The Shack

"The Shack" is a novel written by William P. Young who is a former office manager and hotel clerk in Gresham, Oregon.

In the story, Jesus is portrayed in the form of a Jewish man who admits that he isn't really THE way, THE truth, and THE life, but perhaps the BEST way to God.
God the Father is portrayed as a black female who says SHE has devotees of many beliefs, many religions, many faiths. 
When the central character asks "god" what it means to be a Christian, "god" says: “'Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian."

Anyone familiar with the Word of God and the "wiles of the devil" need read no further, that would be enough. For everyone else, read on:

The Book
The Shack is a work of fiction that very cleverly challenges the Biblical tenets of Christianity. It is an entertaining story that holds the reader's attention as an easy read, but it subtly undermines the Christian faith by reinventing God and his Son Jesus into something that is not recognizable from the Bible. The God portrayed in this book is NOT the God of the Bible. The “Jesus” of The Shack is NOT Jesus Christ of the Bible, because the "god" of The Shack speaks things that are diametrically opposed to the holy Scriptures.

This is nothing more than another Satanic assault on the God of the Bible, redefining and belittling the central doctrines of the fall of man and the redemption accomplished in the bloody atonement of Jesus upon a cruel cross on Golgotha.

If this story had been about Allah, if Allah were portrayed as a white female, the author would have hell to pay. Yet there are obviously no lengths too vulgar to be hurled against Christianity. 
The writer of Galatians considered altering the Gospel so serious that he states his warning twice in one place:

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:6-9

This book, The Shack is the epitome of man forming god in his own image, a feel-good denial of the hard truths of fallen humanity and its need for redemption. It appeals to the emotions, to the fallen, carnal nature. It is spiritual pornography.

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.”
Romans 1:21-23

The Story

The central character, Mack, had a 6-year-old daughter who was brutally murdered. He receives an invitation to meet with someone called "Papa" at the shack. "Papa" turns out to be "God" who miraculously transforms the shack into a warm and welcoming setting where they can just relax and shoot the breeze.

This book is an insult to the glorious God of heaven, the creator of all that is. Read on:

Mack meets God

God appears as "a large beaming African-American woman who crossed the distance between them and engulfed him in her arms....” p 82 and who is later called Elousia. There is no justification for presenting the HOLY GOD as a woman. There are lines you do NOT cross. This misrepresents God in the minds of the gullible, and creates a warm and fuzzy picture that is totally false. This is heresy.

He meets Jesus

When they finally stopped giggling, the large woman... said, 'Okay, we know who you are, but we should probably introduce ourselves to you. could call me what Nan (Mack's wife) does: Papa.'...

And I,' interrupted the man, who looked to be about in his thirties..., ' I am Hebrew....'"

Mack was suddenly staggered by his own realization. “Then, you are....”

Jesus? Yes...'"

This "Jesus" is “Middle-Eastern" and is dressed like a laborer, complete with belt and gloves, wearing jeans and a plaid shirt.

He meets a "Holy Spirit," stripped of his holiness:

Just as he was about to crumple to his knees, the Asian woman stepped closer and deflected his attention. 'And I am Sarayu (the Holy Spirit, Creativity),' she said... p 110

Sarayu is Sanskrit for “wind.” (Sanskrit is the classical language of Hinduism!)

"'Then,' Mack struggled to ask, 'which one of you is God?'“

'I am,’ said all three in unison.” p 86-87

This is a blasphemous perversion of the name God calls himself, "I Am," in Exodus 3:13-15, and which Jesus declares himself to be in John 8:58.

Mack learns another Gospel

Mack is then reeducated in his beliefs and corrected in his Biblical understanding of God.

It's the very same lie that precipitated the fallen human nature of man. Satan came to Eve and questioned what God had said to her:

"Yea, hath God said ...?"
Genesis 3:1

Young's Perverse God

When we three spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed. Even though we have always been present in this universe, we now became flesh and blood.” p 98

All three becoming human is a derivative of the ancient heresy of modalism, the denial of the Trinity, the belief that, instead, God revealed himself in three modes, or forms. The truth is that the son of God did not EVER come into existence, the Son of Man did. Jesus was forever God. He alone took on humanity in order to redeem humanity. The Father did NOT take on a human form. The Holy Spirit did NOT take on a human form.

Besides the irreverent portrayal of God, the crass language spoken throughout the book, the diminished importance of sin, The Shack suggests to the mind of the reader completely unBiblical concepts, a God becoming man in three persons, two females and one male. This is heresy.

"Yea, hath God said ...?"

You can almost hear Satan chuckling as people gobble up this caricature of God that Satan himself has created.


This isn't something new, the New Agers have long tried to introduce a "god" who is not male. They have even produced a "gender-neutral Bible" that changes all the Scriptures which reference God as "He."

Jesus called him Father. That should settle it.

God calls Jesus Son, but...

...the god of the shack said: “I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature.” p 93

The book tugs on the emotions to explain it:

Hasn’t it always been a problem for you to embrace me as your father? And after what you’ve been through, you couldn’t very well handle a father right now, could you?” p 93

So the suggestion is that if you had a bad relationship with your earthly father, God has to be something other than Father so you can accept him. That's heresy. That's giving you permission to remake God into the image you want, thus denying what God has said about himself. It is not for us to make God acceptable to mankind; the purpose of the Gospel is to make US acceptable to God.

