SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : Aim at 'spiritually interested' sparks 'The Shack' sales

Print Thread (PDF)


Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37629
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Aim at 'spiritually interested' sparks 'The Shack' sales

[b]Aim at 'spiritually interested' sparks 'The Shack' sales[/b]

A little novel written by an Oregon salesman and self-published by two former pastors with a $300 marketing budget is lighting up USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list with a wrenching parable about God's grace.

First-time author William P. Young's book The Shack, in which the father of a murdered child encounters God the Father as a sarcastic black woman, Jesus as a Middle Eastern laborer and the Holy Spirit as an Asian girl, is No. 8 on the list.

Lynn Garrett, senior religion editor for Publishers Weekly, calls the book's success "most unusual. It's every self-published author's dream to start out this way and sell at this level. People are not necessarily concerned with how orthodox the theology is. People are into the story and how the book strikes them emotionally," Garrett says. ...

read more:

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/5/2 19:10Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7497

 Re: Aim at 'spiritually interested' sparks 'The Shack' sales

Greg, have you read this book? Is it worth ones time to read it?


Sandra Miller

 2008/5/3 0:03Profile

Joined: 2007/6/27
Posts: 1573
Omaha, NE

 Re: Aim at 'spiritually interested' sparks 'The Shack' sales

"People aren't necessarily concerned about how
orthodox the theology is." That would seem to
be a red flag there, wouldn't it ??

Martin G. Smith

 2008/5/3 11:43Profile

Joined: 2005/4/19
Posts: 772

 Re: Aim at 'spiritually interested' sparks 'The Shack' sales

I received this commentary from Breakpoint (Chuck Colson) in my inbox today.

[color=FF3300]Diminishing Glory
Stay out of The Shack
May 6, 2008

When the prophet Isaiah and the apostle John caught glimpses of God, they were overcome with despair at their own unworthiness in the light of His glory. The same could be said of Daniel or Paul, or any number of figures from Scripture.

But when the protagonist of a new book called The Shack is introduced to the Father of heaven, he is greeted by a "large, beaming, African-American woman" who goes by the name of Papa.

If you have not heard about The Shack, there is a good chance you will soon. A novel self-published about a year ago by William P. Young, the book has gained quite a following in Christian circles. It is still among the top ten sellers at And when it receives a glowing endorsement from a scholar whom I respect, like Eugene Peterson, it is not a phenomenon that discerning Christians can ignore.

The story is about a man named Mack, who is struggling in the aftermath of the brutal murder of his young daughter. One day he finds a note in his mailbox—apparently from God. God wants Mack to meet Him at "the shack," the place where his daughter was killed.

When he arrives, the shack and the winter scene around it transform, Narnia-like, into a mystical mountain paradise, perhaps meant to be heaven itself. Now dwelling in the shack are three mysterious figures—the African-American woman, a Middle Eastern workman, and an Asian girl—who reveal themselves as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The rest of the book is basically a discussion between Mack and the three persons of the Trinity. While the discussion is mostly on the deep topics of creation, the fall, freedom, and forgiveness, too often the author slips in silly lines that, frankly, seem ridiculous in the mouth of the godhead. Jesus, looking at Papa, says, "Isn't she great?" At one point, Papa warns Mack that eating too many of the greens in front of him will "give him the trots." And when Jesus spills batter on the floor and on Papa, Jesus then washes Her—or is it His?—feet. Papa coos, "Oh, that feels sooooo good." Ugh.

Okay, it is only an allegory. But like Pilgrim's Progress, allegories contain deep truths. That is my problem. It is the author's low view of Scripture. For example, Mack is tied to a tree by his drunken, abusive father, who "beats Mack with a belt and Bible verses." The author reflects derisively in another spot that "nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that 'guilt' edges."

The Bible, it seems, is just one among many equally valid ways in which God reveals Himself. And, we are told, the Bible is not about rules and principles; it is about relationship. Sadly, the author fails to show that the relationship with God must be built on the truth of who He really is, not on our reaction to a sunset or a painting.

That is not to say The Shack is without merit. The centrality of Christ and God's breathtaking, costly love come through loud and clear. But these truths are available everywhere in Scripture, everywhere in Christian literature. You do not have to visit The Shack to find them.

As Papa warns Mack, God is not who Mack expects He is. But He is also not what our creative imaginations make Him to be, either.

He Is, after all, Who He Is. [/color]

One of the ladies at my church read this book. She said it was different from anything she had read before. I don't know if that is good or bad. I intend to talk to her about it in a little more detail.


 2008/5/6 12:28Profile

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy