The Shack

The Shack

If you have not read this book yet, The Shack by William P Young, I highly encourage you to do so! It is an awesome book!


Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.



That sound wild. I will have to put it on my reading list. I doubt I will ever see the end of it but I am enjoying the journey.
Excerpt from Eric Barger’s Take a Stand Ministries.

Here are just a few of the many issues raised by The Shack:

- Young's Papa character insists that sin is its own punishment. This distorts the reality of Hell and discounts eternal retribution for sin.

- Readers of The Shack are told that Jesus is only the best way to know God – not the only way.

- The Shack teaches that when Jesus went to the cross, God Almighty died there too. This is a heresy known as patripassianism. (In our private conversation I challenged Young about this but to no avail.)

- The Shack states that there is no structure or hierarchy within the Trinity and that the three personages of God are all equally subject to one another and to humans as well. I challenge fans of The Shack to open a Bible and try to make that square with the Scriptures!

- Young's "Papa" character is suspiciously akin to a Polynesian/Hawaiian goddess who also happens to be known as "Papa." When I quizzed Young on this he denied any knowledge of such a deity. However, the similarities with The Shack's God character are stunning.

Now lets move on to perhaps the biggest concern.

Click below for the whole story.
How The Shack Became the #1 Bestseller in Christianity
I also read the book, Faith, and found it to be really life changing, in a good way. I don't think I'm as "hung-up" on doctrine and I wasn't when I read the book for sure. I simply just read it as a novel, not taking seriously the author's description of Jesus and God. I loved it, and was really excited about it, but then was discouraged by some that is a distortion of the Word of God, so I didn't mention it to my friends and suggest they read it. However, I think I will read it again and see if I feel the same way now that I know a little more. ?? Who knows.
Don't let the devil entertain truth away from your heart. If you invite him to do it, God just may let him and you'll be like my friend's sister in this email;

Check this out. I sent my sister a review of the book The Shack (

Look at how dangerous this book is. She sensed God's love as she read a book that trashed and blasphemed him and his truths. She recognizes it as a work of fiction, yet declares that it "erased many preconceived perceptions of what we think about God and heaven." She ended her comments with, " . . and I loved it." My response - 2 Tim 4:3,4.

"Hi Glad you guys made it home safely. Merry Christmas to you all! I dont need to read the review or editorial of "the shack" I just know that myself and several friends enjoyed the book very much and I sensed Gods love throughout the entire story. I realize some people would not appreciate the authors humor but I do not feel it is disgraceful. And I also think the book erased many preconceived perceptions of what we "think" we know about God and heaven. It is not meant to be a substitute for the bible, just a novel and I loved it."

He's coming back and His true disciples will be better not toying around with the things of God. If people think God will tolerate this book as well as other blasphemies in the day of judgement, think again. Do we even grasp what hell and sin is? When a million ages have gone by, while God's fierce anger is still burning against His enemies, it will not even be as if an hour has passed. What amount of time can you compare to eternity. How devoute and sincere are His followers? I wouldn't think Paul would have tolerated heresy such as this.

Guard your heart from any and all lies from Satan, (the Father of lies-John 8:44 b), whether marked poison, candy, entertainment. The devil is quite pleased to entertain core truths away from all hearts that put the idol of novelty on the altar that belongs to Almighty God alone.

I believe we are in the apostasy.
The book is fiction. It should be read as fiction. It is not intended as theological teaching but as a very good story that actually brings home a lot of spiritual truth.
If anyone wants to build doctrine on this book they will be led astray but if you want a good read that causes you to think about spiritual issues then I recommend it.
The book is fiction. It should be read as fiction. It is not intended as theological teaching but as a very good story that actually brings home a lot of spiritual truth.
If anyone wants to build doctrine on this book they will be led astray but if you want a good read that causes you to think about spiritual issues then I recommend it.

Thanx for that, Ray. That's the way I feel about it. If you don't adopt the book as doctrine, then it's for sure going to make you think. It did me.
The Shack is A.A.'s higher power.

