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The Dangers of Entering The Shack

Posted on February 21, 2017 at 12:10 PM

Head, Heart, & Hands: Dangers of Entering The Shack

Campus Crusade is excited about the movie release “The Shack” and is buying tickets to send people, they even have a sheet of 9 questions to help you discuss the movie with a friend. Music artists like Lecrae have endorsed the movie by calling it “dope”, along with many other main stream Christian music artists contributing to the movie soundtrack. Some believe this will be a great evangelistic tool to reach people for Christ, giving them a different view of God. Well, the movie, like the book, will certainly give them a different view of God, unfortunately that view is not going to be a Biblical one. It is useful to understand the theology of the author of The Shack, William P. Young. Through several interviews, along with many quotes from the book, Young’s theology represented is as Al Mohler stated, “undiluted heresy”.

Even those endorsing the book and movie will readily admit Young’s view of the Trinity has its problems. God the Father is portrayed by a black woman named “Papa”, Jesus by a Jewish carpenter, and the Holy Spirit is played by an Asian woman. First, this is not how God has revealed Himself in Scripture. God the Father and the Holy Spirit are not in human form, they are Spirit. God the Father is portrayed as Father, not mother, and the Holy Spirit is never visually displayed as a woman or a man. Young’s view of the Trinity has a modalistic flavor as in the book and the movie not only does Jesus have nail scarred wrists but so does Papa. Young believes that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all died on the cross. In an interview with Kendall Adams on March 2009, William Young stated that, “God the Father was in Christ reconciling the world”, which is a mishandling of 2 Corinthians 9:15. The Scripture tells us Christ died on the cross, not the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Young does not believe that God punishes sin. In fact, in the book Papa says, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment.” Too many passages make it plain God indeed punishes sin, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 NKJ) This punishment is not temporal either, but eternal, "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:46-26:1 NKJ)

Young pushes his belief of universal redemption in The Shack when “Jesus” says, “Those who love me come from every system that exits. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. 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, my Beloved.” Further stated, when discussing all people of the world being reconciled to God, this conversation between the main character Mack and Jesus takes place, “The whole world? You mean those who believe in you right?” “Papa responds, “The whole world, Mack.” Universalistic salvation is undone by the Bible, concerning those who are children of the devil, those who do not believe in Jesus, the Scripture addresses their end, “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13-15 NKJ)

It was pointed out to Young in this same interview that God was punishing the Son on the cross, to which Young replied, “Why would the Father punish His Son?” Well William, the Scripture says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:6,10 NKJ) Also, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18 NKJ)

William P. Young’s god in The Shack is not God who has revealed Himself in the Scripture. Young’s downplay upon the seriousness and punishment of sin is in stark contrast to God’s handling of sin. The theology of the cross in The Shack is not the good news revealed in Scripture. Young’s representation is of a world already reconciled to God, no matter what they believe, is opposed to the message of the doctrine taught by Jesus to the apostles that unless people repent of sin they too will perish. The Shack teaches people that all roads do not lead to Jesus but rather Jesus travels through all roads getting to know people already redeemed, when in reality Jesus taught the road was narrow that leads to salvation and few travel on it. So, no, a false view of God, sin, salvation, and eternity is not something Christians should use as an evangelistic tool, rather, The Shack is a tool that militantly mitigates against the gospel of Christ. Don’t take your friends and family to The Shack to give them a view of God, for it is unable to do so, simply take them to the Scriptures which perfectly shows God, sin, salvation, and eternity straight from God’s very own revelation.

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11 NKJ)


Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Chris


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1 Comment

Reply Micah Dobson
9:12 AM on March 24, 2017 
Hello pastor Chris,
Thank you for this helpful summary.

In Him,
Micah D.