Is THE SHACK Heresy?

We knew it would happen eventually. Frankly we thought it would happen far sooner and in far greater quantity than we have seen to date. But we knew The Shack was edgy enough to prompt some significant backlash, which is why so many publishing companies didn’t want to take it on at the beginning.

I never thought everyone was going to love this book. Art is incredibly subjective as to whether a story and style are appealing. I have no problem with a spirited discussion of some of the theological issues raised in The Shack. The books I love most are the ones that challenge my theological constructs and invite a robust discussion among friends, whether I agree with everything in them or not in the end,. That is especially true of a work of fiction where people will bring their own interpretations of the same events or conversations. I never view a book as all good or all bad. It’s like eating chicken. Enjoy what you think is the meat and toss what you think are the bones.

What is surprising, however, is the hostile tone of false accusation and the conspiracy theories that some are willing to put on this book. Some have even warned others not to read it or they will be led into deception. It saddens me that people want to use a book like this to polarize God’s family, whether it’s overenthusiastic reader thrusting it in someone’s face telling them they ‘must read’ this book, or when people read their own theological agendas into a work, then denounce it as heresy.

If you’re interested, read it for yourself. Don’t let someone else do your thinking for you. If it helps convey the reality of Jesus to you, great! If all you can see is sinister motives and false teaching in it, then put it aside. I don’t have time to give a point-by-point rebuttal to the reviews I’ve read, but I would like to make some comments on some of the issues that have come up since I’m getting way too many emails asking me what I think of some of the questions they raise. I’ll also admit at the outset, that I’m biased. Admittedly, I’m biased. I was part of a team who worked with the author on this manuscript for over a year and am part of the company formed to print and distribute this book. But I’m also well acquainted with the purpose and passions of this book.

What do I think? I tire of the self-appointed doctrine police, especially when they toss around false accusations like ‘new age conspiracy’, ‘counterfeit Jesus’ or ‘heresy’ to promote fear in people as a way of advancing their own agenda. What many of them don’t realize is that research actually shows that more people will buy a book after reading a negative review than they do after reading a positive one. It piques their curiosity as to why someone would take so much time to denounce someone else’s book.

But such reviews also confuse people who are afraid of being seduced into error and for those I think the false accusations demand a response. Let me assure any of you reading this that all three of us who worked on this book are deeply committed followers of Jesus Christ who have a passion for the Truth of the Scriptures and who have studied and taught the life of Jesus over the vast majority of our lifetimes. But none of us would begin to pretend that we have a complete picture of all that God is or that our theology is flawless. We are all still growing in our appreciation for him and our desire to be like him, and we hope this book encourages you to that process as well. In the end, this says the best stuff we know about God at this point in our journeys. Is it a complete picture of him? Of course not! Who could put all that he is into a little story like this one? But if it is a catalyst to get thousands of people to talk about theology—who God is and how he makes himself known in the world—we would be blessed.

This is a story of one believer’s brokenness and how God reached into that pain and pulled him out and as such is a compelling story of God’s redemption. The pain and healing come straight from a life that was broken by guilt and shame at an incredibly deep level and he compresses into a weekend the lessons that helped him walk out of that pain and find life in Jesus again.

That said, the content of this book does take a harsh look at how many of our religious institutions and practices have blinded people to the simple Gospel and replaced it with a religion of rules and rituals that have long ceased to reflect the Lord of Glory. Some will disagree with that assessment and the solutions this book offers, and the reviews that do so honestly merit discussion. But those who confuse the issues by making up their own back-story for the book, or ascribing motives to its publication without ever finding out the truth, only prove our point.

Here are some brief comments on the major issues that have been raised about The Shack:

Does the book promote universalism?

Some people can find a universalist under every bush. This book flatly states that all roads do not lead to Jesus, while it affirms that Jesus can find his followers wherever they may have wandered into sin or false beliefs. Just because he can find followers in the most unlikely places, does not validate those places. I don’t know how we could have been clearer, but people will quote portions out of that context and draw a false conclusion.

Does it devalue Scripture?

Just because we didn’t put Scriptural addresses with their numbers and colons at every allusion in the story, does not mean that the Bible isn’t the key source in virtually every conversation Mack has with God. Scriptural teachings and references appear on almost every page. They are reworded in ways to be relevant to those reading the story, but at every point we sought to be true to the way God has revealed himself in the Bible except for the literary characterizations that move the story forward. At its core the book is one long Bible study as Mack seeks to resolve his anger at God.

Is this God too nice?

Others have claimed that the God of The Shack is simply too nice, or having him in humorous human situations trivializes him. Really? Who wants to be on that side of the argument? For those who think this God is too easy, please tell me in what way does he let Mack off on anything? He holds his feet to the fire about every lie in his mind and every broken place in his heart. I guess what people these critics cannot see is confrontation and healing inside a relationship of love and compassion. This is not the angry and tyrannical God that religion has been using for 2000 years to beat people into conformity and we are not surprised that this threatens the self-proclaimed doctrine police.

One reviewer even thought this passage from The Shack was a mockery of the true God: “I’m not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way. I am good, and I desire only what is best for you. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation….” That wasn’t mocking God but a view of God that seems him as a demanding, self-centered tyrant? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed himself as the God who would lay down his life for us to redeem us to himself.

The words, “I don’t want slaves to do my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me,” are simply a reflection of John 15:15. Unfortunately those who tend toward legalism among us have no idea how much more completely Jesus transforms us out of a relationship of love, than we could ever muster in our gritted-teeth obedience. This is at the heart of the new covenant—that love will fulfill the law, where human effort cannot.

Does it distort or demean the Trinity?

One of the concerns expressed about The Shack is that it presents the Trinity outside of a hierarchy. In fact many religious traditions think they find their basis for hierarchical organizations in what they’ve assumed about the Trinity. To look at the Trinity as a relationship without the need for command and control is one of the intriguing parts of this story. If they walk in complete unity, why would a hierarchy be needed? They live in love and honor each other. While in the flesh Jesus did walk in obedience to the Father as our example, elsewhere Scripture speaks of their complete unity, love and glory in relating to each other. Different functions need not imply a different status.

This extends in other ways to look at how healed people can relate to each other inside their relationship with God that defines authority and submission in ways most are not used to, but that are far more consistent with what we see in the early believers and in the teaching of Scripture. It is also true of many believers around the world who are learning to experience the life of Father’s family without all the hierarchical maintenance and drama that has plagued followers of Christ since the third century.

People may see this differently and find this challenging, if only because it represents some thought they have not been exposed to before. Here we might be better off having a discussion instead of dragging out the ‘heretic’ label when it is unwarranted.

Does it leave out discussions about church, salvation and other important aspects of Christianity?

This is some of the most curious complaints I’ve ever read. This is the story about God making himself available to one of his followers who is being swallowed up by tragedy and his crisis of faith in God’s goodness over it. This is not a treatise on every element of theological study. Perhaps we should have paused in the story to have an altar call, or perhaps we should have drug a pipe organ into the woods and enlisted a choir to hold a service, but that was not the point.

Is this a feminist God?

The book uses some characterizations of God to mess with the religious stereotypes only to get people to consider God as he really is, not how we have reconstituted him as a white, male autocrat bent on religious conformity. There are important reasons in the story why God takes the expressions he does for Mack, which underlines his nature to meet us where we are, to lead us to where he is. While Jesus was incarnated as man, God as a spirit has no gender, even though we fully embrace that he has taken on the imagery of the Father to express his heart and mind to us. We also recognize Scripture uses traditional female imagery to help us understand other aspects of God’s person, as when Jesus compares himself to a hen gathering chicks, or David likens himself to a weaned child in his mother’s arms.

Has it touched people too deeply?

Some reviewers point to Amazon.com reviews and people who have claimed it had a transforming effect on their spiritual lives as proof of its demonic origin. Please! How absurd is that? Do we prefer books that leave people untouched? This book touches lives because it deals with God in the midst of pain in an honest, straightforward way and because for many this is the first time they have seen the power of theology worked out inside a relationship with God himself.

Does The Shack promote Ultimate Reconciliation (UR)?

It does not. While some of that was in earlier versions because of the author’s partiality at the time to some aspects of what people call UR, I made it clear at the outset that I didn’t embrace UR as sound teaching and didn’t want to be involved in a project that promoted it. In my view UR is an extrapolation of Scripture to humanistic conclusions about our Father’s love that has to be forced on the biblical text.

Since I don’t believe in UR and wholeheartedly embrace the finished product, I think those who see UR here, either positively or negatively are reading into the text. To me that was the beauty of the collaboration. Three hearts weighed in on the theology to make it as true as we could muster. The process also helped shape our theologies in honest, protracted discussions. I think the author would say that some of that dialog significantly affected his views. This book represents growth in that area for all of us. Holding him to the conclusions he may have embraced years earlier would be unfair to the ongoing process of God in his life and theology.

That said, however, I’m not afraid to have that discussion with people I regard as brothers and sisters since many have held that view in the course of theological history. Also keep in mind that the heretic hunters lump many absurd notions into what they call UR, but when I actually talk to those people partial to some view of ultimate reconciliation they do not endorse all the absurdities ascribed to them. This is a heavily nuanced discussion with UR meaning a lot of different things to different people. For myself, I am convinced that Jesus is someone we have to accept through repentance and belief in this age to participate in his life.

Throughout The Shack Mack’s choices are in play, determining what he will let God do in his life through their encounter. He is no victim of God’s process. He is a willing participant at every juncture. And even though Papa says ‘He is reconciled to all men” he also notes that, “not all men are reconciled to me.”

Is the author promoting the emergent movement?

This guilt-by-association tactic is completely contrived. Neither the author, nor Brad and I at Windblown have ever been part of the emergent conversation. Some of their bloggers have written about the book, but we have not had any significant contact with the leaders of that movement and they have not been the core audience that has embraced this book.

That said I have met many people in the emergent conversation that have proved to be brothers and sisters in the faith. While I’m not nuts about all they do, a lot of the statements made about them by critics are as false as what some say about The Shack. They do deeply embrace the Scriptures. As I see it they are not trying to re-invent Christianity, but trying to communicate it in ways that captures a new generation. While I don’t agree with many of the conclusions they’re sorting through at the moment, they are not raving humanists. I have found them passionate seekers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who are asking some wonderful questions about God and how he makes himself known in us.

Does The Shack promote new age philosophy or Hinduism?

Amazingly some people have made assumptions about some of the names to think there is some eastern mysticism here, but when you hear how Paul selected the names he did it wasn’t to make veiled references to Hinduism, black Madonnas, or anything else. It was to uncover facets of God’s character that are clear in the Scriptures.

It’s amazing how much people will make up to indulge their fantasies and falsely label something to fit their own conclusions. Some have even insisted that Mack flying in his dreams was veiled instructions in astral travel. Absolutely absurd! Has this man never read fiction, or had a dream? Just because someone screams there is a demon under that bush, doesn’t mean there is.

* * * * *

We realize this would be a challenging read for those who see no difference between the religious conditioning that underlies Christianity as it is often presented in the 21st Century and the simple, powerful life in Christ that Jesus offered to his followers. Our hope was to help people see how the Loving Creator can penetrate our defenses and lead us to healing. Our prayer is that through this book people will see the God of the Bible as Jesus presented him to be—an endearing reality who wants to love us out of our sin and bondage and into his life. This is a message of grace and healing that does not condone or excuse sin, but shows God destroying it through the dynamic relationship he wants with each of his children.

We realize folks will disagree. We appreciate the interaction of those who have honest concerns and questions. Those who have been captured by this story are encouraged to search the Scriptures to see if these things are so and not trust us or the ravings of those who misinterpret this book, either threatened by its success, or those who want to ride on it to push their own fear-based agenda.

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337 Comments
  1. Phil Hawkins March 4, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I have to admit I haven’t read the book myself yet, but I’ve been reading your blog and articles for over 4 years and have yet to see any objectionable theology here. Many of these “heresy hunters” remind me of a fellow I knew in Bible college nearly 40 years ago who regarded anybody he disagreed with as a “liberal,”‘ i.e. heretic. These people are so sure of themselves! I am afraid there is a lot of what Paul called “wood, hay, and stubble” in the church today. A little more humility and remembering our finite nature would help.

  2. pamela March 4, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I have not read the book either. I’m doing very little reading these days. However the points of contention made here are amazing. Many of the things I have read here and on the blog over the years are things that the ‘leaders’ of my club preach a lot, especially the idea that all three of the Trinity are still God. They do not enphasize this much but appear to feel the way you do. They strongly tell us to not believe things just because they say it. Ask the Lord, pray, seek the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you.

    We are all on a journey where we are developing a wonderful relationship with God the Father through God the Son with the help of God the Holy Spirit. In the end those that have learned how to experience GOD will end up in the same place, meaning that He is not confused and saying hundreds of conflictings about Himself. Religion has presented many lies about God which for the most part has prevented each follower of Christ to truly and completely get to intimately know Him. From what I have read and heard this is the point of The Shack. My schedule these days does not allow me to do much reading for fun. It is amazing that people can actually believe that because people are having true spiritual experiences with the Lord that it is proof of demonic origin. They must be people that do not read their Bibles, much less live what is presented in there. I have no idea of how many verses talk about relating to our Father. There are many.

    If nothing else this book is provoking people to think about their lives. It sounds like a good book that can reach those that have no clue about God or anything like that as well as those that may be born again but bound in religion. There will be more of this in the days to come. As God moves He always challenges religion. Check out how many times Jesus challenged the Jewish leaders of the day. It was not to harm them but to rescue them. He is all about rescue.

  3. Stephen March 4, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    If The Shack had disappeared after a few hundred copies were sold, there would have been none of this back lash. Part of this is the price of success. As you mentioned on the God Journey the other day, others are wanting to use a negative reaction to piggy back on that success to promote themselves and / or their own agenda.

    I think your response is both balanced and (hopefully) comprehensive. I also hope that Christians will give this book the benefit of the doubt and read it with God, who will be happy reveal himself in whatever way he chooses through the experience.

  4. Rick Gibson March 4, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I read a reviewer that complained about Papa saying ‘sin is it’s own punishment’ and thought I would share this in response. (Taken from my blog):

    This past Wednesday I heard a pastor say something that smacked me in the forehead and helped me to see that I can sometimes still read certain passages with my old religious lenses on and not even realize it. I’m talking about Romans chapter 1, where it talks about the ‘wrath of God being revealed against all unrighteousness’. Now, I shouldn’t be totally surprised that he said something this cool and amazing, because he is a good friend who is on a journey of his own with God — away from the traditional religious view.

    So Wednesday night, during the Q & A time someone asked him if AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality, and I believe that they made a reference to Romans chapter 1; this is a typical fundamentalist take on AIDS. His answer was an unequivocal no. And then he said that if you pay attention to the passage it says ‘God gave them over’ not ‘God punished them with or for’ and that often sin is it’s own punishment. That’s when I heard the smack on my forehead. Sounds like something I read in ‘The Shack’ which I knew from life experience was true, but didn’t realize there was a Scripture to back it up. I had to go read it for myself to be sure, which is funny because I am quite familiar with this passage but all those years had been reading it wrong. That is a very different kind of wrath indeed, not the god with the flamethrower, but the Father who lets the prodigal go hoping that he will learn that what he is wanting will destroy him. And, once he has learn that, turn back toward home.

  5. Phil Hawkins March 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I have to admit I haven’t read the book myself yet, but I’ve been reading your blog and articles for over 4 years and have yet to see any objectionable theology here. Many of these “heresy hunters” remind me of a fellow I knew in Bible college nearly 40 years ago who regarded anybody he disagreed with as a “liberal,”‘ i.e. heretic. These people are so sure of themselves! I am afraid there is a lot of what Paul called “wood, hay, and stubble” in the church today. A little more humility and remembering our finite nature would help.

  6. pamela March 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    I have not read the book either. I’m doing very little reading these days. However the points of contention made here are amazing. Many of the things I have read here and on the blog over the years are things that the ‘leaders’ of my club preach a lot, especially the idea that all three of the Trinity are still God. They do not enphasize this much but appear to feel the way you do. They strongly tell us to not believe things just because they say it. Ask the Lord, pray, seek the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you.

    We are all on a journey where we are developing a wonderful relationship with God the Father through God the Son with the help of God the Holy Spirit. In the end those that have learned how to experience GOD will end up in the same place, meaning that He is not confused and saying hundreds of conflictings about Himself. Religion has presented many lies about God which for the most part has prevented each follower of Christ to truly and completely get to intimately know Him. From what I have read and heard this is the point of The Shack. My schedule these days does not allow me to do much reading for fun. It is amazing that people can actually believe that because people are having true spiritual experiences with the Lord that it is proof of demonic origin. They must be people that do not read their Bibles, much less live what is presented in there. I have no idea of how many verses talk about relating to our Father. There are many.

    If nothing else this book is provoking people to think about their lives. It sounds like a good book that can reach those that have no clue about God or anything like that as well as those that may be born again but bound in religion. There will be more of this in the days to come. As God moves He always challenges religion. Check out how many times Jesus challenged the Jewish leaders of the day. It was not to harm them but to rescue them. He is all about rescue.

  7. Stephen March 4, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    If The Shack had disappeared after a few hundred copies were sold, there would have been none of this back lash. Part of this is the price of success. As you mentioned on the God Journey the other day, others are wanting to use a negative reaction to piggy back on that success to promote themselves and / or their own agenda.

    I think your response is both balanced and (hopefully) comprehensive. I also hope that Christians will give this book the benefit of the doubt and read it with God, who will be happy reveal himself in whatever way he chooses through the experience.

  8. Rick Gibson March 4, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    I read a reviewer that complained about Papa saying ‘sin is it’s own punishment’ and thought I would share this in response. (Taken from my blog):

    This past Wednesday I heard a pastor say something that smacked me in the forehead and helped me to see that I can sometimes still read certain passages with my old religious lenses on and not even realize it. I’m talking about Romans chapter 1, where it talks about the ‘wrath of God being revealed against all unrighteousness’. Now, I shouldn’t be totally surprised that he said something this cool and amazing, because he is a good friend who is on a journey of his own with God — away from the traditional religious view.

    So Wednesday night, during the Q & A time someone asked him if AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality, and I believe that they made a reference to Romans chapter 1; this is a typical fundamentalist take on AIDS. His answer was an unequivocal no. And then he said that if you pay attention to the passage it says ‘God gave them over’ not ‘God punished them with or for’ and that often sin is it’s own punishment. That’s when I heard the smack on my forehead. Sounds like something I read in ‘The Shack’ which I knew from life experience was true, but didn’t realize there was a Scripture to back it up. I had to go read it for myself to be sure, which is funny because I am quite familiar with this passage but all those years had been reading it wrong. That is a very different kind of wrath indeed, not the god with the flamethrower, but the Father who lets the prodigal go hoping that he will learn that what he is wanting will destroy him. And, once he has learn that, turn back toward home.

  9. Donna March 5, 2008 at 12:03 am

    What a wonderful response. I read Ch 1 online today, and this afternoon was in a bookstore and looked for the book but it isn’t there yet – but it is on its way! I am really NOT a fiction gal, but I have heard so much about the book I figure to read it just so I can relate to the discussion on the e-loop. Also I think it might be something I can share with others, once I know better what it is about…

    why does it say Kenya Update at the top of this page???

    Blessings,
    Donna in FL

  10. Donna March 5, 2008 at 3:03 am

    What a wonderful response. I read Ch 1 online today, and this afternoon was in a bookstore and looked for the book but it isn’t there yet – but it is on its way! I am really NOT a fiction gal, but I have heard so much about the book I figure to read it just so I can relate to the discussion on the e-loop. Also I think it might be something I can share with others, once I know better what it is about…

    why does it say Kenya Update at the top of this page???

    Blessings,
    Donna in FL

  11. Kevin March 5, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Wayne:

    Excellent response to some of the hyper-critical reviews that are on the Web. May I suggest posting this on Amazon as an author’s review or comments of some type?

    – Kevin

  12. Kevin March 5, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Wayne:

    Excellent response to some of the hyper-critical reviews that are on the Web. May I suggest posting this on Amazon as an author’s review or comments of some type?

    – Kevin

  13. todd March 5, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Loved your explanations Wayne,

    thanks for doing this……

    all the best to everyone!

    in Father’s care,

    Todd

  14. Rick March 5, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Wayne & Brad,

    Haven’t kept up with you guys much but always sense freedom in what you’re up to. Here’s to continuing to live out the life within!

    God is a universalist :-p

    Rick

  15. Rich March 5, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I read The Shack a few months ago and was given the opportunity to see Father through someone elses glasses…nice!

    I think there was a time when some people claimed that Jesus healed people by the power of satan…and He didn’t have nice things to say about that.

  16. todd March 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Loved your explanations Wayne,

    thanks for doing this……

    all the best to everyone!

    in Father’s care,

    Todd

  17. Rick March 5, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Wayne & Brad,

    Haven’t kept up with you guys much but always sense freedom in what you’re up to. Here’s to continuing to live out the life within!

    God is a universalist :-p

    Rick

  18. Rich March 5, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I read The Shack a few months ago and was given the opportunity to see Father through someone elses glasses…nice!

    I think there was a time when some people claimed that Jesus healed people by the power of satan…and He didn’t have nice things to say about that.

  19. Jess March 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Sigh…, this unfortunately doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It is too true that Christians seem more preoccupied with who has the truth and who doesn’t, instead of living in the light as followers of Jesus. What a stark contrast from the blog entry by Michele. We have been shooting each other for a long time…

    It could be worse Wayne, if you would have been labelled heretic 500 years ago they would be doing more than writing angry reviews, on Amazon. The witch hunts continue, even though the methods change….

  20. Jess March 5, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Sigh…, this unfortunately doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It is too true that Christians seem more preoccupied with who has the truth and who doesn’t, instead of living in the light as followers of Jesus. What a stark contrast from the blog entry by Michele. We have been shooting each other for a long time…

    It could be worse Wayne, if you would have been labelled heretic 500 years ago they would be doing more than writing angry reviews, on Amazon. The witch hunts continue, even though the methods change….

  21. Per March 5, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    After finally, finding a church where I liked most of the teaching – expository in nature for 4 years. I have come full-circle back to where I started…without a regular church service. After a very trusted friend shared his journey and then sending me this book I was a bit skeptical of this lifestream message. As most have said, if a person is born again – then the spirit, Jesus our author and finisher of our faith, will carry us through this journey prodding us as stated in Romans 8:28 working out His will thru our lives. I have heard some people talk about checking out Universalism…so then hearing again some more comments toward that religion raised concerns…So I listened to Wayne describe further His disbelief in such UR…always bringing what is said back to support in the bible – not finding where Wayne is off on some tangent. I like also how Wayne states, …that we are all in this ‘learning and growing’ so as we grow in Christ, we are not the same person 5, 10 years ago.

  22. Per March 6, 2008 at 12:52 am

    After finally, finding a church where I liked most of the teaching – expository in nature for 4 years. I have come full-circle back to where I started…without a regular church service. After a very trusted friend shared his journey and then sending me this book I was a bit skeptical of this lifestream message. As most have said, if a person is born again – then the spirit, Jesus our author and finisher of our faith, will carry us through this journey prodding us as stated in Romans 8:28 working out His will thru our lives. I have heard some people talk about checking out Universalism…so then hearing again some more comments toward that religion raised concerns…So I listened to Wayne describe further His disbelief in such UR…always bringing what is said back to support in the bible – not finding where Wayne is off on some tangent. I like also how Wayne states, …that we are all in this ‘learning and growing’ so as we grow in Christ, we are not the same person 5, 10 years ago.

  23. John Langford March 6, 2008 at 4:19 am

    Hi Wayne

    Thank you for your clear and gracious response to christians who live in fear for all the wrong reasons! They are the “protectors of the church system” and my heart breaks for those honest believers who have been deeply drawn to Jesus through The Shack and then come across this “gospel, which is not really The Gospel of the Kingdom” but an attack by those who have nothing better to do than pull fictional books apart.
    We loved the book. It was refreshing, encouraging, heart warming and would recommend it to anyone! May this book continue to be a tool to bless and encourage others in their walk with Jesus as well as silence the ….idiot brigade!!!

  24. Cristelle March 6, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Hi ! It’s so funny to read this article because I’m reading the shack and I’m soon gonna be over reading it ! what I’m gonna say is simple : it just brought me so closer to God ! So much ! it’s like when I’m over reading some pages I stop and just have to talk to God !! You know tis book made me realise how we don’t imagine how God is close to us ! He is just so near that we don’t notice it sometimes…
    I love this book ! Because it brought reality in who God is ! that’s all what I have to say ! so I said it 🙂

  25. John Langford March 6, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Hi Wayne

    Thank you for your clear and gracious response to christians who live in fear for all the wrong reasons! They are the “protectors of the church system” and my heart breaks for those honest believers who have been deeply drawn to Jesus through The Shack and then come across this “gospel, which is not really The Gospel of the Kingdom” but an attack by those who have nothing better to do than pull fictional books apart.
    We loved the book. It was refreshing, encouraging, heart warming and would recommend it to anyone! May this book continue to be a tool to bless and encourage others in their walk with Jesus as well as silence the ….idiot brigade!!!

  26. jeremy March 6, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for the comments Wayne….I have kept up with Lifestream since about 2001 and love all the books i’ve read of you and love the Lifestream newsletters, etc

    I agree with most of your comments here except maybe with the U.R comments. Let me be frank, right now i’m in the middle of a deep down nervous breakdown of sorts and a lot of it has to do with the concept of the traditonal hell etc…. For me, even the possibility that someone can go to hell – forever is enough to drive everyone mad …In fact the whole christian world should be going mad – either by worrying about the ‘lost’ and the idea of hell, or by ‘trying’ to save as many as possible every minute of every day.
    The biggest thing that has paralyzed me is the idea that in anyway salvation is up to us…Ie – Free Will. This has not happend overnight – for many years i was into teachings such as those by Charles Finney etc and was a convinced Arminianist, but gradually over a number of years became broken and fragile and to see that salvation is up to me in anyway just simply paralyzes me with overwhelming fear. One book that has helped me is ‘The Really Bad Thing about Free Will’ by Martin Zender – although i don’t agree with everything this guy says, this book is a killer to the ‘free will’ doctrine i think.

    I have read alot of other stuff mainly over the net in the last few year on U.R and like a lot of it….I’m not totally convinced of it ….I want to be, but a lot of what is said on this topic makes sense to me…I am currently reading a book called ‘Hope Beyond Hell’ that is free to get on the net by the way, and this has some interesting points.

    I guess the bottom line however is that after about 10 years of being of the ‘grace journey’ since giving up the legalism road gradually since about 1997 i’m still dying for a revelation of God’s love for me inside, I can’t force it however and knowing God’s love for me experientially is more important that anything else.

    But one of the U.R ideas that i’d like to bring up is that in traditonal christianity there is the concept that ‘the world needs to know God…ie get saved, but also people preach that it would be just for God to send people to hell’ …..So Which is it? and what does it matter? ….If alot of people get saved or everyone goes to hell?….Either way God will be happy ….Cos Justice is Good! and so is His Love! I guess what i’m getting at is that the christianity apart from U.R preaches a god who is at war with himself – ie it promotes Holiness as if it is opposed to Love and Justice as if it is opposed to Mercy …and so on …..

    Anyway, i’m tired now…there is so much more i could say,
    But thanks anyway Wayne for your comments

  27. Cristelle March 6, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Hi ! It’s so funny to read this article because I’m reading the shack and I’m soon gonna be over reading it ! what I’m gonna say is simple : it just brought me so closer to God ! So much ! it’s like when I’m over reading some pages I stop and just have to talk to God !! You know tis book made me realise how we don’t imagine how God is close to us ! He is just so near that we don’t notice it sometimes…
    I love this book ! Because it brought reality in who God is ! that’s all what I have to say ! so I said it 🙂

  28. Kelly March 6, 2008 at 9:01 am

    “Heresy”??? That word sends rigors through me. Guess I’ve read too much about the inquisitors and their mind-set.

    Thanks, Wayne, for taking the time to write about some of the comments being made ‘out there’ re The Shack. The subjects raised are serious and I’m sure hearing them addressed by you will be a help. Since you were ‘there’ almost from the beginning and put in many hours with Brad and Paul, you can more clearly relate the thinking behind what was written.

    In my opinion, many of the questions stirred by the book need to be honestly and forthrightly talked about. Yes, there are those who are sitting on a high hill and want to dictate what people believe and read and participate in. It’s not those folks I’m concerened about in my note here. Also, in my opinion, He will bring Light into our dark places, where we see not so clearly right now, we will see clearly as He enables us to. All of us – those on the high hills – and those on not so high hills.

    As a recovering ‘doctrine police’/pharisee, I’ve pretty much steered away from public comments about the book. But… decided to express some thoughts, not so much about the book’s content but about people’s attitude.

    In general, we humans seem to adopt the attitude that if someone does not like a book [play, action, etc] which we do like, we let them know in varying degrees of intensitiy that they, 1) just aren’t spiritual enough to ‘get it’, 2) they have their own agendas and therefore they cannot approve nor endorse what the book says, 3) they are flat out wrong, and 4) they have way too many holy cows eating in their pastures. I suspect there are other reasons but right now they don’t come to mind. In essence, we write off what they say – in doing so, we write them off, too.

    I’ve seen this come out – at times in all it ugliness – when someone says they really don’t care for this book.

    In my expierence and long years of living, there are few of us without agenda, and there are many cows roaming around – still – in even the most liberated of His followers.

    It is grievous to me that we tend to belittle those who don’t agree with us. I’ve done it – still do it to a degree – am tired of doing it and having it done to.

    Sheesh! Is this beginning to sound like ‘can’t we all just get along?’ or what. 🙂

    Kelly

  29. Pierre Duelz March 6, 2008 at 10:45 am

    The Shack had a strong effect on me, and I’ve given it to many friends. One friend loved it and it had an impact on her. Then she read a very negative article about it. Here’s what she wrote and my response.

    Hey Pierre, look at this and go to the website below. If you scroll all the way to the bottom it says that one of the ways that deception is coming into the churches are books like “The Shack” and “Course in Miracles”. Whew!! I guess I need to talk to my sons that I gave the book to. Seems it is pretty easy to be deceived. C. Y.

    Dear C.Y.
    I read that article two weeks ago. It was part of several articles listed on a newsletter I regularly receive that is dedicated to exposing the “Emergent Church”.

    First, let me say that I am not immature in the faith and am not easily deceived. This is not to say I could never be, but I can tell you that I wasn’t by The Shack. Remember that: ” It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.” 1 John 5:6 Also Romans 8:16: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit.”

    I’m reminded of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus left and they were recounting what happened saying, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” I remember how my heart was burning as new dimentions of the width and breath of God were revealed to me through reading The Shack. Were there ANY places that I scoffed at? Sure, but lets not throw out the baby with the bath water and say that there was nothing of eternal value revealed there. Remember the parable of the sower where the evil one comes and snatches away the seed of truth. Lets not let that happen. Spiritual growth spurts are too few and far in between to lose one.

    Let me also say that I have not read, nor intend to, the book “A course in miracles”. From excerpts I’ve read I believe that I cannot support this book.

    Now why would someone compare it to “The Shack” is certainly questionable. Sometimes well meaning people go off the deep end and wind up doing more damage than good. Pride can step in and make someone think that they have to save God and Christiandom from the boogeyman. They become driven by the need to find demons under every rock, rather than being guided by God. This will push them right into the enemy’s camp where they’ll help his cause unaware. Zeal for God is like a powerful sports car, it can easily go out of control when used recklesly.

    I read a good bit from quite a few sources. I find that some of these sources must be taken with a grain of salt. They have many good points, but there often seems to be an attitude of superiority in their writing, as if they could never possibly be wrong about anything. They lack in humility and display an agenda of wanting to disprove others, more then having a point their own.

    Just like there are prophets of doom talking about the end of the world, there are scaremongers sowing fear about bringing any change to the way it’s always been done in the “church”. I’m not saying that there is NO truth in the article you read, it’s just like what I was saying about the book. One questionable comment does not negate the other truths within the same work. The Spirit reveals and separates the Truth from the chaff in everything that we seek His guidance in. The problem lies is in our emotions wanting to rule our mind instead of the Peace of God.

    It is a sad and much too often repeated story, people in ministry who start out genuine and on fire for God and His Truth, but wind up going off the deep end and losing track of the Truth Revealer. Jesus told the church at Ephesus that He saw their zeal, but that they had lost their first Love. Ouch! Ministry leaders often fall victim to their old friend, the flesh, and allow it to lead them into over zealous conclusions and beliefs.

    With that being said, lets talk content here.

    Certainly the first and biggest hurdle I had to overcome in the book, was the portrayal of God the Father by a woman. I almost didn’t get past that, but thank God I did. This helped me to let go of the human box I had made God fit into. We know that God is spirit, not flesh. Therefore He is neither male or female. The question begs then, why does the Bible and Jesus refer to Him as Father?

    First, we must remember that the Bible is not God. It is God’s Word, given to men, limited human beings. The Bible is one of God’s tools to communicate and reveal Himself to us. This method of communication restrains God to the limitations of the human language. He is also restricted by our difficulty in grasping abstract or non-physical concepts such as Himself. (These restrictions are reflective of men’s limitations, not God’s) This is why symbolism and parables are often used in Scriptures, to get the message across. In other words, using word pictures that we can recognize or relate to, to give us a view of an infinite concept, such as God or eternity. When we become too literal, then many questions are unanswerable such as: If God is really our “father” then who is the mother?, or then who is His wife? Do you follow my line of thinking? His goal is for us to love Him, not understand Him.

    It’s like when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law in Matt 23. He told them “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law” They held so fast to the letter of the Law that they did not apply the spirit of the Law. The “letter” of the Law, the Bible, says He is my “Father” It’s written right there. But the spirit of the Law is trying to communicate with those words, the picture of how much He loves and cares for me, and wants to protect me, and provide for me, etc. like a human father does for his children. That’s something we can relate to.

    In this day and age, most Christians are aware that some individuals have a very negative view of God the Father. This is often because of having experienced a very bad “earthly” father. The “spirit” of the Law, or the message God wants us to hear, is that He has an infinite love for us, that He is our Creator, and that He owns everything and wants us to have it all by having a relationship with Him. Seeing only the “letter” of the law, can make a person like this stay away from Father God, based on their bad experience with a “father”.

    This is what the author was communicating. In the story, Mack’s childhood had scarred him because of his bad dad. Then the loss of his daughter had caused Mack to close the door on God and the world. In God’s immense love for his child, He knew that a male father figure would not illicit the response needed to save Mack from himself. Thence comes Papa, the big black woman. Notice that it was still intentionally Papa, not Mama. I believe this goes to reveal intention by the author. Which I think is commendable. One wanting to push New Age views would have said Mama.

    This helped me to realize that I still had a human box that God had to fit into. God is so much bigger then that. For me to realize more of His presence, this box needed to be removed. Yes, God is our Heavenly father, but not with the long white beard etc. I’m glad the box is gone. It’s now easier to trust Him more, because I don’t have Him subconsciously in that human frame. He’s still Daddy or Papa, but His long beard is pretty well gone now.

    There were other passages in the book that knocked me for a loop when I first read them. These were also intended to fracture some of these human or finite parameters that we built our concept of God around. “Jesus says He’s not a christian! WHAT? I’m out-of-here…” Certainly there is fear that comes along with venturing into new, unchartered waters. Our responsibility is to seek God’s Truth about Himself to relieve that fear. The point in this passage is that we have been programmed to ACT like Christians. But here again comes the problem of our “concept” or our view of what is a “Christian”. The real Jesus wants us to be like HIM. Not like the image or the idea that has been painted by a man, a religion, or a denomination of what a “Christian” is supposed to be like. Would you say: “You know, I am a lot like myself ” No, of course. You ARE yourself. Just like Jesus is Himself. The word christian means being a little Christ. Is Jesus a little Christ? No. He IS Christ.

    Being a Christian has evolved from modeling oneself after the character of Christ, to fitting a certain human mold. That mold though, is interpreted differently by different people and denominations. How can that be? Are there variations of Christ to model after? No! Can both salt water and fresh water come out of the same well? This ought not to be according to God’s Word. There is only one True mold and it’s not even a mold, it’s the Real Thing, Jesus. Not someone’s idea of it.

    Having read the scenario of Jesus saying He is not a christian, enabled me to think about the issues I just wrote about. Questioning who determines what a Christian is? Forcing me to the conclusion that the only way to keep from being a “skewed” little Christ, or making an inaccurate representation of Him, was to first realize that a lot of this mold or image I held to came from men more then from Jesus. Secondly, it drove me to the feet of Jesus for a better glimpse of What and Who I wanted to represent to others. This is the biggest disadvantage and problem with the human box we place God in. It actually keeps us from being as close to the true Him as we could, because we are looking at a replica. A life size, human replica of Him doesn’t work, because He is bigger than life. No human thought can fully encompass Him. We need to throw off the moorings of our human limitations and allow God to be Who He is before us, in order for us to be in awe of Who He really is.
    The limitations we place on our perception of God come from our fallen nature which is at enmity with God. Consider the source of your reservations, the human element, and compare it with the motivation of love of Papa.

    Choose you this day who you will serve, who you will seek, whose revelation of himself you will believe.

    I hope this helps. It is a labor of love.

    Pierre >
    NW Florida

  30. pamela March 6, 2008 at 11:12 am

    To Donna,

    The Kenya Update link is a link to the previous blog entry. When you are on a page that has older and newer blog entries you will see the blog titles linked both to the top left and top right of the page under the menu at the top of the page.

  31. jeremy March 6, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Thanks for the comments Wayne….I have kept up with Lifestream since about 2001 and love all the books i’ve read of you and love the Lifestream newsletters, etc

    I agree with most of your comments here except maybe with the U.R comments. Let me be frank, right now i’m in the middle of a deep down nervous breakdown of sorts and a lot of it has to do with the concept of the traditonal hell etc…. For me, even the possibility that someone can go to hell – forever is enough to drive everyone mad …In fact the whole christian world should be going mad – either by worrying about the ‘lost’ and the idea of hell, or by ‘trying’ to save as many as possible every minute of every day.
    The biggest thing that has paralyzed me is the idea that in anyway salvation is up to us…Ie – Free Will. This has not happend overnight – for many years i was into teachings such as those by Charles Finney etc and was a convinced Arminianist, but gradually over a number of years became broken and fragile and to see that salvation is up to me in anyway just simply paralyzes me with overwhelming fear. One book that has helped me is ‘The Really Bad Thing about Free Will’ by Martin Zender – although i don’t agree with everything this guy says, this book is a killer to the ‘free will’ doctrine i think.

    I have read alot of other stuff mainly over the net in the last few year on U.R and like a lot of it….I’m not totally convinced of it ….I want to be, but a lot of what is said on this topic makes sense to me…I am currently reading a book called ‘Hope Beyond Hell’ that is free to get on the net by the way, and this has some interesting points.

    I guess the bottom line however is that after about 10 years of being of the ‘grace journey’ since giving up the legalism road gradually since about 1997 i’m still dying for a revelation of God’s love for me inside, I can’t force it however and knowing God’s love for me experientially is more important that anything else.

    But one of the U.R ideas that i’d like to bring up is that in traditonal christianity there is the concept that ‘the world needs to know God…ie get saved, but also people preach that it would be just for God to send people to hell’ …..So Which is it? and what does it matter? ….If alot of people get saved or everyone goes to hell?….Either way God will be happy ….Cos Justice is Good! and so is His Love! I guess what i’m getting at is that the christianity apart from U.R preaches a god who is at war with himself – ie it promotes Holiness as if it is opposed to Love and Justice as if it is opposed to Mercy …and so on …..

    Anyway, i’m tired now…there is so much more i could say,
    But thanks anyway Wayne for your comments

  32. Kelly March 6, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    “Heresy”??? That word sends rigors through me. Guess I’ve read too much about the inquisitors and their mind-set.

    Thanks, Wayne, for taking the time to write about some of the comments being made ‘out there’ re The Shack. The subjects raised are serious and I’m sure hearing them addressed by you will be a help. Since you were ‘there’ almost from the beginning and put in many hours with Brad and Paul, you can more clearly relate the thinking behind what was written.

    In my opinion, many of the questions stirred by the book need to be honestly and forthrightly talked about. Yes, there are those who are sitting on a high hill and want to dictate what people believe and read and participate in. It’s not those folks I’m concerened about in my note here. Also, in my opinion, He will bring Light into our dark places, where we see not so clearly right now, we will see clearly as He enables us to. All of us – those on the high hills – and those on not so high hills.

    As a recovering ‘doctrine police’/pharisee, I’ve pretty much steered away from public comments about the book. But… decided to express some thoughts, not so much about the book’s content but about people’s attitude.

    In general, we humans seem to adopt the attitude that if someone does not like a book [play, action, etc] which we do like, we let them know in varying degrees of intensitiy that they, 1) just aren’t spiritual enough to ‘get it’, 2) they have their own agendas and therefore they cannot approve nor endorse what the book says, 3) they are flat out wrong, and 4) they have way too many holy cows eating in their pastures. I suspect there are other reasons but right now they don’t come to mind. In essence, we write off what they say – in doing so, we write them off, too.

    I’ve seen this come out – at times in all it ugliness – when someone says they really don’t care for this book.

    In my expierence and long years of living, there are few of us without agenda, and there are many cows roaming around – still – in even the most liberated of His followers.

    It is grievous to me that we tend to belittle those who don’t agree with us. I’ve done it – still do it to a degree – am tired of doing it and having it done to.

    Sheesh! Is this beginning to sound like ‘can’t we all just get along?’ or what. 🙂

    Kelly

  33. Pierre Duelz March 6, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    The Shack had a strong effect on me, and I’ve given it to many friends. One friend loved it and it had an impact on her. Then she read a very negative article about it. Here’s what she wrote and my response.

    Hey Pierre, look at this and go to the website below. If you scroll all the way to the bottom it says that one of the ways that deception is coming into the churches are books like “The Shack” and “Course in Miracles”. Whew!! I guess I need to talk to my sons that I gave the book to. Seems it is pretty easy to be deceived. C. Y.

    Dear C.Y.
    I read that article two weeks ago. It was part of several articles listed on a newsletter I regularly receive that is dedicated to exposing the “Emergent Church”.

    First, let me say that I am not immature in the faith and am not easily deceived. This is not to say I could never be, but I can tell you that I wasn’t by The Shack. Remember that: ” It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.” 1 John 5:6 Also Romans 8:16: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit.”

    I’m reminded of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus left and they were recounting what happened saying, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” I remember how my heart was burning as new dimentions of the width and breath of God were revealed to me through reading The Shack. Were there ANY places that I scoffed at? Sure, but lets not throw out the baby with the bath water and say that there was nothing of eternal value revealed there. Remember the parable of the sower where the evil one comes and snatches away the seed of truth. Lets not let that happen. Spiritual growth spurts are too few and far in between to lose one.

    Let me also say that I have not read, nor intend to, the book “A course in miracles”. From excerpts I’ve read I believe that I cannot support this book.

    Now why would someone compare it to “The Shack” is certainly questionable. Sometimes well meaning people go off the deep end and wind up doing more damage than good. Pride can step in and make someone think that they have to save God and Christiandom from the boogeyman. They become driven by the need to find demons under every rock, rather than being guided by God. This will push them right into the enemy’s camp where they’ll help his cause unaware. Zeal for God is like a powerful sports car, it can easily go out of control when used recklesly.

