My previous post on “Is The Shack Heresy?” has promoted the most comments (81) of any blog to date. It is the most read and has generated the most anger in some quarters. I said there that it does not bother me if people struggle with some of the theology in The Shack. It was meant to be provocative and to get people to think outside of the religious conditioning that has distorted the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our day. I have a very close friend that thinks God should not be characterized in human terms in a novel. I respect his view and love him deeply, this disagreement notwithstanding.
But I have also received letters and comments from people that are vitriolic, making false accusations and bleeding with rage. I’m surprised that people take the time to get so worked up over a book they don’t like, especially one that is helping people reconnect with the love of the Father through the work of Jesus. There are millions of books out there that I disagree with, some of them theological in nature, but I’ve never felt the need to write the author or publisher or cast aspersions on their motives. I find it amazing that this book can at the same moment connect broken people to God in the deepest part of their souls, and enrage others who feel we didn’t cross all the theological t’s or dot all the doctrinal i’s.
Someone sent me a link to a blog called The Thin Edge that has made this comment about the controversy that has raged over this book, especially the personna of Papa in the early part of the story:
Those who miss the amazing story of The Shack by theological nitpicking are like those who try to fit every aspect of a biblical parable into their systematic theology textbook. They will never make all the pieces fit together. It seems to me that the predominantly white male critics of The Shack—especially those with Reformed theology running through their veins—may owe Paul Young an apology and the rest of us…well, we’re just really thankful for a literary portrait of the God who crawls into our deepest sadness and brings us through the darkest night from brokenness to wholeness once again.
I don’t know about needing an apology, but I resonate with his point.