The Author Behind The Shack
William P. Young, author of The Shack, was a son of missionaries in New Guinea and even went to Bible College. He later got a degree in religion. But in 2004, this man wrote a declaration where he denied Evangelical Christianity and blasphemed Christ by saying the following:
“evangelical faith and its teaching about judgment makes God ‘grossly unjust’; ‘Jesus is a million times more vicious and vindictive than Pharaoh, Nero or Hitler put together’; Jesus Christ is ‘not the Savior from sins’; Jesus died ‘a failure and in vain and never saved anyone’; thus Jesus ‘is not even a good man but a liar, a rogue and a deceiving rascal’; ‘Calvary is a farce, a travesty and a sham.'” (De Young, 2017).
“By the time I wrote The Shack, I was convinced I had been wrong about the ‘Gospel’ I grew up believing. You know the one about the human race in Adam sinning itself into separation from God, and Jesus being sent on a rescue mission by God to build a bridge back, offering us the possibility of salvation. If we received Him into our lives, we went to heaven. If we didn’t, hell.
I was wrong about this gospel. And I wrote the novel for my children to describe the true ‘Good News’. (Author of The Shack).
– His statements are absolutely despicable and grossly blasphemous. This immediately disqualifies him from receiving any attention from true Christians. But if you’re not convinced, here is more evidence.
-The editor of The Shack, was Wayne Jacobsen, a promoter of emerging church and contemplative mysticism literature (Lighthouse Trails Research, 2017). Wayne Jacobsen worked with the author on The Shack for 16 months! The Bible says “Shall two walk together, except they have agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
-We can logically think that Wayne Jacobsen had quite a bit of influence on the theology in The Shack. This should be a huge red flag that we cannot trust the theology presented in this movie and book.
“But, it has a Christian message”
A lot of Christians think The Shack novel and the movie are good because they teach people about forgiveness and helps them “better understand God”. Others compare it with the Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, saying they are similar in style.
James B. De Young, professor of New Testament Language at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon said:
“…the two could not be more different. Bunyan took the teaching of Scripture and allegorized it, but the theology promoted in [The Shack] is of a particularly sinister and heretical variety” (Foust, 2015).
“William Young [author of The Shack] departs from an evangelical understanding of God, in whom holiness and love are equally balanced, to a universalist understanding of God, in whom love is paramount and judgment and holiness are considered to be in conflict with his love. In comparison with Bunyan, [The Shack] denies that there is future punishment and that God punishes sin” (Foust, 2015).
Through the Biblical lens: Heresies in The Shack
We have to compare the “Christian” message in The Shack, to true Biblical theology and see if they line up. For the sake of brevity, I will only list a few of the problems in the movie.
- The movie message: Blasphemous misrepresentation of God & the Trinity- God is represented as a fat African-American woman and there is no structure in the Godhead, just “a circle of unity”, and the Holy Spirit is represented as an Asian woman.
Scriptural view of God & Trinity: For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor 13:14)
- The movie message: Universalism- Everyone goes to heaven because Christ is not the only way to God- and there is no hell.
Scriptural view: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 13:41,42)
- The movie message: Denying Scripture- The Bible is not true because it reduces God to just paper.
Scriptural view: All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).
“But, it’s just a movie”
We can rationalize it and say that it’s just a movie, and it’s just fiction. But is that a worldview that does not align with God’s Word.
Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess 5:22)
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
But test all things. Hold fast to what is good. (1 Thess 5:21)