    I read a good bit from quite a few sources. I find that some of these sources must be taken with a grain of salt. They have many good points, but there often seems to be an attitude of superiority in their writing, as if they could never possibly be wrong about anything. They lack in humility and display an agenda of wanting to disprove others, more then having a point their own.

    Just like there are prophets of doom talking about the end of the world, there are scaremongers sowing fear about bringing any change to the way it’s always been done in the “church”. I’m not saying that there is NO truth in the article you read, it’s just like what I was saying about the book. One questionable comment does not negate the other truths within the same work. The Spirit reveals and separates the Truth from the chaff in everything that we seek His guidance in. The problem lies is in our emotions wanting to rule our mind instead of the Peace of God.

    It is a sad and much too often repeated story, people in ministry who start out genuine and on fire for God and His Truth, but wind up going off the deep end and losing track of the Truth Revealer. Jesus told the church at Ephesus that He saw their zeal, but that they had lost their first Love. Ouch! Ministry leaders often fall victim to their old friend, the flesh, and allow it to lead them into over zealous conclusions and beliefs.

    With that being said, lets talk content here.

    Certainly the first and biggest hurdle I had to overcome in the book, was the portrayal of God the Father by a woman. I almost didn’t get past that, but thank God I did. This helped me to let go of the human box I had made God fit into. We know that God is spirit, not flesh. Therefore He is neither male or female. The question begs then, why does the Bible and Jesus refer to Him as Father?

    First, we must remember that the Bible is not God. It is God’s Word, given to men, limited human beings. The Bible is one of God’s tools to communicate and reveal Himself to us. This method of communication restrains God to the limitations of the human language. He is also restricted by our difficulty in grasping abstract or non-physical concepts such as Himself. (These restrictions are reflective of men’s limitations, not God’s) This is why symbolism and parables are often used in Scriptures, to get the message across. In other words, using word pictures that we can recognize or relate to, to give us a view of an infinite concept, such as God or eternity. When we become too literal, then many questions are unanswerable such as: If God is really our “father” then who is the mother?, or then who is His wife? Do you follow my line of thinking? His goal is for us to love Him, not understand Him.

    It’s like when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law in Matt 23. He told them “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law” They held so fast to the letter of the Law that they did not apply the spirit of the Law. The “letter” of the Law, the Bible, says He is my “Father” It’s written right there. But the spirit of the Law is trying to communicate with those words, the picture of how much He loves and cares for me, and wants to protect me, and provide for me, etc. like a human father does for his children. That’s something we can relate to.

    In this day and age, most Christians are aware that some individuals have a very negative view of God the Father. This is often because of having experienced a very bad “earthly” father. The “spirit” of the Law, or the message God wants us to hear, is that He has an infinite love for us, that He is our Creator, and that He owns everything and wants us to have it all by having a relationship with Him. Seeing only the “letter” of the law, can make a person like this stay away from Father God, based on their bad experience with a “father”.

    This is what the author was communicating. In the story, Mack’s childhood had scarred him because of his bad dad. Then the loss of his daughter had caused Mack to close the door on God and the world. In God’s immense love for his child, He knew that a male father figure would not illicit the response needed to save Mack from himself. Thence comes Papa, the big black woman. Notice that it was still intentionally Papa, not Mama. I believe this goes to reveal intention by the author. Which I think is commendable. One wanting to push New Age views would have said Mama.

    This helped me to realize that I still had a human box that God had to fit into. God is so much bigger then that. For me to realize more of His presence, this box needed to be removed. Yes, God is our Heavenly father, but not with the long white beard etc. I’m glad the box is gone. It’s now easier to trust Him more, because I don’t have Him subconsciously in that human frame. He’s still Daddy or Papa, but His long beard is pretty well gone now.

    There were other passages in the book that knocked me for a loop when I first read them. These were also intended to fracture some of these human or finite parameters that we built our concept of God around. “Jesus says He’s not a christian! WHAT? I’m out-of-here…” Certainly there is fear that comes along with venturing into new, unchartered waters. Our responsibility is to seek God’s Truth about Himself to relieve that fear. The point in this passage is that we have been programmed to ACT like Christians. But here again comes the problem of our “concept” or our view of what is a “Christian”. The real Jesus wants us to be like HIM. Not like the image or the idea that has been painted by a man, a religion, or a denomination of what a “Christian” is supposed to be like. Would you say: “You know, I am a lot like myself ” No, of course. You ARE yourself. Just like Jesus is Himself. The word christian means being a little Christ. Is Jesus a little Christ? No. He IS Christ.

    Being a Christian has evolved from modeling oneself after the character of Christ, to fitting a certain human mold. That mold though, is interpreted differently by different people and denominations. How can that be? Are there variations of Christ to model after? No! Can both salt water and fresh water come out of the same well? This ought not to be according to God’s Word. There is only one True mold and it’s not even a mold, it’s the Real Thing, Jesus. Not someone’s idea of it.

    Having read the scenario of Jesus saying He is not a christian, enabled me to think about the issues I just wrote about. Questioning who determines what a Christian is? Forcing me to the conclusion that the only way to keep from being a “skewed” little Christ, or making an inaccurate representation of Him, was to first realize that a lot of this mold or image I held to came from men more then from Jesus. Secondly, it drove me to the feet of Jesus for a better glimpse of What and Who I wanted to represent to others. This is the biggest disadvantage and problem with the human box we place God in. It actually keeps us from being as close to the true Him as we could, because we are looking at a replica. A life size, human replica of Him doesn’t work, because He is bigger than life. No human thought can fully encompass Him. We need to throw off the moorings of our human limitations and allow God to be Who He is before us, in order for us to be in awe of Who He really is.
    The limitations we place on our perception of God come from our fallen nature which is at enmity with God. Consider the source of your reservations, the human element, and compare it with the motivation of love of Papa.

    Choose you this day who you will serve, who you will seek, whose revelation of himself you will believe.

    I hope this helps. It is a labor of love.

    Pierre >
    NW Florida

  34. pamela March 6, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    To Donna,

    The Kenya Update link is a link to the previous blog entry. When you are on a page that has older and newer blog entries you will see the blog titles linked both to the top left and top right of the page under the menu at the top of the page.

  35. Malcolm Trosclair March 6, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    The question on the table in my view is the “Authority of Scripture.”

    I was not able to read “The Shack” all the way through because it greives my soul to see yet another popular book that works to “deconstruct” Biblical Christianity, by encouraging people to question every doctrine in Scripture. Satan’s question “Did God really say… has done no end of trouble to mankind and it is still being asked today.”

    An example of this is the claim by Emerging Church Leaders that the death ofJesus on the cross is a “slaughterhouse religion” which dishonors God. Instead of reading a book like “The Shack,” that brings doctrinal confusion to new and old believers alike, why not read something that brings doctrinal understanding like “The Normal Christian Life?”

    The book “Faith Undone” by Roger Oakland, exposes the false teachings of the Emerging Church and would be a good place to start to see where efforts to deconstruct Christianity are taking us.

    It seems to me that there are many books availabe to shake people up so that they begin to question “the teachings of men” that creep into a church, or into a person’s belief system, without having to cast doubt on wheather or not God the Father should be thought of as our Heavenly Father as Scripture tells us to, or something else entirely.

  36. Malcolm Trosclair March 6, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    The question on the table in my view is the “Authority of Scripture.”

    I was not able to read “The Shack” all the way through because it greives my soul to see yet another popular book that works to “deconstruct” Biblical Christianity, by encouraging people to question every doctrine in Scripture. Satan’s question “Did God really say… has done no end of trouble to mankind and it is still being asked today.”

    An example of this is the claim by Emerging Church Leaders that the death ofJesus on the cross is a “slaughterhouse religion” which dishonors God. Instead of reading a book like “The Shack,” that brings doctrinal confusion to new and old believers alike, why not read something that brings doctrinal understanding like “The Normal Christian Life?”

    The book “Faith Undone” by Roger Oakland, exposes the false teachings of the Emerging Church and would be a good place to start to see where efforts to deconstruct Christianity are taking us.

    It seems to me that there are many books availabe to shake people up so that they begin to question “the teachings of men” that creep into a church, or into a person’s belief system, without having to cast doubt on wheather or not God the Father should be thought of as our Heavenly Father as Scripture tells us to, or something else entirely.

  37. Andrew March 7, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Malcolm,

    You are not getting it. We don’t need to see your blog site about the horrible emergent church. This book and its authors are not about the emergent church nor are they about false teachings. Furthermore it doesn’t destroy “biblical Christianity” it enhances it. What it may do is take some of the false teachings about Father that the organized Christian culture has accepted as truth – NOT Biblical truth – and flip it on its ear. If you would have read the Q & A in Wayne’s blog you would have seen that. Wayne has stated many times that he is not part of the emergent movement or any other system created by man. In all my years of Christian schooling I have yet to meet a man that only points to Father the way Wayne does that is very characteristic of Paul. If you can open your mind and take a look at how much Father loves you. Take a look at what He did on the cross – not mans view of appeasement but Father’s view of love and you will see that Father never abandoned His one and only Son when He was at His darkest moment.

    Jesus was not a Christian. He didn’t come to start another religion but a way to the Father. Look at Jesus’ views and anger towards the men that “knew” God’s religion. The Pharisees of that day are still prominent today with the teachings of appeasement and works. They also still get angry every time Father reviles Himself to His kids.

  38. Andrew March 7, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Malcolm,

    You are not getting it. We don’t need to see your blog site about the horrible emergent church. This book and its authors are not about the emergent church nor are they about false teachings. Furthermore it doesn’t destroy “biblical Christianity” it enhances it. What it may do is take some of the false teachings about Father that the organized Christian culture has accepted as truth – NOT Biblical truth – and flip it on its ear. If you would have read the Q & A in Wayne’s blog you would have seen that. Wayne has stated many times that he is not part of the emergent movement or any other system created by man. In all my years of Christian schooling I have yet to meet a man that only points to Father the way Wayne does that is very characteristic of Paul. If you can open your mind and take a look at how much Father loves you. Take a look at what He did on the cross – not mans view of appeasement but Father’s view of love and you will see that Father never abandoned His one and only Son when He was at His darkest moment.

    Jesus was not a Christian. He didn’t come to start another religion but a way to the Father. Look at Jesus’ views and anger towards the men that “knew” God’s religion. The Pharisees of that day are still prominent today with the teachings of appeasement and works. They also still get angry every time Father reviles Himself to His kids.

  39. Ashley Aus (mtash) March 7, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t think The Shack calls Biblical doctrine or even the authority of Scripture into question–I think it calls into question lots of the awful stuff that religion has sold to us packaged as “Biblical doctrine”.

    And Adam and Eve weren’t the only ones in the Bible to ever question anything. The Bereans questioned the apostle Paul’s doctrine and the Bible says this was a noble thing to do.

    In The Shack, Paul Young isn’t saying, This is what God is like! Who cares what the Bible say. But rather, let’s take another look and see if perhaps our religious doctrines haven’t tainted our interpretation of Scripture and ultimately caused us to misunderstand our God.

  40. Ashley Aus (mtash) March 7, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    I don’t think The Shack calls Biblical doctrine or even the authority of Scripture into question–I think it calls into question lots of the awful stuff that religion has sold to us packaged as “Biblical doctrine”.

    And Adam and Eve weren’t the only ones in the Bible to ever question anything. The Bereans questioned the apostle Paul’s doctrine and the Bible says this was a noble thing to do.

    In The Shack, Paul Young isn’t saying, This is what God is like! Who cares what the Bible say. But rather, let’s take another look and see if perhaps our religious doctrines haven’t tainted our interpretation of Scripture and ultimately caused us to misunderstand our God.

  41. stew March 7, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    The Shack is an awesome book. I recall a few folks not being too happy about Jesus, either. Don’t be discouraged by the criticism- listen to the redemptive stuff and shake the rest off. Keep publishing!!

  42. stew March 7, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    The Shack is an awesome book. I recall a few folks not being too happy about Jesus, either. Don’t be discouraged by the criticism- listen to the redemptive stuff and shake the rest off. Keep publishing!!

  43. Adam March 7, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Emergent, Universalism, Emotionalism, call it what you want, let us not forget that the heart of man is corrupt. Read the scriptures, compare the concept this book offers to the Word. Stop defending this fad, and stand up for what is right as a follower of Jesus Christ.

  44. Adam March 8, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Emergent, Universalism, Emotionalism, call it what you want, let us not forget that the heart of man is corrupt. Read the scriptures, compare the concept this book offers to the Word. Stop defending this fad, and stand up for what is right as a follower of Jesus Christ.

  45. The Other Pam March 8, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I am reminded again of the post of the email by the young lady living in Sudan. She is too busy being loved and loving others to quibble. The best thing I’ve gotton from this conversation is the phrase “living loved”. When I can “live loved”, I love well.

    I believe scripture to be the plumbline. I think the idea that truth is relative is a chaotic idea. I remember a colleague at a Christian school said to me “I believe what the Bible says.” Everybody in every denomination or independant church, fellowship, club whatever you want to call it says that. You can have two responses to the confusion that arises from the fact that we arrive at different conclusions from the Bible on many issues. One is “I am right and everyone else is wrong because the do not know how to interpet scripture.” The other response is “Though I have tried to be faithful to this scripture, I am human and broken and bound to misunderstand some things. The fact that other sincere believers disagree with me means I have to continually ask the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and inform my mind as I go back to scripture again and again. I don’t have truth by the tail” Is the latter view what people call universalism? I think not. Univeralism says all roads lead to God. Any religion that says obervance of laws or rituals earns the love of God or a place in some kind of paradise is not the way even if it calls itself Christianity. I think we need to recognize that to get it “all right” is going to be difficult and quite possibly impossible this side of eternity. If we can arrive at what is right through intellect alone, what do we need God for?

    Jeus said that the greatest commandments were to love — to love God and to love our neighbor. I think our doctrine needs to be examined by that great truth from the mouth of Jesus recorded in the Bible. Does what we believe allow us to understand the love of God better and from that love others better? Is it bringing life? Does it elicit love or fear? My experience with The Shack is that it expanded my heart. I can’t believe these human images of God trivialized Him. What was the Jesus moment in history all about then? He cannot be contained to one metaphor. Look how many there are in scripture.

  46. The Other Pam March 8, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I am reminded again of the post of the email by the young lady living in Sudan. She is too busy being loved and loving others to quibble. The best thing I’ve gotton from this conversation is the phrase “living loved”. When I can “live loved”, I love well.

    I believe scripture to be the plumbline. I think the idea that truth is relative is a chaotic idea. I remember a colleague at a Christian school said to me “I believe what the Bible says.” Everybody in every denomination or independant church, fellowship, club whatever you want to call it says that. You can have two responses to the confusion that arises from the fact that we arrive at different conclusions from the Bible on many issues. One is “I am right and everyone else is wrong because the do not know how to interpet scripture.” The other response is “Though I have tried to be faithful to this scripture, I am human and broken and bound to misunderstand some things. The fact that other sincere believers disagree with me means I have to continually ask the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and inform my mind as I go back to scripture again and again. I don’t have truth by the tail” Is the latter view what people call universalism? I think not. Univeralism says all roads lead to God. Any religion that says obervance of laws or rituals earns the love of God or a place in some kind of paradise is not the way even if it calls itself Christianity. I think we need to recognize that to get it “all right” is going to be difficult and quite possibly impossible this side of eternity. If we can arrive at what is right through intellect alone, what do we need God for?

    Jeus said that the greatest commandments were to love — to love God and to love our neighbor. I think our doctrine needs to be examined by that great truth from the mouth of Jesus recorded in the Bible. Does what we believe allow us to understand the love of God better and from that love others better? Is it bringing life? Does it elicit love or fear? My experience with The Shack is that it expanded my heart. I can’t believe these human images of God trivialized Him. What was the Jesus moment in history all about then? He cannot be contained to one metaphor. Look how many there are in scripture.

  47. todd March 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Pam,

    thanks for bringing it back to living loved by God…..receiving his love through Christ and sharing it with others!!!

    well put….well put.

    Todd

  48. Lindsay March 8, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    This review of “The Shack” was posted on Amazon yesterday. I think it is a beautiful example of how Father is using the book. In the words of Gamaliel, “…if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39)

    “As an extremely disillusioned Christian, feeling desperately alienated from God, the last thing I wanted to read was another “Christian Book” written by someone trying to get rich in the fish-and-dove-industry. But the book was a gift from someone who didn’t even like me much in the past, let alone give me gifts, so I felt I should read it. I might add that I attended Bible College (years ago) worked extensively in teaching ministries, have an extensive library of theological texts, and can quote verbatim the entire New Testament and large portions of the Old. I also prefer to read only truly well-written fiction…like the classics.
    Wellll…..I cried, I laughed, I cried some more…and by the time I finished I felt years of frustration, resentment, and self-inflicted guilt melting away…for the first time in years my prayer time felt like a 20-minute healing Hug. Every day since then I have felt a deeper peace and understanding of what God is doing in my life and how to simply commit every situation and choice to his perfect Love.
    For every statement and device Mr. Young uses in his wonderfully imagined story, I can correlate it with Scripture, and in particular with the words of Jesus, as well as Paul. This is not New-Age or disguised Buddhism. This is a compelling portrait of the Trinity, an explanation of why only a Trinity God could truly Love, a total pointing to the sacrifice of Christ as the way to God, and most of all, the healing truth of Relationship rather than rules…which was Paul’s message in a nutshell…and who knows exactly what Paul saw in his own desert visions which he says he was not “allowed to utter”? After all, a truly omnipotent God could appear in any form He chooses…even a burning bush, or a still, small voice…
    Those who want to call this book evil or dangerous, in spite of the thousands of testimonies of spiritual healing, relationships restored, faith rekindled, forgiveness of old wounds, etc. sound to me exactly like a bunch of Pharisees hotly arguing over whether it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus was never fooled by such religiosity, and neither should we be.
    I will also be re-reading this book many times and pondering the beautiful presentation of deep Biblical truths. I will be giving it as a gift every chance I get. Read it with an open heart and experience the Love that is God. Thank you, Mr. Young, for this inspired work.”

  49. todd March 8, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Pam,

    thanks for bringing it back to living loved by God…..receiving his love through Christ and sharing it with others!!!

    well put….well put.

    Todd

  50. cynthia March 8, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Lindsay, you said it all and beautifully too!! The book did the very same thing for me . It brought an ending to and old mindset, and a beginning of a deeper, richer walk.
    Brovo dear one, wonderfully said.

  51. Lindsay March 8, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    This review of “The Shack” was posted on Amazon yesterday. I think it is a beautiful example of how Father is using the book. In the words of Gamaliel, “…if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39)

    “As an extremely disillusioned Christian, feeling desperately alienated from God, the last thing I wanted to read was another “Christian Book” written by someone trying to get rich in the fish-and-dove-industry. But the book was a gift from someone who didn’t even like me much in the past, let alone give me gifts, so I felt I should read it. I might add that I attended Bible College (years ago) worked extensively in teaching ministries, have an extensive library of theological texts, and can quote verbatim the entire New Testament and large portions of the Old. I also prefer to read only truly well-written fiction…like the classics.
    Wellll…..I cried, I laughed, I cried some more…and by the time I finished I felt years of frustration, resentment, and self-inflicted guilt melting away…for the first time in years my prayer time felt like a 20-minute healing Hug. Every day since then I have felt a deeper peace and understanding of what God is doing in my life and how to simply commit every situation and choice to his perfect Love.
    For every statement and device Mr. Young uses in his wonderfully imagined story, I can correlate it with Scripture, and in particular with the words of Jesus, as well as Paul. This is not New-Age or disguised Buddhism. This is a compelling portrait of the Trinity, an explanation of why only a Trinity God could truly Love, a total pointing to the sacrifice of Christ as the way to God, and most of all, the healing truth of Relationship rather than rules…which was Paul’s message in a nutshell…and who knows exactly what Paul saw in his own desert visions which he says he was not “allowed to utter”? After all, a truly omnipotent God could appear in any form He chooses…even a burning bush, or a still, small voice…
    Those who want to call this book evil or dangerous, in spite of the thousands of testimonies of spiritual healing, relationships restored, faith rekindled, forgiveness of old wounds, etc. sound to me exactly like a bunch of Pharisees hotly arguing over whether it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus was never fooled by such religiosity, and neither should we be.
    I will also be re-reading this book many times and pondering the beautiful presentation of deep Biblical truths. I will be giving it as a gift every chance I get. Read it with an open heart and experience the Love that is God. Thank you, Mr. Young, for this inspired work.”

  52. cynthia March 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Lindsay, you said it all and beautifully too!! The book did the very same thing for me . It brought an ending to and old mindset, and a beginning of a deeper, richer walk.
    Brovo dear one, wonderfully said.

  53. Peter March 8, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    I’m thinking that the “foundational core” of a person’s faith will determine how they respond to The Shack. In identifying the differences it is hard to find language that is not inflammatory of judgemental but I’ll try: If the very pinpoint centre of your faith is a relationship with God (ie Father/Son/Holy Spirit), then The Shack will be wonderful. If on the other hand, your centre point is primarily the Bible, then The Shack will probably press a whole other set of buttons. My point is not who is right or wrong, but rather just recognising that sadly, at least for the time being, the differences are like oil and water (ie won’t mix). Such a subtle yet profound difference in perspective leads to both sides speaking what are essentially different languages. Perhaps guidance for both sides can come from Jesus: just as He was at peace with how His audience responded to the parables, we can all be at peace with how individuals respond to The Shack.
    We can have some fun labelling each other “Emergers” or “Bible-idolaters” etc., but it is much more fruitful to just get on with the journey and trust Father to do what Father does best!
    Thanks Brad, for resisting the obvious temptations and just putting the record straight.

  54. Sharon March 8, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Challenge equals growth and for me, next to the Word, it was the teachings of Wolfgang Simpson…what an eye opener to the fact that my husband and I weren’t the only ones feeling that we didn’t fit in organized church. Then my husband found Wayne’s website and ordered several books, among them the “Jake Book”. It rocked our world and moved us further into a life of love with Father and his children. A life that we could not find in a church building or even in a house meeting. Then my husband ordered “The Shack”. He devoured it and handed it to me. I’m not a reader, choosing to wait for the video to come out, and as I took the book, I flipped it over to read the back cover. My husband stopped me asked that I not enter into the book with any preconceived ideas, but to keep an open mind and let Father lead. I was so thankful for his advice. This book let me see how much of organized religion is still in me…not just since I’ve been born again for the past 25 years, but since I was introduced to church as toddler. I cried, I laughed, I cried some more and I saw so much of me in Mack’s journey. I believe that the presentation of Papa, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are as close to reality as anything I have ever known of them. My conversations with them now are much more natural and real.

    I initially wrestled with why this particular scenario would be used to bring Mack through his healing, but I know this is every parent’s worst fear and if Father can bring Mack through this, He can bring him (us) through anything.

    Thank you, Mr. Young for your obedience in writing this incredible book. Thank you, Wayne for the courage of your convictions to publish this incredible book. I am further changed by this experience, desiring to love His children without putting my conditions and expectations on them.

  55. Pam Hogeweide March 9, 2008 at 12:38 am

    i gave the book a three-star review at my blog. (click on under book review stories under labels if you are interested in reading it)

    for me, the theology was the best part of the book. i loved it.

    As for heresy hunters and their charges? Well, there is good company to be kept in the heresy camp. Wasn’t Jesus called a heretic for how he presented his portrait of God?

  56. Peter March 9, 2008 at 1:28 am

    I’m thinking that the “foundational core” of a person’s faith will determine how they respond to The Shack. In identifying the differences it is hard to find language that is not inflammatory of judgemental but I’ll try: If the very pinpoint centre of your faith is a relationship with God (ie Father/Son/Holy Spirit), then The Shack will be wonderful. If on the other hand, your centre point is primarily the Bible, then The Shack will probably press a whole other set of buttons. My point is not who is right or wrong, but rather just recognising that sadly, at least for the time being, the differences are like oil and water (ie won’t mix). Such a subtle yet profound difference in perspective leads to both sides speaking what are essentially different languages. Perhaps guidance for both sides can come from Jesus: just as He was at peace with how His audience responded to the parables, we can all be at peace with how individuals respond to The Shack.
    We can have some fun labelling each other “Emergers” or “Bible-idolaters” etc., but it is much more fruitful to just get on with the journey and trust Father to do what Father does best!
    Thanks Brad, for resisting the obvious temptations and just putting the record straight.

  57. Sharon March 9, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Challenge equals growth and for me, next to the Word, it was the teachings of Wolfgang Simpson…what an eye opener to the fact that my husband and I weren’t the only ones feeling that we didn’t fit in organized church. Then my husband found Wayne’s website and ordered several books, among them the “Jake Book”. It rocked our world and moved us further into a life of love with Father and his children. A life that we could not find in a church building or even in a house meeting. Then my husband ordered “The Shack”. He devoured it and handed it to me. I’m not a reader, choosing to wait for the video to come out, and as I took the book, I flipped it over to read the back cover. My husband stopped me asked that I not enter into the book with any preconceived ideas, but to keep an open mind and let Father lead. I was so thankful for his advice. This book let me see how much of organized religion is still in me…not just since I’ve been born again for the past 25 years, but since I was introduced to church as toddler. I cried, I laughed, I cried some more and I saw so much of me in Mack’s journey. I believe that the presentation of Papa, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are as close to reality as anything I have ever known of them. My conversations with them now are much more natural and real.

    I initially wrestled with why this particular scenario would be used to bring Mack through his healing, but I know this is every parent’s worst fear and if Father can bring Mack through this, He can bring him (us) through anything.

    Thank you, Mr. Young for your obedience in writing this incredible book. Thank you, Wayne for the courage of your convictions to publish this incredible book. I am further changed by this experience, desiring to love His children without putting my conditions and expectations on them.

  58. Pam Hogeweide March 9, 2008 at 4:38 am

    i gave the book a three-star review at my blog. (click on under book review stories under labels if you are interested in reading it)

    for me, the theology was the best part of the book. i loved it.

    As for heresy hunters and their charges? Well, there is good company to be kept in the heresy camp. Wasn’t Jesus called a heretic for how he presented his portrait of God?

  59. Malcolm Trosclair March 10, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    ANDREW,
    ”To the pure, all things are pure.” It is possible for a mature and secure Christian like my friend Pierre to read a book like “The Shack” and be challenged and blessed. For others however such a book leads to confusion and following after false teachings.
    I have been watching the Christian Church be destroyed by false teaching of many types for fifteen years now and I am always amazed at how much the body of Christ is willing to not only put up with, but also to defend as useful. While “The Shack” is not teaching that God is a woman, it is certainly causing confusion.
    Andrew, I am glad that you don’t need to go to my blog to find out how bad the emerging church movement is, but you need to realize that just because someone claims not to be emergent doesn’t make it so.
    The truth is that there are many in the Body of Christ today who embrace “contemplative prayer” and many other things that are deconstructing Biblical Christianity who deny being part of the emerging, or emergent church movement.
    Those who are not afraid to look at the evidence can go to Lighthouse Trails Research at http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/ the publisher of Roger Oakland’s book “Faith Undone” and order it online. The book is titled “Faith Undone,” because that is exactly what is happening in the Body of Christ.
    Those who follow the methods and philosophy of the emerging church movement are hurting people even if they deny that anything emergent is going on in their church and they need to repent, even if they do have the biggest church in Florida, or the smallest for that matter.
    Spiritual Pride is not limited to people in “Discernment Ministry.”
    Think about it!

  60. Malcolm Trosclair March 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    ANDREW,
    ”To the pure, all things are pure.” It is possible for a mature and secure Christian like my friend Pierre to read a book like “The Shack” and be challenged and blessed. For others however such a book leads to confusion and following after false teachings.
    I have been watching the Christian Church be destroyed by false teaching of many types for fifteen years now and I am always amazed at how much the body of Christ is willing to not only put up with, but also to defend as useful. While “The Shack” is not teaching that God is a woman, it is certainly causing confusion.
    Andrew, I am glad that you don’t need to go to my blog to find out how bad the emerging church movement is, but you need to realize that just because someone claims not to be emergent doesn’t make it so.
    The truth is that there are many in the Body of Christ today who embrace “contemplative prayer” and many other things that are deconstructing Biblical Christianity who deny being part of the emerging, or emergent church movement.
    Those who are not afraid to look at the evidence can go to Lighthouse Trails Research at http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/ the publisher of Roger Oakland’s book “Faith Undone” and order it online. The book is titled “Faith Undone,” because that is exactly what is happening in the Body of Christ.
    Those who follow the methods and philosophy of the emerging church movement are hurting people even if they deny that anything emergent is going on in their church and they need to repent, even if they do have the biggest church in Florida, or the smallest for that matter.
    Spiritual Pride is not limited to people in “Discernment Ministry.”
    Think about it!

  61. Betty R Hutchens March 11, 2008 at 9:57 am

    The Shack is an astonishing read. Browsing the first pages I sensed an anointing on the writing. Hoping my sense was accurate, I opted to savor portions as part of my morning devotion. Rather than replace Bible reading, each portion served to enhance my time of worship with pondering wonder.

    I was stunned, then laughed when Papa opens the door and Mack sees “Him” for the first time. Strangely disorienting, I think I “get IT!” Rather than being offensive, I believe it opens one to see what Scripture clearly portrays…God is not to be confined to any man made image. He is so much more.

    I saw nothing sacrilegious. I see a tool to crack open a rigid, “religious” heart view.

  62. Betty R Hutchens March 11, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    The Shack is an astonishing read. Browsing the first pages I sensed an anointing on the writing. Hoping my sense was accurate, I opted to savor portions as part of my morning devotion. Rather than replace Bible reading, each portion served to enhance my time of worship with pondering wonder.

    I was stunned, then laughed when Papa opens the door and Mack sees “Him” for the first time. Strangely disorienting, I think I “get IT!” Rather than being offensive, I believe it opens one to see what Scripture clearly portrays…God is not to be confined to any man made image. He is so much more.

    I saw nothing sacrilegious. I see a tool to crack open a rigid, “religious” heart view.

  63. Val Thompson March 13, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Has anyone attached scripture to the teachings in the The Shack?

  64. Val Thompson March 14, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Has anyone attached scripture to the teachings in the The Shack?

  65. Dustin Brown March 14, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I wasn’t going to read the book as I had heard discussion that raised some large red flags for me.
    But then I decided to read it for myself. The following is a couple emails I wrote after reading in discussing it with a couple of my pastors:
    ————————————–
    I decided if lots of people are reading it I should probably read it before judging it,
    so I did.
    I went in expecting mostly dirty bathwater but I also found a lot of baby in there too.
    The salvation to all idea is there if one wants to read it that way, but I found it to
    be more Arminian – free will choice of Christ’s sacrifice, with even one part giving a
    nod to Calvinism – predestination.

    I’m not sure I like having a long emotional fictional story pull me into this guy’s
    theologizing. But there are some good points, as well as some questionable points.

    Leaving fiction for a minute and returning to reality: Jesus is all the “God in human
    form” that we need, so I found the books human presentation of the Father and Holy
    Spirit very cartoonish and loosing the awe for me.

    God Bless you and your family

    ———————————————————-
    If you get a chance to take a look at the book I’d be interested in your take on it.
    I know God has used less than perfect tools in my life to do His perfect work so I’m
    starting to think the book has merit in that sense.
    I probably wouldn’t recommend it routinely, but I don’t think I’ll put it on my “avoid”
    list either.

    ———————————————————–

  66. Dustin Brown March 15, 2008 at 12:45 am

    I wasn’t going to read the book as I had heard discussion that raised some large red flags for me.
    But then I decided to read it for myself. The following is a couple emails I wrote after reading in discussing it with a couple of my pastors:
    ————————————–
    I decided if lots of people are reading it I should probably read it before judging it,
    so I did.
    I went in expecting mostly dirty bathwater but I also found a lot of baby in there too.
    The salvation to all idea is there if one wants to read it that way, but I found it to
    be more Arminian – free will choice of Christ’s sacrifice, with even one part giving a
    nod to Calvinism – predestination.

    I’m not sure I like having a long emotional fictional story pull me into this guy’s
    theologizing. But there are some good points, as well as some questionable points.

    Leaving fiction for a minute and returning to reality: Jesus is all the “God in human
    form” that we need, so I found the books human presentation of the Father and Holy
    Spirit very cartoonish and loosing the awe for me.

    God Bless you and your family

    ———————————————————-
    If you get a chance to take a look at the book I’d be interested in your take on it.
    I know God has used less than perfect tools in my life to do His perfect work so I’m
    starting to think the book has merit in that sense.
    I probably wouldn’t recommend it routinely, but I don’t think I’ll put it on my “avoid”
    list either.

    ———————————————————–

  67. Jonah March 29, 2008 at 7:06 am

    This is one of the best books i have ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. Jonah March 29, 2008 at 10:06 am

    This is one of the best books i have ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. Mike April 3, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Awesome book!
    I am the manager & co-owner of a small, independent Christian bookstore & cafe…
    we can’t keep the book on the shelves! We have sold over 50 in the past 4 weeks and are using The Shack for our Book Club.
    I thank God (Papa!) for the way this book has been used to break through preconceived notions.

    Tell W.P.Y. thanks for letting God use his talent to clarify some things about God!

  70. Mike April 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Awesome book!
    I am the manager & co-owner of a small, independent Christian bookstore & cafe…
    we can’t keep the book on the shelves! We have sold over 50 in the past 4 weeks and are using The Shack for our Book Club.
    I thank God (Papa!) for the way this book has been used to break through preconceived notions.

    Tell W.P.Y. thanks for letting God use his talent to clarify some things about God!

  71. Mike Messerli April 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    First, let me tell you that I am an evangelical pastor. I read the book, understood its intent and purpose, and LOVED IT!

    I have recommended it to everyone I have talked to about it, and am using it in a men’s group right now. It forces these men to look at all of “their theological boxes” in an honest way.

    You did a great job of defending the book, but I must say I don’t think you needed to do so. If anyone missed it let me remind then of this one fact- IT’S A NOVEL! I knew that when I bought the book, and gave great room for that, but found the theology very well done. Honestly I was amazed at well you guys navigated all the theological traps that you could have fallen into.

    I loved the book, and will continue to recommend it. Well done, and thanks!

    Mike

  72. Mike Messerli April 7, 2008 at 12:02 am

    First, let me tell you that I am an evangelical pastor. I read the book, understood its intent and purpose, and LOVED IT!

    I have recommended it to everyone I have talked to about it, and am using it in a men’s group right now. It forces these men to look at all of “their theological boxes” in an honest way.

    You did a great job of defending the book, but I must say I don’t think you needed to do so. If anyone missed it let me remind then of this one fact- IT’S A NOVEL! I knew that when I bought the book, and gave great room for that, but found the theology very well done. Honestly I was amazed at well you guys navigated all the theological traps that you could have fallen into.

    I loved the book, and will continue to recommend it. Well done, and thanks!

    Mike

  73. Lee Hemen April 7, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Sorry for those who thought it was good. I read it and thought it was very weak and, well, boring. It was weak in that it seemed to be self-indulgent, which I suppose the world is. However, I would not recommend it to a non-believer because it would cause a lot of confusion, especially when they actually begin to read the Bible for themselves. The world tens to “humanize” Jesus too much and the church tends to “ultra-deify” Him as He walked this earth too much. We forget what Paul wrote in Philippians that Jesus willingly laid aside His deity to become obedient.

    To be honest I find most Christian fiction weak in content, weak in character building, and weak in story line because most authors that label themselves as “Christian” are afraid to offend anyone or to push the envelop. This book was no different.

    I can see why uber-conservatives (KJV only) would struggle with this book. While I am theologically conservative Calvinist, I find a lot of what is taught by conservative Christian churches to be non-biblical and just regurgitated pap that has little reality with actual Scripture. Premillienial dispensationalism to name one.

    Remember folks it is FICTION! Do not take your theology form a fictional book no matter who writes it for whatever purpose, if you do you are guilty of theological secular syncretism. Which much of the Emergent Church is.

    Just my own thoughts.

  74. Lee Hemen April 7, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Sorry for those who thought it was good. I read it and thought it was very weak and, well, boring. It was weak in that it seemed to be self-indulgent, which I suppose the world is. However, I would not recommend it to a non-believer because it would cause a lot of confusion, especially when they actually begin to read the Bible for themselves. The world tens to “humanize” Jesus too much and the church tends to “ultra-deify” Him as He walked this earth too much. We forget what Paul wrote in Philippians that Jesus willingly laid aside His deity to become obedient.

    To be honest I find most Christian fiction weak in content, weak in character building, and weak in story line because most authors that label themselves as “Christian” are afraid to offend anyone or to push the envelop. This book was no different.

    I can see why uber-conservatives (KJV only) would struggle with this book. While I am theologically conservative Calvinist, I find a lot of what is taught by conservative Christian churches to be non-biblical and just regurgitated pap that has little reality with actual Scripture. Premillienial dispensationalism to name one.

    Remember folks it is FICTION! Do not take your theology form a fictional book no matter who writes it for whatever purpose, if you do you are guilty of theological secular syncretism. Which much of the Emergent Church is.

    Just my own thoughts.

  75. Caitie April 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I was skeptical about reading this book for two reasons: first, I’m always skeptical about Christian trends that seem to be spreading like wildfire, simply for the fact that they often create a distraction from what is really important: God’s word and His Church in fellowship; second, I’m always skeptical about Christian fiction because of the risk we take when subjecting ourselves to another person’s interpretation of God (though it is incredibly encouraging to see God from another’s perspective because it allows us to see another facet of our infinite God, it is also dangerous when you do not know that person’s theological background and can therefore easily be lead astray). After hearing my closest friends rave about it, however, I knew I had to read it. This book changed my life in the sense that it opened new doors in my prayer life and broke down many walls I never knew I existed in my heart to who God really is–it can be scary knowing that God exists outside our comfortable constructions of Him. While I am always cautious when recommending this book to clarify that it shouldn’t be exalted above God’s Word, I believe it is a powerful tool to deepen a believer’s relationship with God and to fix many of the misperceptions of who God is in the minds of nonbelievers. Because it shows God as love–pure, intimate and unadulterated–I think nonbelievers can benefit greatly from reading it because so many outside the Church (and inside it, for that matter) don’t understand God as loving. God’s love is the most important thing, and this book makes that beautifully clear. Thank you for this explanation and keep up the good work!

  76. Caitie April 11, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    I was skeptical about reading this book for two reasons: first, I’m always skeptical about Christian trends that seem to be spreading like wildfire, simply for the fact that they often create a distraction from what is really important: God’s word and His Church in fellowship; second, I’m always skeptical about Christian fiction because of the risk we take when subjecting ourselves to another person’s interpretation of God (though it is incredibly encouraging to see God from another’s perspective because it allows us to see another facet of our infinite God, it is also dangerous when you do not know that person’s theological background and can therefore easily be lead astray). After hearing my closest friends rave about it, however, I knew I had to read it. This book changed my life in the sense that it opened new doors in my prayer life and broke down many walls I never knew I existed in my heart to who God really is–it can be scary knowing that God exists outside our comfortable constructions of Him. While I am always cautious when recommending this book to clarify that it shouldn’t be exalted above God’s Word, I believe it is a powerful tool to deepen a believer’s relationship with God and to fix many of the misperceptions of who God is in the minds of nonbelievers. Because it shows God as love–pure, intimate and unadulterated–I think nonbelievers can benefit greatly from reading it because so many outside the Church (and inside it, for that matter) don’t understand God as loving. God’s love is the most important thing, and this book makes that beautifully clear. Thank you for this explanation and keep up the good work!

  77. Sharon April 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I don’t know if heaven is like that or not, but I hope it is.

    I’ve been in the church (and in the Word) for more than 30 years – it changed my life.

    If you look hard enough, you’ll find the boogey man behind every bush.

    To God be the Glory – great things He has done – including the inspiration of “The Shack.”

  78. Sharon April 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I don’t know if heaven is like that or not, but I hope it is.

    I’ve been in the church (and in the Word) for more than 30 years – it changed my life.

    If you look hard enough, you’ll find the boogey man behind every bush.

    To God be the Glory – great things He has done – including the inspiration of “The Shack.”

  79. tim forster May 11, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    ANOTHER NOTE ON THE SHACK: I WORKED FOR SOME YEARS IN MANY PLACES WHERE I HAD TO
    DETECT PHONIES OF MANY TYPES.

    AS A MEDICAL WORKER , MANY TIMES I SAW CREEPS WHO WERE TRYING TO PULL SOMETHING OVER ON THE COMPENSATION BOARD–LEARNED TO SPOT THEM.

    AS A SECURITY GUARD, PEOPLE WHOO WERE OT SUPPOSSED TO BE THERE WERE IDENTIFIED.

    AS A BLOOD DONOR ATTENDANT, CERTAIN WEIRDOS HAD TO BE REMOVED TO AVOID BAD BLOOD IN THE SUPPLY.

    AS A CABBIE, EVERY CON MAN AND CROOK WOULD CROSS YOUR PATH DAILY.
    THEY HAD TO BE REFUSED. YOU LEARN TO KNOW WHERE THEY ARE AND THEIR MO.

    SHACK IS IMMATURITY.

    THE FAKENESS OF THE THING STICKS OUT LIKE ANY CON MAN.

  80. tim forster May 12, 2008 at 1:53 am

    ANOTHER NOTE ON THE SHACK: I WORKED FOR SOME YEARS IN MANY PLACES WHERE I HAD TO
    DETECT PHONIES OF MANY TYPES.

    AS A MEDICAL WORKER , MANY TIMES I SAW CREEPS WHO WERE TRYING TO PULL SOMETHING OVER ON THE COMPENSATION BOARD–LEARNED TO SPOT THEM.

    AS A SECURITY GUARD, PEOPLE WHOO WERE OT SUPPOSSED TO BE THERE WERE IDENTIFIED.

    AS A BLOOD DONOR ATTENDANT, CERTAIN WEIRDOS HAD TO BE REMOVED TO AVOID BAD BLOOD IN THE SUPPLY.

    AS A CABBIE, EVERY CON MAN AND CROOK WOULD CROSS YOUR PATH DAILY.
    THEY HAD TO BE REFUSED. YOU LEARN TO KNOW WHERE THEY ARE AND THEIR MO.

    SHACK IS IMMATURITY.

    THE FAKENESS OF THE THING STICKS OUT LIKE ANY CON MAN.

  81. Justine May 16, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    I liked the Shack for the way it described our intimate grace relationship with God. But the feminization of God kinda turned me off. The story felt, in places, almost irreverant. Maybe that’s just my hangup. But I get what the author tried to do…and kudos for that. But gee, fellas, it’s like nobody ever read their bible! Why is this novel suddenly taking the country by storm? Has nobody heard the good news about GRACE?? Has nobody read the bible yet? I quit listening to hellfire & brimstone preachers years ago, because I knew there was more to God than righteous judgment….God is loving, merciful, good, and holy. He wants to be intimately involved with every aspect of our lives. But, at some point it becomes problematic when authors keep trying to bring God down to the human level in order to get us to comprehend Him. The Holy Spirit gives the revelation, not the author.

  82. Justine May 17, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I liked the Shack for the way it described our intimate grace relationship with God. But the feminization of God kinda turned me off. The story felt, in places, almost irreverant. Maybe that’s just my hangup. But I get what the author tried to do…and kudos for that. But gee, fellas, it’s like nobody ever read their bible! Why is this novel suddenly taking the country by storm? Has nobody heard the good news about GRACE?? Has nobody read the bible yet? I quit listening to hellfire & brimstone preachers years ago, because I knew there was more to God than righteous judgment….God is loving, merciful, good, and holy. He wants to be intimately involved with every aspect of our lives. But, at some point it becomes problematic when authors keep trying to bring God down to the human level in order to get us to comprehend Him. The Holy Spirit gives the revelation, not the author.

