The Shack

As you may have heard, The Shack, a best-selling work of fiction, has been made into a movie and will hit theaters this Spring.

We realize that some of our family and friends have read The Shack. Some read it for personal entertainment and cultural engagement (which might be okay); others read it for theological enlightenment and spiritual encouragement (which is not okay at all).

As we have often warned, the most disturbing and damning part of the story is The Shack‘s un-orthodox theology, especially its depiction of the Triune God. The Shack portrays the Holy Trinity as a multicultural triad of people made in the image and likeness of woman and man. This false trinity sets the tone and mood for the whole story.

Tragically, the false gods portrayed in The Shack twist and pervert many people’s view of the true and living God revealed in the Holy Scriptures — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God in three persons.

We raise awareness of the dangers posed by The Shack for the same reasons that Paul raised awareness of the dangers of false teachings among the churches he loved and served:

For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:2-4 ESV)

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.      But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-17 ESV)

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)

And we might also add, for the same reasons that Peter and John raised awareness of the dangers of false teachings in their writings:

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. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 1:16-2:3 ESV)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6 ESV)

(If you skipped over reading those scriptures, you might be contributing to the problem not the solution.)

In case you don’t want to take our word for it, here are some reviews and evaluations of the actual content of The Shack. These resources will help equip your heart and mind with the truth. Feel free to share all this with your family and friends.

The Shack — Impressions by Tim Keller

The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment – Al Mohler

Is The Shack Christian? – James B. De Young

Taking The Shack to the Shed – Christianity Today

I Am Not Who You Think I Am – Katherine Jeffrey

The Shack: A Critical Review of a Best-Seller – Tim Challies

Making the Most of The Shack – Fred Sanders

Finally, see the Westminster Confession of Faith for a primer on who God is.

Chapter II: Of God, and of the Holy Trinity

1. There is but one only (Deut 6:41 Cor 8:4, 6Gal 3:20), living, and true God (1 Thess 1:9Jer 10:10), who is infinite in being and perfection (Job 11:7-9; 26:14Ps 139:6), a most pure spirit (John 4:24), invisible (1 Tim 1:17John 1:18), without body, parts (Deut 4:15-16John 4:24Luke 24:39), or passions (Acts 14:11, 15); immutable (Jas 1:17Mal 3:6), immense (1 Kgs 8:27Jer 23:23-24), eternal (Ps 90:21 Tim 1:17), incomprehensible (Ps 145:3Rom 11:34), almighty (Gen 17:1Rev 4:8), most wise (Rom 16:27), most holy (Isa 6:3Rev 4:8), most free (Ps 115:3Isa 14:24), most absolute (Exod 3:14Isa 45:5-6); working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will (Eph 1:11), for his own glory (Prov 16:4Rom 11:36Rev 4:11); most loving (1 John 4:8, 16John 3:16), gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin (Exod 34:6-7); the rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb 11:6); and withal, most just, and terrible in his judgments (Neh 9:32-33Heb 10:28-31), hating all sin (Rom 1:18Ps 5:5-6; 11:5), and who will by no means clear the guilty (Nah 1:2-3Exod 34:7).

2. God hath all life (Jer 10:10John 5:26), glory (Acts 7:2), goodness (Ps 119:68), blessedness (1 Tim 6:15Rom 9:5), in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made (Acts 17:24-25), nor deriving any glory from them (Job 22:2-3Luke 17:10), but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things (Rom 11:36); and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth (Rev 4:111 Tim 6:15Dan 4:25, 35). In his sight all things are open and manifest (Heb 4:13), his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature (Rom 11:33-34Ps 147:5), so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain (Acts 15:18Ezek 11:5). He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands (Ps 145:17Rom 7:12). To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them (Rev 5:12-14).

3. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (1 John 5:7 [TR]; Matt 3:16-17; 28:192 Cor 13:14Eph 2:18): the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father (John 1:14, 18Heb 1:2-3Col 1:15); the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26Gal 4:6).

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