First, let me say that I think there is good in The Shack. It has helped many people see the warmth within the triune God, and God’s warmth toward them as well. For that I am grateful.
The Shack raises the problem of evil and offers hope to those who have been overwhelmed by tragedies they can’t reconcile with God’s sovereignty and goodness. I appreciate the fact that Paul Young doesn’t resort to openness theology, to arguing that God doesn’t know about the evils that are going to happen and therefore can’t prevent them. He sees God as all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good. And he certainly gets in touch with human need, weakness, and grief. One of the most memorable phrases from the book is “The Great Sadness,” an expression that connects to many people’s deepest hurts, regrets, and longings.
I believe that those who are well-grounded in the Word won’t be harmed by the weaknesses and deficiencies of the book. Unfortunately, few people these days are well-grounded in the Word.I think this book would have better served the church thirty years ago, when there was so much more legalism and too little talk of God’s grace and forgiveness. Ironically, though there is still some legalism, there is also significantly less knowledge of Scripture and spiritual discernment and concern for orthodoxy. Which means that some people, perhaps many, will fail to recognize and filter out the book’s theological errors, and therefore be vulnerable to embracing them, even if unconsciously.
I truly rejoice for the many people who feel a greater closeness to God from reading The Shack. In that sense, I think God’s hand is on the book. I only wish His holiness and our need to come to him in awe, and a high regard for the local community of believers were as apparent in the book as God’s grace and love and warmth. However, for those who need to sense more of the latter, and who can blow away the chaff and stick with the grain, I pray God will use the book to help them.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The Resurgence Review of The Shack
Below are some excerpts from a lengthy and well-written review of The Shack by Scott Lindsey at TheResurgence