  83. Bill June 3, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    In the fifth paragraph, the word should be “piques,” not “peaks.”

  84. Wayne June 3, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks, Bill. I changed it.

    Wayne

  85. Bill June 3, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    In the fifth paragraph, the word should be “piques,” not “peaks.”

  86. Wayne June 4, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Thanks, Bill. I changed it.

    Wayne

  87. Dave June 4, 2008 at 8:54 am

    I read the book and liked it very much. As much Christian fiction I’ve read does…it get’s preachy sometimes, I’m a preacher, I know when a book gets preachy. 🙂

    While there were moments I thought is was putting words in God’s mouth for effect, I can’t say I haven’t done the same from the pulpit as I’ve tried to “reword” the gospel…to be understood.

    It’s strong points are helping readers accept what God has done for them (in Christ) and to not get hung (forever) on what God could have done, but chose not to. God doesn’t need it, but some of us do have to “forgive God” in order to move forward in our relationship with Him. It’s our problem, but just telling someone not to be mad at God does about as much good as telling a teenage boy not to look at girls.

    Having read a few “detractor” sites, who see in this book a great evil and their chance for derivative exposure….I was glad to see somene who read it positively. Over all I think the book can be helpful to hurting people. One of the best lines in the book, (the Shack) is when God says, “I’m not who you think I am.” I believe Papa says that a couple times. Nothing could possibly be more true, and our discovery of God will be endless.

    Having just conducted a funeral for a 25 year old drowning victim, who’s father tried to save him unsuccessfully, there is a lot of “FOLK THEOLOGY” that surrounds tragedy.
    –Jesus took him
    –his time was up
    –He must be needed elsewhere
    –(and my personal pet peeve) There weren’t enough stars in the sky, or enough flowers in the fields of heaven. BUNK! If God can speak creation into being, he can have all the flowers and stars he wants without borrowing lives from earth. Tragedy happens because of human freedom and poor choices, and the fact that the world is broken by sin until it is fully redeemed.

    This book is much more truly Biblical than most of the comments offered by christian people at a tragic funeral.

    Heaven will be as interesting for the legalistic…as the stay at the shack was for Mack. As a pastor I will recommend the book with a few cautions. It’s obviously not the Bible. It’s not perfect. But it may move hearts toward the God who is truth, and who is perfect, and will love them in all three of His perfect expressions.

    Dave Fowler
    South Central MO

  88. Dave June 4, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I read the book and liked it very much. As much Christian fiction I’ve read does…it get’s preachy sometimes, I’m a preacher, I know when a book gets preachy. 🙂

    While there were moments I thought is was putting words in God’s mouth for effect, I can’t say I haven’t done the same from the pulpit as I’ve tried to “reword” the gospel…to be understood.

    It’s strong points are helping readers accept what God has done for them (in Christ) and to not get hung (forever) on what God could have done, but chose not to. God doesn’t need it, but some of us do have to “forgive God” in order to move forward in our relationship with Him. It’s our problem, but just telling someone not to be mad at God does about as much good as telling a teenage boy not to look at girls.

    Having read a few “detractor” sites, who see in this book a great evil and their chance for derivative exposure….I was glad to see somene who read it positively. Over all I think the book can be helpful to hurting people. One of the best lines in the book, (the Shack) is when God says, “I’m not who you think I am.” I believe Papa says that a couple times. Nothing could possibly be more true, and our discovery of God will be endless.

    Having just conducted a funeral for a 25 year old drowning victim, who’s father tried to save him unsuccessfully, there is a lot of “FOLK THEOLOGY” that surrounds tragedy.
    –Jesus took him
    –his time was up
    –He must be needed elsewhere
    –(and my personal pet peeve) There weren’t enough stars in the sky, or enough flowers in the fields of heaven. BUNK! If God can speak creation into being, he can have all the flowers and stars he wants without borrowing lives from earth. Tragedy happens because of human freedom and poor choices, and the fact that the world is broken by sin until it is fully redeemed.

    This book is much more truly Biblical than most of the comments offered by christian people at a tragic funeral.

    Heaven will be as interesting for the legalistic…as the stay at the shack was for Mack. As a pastor I will recommend the book with a few cautions. It’s obviously not the Bible. It’s not perfect. But it may move hearts toward the God who is truth, and who is perfect, and will love them in all three of His perfect expressions.

    Dave Fowler
    South Central MO

  89. Robyn Collins June 5, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    In my everyday job I am required to read and review content for biblical accuracy and theological soundness for a Baptist megachurch in plano, tx. i write scripts and develop curriculum for several age groups. With that disclaimer and/or filter… I will say that I was guided to read The Shack by two people in two days following the death of my father (it was not tragic, just untimely in my life, perfectly timed in his)

    I absorbed, soaked up, loved, underlined, highlighted and reread my copy of THE SHACK. I found that it did not confuse the issues of my Biblical worldview… but enhanced and maginfied the God I am even more in love with now than before reading Te Shack. The look at forgiveness and redemption was lifechanging… again, not parralleling it to scripture, just stating that The SHACK shed light and gave new words for me understand the vastness and unchanging nature of God. The concept that I do not change who God is by my actions… was groundbreaking for me.

    I am eternally grateful for the warfare the author and contributors have to have endured in the process, and continue to endure, as I believe THE SHACK gives us new ways to express the unchanging truths of the Bible… in a palatable, delectible, pungent, overwhelming feast.

    I will be praying for their protection, as satan really does not appreicate things that help people understand even a tiny bit more …how big and wild and amazing God’s love is

  90. Robyn Collins June 6, 2008 at 12:48 am

    In my everyday job I am required to read and review content for biblical accuracy and theological soundness for a Baptist megachurch in plano, tx. i write scripts and develop curriculum for several age groups. With that disclaimer and/or filter… I will say that I was guided to read The Shack by two people in two days following the death of my father (it was not tragic, just untimely in my life, perfectly timed in his)

    I absorbed, soaked up, loved, underlined, highlighted and reread my copy of THE SHACK. I found that it did not confuse the issues of my Biblical worldview… but enhanced and maginfied the God I am even more in love with now than before reading Te Shack. The look at forgiveness and redemption was lifechanging… again, not parralleling it to scripture, just stating that The SHACK shed light and gave new words for me understand the vastness and unchanging nature of God. The concept that I do not change who God is by my actions… was groundbreaking for me.

    I am eternally grateful for the warfare the author and contributors have to have endured in the process, and continue to endure, as I believe THE SHACK gives us new ways to express the unchanging truths of the Bible… in a palatable, delectible, pungent, overwhelming feast.

    I will be praying for their protection, as satan really does not appreicate things that help people understand even a tiny bit more …how big and wild and amazing God’s love is

  91. Carla June 24, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Why is it that you haven’t let people who don’t agree with this book post a comment? I’ve heard that people that post a negative comment don’t get heard, but if they put a positive header on their reply then it goes through. Wonder why that is?

  92. Carla June 24, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Why is it that you haven’t let people who don’t agree with this book post a comment? I’ve heard that people that post a negative comment don’t get heard, but if they put a positive header on their reply then it goes through. Wonder why that is?

  93. Wayne June 24, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Carla,

    Why don’t you throttle back the accusations there? And you’d be wise not to believe all the accusations you hear. People who want to marginalize others have no problem lying about them. i do not screen out negative comments. Read this blog throughout and you’ll see that to be true.

    All the comments on this site go through me and I have never withheld a post because it disagreed with me. In fact, I have only blocked three comments on this blog since I began it. And the reason I did is because the comments where either too laced with anger or simply untrue. I won’t allow posts here that ostensibly disagree with me, when they do not accurately reflect my views on the subject at hand.

    But, as I said that’s only happened three times in four years, so I don’t understand why you seem so upset. You’re welcome to disagree here, but please be gentle, respectful and honest.

    Wayne

  94. Wayne June 24, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Carla,

    Why don’t you throttle back the accusations there? And you’d be wise not to believe all the accusations you hear. People who want to marginalize others have no problem lying about them. i do not screen out negative comments. Read this blog throughout and you’ll see that to be true.

    All the comments on this site go through me and I have never withheld a post because it disagreed with me. In fact, I have only blocked three comments on this blog since I began it. And the reason I did is because the comments where either too laced with anger or simply untrue. I won’t allow posts here that ostensibly disagree with me, when they do not accurately reflect my views on the subject at hand.

    But, as I said that’s only happened three times in four years, so I don’t understand why you seem so upset. You’re welcome to disagree here, but please be gentle, respectful and honest.

    Wayne

  95. Carla June 24, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    First of all I’m no liar, and I wasn’t overly upset as you seem to assume. You said to be gentle respectful and honest I didn’t think I was being overly aggressive or disrepectful with my comment.
    I have found many untruths in this book. A lot of the things said do not back up with God’s word. In the book it’s said that God doesn’t judge. That is not the truth. God is our judge. If not the Creator than who? What happened to the Isrealites when they disobeyed God. Yes, God still loves us when we do wrong, but we aren’t let of the hook so to speak. We can’t continue in sin without repentence and expect him not to correct us. Even earthly parents punish their children when the disobey, Spare the rod. I’m not talking about abuse here. I’m talking about godly discipline, so let’s make that clear. I think people today would like to have a god that conforms to how they want to live instead of the other way around. That way there is no guilt. God clearly tells us how to live in his Word. Why do we as a society try to change Gods instruction? I understood what he was trying to say in parts of his book, but I think if a person reads this, not knowing what God’s Word says about it, then I think confusion reigns. I started reading this book expecting to like it, but the more I read it the more I saw it for what is truly is. Someone elses “idea” of who God is. I’ve had enough of that. Relationship is mentioned a lot in the book, but I think salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ is first and foremost, then the relationship with the Lord matures after that. Jesus says that no one comes to the Father except through him. Excepting Christ is the only way to salvation. Not just being in relationship with others and being servants to others. The book mentions that evil doesn’t exist.If there isn’t darkeness and evil in the world, then why did Christ have to die for us in the first place?

  96. Carla June 24, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    First of all I’m no liar, and I wasn’t overly upset as you seem to assume. You said to be gentle respectful and honest I didn’t think I was being overly aggressive or disrepectful with my comment.
    I have found many untruths in this book. A lot of the things said do not back up with God’s word. In the book it’s said that God doesn’t judge. That is not the truth. God is our judge. If not the Creator than who? What happened to the Isrealites when they disobeyed God. Yes, God still loves us when we do wrong, but we aren’t let of the hook so to speak. We can’t continue in sin without repentence and expect him not to correct us. Even earthly parents punish their children when the disobey, Spare the rod. I’m not talking about abuse here. I’m talking about godly discipline, so let’s make that clear. I think people today would like to have a god that conforms to how they want to live instead of the other way around. That way there is no guilt. God clearly tells us how to live in his Word. Why do we as a society try to change Gods instruction? I understood what he was trying to say in parts of his book, but I think if a person reads this, not knowing what God’s Word says about it, then I think confusion reigns. I started reading this book expecting to like it, but the more I read it the more I saw it for what is truly is. Someone elses “idea” of who God is. I’ve had enough of that. Relationship is mentioned a lot in the book, but I think salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ is first and foremost, then the relationship with the Lord matures after that. Jesus says that no one comes to the Father except through him. Excepting Christ is the only way to salvation. Not just being in relationship with others and being servants to others. The book mentions that evil doesn’t exist.If there isn’t darkeness and evil in the world, then why did Christ have to die for us in the first place?

  97. Waynette June 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I just finished reading this book. I will encourage everyone to read it for these reasons…if we are in an awe inspiring RELATIONSHIP with the Living Lord of the Universe and this book gives a glimpse of what that might look like. I was asked to read it (I thought to evaluate the content for who knows what) It is fiction, but who wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with Someone who loved you this much and then in return follow Him. It is all about the relationship with and in and thru Christ…Great read!!Now GO make a movie…from sinner to saint by the Grace of the Lord.

  98. Waynette June 25, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I just finished reading this book. I will encourage everyone to read it for these reasons…if we are in an awe inspiring RELATIONSHIP with the Living Lord of the Universe and this book gives a glimpse of what that might look like. I was asked to read it (I thought to evaluate the content for who knows what) It is fiction, but who wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with Someone who loved you this much and then in return follow Him. It is all about the relationship with and in and thru Christ…Great read!!Now GO make a movie…from sinner to saint by the Grace of the Lord.

  99. kathie June 27, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I’ve been born-again for 37 years and have always sought to have an intimate relationship with God The Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Read the book – came away with a new love and passion for God. I started reading all of the controversy about the book and realized all I took away from this book was a wonderful, fresh, renewed love for my Savior. Wayne, I like your explanation for the book. God bless!!!

  100. kathie June 27, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve been born-again for 37 years and have always sought to have an intimate relationship with God The Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Read the book – came away with a new love and passion for God. I started reading all of the controversy about the book and realized all I took away from this book was a wonderful, fresh, renewed love for my Savior. Wayne, I like your explanation for the book. God bless!!!

  101. Johnny King June 30, 2008 at 10:18 am

    With a great enthusiasm and an honest love for the lord, a good friend of mine gave me a copy of The Shack. I read it over the course of a day or two; and, although the core message is undeniably worthy, I found the book arguably unbiblical and subversive. Whatever, there’s no shortage of biblical criticism for the scholars (which I am not) to debate. However, what really struck me was the blatantly obvious pattern of academic multi cultural curriculum tendencies such as girl power, male bashing, earth the abandon child, and kudos to Bruce Cockburn and Bill Moyers. That alone made me giggle and make me pine for the old college days when two plus two wasn’t necessarily always four. If you were to deconstuct the novel on its characters alone you would find all the female characters (God, a large African-American woman; the holy spirit, an Asian woman; the judge, an olive skinned Hispanic woman, and Nan, MacK’s wife) as strong, wise, and, in the case of the judge, stunningly beautiful. If you do the same for the male characters you find them confused and broken–that is with the exception of Jesus; he’s short, unattactive, and has a big nose. The book muses on what the world be like if women were in charge and God even reminds the reader “Men! Such idiots at times.” We’re also reminded that “Our Earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having to guide and direct her.” Finally, Mack, the novel’s central character is a Bill Moyers (that’s PBS guru and uber liberal) and Bruce Cockburn (I too like and admire for his music) fan. Even God digs Bruce in The Shack. Couple all of this with the themes of relationships, no hierarchy, God’s summission to you, “I don’t punish sin,” and no mention of authority or sovereignty, and there is no doubt this novel will soon be the darling of English departments across the country. Finally, I do have to say the author is not afraid to name some of his creative influences and some of who include Moby, Indigo Girls, the Dixie Chicks, and Maya Angelou. Read the book and decide for yourself.

  102. Johnny King June 30, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    With a great enthusiasm and an honest love for the lord, a good friend of mine gave me a copy of The Shack. I read it over the course of a day or two; and, although the core message is undeniably worthy, I found the book arguably unbiblical and subversive. Whatever, there’s no shortage of biblical criticism for the scholars (which I am not) to debate. However, what really struck me was the blatantly obvious pattern of academic multi cultural curriculum tendencies such as girl power, male bashing, earth the abandon child, and kudos to Bruce Cockburn and Bill Moyers. That alone made me giggle and make me pine for the old college days when two plus two wasn’t necessarily always four. If you were to deconstuct the novel on its characters alone you would find all the female characters (God, a large African-American woman; the holy spirit, an Asian woman; the judge, an olive skinned Hispanic woman, and Nan, MacK’s wife) as strong, wise, and, in the case of the judge, stunningly beautiful. If you do the same for the male characters you find them confused and broken–that is with the exception of Jesus; he’s short, unattactive, and has a big nose. The book muses on what the world be like if women were in charge and God even reminds the reader “Men! Such idiots at times.” We’re also reminded that “Our Earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having to guide and direct her.” Finally, Mack, the novel’s central character is a Bill Moyers (that’s PBS guru and uber liberal) and Bruce Cockburn (I too like and admire for his music) fan. Even God digs Bruce in The Shack. Couple all of this with the themes of relationships, no hierarchy, God’s summission to you, “I don’t punish sin,” and no mention of authority or sovereignty, and there is no doubt this novel will soon be the darling of English departments across the country. Finally, I do have to say the author is not afraid to name some of his creative influences and some of who include Moby, Indigo Girls, the Dixie Chicks, and Maya Angelou. Read the book and decide for yourself.

  103. Dave Marks July 2, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Why are people having such a hard time with this very well written piece of FICTION? If the book is successful in moving people towards a relationship with Jesus then the book should be embraced?

    Lets be honest no one truly knows the nature of God. This book portrays the author’s perception of his relationship with God. We all have different perceptions and ideas – perhaps we’re all wrong – perhaps we’re all right.

  104. Dave Marks July 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Why are people having such a hard time with this very well written piece of FICTION? If the book is successful in moving people towards a relationship with Jesus then the book should be embraced?

    Lets be honest no one truly knows the nature of God. This book portrays the author’s perception of his relationship with God. We all have different perceptions and ideas – perhaps we’re all wrong – perhaps we’re all right.

  105. Shane Coley July 5, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Quoted from Wayne above: “But those who confuse the issues by making up their own back-story for the book, or ascribing motives to its publication without ever finding out the truth, only prove our point.”

    Mr. Jacobsen: When a person writes or speaks about truth claims presented in scripture, then the claims are either the same as what scripture presents, or different. If the claims are different, then the person presenting the claims is asking readers and hearers to choose whom they believe. I.e. either writings Jesus accepted as inspired and reliable or this person presenting a different claim.

    For instance, on pages 102 and 190 statements are made about love, by the author, as though they are words spoken by God. These words contradict what scripture says about God; i.e. 1 John 4:8 includes the phrase “God is love.”

    In the book: “…love would have no meaning” and “…I destroy the possibility of love”

    Logically translated: “…God would have no meaning,” “…God destroys the possibility of God.”

    Based on these bits of dialogue in context, as well as other parts of the book, much more could be discussed about claims in The Shack regarding the relationship of God to His creation. For now a single narrow point conveys the idea in focus.

    Scripture makes a claim. The Shack makes a claim. Readers are asked to choose.

    Your quoted statement above has two major flaws.

    First, you accuse others of not “finding out the truth” before ascribing motives. This is judgmental by you. The Shack is filled with claims that judgment is bad and should be avoided. Therefore, given that you claim “The Shack” position on judgment, you have no basis to judge others. You have no ground on which to stand.

    Scripture teaches that we are to judge those inside the church and to judge teachings regarding claims God has revealed through inspired writings. However, this is of no use to you because The Shack presents a different teaching about judgment than scripture. Because you are judging others, I ask; have you now changed your position on judgment from that stated (but not practiced) in The Shack? (The Shack is also judgmental, as indicated by your quote, but that is not the current focus.)

    Secondly, The Shack puts words in God’s mouth and ascribes motives to God which are in conflict with scripture. You want others to understand you and “find out the truth” before taking positions or ascribing motives to you and your team. You are apparently willing to do, perhaps comfortable doing, to God what you expect others to refrain from doing to you.

    When choosing between clear revelation in scripture and anything or anyone else, Galatians 1:8 provides us guidance.

    Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

  106. Shane Coley July 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Quoted from Wayne above: “But those who confuse the issues by making up their own back-story for the book, or ascribing motives to its publication without ever finding out the truth, only prove our point.”

    Mr. Jacobsen: When a person writes or speaks about truth claims presented in scripture, then the claims are either the same as what scripture presents, or different. If the claims are different, then the person presenting the claims is asking readers and hearers to choose whom they believe. I.e. either writings Jesus accepted as inspired and reliable or this person presenting a different claim.

    For instance, on pages 102 and 190 statements are made about love, by the author, as though they are words spoken by God. These words contradict what scripture says about God; i.e. 1 John 4:8 includes the phrase “God is love.”

    In the book: “…love would have no meaning” and “…I destroy the possibility of love”

    Logically translated: “…God would have no meaning,” “…God destroys the possibility of God.”

    Based on these bits of dialogue in context, as well as other parts of the book, much more could be discussed about claims in The Shack regarding the relationship of God to His creation. For now a single narrow point conveys the idea in focus.

    Scripture makes a claim. The Shack makes a claim. Readers are asked to choose.

    Your quoted statement above has two major flaws.

    First, you accuse others of not “finding out the truth” before ascribing motives. This is judgmental by you. The Shack is filled with claims that judgment is bad and should be avoided. Therefore, given that you claim “The Shack” position on judgment, you have no basis to judge others. You have no ground on which to stand.

    Scripture teaches that we are to judge those inside the church and to judge teachings regarding claims God has revealed through inspired writings. However, this is of no use to you because The Shack presents a different teaching about judgment than scripture. Because you are judging others, I ask; have you now changed your position on judgment from that stated (but not practiced) in The Shack? (The Shack is also judgmental, as indicated by your quote, but that is not the current focus.)

    Secondly, The Shack puts words in God’s mouth and ascribes motives to God which are in conflict with scripture. You want others to understand you and “find out the truth” before taking positions or ascribing motives to you and your team. You are apparently willing to do, perhaps comfortable doing, to God what you expect others to refrain from doing to you.

    When choosing between clear revelation in scripture and anything or anyone else, Galatians 1:8 provides us guidance.

    Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

  107. Wayne July 7, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Shane,

    You really missed the point of the comment of mine you quoted. We don’t mind people the conversation people are having who disagree with points in THE SHACK on biblical grounds. My comment wasn’t about that. We’re pleased that people are looking to the Scriptures to see if these things be so, since all of us on this team are passionate followers of the God of the Bible as revealed through Jesus Christ.

    My comment was directed at those who accuse the author of writing this book to surreptitiously indoctrinate people into some kind of new age Hinduism, or a black Madonna cult. That’s the kind of made-up back-story I was referring too. No effort was made to find out the truth of whether the author had that kind of agenda or not. They just made it up in an attempt discredit his book by lying about him. It would be the same as if someone accused you of writing what you did because you were a radicalized Islamic fundamentalist trying to stir up controversy among Christians. It’s a pathetic and dishonest tactic that I hope people see through. That’s not judging other people’s motives, that is calling out specific actions they have made.

    As to some other objections from the book, like the one you quote, I honestly wonder if people know how to read fiction. The point of the passages you quote from THE SHACK are to make the very point you are making. The author had Papa suggesting an impossible hypothetical. The Scriptures you quote make the same point exactly. It would be impossible for God to act in any way that is not loving, since he is love itself.

    I hope that helps clarify our position. We’re confident that this story, correctly read as the fictional story it we put together, represents the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can, of course, still believe what you want.

    Wayne

  108. Wayne July 7, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Shane,

    You really missed the point of the comment of mine you quoted. We don’t mind people the conversation people are having who disagree with points in THE SHACK on biblical grounds. My comment wasn’t about that. We’re pleased that people are looking to the Scriptures to see if these things be so, since all of us on this team are passionate followers of the God of the Bible as revealed through Jesus Christ.

    My comment was directed at those who accuse the author of writing this book to surreptitiously indoctrinate people into some kind of new age Hinduism, or a black Madonna cult. That’s the kind of made-up back-story I was referring too. No effort was made to find out the truth of whether the author had that kind of agenda or not. They just made it up in an attempt discredit his book by lying about him. It would be the same as if someone accused you of writing what you did because you were a radicalized Islamic fundamentalist trying to stir up controversy among Christians. It’s a pathetic and dishonest tactic that I hope people see through. That’s not judging other people’s motives, that is calling out specific actions they have made.

    As to some other objections from the book, like the one you quote, I honestly wonder if people know how to read fiction. The point of the passages you quote from THE SHACK are to make the very point you are making. The author had Papa suggesting an impossible hypothetical. The Scriptures you quote make the same point exactly. It would be impossible for God to act in any way that is not loving, since he is love itself.

    I hope that helps clarify our position. We’re confident that this story, correctly read as the fictional story it we put together, represents the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can, of course, still believe what you want.

    Wayne

  109. Heather July 8, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Thank you for working on this project 🙂

    Isn’t it great to know that God is in control? Awsome it is – to exchange ideas, thoughts – and disagree – it is even greater to know that thru it all God is still in control.

  110. Heather July 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you for working on this project 🙂

    Isn’t it great to know that God is in control? Awsome it is – to exchange ideas, thoughts – and disagree – it is even greater to know that thru it all God is still in control.

  111. Andrea July 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Why isn’t God’s word enough?

  112. GregF July 10, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    For some unknown reason as I got further into “The Shack” I thought of the Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “The Preacher Ruminates Behind the Sermon”:

    I think it must be lonely to be God.
    Nobody loves a master. No. Despite
    The bright hosannas, bright dear-Lords, and bright
    Determined reverence of Sunday eyes.

    Picture Jehovah striding through the hall
    Of his importance, creatures running out
    From servant-corners to acclaim, to shout
    Appreciation of His merit’s gaze.

    But who walks with Him?–dares to take His arm,
    To slap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear,
    Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer,
    Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool?

    Perhaps–who knows?–He tires of looking down.
    Those eyes are never lifted. Never straight.
    Perhaps sometimes He tires of being great
    In solitude. Without a hand to hold.

    Why? Who knows. I do know for certain that, up to this book, I have never had any desire to see what God looks like in a dress. Perhaps I have a repressed wish to eat some greens and drink a beer with Him. Were that to happen I would, of course (being with God and all) try to eat a balanced diet.

    Both Brooks and Young have given us a God (god?) we can relate to, but – I wonder – at what cost?

    GregF

  113. Andrea July 10, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Why isn’t God’s word enough?

  114. GregF July 10, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    For some unknown reason as I got further into “The Shack” I thought of the Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “The Preacher Ruminates Behind the Sermon”:

    I think it must be lonely to be God.
    Nobody loves a master. No. Despite
    The bright hosannas, bright dear-Lords, and bright
    Determined reverence of Sunday eyes.

    Picture Jehovah striding through the hall
    Of his importance, creatures running out
    From servant-corners to acclaim, to shout
    Appreciation of His merit’s gaze.

    But who walks with Him?–dares to take His arm,
    To slap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear,
    Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer,
    Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool?

    Perhaps–who knows?–He tires of looking down.
    Those eyes are never lifted. Never straight.
    Perhaps sometimes He tires of being great
    In solitude. Without a hand to hold.

    Why? Who knows. I do know for certain that, up to this book, I have never had any desire to see what God looks like in a dress. Perhaps I have a repressed wish to eat some greens and drink a beer with Him. Were that to happen I would, of course (being with God and all) try to eat a balanced diet.

    Both Brooks and Young have given us a God (god?) we can relate to, but – I wonder – at what cost?

    GregF

  115. Tanya July 10, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Wow. It is so unfortunate that so often our faith-walk is perceived as a static reality instead of the dynamic Journey which God intended. God revealed Himself to us through this amazing book called the Bible, but He isn’t stuck there. He is beautiful, and He is infinite, and He is All in All, and I would say that most believers know that. Yet we still have these subconscious God-boxes, and we balk at the slightest nudge of that box, as though God will somehow become less than who He truly is if our paradigms are rattled. Or shattered. This is understandably a scary thing, having your paradigm challenged. But God isn’t afraid of it. In fact, this is a fundamental part of our Journey. There are many teachings that I don’t necessarily agree with which are espoused throughout the Body, but I’m not afraid to discuss them. It doesn’t make one evil, divisive, or even deceived because they are willing to ask questions or consider that perhaps the paradigm they’ve embraced is lacking. This is how we grow, and yes, the Christian life is about growth. I was raised to believe that women should not wear pants, jewelry, make-up, or even enter the pulpit (which, in our church, was a place, not a thing.) We had to remove our nail polish on the way to church. We were holy. They weren’t . Every belief in our denomination could be “supported” by scripture. But did that make the interpretation accurate? Obviously not. Yes, having one’s paradigm challenged is a good thing, if for no other reason but that it forces him to look deeper into God for His Truth.

    Lessons I learned from The Shack:

    1- First and foremost, God LOVES me. Now, I have been churched from the cradle, so I know this Truth. However, somehow, it never embedded into my spirit. There’s a difference between mentally ascenting to a Biblical Truth, and embracing it with every fiber of your being. The Shack helped helped catalyze that in me.

    2- I do not have to do anything in order to receive God’s love. NOT EVEN REPENT EVERY TIME I SCREW UP. Yes, also another truth I grew up with, but in the practical workings of everyday life, this was nothing more than some ephemeral idea. Love. OOOHHH. Agape. Right. So, what does that mean? What does it look like? How does it play out in my reality? Seeing God’s love within Himself, as expressed through Paul’s imagination (the author Paul, not the apostle Paul), helped me to envision the Love He wants to share with me. Now, if you don’t give God the persons of God a canvas in the story (ie. bodies), you don’t get the kind of interaction that Mack (or Tanya) can actually comprehend. And this Love within the Trinity is key. So Paul anthropomorphizes the God of the Universe. Call it artistic liscence. Does he actually believe that the Father is a black woman, the Spirit is a wispy asian lady, and Jesus is a middle eastern guy. I serioulsy doubt it. (Except for the middle eastern guy-part). The Shack simply lends a visual aid to try and facilitate our visualization of the relationship betweeb the three. I seriously doubt that people will be deceived into believing that God looks like any of these people. The question we should be asking is this: What was the fruit of this anthropomorphism? In my life, God has gone from being the Almighty, but inaccessible God, to being the God who knows Love because He is Love. And He IS Love because He is the Trinity. He is totally fulfilled in that Love relationship with Himself, and He wants me to share that with me. Now THAT is good news!

    3- I judge God and fear difficult circumstances, believing that God is either punishing me, ignoring me, or allowing difficult circumstances because of my lack of faith. All wrong. Flat out lies. But we believe them, because this is what we’re taught, even though they’re not scriptural. God, in His grace, shows Mack that he has judged Him, and is believing a whole lot of junk about Him that just isn’t true. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, and that’s what God does with Mack.

    I could go on and on with the lessons I learned, but I won’t. There are many points made in this book which have profound implications, not because they alter God’s Truth, but because they will cause us to re-evaluate many of the realities of Christianity as we’ve experienced it. And again, I submit that that is ok. In fact, it’s great.

    Finally, I would love for the people who have taken issue with the book to have the opportunity to talk with the author. I had a chance to talk with him during his recent trip to Atlanta, and a man more passionately in Love with God you’ll be hard-pressed to find. There’s an authenticity and humility to him that is at once refreshing and encouraging. He’s let the refining fires of life purge him, and he’s simply sharing from the Love he’s gained out of that process. I think that that’s beautiful, and I’m absolutely certain that the people who are so violently opposed to his story would come away from a one on one meeting with him loving the man, and appreciating his walk with and love for the Lord. It seems that people who have gone through the refining fires with Him aren’t afraid to be vulnerable regarding their walks with Him, provided they’ve let that fire have it perfect work in them.

  116. Tanya July 11, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Wow. It is so unfortunate that so often our faith-walk is perceived as a static reality instead of the dynamic Journey which God intended. God revealed Himself to us through this amazing book called the Bible, but He isn’t stuck there. He is beautiful, and He is infinite, and He is All in All, and I would say that most believers know that. Yet we still have these subconscious God-boxes, and we balk at the slightest nudge of that box, as though God will somehow become less than who He truly is if our paradigms are rattled. Or shattered. This is understandably a scary thing, having your paradigm challenged. But God isn’t afraid of it. In fact, this is a fundamental part of our Journey. There are many teachings that I don’t necessarily agree with which are espoused throughout the Body, but I’m not afraid to discuss them. It doesn’t make one evil, divisive, or even deceived because they are willing to ask questions or consider that perhaps the paradigm they’ve embraced is lacking. This is how we grow, and yes, the Christian life is about growth. I was raised to believe that women should not wear pants, jewelry, make-up, or even enter the pulpit (which, in our church, was a place, not a thing.) We had to remove our nail polish on the way to church. We were holy. They weren’t . Every belief in our denomination could be “supported” by scripture. But did that make the interpretation accurate? Obviously not. Yes, having one’s paradigm challenged is a good thing, if for no other reason but that it forces him to look deeper into God for His Truth.

    Lessons I learned from The Shack:

    1- First and foremost, God LOVES me. Now, I have been churched from the cradle, so I know this Truth. However, somehow, it never embedded into my spirit. There’s a difference between mentally ascenting to a Biblical Truth, and embracing it with every fiber of your being. The Shack helped helped catalyze that in me.

    2- I do not have to do anything in order to receive God’s love. NOT EVEN REPENT EVERY TIME I SCREW UP. Yes, also another truth I grew up with, but in the practical workings of everyday life, this was nothing more than some ephemeral idea. Love. OOOHHH. Agape. Right. So, what does that mean? What does it look like? How does it play out in my reality? Seeing God’s love within Himself, as expressed through Paul’s imagination (the author Paul, not the apostle Paul), helped me to envision the Love He wants to share with me. Now, if you don’t give God the persons of God a canvas in the story (ie. bodies), you don’t get the kind of interaction that Mack (or Tanya) can actually comprehend. And this Love within the Trinity is key. So Paul anthropomorphizes the God of the Universe. Call it artistic liscence. Does he actually believe that the Father is a black woman, the Spirit is a wispy asian lady, and Jesus is a middle eastern guy. I serioulsy doubt it. (Except for the middle eastern guy-part). The Shack simply lends a visual aid to try and facilitate our visualization of the relationship betweeb the three. I seriously doubt that people will be deceived into believing that God looks like any of these people. The question we should be asking is this: What was the fruit of this anthropomorphism? In my life, God has gone from being the Almighty, but inaccessible God, to being the God who knows Love because He is Love. And He IS Love because He is the Trinity. He is totally fulfilled in that Love relationship with Himself, and He wants me to share that with me. Now THAT is good news!

    3- I judge God and fear difficult circumstances, believing that God is either punishing me, ignoring me, or allowing difficult circumstances because of my lack of faith. All wrong. Flat out lies. But we believe them, because this is what we’re taught, even though they’re not scriptural. God, in His grace, shows Mack that he has judged Him, and is believing a whole lot of junk about Him that just isn’t true. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, and that’s what God does with Mack.

    I could go on and on with the lessons I learned, but I won’t. There are many points made in this book which have profound implications, not because they alter God’s Truth, but because they will cause us to re-evaluate many of the realities of Christianity as we’ve experienced it. And again, I submit that that is ok. In fact, it’s great.

    Finally, I would love for the people who have taken issue with the book to have the opportunity to talk with the author. I had a chance to talk with him during his recent trip to Atlanta, and a man more passionately in Love with God you’ll be hard-pressed to find. There’s an authenticity and humility to him that is at once refreshing and encouraging. He’s let the refining fires of life purge him, and he’s simply sharing from the Love he’s gained out of that process. I think that that’s beautiful, and I’m absolutely certain that the people who are so violently opposed to his story would come away from a one on one meeting with him loving the man, and appreciating his walk with and love for the Lord. It seems that people who have gone through the refining fires with Him aren’t afraid to be vulnerable regarding their walks with Him, provided they’ve let that fire have it perfect work in them.

  117. Steve July 13, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    My wife handed me the book and said I should read it and report back to her as she has heard some disturbed people who didn’t like it. Soooo like a dutiful husband I read it and just finished it a couple hours ago. I think I know why many are disturbed.

    I’ve learned long ago that each of us has an agenda whether we want to admit it or not. This agenda is related to our core belief system and controls how we think act and react. Unfortunately many people can’t allow themselves to think outside their box as this is a threat to who they are. They fail to see or envision who they could become and lock down their thinking.

    As I read this book I searched for the agenda and by the end I found it. The author wants you to have a closer more personal relationship with God, the Creator of the universe. Shame on him!!!

    As I read I found myself saying ‘yes, I can see that’ , ‘I never looked at it like that before’ ‘what a creative way to put it’ Though this is fiction I think we will find the truth to be all this and so much more. Many will have a hard time in heaven adjusting to the revealed truth of God because it doesn’t fit their agenda. Seekers of truth need to start by asking themselves, what is my agenda, and will my agenda keep me from getting something out of this book. Is my agenda to cut down anything that isn’t as I see it?

    My opinion is that this book challenges us each in many ways. I found myself convicted about my attitudes and actions, desiring to have a closer walk with the Lord where I know I will find my security and significance. I experienced Joy as I read. Happiness will make you laugh but pure joy will make you cry. Thanks for the tears.

  118. Steve July 13, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    My wife handed me the book and said I should read it and report back to her as she has heard some disturbed people who didn’t like it. Soooo like a dutiful husband I read it and just finished it a couple hours ago. I think I know why many are disturbed.

    I’ve learned long ago that each of us has an agenda whether we want to admit it or not. This agenda is related to our core belief system and controls how we think act and react. Unfortunately many people can’t allow themselves to think outside their box as this is a threat to who they are. They fail to see or envision who they could become and lock down their thinking.

    As I read this book I searched for the agenda and by the end I found it. The author wants you to have a closer more personal relationship with God, the Creator of the universe. Shame on him!!!

    As I read I found myself saying ‘yes, I can see that’ , ‘I never looked at it like that before’ ‘what a creative way to put it’ Though this is fiction I think we will find the truth to be all this and so much more. Many will have a hard time in heaven adjusting to the revealed truth of God because it doesn’t fit their agenda. Seekers of truth need to start by asking themselves, what is my agenda, and will my agenda keep me from getting something out of this book. Is my agenda to cut down anything that isn’t as I see it?

    My opinion is that this book challenges us each in many ways. I found myself convicted about my attitudes and actions, desiring to have a closer walk with the Lord where I know I will find my security and significance. I experienced Joy as I read. Happiness will make you laugh but pure joy will make you cry. Thanks for the tears.

  119. Brent July 15, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Honestly, there are things there with which I am somewhat uncomfortable, but I could say that about Lewis’s the Great Divorce and certainly parts of the Narnia series. What is the point of the Shack, really? God is love. He exists in a Triune community of love. And His love can find us, invite us to enjoy that community, and transform us when we least expect it. This I totally agree with.

    All attempts to really get into the nitty gritty about the Trinity will be flawed. But God made us as beings who want to think, and the description of the ideal of our love is that we will love Him with “all your and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Sometimes, in our fleshly fundamentalism, we want to shout heresy at everything because we don’t want to love God with the last of these three.

    Is the Shack imperfect? Yes, of course. Paul never claimed otherwise. Should it be relied on for belief? Of course not. That’s why we have Scripture. But maybe we should keep the good, toss the bad, and not feel the need to smack everyone over the head with proof-text exegesis.

  120. Brent July 15, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Honestly, there are things there with which I am somewhat uncomfortable, but I could say that about Lewis’s the Great Divorce and certainly parts of the Narnia series. What is the point of the Shack, really? God is love. He exists in a Triune community of love. And His love can find us, invite us to enjoy that community, and transform us when we least expect it. This I totally agree with.

    All attempts to really get into the nitty gritty about the Trinity will be flawed. But God made us as beings who want to think, and the description of the ideal of our love is that we will love Him with “all your and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Sometimes, in our fleshly fundamentalism, we want to shout heresy at everything because we don’t want to love God with the last of these three.

    Is the Shack imperfect? Yes, of course. Paul never claimed otherwise. Should it be relied on for belief? Of course not. That’s why we have Scripture. But maybe we should keep the good, toss the bad, and not feel the need to smack everyone over the head with proof-text exegesis.

  121. Les Kleffman July 15, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    I just finished reading The Shack and was moved, challenged, and inspired. Mr Young’s insight into the Godhead and his sanctified imagination have created a thought provoking blend of fresh images and metaphors for me to ponder.

    I have been a pastor of an evangelical church for 25 years and been following Christ for over 38 years now. I will most likely read the “teaching chapters” again and will also use many of the metaphors as sermon material (positively).

    Frankly i am tired of all the naysayers who attack anyone who presents a facet of Biblical truth that is different than what they are used to. Its time we realize that we’ll all have our theology straightened out when we get to heaven and none of us have it100% correct. In the meantime, its about love and trust in Jesus and learning to love others well.

    Les Kleffman

  122. Les Kleffman July 15, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I just finished reading The Shack and was moved, challenged, and inspired. Mr Young’s insight into the Godhead and his sanctified imagination have created a thought provoking blend of fresh images and metaphors for me to ponder.

    I have been a pastor of an evangelical church for 25 years and been following Christ for over 38 years now. I will most likely read the “teaching chapters” again and will also use many of the metaphors as sermon material (positively).

    Frankly i am tired of all the naysayers who attack anyone who presents a facet of Biblical truth that is different than what they are used to. Its time we realize that we’ll all have our theology straightened out when we get to heaven and none of us have it100% correct. In the meantime, its about love and trust in Jesus and learning to love others well.

    Les Kleffman

  123. BILL July 16, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I READ IT, I LOVED IT, AND IT IS A LIFE ALTERING BOOK. AS FOR CONSPIRACY THEORY, TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS…A “WHAT IF” WALK WITH THE LORD THAT WILL CALM YOUR HEART AND MAKE YOU RE THINK YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD AND YOUR LACK OF DEPENDANCE ON HIM

  124. BILL July 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I READ IT, I LOVED IT, AND IT IS A LIFE ALTERING BOOK. AS FOR CONSPIRACY THEORY, TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS…A “WHAT IF” WALK WITH THE LORD THAT WILL CALM YOUR HEART AND MAKE YOU RE THINK YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD AND YOUR LACK OF DEPENDANCE ON HIM

  125. Stuart July 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Wow, I’d never have thought that this book would bring so much controversy. Lord, help me not to google. Even I tend to be one of the most skeptical of students and really have to try hard to not spit out any meat left behind on the bones in my mouth. It gets me in trouble all the time.

    “The Shack” had it’s iffy moments for sure. Some of the “truths” presented seemed to be trite. The “work” Mack had to do to heal portions of his soul did not do justice to what I see as sometimes monumental process. there was some other stuff, but after that? Lots of great presentation of the working of the trinity, though interesting (as my B-I-L pointed out) that Sophia was almost portrayed as another portion of the trinity (ooops, guess it isn’t a trinity any longer!) Not going to dwell on that.

    In the end, probably my biggest disappointment was with the story itself, not the theology.

    I found this a lot more solid than a lot of teachers I have heard/seen/read lately. On the other hand, maybe I am just getting over some of my skepticism?

  126. Stuart July 23, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Wow, I’d never have thought that this book would bring so much controversy. Lord, help me not to google. Even I tend to be one of the most skeptical of students and really have to try hard to not spit out any meat left behind on the bones in my mouth. It gets me in trouble all the time.

    “The Shack” had it’s iffy moments for sure. Some of the “truths” presented seemed to be trite. The “work” Mack had to do to heal portions of his soul did not do justice to what I see as sometimes monumental process. there was some other stuff, but after that? Lots of great presentation of the working of the trinity, though interesting (as my B-I-L pointed out) that Sophia was almost portrayed as another portion of the trinity (ooops, guess it isn’t a trinity any longer!) Not going to dwell on that.

    In the end, probably my biggest disappointment was with the story itself, not the theology.

    I found this a lot more solid than a lot of teachers I have heard/seen/read lately. On the other hand, maybe I am just getting over some of my skepticism?

  127. Bill Brooks July 28, 2008 at 6:04 am

    In my opinion, the following is the most important statement I found in your comments: You said, “If you’re interested, read it for yourself. Don’t let someone else do your thinking for you”. This is EXACTLY what the Fundamentally Flawed Heresy Hunters DON’T want anyone to do. It is their view that NO ONE should think for themselves. This mind-thought is the legacy of the Constantinians and Puritans which is absent of Grace and full of Judgement. “The Shack” gives anyone with a handful of brains the opportunity to do what you have suggested; THINK FOR YOURSELVES.

  128. Bill Brooks July 28, 2008 at 9:04 am

    In my opinion, the following is the most important statement I found in your comments: You said, “If you’re interested, read it for yourself. Don’t let someone else do your thinking for you”. This is EXACTLY what the Fundamentally Flawed Heresy Hunters DON’T want anyone to do. It is their view that NO ONE should think for themselves. This mind-thought is the legacy of the Constantinians and Puritans which is absent of Grace and full of Judgement. “The Shack” gives anyone with a handful of brains the opportunity to do what you have suggested; THINK FOR YOURSELVES.

  129. Pastor Shawn July 29, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Wayne,

    Well done. Written with a real spirit of Love and dignity. Keep up the good work and don’t let anyone discourage you. Christ died that we might walk in Joy. Bless you!

    Pastor Shawn

  130. Pastor Shawn July 29, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Wayne,

    Well done. Written with a real spirit of Love and dignity. Keep up the good work and don’t let anyone discourage you. Christ died that we might walk in Joy. Bless you!

    Pastor Shawn

  131. becky July 29, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I have read and reread “The Shack”.

    My take on this book is the essence is about Relationship. Relationship with God, The Father, our Families. our Friends and Neighbors.

    It’s a story the is meant to teach Forgiveness! Us humans our being reached out to by a story with life problems we can all find that relate to our own lives.

    I have read many who are looking hard for reasons not to hear. All the ‘scared’ persons could take the story for the simple teachings that resemble modern situations facing Humans everyday and in all walks of life.

    This book does not detract from Biblical teachings, it just reaches some in another format.
    The bible can be seen as the inspiration for this story.

    Share it, as my husband and I am doing.

    God is in us all and He will help us know The Truth.

  132. becky July 29, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I have read and reread “The Shack”.

    My take on this book is the essence is about Relationship. Relationship with God, The Father, our Families. our Friends and Neighbors.

    It’s a story the is meant to teach Forgiveness! Us humans our being reached out to by a story with life problems we can all find that relate to our own lives.

    I have read many who are looking hard for reasons not to hear. All the ‘scared’ persons could take the story for the simple teachings that resemble modern situations facing Humans everyday and in all walks of life.

    This book does not detract from Biblical teachings, it just reaches some in another format.
    The bible can be seen as the inspiration for this story.

    Share it, as my husband and I am doing.

    God is in us all and He will help us know The Truth.

  133. Liz Hoenisch July 30, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I read ” The Shack ” in almost one sitting. I was so deeply touched by how much God loves us. It blessed me deeply. As to ” Papa “, doesn’t ” Abba ” mean ” Daddy “? Most of us are hurting humans and we would love to see our Papa as a real loving & gentle daddy. As to being a woman ( in the book ) , I found it was explained by the author: Mack was not ready to experience a male Father God because of his terrible childhood experiences with his father. I believe that so many people prefer to pray to Mother Mary because of very painful father – child relationships. Who but God knows what fears lurk in our hearts ? Is He upset when we try to ” imagine ” Him as a mother ” I truly do not think so.
    I found so much resonance in my spirit & soul as I read this book. My heart leapt for joy. I kept saying to my self, ” Of course God is this good “. In my head I somehow know it, but my wounded heart wont accept it. So during my reading time I felt God’s delight and pleasure and pure joy. This is what I think His words were to me: ” I am I really this good, this kind, this gentle , and this loving. And so much, much more than you can understand .. now.” I believe when we are forever with Him we will be surprised and perhaps weep because we kept Him in our man-made boxes. ” If you have seen Me you have seen my Father “. We will always encounter naysayers. Lets remember how Jesus was hated and He was a radical who disturbed the status quo and the religous leaders wanted Him dead. He shook up their picture of God. I know something has changed in my heart since reading this book : I am more hungry for my heavenly Father, and my heart aches for a deeper relationship with Him , with Jesus , and the Holy Spirit. I also learned, that I can do nothing without Him. ” Christ within me , the hope of glory”. God desires us – all of mankind – more than we can understand or imagine. What a wonderful daddy He is. Liz H. ( Canada )

  134. Liz Hoenisch July 30, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    I read ” The Shack ” in almost one sitting. I was so deeply touched by how much God loves us. It blessed me deeply. As to ” Papa “, doesn’t ” Abba ” mean ” Daddy “? Most of us are hurting humans and we would love to see our Papa as a real loving & gentle daddy. As to being a woman ( in the book ) , I found it was explained by the author: Mack was not ready to experience a male Father God because of his terrible childhood experiences with his father. I believe that so many people prefer to pray to Mother Mary because of very painful father – child relationships. Who but God knows what fears lurk in our hearts ? Is He upset when we try to ” imagine ” Him as a mother ” I truly do not think so.
    I found so much resonance in my spirit & soul as I read this book. My heart leapt for joy. I kept saying to my self, ” Of course God is this good “. In my head I somehow know it, but my wounded heart wont accept it. So during my reading time I felt God’s delight and pleasure and pure joy. This is what I think His words were to me: ” I am I really this good, this kind, this gentle , and this loving. And so much, much more than you can understand .. now.” I believe when we are forever with Him we will be surprised and perhaps weep because we kept Him in our man-made boxes. ” If you have seen Me you have seen my Father “. We will always encounter naysayers. Lets remember how Jesus was hated and He was a radical who disturbed the status quo and the religous leaders wanted Him dead. He shook up their picture of God. I know something has changed in my heart since reading this book : I am more hungry for my heavenly Father, and my heart aches for a deeper relationship with Him , with Jesus , and the Holy Spirit. I also learned, that I can do nothing without Him. ” Christ within me , the hope of glory”. God desires us – all of mankind – more than we can understand or imagine. What a wonderful daddy He is. Liz H. ( Canada )

  135. Gerry July 31, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    My wife and I borrowed the book from the library this weekend. I haven’t read much of anything for quite some time, let alone something ficiton. We both were riveted and stayed up late a few nights, unable to put the book down.

    Thank you Paul!

    It’s not surprising that folks are in an uproar. Those steeped in religious doctrine were at the forefront of accusing Jesus. Honestly, I can’t understand how someone could draw any conclusions other than a nice story about our relationship with God and each other, unless they are picking up the book and trying to find something negative to say. But that’s life – and God’s big enough to handle even the most cynical of aethists and the loudest of zealots! That’s what so great about him!

    Here’s to the road of Grace!

  136. Gerry July 31, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    My wife and I borrowed the book from the library this weekend. I haven’t read much of anything for quite some time, let alone something ficiton. We both were riveted and stayed up late a few nights, unable to put the book down.

    Thank you Paul!

    It’s not surprising that folks are in an uproar. Those steeped in religious doctrine were at the forefront of accusing Jesus. Honestly, I can’t understand how someone could draw any conclusions other than a nice story about our relationship with God and each other, unless they are picking up the book and trying to find something negative to say. But that’s life – and God’s big enough to handle even the most cynical of aethists and the loudest of zealots! That’s what so great about him!

    Here’s to the road of Grace!

  137. sue August 1, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I walk with the lord and I understood the shack to be a novel/allagory…. what is it about this people (trying to be right)
    don’t get. God isn’t what we define–or what we can percieve–but is revealed to us in the bible! ” I AM WHAT AM !”
    JESUS, the second person of the trinity, calls God “Abba” a hebrew word meaning PERSONAL FATHER…but commonly used then, as it is today “Daddy.” I will say to all objectors to the PaPa character as I said to a Mulla of Islamism when
    cried herasy to Trinity belief. ” How can you, a mere creation of the great “I AM” limit GOD to being capable of being
    or doing only that which you can conceptualize? I was tought that even satan, can present itself in many forms!
    HOW COULD YAWH (Jewish sp.) be less than GOD, FATHER SON AND HOLY SPIRIT ??????????
    IT IS SAD TO ME THAT SO MANY COMPLETELY MISSED THE BEAUTY OF THE MESSAGE.
    GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU ALL,
    SUE, GOD’S LITTLE GIRL

  138. sue August 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I walk with the lord and I understood the shack to be a novel/allagory…. what is it about this people (trying to be right)
    don’t get. God isn’t what we define–or what we can percieve–but is revealed to us in the bible! ” I AM WHAT AM !”
    JESUS, the second person of the trinity, calls God “Abba” a hebrew word meaning PERSONAL FATHER…but commonly used then, as it is today “Daddy.” I will say to all objectors to the PaPa character as I said to a Mulla of Islamism when
    cried herasy to Trinity belief. ” How can you, a mere creation of the great “I AM” limit GOD to being capable of being
    or doing only that which you can conceptualize? I was tought that even satan, can present itself in many forms!
    HOW COULD YAWH (Jewish sp.) be less than GOD, FATHER SON AND HOLY SPIRIT ??????????
    IT IS SAD TO ME THAT SO MANY COMPLETELY MISSED THE BEAUTY OF THE MESSAGE.
    GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU ALL,
    SUE, GOD’S LITTLE GIRL

  139. Doris in Tulsa August 6, 2008 at 7:36 am

    You just have to read this book before writing a review of it. Based on my experience in reading it, I wouldn’t have missed this for anything! More than once, I had to wipe my tears away as my heart was stirred by the questions asked and the love – God’s unconditional love – that was displayed to the main character. The theme is relationship, not performance based on rules. This is what the Father longs to have with each of us. This is what our hearts truly long for. We want to know beyond a doubt that we are LOVED and that we are ACCEPTED – just as we are – without the rule of law. And Jesus met that standard on the cross so that we could have a real and dynamic relationship with Him. Religion has muddied up the intended simplicity of this relationship. I don’t mean the theology, but I mean the rules. Religion has moved the standard away from relationship based on love to relationship based on law. As a result, we hate ourselves and dispise our failures. But God (don’t you love those two words!) in his infinate desire to have relationship with us, continues to try to make a way to have a loving relationship with us even if we only understand it in part. That is what this book is about. YOU JUST HAVE TO READ IT! 🙂 Doris

  140. Doris in Tulsa August 6, 2008 at 10:36 am

    You just have to read this book before writing a review of it. Based on my experience in reading it, I wouldn’t have missed this for anything! More than once, I had to wipe my tears away as my heart was stirred by the questions asked and the love – God’s unconditional love – that was displayed to the main character. The theme is relationship, not performance based on rules. This is what the Father longs to have with each of us. This is what our hearts truly long for. We want to know beyond a doubt that we are LOVED and that we are ACCEPTED – just as we are – without the rule of law. And Jesus met that standard on the cross so that we could have a real and dynamic relationship with Him. Religion has muddied up the intended simplicity of this relationship. I don’t mean the theology, but I mean the rules. Religion has moved the standard away from relationship based on love to relationship based on law. As a result, we hate ourselves and dispise our failures. But God (don’t you love those two words!) in his infinate desire to have relationship with us, continues to try to make a way to have a loving relationship with us even if we only understand it in part. That is what this book is about. YOU JUST HAVE TO READ IT! 🙂 Doris

  141. James August 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Still trying to discern Truth from 98% truth(lie). As i challenge all of you reading this, the Truth in in His Living Word should be your litmus for discerning justly(verb). Just as you should not trust the person behind the pulpit that the truth is being spoken you should not trust a fictional writers view on the Truth. This will keep you from pastoral (writer) worship and will keep your nose in the Word of God as I believe this writer is challanging you to do in a way that will keep you from glossing over ‘common scriptures’ and digging into their real meaning. But yet keeping a view of “children such as these will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven” in other words be innocent and unhindered before the Almighty God.

    Yours Truly, James L.

  142. James August 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Still trying to discern Truth from 98% truth(lie). As i challenge all of you reading this, the Truth in in His Living Word should be your litmus for discerning justly(verb). Just as you should not trust the person behind the pulpit that the truth is being spoken you should not trust a fictional writers view on the Truth. This will keep you from pastoral (writer) worship and will keep your nose in the Word of God as I believe this writer is challanging you to do in a way that will keep you from glossing over ‘common scriptures’ and digging into their real meaning. But yet keeping a view of “children such as these will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven” in other words be innocent and unhindered before the Almighty God.

    Yours Truly, James L.

  143. Deborah L. Kuzenski Collins August 13, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Something to respectfully consider:

    Of course we realize that we are not under the Law today, but yet the words of the Law do reveal
    something of God’s character to us. Exodus 20:4 says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any
    graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” This command of Almighty God reveals his distaste for images of created things to represent his deity, even with the “sincerest” of intentions (i. e. the golden calf).

    To choose human forms other than those that God himself chose in order to interact with mankind is to overstep our bounds in representing him. To then put words in the mouths of these forms intimating that they are/could be God’s words is something we should have a worshipful fear of doing! The LEFT BEHIND series, especially in the last book, is guilty of this.

    To dare to represent the Godhead in a manner of which he may not approve, and then to dare to speak for him also, is to me a very fearsome thing. Perhaps God is more casual about this than I think, but I for one do not want to take that chance!

  144. Deborah L. Kuzenski Collins August 13, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Something to respectfully consider:

    Of course we realize that we are not under the Law today, but yet the words of the Law do reveal
    something of God’s character to us. Exodus 20:4 says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any
    graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” This command of Almighty God reveals his distaste for images of created things to represent his deity, even with the “sincerest” of intentions (i. e. the golden calf).

    To choose human forms other than those that God himself chose in order to interact with mankind is to overstep our bounds in representing him. To then put words in the mouths of these forms intimating that they are/could be God’s words is something we should have a worshipful fear of doing! The LEFT BEHIND series, especially in the last book, is guilty of this.

    To dare to represent the Godhead in a manner of which he may not approve, and then to dare to speak for him also, is to me a very fearsome thing. Perhaps God is more casual about this than I think, but I for one do not want to take that chance!

  145. Kathryne August 14, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    I had to read The Shack for myelf to see what all the talk / criticism is about. Yes, there are some riveting truths in it, many poignant moments. But I equally felt that God and the Holy Spirit were reduced to cartoon characters, stripped of their holiness and purity. Many times, I simply laughed at the book. Determined to try to keep an open mind, I finished it. It was not a waste of time, but it’s flawed. My biggest concern is for new believers or unbelivers reading this book. Mature believers can sort out the silly stuff and appreciate where there is truth. Anyone ingesting this book hook, line, and sinker will not have a holy, pure, majestic or divine impression of God Almighty. It will be warped.

    God is humoring this book, bearing with it, and as always, He is working it all together for good.

  146. Kathryne August 15, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I had to read The Shack for myelf to see what all the talk / criticism is about. Yes, there are some riveting truths in it, many poignant moments. But I equally felt that God and the Holy Spirit were reduced to cartoon characters, stripped of their holiness and purity. Many times, I simply laughed at the book. Determined to try to keep an open mind, I finished it. It was not a waste of time, but it’s flawed. My biggest concern is for new believers or unbelivers reading this book. Mature believers can sort out the silly stuff and appreciate where there is truth. Anyone ingesting this book hook, line, and sinker will not have a holy, pure, majestic or divine impression of God Almighty. It will be warped.

    God is humoring this book, bearing with it, and as always, He is working it all together for good.

  147. Karen August 15, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    I get so discouraged reading all the “opinions”, interpretations, and disections of this book. So here is all I can say. I had no expectations when I picked up this book. All I had seen was Paul’s personal testimony from his childhood through his late 40’s. I was touched by how candid and sincere this man was about how his religious training and performance could not heal him from his traumatic childhood or his failures as an adult. He talked about the 11 year process of his healing, repentance, and reconciliation with the Lord. His wife encouraged him as to write a story that would condense his experience and learning into a gift for his children. I think he made reference (or maybe I read it somewhere since then) to wanting to help his children avoid the long, painful, circuitous route he traveled to finding true intimacy with God – in all three persons.

    I don’t typically read “Christian Fiction” – but I am an avid reader from likes of Lewis, Tozer, Spurgeon, Wesley to many contemporary writers. I also read some of the “counter” books (like Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins) to see what the world has to say and challenge myself to go deeper in scripture and in God. I’ve dabbled in reading UR and emergent texts just so I know what they espouse – at least enough to be wary of the deceptions. So while only touching the tip of the iceberg of all the massive amount of theological disparity, for a lay person I tend to read fairly critically and always on alert.

    Here is what I know – as best a common, every day, lay person can describe. When I happen upon spiritual truth, there is a burning inside me that is not of me. Sometimes I don’t like what I read, or the burning is there and my mind or emotions want to reject it — but yet truth seems to be there. I may walk my house for days, asking “God is this you?” and pull out every scripture I can find that seems to relate (in context of course.)

    When I closed this book, I couldn’t even begin to think about literary criticism or theological critique, because I sat dumb-founded and said out loud, “This man did not write this book” about three or four times. Why did I say this? Because in it’s entirety, not picking apart sentences, there is no way a man I never met could reach inside me and find things I did not know existed about my sterotypes and conceptions. I did not know that I had judged God and found him wrong or inadequate. I did not know that my trust and faith were in direct proportion to my understanding of his love (or lack thereof). I’ve read the Word and been taught all my life that God is love. I thought I absolutely knew and believed nothing less. But this book found things in me that did not support that I knew it in the very core of my being.

    For all the critics out there – I understand your fear about this book if someone were to take this fiction and make it their new bible. But for the thousands of us that have been raised in heart of evangelical, fundamental families and churches – if we tell you that we are still Bereans, but God used this book to take us to a deeper level with him, including God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, can you not hear the word of our testimony? I oould write for days about all that happened in my spirit as I read and re-read this book. I could tell you about the hours talking and listening to my Creator and Redeemer that have followed this book – more intimate and passionate than before (not irreverant, or cartoonish, or to a large black woman). I could tell you about the conviction, the repentance, the healing, and the sweetness that has grown from this book.

    Do I absolutely know that God is holy and righteous? That He is the judge of humanity? That He will separate many from himself the He never knew? Absolutely. Do I fear him as the Almighty and Lord of the hosts? Absolutely. Do I still know that no one comes to the Father but through Jesus who justified, sanctified, cleansed, and redeemed me? Yes. Do I still think that when I see him on his throne it is most likely that I will melt like wax to the ground, overwhelmed and undone by his glory? Yes and Yes. This book did not attempt to address all this.

    I am saddened that there are those who could be accelerated in their journey with the Lord by this book, but will be pushed away by those who want to treat it like a new found scroll attempting to be canonized. It is a man’s attempt to consolidate and fictionalize his 11 year journey of working out his salvation and learning the heart of God into a parable-of-sorts to help break through our finite minds so that our spririt can hear the heart of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

    I have since bought 11 or 12 copies for others. Some us are going to meet on Sunday afternoons to talk through the book and the impact. Since we are all Berean-types, I am not too worried that we will get off track, for we will test what we found as truths by the Word.

    Thank you Paul and Wayne and anyone else involved in sharing this book with the rest of us.

  148. Karen August 16, 2008 at 2:59 am

    I get so discouraged reading all the “opinions”, interpretations, and disections of this book. So here is all I can say. I had no expectations when I picked up this book. All I had seen was Paul’s personal testimony from his childhood through his late 40’s. I was touched by how candid and sincere this man was about how his religious training and performance could not heal him from his traumatic childhood or his failures as an adult. He talked about the 11 year process of his healing, repentance, and reconciliation with the Lord. His wife encouraged him as to write a story that would condense his experience and learning into a gift for his children. I think he made reference (or maybe I read it somewhere since then) to wanting to help his children avoid the long, painful, circuitous route he traveled to finding true intimacy with God – in all three persons.

    I don’t typically read “Christian Fiction” – but I am an avid reader from likes of Lewis, Tozer, Spurgeon, Wesley to many contemporary writers. I also read some of the “counter” books (like Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins) to see what the world has to say and challenge myself to go deeper in scripture and in God. I’ve dabbled in reading UR and emergent texts just so I know what they espouse – at least enough to be wary of the deceptions. So while only touching the tip of the iceberg of all the massive amount of theological disparity, for a lay person I tend to read fairly critically and always on alert.

    Here is what I know – as best a common, every day, lay person can describe. When I happen upon spiritual truth, there is a burning inside me that is not of me. Sometimes I don’t like what I read, or the burning is there and my mind or emotions want to reject it — but yet truth seems to be there. I may walk my house for days, asking “God is this you?” and pull out every scripture I can find that seems to relate (in context of course.)

    When I closed this book, I couldn’t even begin to think about literary criticism or theological critique, because I sat dumb-founded and said out loud, “This man did not write this book” about three or four times. Why did I say this? Because in it’s entirety, not picking apart sentences, there is no way a man I never met could reach inside me and find things I did not know existed about my sterotypes and conceptions. I did not know that I had judged God and found him wrong or inadequate. I did not know that my trust and faith were in direct proportion to my understanding of his love (or lack thereof). I’ve read the Word and been taught all my life that God is love. I thought I absolutely knew and believed nothing less. But this book found things in me that did not support that I knew it in the very core of my being.

    For all the critics out there – I understand your fear about this book if someone were to take this fiction and make it their new bible. But for the thousands of us that have been raised in heart of evangelical, fundamental families and churches – if we tell you that we are still Bereans, but God used this book to take us to a deeper level with him, including God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, can you not hear the word of our testimony? I oould write for days about all that happened in my spirit as I read and re-read this book. I could tell you about the hours talking and listening to my Creator and Redeemer that have followed this book – more intimate and passionate than before (not irreverant, or cartoonish, or to a large black woman). I could tell you about the conviction, the repentance, the healing, and the sweetness that has grown from this book.

    Do I absolutely know that God is holy and righteous? That He is the judge of humanity? That He will separate many from himself the He never knew? Absolutely. Do I fear him as the Almighty and Lord of the hosts? Absolutely. Do I still know that no one comes to the Father but through Jesus who justified, sanctified, cleansed, and redeemed me? Yes. Do I still think that when I see him on his throne it is most likely that I will melt like wax to the ground, overwhelmed and undone by his glory? Yes and Yes. This book did not attempt to address all this.

    I am saddened that there are those who could be accelerated in their journey with the Lord by this book, but will be pushed away by those who want to treat it like a new found scroll attempting to be canonized. It is a man’s attempt to consolidate and fictionalize his 11 year journey of working out his salvation and learning the heart of God into a parable-of-sorts to help break through our finite minds so that our spririt can hear the heart of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

    I have since bought 11 or 12 copies for others. Some us are going to meet on Sunday afternoons to talk through the book and the impact. Since we are all Berean-types, I am not too worried that we will get off track, for we will test what we found as truths by the Word.

    Thank you Paul and Wayne and anyone else involved in sharing this book with the rest of us.

  149. Cindy McDonald August 19, 2008 at 4:33 am

    I just finished watching a video of Paul Young, as the guest speaker for Crossroads Community Church on August 3rd. I watched both services, and then I “googled” The Shack, and found my way to this post. So, in effect, I have had all of my questions answered in one sitting, from the authors/collaborators themselves (at least, two of them: Paul and Wayne). It helps so much to know “where they’re coming from.” I read the book several (4-5?) months ago, and I have since spent many hours poring over reviews and reading through forums to research and dialogue with hundreds of online contributors. It would have been so much easier and so much better to go to the source: someone who was “well acquainted with the purpose and passions of this book,” as quoted directly from the above article by Wayne Jacobsen. I would have been much more comfortable “discarding the bones” of suspicions over questionable theological issues, if I knew more about Paul Young and his journey, and how the Shack represented the sordid secrets of his soul.

    Listening to the heart of the author himself really brings a new level of trust, as he shared his personal testimony, which Karen nicely summarized. Watching him walk away from the pulpit with the words trailing from his lips, “to the praise of His glory,” it is evident that he is simply a broken, humble man (“you’re as sick as your secrets”; “we all walk with a limp”) who merely intended to write a book for his children. That’s all.

    I stayed on the fence-post of indecision all this time. I’m glad I didn’t cast my vote with the heresy-hunters or with the babbling blind-followers. I wasn’t trying to stir up any sort of conspiracy hype, but rather to stir some “spirited discussion of the theological issues behind the Shack” (as Wayne put it). I’m not apologetic for being critical-minded, and alert, even to the point of suspicion. (Tiny seeds of deception can grow into big lies.) I did say, in my one and only online review of the book, that if the author wrote the book for his children there is no way that he would intentionally mislead them into false theology.

    There is a difference between judging the fruit and judging the motivation of the heart. One is a critical assessment and the other is a critical assumption. It’s all about relationship: when you know the author, you can accept the flaws more readily. I can’t claim to know the author of The Shack personally, but I know the Author of life, and I can trust Him to guide me into all truth. So, after hearing from the source, tonight, I can go back and re-read the book with more confidence. I will share it with my friends (as I have already) and continue to add a “disclaimer” for what I believe are some serious flaws in the theology, but I want them to receive the message that the author intended, that we are all on a journey, as pilgrims in progress.

  150. Cindy McDonald August 19, 2008 at 7:33 am

    I just finished watching a video of Paul Young, as the guest speaker for Crossroads Community Church on August 3rd. I watched both services, and then I “googled” The Shack, and found my way to this post. So, in effect, I have had all of my questions answered in one sitting, from the authors/collaborators themselves (at least, two of them: Paul and Wayne). It helps so much to know “where they’re coming from.” I read the book several (4-5?) months ago, and I have since spent many hours poring over reviews and reading through forums to research and dialogue with hundreds of online contributors. It would have been so much easier and so much better to go to the source: someone who was “well acquainted with the purpose and passions of this book,” as quoted directly from the above article by Wayne Jacobsen. I would have been much more comfortable “discarding the bones” of suspicions over questionable theological issues, if I knew more about Paul Young and his journey, and how the Shack represented the sordid secrets of his soul.

    Listening to the heart of the author himself really brings a new level of trust, as he shared his personal testimony, which Karen nicely summarized. Watching him walk away from the pulpit with the words trailing from his lips, “to the praise of His glory,” it is evident that he is simply a broken, humble man (“you’re as sick as your secrets”; “we all walk with a limp”) who merely intended to write a book for his children. That’s all.

    I stayed on the fence-post of indecision all this time. I’m glad I didn’t cast my vote with the heresy-hunters or with the babbling blind-followers. I wasn’t trying to stir up any sort of conspiracy hype, but rather to stir some “spirited discussion of the theological issues behind the Shack” (as Wayne put it). I’m not apologetic for being critical-minded, and alert, even to the point of suspicion. (Tiny seeds of deception can grow into big lies.) I did say, in my one and only online review of the book, that if the author wrote the book for his children there is no way that he would intentionally mislead them into false theology.

    There is a difference between judging the fruit and judging the motivation of the heart. One is a critical assessment and the other is a critical assumption. It’s all about relationship: when you know the author, you can accept the flaws more readily. I can’t claim to know the author of The Shack personally, but I know the Author of life, and I can trust Him to guide me into all truth. So, after hearing from the source, tonight, I can go back and re-read the book with more confidence. I will share it with my friends (as I have already) and continue to add a “disclaimer” for what I believe are some serious flaws in the theology, but I want them to receive the message that the author intended, that we are all on a journey, as pilgrims in progress.

  151. Lou August 23, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    The book is profound! It will rattle every “religious” spirit that has ever presumed residence in ones heart. I will share it with many.

  152. Lou August 23, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    The book is profound! It will rattle every “religious” spirit that has ever presumed residence in ones heart. I will share it with many.

  153. John Estell August 26, 2008 at 9:23 am

    This book is FICTION. Don’t people know what fiction means: an imaginative creation or a pretense that does not represent actuality but has been invented. This is not like the New Age teachers that are trying to make something false true because that is a work from satan. If you are a true believer and grounded in Christ Jesus (the real ONE) you can’t be deceived into anything anyone says or writes whether it be labeled FICTION or NON FICTION. I am not into religion but simply a follower of Christ so labeled a Christian as they were first called in Antioch. I am going to read this book but not hold it to take the place of my beliefs but only to look at it as FICTION period. Give the writer a break it is FICTION and this is what he states and categorizes it as.

  154. John Estell August 26, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    This book is FICTION. Don’t people know what fiction means: an imaginative creation or a pretense that does not represent actuality but has been invented. This is not like the New Age teachers that are trying to make something false true because that is a work from satan. If you are a true believer and grounded in Christ Jesus (the real ONE) you can’t be deceived into anything anyone says or writes whether it be labeled FICTION or NON FICTION. I am not into religion but simply a follower of Christ so labeled a Christian as they were first called in Antioch. I am going to read this book but not hold it to take the place of my beliefs but only to look at it as FICTION period. Give the writer a break it is FICTION and this is what he states and categorizes it as.

  155. Pam August 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    The biggest flaw of this book is when “Jesus” states that he is the “best” way to God. Um…Jesus is the ONLY way to God. How could you get this wrong??? Unless you are promoting universalism. You can say you aren’t, but the proof is in the words and they are printed for all to see.

    I’m telling EVERY Christian I know NOT to read this book of lies.

  156. Pam August 26, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    The biggest flaw of this book is when “Jesus” states that he is the “best” way to God. Um…Jesus is the ONLY way to God. How could you get this wrong??? Unless you are promoting universalism. You can say you aren’t, but the proof is in the words and they are printed for all to see.

    I’m telling EVERY Christian I know NOT to read this book of lies.

  157. Wayne August 28, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Pam,

    I’m not sure you’re being fair to the book. The passage you quote about Jesus being the best way to God comes in a discussion with Mack as to why he feels more comfortable with Jesus than he does Papa and Sarayu. Jesus tells him that’s because he is the best way to know God. That does not mean the best of all possible ways (as if there are any others), but the best between Father, Son and Spirit. And isn’t that the message of the Incarnation? Jesus came as one of us to be our mediator with the Father. He is our sympathetic High Priest who knows what we face every day because he went through it too. By knowing him we can come into relationship with the Father and the Spirit as well.

    All of us on this project believe wholeheartedly that Jesus is the only way of salvation. When people read it as we wrote it, we feel THE SHACK makes that point very clearly. Sorry you misunderstood it.

    Wayne

  158. Wayne August 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Pam,

    I’m not sure you’re being fair to the book. The passage you quote about Jesus being the best way to God comes in a discussion with Mack as to why he feels more comfortable with Jesus than he does Papa and Sarayu. Jesus tells him that’s because he is the best way to know God. That does not mean the best of all possible ways (as if there are any others), but the best between Father, Son and Spirit. And isn’t that the message of the Incarnation? Jesus came as one of us to be our mediator with the Father. He is our sympathetic High Priest who knows what we face every day because he went through it too. By knowing him we can come into relationship with the Father and the Spirit as well.

    All of us on this project believe wholeheartedly that Jesus is the only way of salvation. When people read it as we wrote it, we feel THE SHACK makes that point very clearly. Sorry you misunderstood it.

    Wayne

  159. Michael September 2, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I have a responses to a few of you on this blog but especially to Wayne so please bear with me…

    For those who have suggested that this is book of blasphemy I would just say that I hope that this book was written especially for you! The Pharisees had the same plank in their eyes and I pray that the Holy Spirit helps you to find the freedom of God’s Love and forgivness of Jesus’ sacrifice in your lives. The book speaks directly to the fact that since the fall of mankind we have always tried to construct God as one who is in OUR image and not HIS. Heirarcy, structure, leaders to follow; these are what we naturally look (because our fall, rebellion & pride)toward better understand Him – His perfect unconditional love, patients and understanding are truly beyond our comprehension!! I am going through a divorce that I don’t want right now and have come to realize how hard forgivness is. How impossible loving through adversity is – but it is possbile if I listen to His heart!

    Rick Gibson, I have to tell you that what you said really moved me!! I went and read Romans 1:18-32 and it was something that I needed to hear. But Romans 2 really should speak to those who look at this book as heresy!

    Wayne, I am so glad that you have this blog!! After reading the book, I really wished that there was a way to sit and and discuss all of the book with you!! How you brought the Trinity to life was truly INSPIRED!! I am constantly seeking a way to discuss my faith to those who don’t understand so that it speaks to them (I understand that most of the time I am there just to plant the seed) and this book does exactly that!!

    Jeremy, God will clearly be unhappy that there as those who won’t chosen Him. But He allows that because without choice and free will, there is no ability to have faith!

    Lastly – my father said something to me a long time ago that really moved me to see God in a different light. He said basicallu that we will get to heaven and Papa will just look at us and shake His head. He will say that we took a simple and beautiful faith and made it so hard!! I actually found a passage in the Bible that speaks to that…Mark 12:28-31. I believe that this is the heart of what our Father truly wants for us!! I understand that most of those who fall into the trap of legalism usually finds specific verses that justify their belief system and get trapped by “the forrest for the trees” and maybe I am doing the same thing in believing that the verse above sums up God’s idea about how to best serve Him but…..what a great way of looking our faith – not judgementally but with the love of a parent to His child!!

  160. Michael September 2, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Deborah Collins – I think you might misunderstand the verses in Exodus – God was telling us to not make images to WORSHIP in the place of worshipping Him. I don’t see anywhere in this book the idea that the authors are attempting to have you worship this book – but to look at the Lord as a loving God….a THE diety to worship as a loving God who sacrificed Himself in love so that “none should perish”.

  161. Michael September 2, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I have a responses to a few of you on this blog but especially to Wayne so please bear with me…

    For those who have suggested that this is book of blasphemy I would just say that I hope that this book was written especially for you! The Pharisees had the same plank in their eyes and I pray that the Holy Spirit helps you to find the freedom of God’s Love and forgivness of Jesus’ sacrifice in your lives. The book speaks directly to the fact that since the fall of mankind we have always tried to construct God as one who is in OUR image and not HIS. Heirarcy, structure, leaders to follow; these are what we naturally look (because our fall, rebellion & pride)toward better understand Him – His perfect unconditional love, patients and understanding are truly beyond our comprehension!! I am going through a divorce that I don’t want right now and have come to realize how hard forgivness is. How impossible loving through adversity is – but it is possbile if I listen to His heart!

    Rick Gibson, I have to tell you that what you said really moved me!! I went and read Romans 1:18-32 and it was something that I needed to hear. But Romans 2 really should speak to those who look at this book as heresy!

    Wayne, I am so glad that you have this blog!! After reading the book, I really wished that there was a way to sit and and discuss all of the book with you!! How you brought the Trinity to life was truly INSPIRED!! I am constantly seeking a way to discuss my faith to those who don’t understand so that it speaks to them (I understand that most of the time I am there just to plant the seed) and this book does exactly that!!

    Jeremy, God will clearly be unhappy that there as those who won’t chosen Him. But He allows that because without choice and free will, there is no ability to have faith!

    Lastly – my father said something to me a long time ago that really moved me to see God in a different light. He said basicallu that we will get to heaven and Papa will just look at us and shake His head. He will say that we took a simple and beautiful faith and made it so hard!! I actually found a passage in the Bible that speaks to that…Mark 12:28-31. I believe that this is the heart of what our Father truly wants for us!! I understand that most of those who fall into the trap of legalism usually finds specific verses that justify their belief system and get trapped by “the forrest for the trees” and maybe I am doing the same thing in believing that the verse above sums up God’s idea about how to best serve Him but…..what a great way of looking our faith – not judgementally but with the love of a parent to His child!!

  162. Michael September 2, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Deborah Collins – I think you might misunderstand the verses in Exodus – God was telling us to not make images to WORSHIP in the place of worshipping Him. I don’t see anywhere in this book the idea that the authors are attempting to have you worship this book – but to look at the Lord as a loving God….a THE diety to worship as a loving God who sacrificed Himself in love so that “none should perish”.

  163. Wendy September 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I am almost finished reading The Shack. I was told to read it by a friend. I have been in church all of my life and attended Foursquare, Church of God and Nazarene churches throughout the years. I think what seems crazy to me is all of the “talk”. I haven’t read anything new in the book so far. I don’t guess I ever realized people had such an issue with God and love. I am not sure how you could be a christian, read the Bible and claim to know God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit and not have known that God loves you. Jesus died on the cross for me. That says way more to me than a book of fiction ever could. I find the book to be a good read for someone young in their faith. I’t seems to be getting blown way out of proportion.

  164. Wendy September 8, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I am almost finished reading The Shack. I was told to read it by a friend. I have been in church all of my life and attended Foursquare, Church of God and Nazarene churches throughout the years. I think what seems crazy to me is all of the “talk”. I haven’t read anything new in the book so far. I don’t guess I ever realized people had such an issue with God and love. I am not sure how you could be a christian, read the Bible and claim to know God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit and not have known that God loves you. Jesus died on the cross for me. That says way more to me than a book of fiction ever could. I find the book to be a good read for someone young in their faith. I’t seems to be getting blown way out of proportion.

  165. Kurt September 10, 2008 at 9:08 am

    I finished the book a bit ago, and though I do not agree with everything in it, I do think it is a profound book on the character of God.

    This Sunday before church (yes I go, and no I do not think it is a club) I was checking my email and I saw I had recieved one from a sister in Christ titled The Shack. Obviously this intriqued me since I had been recommending it to friends and family.

    Well the email was the typical I have not read the book, but here is what I read online about it. The online info completely ripped things out of context to make their point.

    My questions to this person were-

    Why is deciet for the purpose of protecting someones faith any better than deciet with the purpose of weakening someones faith? Both are deciet.

    Also, if The Shack is soooooo evil, why must we use twisted context to indite? If it is as bad as implied, there should be plenty of true references to bring against it.

    All of it is laughable. People are afraid when traditions get challenged.

    Keep up the good work.

  166. Kurt September 10, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I finished the book a bit ago, and though I do not agree with everything in it, I do think it is a profound book on the character of God.

    This Sunday before church (yes I go, and no I do not think it is a club) I was checking my email and I saw I had recieved one from a sister in Christ titled The Shack. Obviously this intriqued me since I had been recommending it to friends and family.

    Well the email was the typical I have not read the book, but here is what I read online about it. The online info completely ripped things out of context to make their point.

    My questions to this person were-

    Why is deciet for the purpose of protecting someones faith any better than deciet with the purpose of weakening someones faith? Both are deciet.

    Also, if The Shack is soooooo evil, why must we use twisted context to indite? If it is as bad as implied, there should be plenty of true references to bring against it.

    All of it is laughable. People are afraid when traditions get challenged.

    Keep up the good work.

  167. Corey Miller September 15, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I would like to respond to Wayne. Let me first say that I love the book. I am a minister and find the theology very sound. There are some points that I disagree with but nothing that I would consider heretical. I think the book does a good job of making alive the ancient teachings of the nature of God. The parts on the trinity are especially the best. I enjoy how it can refresh people to the proper teachings on the Trinity. However, I do have a problem with you making claims that you have no right making, saying that for 2000 years religion (the institutional church) has used a tyrannical god to control people. I have read the some of the ancients, those beyond the the Bible and I do not see what you are saying. Say those words again after reading the Confessions of St. Augustine, who calls God, his holy sweetness or transliterated his perfect pleasure. Much that you talked about in regards to theology and the nature of God is founded upon the works of the ancient christians. You said nothing about the trinity that was not said by Athanasius or St. Augustine before you. So before you attack the history of the church, make sure you know all of it or follow a good maxim, don’t make absolute statement. Has the institutional church done some things that are wrong and perhaps at times got the nature of God wrong, yes. But the institutional church has also done a great deal of good. the institutional church is the group that has spread the faith to all parts of the world. Even in the middle ages it was the institutional church that sent out monks and speakers to convert the pagans in the far off reaches of Europe. Again, be careful of making absolute statements.

  168. Wayne September 15, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Correy,

    Just to help clarify. I see a real distinction between the institutions of religion which do use the tyrannical God to manipulate believers, and the followers of Jesus in every generation who have lived in his reality. “Religion” does not equal “Church” to me. I don’t think Jesus came to start a religion called Christianity, but to invite people in the life of his Father.

    His followers have understood that across the centuries, even if the to-heavy institutions got away from that reality pretty quickly. So I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote, and think our difference may be semantics. I am not anti-institutional, only concerned about those who use religion to manipulate people instead of offering them life in Him!

    Wayne

  169. Corey Miller September 15, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I would like to respond to Wayne. Let me first say that I love the book. I am a minister and find the theology very sound. There are some points that I disagree with but nothing that I would consider heretical. I think the book does a good job of making alive the ancient teachings of the nature of God. The parts on the trinity are especially the best. I enjoy how it can refresh people to the proper teachings on the Trinity. However, I do have a problem with you making claims that you have no right making, saying that for 2000 years religion (the institutional church) has used a tyrannical god to control people. I have read the some of the ancients, those beyond the the Bible and I do not see what you are saying. Say those words again after reading the Confessions of St. Augustine, who calls God, his holy sweetness or transliterated his perfect pleasure. Much that you talked about in regards to theology and the nature of God is founded upon the works of the ancient christians. You said nothing about the trinity that was not said by Athanasius or St. Augustine before you. So before you attack the history of the church, make sure you know all of it or follow a good maxim, don’t make absolute statement. Has the institutional church done some things that are wrong and perhaps at times got the nature of God wrong, yes. But the institutional church has also done a great deal of good. the institutional church is the group that has spread the faith to all parts of the world. Even in the middle ages it was the institutional church that sent out monks and speakers to convert the pagans in the far off reaches of Europe. Again, be careful of making absolute statements.

  170. Wayne September 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Correy,

    Just to help clarify. I see a real distinction between the institutions of religion which do use the tyrannical God to manipulate believers, and the followers of Jesus in every generation who have lived in his reality. “Religion” does not equal “Church” to me. I don’t think Jesus came to start a religion called Christianity, but to invite people in the life of his Father.

    His followers have understood that across the centuries, even if the to-heavy institutions got away from that reality pretty quickly. So I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote, and think our difference may be semantics. I am not anti-institutional, only concerned about those who use religion to manipulate people instead of offering them life in Him!

    Wayne

  171. Angela September 15, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    The real issue is not being addressed, as it seems to be, with anyone one who talks to about this book. The bible states very clearly what is God and not God. The doctrinal issues in this book are not about a religious veiw point, but rather the doctrinal format of what makes God, God and satan, satan. The Bible is black and white in this issue, so that when the devour comes like a theif in the night we, as a follower of Christ, can see the attack of the enemy and flee. The issue is not whether scripture is quoted or ever punctuation is made. It’s the FACT, according to the Bible, that what this man incounters can not be recorded in scripture. God says to test all things and the the enemy can decieve us. That he can come as an angel of light. That he copies everything that God has and does, but with his motives, for his glory, to lead people astray. The apperance of evil can not be fully seen until you’ve encountered God. That’s why salvation is so important. With out it there is a veil over your descernment. If God states that Moses can only see God’s glory after He passes him, and Jesus, can not even see God, His father in His fullness on Mt. Sinia. If Adam in the fullness of the world’s pureness, before the fall, can only feel God’s presence and hear is voice. (And I could name many more examples out of the Bible) Then what right or belief does anyone, male or female, think that not only Jesus, the Holy Spirit, but God Himself will visually show up for one person, just to show Himself. One, that is a fleshly, prideful thing that God makes clear in His Word that He hates pride. So, He would not partake in pride. Two, God makes it clear that when just the presence of God is near, you can not stand or articuate your experience. When God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit reviels themselves it’s not by something that one can ficsate in thier own mind. When any of them “show up” it’s in a way that words, colors, and visually can not be discribed by human comprehention. (As the Word states from Moses to Elijah, to the boy with cast out demonds, to Jesus’ ressurection and so on) God is clearly put into a box of one man’s incounter that opens up the door for the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy the purpose, plan, and call of the great commission. This is clearly the suduction of the enemy to infect the church with a non-biblical belief that God can be anything you want Him to be. When He clearly states that He is God and He changes NOT! God clearly states that He is a man when He says let us make man in our own image and when He is called Father. The only time that God the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit where ever mentioned together was in the begining. Why would they contridict scripture in this way. There is more that could be said, but this one thing I do want all, christian or not to know……
    It is very clear that this man has been through an ordeal. We must have compassion, just as Christ would. The Bible makes it clear that we are to judge by the Word and testemony. What God’s judgement for this situation is not ours to claim as our own verbal, mental, or emotional quest to stake in. We must stay faithful to do justly and to love mercy in all that we say and do and let God do what He needs to do for ourselves and our nation. There is a battle that is going on, and it is heating up. We must not become distracted by thing the enemy throws at us, but rather, fight the good fight. If there is to be any discussion about this book or others that will come. We must have skillfull wisdom, and sound judgement according to the Word and the Word alone. Otherwise, we all become a sounding gong and have no love within us. We must pray and hold fast to the belief that God is in control and His ways are perfect and predestined for us all! We must pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That the strongman be bound, and that the truth will be revealed. Yes, we must fight! But you must know and believe that the battle is not against flesh and blood!

  172. Angela September 15, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    The real issue is not being addressed, as it seems to be, with anyone one who talks to about this book. The bible states very clearly what is God and not God. The doctrinal issues in this book are not about a religious veiw point, but rather the doctrinal format of what makes God, God and satan, satan. The Bible is black and white in this issue, so that when the devour comes like a theif in the night we, as a follower of Christ, can see the attack of the enemy and flee. The issue is not whether scripture is quoted or ever punctuation is made. It’s the FACT, according to the Bible, that what this man incounters can not be recorded in scripture. God says to test all things and the the enemy can decieve us. That he can come as an angel of light. That he copies everything that God has and does, but with his motives, for his glory, to lead people astray. The apperance of evil can not be fully seen until you’ve encountered God. That’s why salvation is so important. With out it there is a veil over your descernment. If God states that Moses can only see God’s glory after He passes him, and Jesus, can not even see God, His father in His fullness on Mt. Sinia. If Adam in the fullness of the world’s pureness, before the fall, can only feel God’s presence and hear is voice. (And I could name many more examples out of the Bible) Then what right or belief does anyone, male or female, think that not only Jesus, the Holy Spirit, but God Himself will visually show up for one person, just to show Himself. One, that is a fleshly, prideful thing that God makes clear in His Word that He hates pride. So, He would not partake in pride. Two, God makes it clear that when just the presence of God is near, you can not stand or articuate your experience. When God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit reviels themselves it’s not by something that one can ficsate in thier own mind. When any of them “show up” it’s in a way that words, colors, and visually can not be discribed by human comprehention. (As the Word states from Moses to Elijah, to the boy with cast out demonds, to Jesus’ ressurection and so on) God is clearly put into a box of one man’s incounter that opens up the door for the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy the purpose, plan, and call of the great commission. This is clearly the suduction of the enemy to infect the church with a non-biblical belief that God can be anything you want Him to be. When He clearly states that He is God and He changes NOT! God clearly states that He is a man when He says let us make man in our own image and when He is called Father. The only time that God the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit where ever mentioned together was in the begining. Why would they contridict scripture in this way. There is more that could be said, but this one thing I do want all, christian or not to know……
    It is very clear that this man has been through an ordeal. We must have compassion, just as Christ would. The Bible makes it clear that we are to judge by the Word and testemony. What God’s judgement for this situation is not ours to claim as our own verbal, mental, or emotional quest to stake in. We must stay faithful to do justly and to love mercy in all that we say and do and let God do what He needs to do for ourselves and our nation. There is a battle that is going on, and it is heating up. We must not become distracted by thing the enemy throws at us, but rather, fight the good fight. If there is to be any discussion about this book or others that will come. We must have skillfull wisdom, and sound judgement according to the Word and the Word alone. Otherwise, we all become a sounding gong and have no love within us. We must pray and hold fast to the belief that God is in control and His ways are perfect and predestined for us all! We must pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That the strongman be bound, and that the truth will be revealed. Yes, we must fight! But you must know and believe that the battle is not against flesh and blood!

  173. JEDm September 18, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I discovered “The Shack” by seeing a picture of its cover. Its appearance of coldness, mystery, and aloneness immediately sparked my interest. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. About half-way through the book I knew that “certain people” would have a problem with it. I didn’t. I so related to this character Mac. I traveled a similar journey. I asked the same questions. I felt the same emotions. I reacted in the same way. The believing critics who cry heresy are missing the point. For me, this book conveyed a message of hope within a supposed hopeless situation. Remember, hope is the anchor for the soul.

    I’m reminded of a scripture in the Book of First Corinthians. In chapter 13, verse 2, it states:
    “If I … can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but don’t have love I am nothing.”

    So have I changed since I’ve read this book? Absolutely! Did I abandon the essentials of Christianity once I was finished reading it? Absolutely not! If anything it has encouraged me to go back to the Bible and read again which has sparked a desire for even deeper fellowship with our Great God.

  174. JEDm September 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I discovered “The Shack” by seeing a picture of its cover. Its appearance of coldness, mystery, and aloneness immediately sparked my interest. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. About half-way through the book I knew that “certain people” would have a problem with it. I didn’t. I so related to this character Mac. I traveled a similar journey. I asked the same questions. I felt the same emotions. I reacted in the same way. The believing critics who cry heresy are missing the point. For me, this book conveyed a message of hope within a supposed hopeless situation. Remember, hope is the anchor for the soul.

    I’m reminded of a scripture in the Book of First Corinthians. In chapter 13, verse 2, it states:
    “If I … can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but don’t have love I am nothing.”

    So have I changed since I’ve read this book? Absolutely! Did I abandon the essentials of Christianity once I was finished reading it? Absolutely not! If anything it has encouraged me to go back to the Bible and read again which has sparked a desire for even deeper fellowship with our Great God.

  175. Maria September 18, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    I now realize, after reading The Shack, that I have lived my life individually – separate from God. For instance, I’ve seen a beautiful sunset and “thanked Him for it”. No big deal, I was taught to praise Him for my life and my surroundings.

    Now, through the invitation of “relationship” as described in The Shack, I am drawn to live and experience my life completely whole in union with my maker. What a change in perception. I am inviting Him in more and more. No part of my life is too insignificant to share in union with God. I’ve begun to experience even the mundane parts of my day in an entirely different way. Sounds weird, but try brushing your teeth in relationship with God. It becomes a blessed experience! I find that I am now thankful for so many things that I have taken for granted.

    I know the Bible is filled with scripture on having relationship with God and with Jesus, however, I have never felt Them “living” in my heart until now. I am thankful for The Shack for this most precious breakthrough. A new breath, a sweet and gentle delight that He’s sitting within me, experiencing my thoughts with me, loving me from the inside out rather than the outside in! I truly am reborn.

  176. Maria September 19, 2008 at 2:48 am

    I now realize, after reading The Shack, that I have lived my life individually – separate from God. For instance, I’ve seen a beautiful sunset and “thanked Him for it”. No big deal, I was taught to praise Him for my life and my surroundings.

    Now, through the invitation of “relationship” as described in The Shack, I am drawn to live and experience my life completely whole in union with my maker. What a change in perception. I am inviting Him in more and more. No part of my life is too insignificant to share in union with God. I’ve begun to experience even the mundane parts of my day in an entirely different way. Sounds weird, but try brushing your teeth in relationship with God. It becomes a blessed experience! I find that I am now thankful for so many things that I have taken for granted.

    I know the Bible is filled with scripture on having relationship with God and with Jesus, however, I have never felt Them “living” in my heart until now. I am thankful for The Shack for this most precious breakthrough. A new breath, a sweet and gentle delight that He’s sitting within me, experiencing my thoughts with me, loving me from the inside out rather than the outside in! I truly am reborn.

  177. Connie Smith September 21, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I have read the book and will pass it on. It has given my a different perspective on suffering in a child’s life. I had painful experiences as a child which left me full of shame and self loathing. I am still trying to sort though how GOD could be with me through the experience and not stop it, or be the cause of it. I become a Christian several years ago and I believe through this book and other experiences GOD is working to heal me. This is the GOD I want to praise and worship, a GOD who loves all his children even though they may not love him or know him. A GOD who will continue to try to reach us through every situation if only we would say yes to him. I am learning all I have to say is yes, not why. Only Jesus can heal the deepest wounds of any heart. Thank you for the book. I pray for a special blessing for all involved in the writing a publishing of the book.

  178. Connie Smith September 21, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I have read the book and will pass it on. It has given my a different perspective on suffering in a child’s life. I had painful experiences as a child which left me full of shame and self loathing. I am still trying to sort though how GOD could be with me through the experience and not stop it, or be the cause of it. I become a Christian several years ago and I believe through this book and other experiences GOD is working to heal me. This is the GOD I want to praise and worship, a GOD who loves all his children even though they may not love him or know him. A GOD who will continue to try to reach us through every situation if only we would say yes to him. I am learning all I have to say is yes, not why. Only Jesus can heal the deepest wounds of any heart. Thank you for the book. I pray for a special blessing for all involved in the writing a publishing of the book.

  179. debora September 24, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    This is FICTION, after all. Has anyone read Fannie Flagg’s book, “Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.” ? In Ms. Flagg’s book, God is portrayed as a married husband and wife! I’ve read the Shack, I don’t consider it heretical, but I don’t consider it TRUTH either. It’s an allegory, like Pilgrims Progress. People need to lighten up. And any pastor who would tell his congregation not to read The Shack is a tyrant who feels threatened by differing opinions. Weak! Weak! Weak! Read the book if you so desire and accept or refuse it’s portrayal of God’s grace as you desire.

  180. debora September 24, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    This is FICTION, after all. Has anyone read Fannie Flagg’s book, “Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.” ? In Ms. Flagg’s book, God is portrayed as a married husband and wife! I’ve read the Shack, I don’t consider it heretical, but I don’t consider it TRUTH either. It’s an allegory, like Pilgrims Progress. People need to lighten up. And any pastor who would tell his congregation not to read The Shack is a tyrant who feels threatened by differing opinions. Weak! Weak! Weak! Read the book if you so desire and accept or refuse it’s portrayal of God’s grace as you desire.

  181. Jeff September 24, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I hadn’t heard anything of the book before I bought it. Lately Iève read a fair bit of thougthful and some weird criticisms.

    It’s fiction and an allegory, not a book of systematic theology. They are entirely different kinds of literature, in the same way that Psalms (poetry) is different than Acts (history).

    The judgement of the church over the next couple of hundred years will decide if the Shack as good as Pilgrimès Progress. Consensus doesn’t guarantee truth, but it cuts out a lot of deadwood. See CS Lewis’s essay about “The Reading of Old Books.”

    Mack is a Christian, but one who’s hurting big time and has a lot of baggage, including feeling guilty about feeling angry with God. Some of that baggage we pick up while young, some we absorb later on, some we were taught in seminary and Sunday School. (Says a SS teacher!). Papa breaks with stereotypes to give room for Mack to think in new directions. And God is bigger than we thought, and God’s love means something more than we thought. Which is downright exciting! And serious grounds for care – cults start with a perversion of truth. There`s a reason the Bible warns against false teachers and false prophets.

    “Hey, I never thought of it like that . . .“ and digging deeper is a perfect response to a new idea and protection against heresy.

    My keyboard is inserting funny characters as I type: I hope they don`t show up when I send this post!

  182. Jeff September 25, 2008 at 12:10 am

    I hadn’t heard anything of the book before I bought it. Lately Iève read a fair bit of thougthful and some weird criticisms.

    It’s fiction and an allegory, not a book of systematic theology. They are entirely different kinds of literature, in the same way that Psalms (poetry) is different than Acts (history).

    The judgement of the church over the next couple of hundred years will decide if the Shack as good as Pilgrimès Progress. Consensus doesn’t guarantee truth, but it cuts out a lot of deadwood. See CS Lewis’s essay about “The Reading of Old Books.”

    Mack is a Christian, but one who’s hurting big time and has a lot of baggage, including feeling guilty about feeling angry with God. Some of that baggage we pick up while young, some we absorb later on, some we were taught in seminary and Sunday School. (Says a SS teacher!). Papa breaks with stereotypes to give room for Mack to think in new directions. And God is bigger than we thought, and God’s love means something more than we thought. Which is downright exciting! And serious grounds for care – cults start with a perversion of truth. There`s a reason the Bible warns against false teachers and false prophets.

    “Hey, I never thought of it like that . . .“ and digging deeper is a perfect response to a new idea and protection against heresy.

    My keyboard is inserting funny characters as I type: I hope they don`t show up when I send this post!

  183. deb September 26, 2008 at 7:48 am

    If someone where to ask me what I got out of the book, this is my reply…I have a different outlook on the 10 commandments. Instead of it being a finger pointing, gavel slamming law, I see it more now like this: because i have Jesus, I will not commit adultry, because I have Jesus I will not worship any other gods, because I have Jesus, I will keep the Sabbath,etc. If anything, it locked my roots in “The Word” tighter as it helped me see the depths of my relationship with The Word-Jesus.

    I do say that people that are deeply rooted in traditional Christianity would struggle with it if they choose to only read what others are saying, and not the book entirely. I am surprised how many people who claim to be “spirit-filled” believers are rising up against this book, not taking note of their own claims that keep me in check because the Bible does not use the word “spirit-filled”. We do have to stand our guard because the enemy comes to rob, kill, steal and destroy. For me, this book did not destroy by Baptist upbringing, nor kill my pentecostal form of worship, nor water down my faith in Jesus or belief in the Holy Spirit…it just reminded me of the frailty of our humanity and it’s evidence of our need for a savior named Jesus.

    I appreciated the reference to Jesus not being a Christian. Mainly because of my own personal journey I’m on right now of discovering that there are many Christians that are falling for the same trick that Adam and Eve did in the beginning.(myself included, so you caught me in a season of repentance) They desire and strive to be “christ-like” forgetting that God wants to have a relationship with them, to know Him and be known by Him. I have watched so many marriages and friendships end because of the rigid, law abiding, self-righteous Christians that would not tolerate the sins of the other, forgetting to look in the mirror and see their own sins that mean as much to God as a pile of filthy rags.

    So as I take a firm stand in the fact that The Shack did not rob, kill or destroy me, I also have to take a stand for my friends that are judging it without reading it and ask the Lord to forgive them of their hatred towards the people that wrote it. May God’s mercy endure forever and be new with the rising of each day!

  184. deb September 26, 2008 at 10:48 am

    If someone where to ask me what I got out of the book, this is my reply…I have a different outlook on the 10 commandments. Instead of it being a finger pointing, gavel slamming law, I see it more now like this: because i have Jesus, I will not commit adultry, because I have Jesus I will not worship any other gods, because I have Jesus, I will keep the Sabbath,etc. If anything, it locked my roots in “The Word” tighter as it helped me see the depths of my relationship with The Word-Jesus.

    I do say that people that are deeply rooted in traditional Christianity would struggle with it if they choose to only read what others are saying, and not the book entirely. I am surprised how many people who claim to be “spirit-filled” believers are rising up against this book, not taking note of their own claims that keep me in check because the Bible does not use the word “spirit-filled”. We do have to stand our guard because the enemy comes to rob, kill, steal and destroy. For me, this book did not destroy by Baptist upbringing, nor kill my pentecostal form of worship, nor water down my faith in Jesus or belief in the Holy Spirit…it just reminded me of the frailty of our humanity and it’s evidence of our need for a savior named Jesus.

    I appreciated the reference to Jesus not being a Christian. Mainly because of my own personal journey I’m on right now of discovering that there are many Christians that are falling for the same trick that Adam and Eve did in the beginning.(myself included, so you caught me in a season of repentance) They desire and strive to be “christ-like” forgetting that God wants to have a relationship with them, to know Him and be known by Him. I have watched so many marriages and friendships end because of the rigid, law abiding, self-righteous Christians that would not tolerate the sins of the other, forgetting to look in the mirror and see their own sins that mean as much to God as a pile of filthy rags.

    So as I take a firm stand in the fact that The Shack did not rob, kill or destroy me, I also have to take a stand for my friends that are judging it without reading it and ask the Lord to forgive them of their hatred towards the people that wrote it. May God’s mercy endure forever and be new with the rising of each day!

  185. Kristel Asmus October 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I read the Shack because my friends all read it and they wanted to talk about it. When I was reading it I realized that the god in this book wasn’t the God that I love and worship. I didn’t see His omniprensence, omnipotent, omniscience, or His holy and pure qualities that I know He prosses. Instead the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were demoted to human qualities and limitations. The relationship they all shared slowly evolved into a kiss on the lips which opened the door to many unholy thoughts. If the author knew he was writing a book that all Christians wouldn’t recieve, why did he leave himself open to so many theological questions. He could have explained himself more clearly and avoid all this contraversy. His knowledge of scripture leaves much to be desired. It could have been a great witnessing tool on how Jesus comes into a life and brings change, healing and a wonderful loving relationship to God the Father. Being in the Presence of God should be enough to meet your spiritual needs and heal all hurts. The Bible tell you how to live out your life in loving and caring relationship with others. The God that I serve could never be inbodied in human flesh, much less a women, when He is Father God.

  186. Kristel Asmus October 3, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I read the Shack because my friends all read it and they wanted to talk about it. When I was reading it I realized that the god in this book wasn’t the God that I love and worship. I didn’t see His omniprensence, omnipotent, omniscience, or His holy and pure qualities that I know He prosses. Instead the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were demoted to human qualities and limitations. The relationship they all shared slowly evolved into a kiss on the lips which opened the door to many unholy thoughts. If the author knew he was writing a book that all Christians wouldn’t recieve, why did he leave himself open to so many theological questions. He could have explained himself more clearly and avoid all this contraversy. His knowledge of scripture leaves much to be desired. It could have been a great witnessing tool on how Jesus comes into a life and brings change, healing and a wonderful loving relationship to God the Father. Being in the Presence of God should be enough to meet your spiritual needs and heal all hurts. The Bible tell you how to live out your life in loving and caring relationship with others. The God that I serve could never be inbodied in human flesh, much less a women, when He is Father God.

  187. Francis Conraadus October 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Dear Wayne,
    I read The Shack with my theological predelictions intact (reformed). I have come to know the God whom I worship over a long journey full of trials and disappointments: and he is all loving and he has feminine quality sothat I can sit on his knee and be drawn into a hug (in my mind’s eye). For me the book is about realising that the bottom line of all our sorrows and anger is a deep anger at God, which comes from not trusting his love for us. We refuse to be loved because we nurture a hidden pride in independence and rebellion. And this is what The Shack exposes so well. We were all God’s enemy and some of us will always be so.

    However, your above comment: “This is a message of grace and healing that does not condone or excuse sin, but shows God destroying it through the dynamic relationship he wants with each of his children” mistakenly denies that sin was destroyed once and for all by Jesus becoming sin and extinguishing it on the cross. The effects of sin (roots of bitterness) are ameliorated by our growing trust-relationship with Him. I was amused by the portrayal of Papa as a black female Santa Clause; but this did not for me deny the glory, majesty, and “omnipotent” aspects of God. I’m sure someone can write a book about that as a fictional parable if they want to.

  188. Francis Conraadus October 11, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Dear Wayne,
    I read The Shack with my theological predelictions intact (reformed). I have come to know the God whom I worship over a long journey full of trials and disappointments: and he is all loving and he has feminine quality sothat I can sit on his knee and be drawn into a hug (in my mind’s eye). For me the book is about realising that the bottom line of all our sorrows and anger is a deep anger at God, which comes from not trusting his love for us. We refuse to be loved because we nurture a hidden pride in independence and rebellion. And this is what The Shack exposes so well. We were all God’s enemy and some of us will always be so.

    However, your above comment: “This is a message of grace and healing that does not condone or excuse sin, but shows God destroying it through the dynamic relationship he wants with each of his children” mistakenly denies that sin was destroyed once and for all by Jesus becoming sin and extinguishing it on the cross. The effects of sin (roots of bitterness) are ameliorated by our growing trust-relationship with Him. I was amused by the portrayal of Papa as a black female Santa Clause; but this did not for me deny the glory, majesty, and “omnipotent” aspects of God. I’m sure someone can write a book about that as a fictional parable if they want to.

  189. Shawn Pierce October 18, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    My sister asked me about this book, I haven’t read it. I just know people in churches are growing increasingly uptight about any opinion that is contradictory to their own doctrine. I read On the Road By Kerouac this winter and it had the effect on me of making me remember the seeker of truth I was free to be before I settled down into the daily grind in an ever increasing way over the last 25 years. Children raised , my job done I felt like the expendable crew member ready for the scrap heap. I began to seek God in ever more fervent and ernest prayer the results being the return to the questioning manner of my youth which sought the truth on my own and questioned what he was told. If you question many in the church you threaten their self made ideas and comfort built around their particular doctrine about God.The results of all this has been a return to church, more power over the short comings in my life and a stronger than ever conviction that we are here to seek Jesus Christ with our whole life and spirit. To glorify him with our whole being to seek to love him as he has loved us, to walk with him as a friend. To love one another to live in peace and not contention with others. But we must seek Christ on our own in a loving personal relationship,not settle for being spoon fed someone else’s opinions on Christ. I am not willing to scrap the church as it is, I have know for years that the church is imperfect made up of imperfect people but I believe we serve a perfect Lord who is able in all things to lead us. I don’t have all the answers but I am convinced I know who does, Carry on,God Bless, Shawn

  190. Shawn Pierce October 19, 2008 at 1:07 am

    My sister asked me about this book, I haven’t read it. I just know people in churches are growing increasingly uptight about any opinion that is contradictory to their own doctrine. I read On the Road By Kerouac this winter and it had the effect on me of making me remember the seeker of truth I was free to be before I settled down into the daily grind in an ever increasing way over the last 25 years. Children raised , my job done I felt like the expendable crew member ready for the scrap heap. I began to seek God in ever more fervent and ernest prayer the results being the return to the questioning manner of my youth which sought the truth on my own and questioned what he was told. If you question many in the church you threaten their self made ideas and comfort built around their particular doctrine about God.The results of all this has been a return to church, more power over the short comings in my life and a stronger than ever conviction that we are here to seek Jesus Christ with our whole life and spirit. To glorify him with our whole being to seek to love him as he has loved us, to walk with him as a friend. To love one another to live in peace and not contention with others. But we must seek Christ on our own in a loving personal relationship,not settle for being spoon fed someone else’s opinions on Christ. I am not willing to scrap the church as it is, I have know for years that the church is imperfect made up of imperfect people but I believe we serve a perfect Lord who is able in all things to lead us. I don’t have all the answers but I am convinced I know who does, Carry on,God Bless, Shawn

  191. Michelle October 21, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I just read ‘The Shack’ in one day and really loved it. That doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with every single aspect of the authors version of theology, but I can say that having been through a loss of great magnitude it made me think alot about grace, forgiveness and God’s role in my life. I think the author made it very clear that Christ is the messiah, the son of God, that God is a Holy yet loving God, and that the Holy Spirit is ever present in our daily lives. I didn’t see any overt universalism or watered down christianity. I think what you have here, as with the backlash against Anne Rice’s ‘Christ out of Egypt’ novels, is pure and simple envy.

  192. Michelle October 21, 2008 at 11:53 am

    I just read ‘The Shack’ in one day and really loved it. That doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with every single aspect of the authors version of theology, but I can say that having been through a loss of great magnitude it made me think alot about grace, forgiveness and God’s role in my life. I think the author made it very clear that Christ is the messiah, the son of God, that God is a Holy yet loving God, and that the Holy Spirit is ever present in our daily lives. I didn’t see any overt universalism or watered down christianity. I think what you have here, as with the backlash against Anne Rice’s ‘Christ out of Egypt’ novels, is pure and simple envy.

  193. Kerry-Lee October 22, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Hi,
    I was absoluty moved by THE SHACK. I have a personal relationship with God, and this book just really put what was in my heart into words, it clarifies so much that I’ve been struggling with. When I had finished reading (and I read in one sitting!) I thought to myself….oh boy…there is going to be huge critism of this book. When I first read the part about about ” “Those who love me come from every system that exists….” I was like oh no… not again… until I re-read the passage… then I thought.. yes this is right… God doesn’t restrict anyone from coming to him no matter their background. I found your article above reassuring…I have read other reviews etc. and applaud your response…stating your beliefs in such a clear manner. Because quite honestly this book could be taken in many ways…I kind of see the concern behind the critics etc. but also believe this type of literature should be read with a clear mind with out looking for suspisious motives…

    Any way it is a fabulous book.

  194. Kerry-Lee October 22, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Hi,
    I was absoluty moved by THE SHACK. I have a personal relationship with God, and this book just really put what was in my heart into words, it clarifies so much that I’ve been struggling with. When I had finished reading (and I read in one sitting!) I thought to myself….oh boy…there is going to be huge critism of this book. When I first read the part about about ” “Those who love me come from every system that exists….” I was like oh no… not again… until I re-read the passage… then I thought.. yes this is right… God doesn’t restrict anyone from coming to him no matter their background. I found your article above reassuring…I have read other reviews etc. and applaud your response…stating your beliefs in such a clear manner. Because quite honestly this book could be taken in many ways…I kind of see the concern behind the critics etc. but also believe this type of literature should be read with a clear mind with out looking for suspisious motives…

    Any way it is a fabulous book.

  195. Rick Wade October 23, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I haven’t had time to read through all the responses to the blog, so I don’t know if my comment regarding the subject of universalism in The Shack has been made. So, I’ll make it at the risk of duplication.

    Before going to the main point, I’d like to point out an inconsistency that makes the whole subject hard to discuss. The writer of the blog calls charges against the book “false accusation.” But then he charges those who disagree with being “heresy-hunters.” There may be a few out there this fits, but it doesn’t fit all those who object. It’s a simplistic over-generalization that stymies discussion by attempting to put objectors on the defensive. That’s an easy out that isn’t worthy of such important subjects as those discussed about The Shack.

    Now to the matter of universalism. On p. 225, Papa says, “In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.” Further down the page: “When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.” So, everyone’s forgiven, but not everyone’s in relationship. What does that mean? If the claim that everyone is forgiven isn’t universalism, what is it? Or does this mean forgiven people go to hell when it turns out they don’t establish relationship? Are we saved from hell by relationship? If the writer didn’t intend to promote universalism, those who see it here should not be simplistically labeled “heresy hunters.”

    [On a related subject: The writer rebuffs charges of UR (which is another term for universalism) by noting that “And even though Papa says ‘He is reconciled to all men’ he also notes that, ‘not all men are reconciled to me.’” This is problematic itself, for Scripture doesn’t teach that God is reconciled to us. He doesn’t need to be reconciled to us; he hasn’t done anything wrong. We have to be reconciled to God.]

    The writer of the blog assures us that all involved in the writing of the book hold to orthodox Christian beliefs, but that isn’t the issue. The issue is what the book says. If so many otherwise responsible Bible scholars and theologians raises charges of universalism (and other charges), those involved in the writing and distribution should get off the defensive and take seriously the charges. Does the book convey bad theology in some places, or are those parts just poorly written? There is a good message in the book, but it can be told without the theological blunders.

    Maybe later I’ll address the unorthodox notion that all members of the Trinity became incarnate in Christ. But that’s for another day.

  196. Rick Wade October 23, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I haven’t had time to read through all the responses to the blog, so I don’t know if my comment regarding the subject of universalism in The Shack has been made. So, I’ll make it at the risk of duplication.

    Before going to the main point, I’d like to point out an inconsistency that makes the whole subject hard to discuss. The writer of the blog calls charges against the book “false accusation.” But then he charges those who disagree with being “heresy-hunters.” There may be a few out there this fits, but it doesn’t fit all those who object. It’s a simplistic over-generalization that stymies discussion by attempting to put objectors on the defensive. That’s an easy out that isn’t worthy of such important subjects as those discussed about The Shack.

    Now to the matter of universalism. On p. 225, Papa says, “In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.” Further down the page: “When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.” So, everyone’s forgiven, but not everyone’s in relationship. What does that mean? If the claim that everyone is forgiven isn’t universalism, what is it? Or does this mean forgiven people go to hell when it turns out they don’t establish relationship? Are we saved from hell by relationship? If the writer didn’t intend to promote universalism, those who see it here should not be simplistically labeled “heresy hunters.”

    [On a related subject: The writer rebuffs charges of UR (which is another term for universalism) by noting that “And even though Papa says ‘He is reconciled to all men’ he also notes that, ‘not all men are reconciled to me.’” This is problematic itself, for Scripture doesn’t teach that God is reconciled to us. He doesn’t need to be reconciled to us; he hasn’t done anything wrong. We have to be reconciled to God.]

    The writer of the blog assures us that all involved in the writing of the book hold to orthodox Christian beliefs, but that isn’t the issue. The issue is what the book says. If so many otherwise responsible Bible scholars and theologians raises charges of universalism (and other charges), those involved in the writing and distribution should get off the defensive and take seriously the charges. Does the book convey bad theology in some places, or are those parts just poorly written? There is a good message in the book, but it can be told without the theological blunders.

    Maybe later I’ll address the unorthodox notion that all members of the Trinity became incarnate in Christ. But that’s for another day.

  197. Rebeca October 30, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I’m reading the book I’m starting 13 chapter – I sutdied the bible for 8 years and attended Christian Doctrine classes for 10 months – I haven’t found any heretical issues yet because if you don’t understand what Science Fiction is then brothers and sisters you better read pink easy romance novels or fairy tales

  198. Rebeca October 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    I’m reading the book I’m starting 13 chapter – I sutdied the bible for 8 years and attended Christian Doctrine classes for 10 months – I haven’t found any heretical issues yet because if you don’t understand what Science Fiction is then brothers and sisters you better read pink easy romance novels or fairy tales

  199. JStew October 31, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    I read the book. It took me about 2 weeks to read it. I thought that it represented a very challenging perspective to what so many people have made God out to be. Anything that challenges a way that we think will cause us to automatically assume that it is portrayed in a bad light. I am glad that you wrote this article about the book and that I found it. I received my degree from a conservative Christian college in Biblical Studies but while I was there I learned that there are many who cry “heresy!” far too quickly. If people would sit down and talk and converse they might understand the true heart of a person. It is God who looks at the heart and it was Jesus who was angered by the hypocrites, the religious leaders of God’s chosen people. Jesus constantly had conversations with people while on earth. How can you judge someone that you do not have a relationship with?

  200. JStew October 31, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I read the book. It took me about 2 weeks to read it. I thought that it represented a very challenging perspective to what so many people have made God out to be. Anything that challenges a way that we think will cause us to automatically assume that it is portrayed in a bad light. I am glad that you wrote this article about the book and that I found it. I received my degree from a conservative Christian college in Biblical Studies but while I was there I learned that there are many who cry “heresy!” far too quickly. If people would sit down and talk and converse they might understand the true heart of a person. It is God who looks at the heart and it was Jesus who was angered by the hypocrites, the religious leaders of God’s chosen people. Jesus constantly had conversations with people while on earth. How can you judge someone that you do not have a relationship with?

  201. Joanne November 12, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    I HAVE read the book and I was unable to set it down. I have always tried to imagine GOD. This was one of the greatest benefits of this read. We tend to put God in a box, we think of him AND Jesus as white men and the Holy Spirit as….well, just spirit. God is three PERSONS. The Shack made me forget about what God looks like and allowed me to HEAR what God sounds like !
    As far as heresy? A baby Christian will do well, as I did in breaking the idea of what God looks like. The more mature Christiann has begun to discern truth from un-truths. When I was unsure of how some of this book read scripturally, I went to my bible to check it out. That small voice that sometimes tells me to “watch out”…sends me to God’s word where he answers even deeper questions I may have. Going to Him with my questions always brings me closer to Him….and I am drawn into deeper truths. Your comment on CHICKEN is a good one…..as Christians we hear all sorts of opinions. We are taught to” test the Spirit”….meaning, eat the chicken and spit out the bones !
    Blessings, JB

  202. Joanne November 13, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I HAVE read the book and I was unable to set it down. I have always tried to imagine GOD. This was one of the greatest benefits of this read. We tend to put God in a box, we think of him AND Jesus as white men and the Holy Spirit as….well, just spirit. God is three PERSONS. The Shack made me forget about what God looks like and allowed me to HEAR what God sounds like !
    As far as heresy? A baby Christian will do well, as I did in breaking the idea of what God looks like. The more mature Christiann has begun to discern truth from un-truths. When I was unsure of how some of this book read scripturally, I went to my bible to check it out. That small voice that sometimes tells me to “watch out”…sends me to God’s word where he answers even deeper questions I may have. Going to Him with my questions always brings me closer to Him….and I am drawn into deeper truths. Your comment on CHICKEN is a good one…..as Christians we hear all sorts of opinions. We are taught to” test the Spirit”….meaning, eat the chicken and spit out the bones !
    Blessings, JB

  203. Sara Gibson November 14, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    I am glad I read the book before I looked up the critique, that way I could just enjoy it as a fictional account of a man’s journey to healing. I thought the book was a great first book from the author and I enjoyed it even though I was a little uncomfortable at times. I guess people should always be searching the Scriptures for them selfs so as not to be deceived and there could be even less critiques out there!

  204. Sara Gibson November 14, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    I am glad I read the book before I looked up the critique, that way I could just enjoy it as a fictional account of a man’s journey to healing. I thought the book was a great first book from the author and I enjoyed it even though I was a little uncomfortable at times. I guess people should always be searching the Scriptures for them selfs so as not to be deceived and there could be even less critiques out there!

  205. Leta Calvert November 18, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I have just completed reading The shack and all I can say is that it left me speechless at times, overwhelmed by the love of God at times, and overcome with tears of joy at times. Depending on where you are at in your walk of faith with God will determine how this particular book will affect you. Since God is the only one that is all knowing I tend to ask him the big questions that religion can’t answer. Church has been a part of my life before I was in my mothers womb literally so over the years Ive gone through the gamut of asking God to strip me from the tradition of man so that I can experience Him truly. In my journey to seek truth in order to be set free He began revealing the truth to me as I met people from different walks and faiths of life. In the bible He says the candle of the Lord is in every man! In the beginning He said He made man in His image, not christians, muslims, or buddhist but man. Through this book God has confirmed truths that have been revealed to me over the years as well as aswered questions that I have asked Him over the years. I often asked God about the scripture that says who the son sets free is free indeed. Why Im I still bound even though the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost resides in me? Reading this book has lifted weights off of me in the 4-5 days that it took me to complete this book then all the years I have faithfully run to the church house out of religous duty. As a child after my parents divorce I remember asking God why is love free but the hardest thing to come by. I knew love made the world go round as a child even though at that time I didnt understand Gods love. Ive always known that God loves me and only He knows how much I love Him that I cant even put into words but I experienced His presence in more ways then one as I read through this love and I have fallen in love with Him in a whole new way which will also cause me to fall in love with His creation in a whole new way!

  206. Leta Calvert November 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I have just completed reading The shack and all I can say is that it left me speechless at times, overwhelmed by the love of God at times, and overcome with tears of joy at times. Depending on where you are at in your walk of faith with God will determine how this particular book will affect you. Since God is the only one that is all knowing I tend to ask him the big questions that religion can’t answer. Church has been a part of my life before I was in my mothers womb literally so over the years Ive gone through the gamut of asking God to strip me from the tradition of man so that I can experience Him truly. In my journey to seek truth in order to be set free He began revealing the truth to me as I met people from different walks and faiths of life. In the bible He says the candle of the Lord is in every man! In the beginning He said He made man in His image, not christians, muslims, or buddhist but man. Through this book God has confirmed truths that have been revealed to me over the years as well as aswered questions that I have asked Him over the years. I often asked God about the scripture that says who the son sets free is free indeed. Why Im I still bound even though the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost resides in me? Reading this book has lifted weights off of me in the 4-5 days that it took me to complete this book then all the years I have faithfully run to the church house out of religous duty. As a child after my parents divorce I remember asking God why is love free but the hardest thing to come by. I knew love made the world go round as a child even though at that time I didnt understand Gods love. Ive always known that God loves me and only He knows how much I love Him that I cant even put into words but I experienced His presence in more ways then one as I read through this love and I have fallen in love with Him in a whole new way which will also cause me to fall in love with His creation in a whole new way!

  207. Simon Parsons November 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I was given “The Shack” by a friend who said “you can have it, it’s good as fiction, but it’s too New Age.” I began to read, and when I came to the part where Papa is revealed as a black woman, I though ‘Uh-ho’ and the with Sarayu being the Holy Spirit, a woman and the word being sanskrit, I thought,”this must really be off the page!” But I stuck with it! I have to say this book moved me in many ways & although I still struggle with a feminine Holy Spirit, I realised that this book was really teaching deep theological truths that I learned at Bible College in a way that ordinary folk can understand. It does challenge religious stereotypes, but that’s no bad thing. By the end of the book, I knew I was going to have to read it again, but for now I have passed it on to my wife, with the warning that she will need a box of Kleenexe before too long. Thank you for a great book!

  208. Simon Parsons November 22, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I was given “The Shack” by a friend who said “you can have it, it’s good as fiction, but it’s too New Age.” I began to read, and when I came to the part where Papa is revealed as a black woman, I though ‘Uh-ho’ and the with Sarayu being the Holy Spirit, a woman and the word being sanskrit, I thought,”this must really be off the page!” But I stuck with it! I have to say this book moved me in many ways & although I still struggle with a feminine Holy Spirit, I realised that this book was really teaching deep theological truths that I learned at Bible College in a way that ordinary folk can understand. It does challenge religious stereotypes, but that’s no bad thing. By the end of the book, I knew I was going to have to read it again, but for now I have passed it on to my wife, with the warning that she will need a box of Kleenexe before too long. Thank you for a great book!

  209. Floyd November 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Well I finished reading “The Shack”, by William P. Young. I don’t really know where to begin. To report on the book would in my opinion be an injustice to what the author is saying and can say to each individual who decides to indulge in the depths of its intrigue and openness of a personal encounter with the Trinity. In a discussion at a Fellowship Group meeting Sunday evening the pros and cons being discussed among those who have and have not read the book came upon the idea of theological correctness. My response to this thought was to impress on those there that this is an experience related from a personal encounter with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and that each one of us could write a similar account concerning how God has dealt with us during our walk with Him. The interaction among the characters of the book creates such an insight to a revelation of God by God which to me is or could be unique to each reader. From chapter to chapter, page-to-page, line-to-line, the reader is kept spellbound within the wording of the wisdom coming forth. In my expression of the book I cannot see how this writing could have come about without the prodding of the Holy Spirit. This book has certainly created a thinking of relationship among the persons of the Trinity, an understanding of relationship among God’s creation how we as such should be and could be relating. I highly recommend the book, saying put aside preconceived summations until the script is completed then you will either embrace it or toss it but the chance of a person being touched even changed is enormous. God bless you all, and if you do decide to read “The Shack” I pray you will be blessed as I was……

    Floyd Odle 11/10/08

  210. Floyd November 25, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Well I finished reading “The Shack”, by William P. Young. I don’t really know where to begin. To report on the book would in my opinion be an injustice to what the author is saying and can say to each individual who decides to indulge in the depths of its intrigue and openness of a personal encounter with the Trinity. In a discussion at a Fellowship Group meeting Sunday evening the pros and cons being discussed among those who have and have not read the book came upon the idea of theological correctness. My response to this thought was to impress on those there that this is an experience related from a personal encounter with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and that each one of us could write a similar account concerning how God has dealt with us during our walk with Him. The interaction among the characters of the book creates such an insight to a revelation of God by God which to me is or could be unique to each reader. From chapter to chapter, page-to-page, line-to-line, the reader is kept spellbound within the wording of the wisdom coming forth. In my expression of the book I cannot see how this writing could have come about without the prodding of the Holy Spirit. This book has certainly created a thinking of relationship among the persons of the Trinity, an understanding of relationship among God’s creation how we as such should be and could be relating. I highly recommend the book, saying put aside preconceived summations until the script is completed then you will either embrace it or toss it but the chance of a person being touched even changed is enormous. God bless you all, and if you do decide to read “The Shack” I pray you will be blessed as I was……

    Floyd Odle 11/10/08

  211. jackie November 28, 2008 at 9:31 am

    I loved this book! I think it put Christian beliefs in a language that is very easily understood. I know the book was not meant to preach, but I agree with many of the ideas it portrays. I, however, am cautious to the part where it speaks about needing the written word. I would really love to blog with other Christians on this book, and with other topics of interest. http://www.motherteacherfriend.com
    PS. in response to Chad Bowens…yes, I read it pretty much in one day as well! It was great!

  212. jackie November 28, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I loved this book! I think it put Christian beliefs in a language that is very easily understood. I know the book was not meant to preach, but I agree with many of the ideas it portrays. I, however, am cautious to the part where it speaks about needing the written word. I would really love to blog with other Christians on this book, and with other topics of interest. http://www.motherteacherfriend.com
    PS. in response to Chad Bowens…yes, I read it pretty much in one day as well! It was great!

  213. Brian December 7, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I’ve just finished reading The Shack on the recommendation of my dear wife of 25 years. I’m Roman Catholic, though I married up and therefore attend a Lutheran Church with my wife (yes, I’m teasing about marrying up. I did, but the Lutheran Church wasn’t too big a part of it.)

    I found it to be a work of genius as a parable of what a weekend with the Trinity might be like. I will be giving it to a friend who lost his wife at 47 to cancer, and to my 5 siblings for Christmas and hope they read it for what it is – a thought provoking story – and look forward to discussing it with them.

    To those who criticize it as heresy, I guess I’d suggest that Christ was put to death by the institutional religious leaders of his day who felt threatened by what they perceived as Christ’s heresy too.

    I am not equating this book to the teachings of Christ, but I could be paralleling the criticism of religious thought today to the actions of the hypocrites in the Gospel.

    Didn’t those who walked with Christ disagree about his message in the years after he walked the Earth, giving rise to factions among those who were physically touched by Him and heard Him speak? How could anyone, today, 2000 years later, claim they he/she knows what is fit to be in a book to the exclusion of other ideas? As has been often stated here, though, the criticism has given rise to legitimate discussion of the themes of this wonderful story, and in that, much good has come from it.

    Before the critics get too excited, I suggest they write their own book. It is difficult for me to believe that the critics could come up with as beautiful and memorable a story as The Shack.

    God bless you all, and let us all do our part to bring peace to the world.

  214. Brian December 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I’ve just finished reading The Shack on the recommendation of my dear wife of 25 years. I’m Roman Catholic, though I married up and therefore attend a Lutheran Church with my wife (yes, I’m teasing about marrying up. I did, but the Lutheran Church wasn’t too big a part of it.)

    I found it to be a work of genius as a parable of what a weekend with the Trinity might be like. I will be giving it to a friend who lost his wife at 47 to cancer, and to my 5 siblings for Christmas and hope they read it for what it is – a thought provoking story – and look forward to discussing it with them.

    To those who criticize it as heresy, I guess I’d suggest that Christ was put to death by the institutional religious leaders of his day who felt threatened by what they perceived as Christ’s heresy too.

    I am not equating this book to the teachings of Christ, but I could be paralleling the criticism of religious thought today to the actions of the hypocrites in the Gospel.

    Didn’t those who walked with Christ disagree about his message in the years after he walked the Earth, giving rise to factions among those who were physically touched by Him and heard Him speak? How could anyone, today, 2000 years later, claim they he/she knows what is fit to be in a book to the exclusion of other ideas? As has been often stated here, though, the criticism has given rise to legitimate discussion of the themes of this wonderful story, and in that, much good has come from it.

    Before the critics get too excited, I suggest they write their own book. It is difficult for me to believe that the critics could come up with as beautiful and memorable a story as The Shack.

