The Shack by William P. Young

joebramey's picture

The Shack by William P. Young was a fun read. I have read some pretty interesting blogs that pretty much pump the book up to extra-biblical elevation in revelation. Im curious about any opinions from this respected arena. I'd kinda like to recommend it to friends who have a small view of God, but after all the blogs I've read, i became skeptical.

sderose's picture

Mixed review

One of the pastors at my church read The Shack, and as more and more people expressed interest, he asked if I would teach a couple Sunday school classes on it. So, I read it and did so.

I found the writing and the "story" uneven but generally well done. As others have noted, there are two basic problems with the content:

First, there are several needlessly snide comments about the church, seminary, and so on. Possibly the author thought this would make non-believers in our culture more likely to keep reading; but it was grating and unnecessary.

Second, the theology taught was weak, though the applications in Mack's life were moving at times. Many of the symbols and metaphors didn't go anywhere -- a nice picture at first glance, but unclear whether one could learn much from them. The author's presentation of the Trinity and of the problem of evil were not at all deep, but might be a helpful beginning for a skeptic or a Christian who's simply never thought much about it. Anyone who settles for the overly simplistic ideas given is short-changing themselves.

What gave me greatest pause, however, was that one student in the class I taught was absolutely convinced that The Shack was a true story. I went back and sure enough, the introduction by Mack's "friend" speaks as though that were true. To me it was just a fairly common literary device; but to this person it was literally true.