Challies concludes his review by warning his readers, “That The Shack is a dangerous book should be obvious from this review. . . . I urge you, the reader, to exercise care in reading and distributing this book. . . . Read it only with the utmost care and concern, critically evaluating the book against the unchanging standard of Scripture.”
Although I do disagree that The Shack is a dangerous book to read, I agree that we should all read it with care and concern, prayerfully and critically evaluating the book against Scripture. What concerns me most about The Shack is not the book itself, but the negative reviews I have read about the book. Most of these reviewers are very influential among their respective church cultures. They have turned a whole society of Christians against Young without ever laying an eye on The Shack. Claiming that Young is promoting Goddess worship, universalism, inclusivism, modalism, and more is just inaccurate. When I read these reviews I always wonder if the reader had actually read The Shack or if they skimmed through it looking for what could be wrong with it.
In the introduction of this series, I mentioned that a recent Facebook conversation resparked my desire to write this review. During that conversation I said, “I would be interested in finding out how many people commenting on this thread have actually read the book.” I find it interesting that none of the people giving The Shack a negative review said whether or not they had read the book. The only people who actually read The Shack were the people giving it positive reviews.
What I found most scary was when someone told me that I was being unreasonable to expect reviewers of The Shack to actually read the book. This mindset seems prevalent among some Christian leaders. The justification is “when a member of my church explains the nature of God in an entirely erroneous fashion and then proceeds to tell me that the book The Shack was instrumental in formulating her ideas, I have every reason to be concerned about what she has read, regardless of whether or not I have personally read it.” To which I must respond it is very irresponsible to pass judgment and elude to discernment about something we have never experienced/read. Just because someone comes away from a book with some “off-the-wall” ideas does not mean that the book teaches those ideas. Some prominent examples would be, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentacostals, Baptists, Catholics, etc. and that is after reading/studying the Bible! Not a fictional book written by an author who admits it is purely a metaphor.
To conclude, The Shack, is definitely a controversial book. Before you pass judgment on it, please take the time to read it yourself. Read it prayerfully, discerningly, and compare it to what is revealed to us in Scripture. You may find that the negative reviews written about it are mostly out of context.
Is Young 100% correct in his theology? Probably not, but I do not expect any of us are. Young is talking about the journey we are all on towards Jesus, I do not suppose we will be perfect in our theology until Jesus comes back.
Related: Check out this interview of William P. Young from CBN.
Table of Contents: