This spring, the New York Times bestselling book The Shack by William P. Young will come to the big screen.
The emotionally charged story seems to offer a resolution to the problem of pain—those who are struggling with the question, “Where is God when the world is full of brokenness?” Though many readers have labeled Young’s story a compelling work of Christian fiction, discerning believers must ask themselves: Are The Shack’s underlying teachings biblically sound or a far reach from the teachings of God’s Word?
Though you might be swayed into thinking the god of The Shack is the same as the God of the Bible, there are several problems that arise if we take a close look at The Shack. Here are six concerns that develop as Mack converses with Young’s caricatures of the Trinity.
Love vs. Justice
Problem #1: According to Young, justice and love are at odds and cannot be reconciled. He reasons that God will never judge people for their sins because He is limited by His love. Neither will He enact eternal judgment upon those who reject Him or send anyone to torment in hell.
But why would Jesus Christ die a criminal’s death on the cross if not to save us from something? What a wasteful and pointless act it would be if Christ did not take on our just punishment, the wrath of God, for our sin.
We cannot remove the wrath of God from Scripture. It is as surely a part of His character as His love and mercy are. But God’s wrath is not a human anger that flares up because of wounded pride or envy. His wrath is not self-indulgent, but rather, as theologian J.I. Packer says in his book Knowing God, “a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil. God is only angry where anger is called for. … all God’s indignation is righteous.”
The Bible is very clear about why Jesus came to earth, humbly taking on the very nature of a servant (see John 3:16-18, Phil. 2:6-7). Jesus Himself warned about the coming judgment and hell, commissioning His followers to proclaim the gospel that the lost might be saved—that they might choose life (see Matt. 25:31-46, Rev. 21:6-8). Ultimately, that is what every person must do: Either choose salvation through the atoning blood of Jesus or choose the wrath of the righteous God.