Sunday, July 7, 2019

Flak About “The Shack”

For over a decade, one of the most popular books on the Christian market has been “The Shack.” This 2007 novel self-published by Canadian author Wm Paul Young went on to become a best seller. A movie based on the book came out two years ago. While many Christian leaders endorsed “The Shack”, some dismissed it as heresy. One reason is God the Father represented as a woman.

I haven’t read “The Shack” for other reasons. One of them is I never felt led to do so. Years ago as a young believer, I devoured many Christian books but have since focused more on reading the Bible. Nowadays, I rarely buy any books. I trust the Lord to provide what He wants me to read. Whenever someone offers to give or loan me a book, I often examine the cover, table of contents and any endorsements before deciding if it’s something to invest my time in.

So why this article about a 12-year-old book I haven’t even read? A few days ago, a Facebook friend shared a post that aroused my concerns. A prophetic ministry I respect is now selling “The Shack” on its website. That surprised me. I thought this ministry was more selective regarding the products they sell. The Facebook post also revealed Wm Paul Young wrote a book titled “Lies We Believe About God.” Reviewers have pointed out (with specific page references) it promotes universalism. 

As an evangelist, it grieves me to see professing Christians preach universal reconciliation and deny hell’s existence. So last Wednesday, I wrote a Facebook post (which I’ve since removed) warning my friends about Young’s beliefs but didn’t dismiss testimonies of those who said they got healed and grew closer to the Lord through “The Shack.” If God can use a donkey to minister to us, He can use just about anything. 

Still, some of my Facebook friends didn’t like my post. One of them accused me of slander. Bringing up a concern and disputing someone’s doctrine isn’t being slanderous. I didn’t label Young a false prophet or some other derogatory name.

Another Facebook friend said I was being hateful and it would be more “biblical” for me to address my concerns privately instead of using social media. I later noticed this man posted a meme on his page claiming “sexual orientation is not a choice.” That certainly isn’t a biblical statement. It would be similar to saying adultery and fornication aren’t choices.

A few friends suggested I read “The Shack” before making a judgment on it. That reminded me of the old saying: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Then again, I don’t need to read the Koran or The Satanic Bible in its entirety to know they aren’t good books. One time a friend gave me the Book of Mormon thinking it could help me witness to Mormons more effectively. I started paging through the book until the Lord told me to throw it away.

If you choose to read “The Shack”, then do so prayerfully. On his own website, Wm Paul Young has called himself a “hopeful universalist.” My hope is he studies the Bible more and corrects his theology. I don’t want to see Young’s writings mislead undiscerning readers into eternal separation from God.

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” - James 3:1

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