“See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” (Matthew 24:4-5)

The novel The Shack, by William P. Young, has sold well over two million copies. The author is in high demand as a speaker. Reportedly, Oprah and her staff have made reading the book a top priority. Studios are competing to secure rights to produce the film version. A pastor of a large church recently told his congregation, “If The Shack doesn’t change your life, you need to have your pulse checked.”

Despite such growing mainstream appeal, The Shack neither honors, nor portrays, the Biblical God. Instead it introduces people to a customized version of “christ.” Remarkable similarities exist between the false god of The Shack and the “higher power” and theology of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bluntly stated, the god of The Shack is essentially the A.A. higher power with a Christian veneer.

The Hindus have 10,000 deities in their religion—Alcoholics Anonymous has millions. In A.A., one can choose to worship St. Jerome, the divinity of man, the sub-atomic universe, or anything else. One can worship vegetable, animal, or mineral—or a particular spirit.

One can also give the chosen “higher power” any trait, tendency, or characteristic that seems fitting in a god (and benefits the person.) Most decide the higher power is kind, forgiving, patient, full of love, nonjudgmental, and so on. This is just what author William Young has done with the god of The Shack. The world loves the novel’s remade “trinity” for precisely the reason it loves A.A.’s higher power—it is the choice of a deity unconcerned with sin, repentance, or holiness.

The god of The Shack, unlike the God of the Bible, does not mete out eternal punishment. This is always a draw for sinful mankind. The novel’s deity states, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”[1] In these brief sentences, the author has presented an altered gospel. If there is no eternal punishment for sinners separated from God, what purpose did the Lord’s death on the cross serve?

We have an incomprehensibly gentle and faithful God. “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” (Psalm 86: 15)

But He is also holy. (Isaiah 41:14) There are consequences for sin and unbelief. (John 8:34-36, Rev 21:8) There is judgement. (John 5:21-24) It is a great disservice to present a book, read by seekers and new believers, where “god” claims to have nothing to do with punishment.

The false god of The Shack will be warmly welcomed into Alcoholics Anonymous, which has always been hostile to the real Jesus Christ. A.A.’s 12 Steps encourage the alcoholic to correct “wrongs,” “shortcomings,” and “defects of character” but make no mention of sin or of a holy God who hates sin.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, members can be divided into three groups:

1) Followers of the Biblical Jesus (who are generally silent about their faith due to A.A. hostility, or because A.A. is an idol)[2]

2) Those who bow to whatever higher power they individually envision—be it a tree, a spirit, or anything else.

3) Unsaved people who believe their higher power is “christ.”

There has always been a smattering of false deities designated “christ” by unsaved individuals swimming the black seas of A.A. spirituality. But this “smattering” may be about to increase significantly. The Shack is beginning to seem far more than your simple, run-of-the-mill heresy. As sales continue to skyrocket, as a movie is inevitably made, as Oprah gives the book her approval, many in AA may find themselves redesigning their deities. In other words, many a “higher power” will come to be understood as “christ.” We seem on the doorstep of that time when many—MANY—are going to be drawn to false versions of “jesus.”

“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

When The Shack was originally submitted for publication, the manuscript proclaimed universal reconciliation (also known as ultimate reconciliation.) [3] Universal reconciliation holds that Christ’s sacrifice enables all people to go to heaven. Not just Christians, but every Hindu, atheist, Mormon, Muslim, and all nonbelievers that have ever lived. The novel’s editor, Wayne Jacobsen, claims all elements of universal reconciliation have been removed from the book and that author William Young now accepts Biblical doctrine.[4]

Yet, as James De Young notes in ‘Revisiting The Shack and Universal Reconciliation,’ universalism remains a constant, subtle theme of The Shack.[5] A.A., with its any-and-all-gods theology, also has strong universalist tendencies. While viewed benevolently by many, both A.A. and The Shack serve as vehicles to undermine Biblical understanding of the Lord our God. Of course, Alcoholics Anonymous has been around much, much longer, and is second to none in terms of subverting the gospel.

