Answering Defenses of The Shack: Part 1


13 Heresies of The Shack by Michael Youssef (from Way of the Master Radio)

Many think, or know someone who thinks, highly of The Shack.  Despite this book being thoroughly anti-Christian, several defenses are offered to justify reading this book.

(Other posts about The Shack: Charts: The Shack versus the Bible Part 1, Part 2; The Shack author William P. Young denies the Gospel )

Here we address and refute what we believe are such common defenses; may the Spirit of Christ open the eyes of those in bondage to this extremely dangerous novel.

1. “It’s just fiction”

  • Ironically, some who argue “it’s just fiction” also say the Shack made them closer to God.  So it is not “just fiction” for them.
  • The Qur’an and the Book of Mormon are fictitious.

    And yet both have led men to everlasting damnation in Hell.  In fact, the only book that can lead someone away from Hell is the Bible, but this is because the Bible is Truth, not fiction.  Fiction has real-life consequences.

  • The Bible warns about idols (Exodus 20:4-6), and idols are fictitious.

    Idols are all formed by the imagination of man (Acts 17:29), and the Bible considers all depictions of God (or false gods for that matter) that resemble mortal man (or anything of the created order) as idols (Romans 1:21-23).

    The god or gods of the Shack come from the imagination of man, and resembles mortal man.  This is idolatry. According to the 2nd commandment:

    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

    In light of this, men who read the idolatrous Shack, be warned:  If you view the god of the Shack as the God of the Bible, then the 2nd Commandment considers you a hater of God and threatens generational curses on your family.

    Idolatry is eternally dangerous:

    “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

  • All falsehoods are by their very nature fiction, so saying the Shack is “just fiction” is not a valid defense.
  • All fictional views of God are sinful.  Christ is Truth (John 14:6), and sin by its very nature denies Truth.  Being Truth, Christ cannot tolerate falsehoods about Himself or His word.
  • We are forbidden to condone irreverent, silly myths, or fictions, such as the Shack, which irreverently makes a mockery of God’s holiness:

    If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;” (1 Timothy 4:6, 7).

    The Shack irreverently mocks God’s holiness when the character Mack curses (p. 140), uses profanity (p. 224), has an outburst of anger (p. 92), and raises his voice at the god of the Shack (p. 96) (this god of course is not truly the God of the Bible).

  • The Bible says those who embrace myths have wandered off from God’s truth:

    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

    The mythological, fictitious Shack, being thoroughly opposed to sound teaching in many ways, must be considered a myth embraced by those who turn from the truth.  There is no neutrality here between the Bible and myths.

  • “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

    This passage contrasts eyewitness testimony of Jesus with myths:  what the Bible says about Jesus, with what cleverly devised myths say about Jesus, that is, cleverly devised works of fiction, such as the Shack.

    Thus the eyewitnesses of Christ testify to the real Christ; the Shack testifies to a fictitious Christ, a false Christ.  All false christs are dangerous.

2. “I want to use The Shack to reach the lost”

  • God does not turn others to Him with myths, but with Truth (with the power of the Holy Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 1:5):

    “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32).

    Myths are actually for those who reject God:

    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

  • When one shares with someone else the god of the Shack, one doesn’t share the God of the Bible, but a false god.

    This is because the god of the Shack depicts god as a human being and is based on the imagination of men, not from the teachings of the Bible.  The Bible considers this idolatry:

    “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23).

    “Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man” (Acts 17:29).

    Thus to share with someone the god of the Shack is seduction to idolatry; it is to say “Let us go after other gods, and let us serve them” (cf. Deuteronomy 13:2)

  • One cannot be saved by believing the writings of the Shack, but one can go to Hell by believing them.  The Shack teaches a false god (which we previously discussed) and a false gospel.

    Some reasons why it teaches a false gospel are that it denies both that sin must be punished (p. 120), and that Jesus is the only way to be saved (pp. 110, 182).

    Given that the Shack teaches a false gospel, it is extremely dangerous to use it as an evangelism tool. The Bible pronounces an eternal curse on those who teach a different gospel:

    “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)

3. “It helps my relationship with God”

  • If the Shack can bring someone closer to God, I am unsure how other heretical books, such as the Book of Mormon, can’t either; they are both extremely heretical in their views of  God, salvation, and everything else in the Bible.  So it is absurd to say the Shack makes one closer to God.
  • Why not read the Bible and pray to God to help your relationship with God?  Why resort to fiction?
  • If one feels like the heresies in the Shack makes one closer to God, then that person is deceived:

    There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.(Proverbs 14:12)

  • The Bible teaches that spiritual maturity comes through God’s word (the work of the Holy Spirit is necessary, 2 Thessalonians 2:13), not works of fiction, like myths such as the Shack:

    If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;” (1 Timothy 4:6, 7).

    And the Lord Jesus Christ prayed:

    Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

    Thus God’s word helps one relationship with God—not myths such as the Shack.  It does not say, Sanctify them in the Shack,” that is, fiction, but Sanctify them in the truth.”

  • Since the god of the Shack is an idol (as we discussed earlier), the god of the Shack cannot encourage one’s relationship with God, but it can encourage relationships with demons.

    This is because idolatry is demon worship:

    “What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

    Thus The Shack makes one closer to demons, not to God.  It also provokes God to jealousy.

  • It was the very act of imagining false things about God and His word that destroyed man’s  relationship with God to begin with.

    Satan first tempted Eve with “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b)

    Here in his imagination, Satan subtly twists God’s command to not eat of one particular tree into a command to not eat of any tree.  The Shack is full of twisting of God’s word (see Charts: The Shack versus the Bible Part 1, Part 2).

  • Satan goes on to say:“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4b-5).

    In saying “You will not surely die,” Satan depicts God as a liar.  In saying this, Satan also  implies to Eve that God does not need to punish sin, just as Young does in the Shack, where he has the false god of the Shack say, “I don’t need to punish people for sin(p. 120).

    So like Satan, the Shack’s author calls God a liar.

    But what really happened when Adam and Eve ate from the tree, Adam died spiritually (and all his descendents); he began to die physically; and all who will not trust in Christ alone for salvation will die eternally in Hell.

    God must punish sin—everyone’s sin must be punished, either in Hell or by the blood of Christ.

    Satan also tempted Eve “to be like God,” to live in a fictitious world where she is a god herself.  The author of the Shack also tries to make man like a god, using human characters of his own imaginations to depict each member of the Trinity.

  • Only the blood of Jesus can restore man’s relationship with God:

    “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

    “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:19-23).

    Thus man’s relationship to God is established by the blood of Christ—not by the pages of the Shack.

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Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 6:55 am  Comments (1)  
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One Comment

  1. dogwattle
    I wonder what Youseff thinks of C. S. Lewis’ literature.


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