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Question 189

Q: I listen to Dr. Lutzer every morning and I was wondering what he thought of the book The Shack by William P. Young.

Asked by: Patty

A: A couple of comments, Patty. First of all, I’ve not read the entire book, but I’ve read a good portion of it.  And I have a good idea of what the book teaches.

Furthermore, I’ve also spent some time with the author and I have no doubt, after a good conversation with him, that he has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. He loves God. Keep in mind, he wrote this book to help his family understand his pain. No publisher would pick it up so he self-published it, and it’s become quite a phenomenon.

Now let me say this, its theology is very troublesome. When it makes God out to be three people and these three people represent God, the things that they say, and the way they act are oftentimes, in my opinion, not too godly, and that creates a problem.

But on the positive side, this book has been used to open many people up to the Gospel. In other words, people are angry with God—they’ve got deep pain that they’ve never dealt with—so what this book does is open the human heart, and it lets people see themselves in the story. And even though the book may teach some questionable theology at points and may not be a clear exposition of Jesus being the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the fact is: there are those who read The Shack who go on to attend church and begin to read the Bible. In that sense, it has become a bridge for them to the Gospel.

I can’t recommend the book because of its theology, but I don’t think it has been harmful. God sometimes uses imperfect people and imperfect things to prod people toward the Savior, and I think that The Shack has done that despite its great limitations. 

Scripture references

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