    God bless you all, and let us all do our part to bring peace to the world.

  215. Robert Logan December 8, 2008 at 9:48 am

    I appreciate the book a great deal, but what I just don’t understand is how anyone get a “Papa” out of the Biblical account of God. Nowhere in the Bible do I get an “up close and personal” God who is actually intimately interested in me. For example, yesterday I was listening to 1st Corinthians. As I listened to the apostle Pauls words on relationships, God, Christ, and all I got was angry because through 18 years of marriage, 5 churches, and abusive christian relationships I have found that none of this stuff actually works in real life relationships.

    God exists. He sure does. But I do not believe He is anything evenly remotely like “Papa”. If there is any way I can experience Him like this book suggests I’d sure like to know how. Yes, I DID receive Jesus as my savior at 14, so don’t start there. If anything, email and let me know you’re praying for me.

  216. Rick wade December 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I just checked in to see what people are saying now about The Shack. One thing I noticed quickly was the idea that God has been put in a box and we need to not restrict Him that way. “Putting God in a box” is shorthand for the idea that we have our ideas of God which are incomplete (if not false), and we should release Him from our boundaries. Two comments come to mind.

    “You’ve put God in a box” is a very poor response to teachings about God with which the accuser disagrees. God has put Himself in a “box” by having particular attributes that He has revealed to us. He isn’t an open-ended being who does willy nilly whatever one might imagine. Or are we to stand accused of putting God in a box if we claim He cannot lie, and that He will not tempt us to sin? If someone disagrees with some supposed limitations a person has put on God, that person needs to point them out.

    An important question about The Shack isn’t whether Paul Young has freed God from some kind of box people have put in him. It’s whether he has conveyed truth about God. Indeed, one could say that Young has put God in a box by pointing out the characteristics of God he finds particularly attractive. The question is, Has he put the right things in that box?

  217. Robert Logan December 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I appreciate the book a great deal, but what I just don’t understand is how anyone get a “Papa” out of the Biblical account of God. Nowhere in the Bible do I get an “up close and personal” God who is actually intimately interested in me. For example, yesterday I was listening to 1st Corinthians. As I listened to the apostle Pauls words on relationships, God, Christ, and all I got was angry because through 18 years of marriage, 5 churches, and abusive christian relationships I have found that none of this stuff actually works in real life relationships.

    God exists. He sure does. But I do not believe He is anything evenly remotely like “Papa”. If there is any way I can experience Him like this book suggests I’d sure like to know how. Yes, I DID receive Jesus as my savior at 14, so don’t start there. If anything, email and let me know you’re praying for me.

  218. Rick wade December 8, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I just checked in to see what people are saying now about The Shack. One thing I noticed quickly was the idea that God has been put in a box and we need to not restrict Him that way. “Putting God in a box” is shorthand for the idea that we have our ideas of God which are incomplete (if not false), and we should release Him from our boundaries. Two comments come to mind.

    “You’ve put God in a box” is a very poor response to teachings about God with which the accuser disagrees. God has put Himself in a “box” by having particular attributes that He has revealed to us. He isn’t an open-ended being who does willy nilly whatever one might imagine. Or are we to stand accused of putting God in a box if we claim He cannot lie, and that He will not tempt us to sin? If someone disagrees with some supposed limitations a person has put on God, that person needs to point them out.

    An important question about The Shack isn’t whether Paul Young has freed God from some kind of box people have put in him. It’s whether he has conveyed truth about God. Indeed, one could say that Young has put God in a box by pointing out the characteristics of God he finds particularly attractive. The question is, Has he put the right things in that box?

  219. Joshua Margerison December 29, 2008 at 1:32 am

    I’m not much into labeling the latest heretical movements. They are too many and to varied to categorize.
    I do, however, spend copious hours in the pages of my old Bible. There I see reflected a God Who is everything a sinful man needs, albeit not always what he wants.
    I have recently finished The Shack. There I find a much more loosely defined god, one with whom the troubled author seems to be much more comfortable, but not the same god as my Bible reveals.
    I don’t mean to be to disparaging of Mr. Young. He can write like I have only dreamed to do, and in The Shack are brilliant flashes of truth that almost move me to recommend this book to others. Then there are passages that sound eerily like the old serpent’s question to Eve.
    I don’t mind questioning traditions or rituals. I am a practicing maverick in my own rite, but The Shack calls into question the very basis of our faith on many different levels.
    It appears to be marketed, as so much of our changing religious practice is, to those who are discontented with the God of the Bible. Even as I read through the comments of the readers, I see a trend of those bitter voices who are tired of the same old God and ready to create one with whom they are more comfortable.
    I have decided to guide people away from this book. I feel it does more harm than good.
    Although I usually say, in regards to reading, “Eat the chicken and spit out the bones.” I think the bones are too prevalent and too sharp to make the chicken of any nutritional value.
    This is my opinion, written in love for the reader who cares.

  220. Joshua Margerison December 29, 2008 at 4:32 am

    I’m not much into labeling the latest heretical movements. They are too many and to varied to categorize.
    I do, however, spend copious hours in the pages of my old Bible. There I see reflected a God Who is everything a sinful man needs, albeit not always what he wants.
    I have recently finished The Shack. There I find a much more loosely defined god, one with whom the troubled author seems to be much more comfortable, but not the same god as my Bible reveals.
    I don’t mean to be to disparaging of Mr. Young. He can write like I have only dreamed to do, and in The Shack are brilliant flashes of truth that almost move me to recommend this book to others. Then there are passages that sound eerily like the old serpent’s question to Eve.
    I don’t mind questioning traditions or rituals. I am a practicing maverick in my own rite, but The Shack calls into question the very basis of our faith on many different levels.
    It appears to be marketed, as so much of our changing religious practice is, to those who are discontented with the God of the Bible. Even as I read through the comments of the readers, I see a trend of those bitter voices who are tired of the same old God and ready to create one with whom they are more comfortable.
    I have decided to guide people away from this book. I feel it does more harm than good.
    Although I usually say, in regards to reading, “Eat the chicken and spit out the bones.” I think the bones are too prevalent and too sharp to make the chicken of any nutritional value.
    This is my opinion, written in love for the reader who cares.

  221. Iain Belot January 1, 2009 at 3:54 am

    I have read the shack and really enjoyed it as a novel that contained revelation about pain, suffering and relationship. I am well read and a teacher of literature, so I was not legalistic, reactive and literal about the usage of the characterisation of the Trinity.

    I have read may of the criticism of the novel by religious teachers. What consumes me with sadness is how much of the response by the Christian leaders has perfectly copied the devices and strategies of the left-wing liberal media circus who normally oppose all elements of Christian thinking, i.e. ridicule, exaggeration, lack of balanced reporting, mis-quoting, fear driven observations, to name just a few.

    Why can’t people with the wisdom of Gamaliel, who are good bereans write articles for Christian magazines and blogs?

    If Christian writers and leaders behave like Pharasie’s then we demonstrate how far we are from living Christ’s message. “Hear who has ears…..”
    Iain

  222. Iain Belot January 1, 2009 at 6:54 am

    I have read the shack and really enjoyed it as a novel that contained revelation about pain, suffering and relationship. I am well read and a teacher of literature, so I was not legalistic, reactive and literal about the usage of the characterisation of the Trinity.

    I have read may of the criticism of the novel by religious teachers. What consumes me with sadness is how much of the response by the Christian leaders has perfectly copied the devices and strategies of the left-wing liberal media circus who normally oppose all elements of Christian thinking, i.e. ridicule, exaggeration, lack of balanced reporting, mis-quoting, fear driven observations, to name just a few.

    Why can’t people with the wisdom of Gamaliel, who are good bereans write articles for Christian magazines and blogs?

    If Christian writers and leaders behave like Pharasie’s then we demonstrate how far we are from living Christ’s message. “Hear who has ears…..”
    Iain

  223. Fernanda January 9, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Hi,

    I’m almost finishing the book and so far it has greatly blessed me and helped me to understand more of God’s love and goodness. I’ve been reading the commentaries just out of curiosity, and your commentary is by far the most coherent and relevant. It’s really sad to see how the church is DIVIDED. Instead of focusing on what really matters – following and preaching Jesus Christ – the church is too corcerned with other issues that only confuse and divide followers. Just like you said, there are too many “heresy hunters”out there. I’m sure that some of them have very noble and pure intentions. They love Jesus and want to be as faithful to the Bible as possible. But others seem to hold on so tight to their self-righteousness that anything that threatens this legalistic view of the Bible becomes heresy in their eyes.

    I don’t agree with everything in the book, but that doesn’t mean it’s heretic or that I should not be open to its messages. We should filter EVERYTHING we listen or read from humans, including sermons and Christian books, because we are limited and sinful beings. The Bible is the filter, and the ONLY source of all truth. I don’t understand how people can say that the book is not Biblical. I recognized passages of the Bible throughout the entire book and was amazed by the simple yet deep interpretation of such passages by the author. The God portrayed in The Shack is the God I believe in – good, kind, compassionate and merciful. I hope the book will lead many to belief in Jesus Christ and will help those who already believe in Him to KNOW Him deeper.

  224. Fernanda January 9, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Hi,

    I’m almost finishing the book and so far it has greatly blessed me and helped me to understand more of God’s love and goodness. I’ve been reading the commentaries just out of curiosity, and your commentary is by far the most coherent and relevant. It’s really sad to see how the church is DIVIDED. Instead of focusing on what really matters – following and preaching Jesus Christ – the church is too corcerned with other issues that only confuse and divide followers. Just like you said, there are too many “heresy hunters”out there. I’m sure that some of them have very noble and pure intentions. They love Jesus and want to be as faithful to the Bible as possible. But others seem to hold on so tight to their self-righteousness that anything that threatens this legalistic view of the Bible becomes heresy in their eyes.

    I don’t agree with everything in the book, but that doesn’t mean it’s heretic or that I should not be open to its messages. We should filter EVERYTHING we listen or read from humans, including sermons and Christian books, because we are limited and sinful beings. The Bible is the filter, and the ONLY source of all truth. I don’t understand how people can say that the book is not Biblical. I recognized passages of the Bible throughout the entire book and was amazed by the simple yet deep interpretation of such passages by the author. The God portrayed in The Shack is the God I believe in – good, kind, compassionate and merciful. I hope the book will lead many to belief in Jesus Christ and will help those who already believe in Him to KNOW Him deeper.

  225. STEPHEN FERRADA January 11, 2009 at 8:33 am

    So glad to see so many pastors and “religious” folk liked The Shack. Heresy? What nonsence. I really enjoyed the “transparency” of the Trinity and the earthly loving nature of Jesus…does anybody seriously think God on earth would have been otherwise?

    The true beauty of this book lies in its presentation of God in terms which can be understood by “ordinary” people. Inspiring stuff.

    My pity goes to those who have not understood the message of this book. Perhaps exactly these folk should give The Shack another read…this time without their “God in a box” preconceptions.

    Mr Young. Thank you!

  226. STEPHEN FERRADA January 11, 2009 at 11:33 am

    So glad to see so many pastors and “religious” folk liked The Shack. Heresy? What nonsence. I really enjoyed the “transparency” of the Trinity and the earthly loving nature of Jesus…does anybody seriously think God on earth would have been otherwise?

    The true beauty of this book lies in its presentation of God in terms which can be understood by “ordinary” people. Inspiring stuff.

    My pity goes to those who have not understood the message of this book. Perhaps exactly these folk should give The Shack another read…this time without their “God in a box” preconceptions.

    Mr Young. Thank you!

  227. Heinrich January 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    For what it’s worth. I have read the book. It changed my prayer life(devotioins!!!). I could believe almost everything in the book about Jesus… The book reminded me of people I have met, that makes everything about God, described in this book, plausable and believable. I think the heresy hunters are just little children that never had a wonderful Father as the Father of our Lord Jesus. It’s time they get to know Him as Papa 🙂

  228. Heinrich January 14, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    For what it’s worth. I have read the book. It changed my prayer life(devotioins!!!). I could believe almost everything in the book about Jesus… The book reminded me of people I have met, that makes everything about God, described in this book, plausable and believable. I think the heresy hunters are just little children that never had a wonderful Father as the Father of our Lord Jesus. It’s time they get to know Him as Papa 🙂

  229. Rick (NYC) January 19, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Bravo to the authors of “The Shack.” As someone who was in an intensive bible group for 18 years and had scripture fed to me on a daily basis I can only affirm that “The Shack” is very refreshing and liberating to any child of God or a person seeking a better understanding of God the Father. I have been in recovery from my bible banging group for several years and with therapy and much prayer have come to truly understand and discover the real Jesus and what He really taught! His true teachings are very much in line with “The Shack” contrary to what the Bible believing Far Right have accused you of.

    Your in very good company. Jesus was accused by the Bible bangers of His day(The Scribes and Pharisees) as being a “deceiver, a man who hangs out with publicans, sinners, alcoholics and harlots.” “He heals people by the power of Beelzebub.” It doesn’t surprise me at all that so called Christians find your book “dangerous” and “heretical.” The most closed minded people on this planet are bible thumping Christians who sit self assured in their comfortable quoting of scripture, in their black and white world of those saved and those lost.

    Jesus said I came to save “sinners not the righteous.” He also taught that “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you love one another.” Sad to say I have not met a Christian fundamental group yet that has the love that Jesus is talking about. They can quote the scriptures left and right but as Jesus said “Their heart is far from me.” No wonder so many of us sinners are so turned off by organized religion.

    It was the Bible-bangers of Jesus’s day that crucified Him for making God so loving, so human, so personable. Jesus came to reveal a Loving Father who loves both Jew and Gentile, both the Righteous and the Sinner, both the Rich and Poor but He did condemn the religious people of His day for not recognizing Him and accusing Him of being a deceiver. History always repeats itself.
    Jesus also taught us that ” If you be followers of that which is good there is nothing that can harm you.” No book, or new revelation, nor new concept of God can harm hurt, nor deceive a true child of God or anyone who is on any path to find him and serve him.

    Alas the saying is true “There is none so blind as they that say they see.”

    Sign me a sinner who is finding the real Jesus Christ

    PS One last quote from JC. “The time will come that whosoever kills you will think he is doing God a service.” Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who Jesus is talking about.

  230. Rick (NYC) January 19, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    The Shack = Heresy! You gotta love it! When I read the comments left by right wing bible thumpers I have to laugh because its so ridiculous and yet so obvious to me as an ex-bible banger! Yes 18 years of both Old and New Testament intensive indoctrination that left me damaged and fearful that I was going to hell if I didn’t obey that austere and commandment fearing God that was preached by Paul in the Epistles. Thank God I came to the realization that the Bible is NOT GOD. Its a book about Him and yet He is so much more. Can a book contain all that there is to know concerning The Father of All Creation? The Upholder of The Universe, The Prince of Peace, The King of Kings,….The Heavens and The Earth cannot contain Him how much less a book about Him….
    Did not Jesus teach a New Revelation of God as loving, compassionate and forgiving??
    Isn’t that the reason He was crucified by the Religious Leaders of His Day for making God so personal, so loving… so human!!!

    What is there to fear that a book of Christian fiction will lead you away from Jesus and your path to salvation? What I am reading between the lines from those very critical of the book is a lot of personal fear and ignorance and seeing the Universe as unfriendly and evil. This outlook so colors their perception that they are waiting for Satan to knock them off their precious path any second now.

    These bible bangers are no different than the professed priests who burned witches at the stake for being heretics.I loved the one comment from someone on here who said she will tell people to avoid reading the book. Sounds like a Christian Nazi to me. These folks are no different than the Scribes and Pharisees who condemned and crucified Jesus.

    I am sorry but one of my biggest pet peeves besides rich people who act greedy and cheap are professed Christians who can fire off scripture but are afraid of their own shadow. Any concept that does not fit into their scriptural fortress of safety is condemned as being from the devil.

    The authors of “The Shack” are in great company since Jesus was labeled a “deceiver of the people.” The Bible Bangers of Jesus’s day could not comprehend such an approachable and loving God in the person of Jesus Christ. I am completely convinced if Jesus returned today He would be labeled a heretic, a demon, a deceiver by the majority of professed Christians especially the bible thumping ones.
    I could see Jesus of Nazareth saying “Yes I Inspired “The Shack” to be written word for word, sentence for sentence, does this offend your biblical minds???
    By the way if your a true student of the bible you will plainly see that Jesus was always offending the religionists of His day. He healed on the Sabbath, He didn’t wash his hands before eating, He hung out with alcoholics, sinners and harlots. Yes its all in the gospels. All that Jesus did and how he constantly offended those who professed to know God and the Scriptures up to that time.

    But the christian right won’t believe this because “there is none so blind as they that claim to see.”

    I don’t live in fear anymore thanks to prayer, JC and a Loving Father. Jesus came to give us Life and that more abundant. Ill take that thank-you very much.

    Rick NYC

    The Shack will bless many more people than it will offend. My take is sinners such as myself will love it, learn from it and be blessed by it and sadly the biblical self righteous will fear it and disown it.
    Rick NYC

  231. Rick (NYC) January 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Bravo to the authors of “The Shack.” As someone who was in an intensive bible group for 18 years and had scripture fed to me on a daily basis I can only affirm that “The Shack” is very refreshing and liberating to any child of God or a person seeking a better understanding of God the Father. I have been in recovery from my bible banging group for several years and with therapy and much prayer have come to truly understand and discover the real Jesus and what He really taught! His true teachings are very much in line with “The Shack” contrary to what the Bible believing Far Right have accused you of.

    Your in very good company. Jesus was accused by the Bible bangers of His day(The Scribes and Pharisees) as being a “deceiver, a man who hangs out with publicans, sinners, alcoholics and harlots.” “He heals people by the power of Beelzebub.” It doesn’t surprise me at all that so called Christians find your book “dangerous” and “heretical.” The most closed minded people on this planet are bible thumping Christians who sit self assured in their comfortable quoting of scripture, in their black and white world of those saved and those lost.

    Jesus said I came to save “sinners not the righteous.” He also taught that “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you love one another.” Sad to say I have not met a Christian fundamental group yet that has the love that Jesus is talking about. They can quote the scriptures left and right but as Jesus said “Their heart is far from me.” No wonder so many of us sinners are so turned off by organized religion.

    It was the Bible-bangers of Jesus’s day that crucified Him for making God so loving, so human, so personable. Jesus came to reveal a Loving Father who loves both Jew and Gentile, both the Righteous and the Sinner, both the Rich and Poor but He did condemn the religious people of His day for not recognizing Him and accusing Him of being a deceiver. History always repeats itself.
    Jesus also taught us that ” If you be followers of that which is good there is nothing that can harm you.” No book, or new revelation, nor new concept of God can harm hurt, nor deceive a true child of God or anyone who is on any path to find him and serve him.

    Alas the saying is true “There is none so blind as they that say they see.”

    Sign me a sinner who is finding the real Jesus Christ

    PS One last quote from JC. “The time will come that whosoever kills you will think he is doing God a service.” Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who Jesus is talking about.

  232. Rick (NYC) January 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    The Shack = Heresy! You gotta love it! When I read the comments left by right wing bible thumpers I have to laugh because its so ridiculous and yet so obvious to me as an ex-bible banger! Yes 18 years of both Old and New Testament intensive indoctrination that left me damaged and fearful that I was going to hell if I didn’t obey that austere and commandment fearing God that was preached by Paul in the Epistles. Thank God I came to the realization that the Bible is NOT GOD. Its a book about Him and yet He is so much more. Can a book contain all that there is to know concerning The Father of All Creation? The Upholder of The Universe, The Prince of Peace, The King of Kings,….The Heavens and The Earth cannot contain Him how much less a book about Him….
    Did not Jesus teach a New Revelation of God as loving, compassionate and forgiving??
    Isn’t that the reason He was crucified by the Religious Leaders of His Day for making God so personal, so loving… so human!!!

    What is there to fear that a book of Christian fiction will lead you away from Jesus and your path to salvation? What I am reading between the lines from those very critical of the book is a lot of personal fear and ignorance and seeing the Universe as unfriendly and evil. This outlook so colors their perception that they are waiting for Satan to knock them off their precious path any second now.

    These bible bangers are no different than the professed priests who burned witches at the stake for being heretics.I loved the one comment from someone on here who said she will tell people to avoid reading the book. Sounds like a Christian Nazi to me. These folks are no different than the Scribes and Pharisees who condemned and crucified Jesus.

    I am sorry but one of my biggest pet peeves besides rich people who act greedy and cheap are professed Christians who can fire off scripture but are afraid of their own shadow. Any concept that does not fit into their scriptural fortress of safety is condemned as being from the devil.

    The authors of “The Shack” are in great company since Jesus was labeled a “deceiver of the people.” The Bible Bangers of Jesus’s day could not comprehend such an approachable and loving God in the person of Jesus Christ. I am completely convinced if Jesus returned today He would be labeled a heretic, a demon, a deceiver by the majority of professed Christians especially the bible thumping ones.
    I could see Jesus of Nazareth saying “Yes I Inspired “The Shack” to be written word for word, sentence for sentence, does this offend your biblical minds???
    By the way if your a true student of the bible you will plainly see that Jesus was always offending the religionists of His day. He healed on the Sabbath, He didn’t wash his hands before eating, He hung out with alcoholics, sinners and harlots. Yes its all in the gospels. All that Jesus did and how he constantly offended those who professed to know God and the Scriptures up to that time.

    But the christian right won’t believe this because “there is none so blind as they that claim to see.”

    I don’t live in fear anymore thanks to prayer, JC and a Loving Father. Jesus came to give us Life and that more abundant. Ill take that thank-you very much.

    Rick NYC

    The Shack will bless many more people than it will offend. My take is sinners such as myself will love it, learn from it and be blessed by it and sadly the biblical self righteous will fear it and disown it.
    Rick NYC

  233. Jon January 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I’m trying to look at this from both sides of things, to better understand where people are coming from. I read this book tonight, and was amazingly blessed by it. It ministered to me in a great way, and helped me understand God as a loving creator while having to deal with the horrible things we do to one another in the world. It was very moving and very powerful.

    Since I like to see how people respond to things, I went looking around the web, and I found a lot of very good comments out there, and some really nasty responses that see this book as the worst tool of the Devil there has ever been.

    After reading the book, itself (no offense to several of the people who have replied here, but I don’t understand how you can try to defend the book without having ever read it), and the positive and negative responses to it, I’m going to post some responses of my own. Connected with rumors and other posts here, I do not know how likely it is to appear in the list or not. Truth to tell, I’m not really worried about the question.

    If this book is read by somebody with a pretty good grounding in God’s word, I think it can be an amazing blessing. I know it has been for me. And while I am not one of the heaviest scripture readers in the world, I bet I have read the scriptures more frequently than many of those in the churches and in the ministries.

    That being said, if somebody reads this book without a good scriptural grounding, and forms their entire theological viewpoint based upon it, without ever bothering to back it up with reading the scriptures, it could lead to believing some heresies. The passage that was quoted on one of the websites and listed as the book promoting pantheism could easily be taken that way if the book was the only Biblical input one had, and one heard much of the new-age garbage that is spouted these days. Taken in collaboration with the scriptures, it is simply describing the omnipresence of the Lord, which, to the best of my knowledge has always, along with omnipotence and omniscience, been a kind of triune viewing of the acknowledged power of the Lord.

    Let me be completely clear about this … the Bible is the inspired, true word of God … and I have to worry a little about the poster who talks about 18 years of indoctrination into the Old and New Testaments … I’m strongly hoping for his sake that his problem was with the way he was taught, and not the scriptures, themselves. Because the biggest challenge for this book or anything else purporting to teach us about God is the question “Does it disagree with scripture?” If it does, the book is no good. But as far as I can see, this one never disagrees with scripture, though at times it says things that one can interpret in ways that both agree and disagree with scripture.

    I would just like to say thank you for an amazing read and a wonderful blessing. Please continue to respond to criticisms with grace and mercy for people who may very well be trying to do the true work of God in all humility, but who are a little blinded in their views. After all, even David screwed up big several times. He was just better at humbly repenting, once it was brought to his attention, than most people.

  234. Jon January 20, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I’m trying to look at this from both sides of things, to better understand where people are coming from. I read this book tonight, and was amazingly blessed by it. It ministered to me in a great way, and helped me understand God as a loving creator while having to deal with the horrible things we do to one another in the world. It was very moving and very powerful.

    Since I like to see how people respond to things, I went looking around the web, and I found a lot of very good comments out there, and some really nasty responses that see this book as the worst tool of the Devil there has ever been.

    After reading the book, itself (no offense to several of the people who have replied here, but I don’t understand how you can try to defend the book without having ever read it), and the positive and negative responses to it, I’m going to post some responses of my own. Connected with rumors and other posts here, I do not know how likely it is to appear in the list or not. Truth to tell, I’m not really worried about the question.

    If this book is read by somebody with a pretty good grounding in God’s word, I think it can be an amazing blessing. I know it has been for me. And while I am not one of the heaviest scripture readers in the world, I bet I have read the scriptures more frequently than many of those in the churches and in the ministries.

    That being said, if somebody reads this book without a good scriptural grounding, and forms their entire theological viewpoint based upon it, without ever bothering to back it up with reading the scriptures, it could lead to believing some heresies. The passage that was quoted on one of the websites and listed as the book promoting pantheism could easily be taken that way if the book was the only Biblical input one had, and one heard much of the new-age garbage that is spouted these days. Taken in collaboration with the scriptures, it is simply describing the omnipresence of the Lord, which, to the best of my knowledge has always, along with omnipotence and omniscience, been a kind of triune viewing of the acknowledged power of the Lord.

    Let me be completely clear about this … the Bible is the inspired, true word of God … and I have to worry a little about the poster who talks about 18 years of indoctrination into the Old and New Testaments … I’m strongly hoping for his sake that his problem was with the way he was taught, and not the scriptures, themselves. Because the biggest challenge for this book or anything else purporting to teach us about God is the question “Does it disagree with scripture?” If it does, the book is no good. But as far as I can see, this one never disagrees with scripture, though at times it says things that one can interpret in ways that both agree and disagree with scripture.

    I would just like to say thank you for an amazing read and a wonderful blessing. Please continue to respond to criticisms with grace and mercy for people who may very well be trying to do the true work of God in all humility, but who are a little blinded in their views. After all, even David screwed up big several times. He was just better at humbly repenting, once it was brought to his attention, than most people.

  235. Tom January 27, 2009 at 10:44 am

    There are few who can generate such expressive language to meld their walk with God into a story like The Shack. I wish I could do the same.

  236. Tom January 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    There are few who can generate such expressive language to meld their walk with God into a story like The Shack. I wish I could do the same.

  237. Barry Brown January 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    My thoughts on “The Shack.”

    It has been said an unexamined life is not worth living, and I will add that an untested faith is a weak faith, yet any faith is honored by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    After a 15 year addiction where I cried out to God to take away an addiction that would have destroyed most marriages, God finally answered my prayers about 9 months ago and through my prayers and the prayers of others began to lift me out of the mire.

    About 2 months ago at the encouragement of my younger brother I began going to the Healing Rooms Prayer Room in our area for prayer because he claimed that the prayer had helped him overcome an addiction as well…as I was still under the grip of some other addictive behaviors I decided to check it out.

    Coming from a mainstream type of Protestant background, I am a bit wary of charismatic Christians, but am not afraid of them as many of my church brothers are, which is why I was willing to go to the prayer room. The change for me has been, in a word, pronounced and dramatic. My addiction levels have dropped significantly.

    In the past two weeks I was prompted by the spirit to “come clean” with my wife regarding my past 15 years…in the initial reaction I thought I’d lost my wife and my marriage, which would have been what I deserved. But my wife is a believer and although she didn’t really want to that day we went to the prayer room and received prayer as I wept and my wife seethed.

    We have a lot of heavy stuff to go through, but we both agree, this has been the best 2 weeks of our marriage as transparency was restored and God’s spirit is in our marriage and lives fully again.

    You may be wondering at this point what “The Shack” has to do with this. The night before I confessed my past to my wife, I finished “The Shack.” In a way, the book might have saved my life as I was shown how fond God is of me in this book. Had I not had this knowledge I might have not had the strength to go through the fire with my wife in the past two weeks.

    “The Shack” controversy, IMO, has more to do with mainstream Protestantism (including the church I attend) and Charismatics view of God and his Spirit than anything else. I have not seen anyone who has pointed this out, but this is my view of all of this.

    I have to agree with Mr. Jacobson on most of what he says in his defense above…the critics of this book are in some ways correct in saying Young could be pushing the lines, but some have said the book is heretical which I think is silly. However, this controversy has pointed out to me that I should “recommend the book carefully,” as a friend of mine said after reading the book (which she really liked).

    The book is not for everyone, but for those who’ve been addicted or have had tragedy in their lives, “The Shack” is a wonderful comfort. It is fiction, but with a purpose. I would not recommend it to you if you are a legalist, Calvinist, Reformed, or similar because your theological correctness may be your god.

    I don’t think Christ would have had as much problem with Young’s portrayal of the Trinity than he would’ve with the reactions I’ve seen from Mark Driscoll and others. You certainly can argue that Young may not understand the intricate nature of the Trinity and missed on some points, but that is not what the book is about. It was his attempt to understand why bad things happen to good people.

  238. Barry Brown January 28, 2009 at 2:30 am

    My thoughts on “The Shack.”

    It has been said an unexamined life is not worth living, and I will add that an untested faith is a weak faith, yet any faith is honored by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    After a 15 year addiction where I cried out to God to take away an addiction that would have destroyed most marriages, God finally answered my prayers about 9 months ago and through my prayers and the prayers of others began to lift me out of the mire.

    About 2 months ago at the encouragement of my younger brother I began going to the Healing Rooms Prayer Room in our area for prayer because he claimed that the prayer had helped him overcome an addiction as well…as I was still under the grip of some other addictive behaviors I decided to check it out.

    Coming from a mainstream type of Protestant background, I am a bit wary of charismatic Christians, but am not afraid of them as many of my church brothers are, which is why I was willing to go to the prayer room. The change for me has been, in a word, pronounced and dramatic. My addiction levels have dropped significantly.

    In the past two weeks I was prompted by the spirit to “come clean” with my wife regarding my past 15 years…in the initial reaction I thought I’d lost my wife and my marriage, which would have been what I deserved. But my wife is a believer and although she didn’t really want to that day we went to the prayer room and received prayer as I wept and my wife seethed.

    We have a lot of heavy stuff to go through, but we both agree, this has been the best 2 weeks of our marriage as transparency was restored and God’s spirit is in our marriage and lives fully again.

    You may be wondering at this point what “The Shack” has to do with this. The night before I confessed my past to my wife, I finished “The Shack.” In a way, the book might have saved my life as I was shown how fond God is of me in this book. Had I not had this knowledge I might have not had the strength to go through the fire with my wife in the past two weeks.

    “The Shack” controversy, IMO, has more to do with mainstream Protestantism (including the church I attend) and Charismatics view of God and his Spirit than anything else. I have not seen anyone who has pointed this out, but this is my view of all of this.

    I have to agree with Mr. Jacobson on most of what he says in his defense above…the critics of this book are in some ways correct in saying Young could be pushing the lines, but some have said the book is heretical which I think is silly. However, this controversy has pointed out to me that I should “recommend the book carefully,” as a friend of mine said after reading the book (which she really liked).

    The book is not for everyone, but for those who’ve been addicted or have had tragedy in their lives, “The Shack” is a wonderful comfort. It is fiction, but with a purpose. I would not recommend it to you if you are a legalist, Calvinist, Reformed, or similar because your theological correctness may be your god.

    I don’t think Christ would have had as much problem with Young’s portrayal of the Trinity than he would’ve with the reactions I’ve seen from Mark Driscoll and others. You certainly can argue that Young may not understand the intricate nature of the Trinity and missed on some points, but that is not what the book is about. It was his attempt to understand why bad things happen to good people.

  239. Roallell February 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    The Shack helped me to see that God can be black or white/ male or female/ strong but also weak.
    He/she understands. He/she is firm, but kind. He/she is straight and gay. He/she is into absolutes but also able to be pragmatic.
    Wow! What a cool God we serve!

  240. Roallell February 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    The Shack helped me to see that God can be black or white/ male or female/ strong but also weak.
    He/she understands. He/she is firm, but kind. He/she is straight and gay. He/she is into absolutes but also able to be pragmatic.
    Wow! What a cool God we serve!

  241. Jason Price February 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Regarding The Shack, I read this book and felt that God was talking directly into my life and challenging me about some incorrect perceptions I had regarding His personhood and nature. When I jumped on the internet and read the critiques I was mortified by the ridiculous and ignorant interpretations of what is essentially a work of fiction. It made me extremely angry and prompted me to put pen to paper in order to vent my frustrations.

    I am just sick of those self righteous religious intelligentsia trying to push their biased agenda with all and sundry – making out they are the official doctrine police and that the general populous cannot think for themselves. I am also sick of my favorite authors being character assassinated and their writings labeled heretical by a bunch of pious religious critics.

    For example I love the writings of John Eldredge who has had a significant impact on my recent Christian walk and has led me to understand how wounds I have suffered in the past have had a major impact on my life and led to unhealthy misconceptions I have held about God. His teaching is powerful and life changing – it’s also bucks the trend against political correctness and comfortable religious conservatism– no wonder he evokes such a reaction from his critics.

    So to all those self righteous critics out there – keep your opinions to yourselves, we don’t want to hear them. Save them for your pharisee mates and we will keep listening to what God is saying to our hearts and make up our own minds!

  242. Jason Price February 7, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Regarding The Shack, I read this book and felt that God was talking directly into my life and challenging me about some incorrect perceptions I had regarding His personhood and nature. When I jumped on the internet and read the critiques I was mortified by the ridiculous and ignorant interpretations of what is essentially a work of fiction. It made me extremely angry and prompted me to put pen to paper in order to vent my frustrations.

    I am just sick of those self righteous religious intelligentsia trying to push their biased agenda with all and sundry – making out they are the official doctrine police and that the general populous cannot think for themselves. I am also sick of my favorite authors being character assassinated and their writings labeled heretical by a bunch of pious religious critics.

    For example I love the writings of John Eldredge who has had a significant impact on my recent Christian walk and has led me to understand how wounds I have suffered in the past have had a major impact on my life and led to unhealthy misconceptions I have held about God. His teaching is powerful and life changing – it’s also bucks the trend against political correctness and comfortable religious conservatism– no wonder he evokes such a reaction from his critics.

    So to all those self righteous critics out there – keep your opinions to yourselves, we don’t want to hear them. Save them for your pharisee mates and we will keep listening to what God is saying to our hearts and make up our own minds!

  243. B February 11, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I think the book just opens an awareness to how GOD is a regular being who can still interact with us. The Bible allows for written stories for thousands of years to be interpreted by us today to fit into our changing world. The Shack brings GOD to us the reader as someone who can speak to us and see us for all our earthly problems.
    I have to read this book again – it was terrific. I liked the development of the characters and how GOD, Jesus and the Holy Spirit become viewable to the troubled man who had to forgive to move on.

  244. B February 11, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    I think the book just opens an awareness to how GOD is a regular being who can still interact with us. The Bible allows for written stories for thousands of years to be interpreted by us today to fit into our changing world. The Shack brings GOD to us the reader as someone who can speak to us and see us for all our earthly problems.
    I have to read this book again – it was terrific. I liked the development of the characters and how GOD, Jesus and the Holy Spirit become viewable to the troubled man who had to forgive to move on.

  245. Mike Quick February 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I have struggled with relationships (including those with God, Jesus and my biological father for the past 40+ years and found incredible hope in reading The Shack. Like many who have already commented, I struggled early on with many of the non-traditional images created but found the messages were so “dead on” track for me that it was difficult NOT to feel overwhelmed by the release of emotions – emotions that have been fairly well pent up for the past 40-50 years of my 60+ years of living. I found it somewhat ironic that this book somehow came into my life only weeks after I was diagnosed with cancer. Although I felt I was dealing with the new news quite well, reading The Shack allowed me to get beyond just feeling “o.k.” with what was happening to a point where I truly feel that the cancer was a blessing – opening me up to relationships in a way that was always beyond my comfort zone. I shed more tears during the reading of this book than I thought possible. And just when I felt I had exhausted every emotional pocket in my being, another wave took over. It may have been one of the more difficult books I’ve ever read but it was without a doubt one of the most powerful and moving. Despite attending Catechism classes from first grade through high school I don’t believe I ever understood the Holy Trinity nor did I ever believe there was an intent to develop a “personal” relationship with God. I understood clearly about the “judgment and punishment” part (and the promise of Purgatory & Hell if I stayed on the path I had chosen, but never really understood what “accepting Jesus” meant – at least not until now. I would love for everyone whom I love to read The Shack – but I also know that’s part of the “male control” thiing coming out – at least to some extent. I have shared with those closest to me what the book has meant and brought to me in hopes that they will want to at least see if it may address some of the issues they may face on a day to day basis. I’ve only sent seven copies out so far to those I believe will find healing in the messages contained in this incredible work. I hope they do but know that I have already been blessed many times over by the hope it has given me for finding a new way to live with God in my life – loving me unconditionally. Thank you for your work on this book and all that it has meant.

  246. Mike Quick February 16, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I have struggled with relationships (including those with God, Jesus and my biological father for the past 40+ years and found incredible hope in reading The Shack. Like many who have already commented, I struggled early on with many of the non-traditional images created but found the messages were so “dead on” track for me that it was difficult NOT to feel overwhelmed by the release of emotions – emotions that have been fairly well pent up for the past 40-50 years of my 60+ years of living. I found it somewhat ironic that this book somehow came into my life only weeks after I was diagnosed with cancer. Although I felt I was dealing with the new news quite well, reading The Shack allowed me to get beyond just feeling “o.k.” with what was happening to a point where I truly feel that the cancer was a blessing – opening me up to relationships in a way that was always beyond my comfort zone. I shed more tears during the reading of this book than I thought possible. And just when I felt I had exhausted every emotional pocket in my being, another wave took over. It may have been one of the more difficult books I’ve ever read but it was without a doubt one of the most powerful and moving. Despite attending Catechism classes from first grade through high school I don’t believe I ever understood the Holy Trinity nor did I ever believe there was an intent to develop a “personal” relationship with God. I understood clearly about the “judgment and punishment” part (and the promise of Purgatory & Hell if I stayed on the path I had chosen, but never really understood what “accepting Jesus” meant – at least not until now. I would love for everyone whom I love to read The Shack – but I also know that’s part of the “male control” thiing coming out – at least to some extent. I have shared with those closest to me what the book has meant and brought to me in hopes that they will want to at least see if it may address some of the issues they may face on a day to day basis. I’ve only sent seven copies out so far to those I believe will find healing in the messages contained in this incredible work. I hope they do but know that I have already been blessed many times over by the hope it has given me for finding a new way to live with God in my life – loving me unconditionally. Thank you for your work on this book and all that it has meant.

  247. Paul Sohi February 23, 2009 at 10:43 am

    It’s the best book i’ve ever read , i could not put it down once i got past the first few chapters.
    It has been a Blessing for me as it opened up the whole God head theology thing …
    My relationship now with my Papa is more closer than ever before… Even understanding the Trinity now is awesome as i never fully could get my head around that until i read the Shack…..
    I have passed mine on to a friend and also i have bought more copies and passed them on…
    Thanks for this book as it is also reaching people who are searching for the truth….
    God Bless
    Paul Sohi ..

  248. Paul Sohi February 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    It’s the best book i’ve ever read , i could not put it down once i got past the first few chapters.
    It has been a Blessing for me as it opened up the whole God head theology thing …
    My relationship now with my Papa is more closer than ever before… Even understanding the Trinity now is awesome as i never fully could get my head around that until i read the Shack…..
    I have passed mine on to a friend and also i have bought more copies and passed them on…
    Thanks for this book as it is also reaching people who are searching for the truth….
    God Bless
    Paul Sohi ..

  249. Jennifer Swan-Hopkins February 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Okay, here comes a rant…

    It was a fabulous book. Well written, full of imagination and magic, and blessedly full of a fellow human’s interpretation of things. Inspired interpretation too, I’d say. WHY is it okay to read what other men wrote eons ago and call it inspired gospel, but not okay for this book to have been written today, and recognized as possibly inspired too – I mean at least parts of it? Isn’t there such a thing as inspired writing anymore? Have miracles all ceased according to “them”?

    Who made those rules up or decided what was gospel but some other ancient men be they priests, popes, whatever – they were just men!? And many were driven by their own self-interests too btw, or that of their church. That’s what much of “our” bible was born of so come on, get real. Just because it “always was done that way” or has been “accepted doctrine”, doesn’t make it infallible or right, or the only truth for that matter.

    It just makes me want to shout – Who said God can’t appear to us in just the form this guy wrote about? He was a bush – a dove – all sorts of things, so why not a woman, a guy with a big nose, or an Asian lady? So what anyway? Why are “they” so threatened by this? It’s like a little kid in the back seat of a car complaining, “dad, he TOUCHED me!” in a whiney voice, lol. Can you tell I’m a mom?

    Their logic is faulty. These people are full of fear, and negativity. It is amazing to me when people look and see only the evil, or ugly in a thing of beauty. Just what does that say about their spirit or relationship with our Father??? Always seeing doomsday and sin, judgment and death instead of what Jesus brought – life, light and love – and forgiveness with our repentance. No one said to go out and sin in this book so lighten up!

    Also, take it for what it is. No one claimed this book to be gospel – yet “they” are accusing all involved of being false prophets, dangerous, heretical; and they take things out of context, regurgitating it falsely, misconstruing thoughts until it sounds like it was written to take people away from God, or contrary to what its intent was at any rate. I certainly didn’t take away from reading it, that this book and what it said was the way to salvation, or how to believe, or something. Are people really that gullible? Do we have to police them and tell them what to think or warn them from the evils of make-believe and imagination? They better not go to Disney Land – there are FAIRIES there… sheesh. They may start wishing on stars for crying out loud.

    To them I say “Take responsibility for yourselves – don’t blame this author for your fears and failings as followers”, and “trust God to do what he said he would do.” To those who are now afraid to read it: “This book is a blessing, it opens your eyes to possibilities and lets you bask in the warmth of a perfect love.” We all know in our hearts what is right or what is wrong – so through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, follow that which you know to be true.

    I could go on and on, but I guess that’s enough for right now. I think I’ll write to the author now and tell him too – Thank you, for whatever that was you wrote – I loved it. I also think that you’ve seen God and have helped countless others to share in that joy.

    In Christ’s Love – In The Father’s Grace – In The Spirit’s Path
    goes Jennifer from Florida

  250. Jennifer Swan-Hopkins February 24, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Okay, here comes a rant…

    It was a fabulous book. Well written, full of imagination and magic, and blessedly full of a fellow human’s interpretation of things. Inspired interpretation too, I’d say. WHY is it okay to read what other men wrote eons ago and call it inspired gospel, but not okay for this book to have been written today, and recognized as possibly inspired too – I mean at least parts of it? Isn’t there such a thing as inspired writing anymore? Have miracles all ceased according to “them”?

    Who made those rules up or decided what was gospel but some other ancient men be they priests, popes, whatever – they were just men!? And many were driven by their own self-interests too btw, or that of their church. That’s what much of “our” bible was born of so come on, get real. Just because it “always was done that way” or has been “accepted doctrine”, doesn’t make it infallible or right, or the only truth for that matter.

