Tuesday, April 15, 2008


“The Shack” is a Christian novel written by William Young. It’s been quite a while since there’s been such buzz about a “Christian” book. As I read some of the reviews, I am finding that people either love it or hate it.

Eugene Petersen (Professor at Regent College, Vancouver, B.C. and paraphraser of “The Message") endorsed the book with this comment:

"When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!"
To read other positive endorsements you can click on:

While some love it, there are some who decry that it is dangerous. For instance, Tim Challies, author of “The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment” writes a scathing review of “The Shack” that concludes:

“Because of the sheer volume of error and because of the importance of the doctrines reinvented by the author, I would encourage Christians, and especially young Christians, to decline this invitation to meet with God in 'The Shack.' It is not worth reading for the theology.”

To read his full review and the comments posted click on:


A couple in our church gave me a copy of “The Shack” a few weeks ago, and I was finally able to read it when I was flying to China. I’ve got to admit that I LOVED it. I gave it to Dale Pond, and he loved it. When we prayed we found ourselves talking to God as “Papa” in a very natural way.

I didn’t try to read “The Shack” as a theological textbook, but rather as a fictional novel that wove a tapestry of spiritual truth according to the creativity of the writer. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress was a such a fantasy-story that it was a hit-you-between-the-eyes allegory. The allegorical truths in “The Shack” are much more subtle.

For someone like me who has believed in and taught about the truth of the Trinity for 38 years, I was fascinated by the relaxed, loving, inter-relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit which Young constructed. Is it that way literally? I don’t know, but it sure helped me get a better understanding of the love and unity that surely exists within the Godhead.

Several people have asked my opinion about the book, and I told them I loved it. But I always add this caveat: I don’t believe 100% of the spiritual assertions in the book, but this didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story itself. It’s like when I go to Brookshire’s to shop. I can’t stand to eat liver. Just because Brookshire’s sells it, I don’t boycott the store, I just bypass the liver! That works well when you’re reading books, too … especially fiction.

I recommended “The Shack” to a pastor friend of mine recently and I warned him that for those folks who are wearing their religious underwear too tight, it will definitely cause a theological wedgy! By reading the reviews, you’ll see that this is true!

So, I suggest you try the book yourself. See what you think. I’d be glad to hear your opinions.
If I get enough responses, I'll post your opinions in another blog.

You can email your comments to david@mail.gabc.org