Many have asked me to comment on William P. Young´s ragingly popular book The Shack.Is this work of fiction really Christian?It is called by some as one of Christianity´s most influential books.One prominent endorser says it will "leave you craving for God."
Yet people I respect highly, including Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary, calls it "undiluted heresy." He maintains there is no way it can seriously address the issues of Christian faith.
Here is the scenario in brief. Remember, this fiction plot is going to transform lives!A man by the name of "Mack" has a daughter murdered and he slips into a depression. He gets a message that he is supposed to meet God in the shack. Entering the shack, he is in the company of the Trinity, but now it gets weird and hard to believe anyone could be deceived by this piece of work.
In the shack he learns that God is "Papa" but is really an African-American female. Thankfully, Jesus is a Jewish man, but the Holy Spirit is another female figure of Asian descent. So much for Trinitarian theology!So Christianity has been misconstrued and has been revised.Talk about minimizing the Divine!
On page 110 Jesus says that He is perhaps not the way, truth, and life, but the BEST way to relate to the Father and Holy Spirit. Papa God, the African-American female, says she has many followers of many religions in different lands. This is not Orthodox Christianity, yet millions of Christian readers claim it is! Discernment has taken a summer vacation or perhaps a permanent vacation.
Mack asks "Papa" God, the female, about God´s wrath. The answer is that she doesn´t punish people for sin; rather she wants to cure sin.No mention of repentance, the shed blood, and all the things the new "seeker" environment wants to leave out in the church parking lot.
Former "New Ager" Warren Smith says, "The Shack is being described as a Christian novel and is currently ranked number one on the New York Times best-seller list for paperback fiction. Many believers are buying multiple copies and giving them to friends and family. The Shack reads as a true story but is obviously allegorical fiction. The book conveys postmodern spiritual ideas and teachings that challenge biblical Christianity - all in the name of ´God´ and ´Jesus´ and the ´Holy Spirit.´ Author William P. Young´s alternative presentation of traditional Christianity has both inspired and outraged his many readers. All the while his book continues to fly off the shelves of local bookstores."
Smith, who has been on my radio program many times denouncing Oprah Winfrey´s deception, goes on to say, "I was drawn into the ´New Age Movement´ years ago by books and lectures containing parabolic stories that were not unlike The Shack. They felt spiritually uplifting as they tackled tough issues and talked about God´s love and forgiveness. They seemed to provide me with what I spiritually needed as they gave me much-needed hope and promise. Building on the credibility they achieved through their inspirational and emotive writings, my ´New Age´ authors and teachers would then go on to tell me that God was in everyone and everything.
"I discovered that author William P. Young does exactly the same thing in The Shack. He moves through his very engaging and emotional story to eventually present this same ´New Age´ teaching that God is ´in´ everything."
As writer and researcher Berit Kjos concludes, "Yet countless pastors and church leaders are delighting in its message. By ignoring (or redefining) sin and guilt, they embrace an inclusive but counterfeit ´Christianity´ that draws crowds but distorts the Bible. Discounting Satan as well, they weaken God´s warnings about deception. No wonder His armor for today´s spiritual war became an early victim of this spreading assault on truth."
So The Shack opens in the context of tragedy. Four years have passed since the cruel murder of Missy, Mack´s precious six-year-old daughter. Enveloped in grief, he receives a strange invitation. "I´ve missed you," it says. "I´ll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together. Papa." What could it mean?
Doubtful, but drawn to the meeting, Mack heads for the Oregon wilderness and finds the dilapidated old shack. "God" miraculously transforms it into a cozy cottage, and Mack meets his supposed maker.
No, it doesn´t get any stranger but sadly, it doesn´t get more popular with Christians who miss the point that The Shack is intended to bring about a new definition of the Christian faith. As Albert Mohler says, "This is totally seductive and subversive, but readers, even believers, don´t seem to mind." You can listen to all of his comments at this link.
If you know of someone taken in by this, please pass this commentary on to them. You´ll be doing them an enormous favor.
I thank God for all of those who are speaking out today over outrageous issues like this one. I am reminded about the many false things promoted today written in 2 Timothy 3:16: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." This is a last days´ reference and if you don´t think we´re in them (the last days), I´ll sell you a beach vacation to Minnesota in January.
Submitted 6/25/2008 5:32:10 PM | Author: Jan Markell