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The Shack, by William P. Young

The shack Wow.  What a truly amazing book.  As the saying goes, if you're only going to read one book this year, The Shack should be the one.  I just finished reading it on my Kindle and I can't tell you the last time I was this inspired by a book.

What's so special?  It's the only book I've ever read that personalizes God.  More specifically, this riveting story paints a fascinating picture of each element of The Trinity, all in human form.  As a parent it was tough to read at times...I won't go into the reason why'll just have to read it for yourself.

The mental images from The Shack will probably be the lens through which I will read every other book on Christianity in the future.  That's saying a lot but it still doesn't do this book justice.  Buy it and read it.  You won't regret it.


Linda Seifert

Here is a good review of The Shack from Lots of different opinions on this one regarding whether it is bibilically sound.

Ryan Baldwin

Cool post! I'm pondering the social psychology behind the popularity of this book. Any suggestions?

Jack P.

As a Christian, and looking at this book through the lens of scripture, it presents a counterfeit Jesus Christ with heretical ideas. It doesn't conform to scripture, which IS the Word of God. The author is a Universalist, not a Christian. Universalists are Reconciliationists that believe everyone ends up in heaven. That sounds wonderful on the onset, but it's not the truth according to the Bible. God is love, yes, but He's also a Just Judge. Look at it this way, if someone murdered your entire family, was caught and stood before a judge, was found guilty and appeared for his sentencing and the judge said, "I'm a loving judge. I know you have a good heart. You are forgiven of your crimes and are free to go." How would you react? You would call the Supreme Court and demand this unfair judge be removed from his post because he's even more heinous than the murder to let him go without a just sentence. So, how can God, being perfect, not issue just judgments against us? THAT'S why we need Jesus as our Savior. He paid the price for our sins and it's a free gift only when we repent (turn away from our sins, not just "be sorry") and live for Him and obey His Word.

The author of The Shack entered into an editorial relationship with Wayne Jacobson, who is not a Universalist/Reconciliationist and the book was toned down from its original content. There's a theological slight of hand in this book. At one point, the Jesus character is asked if there are many roads to heaven and he says no. Later on, he says that there are a lot of different religions that are different roads (plural) by which he comes to different people. That's just one of the contradictions within the book. It's pluralism and humanism in their purest forms. Not every book that mentions God or Jesus is a Christian book, just as not everyone who claims to be a Christian actually is one. If I don an orange robe, begin chanting and call myself a Hare Krishna but don't live the lifestyle and embrace their beliefs, I'm not a Hare Krishna. I would be a fake. That's what The Shack is. It reduces who Christ claimed to be and mocks the atonement of His death on the cross. If someone likes the book, that's fine. It just shouldn't be confused with Christianity. St. Augustine said it best, "If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it's not the gospel you believe, but yourself."


I have been a believer most of my life. I know the scriptures well. This book has inspired & encouraged me. While much of "the church" focuses on actions, works, doing the "right" things, Young focuses on relationship.

I finished this book NOT feeling like I'm not good enough or not doing enough, but having a greater understanding of how reachable God is. I've had an epiphany concening the relationship that God desires with me, and the provision He's made for that relationship.

I see a loving God, He is just, but He's not poised with a club to deliver a blow to me when I sin...just as an earthly father loves His children, in spite of their shortcomings. God is saddened by the sins of His children, but never loves them less because of it.

I finished this book wanting nothing more than to cultivate my relationship with God. How can that be anything but a very wonderous thing!?

Joe Wikert

Well said, S. Hurst, well said. I think your summary is far better than mine. Thanks for taking the time to contribute it.

ray stone

I read a few chapters of the book and was impressed. For those who are challenged by its doctrinal correctness, remember it is FICTION. Another great work on the horizon, both scriptural and controversial is "A Step Into Deliverance" by Toni Pugh. It's a riveting autobiography about a pastor's awesome journey into the deliverance ministry. A real page-turner and destined for the bestsellers list.

Michael E. Waddell

Thanks for the reminder Joe - It is a FICTION book.

As with most books, you will take from The Shack those lessons that impress and move you.

Michael E. Waddell

co-author of Toy Box Leadership: Leadership Lessons From The Toys You Loved As A Child

Queen B

In response to Ryan Baldwin: I have read a lot of reviews about this book. Most positive, some negative. I assume you are Christian from what you have written. If you know The Bible so well though, then you should also acknowledge the fact that the author has done a great job otherwise people wouldn't be raving about the book. You should also realize that the book is fictional, as is clearly mentioned on the cover. With that said, God is the only Judge. So who are you to judge another human being's work and critisize it. God did not give you that right. He says in The Bible that we should not judge others because we ourselves will be judged in the Kingdom.

