Theology of the Book The Shack BY WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG
Analysis by Larry Spargimino
transcribed by America is Babylon
Spargimino: The novel is well written which is why it is so entertaining to people. It was a New York Times bestseller. I have entered numerous Christian bookstores and have seen this book with a large display and many copies available. Many Evangelical Christians are reading this book and embracing the themes within it. Not only Evangelical, but Fundamental type Christians as well such as Baptists. The fact that Christians of today even regard this book as entertainment, which in reality is blasphemous, is an indication of our disregard of sound doctrine.
- The first red flag for Christians is that God the Father is depicted as big black woman, who wears feminine, heavily perfumed clothing. Her perfume reminds the main character Max of his recently deceased wife.
- The Holy Spirit is depicted as an Asian woman dressed in work clothes.
- Jesus is depicted as a Jewish man with lots of hair.
As if this unholy trinity depiction isn’t degrading enough to the Triune Godhead, there are some even more fundamental doctrinal issues at stake. If you really want to know the author’s religious beliefs, you need to read another of his books titled Lies we believe about God, which is the book quoted from below.
In this book, Young postulates 25 lies people supposedly believe about God.
One of the ‘lies’ (from Young’s book)
- “The fact that you need to be saved (page 115) Young claims this is a lie. He claims you don’t need to be saved because you already are saved. He espouses Universal Reconciliation.
Universalist= someone who says it doesn’t matter what you believe, everyone is saved but not through a particular belief system.
Universally reconciled= everyone is reconciled through Jesus Christ whether or not they know it.
The Gospel is irrelevant to both these beliefs.
Young may have came to this as a result of his strict, conservative, fundamentalist Christian, missionary family, where everything was ‘bad’ and hellfire and brimstone were overemphasized and love and grace were diminished. This fundamentalist view can be known as toxic faith. These people are those who condemn more laid back Christians, even more then the world. He was raised in Paua New Guinea as a missionary’s child.
The main character in The Shack is Max. There are some things that happened to Max in the book that actually happened to Young as a child. Young was abused as a boy, and he grew up to be an abuser of boys.
Quotes and refutes from the book Lies we believe about God
- Young: “The Old Testament understanding of hell carries no concept whatsoever of endless punishment. Instead it is a place or process of the purification of God’s people”
Spargimino: Hell was known in the Old Testament as prophesied David Psalm 16:10
His view of hell in the New Testament we know this is not according to God’s word. Hell is a real place where the unsaved go and it is not fun. It is also everlasting and those who go there experience the second death of the spirit. Matthew 10:28/Matthew 25:30/Matthew 25:46/Revelation 20:10,14,15
2. Young: “The first death was a transition from life to death, the second death (spiritual death) is a transition from corruption to incorruption, from mortality to immortality. The second death is prepared to purge out and burn away sin and its results and in so doing, cleanses God’s entire universe.”
Spargimino: We understand from Scripture that only the saved will change from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal- 1 Corinthians 15. The unsaved will be cast into the lake of fire and will have no resurrection. Revelation chapters 19, 20/Job 19:25-29
Everlasting fire= Young says this means age abiding corretion, age enduring pruning. Not a place where we stay forever
The core question this book asks is: Can a person be saved without believing upon the Gospel?
What is the Gospel?
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
3. “So what is the Good News? What is the Gospel? According to Young, The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibilities of salvation and you have been invited to recieve Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into His life. Into His relationship with God the Father and into His annointing, into the Holy Spirit. The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less or more true.
Young: “This is the real good news, it has been blowing people’s minds for centuries now, so much so, that we have made it overcomplicated and get it wrong.”
Spargimino: Acts 16:30,31/John 3:16,36
Only belief on the Gospel saves you
1 John 1:9, 2:1-2
Only by confession of our sins does God forgive us and cleanse us.
Only be being born again by the Spirit can one be saved. This comes after the confession of sins and belief in the Gospel and asking His Spirit into you heart. You do not get the anointing of the Holy Spirit without being born again by belief in the Gospel.
John 14:6, 6:44,45
Only through Christ can one come to the Father. You don’t come to God unless it’s through this one way-Christ
Romans 3:23-25; 4:3; 5:1
4.Young: “Are you suggesting that everyone will be saved, that you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying.”
Spargimino: Acts 1:6-8/Mark 16:15,16/Luke 24:45-48
Our task as Christians is to be witnesses of Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection and His promises of return. In fact, Christ Himself says the entire Bible, Law and Prophets alike testify of Him John 5:39
If all are saved irregardless as Young believes, then it wouldn’t matter if we witnessed.
Philip preached Christ. In fact, it was so important for him to preach to the Ethiopian that God removed Philip from a great revival in Samaria where he was preaching in order to take him into the desert to preach to this one man.
Acts 10:1,2/Acts 11:13,14
Cornelius was a moral and devout (religious) man, yet he still needed the Gospel preached and needed to be born again and saved!
Only to those who believe Christ’s Gospel receive salvation.
The conclusion is that Young is preaching blasphemy, and has interwoven these gnostic concepts within his novels, The Shack being one of them. Be very wary of this leaven, as a little leavens the whole lump. Whether we Christians believe it or not, what we ingest affects our spirits, and also influences others to harm. Be wary to guard the heart and to recognize heresy wherever you encounter it. Stay away from anything that is evil even if it has a beautiful presentation.
YOUNG, WM PAUL. LIES WE BELIEVE ABOUT GOD. SIMON & SCHUSTER LTD, 2019.
Young, Wm Paul. Shack. Hodder & Stoughton, 2017.