Leave The Shack on the Shelf

 

When The Shack came out in theaters, I knew a lot of my people would go watch it. I also knew that there were a lot of conservative Christian blogs that were decrying The Shack’s interpretation of the Christian faith. I refrained from reading any of these blogs because I was determined to go see it for myself in order to provide my own objective review. Well, I was providentially hindered from seeing it in the theater, however, I did rent it when it came out on DVD last week.
 
I know this review is coming too late for many. Many of you have already seen the movie and formed your opinions. Others have already decided to buy or rent The Shack. Late or not, I felt it urgent to point out several problems with The Shack.
 
1. The Shack causes confusion concerning the Trinity. The Trinity, God existing in three persons– the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is a difficult enough concept in itself, but the Bible teaching on it is not ambiguous. In Scripture, all three persons of the Trinity have a specific role.
 
The Father is not a human being but a Spirit and that is all He ever will be. He never changes form. The Son is the person of God with a human form. He is God in the flesh. God who is personal and relatable. The Holy Spirit is also not a human being. He is the comforter and the giver of gifts that we might know Christ and advance the gospel in the world. The Spirit leads us to faith in the Son, and the Son, by faith, leads us to know the Father who is invisible. The Shack confuses this biblical truth by depicting all three persons of the Trinity as human beings.
 
2. The Shack teaches that “we are all God’s children.” I know you are probably thinking, “but aren’t we all God’s children?” According to The Shack, yes. According to Scripture, no. Scripture teaches that we are all hopeless reprobates apart from Christ. It is only when we receive Him that we are then given “the right to be called children of God” (John 1:12). All who have not received Christ and believed in Him as their Savior are children of the devil (Ephesians 2:1-3).
 
I am not splitting hairs here. John 3:17 teaches that God sent Jesus to a world that was already condemned. This is why His sending of Jesus into the world was such a mighty expression of His love. This is why grace is amazing. Through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection He became a father to the fatherless who believed.
 

 

 

3. Shack does away with the Biblical doctrine of Hell and depicts a God who is unjust. In one important scene, the main character is asking a woman, who is supposed to be the personification of wisdom, why God would not punish the murderer of his daughter. Wisdom then speaks to the character and asks him which of his two remaining children would he choose to be cast into hell. The man indicates that he would rather die than to send either of his children to hell.
 

 

Here is the problem with that scene and other scenes in the Shack that teach this principle, the Bible teaches that God loves justice. He is a just judge. Those who refuse faith and repentance, refuse forgiveness. When they die, they die in their sin. He sends them to hell. To do otherwise would be unjust.

 

It is not His desire that any should perish in the fire of hell. He loved them so much that He sent His only Son to die so that they would not have to. Still, there are many who reject His love, and they do so by their own free will. This is why a place like Hell is necessary.

 

The movie depicts some good ideas and concepts. This is what makes The Shack so dangerous. Like many heretical teachings, there is just enough truth there to attract and hook the weak minded. Once hooked, it leads its hearers to confusion at the very least. Worse, it even leads some to reject the God of the Bible for an idol who is more palatable. My suggestion is that if you are curious about who God is, then read your Bible. Leave The Shack on the shelf.