I've had a number of people ask me what I think about William Young's book The Shack. I've had to tell them I don't know because I've never read it. I do not plan to in the near future either, so I offer instead Michael Spencer's one-paragraph review of Roger Olson's Finding God in the Shack, which analyzes The Shack (how's that for a few steps removed from actually reading the book?):
Finding God in the Shack
by Roger Olson (IVP). Olson is one of the most vigorous theological
authors willing to take on the reformed intelligensia, as can be seen
in his books Arminian Theology and Reformed and Always Reforming.
In this book, Olson takes a measured, but overall positive view of
William Young’s theological novel. Olson’s book is already garnering
negative reviews from those who are convinced The Shack is a
theological threat to Christians who aren’t paying sufficient attention
to the Bible’s prohibitions on creative writing. (I assume C.S. Lewis’s
is in for a beat down in the near future.) Where does Olson come out? A
balanced, moderate, intelligent, appreciative and overall positive
view. Don’t start a ministry on it. Don’t confuse imagery with heresy.
Appreciate the personal core of the story that is touching so many.
(Olson collates Young’s story of Mack with his own struggles with a
pastor father.) Use it as a discussion starter. Be fair and realistic
about the overall effect of the book. A fine response to the
three-alarm fires that have dominated the internet.
Hey thanks for this. I don’t intend to read TS either, so can I continue the chain? “For those of you wondering about the latest must-read Christian publishing phenomenon, Ben Sternke on his blog has a recommendation for Michael Spence’s one paragraph review of Roger Olson’s ‘Finding God…'”
Ben Sternke says
Perfect! We could extend it indefinitely… Good to hear from you Marcus – I hope all is well.
I read The Shack over a weekend a while back. I thought it was ok. I’m not a trained theologian by any means, but I could see how the book could really upset a lot of people.
Spoiler alert follows!!!
In the book, Jesus is portrayed as a gentle, good friend (as opposed to the mighty Son of God!) and the Holy Spirit is portrayed as an Asian woman (symbolizing acceptance of Eastern mysticism?). Plus, traditional teachings of Hell are challenged.
steve martin says
I like the shack.
It’s a bit cramped, but I’m planning on moving into a bigger place once my bailout money gets here.
Benjamin Sternke says
“Steve Martin” leaves a funny comment on my blog. Coincidence?
Just kidding Steve – thanks for the humor 😉
steve martin says
Sorry about that, Ben.
Once a ‘jerk’…always a ‘jerk’.
Raffi Shahinian says
Regarding The Shack, there was a lot of implicit theology I didn’t agree with, but I thought that the benefits of the good theology far outweighed any possible danger of the bad.
I’ve posted a list of Top 10 Theologically Dead-On Excerpts from The Shack, for anyone who might be interested.
Grace and Peace,
The author was on GMA this morning. I enjoyed the interview. It’s on their homepage…
And I really like “The Shack.”