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Monday, April 28, 2008
The Shack

Back around Christmas, some friends from out West (Sarah Baldwin at George Fox University) highly recommended a new book called The Shack. Written by William P. Young, (I think a Northwesterner himself), the book was sweeping the countryside and picking up some glowing recommendations from the likes of Eugene Peterson and other notable witnesses. In fact, Peterson references the book as holding the potential to do for present generations what the celebrated Pilgrim's Progress did for its own generation. Needless to say they got my attention, but life happened and I never got around to ordering the book.

Enter one of my Worship Design Interns, MeMe McNairy, who burst into my office a few weeks ago with a book in her hand called The Shack. She gave me the book and exhorted me to read it. I did so, completing the book just the other day.

While I'm not ready to offer a review, I liked the book. Because I know many of you have not read it, I won't blow the story for you, but I would recommend you get it and read it. You should especially read it if you are giving leadership in ministry as many persons you serve will likely read it or be asking questions about it. Presently in its third or fourth printing, The Shack ranks in the top ten overall books selling at amazon.com. The novel unfolds a parable of sorts about an unthinkable tragedy, suffering and the nature of God as Trinity. Despite a tad of cheese factor from time to time, Young does a marvelous job of freighting some insightful Trinitarian theology in an amazingly understandable fashion. It will challenge your notion of God in both helpful and also uncomfortable ways.

Be warned, the heresy cops are out in full force against this book. I'm still working through their assessments and will offer a few links below for you to do the same. I don't want to react to them in the same way they have reacted to The Shack, but my sense is they have been quick to jump on some red herrings and may be missing the central thrust of the work. I do think the book takes a risk in over humanizing all of the persons of the Trinity though I am still wrestling with it. I liked the book and will recommend it. I don't find it at all like your average new age oriented "Embraced by the Light" or "20 minutes in Heaven," and the like.

You can read a quite thoughtful yet solidly reformed take on the book here.

Listen to Albert Mohler Jr. rate the book as "undiluted heresy" on his radio show.  

Watch Mark Driscoll's rant against the book in his usual fashion on youtube.

For a kinder, gentler take on The Shack check out internet monk who also adds a rant against the heresy police.

The author, William P. Young has a Shack blog here.

I'd be interested in any of your thoughts about The Shack if you've been able to read it yet. If you know of a solid Wesleyan-Arminian review of the book I'd like to read it.
posted by John David Walt | at 4/28/2008 10:31:00 PM



Anonymous M. Makarov said...

Driscoll's website describes one of the things he does is "research the culture." Which culture? His comments regarding The Shack are merely his own, speaking from his own cultural research. And apparently, hundreds, if not thousands, agree with him and give him millions of dollars a year to unleash his cultural critique. Who are you to criticize him?

3:33 PM EDT  
Blogger JohnDeere said...

m. makarov, thanks for reading my blog and for your comment, though I am unsure how i was actually criticizing mark. at least i didn't understand myself as criticizing him. it's no secret mark d. is a ranter. it's actually quite entertaining and part of what leads me to draw attention to his work in my effort to show a range of takes on the book.

5:30 PM EDT  
Blogger tracysbooknook.com said...

I have to say that "The Shack" by William P. Young was a very thought provoking read.

After reading the book, I was left pondering several things about it – which is a true testament to the book's worth. I had several questions on the validity of some of the descriptions of God but I had to humbly admit that there may be no answers this side of heaven for how God presents Himself to each individual.

I posted a more in-depth review of this book on my own blog www.tracysbooknook.com.


12:18 AM EDT  

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