In ‘The Fall of the Evangelical Nation,’ secular author Christine Wicker credits Alcoholics Anonymous with “hastening the fall of the evangelical church.”[6] Indeed, The Shack could not be so joyfully received had not decades of exposure to A.A. (and other 12 Step groups) watered down understanding and reverence for the Biblical God.

Wicker states A.A.’s 12 Step program “slowly exposed people to the notion that they could get the [higher power] without the dogma, the doctrine, and the outdated rules. Without the church in fact.”[7] This has removed the authority and influence of “the preacher and the Bible and tradition.”[8] After all, why bow to a God that always holds you accountable for sin? Why not cobble together a deity of your own?

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…” (1 Timothy 4:2)

In the Bible, Jesus never understood God the Father in the form of a goddess. He never referred to the Father as “she” or “her.” Such references are not found anywhere in the Old or New Testaments. The Shack’s Trinity is a black woman named Papa (supposedly god the father), a short Jewish carpenter (“jesus”), and an Asian woman called Sarayu (holy spirit). Mack Philips, the main character, is angry with “god the father” for the death of his daughter, and angry with his own father over his upbringing. Mack meets with the trinity in a remote shack in Oregon and the healing begins.

The Father-goddess tells him, “Hasn’t it always been a problem to embrace me as your father? And after what you’ve been through, you couldn’t very well handle a father right now, could you?”[9]

This, on the surface, seems very kind and merciful—a god conforming to a likeness a person will tolerate. Author William Young has stated Mack needed “for god to come to him in a way that’s accessible.”[10] But acceptable is a far more accurate word.

The author has essentially applied A.A.’s higher power concept to the God of the Bible. As if taking scissors to the Word of God, William Young has cut out and removed His righteousness, judgement, wrath, holiness, and much else. He has piled on grace, love, forgiveness, and kindness—and who, after all, does not want to hear about these things? The author has remade the Biblical God the Father into a goddess seemingly out of one of the ancient pagan religions. This, in a time of spiritual and cultural breakdown, attracts the world.

But it’s not just the world. Incredibly, some leading pastors and high profile Christians are defending this higher power/trinity. Where the Apostle Paul, or Spurgeon, or A.W. Tozier would have called out to God in horror, the Father-goddess is increasingly welcomed into the church. A generation raised on movies such as “Oh, God” and “Bruce Almighty,” is perhaps already conditioned for such a change to be made.

It seems the Holy God of Isaiah 6 is no longer welcomed by many of His people. Perhaps, since entertainment takes up so much Bible Study time, some are simply ignorant of this aspect of our God. We prefer our Ancient of Days as human as possible. The book’s attempt to replace our King is not something Christians should celebrate. This Father-goddess, this queen of heaven, has fangs.

“As for the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her…” (Jeremiah 44: 16-17)

In the novel, “sin” and “salvation” do not seem to have the Biblical meaning one would naturally assume. In fact, “relationship” seems to be presented as if it were salvation. Yet, Biblically speaking, there can be no relationship without salvation.

In one of the most incredible statements in the book, the “christ” of The Shack fails to proclaim salvation is exclusively through him. The “christ” states, “I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu [holy spirit].”[11] The best way? Young does not have his “jesus” say he is the only way, simply that he is the best way. This is no minor point.

Let’s use the phrase “best way” in some sentences: “The best way to eat pancakes is with maple syrup.” Yet that is not the only way to eat them. “The best way to Oregon from California is the I-5 highway.” Yet that is not the only way to get to Oregon from California. “The best way to see the Super Bowl is to be there live and in person.” Yet this is not the only way to see the game.[12]

When the book’s “christ” informs readers he is the “best way” to “relate” to God the Father and the Holy Spirit, we should not simply nod our heads in agreement and move on.

Jesus tells us, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:16) No one! In Acts, Peter testifies of Jesus, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

We find the same “shack theology” in the A.A. belief system. It is entirely about growing in relationship with the higher power of one’s choice. Biblical repentance and salvation is an alien concept, unless one wants to place it within the context of an individual’s 12 Step/higher power worship.

