Review: The Shack – Conclusion

The ShackChallies 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:

  1. My Thoughts
  2. Subversion
  3. Revelation
  4. Salvation
  5. Trinity
  6. Conclusion


  1. Good review. Very thorough. Thanks for posting this.


  2. My dear brothers: Do I need to “take the time” to read the entire Book of Mormon or Koran before telling others about their errors?
    How many of Young’s (Papa’s) statements about never passing judgment or being disappointed with respect to sin do I need to read before I tell people this book paints God as a passive, dismissive heavenly mother?
    Outside of my Mormon friends, I have never seen such a crazed devotion to a book as with The Shack. And as with Book of Mormon devotees, most Shack fan think the history is real. Virtually every one believes “Mack” actually lost his daughter “Missy” to rape and murder, as is Young’s clear intent. Again, Young’s intent is to deceive in order to manipulate his readers emotions while he strips the “El” out of Elohim.
    Wake up, guys

    • Randy,

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your response and would love to see some evidence of people who believe The Shack is historical. Also, I am not sure that your impression of Young’s intent is consistent with historical fact. Of course, you have the right to interpret evidence as you see fit. I just hope you would give a brother in Christ the benefit of the doubt.

      Oh, and yes, if you want to speak intelligently against the Book of Mormon or the Koran, then I believe you should read them wholly.

      God Speed,

  3. Debbie Kaufman says

    Randy: In this case reading the book would definitely help. Paul William Young is not writing a book of Mormons, but Christian fiction. If we are to be fair and honest, yes I believe reading the book is a must in order to fairly critique it.

    Lew: I have been reading as I have said and am so pleased with what you have written here. Like Alan, thanks.

  4. Debbie,

    Thanks, my review of The Shack really became a review of Challies (and every other negative critique). But I think it served it’s purpose :). I appreciate you stopping by and commenting!


  5. Debbie Kaufman says

    Yeah, I read that. :) But just think, he read it, it bothered him, he wrote on it. That’s influence. :)

  6. Brandon says

    the common thread I see in most critics of the book is fear…Like you said Lew, I did find myself bored at times with the book. I’m not sure I get the fascination with The Shack, other than the fact that it’s an outside the box view of God. I’m not a big Challies fan either…in my opinion he seems to pride himself in picking nit and judging the opinions of other Christians. Just my ever-so-humble opinion.

    thanks for the review Lew, good stuff…

  7. Oh-so-humble-Brandon… Thanks :).