So, it’s finally here! Years after the multi-million selling book hit the shelves, The Shack will finally be in cinemas in March 2017.
Should the Christian Church be excited about its release?
The simple answer is no. The theology is not just simply wrong on a few points, but rather represents a different god entirely.
Representations of God
God should never be depicted. Any physical or artistic representations by any means, which by its very nature comes from the imagination of fallen man, is forbidden in the scriptures:
“And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female”
“To set up an image to represent God, is debasing him.”
-Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, Pg. 59.
The Shack’s view of the Trinity is simply heresy. The book rejects the Trinitarian orthodox view, held since the early centuries of the Church.
Here are some examples of where The Shack is heretical on the Trinity:
“Papa didn’t answer, only looked down at their hands. His gaze followed hers and for the first time Mack noticed the scars in her wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his. She allowed him to tenderly touch the scars, outlines of a deep piercing…”
-The Shack, Pg. 95
God the Father was not crucified. Only Jesus Christ died on the cross.
The Shack’s “Papa”: “’Don’t ever think that what my son chose to do didn’t cost us dearly. Love always leaves a significant mark,’ she stated softly and gently. ‘We were there together.’”
-Ibid., Pg. 96
The Shack’s “Papa” states that all three member of the trinity became incarnate:
“When we three spoke ourself into existence as the Son of God, we became fully human.”
-Ibid., Pg. 99
“Papa” in The Shack explains the book’s view of the gospel to Mack when he stated:
“Honey, you asked me what Jesus accomplished on the cross; so now listen to me carefully: through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.”
Mack in the book responded by saying: “The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?”
Papa replied: “The whole world, Mack.”
-Ibid., Pg. 192.
Papa does say that reconciliation is a two way street, but at best here it is ambiguous. It is definitely suggesting the teaching of universalism, that all men will be, or are saved.
Later in another part of the book Papa says, when talking about Missy’s killer:
“You don’t have a relationship with this man, at least not yet. Forgiveness does not establish relationship. In Jesus I have forgiven all humans their sins against me, but only some choose relationship. Mackenzie, don’t you see that forgiveness is an incredible power-a power you share with us, a power Jesus gives to all whom he indwells so that reconciliation can grow? When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross there were no longer in his debt, nor mine.”
-Ibid., Pg. 225.
While for some, these and other statements may not convince them that The Shack teaches universalism. Please consider the following information from a book written by C. Baxter Kruger. Kruger’s book, called “The Shack Revisited,” which includes the endorsement of William P. Young himself, who said the following on the book’s cover:
“If you want to understand better the perspectives and theology that frame The Shack, this book is for you.”
-William Paul Young as quoted on “The Shack Revisited” front cover.
So what does this book say about The Shack, and especially the fate of Missy’s killer (Mack’s daughter who was killed in the novel)?
“Missy’s murderer is not going to skip through the pearly gates playing with ladybugs. To begin with, heaven is where the blessed Trinity dwells, and the evil that has hijacked and so horribly twists and misuses this man avoids the light at all costs. While the murderer is forgiven, loved, and accepted, while he is embraced and included, he does not know it by any stretch of the imagination, and such unknowing leaves him writhing in pain and trapped in the cluthes of darkness. He belongs to the Father, Son, and Spirit-always has, always will-but he has given himself to participate in darkness. He acts out of the lie of the evil one and its grotesque meaninglessness, wreaking havoc in the lives of all around. He has become a terrible monster, living an alien form of existence in violation of the true self in Christ, and this alien existence must be transformed in the fire of Jesus’ love.”
-C. Baxter Kruger, ‘The Shack Revisited’, Pg. 243.
Later in the same book, about The Shack, Kruger wrote:
“The hope of the human race is that we belong to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we always have, and always will.”
-Ibid., Pg. 247
The Shack’s gospel, as condemned in Galatians 1:6-9, represents a message where people who are lost simple have to realise that they are loved and accepted in Christ already. This is a form of ‘Christian’ universalism, where those who are in relationship know they are saved, but all men are loved, embraced and accepted in Christ. William Paul Young and C. Baxter Kruger both believe all men have been redeemed regardless of faith or repentance. In this gospel there is no condemnation for unbelief or sin.
For more please watch this movie on the The Shack: