The Problem with “The Shack”

I heard about the novel The Shack about a year and a half ago. I was not too interested in reading it at the time because I had dozens of other books on my to-read list and thought it would simply be a waste of time. Well, as an avid follower of the happenings of North American Christianity, it was not too long before I started to hear more and more about The Shack. The success of the book (over 7 million copies sold at this time) eventually forced me to take a closer look. Instead of starting off by reading the book, I surfed the net to see what others were saying about this publishing phenomenon. Most of what I read greatly concerned me. I also listen to Dr. Albert Mohler’s radio program where he devoted one of his episodes to the book. He explained many of his concerns with it and described parts of the book as “blatant heresy.” Well, even after taking a look at what discerning folks were saying about the book, I still did not get around to reading the book for several months. That is until, at the urging of Janet Clabaugh, I finally went down to the local library and took out a copy of The Shack. I was not surprised to find that many aspects of the book disturbed me and even shocked me. Ever since then(4 or 5 months ago), I have been meaning to write a book review on The Shack but have not got around to it. The bottom line with the book is that even though it is a story that has connected with a lot of Christian people, the book is full of heresy. If you do choose to read the book, please be prayerful and discerning as you read it. Some of the heresy is very subtle and hard to spot, so read it carefully!

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8

On Dr. Michael Youssef’s website (, he lists 13 heresies in The Shack. Here they are:

1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.

Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).

2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.

The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).

3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.

Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).

4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.

Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).

5. God will never judge people for their sins.

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).

6. There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity.

The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.” Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit” (John 4:34, 6:44, 14:26, 15:26).

7. God submits to human wishes and choices.

Far from God submitting to us, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.” We are to submit to Him in all things, for His glory and because of what He has accomplished for us (Matthew 7:13-15).

8. Justice will never take place because of love.

The Bible teaches that when God’s love is rejected, and when the offer of salvation and forgiveness is rejected, justice must take place or God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for nothing (Matthew 12:20; Romans 3:25-26).

9. There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.

Jesus’ own description of hell is vivid … it cannot be denied (Luke 12:5, 16:23).

10. Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

11. Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.

Jesus, who dwells in the splendor of heaven, sits at the right hand of God, reigning and ruling the universe. The Bible says, “In Him there is no change, for He is yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 11:12, 13:8; James 1:17).

12. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.

Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life” (John 3:15, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40).

13. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.

The Bible is God-breathed. Sure, there were many men through 1,800 years who put pen to paper (so to speak), each from different professions and different backgrounds, but the Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. These men were writing the same message from Genesis to Revelation. If you want to read more about the place of Christ in the Scripture, read “We Preach Christ” (2 Timothy 3:16).

One thought on “The Problem with “The Shack”

  1. This a great analysis of the doctrine espoused by the book. Thanks for your objective approach. I appreciate the fact that you gave the book a chance by reading it for yourself. Ignorant critiques bother me.

    I can’t wait for the next post!


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