 skips," he said as he laughed and walked
to meet Mack. "But Tyler beat me by three and Josh
threw one that skipped so fast we all lost count."
- Though this is a nice sentimental
representation of Christ, it represent him as
nothing more than a new age image, stripped of
his Majesty. In the resurrected Christ which is
what the book the shack is supposed to
represent), Christ retained his crucifixion
wounds (John 20:25-28). The ordeal of his death
will forever stay with him and we are reminded
by his wounds of the great cost of our
redemption. But in the shack, the resurrected
Christ is outdone in skipping stones. Yep, it
sure makes him seem like one of us, comfortable,
approachable, gentle, cool, hip, nice,
vulnerable, etc. Yep, definitely New Age.
- While Jesus and Mack are walking on water and see a
large trout (pp. 175-176).
- Jesus said, "'I've been trying to catch him for
weeks, and here he comes just to bait me,' he
laughed. Mack watched, amazed, as Jesus started to
dodge this way and that, trying to keep up with the
fish, and finally gave up. He looked at Mack,
excited as a little kid. 'Isn't he great? I'll
probably never catch him.'"
- So Jesus who instructed his disciples to
cast your net out on the other side of the boat
so they might catch a large amount of fish (John
21:1-11) suddenly can't catch just one? Again
notice how Jesus is treated as being child-like.
- Jesus and Mack are talking (p. 182).
- Jesus said, "Those who love me come from every
system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons,
Baptist or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many
who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning
or religious institutions. I have followers who
were murderers and many who were self-righteous.
Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis,
Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make
them Christian, but I do want to join them in their
transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa,
into my brothers and sisters, into my beloved."
- Biblically, a Christian is someone who
follows Christ. In The Shack, Jesus is telling
Mack that he doesn't desire to make anyone
Christians. Is that so? What about where Jesus
says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
follow Me," (Matt. 16:24). And where does
Paul Young get the idea that Jesus wants to join
people in their transformation? This is New Age
philosophy where people are transformed (into
what?) instead of being made disciples of
- The Father and Mack are talking about forgiving the
man who murdered Mack's daughter (p. 224).
- "Mack, for you to forgive this man is for you to
release him to me and allow me to redeem him."
- Here we have God the father being restricted
and his power. In order for God to be "allowed"
to redeem him, Matt is the one who must release
the man (in the story 'the man' killed Mack's
daughter.) This is a reduction of the character
and Majesty of God yet again. It redefines God,
lowers him, by stating he must be allowed to do
his work by a mere sinful, man. This is heresy.
In a spiritual church-world where biblical theology is
rarely taught from the pulpit and theological milquetoast is
offered instead, the redefining of God into a man-made image
has taken root. The seeds of this misrepresentation will
produce bad fruit. Whenever anyone claims to speak for God,
contradicts God's word even in the slightest, and changes
his Holy and Awesome character into a human level and
totally relatable "cool" person, error is guaranteed to
flourish. The fact is that God has chosen to reveal
himself in a specific way in his inspired word: the Bible.
No one has the right to change how God has chosen to
represent himself -- even if it is a fiction novel that is
aimed at making people feel good about God.
You can't successfully change God's character and
misrepresent him unless you give people what they want by
making them feel good about God. That way, you can
misrepresent God successfully and the people will happily
swallow leaven being fed to them.