The Shack: An Evangelical Opportunity

Written by Neil Silverberg

April 3, 2017

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  1. Jonathan Hudson

    Thank you, Pastor Neil, for putting in words this thought that I have been struggling with since I heard the movie was coming out. I have read the book but not seen the movie yet as I wanted some solid insight on how to hold it up to the Light of The Gospel.
    Ps. We miss you in Cape Coral! Come see us some time!

  2. Sharon

    Thank you Neil, I agree w/Jonathan’s comment. I read the book many yrs ago & could remember it wasn’t quite right but not exactly what. You have helped me greatly in how to “view” the movie. Everyone I know that has seen it, all Christians, loved the movie.

  3. Kim

    A little bit of yeast permeates the entire batch.

    The vileness of false teachers and their teachings is so bad John (the one known as “the disciple Jesus loved,” the one who focused more on God’s love than probably anyone else in the Bible) said don’t even let such people into your home. That is how pervasive false doctrines are.

    A false prophet isn’t necessarily false because they always get prophecies wrong – we know that’s true thanks to the encounter with the diviner Paul and Silas had in Greece. What makes someone a false prophet is that their life is false, and they’re calling upon things that are false (namely Satan) when they glean things. Well, if all of this is true, and I believe it is, then the argument could be made that the Shack, in its entirety, is wrong simply because of who wrote it.

    It might behoove you to know that William Paul Young wrote a NON-fiction book called LIES WE BELIEVE ABOUT GOD that puts the subtle, underlying Universalism of the Shack on full display. It’s disgusting. The man is an enemy of the Cross, the very same kind the apostle Paul wrote about. The blasphemies are seemingly endless, but here are a just a few: God is not sovereign nor does He exercise sovereignty but instead He submits to man; if the Cross was God’s idea then we serve a wicked God; mankind is not depraved; everyone is saved (he says it outright, plain as day, in this non-fiction book); all roads lead to Heaven…he promotes rebellion against authority, rebellion against the Church, rebellion against Scripture itself and the authority of that Bible…I could go on and on.

    William Paul Young is also friends with Rob Bell of the Emergent Church. Bell even blogs on Young’s website – this is the same Rob Bell that has been calling for Christians to STOP adhering to Scripture, to STOP relying on what He calls “ancient manuscripts” to be a moral compass for us, to accept the idea that there is no hell and so that means “love wins.” He has de-legitimized the Bible, and now Young is reinforcing that mindset thru his books, the fiction and non-fiction one. This connection alone should be enough to realize that there’s more at stake here than meets the eye.

    The Shack is most certainly a great opportunity, I agree…an opportunity to correct people about who God really is and one to warn them to love and cling to the Truth.

    You’re right. The Church of Ephesus was found to have a love that had grown cold…but the love of God should never supersede the knowledge of who He is, and it certainly should never malign His character. If it does, then we’re simply loving an idol we’ve created in our own minds (or that the Emergent Church has created in their own minds, perhaps). Ephesus was found to be right in Jesus’s eyes for their discernment of false apostles. He did not tell them to forsake that discernment *in lieu of* returning to their first love.

    It was supposed to be a both/and. For what is the point of love at all if it’s not done in Truth? (Truth being a Person rather than some abstract idea.)

  4. Jodi

    Thanks for your insight on this movie

  5. Tyler

    God can use anything, even a movie that has a lot of things that we disagree with in it to give us an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone who is simply trying to find answers. Excellent article Neil!

  6. Mac

    Neil. I think Kim’s on to something. 🙂 However, I read the book several years ago on the recommendation of a long time Pastor friend of mine. I understand from some blogs I’ve read that the person that authored the book is an atheist.That may or may not be accurate. But it should be enough to hand him over to the “Thought Police”…for the scourging.;-)

  7. Keith Schooley

    This is really a great take on the movie, Pastor Neil. There is a significant difference between how we deal with fellow believers who may be led astray by the inaccuracies portrayed, and how we deal with unbelievers whom God in his sovereignty can reach using unlikely means.

    God used pagan mythologies to begin to reach C. S. Lewis. Paul used a pagan altar to an unknown god to reach the people of Athens. If someone comes to the Lord because we showed them kindness and understanding at a time when God was opening their hearts, there will be a time for their erroneous ideas to be corrected by Scripture. Unfortunately, the church has all too often been so focused on protesting and exposing what it rightly perceives as error that it has missed the opportunity to use the tools presented to us in popular culture.

  8. Claude Ward

    When the proponents of the shack respond to the criticism I have seen them come back with “it is just a fictional story”. The Shack is much more than that! They have a daily shack devotional and study guides. This is in my opinion is not a innocent evangelical tool. It is another attempt from the enemy to pull us from Gods Word and his Truth, same a the Purpose Driven Lie. In Mathew chapter 24 Jesus tells us what to expect in the end of the age. Only once each does he mention wars, rumors of wars, earth quakes and such. However he warns 4 times about DECEPTION…

  9. Cara

    Thanks for that great article! I so appreciate the critical evaluation of the movie’s departure from Biblical truth and yet the positive ways to use it as an opportunity to share the Gospel.

  10. rebecca frechette

    Pastor Neil, have missed your teachings, well said, sir. God bless you.

  11. Apostle Johnny Washington

    I found the Shack to be a brilliant and refreshing articulation of the character and nature of God through a fun-filled fictional story.

    In my many conversations with one of the authors, Wayne Jacobson, I found him to be incredibly grounded biblically and overflowing with the Father’s affection for people.

    I’ve visited his home multiple times and a real friendship has begun. He is passionate about scripture, completely denies universalism, and holds space for the doctrinal of hell. He challenges the atonement doctrine of penal substitution, but this is not a new conversation for the body of Christ but dates all the way back to the doctrine Christ the Victor.

    While I can appreciate this article and it’s encouragement to make our conversations about the gospel of Jesus and exciting others to gaze into its beauty, I really protest the idea that the Shack is a book of doctrinal failures that took great liberty.

    I really believe God was behind this wonderful story and awakening the church to a very relational God that is intimately acquainted with our struggles and ever-present in the midst of our every tragedy.

  12. Shiloh Christie

    Not interested in the book or the movie. All I needed was the “Plugged In” movie review app’s summary. A teacher friend at my wife’s work privately met with her. Coupled with 12 years of Christ-like character, she comes out of the blue after watching the film and reading the book and says “Is that what God is like? You are the real Christian around here, tell me, is He really like that? You know I used to think you were crazy with your Christianity, but I thought to myself, ‘I think we got it all wrong and Rachel’s got it right’. I want to know more.” –yeah, big opportunity to share Jesus, awesome.


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