    It just makes me want to shout – Who said God can’t appear to us in just the form this guy wrote about? He was a bush – a dove – all sorts of things, so why not a woman, a guy with a big nose, or an Asian lady? So what anyway? Why are “they” so threatened by this? It’s like a little kid in the back seat of a car complaining, “dad, he TOUCHED me!” in a whiney voice, lol. Can you tell I’m a mom?

    Their logic is faulty. These people are full of fear, and negativity. It is amazing to me when people look and see only the evil, or ugly in a thing of beauty. Just what does that say about their spirit or relationship with our Father??? Always seeing doomsday and sin, judgment and death instead of what Jesus brought – life, light and love – and forgiveness with our repentance. No one said to go out and sin in this book so lighten up!

    Also, take it for what it is. No one claimed this book to be gospel – yet “they” are accusing all involved of being false prophets, dangerous, heretical; and they take things out of context, regurgitating it falsely, misconstruing thoughts until it sounds like it was written to take people away from God, or contrary to what its intent was at any rate. I certainly didn’t take away from reading it, that this book and what it said was the way to salvation, or how to believe, or something. Are people really that gullible? Do we have to police them and tell them what to think or warn them from the evils of make-believe and imagination? They better not go to Disney Land – there are FAIRIES there… sheesh. They may start wishing on stars for crying out loud.

    To them I say “Take responsibility for yourselves – don’t blame this author for your fears and failings as followers”, and “trust God to do what he said he would do.” To those who are now afraid to read it: “This book is a blessing, it opens your eyes to possibilities and lets you bask in the warmth of a perfect love.” We all know in our hearts what is right or what is wrong – so through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, follow that which you know to be true.

    I could go on and on, but I guess that’s enough for right now. I think I’ll write to the author now and tell him too – Thank you, for whatever that was you wrote – I loved it. I also think that you’ve seen God and have helped countless others to share in that joy.

    In Christ’s Love – In The Father’s Grace – In The Spirit’s Path
    goes Jennifer from Florida

  251. Betty Holden March 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I do think that The Shack is heretical if it portrays God in a female sense and these are the Scriptural
    reasons why:

    When God first formed Adam, He said, “Let US (meaning the trinity) make MAN in OUR IMAGE, AFTER
    OUR LIKENESS…so God created MAN in HIS own IMAGE, in the IMAGE of God created HE HIM…” –
    Genesis 1: 26-27. Then God went on to create the female. In Timothy we read, “For Adam was first
    formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but THE WOMAN BEING DECEIVED WAS IN THE
    TRANSGRESSION”. (I Timothy 2: 13-14) Now do you think that it’s honorable to portray God in a
    feminine sense when the Bible clearly states that it was the WOMAN who was deceived, not the man?
    Also, Peter gives us the relationship between the husband and his wife as the wife being the weaker
    vessel: “Likewise, ye husbands dwell with them (their wives) according to knowledge, giving honor
    unto the wife, as unto THE WEAKER VESSEL” (I Peter 3:7). Do you think it’s honorable to God to
    portray Him as feminine when the woman is defined as the WEAKER vessel?
    Also, the Scriptures show us that the man is the head of the wife, not the other way around:
    “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and He is the
    Savior of the body. Therefore, as the church IS SUBJECT unto Christ, so LET THE WIVES BE TO THEIR
    OWN HUSBANDS IN EVERY THING”. (Ephesians 5: 23-24) God is over all and to portray Him
    in what Scripture defines as a subjective role is heretical.
    Also, God and Jesus in their communication with each other referred to each other as “Father” and
    “Son”….when Jesus prayed the Lord’s Prayer, He said,”Our Father who art in heaven…”.
    John said that “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ”. (I John 1:3).
    Also, the Holy Spirit is defined in male terms: “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the
    Father will send in my name, HE shall teach you all things”. (John 14:26).

    I hope that helps to see why it is heretical to refer to God or any of the Trinity in female terms.
    One needs to read the Bible and draw your answers from it. It is true from start to finish. Thank
    God that He left us His Word to guide us, otherwise people will be led astray as quickly as the
    Israelites were at the foot of Mt. Sinai when they didn’t see Moses and decided to worship a golden
    calf.

  252. Betty Holden March 5, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I do think that The Shack is heretical if it portrays God in a female sense and these are the Scriptural
    reasons why:

    When God first formed Adam, He said, “Let US (meaning the trinity) make MAN in OUR IMAGE, AFTER
    OUR LIKENESS…so God created MAN in HIS own IMAGE, in the IMAGE of God created HE HIM…” –
    Genesis 1: 26-27. Then God went on to create the female. In Timothy we read, “For Adam was first
    formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but THE WOMAN BEING DECEIVED WAS IN THE
    TRANSGRESSION”. (I Timothy 2: 13-14) Now do you think that it’s honorable to portray God in a
    feminine sense when the Bible clearly states that it was the WOMAN who was deceived, not the man?
    Also, Peter gives us the relationship between the husband and his wife as the wife being the weaker
    vessel: “Likewise, ye husbands dwell with them (their wives) according to knowledge, giving honor
    unto the wife, as unto THE WEAKER VESSEL” (I Peter 3:7). Do you think it’s honorable to God to
    portray Him as feminine when the woman is defined as the WEAKER vessel?
    Also, the Scriptures show us that the man is the head of the wife, not the other way around:
    “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and He is the
    Savior of the body. Therefore, as the church IS SUBJECT unto Christ, so LET THE WIVES BE TO THEIR
    OWN HUSBANDS IN EVERY THING”. (Ephesians 5: 23-24) God is over all and to portray Him
    in what Scripture defines as a subjective role is heretical.
    Also, God and Jesus in their communication with each other referred to each other as “Father” and
    “Son”….when Jesus prayed the Lord’s Prayer, He said,”Our Father who art in heaven…”.
    John said that “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ”. (I John 1:3).
    Also, the Holy Spirit is defined in male terms: “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the
    Father will send in my name, HE shall teach you all things”. (John 14:26).

    I hope that helps to see why it is heretical to refer to God or any of the Trinity in female terms.
    One needs to read the Bible and draw your answers from it. It is true from start to finish. Thank
    God that He left us His Word to guide us, otherwise people will be led astray as quickly as the
    Israelites were at the foot of Mt. Sinai when they didn’t see Moses and decided to worship a golden
    calf.

  253. Greg Burgoyne March 8, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    In a criticial review about the book the author said that the book “teaches” and then he gave the objectionable “teaching.” As some other people have said, this is a fiction book. Did the book “Hunt for Red October “teach” communisim? No. This was book from a man’s heart and whether or not it has any flaws he doesn’t deserve the treatment from people who are not anymore spitirual. What this is all about is the times we live in. And Christians seem jumpy and full of fear over anything that doesn’t fit their comfort zone. The arguments over theology has always been with us. Obvioulsy it isn’t going to go away, but all who are on the recieving end of the “doctrines of the devil” mentality have as much hurt as the charcter Mac in the book. There are those of us who love the Lord, the Bible, and strive to live Godly lives that didn’t fall apart over this book. Christian fiction has been a jumble of issues like this. And it was no different when Dan Brown wrote his books that had severe problems of the kind that were very wrong. That too was fiction, and it did not “teach” anything either. Books are books. I am saddened by any self centered critic over a lot of teachers, Preachers, authors, colleges, seminaries, all being accused of leaving orthodox theology and going off the deep end into “doctrines of the devil.” Yes there are those but not as many as all the critics seem to want all of us to know. The Shack has stirred a lot of people. And the reviews show that more people found some good in the book then anything so evil as it is being accused of.

  254. colleen March 8, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I loved the ‘Shack’and it certainly has me thinking. Could anyone please help me to answer some questions?
    Is the author still saying that the only way to the Father is through Jesus? Also how would Satan fit into all of this? Is he real? I would have loved for this subject to have come up in conversation with Mack. Did Jesus die on the cross for the forgiveness of sin as well as being the road to the Father?
    Does any of this dismiss stuff like self control and fruits of the spirit?
    Thanks Colleen

  255. Greg Burgoyne March 8, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    In a criticial review about the book the author said that the book “teaches” and then he gave the objectionable “teaching.” As some other people have said, this is a fiction book. Did the book “Hunt for Red October “teach” communisim? No. This was book from a man’s heart and whether or not it has any flaws he doesn’t deserve the treatment from people who are not anymore spitirual. What this is all about is the times we live in. And Christians seem jumpy and full of fear over anything that doesn’t fit their comfort zone. The arguments over theology has always been with us. Obvioulsy it isn’t going to go away, but all who are on the recieving end of the “doctrines of the devil” mentality have as much hurt as the charcter Mac in the book. There are those of us who love the Lord, the Bible, and strive to live Godly lives that didn’t fall apart over this book. Christian fiction has been a jumble of issues like this. And it was no different when Dan Brown wrote his books that had severe problems of the kind that were very wrong. That too was fiction, and it did not “teach” anything either. Books are books. I am saddened by any self centered critic over a lot of teachers, Preachers, authors, colleges, seminaries, all being accused of leaving orthodox theology and going off the deep end into “doctrines of the devil.” Yes there are those but not as many as all the critics seem to want all of us to know. The Shack has stirred a lot of people. And the reviews show that more people found some good in the book then anything so evil as it is being accused of.

  256. colleen March 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    I loved the ‘Shack’and it certainly has me thinking. Could anyone please help me to answer some questions?
    Is the author still saying that the only way to the Father is through Jesus? Also how would Satan fit into all of this? Is he real? I would have loved for this subject to have come up in conversation with Mack. Did Jesus die on the cross for the forgiveness of sin as well as being the road to the Father?
    Does any of this dismiss stuff like self control and fruits of the spirit?
    Thanks Colleen

  257. Wayne March 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Colleen,

    I won’t speak for the author, but as one who helped on this book, I would fully concur that the only way to the Father is through Jesus. Isn’t that what the story demonstrates? Jesus is the one leading Mack to the Father. The cross purchased our forgiveness which opened a way for us to the Father. But the cross does not just provide a way to forgive our sin, it also provided cleansing from sin and shame so we can live as God’s beloved children in the earth.

    Yes, I believe in the reality of Satan to manipulate humans and cause evil and destruction. He is not mentioned in the book, because this was about God healing a broken human, not dealing with all the theology of evil. No, grace never dismisses self-control or the fruits of the Spirit, rather grace teaches us how to say no to ungodly appetites and as we learn to live loved by the Father, we’ll find the fruits of the Spirit being shaped in us.

    Sorry, time doesn’t allow me to go into more detail here. I hope that helps.

    Wayne

  258. Wayne March 9, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Colleen,

    I won’t speak for the author, but as one who helped on this book, I would fully concur that the only way to the Father is through Jesus. Isn’t that what the story demonstrates? Jesus is the one leading Mack to the Father. The cross purchased our forgiveness which opened a way for us to the Father. But the cross does not just provide a way to forgive our sin, it also provided cleansing from sin and shame so we can live as God’s beloved children in the earth.

    Yes, I believe in the reality of Satan to manipulate humans and cause evil and destruction. He is not mentioned in the book, because this was about God healing a broken human, not dealing with all the theology of evil. No, grace never dismisses self-control or the fruits of the Spirit, rather grace teaches us how to say no to ungodly appetites and as we learn to live loved by the Father, we’ll find the fruits of the Spirit being shaped in us.

    Sorry, time doesn’t allow me to go into more detail here. I hope that helps.

    Wayne

  259. KC March 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I loved this book. I felt God’s love and the Holy Spirit rolling through, whispering through, thundering through the pages of this book. I am thankful that I read it because it had a profound impact on me and a very positive impact on my spiritual life. I was a psych major, and I don’t fully comprehend all of the arguments here or the nuances and hair splitting. I just thought it was a great message, and it just can’t hurt to be reminded that our God is a loving God who is “especially fond” of each of us. What could possibly be wrong with that?

  260. KC March 14, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I loved this book. I felt God’s love and the Holy Spirit rolling through, whispering through, thundering through the pages of this book. I am thankful that I read it because it had a profound impact on me and a very positive impact on my spiritual life. I was a psych major, and I don’t fully comprehend all of the arguments here or the nuances and hair splitting. I just thought it was a great message, and it just can’t hurt to be reminded that our God is a loving God who is “especially fond” of each of us. What could possibly be wrong with that?

  261. Elizabeth March 22, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I have read the book and purchased another 11 copies which I have given to friends to read. I grew up in a legalistic cult and the road to grace is a very interesting one. Thank you for your thought provoking and stimulating book!!

  262. Elizabeth March 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I have read the book and purchased another 11 copies which I have given to friends to read. I grew up in a legalistic cult and the road to grace is a very interesting one. Thank you for your thought provoking and stimulating book!!

  263. Helen March 30, 2009 at 3:43 am

    I can see how this can be construed and cause issues (even in my own home, my husband wont read it). To read the book you need to keep in mind that nothing surpasses the word of God, the bible, that He is Sovereign…
    We listen to gospel music which has become diverse but most times consistent in drawing you to God and even sometimes taking us into the presence of God….how enriching. A story like this is the same, it can take you and draw you to God and even sometimes take us in the presence of God. Does it make it gospel, most certainly not!

    Fellow brothers and sisters, God is real, he is in each and every situation, while we sleep, at work, when we’re having that fight with our spouse or child, even when we come together as one in sexual intimacy (deary me not then….yes then). Do you understand this, do you conceive the magnitude of that, importantly how does that make you feel???? That for me was the challenge of this book. Can I handle that God is there throughout….yes Helen when I’m in the places, events, happenings i shouldn’t be in? Is that not awesome yet scary….. we all want God when life is A-OK but not when we are up to what we are, I genuinely don’t want God around when I’m up to my nonsense but alas He is there all the time….comforting when I’m in that ‘valley of the shadow of death’. How awesome to know my God is faithful and there, even when as David proclaimed ‘where art Thee, have you left me, please do not hide your face from me, they came against me ……’ and so on and so on as David professes, God did not leave him. PRAISE BE TO GOD!!!!

    God is relational, He has desired this from creation, all through the old testament we see how he beckons us back to relationship with Him and even in the new testament how He sacrifices His Son to be in relation with us. John 3:16 For God so loved the world (that’s you and me) that He gave His only begotten son (that would be Jesus) that whosoever (again folks that you and me) believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Don’t just take the book and discount it but rather try and see what God opens in your heart…each person in their uniqueness something different. Like a song, you can listen to a song and cry as you feel God peeling away the hurt and yet someone else in the bottom pew, can stand in awe realising something about God, and another can be moved into such conviction. Can we therefore argue that song is there to bring healing, conviction or love……

    God will meet you at your point of need and for me this weekend God met me in questioning and praying as I read for clarity on so many points and the greatest is my greater understanding of His Omni-presence and how I not only have the Holy spirit but Jesus and God at my call 24-7. I take that away from this.

    I read a lot of Christian fiction and Jeanette Oak and Francine Rivers and some of my Christian growth has come after reading some of their works. I am challenged and I here God say, recently you have been acting like Missy, and conviction comes and the need to repent grips me…..I read Bathsheba and I look at how I came to marriage, and I realize just like her I need to forgive myself but realise its not possible alone, I need God’s involvement. Amazing!!! Each one speaks into my life and God is so interesting that as I read one book its a time God needs to get it out or deal with it. I’ve been blessed by this book and God has been so much closer than many a time this week and going forward I carry that – God is with me every day, every hour, every minute when in my nonense or living in honour of his name.

    Thank you for this write up – needed it

    Be blessed

  264. Helen March 30, 2009 at 6:43 am

    I can see how this can be construed and cause issues (even in my own home, my husband wont read it). To read the book you need to keep in mind that nothing surpasses the word of God, the bible, that He is Sovereign…
    We listen to gospel music which has become diverse but most times consistent in drawing you to God and even sometimes taking us into the presence of God….how enriching. A story like this is the same, it can take you and draw you to God and even sometimes take us in the presence of God. Does it make it gospel, most certainly not!

    Fellow brothers and sisters, God is real, he is in each and every situation, while we sleep, at work, when we’re having that fight with our spouse or child, even when we come together as one in sexual intimacy (deary me not then….yes then). Do you understand this, do you conceive the magnitude of that, importantly how does that make you feel???? That for me was the challenge of this book. Can I handle that God is there throughout….yes Helen when I’m in the places, events, happenings i shouldn’t be in? Is that not awesome yet scary….. we all want God when life is A-OK but not when we are up to what we are, I genuinely don’t want God around when I’m up to my nonsense but alas He is there all the time….comforting when I’m in that ‘valley of the shadow of death’. How awesome to know my God is faithful and there, even when as David proclaimed ‘where art Thee, have you left me, please do not hide your face from me, they came against me ……’ and so on and so on as David professes, God did not leave him. PRAISE BE TO GOD!!!!

    God is relational, He has desired this from creation, all through the old testament we see how he beckons us back to relationship with Him and even in the new testament how He sacrifices His Son to be in relation with us. John 3:16 For God so loved the world (that’s you and me) that He gave His only begotten son (that would be Jesus) that whosoever (again folks that you and me) believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Don’t just take the book and discount it but rather try and see what God opens in your heart…each person in their uniqueness something different. Like a song, you can listen to a song and cry as you feel God peeling away the hurt and yet someone else in the bottom pew, can stand in awe realising something about God, and another can be moved into such conviction. Can we therefore argue that song is there to bring healing, conviction or love……

    God will meet you at your point of need and for me this weekend God met me in questioning and praying as I read for clarity on so many points and the greatest is my greater understanding of His Omni-presence and how I not only have the Holy spirit but Jesus and God at my call 24-7. I take that away from this.

    I read a lot of Christian fiction and Jeanette Oak and Francine Rivers and some of my Christian growth has come after reading some of their works. I am challenged and I here God say, recently you have been acting like Missy, and conviction comes and the need to repent grips me…..I read Bathsheba and I look at how I came to marriage, and I realize just like her I need to forgive myself but realise its not possible alone, I need God’s involvement. Amazing!!! Each one speaks into my life and God is so interesting that as I read one book its a time God needs to get it out or deal with it. I’ve been blessed by this book and God has been so much closer than many a time this week and going forward I carry that – God is with me every day, every hour, every minute when in my nonense or living in honour of his name.

    Thank you for this write up – needed it

    Be blessed

  265. CuriousJoe April 13, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Interesting Response by a Member of the Editorial Team, but it still leaves many of the same questions he sought to answer unanswered. I heard much about this book from both sides of the aisle and waited to express my own review until I had read the book, which I recently did in one sitting on a plane ride.

    I did find the book to be well written and an interesting read that dealt with the issue of God using suffering within His will very well. This is too often a topic that the universal church fails to address, yet most of the rest of the book rubs across the grain of Biblical precepts and Theological understanding.

    In your own words you stated that “you sought to be true to the way God has revealed himself in the Bible” yet almost every page I read in the book offered contradictions to what I read in Scripture. If the Bible truly is the foundation of the book it would greatly appreciated if you defended your theological responses (above blog) with actual scripture. It is easy to say the book is based on Scripture, but I would appreciate if you actually proved it. That is the objection of most who claim the book is heretical is the contradiction is has with Scripture.

  266. Karen April 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I have read the book with an open mind, not allowing any type of negative or positive feedback to interfer with what I was looking for in this book.

    I found it refreshing, humorous, dealing with unforgiveness, lack of love……….. sounds like everyday life, doesn’t it?

    As, I read the book, I saw the symbolism that God wants us to see in Him. Love, understanding, forgiveness, unconditional love……… humans have a hard time forgiving, loving, especially when we are hurting so much…

    My prayer and excitment about this book, is the outcome. If ONE soul is reached for Jesus, just ONE,
    the heavens and angels will rejoice.

    The message stays the same, but the method of presentation has to change with the culture and today’s world.

    The pharisees were so busy trying to attack everything that Jesus tried to do on earth, that they missed the message.

    Let’s get the beam out of our eye, before we try to take the speck out of our neighbor’s eye.

  267. CuriousJoe April 13, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Interesting Response by a Member of the Editorial Team, but it still leaves many of the same questions he sought to answer unanswered. I heard much about this book from both sides of the aisle and waited to express my own review until I had read the book, which I recently did in one sitting on a plane ride.

    I did find the book to be well written and an interesting read that dealt with the issue of God using suffering within His will very well. This is too often a topic that the universal church fails to address, yet most of the rest of the book rubs across the grain of Biblical precepts and Theological understanding.

    In your own words you stated that “you sought to be true to the way God has revealed himself in the Bible” yet almost every page I read in the book offered contradictions to what I read in Scripture. If the Bible truly is the foundation of the book it would greatly appreciated if you defended your theological responses (above blog) with actual scripture. It is easy to say the book is based on Scripture, but I would appreciate if you actually proved it. That is the objection of most who claim the book is heretical is the contradiction is has with Scripture.

  268. Karen April 13, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    I have read the book with an open mind, not allowing any type of negative or positive feedback to interfer with what I was looking for in this book.

    I found it refreshing, humorous, dealing with unforgiveness, lack of love……….. sounds like everyday life, doesn’t it?

    As, I read the book, I saw the symbolism that God wants us to see in Him. Love, understanding, forgiveness, unconditional love……… humans have a hard time forgiving, loving, especially when we are hurting so much…

    My prayer and excitment about this book, is the outcome. If ONE soul is reached for Jesus, just ONE,
    the heavens and angels will rejoice.

    The message stays the same, but the method of presentation has to change with the culture and today’s world.

    The pharisees were so busy trying to attack everything that Jesus tried to do on earth, that they missed the message.

    Let’s get the beam out of our eye, before we try to take the speck out of our neighbor’s eye.

  269. Andreas May 7, 2009 at 5:00 am

    What can I say? Yesterday and today I’ve some of the heresies that seem to be in the book “The Shack”. I must read another “The Shack” Book! 😉
    Heresies? Where?
    The Shack is one of the books Papa used and uses to reveal His charakter to me and to renew my mind, freeing me from religious thoughts.
    Glory!!

  270. Andreas May 7, 2009 at 8:00 am

    What can I say? Yesterday and today I’ve some of the heresies that seem to be in the book “The Shack”. I must read another “The Shack” Book! 😉
    Heresies? Where?
    The Shack is one of the books Papa used and uses to reveal His charakter to me and to renew my mind, freeing me from religious thoughts.
    Glory!!

  271. Andrew Davenport May 8, 2009 at 7:30 am

    This book has really touched me on a deep level. I love the aspect of Father not being this white male character, instead just Love, in any form He choses.
    I had the chance to attend a conversation in Indiana with Wayne, and I am so glad and proud to see someone taking the relational love of Jesus to the next level. Wayne has the ability to write in words, what the relationship of Christ is really about.
    There are people who misinterpret the Bible and create this world of religion and fear, and if that was truly as Wayne says, “God sitting behing a billboard with a radar gun, trying to catch all your mistakes,” then NO ONE would want to spend an eternity in a relationship with boundries and conditions like that.
    God is Love. With God there is no evil, as long as we live fully in Him. Father wants us to stay in him so we won’t ever plunge into the darkness. His love will always conquer.

    p.s. I reallly recommend the book So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. This was written by Wayne, and will really challenge the way you think.

    Living in Love,
    Andrew D.

  272. Andrew Davenport May 8, 2009 at 10:30 am

    This book has really touched me on a deep level. I love the aspect of Father not being this white male character, instead just Love, in any form He choses.
    I had the chance to attend a conversation in Indiana with Wayne, and I am so glad and proud to see someone taking the relational love of Jesus to the next level. Wayne has the ability to write in words, what the relationship of Christ is really about.
    There are people who misinterpret the Bible and create this world of religion and fear, and if that was truly as Wayne says, “God sitting behing a billboard with a radar gun, trying to catch all your mistakes,” then NO ONE would want to spend an eternity in a relationship with boundries and conditions like that.
    God is Love. With God there is no evil, as long as we live fully in Him. Father wants us to stay in him so we won’t ever plunge into the darkness. His love will always conquer.

    p.s. I reallly recommend the book So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. This was written by Wayne, and will really challenge the way you think.

    Living in Love,
    Andrew D.

  273. Curtis May 19, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I’ve been amazed with some of the negative things that I’ve read concerning “The Shack”.I belong to a church that goes against the grain of church tradition,so I was able to read the book with an open mind,knowing that it was fiction,and knowing that the context of the book was spiritual in nature.I was overwhelmed by the book,because of my own experience which was similar with the character of Mack.I believe that this is what really makes the book shine:people can relate to it in a deep and profound way.To most people,this book is not about the Trinity.It is not about doctrine.It is not even about religion.The book is about forgiveness and healing.Most of the”religious bunch”can’t fathom those two things,because they don’t see themselves as needing such.So as not to sound like a Pharisee myself,I pray earnestly for every believer to come to the knowledge of the faith.This faith is not about law,for we are not under the law.(The letter kills,but the spirit gives life.)The law tells us what we can’t do,and the enemy uses it to condemn us.(There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ,who walk not after the flesh,but after the spirit.)The spirit instructs us as to what we can do.We can do great things when we know that we are loved,and that we are forgiven.Thank God that He is breathing upon His bones,and that they are beginning to arise out of the dust of circumstance.They are beginning to come together with every joint supplying every need.I appreciate the fact that Mr. Young has supplied a need.May God(Papa)richly bless him and his family.

  274. Curtis May 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I’ve been amazed with some of the negative things that I’ve read concerning “The Shack”.I belong to a church that goes against the grain of church tradition,so I was able to read the book with an open mind,knowing that it was fiction,and knowing that the context of the book was spiritual in nature.I was overwhelmed by the book,because of my own experience which was similar with the character of Mack.I believe that this is what really makes the book shine:people can relate to it in a deep and profound way.To most people,this book is not about the Trinity.It is not about doctrine.It is not even about religion.The book is about forgiveness and healing.Most of the”religious bunch”can’t fathom those two things,because they don’t see themselves as needing such.So as not to sound like a Pharisee myself,I pray earnestly for every believer to come to the knowledge of the faith.This faith is not about law,for we are not under the law.(The letter kills,but the spirit gives life.)The law tells us what we can’t do,and the enemy uses it to condemn us.(There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ,who walk not after the flesh,but after the spirit.)The spirit instructs us as to what we can do.We can do great things when we know that we are loved,and that we are forgiven.Thank God that He is breathing upon His bones,and that they are beginning to arise out of the dust of circumstance.They are beginning to come together with every joint supplying every need.I appreciate the fact that Mr. Young has supplied a need.May God(Papa)richly bless him and his family.

  275. S.Whitney June 3, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I can sincerely say that 99% of the book really blessed me and agreed with the way the Lord has revealed himself to me over the years. I have been wanting to write a book myself for a long time to portay the intimacy, tenderness and safety of the Lord’s love, in a similar fashion, as I had never found a book that did so, nor one that broke off such widely accepted religious concepts about God. However i have found over time that when there are debates on things, christians get just as carnal as non-christians by getting into a ‘us-against-them’ mentality, with both sides becoming increasingly self-righteous, arrogant and self-justifying. Since love is the higher truth, then it is most important that those backing this book supposedly for that reason should display that same attitude that they so admire in the book, and I haven’t always seen this, much to God’s grief I’m sure. I would also like to tell you something that you can prayerfully consider. Though I felt great peace and joy reading much of the book (because i see things from much the same perspective), I also felt real confusion and concern over some of the things in the book. Confusion is not a normal feeling for me when reading or listening, as i can smell legalism and religiosity a mile off and run away fast, but never before have i read something so freeing, whilst also just very occasionally feeling like I got slugged in the head with a giant piece of confusion that made it hard for me to be my normally very relaxed self with God. I want the truth of (most of) this message out there in book form very badly, but I am seriously concerned about just a few things in it. Can you please be humble enough to listen to a sincere plea – please prayerfully consider some of the concerns that you hear from people. I am genuinely concerned about page 182 because if it is really meant to say what you are convinced it does say, I just can’t see it. I was loving the book, then got to that part and read it numerous times, but i cannot get it to say what you say it says – so it might be obvious to you, because you know what you mean, but it really comes across badly and it brought great confusion to me about where the author was coming from when i read that part. I really also understand the whole relationship vs hierarchy idea is right in many situations, but not all, but I am really concerned about saying that God is submitted to us, because that really is not a healthy thing to say. I know my daddy-God as the most tender, gentle, giving, sacrificial Daddy who never forces control and only wants sincere loving caring giving and sharing out of a true love relationship etc etc, but He is still the Dad and the Head and the Source, and the Leader, and the Guide. We have to remember that in ourselves we are wretched, and it is only His wonderful Spirit within us that is good, so to say that he submits to us (‘sub’ meaning ‘under’) is a real concern to those of us who realise that everything we have and are is only because of his incredibly tender love, mercy and grace. So though He wants us to have a sincere, and incredibly open, honest, intimate and even ‘fun’ two-sided’ relationship with him, we are not equal to Him, – we are to submit to him and to one another, but he is never to submit to us. The one other real concern is that Jesus is fully God and fully man, but the Father and the Holy Spirit are not fully human, and because of the last concern I had, this really does appear that the author thinks we’re now on an equal footing with God. This may be the last thing he would think, but it does come across that way strongly. I’m sure we’ve all had times when we have said something and our listeners have told us we said something else, when we could swear that’s not what we said or meant, but the fact is that if many heard it that way, that maybe it wasn’t said well enough, and so needs to be reworded, and maybe a few sentences added to make sure the message is clear. It is also even more important to be gracious and loving and humble enough to consider that maybe the person who has ‘misunderstood’ is not an idiot, but is a sincere person, and maybe it just hasn’t been explained well enough to be sure that no-one is stumbled. I know it is very easy to assume that when you’re standing up for wonderful freeing truths that many have torn you down for in the past, that now all criticisms come from that same religious, controlling, pious spirit, but i pray that all involved with the writing etc of the book will humbly and prayerfully consider rewriting a few little bits thereby making it more clear that the books purpose is as a result of a true close and intimate walk with the Lord, for pride and defensiveness never reveals that. Thankyou again for the essential messages within, and I sincerely believe that when a few little bits are more clearly explained in a way that does not bring confusion, many more will feel free to open the book to walk in the path of joy & freedom within. Meanwhile though, this message of ‘freedom in relationship’ that i have been trying to share for years is now so wondefully portrayed in “The Shack”, but I am genuinely concerned that because of these few really scarey bits they will end up more confused at the end of the read as i did and so i really am not confident to give the book to the many who so desperately need the good stuff in it. Very Sincerely

  276. S.Whitney June 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

    I can sincerely say that 99% of the book really blessed me and agreed with the way the Lord has revealed himself to me over the years. I have been wanting to write a book myself for a long time to portay the intimacy, tenderness and safety of the Lord’s love, in a similar fashion, as I had never found a book that did so, nor one that broke off such widely accepted religious concepts about God. However i have found over time that when there are debates on things, christians get just as carnal as non-christians by getting into a ‘us-against-them’ mentality, with both sides becoming increasingly self-righteous, arrogant and self-justifying. Since love is the higher truth, then it is most important that those backing this book supposedly for that reason should display that same attitude that they so admire in the book, and I haven’t always seen this, much to God’s grief I’m sure. I would also like to tell you something that you can prayerfully consider. Though I felt great peace and joy reading much of the book (because i see things from much the same perspective), I also felt real confusion and concern over some of the things in the book. Confusion is not a normal feeling for me when reading or listening, as i can smell legalism and religiosity a mile off and run away fast, but never before have i read something so freeing, whilst also just very occasionally feeling like I got slugged in the head with a giant piece of confusion that made it hard for me to be my normally very relaxed self with God. I want the truth of (most of) this message out there in book form very badly, but I am seriously concerned about just a few things in it. Can you please be humble enough to listen to a sincere plea – please prayerfully consider some of the concerns that you hear from people. I am genuinely concerned about page 182 because if it is really meant to say what you are convinced it does say, I just can’t see it. I was loving the book, then got to that part and read it numerous times, but i cannot get it to say what you say it says – so it might be obvious to you, because you know what you mean, but it really comes across badly and it brought great confusion to me about where the author was coming from when i read that part. I really also understand the whole relationship vs hierarchy idea is right in many situations, but not all, but I am really concerned about saying that God is submitted to us, because that really is not a healthy thing to say. I know my daddy-God as the most tender, gentle, giving, sacrificial Daddy who never forces control and only wants sincere loving caring giving and sharing out of a true love relationship etc etc, but He is still the Dad and the Head and the Source, and the Leader, and the Guide. We have to remember that in ourselves we are wretched, and it is only His wonderful Spirit within us that is good, so to say that he submits to us (‘sub’ meaning ‘under’) is a real concern to those of us who realise that everything we have and are is only because of his incredibly tender love, mercy and grace. So though He wants us to have a sincere, and incredibly open, honest, intimate and even ‘fun’ two-sided’ relationship with him, we are not equal to Him, – we are to submit to him and to one another, but he is never to submit to us. The one other real concern is that Jesus is fully God and fully man, but the Father and the Holy Spirit are not fully human, and because of the last concern I had, this really does appear that the author thinks we’re now on an equal footing with God. This may be the last thing he would think, but it does come across that way strongly. I’m sure we’ve all had times when we have said something and our listeners have told us we said something else, when we could swear that’s not what we said or meant, but the fact is that if many heard it that way, that maybe it wasn’t said well enough, and so needs to be reworded, and maybe a few sentences added to make sure the message is clear. It is also even more important to be gracious and loving and humble enough to consider that maybe the person who has ‘misunderstood’ is not an idiot, but is a sincere person, and maybe it just hasn’t been explained well enough to be sure that no-one is stumbled. I know it is very easy to assume that when you’re standing up for wonderful freeing truths that many have torn you down for in the past, that now all criticisms come from that same religious, controlling, pious spirit, but i pray that all involved with the writing etc of the book will humbly and prayerfully consider rewriting a few little bits thereby making it more clear that the books purpose is as a result of a true close and intimate walk with the Lord, for pride and defensiveness never reveals that. Thankyou again for the essential messages within, and I sincerely believe that when a few little bits are more clearly explained in a way that does not bring confusion, many more will feel free to open the book to walk in the path of joy & freedom within. Meanwhile though, this message of ‘freedom in relationship’ that i have been trying to share for years is now so wondefully portrayed in “The Shack”, but I am genuinely concerned that because of these few really scarey bits they will end up more confused at the end of the read as i did and so i really am not confident to give the book to the many who so desperately need the good stuff in it. Very Sincerely

  277. Sarah Poulin June 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    The book is idolatry. What more can I say? Currently, our pastor is expositing (something that is lacking in most churches today) the book of Isaiah, and there are SO many similarities between what went on then, and what is going on now. Israel would prostitute herself to other gods, all the while they were thinking that they were worshipping Jehovah. Just like today… so many think they worship the God of the bible, but they worship an idol; and the Shack is no different.

  278. Sarah Poulin June 27, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    The book is idolatry. What more can I say? Currently, our pastor is expositing (something that is lacking in most churches today) the book of Isaiah, and there are SO many similarities between what went on then, and what is going on now. Israel would prostitute herself to other gods, all the while they were thinking that they were worshipping Jehovah. Just like today… so many think they worship the God of the bible, but they worship an idol; and the Shack is no different.

  279. Eikin Kloster July 15, 2009 at 4:25 am

    It’s only natural to expect that a book eliciting strong positive response from so many people will elicit a similarly strong negative response from quite a few. The argument of “don’t let others think for yourself, read the book” is self serving at best. Are you going to read any bestseller just because if so many read it you just might like it too? No way. People read The Shack mostly because of positive reviews from other people who read it. It makes just as much sense *not* to read it because of negative reviews.

    You go short from stating that for a book to draw strong positive responses from many people it has to be because it met some widespread deep needs. Well, drugs also draw strong positive response from millions of addicts because they too meet deep needs, so “best selling” should never be considered a final argument for the quality of a product.

    I read the Shack because of a close friend who felt deeply moved by the book and thought I might be too. It did touch me strongly, but in a negative way. At some point every time Papa chuckled I had glimpses of me shoving the book down the author’s throat. “Oh, isn’t Jesus lovely?” “Yes, I’m specially fond of him. Oh, by the way, I’m specially fond of you. And of Missy, and of Missy’s rapist… and of Hitler”. Gosh. Please. Bestsellers use to be downright irritating, but I’m specially fond of The Shack for that purpose. It plays on me like televangelists for Hannibal Lecter.

  280. Eikin Kloster July 15, 2009 at 7:25 am

    It’s only natural to expect that a book eliciting strong positive response from so many people will elicit a similarly strong negative response from quite a few. The argument of “don’t let others think for yourself, read the book” is self serving at best. Are you going to read any bestseller just because if so many read it you just might like it too? No way. People read The Shack mostly because of positive reviews from other people who read it. It makes just as much sense *not* to read it because of negative reviews.

    You go short from stating that for a book to draw strong positive responses from many people it has to be because it met some widespread deep needs. Well, drugs also draw strong positive response from millions of addicts because they too meet deep needs, so “best selling” should never be considered a final argument for the quality of a product.

    I read the Shack because of a close friend who felt deeply moved by the book and thought I might be too. It did touch me strongly, but in a negative way. At some point every time Papa chuckled I had glimpses of me shoving the book down the author’s throat. “Oh, isn’t Jesus lovely?” “Yes, I’m specially fond of him. Oh, by the way, I’m specially fond of you. And of Missy, and of Missy’s rapist… and of Hitler”. Gosh. Please. Bestsellers use to be downright irritating, but I’m specially fond of The Shack for that purpose. It plays on me like televangelists for Hannibal Lecter.

  281. Janet August 5, 2009 at 10:20 am

    First of all, let me just say that I THOROUGHLYand COMPLETELY LOVED the book “THE SHACK”. It transformed the way I thought about God and my relationship wirth Him! There were times I had to put the book down because I was weeping so hard. I have absolutely NOTHING bad to say about the book. However, I will say that those who are worshipping the BIBLE (heretic/doctrine police) and not GOD are out of step! It seems to me that they have made their “worship” of the Bible their graven image or focus of worship! Secondly, I would like to point out that Rick Warren’s excellent book “The Purpose Driven Life” also had its detractors. It just goes to show you that no matter what anyone writes, there is always someone out there who will find a way to excuse, damage, dismiss or even destroy anything that is out of their view of what is “normal”. God bless all of you who had a hand in the telling of this remarkable story and in the production of this book!

  282. Janet August 5, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    First of all, let me just say that I THOROUGHLYand COMPLETELY LOVED the book “THE SHACK”. It transformed the way I thought about God and my relationship wirth Him! There were times I had to put the book down because I was weeping so hard. I have absolutely NOTHING bad to say about the book. However, I will say that those who are worshipping the BIBLE (heretic/doctrine police) and not GOD are out of step! It seems to me that they have made their “worship” of the Bible their graven image or focus of worship! Secondly, I would like to point out that Rick Warren’s excellent book “The Purpose Driven Life” also had its detractors. It just goes to show you that no matter what anyone writes, there is always someone out there who will find a way to excuse, damage, dismiss or even destroy anything that is out of their view of what is “normal”. God bless all of you who had a hand in the telling of this remarkable story and in the production of this book!

  283. Edwin Larkin September 1, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I would find your statements on the shack more credible if you would take each criticism that the people are making and line it up with God’s word to prove that they are not contrary to sound doctrine. I see alot of subjects covered, but I have not seen a whole lot of biblical references to prove your point if any.
    I think you would be more credible if you would. The word of God is what’s being used to point out the false teachings and universalism, but I am not seeing it here to back up it’s defense.. Could somebody please explain that to me?

    http://www.ericbarger.com

  284. Edwin Larkin September 1, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    I would find your statements on the shack more credible if you would take each criticism that the people are making and line it up with God’s word to prove that they are not contrary to sound doctrine. I see alot of subjects covered, but I have not seen a whole lot of biblical references to prove your point if any.
    I think you would be more credible if you would. The word of God is what’s being used to point out the false teachings and universalism, but I am not seeing it here to back up it’s defense.. Could somebody please explain that to me?

    http://www.ericbarger.com

  285. Henry September 17, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I am mystified by the negative critique the book is getting. Do we not understand the meaning of fiction? Or of an allegory? When Jesus compared Himself to a grapevine, He was simply using imagery to drive home a single point, that of the closeness of relationship he so much desired with us.It seems to me that if God at one point had to use a donkey to get a message to Baalam, perhaps (and I would NEVER compare Paul to a donkey lol) some unorthodox method needs to get through to the North American church that we have lost our first love (Rev.2). The fact that there are so many denominations ought to give us pause as to how unlike the Father we all claim we have become. When Mennonites and Baptists can’t form one perpetual group because they can’t agree on the mode of baptism, I see the problem as being critical. Aren’t we running the risk of having what light there is being snuffed out (Rev.2:5) because we can’t give one another the unconditional love of the Father despite our differences? Aren’t we more like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day when we can’t see past the imagery of this parable in order to recapture the unlimited love our “Papa” has for us. Each time (now in the seventh go-around) I go through this book I see something more than the time before. Bless you, Paul!

  286. Henry September 17, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I am mystified by the negative critique the book is getting. Do we not understand the meaning of fiction? Or of an allegory? When Jesus compared Himself to a grapevine, He was simply using imagery to drive home a single point, that of the closeness of relationship he so much desired with us.It seems to me that if God at one point had to use a donkey to get a message to Baalam, perhaps (and I would NEVER compare Paul to a donkey lol) some unorthodox method needs to get through to the North American church that we have lost our first love (Rev.2). The fact that there are so many denominations ought to give us pause as to how unlike the Father we all claim we have become. When Mennonites and Baptists can’t form one perpetual group because they can’t agree on the mode of baptism, I see the problem as being critical. Aren’t we running the risk of having what light there is being snuffed out (Rev.2:5) because we can’t give one another the unconditional love of the Father despite our differences? Aren’t we more like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day when we can’t see past the imagery of this parable in order to recapture the unlimited love our “Papa” has for us. Each time (now in the seventh go-around) I go through this book I see something more than the time before. Bless you, Paul!

  287. Tamara Francis September 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Woah! Very interesting some of your comments. Did anyone listen to Paul Youngs’ audio testimony on Drew Marshall.ca show dated April 28th, 2008 entitled ‘Spill your guts’. I finally found this after searching for several months to discover what caused a guy to write a book like this.
    He didn’t just pull this out of the air. This was built on a foundation of breakings, anguish , struggle & a desperate searching & need to find answers to deep & crucial questions about life’s experiences sufferings. It’s an amazing & heart-breaking story & the effects the Shack has had on many peoples’ lives are equally amazing. People who off-handedly critiscise this book & write it off as heresy are mising the point & are missing out on a lot of the fine points that make up life as the exciting experience it is, sufferings warts & all when it brings us to experience & know Jesus & the Fahter’s immense love. Words don’t do the subjest justice. Tis book is fantastic as are Wayne Jacobsens books @He loves me’ 7 ‘so you don’t want to go to Church anymore?’ Very liberating & eye-opening & if understood & embraced will go a long way to liberating many people locked in differentkinds of bondage.
    Well there’s more to say perhaps but this’ll do for now. Keep living the love of Jesus Christ & giving His love to everyone who crosses our paths, more by living example & caring than by dead tradition & sermons. P. S. Don’tforget to look up Paul Young’s testimony on above website. It could change your life if the book hasn’t already.

