At this point, I don’t think I need to speak much more on how heretical and doctrinally dangerous The Shack is. Thanks to some solid men and women of God, that’s been handled here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Ooh! And here, too!) And I don't think I need to point to the irony that the book is named for a poorly constructed edifice guaranteed to fall apart the second the wind blows too hard. Nope! I don't think I need to point out those spiritual implications at all. (Lol!)
Yet, there are professed believers who STILL, somehow, find this book to be a compelling resource for winning souls to Christ. There are actually professed Christians who find The Shack to be pretty solid in the matters of the Christian faith. (Argh!) The sad part, though, is their arguments in favor of this book aren’t at all sound - let alone Biblical.
Therefore, just like The Shack, these arguments need to be torn down.
Here are the three mainline arguments I've seen touted in support of The Shack (the book and the film) so far. Of course, loving rebukes follow.
Argument #1: The Shack is only entertainment.
And that statement is only a lie.
Those of us who are staunchly against this book don’t disagree with it because “it’s only entertainment”. The Shack is quite obviously the “fictionest” of fiction there is. But there is another element to it that discerning Christians rightfully REFUSE to let slide. The Shack may be entertainment, but it is ALSO a piece of influential heresy. It is being passed off as merely a “feel good” movie or inspirational story. Meanwhile, most who've seen the movie and/or read the book seem to treat The Shack’s message and interpretation of God ALSO as the Gospel. They’re ingesting it into their spirits as truth and singing its praises, despite its GLARING theological errors because the entertaining aspect has rendered the blatant heresy harmless in their eyes.
There is WAY MORE to The Shack than is disingenuously claimed. I’ve seen PASTORS quote lines from The Shack as if they’re quoting scripture. Churches are hosting small group field trips to see the movie or book clubs to discuss the book. Gospel artists are pumping The Shack as a "kingdom film" that all must see! These examples alone are evidence that moviegoers are expecting more from The Shack than a chuckle or a two-hour escape from reality. Most who adore The Shack may sell it as “only entertainment” but they do so while simultaneously calling the story "life-changing", something that helped them "better understand God", or something that "led" them or others "to God".
THAT’S the part that's gravely worrisome!
We, the critics of The Shack, understanding that it is, indeed, PURE FICTION, don't disdain it for being "entertainment". We denounce it because it is "helping" people "better understand" a FICTIONAL God and is leading them toward a FALSE CHRIST!
Fiction is one thing. But DECEPTION and HERESY cannot and should not be entertained.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” 1 Timothy 4:1-2
Argument #2: A true relationship with Jesus trumps theology.
That is actually a contradictory statement.
A true relationship with Christ REQUIRES sound theology, as relating to God through Jesus Christ is based on knowing WHO GOD IS, what Christ did and what He commands. The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS theology. You can’t have a true or solid or intimate relationship with anyone you don’t truly know.
If I may expound, for the sake of clarity, with a parabolic explanation...
Let’s say I launch an online dating profile for fun. In my profile I’ve uploaded doctored pics and a few KEY contradictions (a.k.a. "lies") about who I am - again, just for fun. But then someone who is truly seeking love comes across my fake profile and decides they desire to date me based on the information I provided. If we began to date, would they not be building a relationship with me based on a false foundation of who I am? And would they not be sadly disappointed when they come to realize those KEY details that lured them in were not entirely true?!
They wouldn't truly know ME!
They wouldn’t know what I truly like or enjoyed, nor would they understand what I was looking for from them. They'd be infatuated with a contrived idea of who I am, and they’d relate to me based on what they THINK I desire. They would, thus, be more susceptible to leaving me once I began to truly reveal myself to them. And if (*ahem* WHEN) our relationship encounters conflict, they wouldn't be committed to sticking with me as I truly am. My fake profile could rank #1 with more daily hits than most. But that wouldn't change the truth of who I actually am, and it would highly likely attract those who would eventually FALL AWAY!
If we want people to build a solid relationship with God and mature as true disciples of Jesus Christ, it HAS to be rooted on a sound and solid foundation. One can have a zeal for God, but to worship Him as He desires, it has to be done in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Besides, Christ clearly tells us that to love Him is to keep His commandments (John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3). Thus, the foundation of one's relationship with Christ has to begin with how He has chosen to introduce Himself, His likes and dislikes and what He's looking for in us through His profile - His testimony. That is His "theology" and it is all revealed by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is captured in God’s Word.
"As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed....For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galatians 1:9, 11-12)
"Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men." (Acts 17:11-12)
Argument 3: God can reach people in many ways. The Shack is just another way.
There is a difference between how God reaches people and how people are to seek God.
God is certainly able to get our attention in a myriad of ways. BUT 1) He's not going to lie to us in the process, 2) His voice/nature/character would be consistent with how He reveals Himself in Scripture and 3) those instances come to us when we least expect it - NOT when we intentionally go seeking Him in the wrong places.
Some folks have had encounters with Jesus in night clubs (I know I have). But it's not because that's where one SHOULD generally go to hear Him speak or learn more about Him. God reaches people in many ways as He seeks to interrupt us or arrest us in an unusual, unexpected place to get our attention. God abruptly and randomly revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush. Moses didn't go seeking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by setting a bush ablaze. That would have been idolatry.
God's Word is the ONLY SOURCE for a SURE Word from God because it is how HE has chosen to reveal HIMSELF to us for generations. Prayerfully searching the Scriptures is how we earnestly seek Him. In the BEGINNING was GOD (Genesis 1:1)...in the BEGINNING was THE WORD, and the WORD WAS WITH GOD, and the WORD WAS GOD (John 1:1). Scripture is the SOLE authority for the doctrine of our faith because it tells us EVERYTHING we need to know about God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). Thusly, everything that claims to be of God, from God, in the Spirit of God or thought to be a way to find God must be filtered through and PERFECTLY ALIGN with the TRUTH OF GOD, which is ONLY revealed to us in the unadulterated WORD OF GOD.
I Said all of This to Say...
The Shack is a rickety old house with all manner of random stumbling blocks lying about its shaky foundation. Unbelievers who see/read it will walk away with a false idea of who God is. Babes who see/read it will be terribly confused about who God is. Mature believers who see/read it will spend so much time rejecting all the lies and errors they'd only endure it to later go back and burn the shack down in the name of who God is! In short, The Shack doesn't contribute much at all to the Body of Christ- though it has helped reveal some of the weak spots that require much repair among the brethren.
It is my desire ALL who are truly seeking God find Him. But the Shack isn't a wise route to do it. There is already a Book that tells a beautiful story of God's love and forgiveness. Moreover, that Book gives us details on who He truly is, what His Son did for us and how the Holy Spirit guides and sanctifies us. That Book also builds a sure foundation around the Chief Cornerstone that promises not to fall apart like the rotted wood that built The Shack. That Book is called the Holy Bible (of course), and I pray more Christians would promote it, quote it and defend the truth of God in it with as much zeal and passion as they've been able to muster for a work of fiction that brazenly contradicts it.