The Pen

The Shack – A Polemical Review

Heresies Taught

* Please note, it is hard to define the actual heresies taught in The Shack, because the storyline seems confused and disjointed. While Modalism is the closest of the classical heresies that can be ascribed to the book, it teaches a general misunderstanding of the Holy Trinity.


The negative reviews of The Shack from respected evangelical leaders are multitudinous. Below are excerpts, with links to full reviews.
Albert Mohler 

In the shack, “Mack” meets the divine Trinity as “Papa,” an African-American woman; Jesus, a Jewish carpenter; and “Sarayu,” an Asian woman who is revealed to be the Holy Spirit. The book is mainly a series of dialogues between Mack, Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu. Those conversations reveal God to be very different than the God of the Bible. “Papa” is absolutely non-judgmental, and seems most determined to affirm that all humanity is already redeemed.

The theology of The Shack is not incidental to the story. Indeed, at most points the narrative seems mainly to serve as a structure for the dialogues. And the dialogues reveal a theology that is unconventional at best, and undoubtedly heretical in certain respects (source link).

Tim Challies 
Overall, I had to conclude that Young has an inadequate and often-unbiblical understanding of the Trinity. While granting that the Trinity is a very difficult topic to understand and one that we cannot know fully, there are several indications that he often blurs the distinct persons of the Trinity along with their roles and their unique attributes. Combined with his novel but unsupported conjectures, this is a serious concern…
Despite the great amount of poor theology, my greatest concern is probably this one: the book has a quietly subversive quality to it. Young seems set on undermining orthodox Christianity (source link).
Mark Lamprecht

The Shack evidences a low regard for Scripture. When Mack mentions biblical events or concepts, Papa brushes them off and glibly explains how it really is, thus suggesting that the Bible is the work of man, not the divinely inspired work of God. Yet, some argue that The Shack has value in that it demonstrates a loving God of grace who invites man to a relationship. But it does so with grievous distortions about the nature of God, the nature of the Trinity, the authority of God’s Word, God’s hatred of sin, the requirement of repentance, and the nature of conversion and salvation.

My brothers and sisters, even in reading and discussing a work of fiction, we must be prepared to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), and to do so without apology to the world. The Shack may, from its human author’s viewpoint, be in all sincerity intended as an inviting look at a highly relational God, but would you place even a drop of poison in pure water and invite others to drink? (source link)

Matt Slick

There is a famine in the land and Christian discernment is dying.  The book “The Shack” is a feel-good fictional story about a man named Mack whose daughter is murdered.  Mack subsequently has an encounter with God in a shack in the woods, and through this meeting he’s healed emotionally and spiritually.  Sound good?  Of course it does.  The only problem is the many false doctrines laced throughout the book (source link).

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