  288. Tamara Francis September 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Woah! Very interesting some of your comments. Did anyone listen to Paul Youngs’ audio testimony on Drew Marshall.ca show dated April 28th, 2008 entitled ‘Spill your guts’. I finally found this after searching for several months to discover what caused a guy to write a book like this.
    He didn’t just pull this out of the air. This was built on a foundation of breakings, anguish , struggle & a desperate searching & need to find answers to deep & crucial questions about life’s experiences sufferings. It’s an amazing & heart-breaking story & the effects the Shack has had on many peoples’ lives are equally amazing. People who off-handedly critiscise this book & write it off as heresy are mising the point & are missing out on a lot of the fine points that make up life as the exciting experience it is, sufferings warts & all when it brings us to experience & know Jesus & the Fahter’s immense love. Words don’t do the subjest justice. Tis book is fantastic as are Wayne Jacobsens books @He loves me’ 7 ‘so you don’t want to go to Church anymore?’ Very liberating & eye-opening & if understood & embraced will go a long way to liberating many people locked in differentkinds of bondage.
    Well there’s more to say perhaps but this’ll do for now. Keep living the love of Jesus Christ & giving His love to everyone who crosses our paths, more by living example & caring than by dead tradition & sermons. P. S. Don’tforget to look up Paul Young’s testimony on above website. It could change your life if the book hasn’t already.

  289. Paul Trudeau October 7, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Someone commented above: “This past Wednesday . . . during the Q & A time someone asked him (my pastor) if AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality, and I believe that they made a reference to Romans chapter 1; this is a typical fundamentalist take on AIDS. His answer was an unequivocal no. And then he said that if you pay attention to the passage it says ‘God gave them over’ not ‘God punished them with or for’ and that often sin is it’s own punishment.”

    Did you miss this scripture right here in the sane chapter?: Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which they deserved. Romans 1:27

    AIDS is just one of the penalties deserved. How much more lucid can the Bible be?

  290. Paul Trudeau October 7, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Someone commented above: “This past Wednesday . . . during the Q & A time someone asked him (my pastor) if AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality, and I believe that they made a reference to Romans chapter 1; this is a typical fundamentalist take on AIDS. His answer was an unequivocal no. And then he said that if you pay attention to the passage it says ‘God gave them over’ not ‘God punished them with or for’ and that often sin is it’s own punishment.”

    Did you miss this scripture right here in the sane chapter?: Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which they deserved. Romans 1:27

    AIDS is just one of the penalties deserved. How much more lucid can the Bible be?

  291. Taylor November 28, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I am a Christian and recently have turned my life around. I have heard about The Shack and all the New-Age hoopla connected to it. I strongly agree that someone writing a book “The Shack” about some african american woman that’s God and an asian woman as the holy spirit. This is such heresy because The Bible is the only way to Jesus, God and The Holy Spirit which is the true trinity. I have NEVER read The Shack because who would want to be drawn into a book that was written by some false prophet? Not me!

    This is what Jesus has warned: 2 Timothy 3:16: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” I am sad to tell you that my Mother has a copy of this book. She told me today. I was surprised that she is part of the ‘Christians’ that are deceived. I thought about stealing it and burn the book. I know stealing is wrong as it says in the Commandments, but wouldn’t I be doing God a favor? Think about that.

  292. Taylor November 28, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    I am a Christian and recently have turned my life around. I have heard about The Shack and all the New-Age hoopla connected to it. I strongly agree that someone writing a book “The Shack” about some african american woman that’s God and an asian woman as the holy spirit. This is such heresy because The Bible is the only way to Jesus, God and The Holy Spirit which is the true trinity. I have NEVER read The Shack because who would want to be drawn into a book that was written by some false prophet? Not me!

    This is what Jesus has warned: 2 Timothy 3:16: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” I am sad to tell you that my Mother has a copy of this book. She told me today. I was surprised that she is part of the ‘Christians’ that are deceived. I thought about stealing it and burn the book. I know stealing is wrong as it says in the Commandments, but wouldn’t I be doing God a favor? Think about that.

  293. BWhite December 16, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    “This book flatly states that all roads do not lead to Jesus, …I don’t know how we could have been clearer”

    Seriously?!
    You can’t think of any way to be clearer?
    You are very well spoken, so I find that very hard to believe.

    I know that I could easily say that, even if I believed in Universal Reconciliation.
    Certainly, not all roads lead to Jesus. That has naught to do with whether He
    will eventually reconcile all to Himself.

  294. BWhite December 17, 2009 at 1:53 am

    “This book flatly states that all roads do not lead to Jesus, …I don’t know how we could have been clearer”

    Seriously?!
    You can’t think of any way to be clearer?
    You are very well spoken, so I find that very hard to believe.

    I know that I could easily say that, even if I believed in Universal Reconciliation.
    Certainly, not all roads lead to Jesus. That has naught to do with whether He
    will eventually reconcile all to Himself.

  295. Ted Dunn February 24, 2010 at 5:35 am

    A more appropriate question actually raised by The Shack is: Is legalism heresy? – insofar as it separates people from God Who deigned to demonstrate His abiding Love throuh the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, His Son.

    A quote I read recently stated: “People are not necessarily concerned with how orthodox the theology is. People are into the story and how the book strikes them emotionally…”
    (Lynn Garrett, Senior Religion Editor for Publishers Weekly)

    I cold not disagree more with this comment. People are fascinated by the book because of a desire for a COMPLETE understanding of God which involves the both the heart and the head. It is a book that stimulates thought and meditation and is intended for those who already know Scripture or who will be led by the Holy Spirit to immerse themselves in Scripture for a deeper understanding of God.

  296. Ted Dunn February 24, 2010 at 8:35 am

    A more appropriate question actually raised by The Shack is: Is legalism heresy? – insofar as it separates people from God Who deigned to demonstrate His abiding Love throuh the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, His Son.

    A quote I read recently stated: “People are not necessarily concerned with how orthodox the theology is. People are into the story and how the book strikes them emotionally…”
    (Lynn Garrett, Senior Religion Editor for Publishers Weekly)

    I cold not disagree more with this comment. People are fascinated by the book because of a desire for a COMPLETE understanding of God which involves the both the heart and the head. It is a book that stimulates thought and meditation and is intended for those who already know Scripture or who will be led by the Holy Spirit to immerse themselves in Scripture for a deeper understanding of God.

  297. Chad June 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    In response to: “Does it leave out discussions about church, salvation and other important aspects of Christianity?”

    While I think Mr. Jacobsen might have been a voice of Christian truth and reason on an otherwise spiritualistic and unrealistic interpretation of the Triune nature of God, I also think that in the above mentioned section he skirts around the lack of the topic of salvation mentioned in the book. Why? Because it is just not there and thus ruins the Christian message of The Shack.

    In great books like “He Loves Me” by Wayne Jacobsen himself scripture is quoted constantly. Almost all of what Jesus preached was either Old Testament scripture or His commentary on it.

    We must remember that many who have read this book are not Christian or have fallen away from God at one time or another. We must, in our lives and writings, live and breath the gospel of Jesus Christ. Two verses to consider:

    But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 ESV)

    … always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15b ESV)

  298. Chad June 29, 2010 at 2:08 am

    In response to: “Does it leave out discussions about church, salvation and other important aspects of Christianity?”

    While I think Mr. Jacobsen might have been a voice of Christian truth and reason on an otherwise spiritualistic and unrealistic interpretation of the Triune nature of God, I also think that in the above mentioned section he skirts around the lack of the topic of salvation mentioned in the book. Why? Because it is just not there and thus ruins the Christian message of The Shack.

    In great books like “He Loves Me” by Wayne Jacobsen himself scripture is quoted constantly. Almost all of what Jesus preached was either Old Testament scripture or His commentary on it.

    We must remember that many who have read this book are not Christian or have fallen away from God at one time or another. We must, in our lives and writings, live and breath the gospel of Jesus Christ. Two verses to consider:

    But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 ESV)

    … always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15b ESV)

  299. Qamar September 22, 2010 at 10:30 am

    To be honest, if you are not a Christian, you probably won’t see the problem with the Shack. As a true Christian, you are able to discern the heresy in this book. Not only is it heretical in it’s depiction of a mother goddess but it teaches “Christ Consciousness”. This book is completely NEW AGE. It’s blatantly New Age and that is the reason people wouldn’t take it on. The elite and NWO agendist know that you can’t be blatantly anything or people will call them out on it. So the best way to slip you the pill is to put it in something sweet and give it to you little by little. The Shack doesn’t do that. My prayer is that people truly repent and turn to the Biblical Jesus. New Age in America is running rampant and the few of us that will stand for the Biblical Jesus will not be popular (probably will be hated) for speaking truth to a world that is bent on loving lies but we will continue to do so because Jesus is calling for all to come to Him for salvation. We must continue to expose New Age/Occultic/Satanic deception and preach the TRUE GOSPEL OF CHRIST JESUS found in the Bible.

  300. Qamar September 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    To be honest, if you are not a Christian, you probably won’t see the problem with the Shack. As a true Christian, you are able to discern the heresy in this book. Not only is it heretical in it’s depiction of a mother goddess but it teaches “Christ Consciousness”. This book is completely NEW AGE. It’s blatantly New Age and that is the reason people wouldn’t take it on. The elite and NWO agendist know that you can’t be blatantly anything or people will call them out on it. So the best way to slip you the pill is to put it in something sweet and give it to you little by little. The Shack doesn’t do that. My prayer is that people truly repent and turn to the Biblical Jesus. New Age in America is running rampant and the few of us that will stand for the Biblical Jesus will not be popular (probably will be hated) for speaking truth to a world that is bent on loving lies but we will continue to do so because Jesus is calling for all to come to Him for salvation. We must continue to expose New Age/Occultic/Satanic deception and preach the TRUE GOSPEL OF CHRIST JESUS found in the Bible.

  301. shane October 24, 2010 at 1:39 am

    I was just 7 years old when I started going to church, and to be honest, I never knew, what God’s promise to us. They only things I knew is that, He is the Son of the Lord, who gave His life for His love for us. And that he was crucified in cross because of our sin. This things, sink me in, and this made me a better person. But just 1 year ago, I learned from a servant leader how God work for us with his Holy Spirit. That we are so lucky that even we not able to see Him, His words remain on us forever.

  302. shane October 24, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I was just 7 years old when I started going to church, and to be honest, I never knew, what God’s promise to us. They only things I knew is that, He is the Son of the Lord, who gave His life for His love for us. And that he was crucified in cross because of our sin. This things, sink me in, and this made me a better person. But just 1 year ago, I learned from a servant leader how God work for us with his Holy Spirit. That we are so lucky that even we not able to see Him, His words remain on us forever.

  303. Mor November 1, 2010 at 7:04 am

    I found so much resonance in my spirit & soul as I read this book. My heart leapt for joy. I kept saying to my self, ” Of course God is this good “. In my head I somehow know it, but my wounded heart wont accept it. So during my reading time I felt God’s delight and pleasure and pure joy.

  304. Mor November 1, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I found so much resonance in my spirit & soul as I read this book. My heart leapt for joy. I kept saying to my self, ” Of course God is this good “. In my head I somehow know it, but my wounded heart wont accept it. So during my reading time I felt God’s delight and pleasure and pure joy.

  305. Ken Rayburn December 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I thought the book was a wonderful realization that the notion of living ones life as a Christian does not have to be driven out of fear. Fear of going to Hell or fear of being shunned by God or from those that make the rules. I have always felt that Jesus not only died for the sins of mankind but was an example of how we should live as humans and parents with unconditional love for our children and this wonderful earth that he created. If people would spend more time outdoors enjoying his creations and experiencing the wonder of his design and less time under a roof surrounded by four walls condemning those who do not share the belief and the discipline of their rules that they impose on others they would really feel what it is like to be born again. I am born again every time I see a mountain, a hummingbird, a lizard, or flower. I am born again every time I see the stars in my children’s eyes when they say. “I love you Daddy”.

    What I went away with from The Shack was not just a confirmation of what I already believed but a deeper understanding of why we cannot doubt his presence because of the evil in the world. The pain I feel from loosing my loved ones is overshadowed by the legacy of love that they left me. I know that many are not so lucky, and it is those people that we must show the way by example and unconditional love. If it takes 47 times to show kindness before someone accepts it then just consider it as paying forward for those that were kind to you. If you have never felt the kindness of another human being then be kind to others yourself and you will see what happens.

    For those of you that say The Shack is Heresy then I say to you to stop dissecting it like you dissect the Bible that has been edited hundreds of time by man. You are reading to much criticism into to something that was written by a team of people that care about humanity. Stop it with all your rules and teach love and fellowship. You cannot find a more beautiful church and school than this perfect earth that he created.

    Spend your time nurturing this planet in stead of raping it for all of it’s gifts that he put here for us.

  306. Ken Rayburn December 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I thought the book was a wonderful realization that the notion of living ones life as a Christian does not have to be driven out of fear. Fear of going to Hell or fear of being shunned by God or from those that make the rules. I have always felt that Jesus not only died for the sins of mankind but was an example of how we should live as humans and parents with unconditional love for our children and this wonderful earth that he created. If people would spend more time outdoors enjoying his creations and experiencing the wonder of his design and less time under a roof surrounded by four walls condemning those who do not share the belief and the discipline of their rules that they impose on others they would really feel what it is like to be born again. I am born again every time I see a mountain, a hummingbird, a lizard, or flower. I am born again every time I see the stars in my children’s eyes when they say. “I love you Daddy”.

    What I went away with from The Shack was not just a confirmation of what I already believed but a deeper understanding of why we cannot doubt his presence because of the evil in the world. The pain I feel from loosing my loved ones is overshadowed by the legacy of love that they left me. I know that many are not so lucky, and it is those people that we must show the way by example and unconditional love. If it takes 47 times to show kindness before someone accepts it then just consider it as paying forward for those that were kind to you. If you have never felt the kindness of another human being then be kind to others yourself and you will see what happens.

    For those of you that say The Shack is Heresy then I say to you to stop dissecting it like you dissect the Bible that has been edited hundreds of time by man. You are reading to much criticism into to something that was written by a team of people that care about humanity. Stop it with all your rules and teach love and fellowship. You cannot find a more beautiful church and school than this perfect earth that he created.

    Spend your time nurturing this planet in stead of raping it for all of it’s gifts that he put here for us.

  307. Ian Vincent January 20, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Wayne, I think there are some loose-ends in your defense of THE SHACK. Your position regarding the author, William Young : he believes in UR, and you say that you don’t. By collaboratiing with someone who believes in UR it sends a message that you think it’s a light matter; a take-it-or-leave-it matter.

    Note, i’m not talking about guilt by association. I’m asking whether you take the doctrine of UR lightly.

    The “god of UR” is not the God of the Bible.

  308. Ian Vincent January 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Wayne, I think there are some loose-ends in your defense of THE SHACK. Your position regarding the author, William Young : he believes in UR, and you say that you don’t. By collaboratiing with someone who believes in UR it sends a message that you think it’s a light matter; a take-it-or-leave-it matter.

    Note, i’m not talking about guilt by association. I’m asking whether you take the doctrine of UR lightly.

    The “god of UR” is not the God of the Bible.

  309. Wayne January 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Truly, Ian, there are some erroneous assumptions in your comment. I refused to help William Young on his book until he told me he was willing to let go of his openness toward a UR and was willing expunge it from the manuscript. The other two of us who helped on this book don’t believe or advocate that position and have publicly affirmed such many times. That errant theology is not a light matter to me, but I still love people who hold that view and be in conversations with them in hopes that they will find a better light. But I don’t think God rejects people just because they are wrong on something like that, any more that God has rejected me for hold views that were not worthy of him. He is still teaching me his ways and transforming my thinking. The God of UR is not the God of the Bible, but I am grateful that God has an enduring patience to walk with us even in our misunderstandings of him until he wins us to Truth!

  310. Wayne January 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Truly, Ian, there are some erroneous assumptions in your comment. I refused to help William Young on his book until he told me he was willing to let go of his openness toward a UR and was willing expunge it from the manuscript. The other two of us who helped on this book don’t believe or advocate that position and have publicly affirmed such many times. That errant theology is not a light matter to me, but I still love people who hold that view and be in conversations with them in hopes that they will find a better light. But I don’t think God rejects people just because they are wrong on something like that, any more that God has rejected me for hold views that were not worthy of him. He is still teaching me his ways and transforming my thinking. The God of UR is not the God of the Bible, but I am grateful that God has an enduring patience to walk with us even in our misunderstandings of him until he wins us to Truth!

  311. Ian Vincent January 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks Wayne for your reply.

    Does William Young still believe in UR?

    If so, was his decision to delete his references to UR out of the draft simply a pragmatic business decision, so that the book will sell more copies?

  312. Jim January 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    ken said

    “I am born again every time I see a mountain, a hummingbird, a lizard, or flower. I am born again every time I see the stars in my children’s eyes when they say. “I love you Daddy”.

    “You cannot find a more beautiful church and school than this perfect earth that he created. ”

    Ken – you are showing off the rotten fruit that books like the shack help fertalize. The earth is fallen, and full of sin including idolatry. Carving a mental image and calling it “god” is one of the greatest manifestations of our fallen nature. The one true God calls you to absolutely repent of your sin and turn to Him with your whole heart. You may concieve a thousand flattering lies to come against this truth, but the kingdom of heaven presses ahead regardless while you play make believe in a land of sinful dellusion. Google the good person test sometime. Best wishes to you.

    -Jim

    “1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. “

  313. Ian Vincent January 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks Wayne for your reply.

    Does William Young still believe in UR?

    If so, was his decision to delete his references to UR out of the draft simply a pragmatic business decision, so that the book will sell more copies?

  314. Jim January 22, 2011 at 12:52 am

    ken said

    “I am born again every time I see a mountain, a hummingbird, a lizard, or flower. I am born again every time I see the stars in my children’s eyes when they say. “I love you Daddy”.

    “You cannot find a more beautiful church and school than this perfect earth that he created. ”

    Ken – you are showing off the rotten fruit that books like the shack help fertalize. The earth is fallen, and full of sin including idolatry. Carving a mental image and calling it “god” is one of the greatest manifestations of our fallen nature. The one true God calls you to absolutely repent of your sin and turn to Him with your whole heart. You may concieve a thousand flattering lies to come against this truth, but the kingdom of heaven presses ahead regardless while you play make believe in a land of sinful dellusion. Google the good person test sometime. Best wishes to you.

    -Jim

    “1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. “

  315. Wayne January 22, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Ian, I probably need to clarify something here. By UR I am referring to ultimate reconciliation, the believe that in the end (even through hell) God will reconcile all things and every one to himself. I am not referring to universalism which is the idea that all religions and philosophies point to the same God. William Young has never advocated for universalism to my knowledge. You’d have to ask Mr. Young what he believes today. I’m not comfortable speaking for any one else’s beliefs. I also can’t speak for what he did at the time. Did he abandon his advocacy of that belief just to get my help? I certainly hope not and never got the impression that was so. I can say that during our rewrites of the manuscript he was incredibly excited about the changes and how it captured a loving Father without the UR overtones. These were not business decisions. We had no idea at the time that the book would become such a phenomenon. Our only purpose was try to put the best picture of God as we know him into a story of pain and healing.

  316. Wayne January 22, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Jim, I almost didn’t approve your comment because it is so mean-spirited, but occasionally a bad example of human exchange can be an incredible lesson for others. I know you think you have a corner on truth here, but you couldn’t be more wrong. So even your good intentions become as destructive as they are untrue. Even through the brokenness of creation God makes himself known in the flowers of the fields, and the glory of the heavens. Have you never read Job or Psalms, or most other books of the Bible? God entreats people with his love and gracefulness and when people see him for who he is they will repent and turn to him with their heart. Hate the book if you want, but rain on someone else’s parade, just because you don’t understand it.

  317. Wayne January 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Ian, I probably need to clarify something here. By UR I am referring to ultimate reconciliation, the believe that in the end (even through hell) God will reconcile all things and every one to himself. I am not referring to universalism which is the idea that all religions and philosophies point to the same God. William Young has never advocated for universalism to my knowledge. You’d have to ask Mr. Young what he believes today. I’m not comfortable speaking for any one else’s beliefs. I also can’t speak for what he did at the time. Did he abandon his advocacy of that belief just to get my help? I certainly hope not and never got the impression that was so. I can say that during our rewrites of the manuscript he was incredibly excited about the changes and how it captured a loving Father without the UR overtones. These were not business decisions. We had no idea at the time that the book would become such a phenomenon. Our only purpose was try to put the best picture of God as we know him into a story of pain and healing.

  318. Wayne January 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Jim, I almost didn’t approve your comment because it is so mean-spirited, but occasionally a bad example of human exchange can be an incredible lesson for others. I know you think you have a corner on truth here, but you couldn’t be more wrong. So even your good intentions become as destructive as they are untrue. Even through the brokenness of creation God makes himself known in the flowers of the fields, and the glory of the heavens. Have you never read Job or Psalms, or most other books of the Bible? God entreats people with his love and gracefulness and when people see him for who he is they will repent and turn to him with their heart. Hate the book if you want, but rain on someone else’s parade, just because you don’t understand it.

  319. Ian Vincent January 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Wayne,

    Thanks again for your clarification.

    Yes, i was not confusing UR with Universalism, but please tell me what is the essential difference between the two, if all people are eventually reconciled to God anyway? One may as well be a Hindu or whatever, if the Bible says that God will eventually reconcile everyone to Christ.

    On the matter of your relationship to William Young, i find it astounding that you could work so closely with a brother in Christ, but now, some time later, not know, or not care to know, what he believes?

  320. Ian Vincent January 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Wayne,

    Thanks again for your clarification.

    Yes, i was not confusing UR with Universalism, but please tell me what is the essential difference between the two, if all people are eventually reconciled to God anyway? One may as well be a Hindu or whatever, if the Bible says that God will eventually reconcile everyone to Christ.

    On the matter of your relationship to William Young, i find it astounding that you could work so closely with a brother in Christ, but now, some time later, not know, or not care to know, what he believes?

  321. Jim January 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Wayne –

    You a true emergent manipulator who may take comfort in lies until the day your heart stops beating and you appear at the judgment seat of the God of the Bible… not the idol God of the shack. Maybe you should post this comment too with a note for readers to google an article titled “a false reformation called emergent”.

    I hope you will read it at leas,t as it may shake up your corner on untruth (which is quite large).

    -Jim

  322. Wayne January 23, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Jim,

    With your vast knowledge of Scripture have you read anything about being a false witness. I am not emergent, have never been emergent, and am not in that conversation with people. Guilt by association is a pretty cheap tactic when you can think of nothing else. I have no fear about standing before God some day for the things I’ve said and written. Why? I was with him this morning, and though his glory does come from earthen vessels and there is much in me he is still transforming, I have been reconciled to him through the Son and enjoy a growing communion with him. To be honest, however, people with your arrogance are a real turn-off. The depiction of God in the Shack is a contribution by three of his followers about what they have come to know and understand at that stage of their journeys. And we drew from Scripture to form that picture. Whether you understood it or not, liked it or not, you you don’t have to be obnoxious about it. He asked us to love others as we have been loved by him. Is that so hard to do?

  323. Jim January 23, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Wayne-

    The funny thing is you have unrightously judged me just as you claim I am doing. I work with the homeless, violent street gangs, home fellowship, and am not part of any denomination that seeks to corner truth… only the whole council of the word of God. Speaking of love, when a child molester “loves” a child that is hard to accept too isnt it. Please DONT think I am refering to you – only to some of those who you are associated with. There actually may be some guilt by association there if you let spiritual pedophiles into the house though wouldnt you say? Here are a couple of things the Lord has shown me on this in the past.. I realize that you have tradition, reputation, and possibly money at stake so it may be hard for you to accept but here is part of something I wrote.. It uses parables and such so I hope it will be accepted as part of the conversation, and I do thank you for the back and forth, sorry if I have been harsh in an undo manner. -Jim

  324. Wayne January 23, 2011 at 11:03 am

    My point was that you see no problem accusing me of a point of view I don’t hold and using a term for my theology I don’t embrace. How is that an honest and fair discussion, Jim. In my experience those who most vociferously claim to have the “whole counsel of God” never do. We all know in part and see in part, until the perfect comes. Those who I’ve met in the world who know Truth the best and live it most freely, do so with a humility and grace that would never claim to have it all figured out. I deleted your article for two reasons. Comparing brothers and sisters in the emergent conversation to pedophiles is way beyond the pale. Secondly, you’ve made your views clear here and I don’t want anyone turning my blog their personal pulpit.

  325. Wayne January 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Ian, my blog isn’t really a place for a conversation and I have way too much to do to get into an detailed analysis of doctrines I don’t espouse. Simply universalism believes all beliefs will eventually lead to God. Ultimate reconciliation recognizes that only Christ is the light and other religious approaches are wrong, but that everyone will ultimately come to his light. And please don’t make assumptions about my concern for Mr. Young. In his rising fame he has distanced himself from everyone who was involved in helping him out with THE SHACK in those early days. I haven’t had a conversation with him in two years though I have offered it many attempts. Since he is acting now in ways that are inconsistent with what we wrote about relationships, I’m unsure what he truly believes about anything. As I said, far better to ask him.

  326. Jim January 23, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Wayne –

    You a true emergent manipulator who may take comfort in lies until the day your heart stops beating and you appear at the judgment seat of the God of the Bible… not the idol God of the shack. Maybe you should post this comment too with a note for readers to google an article titled “a false reformation called emergent”.

    I hope you will read it at leas,t as it may shake up your corner on untruth (which is quite large).

    -Jim

  327. Wayne January 23, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Jim,

    With your vast knowledge of Scripture have you read anything about being a false witness. I am not emergent, have never been emergent, and am not in that conversation with people. Guilt by association is a pretty cheap tactic when you can think of nothing else. I have no fear about standing before God some day for the things I’ve said and written. Why? I was with him this morning, and though his glory does come from earthen vessels and there is much in me he is still transforming, I have been reconciled to him through the Son and enjoy a growing communion with him. To be honest, however, people with your arrogance are a real turn-off. The depiction of God in the Shack is a contribution by three of his followers about what they have come to know and understand at that stage of their journeys. And we drew from Scripture to form that picture. Whether you understood it or not, liked it or not, you you don’t have to be obnoxious about it. He asked us to love others as we have been loved by him. Is that so hard to do?

  328. Jim January 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Wayne-

    The funny thing is you have unrightously judged me just as you claim I am doing. I work with the homeless, violent street gangs, home fellowship, and am not part of any denomination that seeks to corner truth… only the whole council of the word of God. Speaking of love, when a child molester “loves” a child that is hard to accept too isnt it. Please DONT think I am refering to you – only to some of those who you are associated with. There actually may be some guilt by association there if you let spiritual pedophiles into the house though wouldnt you say? Here are a couple of things the Lord has shown me on this in the past.. I realize that you have tradition, reputation, and possibly money at stake so it may be hard for you to accept but here is part of something I wrote.. It uses parables and such so I hope it will be accepted as part of the conversation, and I do thank you for the back and forth, sorry if I have been harsh in an undo manner. -Jim

  329. Wayne January 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    My point was that you see no problem accusing me of a point of view I don’t hold and using a term for my theology I don’t embrace. How is that an honest and fair discussion, Jim. In my experience those who most vociferously claim to have the “whole counsel of God” never do. We all know in part and see in part, until the perfect comes. Those who I’ve met in the world who know Truth the best and live it most freely, do so with a humility and grace that would never claim to have it all figured out. I deleted your article for two reasons. Comparing brothers and sisters in the emergent conversation to pedophiles is way beyond the pale. Secondly, you’ve made your views clear here and I don’t want anyone turning my blog their personal pulpit.

  330. Wayne January 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Ian, my blog isn’t really a place for a conversation and I have way too much to do to get into an detailed analysis of doctrines I don’t espouse. Simply universalism believes all beliefs will eventually lead to God. Ultimate reconciliation recognizes that only Christ is the light and other religious approaches are wrong, but that everyone will ultimately come to his light. And please don’t make assumptions about my concern for Mr. Young. In his rising fame he has distanced himself from everyone who was involved in helping him out with THE SHACK in those early days. I haven’t had a conversation with him in two years though I have offered it many attempts. Since he is acting now in ways that are inconsistent with what we wrote about relationships, I’m unsure what he truly believes about anything. As I said, far better to ask him.

  331. Ken March 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Wayne

    Love your work brother. Very, very encouraging to both my wife and myself.
    I do have a concern regarding yours and others usage of the Trinitarian model as a tool to teach agape love based (family based) relationship with God and with each other (His ecclesia).

    Should you and your associates wish to work with this model and fly the flag of ‘Trinitarianism’ , you would do well to familiarize yourselves with some of the essential tenants of the doctrine, particularly the highly fought over Latin word persona which originally meant a mask worn by an actor on the stage. Taking this word to mean ‘an individual’ such as Tom, Dick or Harry and portraying God in such terms was anathema to those formulating the doctrine (denounced as tritheism) and to do so is a clear departure from the doctrine of the Trinity. (‘The Shack’, while only a work of fiction, clearly portrays Yahweh in exactly these terms and clearly encourages people to interact with Him accordingly).

    Most scholars acknowledge that Trinitarian theology is not only contradictory and confusing but is fraught with dangers. Two of the most common dangers are:
    1) The more you argue for three ‘distinct different persons’ against ‘one and the same person’ in the Godhead, the more you argue for polytheism/tritheism e.g. the argument that the term ‘person’ (persona) in the Trinitarian formula does not hold the same meaning as in common usage (one individual) is quickly negated (or contradicted) when it is argued that:
    – these three ‘persons’ are not the same (are distinct to one another i.e. the Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, the Son is not the Holy Spirit and vice versa)
    -all three have personhood (their own individual consciousness)
    -have a relationship with each other
    -submit to each other
    -each has a will, intellect and emotions (have personality)
    -each have different attributes and abilities
    -the Logos came in the flesh and is still in the flesh while the other two never came in the flesh
    -these three are one in unity only (not one numerically)
    -all three are eternal, coequal, all powerful and;
    -all three are God
    [interesting enough, most acknowledge that the accusation that Trinitarian doctrine teaches polytheism/tritheism or some form of a ‘three headed’ God, has never actually been refuted, it has only ever been denied]

    2) In personal devotions, Trinitarianism encourages one to practice a form of polytheism by treating the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as three completely different individuals/persons and having completely different relationships with each of them. Your perspective of Trinitarian theology (especially ‘The Shack’) strongly encourages believers to engage in exactly this form of relationship with Yahweh.
    While no doubt those who do so are well intentioned (yourself, other authors of ‘The Shack’, Frank Viola etc.), venturing into any form of ‘relational polytheism/tritheism’ crosses a line that constitutes a departure from Trinitarian theology which Trinitarian scholars since the Reformation would identify and reject as heresy.

    My point is this, there are many believers who are “learning to live deeply in the reality of God’s life and presence” without reference to any ‘ontological model’ i.e. Trinitarianism, Modalism or any other ‘model’. Subsequently, this begs the question … can the ‘means’ of a distorted Trinitarianism which endorses ‘relational polytheism’ be justified by the ‘ends’ of “learning to live deeply in the reality of God’s life and presence”?

    With the privilege of hindsight, I have no doubt that the unity of God’s family would have been better served if the outcome of the fourth century had been a statement of orthodoxy (sound doctrine) re-Jesus divinity and humanity rather than trying to make any one particular ‘ontological model’ the basis of orthodoxy i.e. Modalism, Trinitarianism or any other ‘model’. I felt the Nicene Creed came closest to achieving this.
    An example of a statement of orthodoxy, which also would fulfill this criteria:
    Yahweh (God’s personal name which is ‘swapped’-not translated- with ‘the LORD’ over 6800 times) is God (Elohim/Theos) and;
    Yahweh is the ‘Father’, Yahweh is the ‘Logos [Son/Jesus]’ and Yahweh is the ‘Holy Spirit’.
    Qualifying this statement with Jn1: 1- 14 and 1Tim3: 16 i.e. that Jesus is fully God and fully man and “great is the mystery” of how this is.

    Also I think the real tragedy of the time (fourth century) was the setting of a precedent which to this day has not yet been successfully reversed i.e. rather than establishing/reinforcing that we must be ‘right’ in relationship (through repentance and belief) to be ‘right’ with God (basis of a gift-based salvation), they instead established (and reinforced through excommunication and anathemas/curses) that we must be ‘right’ in ‘beliefs and practices’ (issues and task) to be ‘right’ with God (basis of a works-based salvation).

  332. Ken March 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Wayne

    Love your work brother. Very, very encouraging to both my wife and myself.
    I do have a concern regarding yours and others usage of the Trinitarian model as a tool to teach agape love based (family based) relationship with God and with each other (His ecclesia).

    Should you and your associates wish to work with this model and fly the flag of ‘Trinitarianism’ , you would do well to familiarize yourselves with some of the essential tenants of the doctrine, particularly the highly fought over Latin word persona which originally meant a mask worn by an actor on the stage. Taking this word to mean ‘an individual’ such as Tom, Dick or Harry and portraying God in such terms was anathema to those formulating the doctrine (denounced as tritheism) and to do so is a clear departure from the doctrine of the Trinity. (‘The Shack’, while only a work of fiction, clearly portrays Yahweh in exactly these terms and clearly encourages people to interact with Him accordingly).

    Most scholars acknowledge that Trinitarian theology is not only contradictory and confusing but is fraught with dangers. Two of the most common dangers are:
    1) The more you argue for three ‘distinct different persons’ against ‘one and the same person’ in the Godhead, the more you argue for polytheism/tritheism e.g. the argument that the term ‘person’ (persona) in the Trinitarian formula does not hold the same meaning as in common usage (one individual) is quickly negated (or contradicted) when it is argued that:
    – these three ‘persons’ are not the same (are distinct to one another i.e. the Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, the Son is not the Holy Spirit and vice versa)
    -all three have personhood (their own individual consciousness)
    -have a relationship with each other
    -submit to each other
    -each has a will, intellect and emotions (have personality)
    -each have different attributes and abilities
    -the Logos came in the flesh and is still in the flesh while the other two never came in the flesh
    -these three are one in unity only (not one numerically)
    -all three are eternal, coequal, all powerful and;
    -all three are God
    [interesting enough, most acknowledge that the accusation that Trinitarian doctrine teaches polytheism/tritheism or some form of a ‘three headed’ God, has never actually been refuted, it has only ever been denied]

    2) In personal devotions, Trinitarianism encourages one to practice a form of polytheism by treating the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as three completely different individuals/persons and having completely different relationships with each of them. Your perspective of Trinitarian theology (especially ‘The Shack’) strongly encourages believers to engage in exactly this form of relationship with Yahweh.
    While no doubt those who do so are well intentioned (yourself, other authors of ‘The Shack’, Frank Viola etc.), venturing into any form of ‘relational polytheism/tritheism’ crosses a line that constitutes a departure from Trinitarian theology which Trinitarian scholars since the Reformation would identify and reject as heresy.

    My point is this, there are many believers who are “learning to live deeply in the reality of God’s life and presence” without reference to any ‘ontological model’ i.e. Trinitarianism, Modalism or any other ‘model’. Subsequently, this begs the question … can the ‘means’ of a distorted Trinitarianism which endorses ‘relational polytheism’ be justified by the ‘ends’ of “learning to live deeply in the reality of God’s life and presence”?

    With the privilege of hindsight, I have no doubt that the unity of God’s family would have been better served if the outcome of the fourth century had been a statement of orthodoxy (sound doctrine) re-Jesus divinity and humanity rather than trying to make any one particular ‘ontological model’ the basis of orthodoxy i.e. Modalism, Trinitarianism or any other ‘model’. I felt the Nicene Creed came closest to achieving this.
    An example of a statement of orthodoxy, which also would fulfill this criteria:
    Yahweh (God’s personal name which is ‘swapped’-not translated- with ‘the LORD’ over 6800 times) is God (Elohim/Theos) and;
    Yahweh is the ‘Father’, Yahweh is the ‘Logos [Son/Jesus]’ and Yahweh is the ‘Holy Spirit’.
    Qualifying this statement with Jn1: 1- 14 and 1Tim3: 16 i.e. that Jesus is fully God and fully man and “great is the mystery” of how this is.

    Also I think the real tragedy of the time (fourth century) was the setting of a precedent which to this day has not yet been successfully reversed i.e. rather than establishing/reinforcing that we must be ‘right’ in relationship (through repentance and belief) to be ‘right’ with God (basis of a gift-based salvation), they instead established (and reinforced through excommunication and anathemas/curses) that we must be ‘right’ in ‘beliefs and practices’ (issues and task) to be ‘right’ with God (basis of a works-based salvation).

  333. Rebecca Gate November 25, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Thank you Wayne for taking the time to write all that down. I read The Shack a couple of weeks ago and it is an amazing, beautiful book.

    I excitedly asked my friend if she had read it, and was shocked at her vehement response, claiming it was heresy and although there were a couple of “nice bits” that we shouldnt read it or encourage others too (I borrowed it off someone who felt the same as me and am buying my own copy so I can read it again!). I was a bit upset, afterall, no-one wants to believe in false thinking, but I think we are so afraid of doing that, that we close our minds to anything slightly different than what we’ve been told. I did a search this morning about The Shack Heresy and I have to say I cant believe that people have read the same book I did. Some people have a very specific “13 heretics” from the book, all of which are rubbish. For each one they were complaining about, I remember reading in The Shack the complete opposite from what they are implying!

    I guess the two big ones that people are freaking out about are that God is portrayed as a big black woman, again the book clearly explains what is going on and why God does this (in the story). For me, it doesnt matter whether God appears to us as a burning bush, a pillar of fire or a black lady, all are quite clearly God, and I believe in a Father who cares enough to meet us exactly we where we are and what we need at the time.

    The second would be the portrayal of the Trinity. The bit of the book that I found most breathtaking if I’m honest. The picture of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the perfect relationship between them I found incredibly moving, and an explanation that seemed to “make sense” of the Trinity. All different and yet as one. The picture of what “relationship” should be and the thought of a world where everyone related to each other in submission, with no need for hierarchy, would be a beautiful place indeed.

    Everything else aside, the people who are claiming all these evil conspiracies, seem to be forgetting that its a fictional book and has never claimed to be replacing the bible! I felt it tackled difficult subjects, head on, and was not afraid in answering them as I feel God would answer them, if we were to be brave enough to ask Him outright!

    I found your “comeback” for want of a better phrase, whilst looking through all the ridiculous accusations, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. If reading this book has made me want to deepen my relationship with Jesus, so I may get to a point of complete trust, submission, and love, where even I may call Him “Papa” makes me look foolish, then so be it.

    I just wish I was brave enough to argue my point with the friends who dont agree! lol

  334. Rebecca Gate November 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Thank you Wayne for taking the time to write all that down. I read The Shack a couple of weeks ago and it is an amazing, beautiful book.

    I excitedly asked my friend if she had read it, and was shocked at her vehement response, claiming it was heresy and although there were a couple of “nice bits” that we shouldnt read it or encourage others too (I borrowed it off someone who felt the same as me and am buying my own copy so I can read it again!). I was a bit upset, afterall, no-one wants to believe in false thinking, but I think we are so afraid of doing that, that we close our minds to anything slightly different than what we’ve been told. I did a search this morning about The Shack Heresy and I have to say I cant believe that people have read the same book I did. Some people have a very specific “13 heretics” from the book, all of which are rubbish. For each one they were complaining about, I remember reading in The Shack the complete opposite from what they are implying!

    I guess the two big ones that people are freaking out about are that God is portrayed as a big black woman, again the book clearly explains what is going on and why God does this (in the story). For me, it doesnt matter whether God appears to us as a burning bush, a pillar of fire or a black lady, all are quite clearly God, and I believe in a Father who cares enough to meet us exactly we where we are and what we need at the time.

    The second would be the portrayal of the Trinity. The bit of the book that I found most breathtaking if I’m honest. The picture of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the perfect relationship between them I found incredibly moving, and an explanation that seemed to “make sense” of the Trinity. All different and yet as one. The picture of what “relationship” should be and the thought of a world where everyone related to each other in submission, with no need for hierarchy, would be a beautiful place indeed.

    Everything else aside, the people who are claiming all these evil conspiracies, seem to be forgetting that its a fictional book and has never claimed to be replacing the bible! I felt it tackled difficult subjects, head on, and was not afraid in answering them as I feel God would answer them, if we were to be brave enough to ask Him outright!

    I found your “comeback” for want of a better phrase, whilst looking through all the ridiculous accusations, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. If reading this book has made me want to deepen my relationship with Jesus, so I may get to a point of complete trust, submission, and love, where even I may call Him “Papa” makes me look foolish, then so be it.

    I just wish I was brave enough to argue my point with the friends who dont agree! lol

  335. Nin January 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I would like to say that I was raised as a Catholic but I was never taught the Holy Trinity as the church spoke different language from mine. I didn’t find out about the Holy Trinity until about few years ago. I always found myself struggling with reading the Bible and later, I denounced it. I just don’t understand why human kept referring to the Sculptures when it was written by men, who were obviously not perfect and use verses to ‘prove’ something to be the truth. It didn’t make sense when I was reading the Bible and that Jesus was the son, God was the Father, and Holy Spirit was the powers within. I wasn’t ready to embrace the Trinity concept either. I understood the surface and didn’t embrace the concept till AFTER reading the book. It confirmed my feelings when I was reading the Bible, believing there is only one the same, God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. As opposed to most people who takes ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ literally.

    It wasn’t like “Geez, I feel so much better” or “My feelings were correct” effect. Instead it was more “Now everything makes sense” and I was talking about the Bible- not the book. Things were getting together like puzzles. Trinity actually makes more sense to me than separate entities. I’m not talking about the doctrine that was developed by philosophers but the concept behind it that makes sense to me rather than the ‘IM THE FIRST AND THE LAST’ verse that often used to support the Trinity. There is so much more than just the story of God and Jesus from the beginning to the end.

    And plus, I have always believed that we should take Bible as humble example of our lives, not following rigorously. Sadly, there are people are still referring to Bible verses to say this book is a hersey. Heck, the bible was written in the human paradigm. I felt that the book was pretty self-freeing. Does that make sense?

  336. Nin January 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I would like to say that I was raised as a Catholic but I was never taught the Holy Trinity as the church spoke different language from mine. I didn’t find out about the Holy Trinity until about few years ago. I always found myself struggling with reading the Bible and later, I denounced it. I just don’t understand why human kept referring to the Sculptures when it was written by men, who were obviously not perfect and use verses to ‘prove’ something to be the truth. It didn’t make sense when I was reading the Bible and that Jesus was the son, God was the Father, and Holy Spirit was the powers within. I wasn’t ready to embrace the Trinity concept either. I understood the surface and didn’t embrace the concept till AFTER reading the book. It confirmed my feelings when I was reading the Bible, believing there is only one the same, God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. As opposed to most people who takes ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ literally.

    It wasn’t like “Geez, I feel so much better” or “My feelings were correct” effect. Instead it was more “Now everything makes sense” and I was talking about the Bible- not the book. Things were getting together like puzzles. Trinity actually makes more sense to me than separate entities. I’m not talking about the doctrine that was developed by philosophers but the concept behind it that makes sense to me rather than the ‘IM THE FIRST AND THE LAST’ verse that often used to support the Trinity. There is so much more than just the story of God and Jesus from the beginning to the end.

    And plus, I have always believed that we should take Bible as humble example of our lives, not following rigorously. Sadly, there are people are still referring to Bible verses to say this book is a hersey. Heck, the bible was written in the human paradigm. I felt that the book was pretty self-freeing. Does that make sense?

  337. […] “I never thought everyone was going to love this book. Art is incredibly subjective as to whether a story and style are appealing. I have no problem with a spirited discussion of some of the theological issues raised in The Shack. The books I love most are the ones that challenge my theological constructs and invite a robust discussion among friends, whether I agree with everything in them or not in the end,. That is especially true of a work of fiction where people will bring their own interpretations of the same events or conversations.”  https://www.lifestream.org/is-the-shack-heresy […]

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