I applaud anyone who sets out to write a book. Particularly fiction. It’s hard work. When someone takes on the task of self-publishing, it’s an even bigger job, and my hat tips to them.
William P. Young did this with The Shack and, a year after publication, it started selling faster than lifeboat seats on the Titanic.
The book garnered support from Evangelical pop stars such as Michael W. Smith, and more. It grew to be a phenomenon selling 30 million copies. I’m not sure if that’s on par with 50 Shades, but it’s the same type of hype.
My wife tried to read it (The Shack, not 50 Shades) and couldn’t get far before laughing out loud and pitching the piece of crap (in fairness, her reaction to 50 Shades would probably be identical).
It’s a unique privilege for a book to get that response. She never does that. She will usually slog through it. One other book got that treatment, The Harbinger. But that will be for another blog post.
It’s clear, however, that The Shack has captured the “Christian” market. But here’s the question: Does it even deserve to be called Christian?
There’s a movie now, blaspheming on all cylinders by not only making Almighty God a fictional character in a cheesy book, but portraying Him as a female, then a male, and depicting the Holy Spirit as a Hindu woman.
Let’s forget about modalism for a minute (the separating of God into three modes, or separate entities) or any of the other labels and heresies that attempt to describe the mystery of the Trinity. There are good discussions to be had around that topic. All explanations will fall short.
But this movie doesn’t just fall short, it slanders the image of God by putting words in His mouth that are entirely inconsistent with Scripture. As an aside, this is always the case when authors attempt to write God as an active character in their fictional story.
The book, and the movie, portray a “God” that reveals that judgment and responsibility are things we made up and that he’s calling us out to pure love where we all eventually make it to heaven.
It’s called Universalism. It’s heresy and will lead you to the very real, very eternal judgment in Hell. It also happens to be incredibly popular among the impenitent. Such a doctrine will get its proponents spots on Opra and fat checks for swanky speaking engagements. It attacts people to pseudo Bible studies (that all but omit the Bible). I could expand on the insidious nature of Universalism, but I’ll leave that for another blog, too.
Let’s get back to The Shack.
So, other than Holiness, Righteousness and Judgment, what’s missing from The Shack that would push it away from Christianity?
Well, the emphasis on “heaven,” to be blunt. The idea that we all just translate to a place in the clouds with our ancestors is paganism.
The Gospel hinged upon the Resurrection, our hope being on Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead. His resurrection is our hope that we will be resurrected at the last trumpet, and receive our reward, which is eternal life in the new heaven and new earth.
By contrast, those who reject Christ as Lord will be resurrected to eternal punishment.
Since the central message of Scripture, which culminated in the Gospel is absent, and even twisted by The Shack (with healthy doses of blasphemy), God’s true people should reject this book and this movie–not endorse it. Rather, we should plead the Gospel to the world with a clear message.
Now is the time to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now is the time to accept His payment for your rebellious sinfulness through His death on the cross. Now is the time to put on the new life He gives to us through His resurrection and shake off the works of death that have been our nature until this new birth.