Martin and Deidre Bobgan state Alcoholics Anonymous and other “12 Step programs are in essence New Age religions and archetypical precursors of a one-world religion.”[13] Indeed, Alcoholics Anonymous will continue to play a key role in the spiritual nightmare that is to come. It has been doing so for seventy years, eating away at Biblical certainty, often with the help of Christian allies.

During one of his many presentations, The Shack author William Young stated, “God is embedded in all of us.”[14] His novel instructs, “God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things, ultimately emerging as the real—and any appearances that mask that reality will fall away.”[15]

But God does not dwell in all people. According to the Bible, sin has separated us from God. (Romans 3:23) Upon Salvation, God is not activated or, as Young claims, “emerging.” The Holy Spirit comes to dwell only in those who know Christ. Writing to believers, Paul states,

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16)

Concerning The Shack’s theology, Warren Smith writes, “This false teaching about a ‘God’ who ‘dwells in, around, and through all things’ is the kind of New Age leaven that left unchallenged could leaven the church into the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion.”[16] Smith emphasizes “this leaven alone contaminates the whole book.”[17]

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book—the A.A. “bible”—also proclaims divinity abides within. The Big Book states, “Sometimes we had to search fearlessly but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis, it is only there that He may be found.”[18]

Let’s stop and review. According to the author, the god of The Shack dwells in everybody, and apparently does not condemn any to eternal punishment—or, as The Shack would address this, “She does not punish anyone.” The novel’s “christ” is the “best way” to salvation, but apparently not the only way.

What about Alcoholics Anonymous? The A.A. Big Book states, “We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men. When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God.”[19] According to the A.A. Big Book, God is “deep down within us.”

Thus are the seeds of the New Age planted in the soil of both The Shack and Alcoholics Anonymous. The tentacles of various heresies are reaching out and linking. The false “christ” of The Shack seems poised to be welcomed into, or serve as a catalyst for, emergent/contemplative/12 Step Spirituality.

Many Christians have superimposed their beliefs upon The Shack, supposing it a novel written by a Biblical Christian. As James De Young and others have pointed out, this is not necessarily the case. Over the decades, many Christians have also jackhammered their God into AA’s anti-Biblical system—and their love has effectively been divided between Christ and Alcoholics Anonymous. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17, Galatians 1:8-9)

For those who have heard how The Shack draws people closer to God, please, be cautious. “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14)

The Shack will not bring you spiritually closer to the God of the Bible. You will not find the Holy God within its pages. It is the Father-goddess who revels in stolen adoration, and while its fangs may sparkle, the Father-goddess beckons from utter and total darkness. ... hn-Lanagan
Frank, thanx for the article you shared. I read all of it, and then skimmed through The Shack again. I don't know how I missed some of the things in it. I guess I didn't really understand all it was trying to convey.

Like when he said God is in us all, I just thought "well, yes, He is in me, and I guess the main character must be a Christian too." Else God wouldn't say that. There really was no explanation of how to become Christian. Which leaves it up to one's own understanding of it I guess. I have to admit it is deceiving and that I really would not want to introduce it to my non-Christian friends with any hope of them finding God truely.

I have to apologize for the way I so lightly made the statement that you can read it as fiction, without seeing the harm it will cause others who are searching. It seems it is really becoming dangerous to read just anything but the Bible these days, doesn't it? :eek: It's becoming plainer all the time that we are living in the day that it is all or nothing when it comes to our commitment to Christ, else we find ourselves being deceived.
It seems it is really becoming dangerous to read just anything but the Bible these days, doesn't it?
It's becoming plainer all the time that we are living in the day that it is all or nothing when it comes to our commitment to Christ, else we find ourselves being deceived.

Amen sister and it is easy to fall for books like the shack with all the hype and commercialization of it from celebrity's. That is the reason we have to test the spirits and make judgements based on whether it is of God or against God and His precepts and principles!

We all have made those choices to find out later it was not what we should have done. Praise God for His grace and forgiveness!