My point is, a lot of people who call themselves Christian are in fact so hypocritical. They talk about The Bible as if they live by every word written there, and then turn around and do the very thing they are critisizing about. Like you judging the author for example. Just think about it... Besides, I think it's a fantastic read!

Diane Eble

Thanks for mentioning The Shack. I did an interview with the author myself ( on "the story behind the story" and I love that he didn't initially intend to even publish this. It was a very personal book written initially for his six children, to explain something of his own spiritual journey. And FICTION--story--was the best way to express truths that can't be quite grasped on a literal, doctrinal, "left-brain" level. Some truths have to be experienced. This story was an experience for me, as are any good stories. Because it dealt with spiritual things, it was also a spiritual experience. Obviously, it is also such for many other people. I've dubbed it "the book you have to recommend and give away," and that is one of the great keys to its success. I've given it to several people who have experienced devastating loss, and who have found comfort from it.

Trish Pickard

While reading The Shack, I kept thinking it would be great if there was a study/discussion guide to go with it. I finally decided that God was urging me to write one. I would be glad to send you a copy that you are welcome to copy and share with others. Email me at
Trish Pickard


Well, I have read The Shack, and although many recommended it to myself, after dealing with my own personal tragedy, I found it a kick in the back when your already dealing with questions of life, and god itself. I get that God loves us all and that you must forgive those, and accept god into your heart, but maybe I am missing the point. I wonder if the author has ever had a tragedy happen to him that he has questioned his faith? I find in incorrect many of the perceptions, of god. And Ironic, that after all Mack had been through, once he left to endure a accident. This book, I guess I expected to feel a life come out of me, only to feel that god takes those away cause, although he can prevent things, he did'nt in this situation, cause mack was not accepting of him. Even though Nan was. I found it to be that our God is selfish in taking those away, cause he is "fond of them" when we are too! And to take them away from us in the most horrible matter, makes me more angry after he tells Mack "I could have prevented" Well thanks God!!!!!


One of the things I loved about the Shack was that I constantly felt drawn to God. Almost every time I picked it up I found myself in prayer, and searching deeply into my own flesh to find if there was any judgment in me.

As for the doctrinal challenges...
1. God displayed as woman: BOTH men and women were created in God's image, therefore God has characteristics of both. God is NOT one or the other, there is nothing in Scripture to support that God the Father is male. I say that as "father" because that is the primary image he uses, but we must remember He was speaking to a patriarchal society, and God as Leader, would best be represented as male. God is displayed as female, however, in Prov. 31. An important note--the book does NOT claim that God is female. It only claims that He may reveal himself in that way. I believe that is Scriptural.

2. There is no hierarchy in the Trinity: there are clearly more arguments to suggest that there is hierarchy, but view this point a different way. Jesus often used hyperbole to make a point, and I think that if we take this statement as hyperbole, we reach an important conclusion--the center of the Trinity is submission in love, not hierarchy. If we get stuck on who tells who what to do and how orders are carried out in the Trinity we completely miss the point. It's just like marriage--if we get stuck on the husband being the head and the wife being the submissive one we miss out on the gallantness in the sacrifice of the husband who is then served from love and deepest respect by the wife. The Trinity and marriage center around perfect love and unity, above all things. Righteousness is not righteous if it is not born from a spirit of love. Let me repeat that: righteousness is not righteous if it is not born from a spirit of love. We cannot be pharisaical in our righteousness because rather than shining like the dawn, we will be whitewashed tombs that the world recognizes as death itself. Talk about walking the edge of a knife! That's why this point is so critical.

I can't think of anymore doctrinal issues, I read it awhile ago.

Rather than give general opinions of the book, it would be great if people would ask questions and give their own thoughts, and then allow others to respond to the questions with their own.

Bob William

Over my 67 years on this great earth, I have been a "faithful" Christian. Reading Paul's book gave me a validation of what my heart (through the Holy Spirit) has been telling me for so long. What a marvelous way to help some of us who often get hung up on "organized religion made by man" and what God really intended when he created us in His image.
Bob W.


I felt this book could start many people talking about God and prayer but I never forgot it was intended to be just a story. When we as fallible humans start judging things as if we have the power and knowledge God does on how things will be used, then we are limiting God to those things we can think of.
This is why God gives to us a mind with discernment. And I believe it is God's will that at this time, my book club would have suggested The Shack along with Forgiving Ararat by Gita Nazareth and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, in raising an intellectual debate about religion. I can't wait to share!

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