The Shack, Reviewed

Monday, December 8, 2008

If you have some time for a lengthy review and have already read The Shack, I suggest reading this posting by Scott Lindsey of The Resurgence blog.

I spent a bit of time discussing the book with my core group and reading it has led to some wonderful discussions about the role of the Trinity and how we interact with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I am thankful that this novel has opened up some questions that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.

I do issue a word of caution, however. Admittedly, I ignorantly read the book without doing any of my own Biblical research alongside the reading and allowed myself to take some of the novel's words at face value. A primary example where I should not have done this regards Young's view of responsibility. In the novel it is stated that the word responsibility does not exist in Scripture (in English translations, of course). Scott Lindsey, the author of this review, points to very clear instances where responsibility IS discussed and called for in Scripture. I am ashamed that I did not read more carefully into the theology.

At the same time, I am thankful that the book brought to light our human ability to interact with the Trinity. I encourage reading and discussing this book alongside a careful exploration of Scripture and with a reverance to our God, most deserving of our awe and worship. Quoting Lindsey, "So if you come to the book well-schooled in God’s holiness, justice and wrath, you will benefit from the exposure to his grace, mercy and love."

I'd be happy to discuss!


Larry Hackman said...

I always think you're treading a thin line when you put words in God's mouth. I think Anne Rice's book (see here: is another example of this treading. She writes about Jesus' youth from a first-person perspective. While I've not read her book, and so can't comment on how good a job of it she does, I can still say I don't think I'd have the balls to even begin to approach that kind of literary exercise. Joshua (see here: is a book that I've read that attempts to put Jesus in modern culture, and in my mind falls short of an accurate portrayal, ending up with a flaccid caricature of Christ instead.

One of the reasons why I think this is a mostly futile exercise is because Jesus was, and is, so utterly unlike us. I mean that, while He was absolutely human to the fullest, He was not fallen like we are. If you read about his life, He was incredibly radical, always bucking people's (and the culture of His time's) expectations of Him. This is why WWJD? seemed more like a rhetorical question to me than a real practical one. If the Jews were blindsided by how Jesus reacted to their culture, how can we predict how He would react to our culture now? Except under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I don't see any human under a fallen state beginning to approach the mindset of God, at least not without a few mistakes here and there.

As Paul says in Romans 11:33, "How... unfathomable are His ways!"

Megs said...

Great point, Larry. Scott Lindsey says the same thing about putting words in God's mouth:

"When The Shack puts words in God's mouth, words other than God's as revealed in Scripture, he subjects himself to a higher standard. Mack can and does say all kinds of wrong things and the author shouldn't be held accountable for them, because Mack is only a flawed human character. But when a member of the triune God says something that is contradicted by Scripture or known fact, it’s another matter."

You make a great point about the nature of Jesus as man as well. Thanks for your input.