God has revealed himself to us as masculine. In his Word he is always addressed in the masculine. The idea that men cannot be comforting or kind, that this characteristic can only come from females is bunk. Furthermore, to change God into a female makes him a goddess, which is not found in Christianity but IS found in pagan religions.

"Yea, hath God said ...?"

Yes, Mr. Young, God DID say!

What follows is an unraveling of Bible doctrine.

The Cross

Papa didn’t answer, only looked down at their hands. His gaze followed hers and for the first time Mack noticed the scars in her wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his ...Jesus reached across the table and took Papa’s hands in his, scars now clearly visible on his wrists.” p 95, 107

Young is presenting the idea that the Father died on the cross with the Son and that they bear the marks of the cross to this day. p 95-95, 164 This is heresy.

When we three spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed ...flesh and blood.” p 99

To include the Father and the Holy Spirit in the humanity of the Son confuses the nature of the persons of the Tri-unity and their function to no end. The book teaches that all the members of the Trinity took human form at the incarnation, and this introduces a form of the ancient heresy of Patripassianism (the Father suffering,) the belief that God the Father became incarnate and suffered on the cross as the Son. Saying that the Father's "scars (are) now clearly visible on his wrists” is heresy.

Mack: “At the cross? Now wait, I thought you left him―you know―‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’”

Papa answers: “You misunderstand that mystery there. Regardless of what he felt at that moment, I never left him” p 96

Point 1:

The fact that the Father DID leave Jesus when he hung on that cross, is a central and necessary element in the atoning work of Christ. Christ took the judgment of OUR sins on that cross, and the judgment on sin is separation from God. Jesus WAS separated from God, and the atonement is not complete without that element.

Point 2:

"Regardless of what he felt..." indicates that the Son of God could be wrong. No, the Scripture is correct and the Son of God was VERY aware that he was separated from the Father.

In taking the position that the Father died on the cross and suggesting that the Father did not turn away from Jesus on the cross when the sins of the world were put on him, but physically participated in it, is heresy.

In other words he is introducing a challenge to historic Christianity.

When Mack asks what Jesus accomplished by dying he is told:

"Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.”

The Shack's "god" explains that he is reconciled to “the whole world,” not just to the believer. p 192

The Bible teaches that the world is offered reconciliation to God, not the other way around, and this is no small difference. It must be taken by the faith of each individual or it is does not occur.

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18

"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God."
2nd Corinthians 5:20

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
James 4:4

The world is NOT reconciled. The reconciliation takes place in a personal act of faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Many Ways To God?

"Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims ...I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters.” -The Shack's "Jesus" figure p182

Jesus is not the "best" way to come to God, He is the ONLY way:

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
John 14:6

There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 2:5

There is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

Mr. Young, who are you to alter what God himself has said?

There is no plan B. Your book is heresy.

Denial Of The Gospel

"'Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian.'
The idea struck Mack as odd and unexpected and he couldn’t keep himself from grinning. 'No, I suppose you aren’t.'" p 182

You can almost hear the crackle of the wicked one as he denies the Christian faith.

"Christian" is defined as one who follows Christ.

"Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian,let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter."
1 Peter 4:16

It's obvious that Mr. Young is NOT a Christian, as he out-and-out denies this term.

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel ...But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Galations 1:6-9

Mr. Young is presenting "another Gospel." And this is heresy.

The Holy Spirit

Mack asks Jesus, “Speaking of Sarayu, is she the Holy Spirit?”

Jesus answers, “Yes, She is Creativity; she is Action; she is Breathing of Life; she is much more. She is my Spirit.”

Mack responds, “And her name Sarayu?”

Jesus explains, “That is a simple name from one of our human languages. It means ‘Wind,’ a common wind actually. She loves that name” p 110

Mack asks "the Holy Spirit" if he will see her again and he is told, “Of course, you might see me in a piece of art, or music, or silence, or through people, or in creation, or in your joy and sorrow.” p 198

The spirit that Jesus has is a she? This female "Holy" Spirit is also portrayed as an “it,” a force that indwells inanimate objects.

We're back to the heretical "goddess" and the "god is in everything" concepts again, right out the "New Age" movement.

Mr. Young, when you studied the Bible, as you report you did do, did you overlook this dire warning:

"Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come."
Matthew 12:31-32

The Hierachy

“‘Well I know that there are three of you. But you respond with such graciousness to each other. Isn’t one of you more the boss than the other two …I have always thought of God the Father as sort of being the boss and Jesus as the one following orders, you know being obedient….’

‘Mackenzie, we have no concept of final authority among us; only unity. We are in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command… What you’re seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power… Hierarchy would make no sense among us.’”
p 121

"...though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek."
Hebrews 5:8-10

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:8

"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
Matthew 26:39

To whom, Mr. Young, was Jesus being obedient?

And another important question:

To whom, Mr. Young, are YOU being obedient?

Is Christ Our Example?

Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example to copy. Being my follower is not trying to ‘be like Jesus,’ it means for your independence to be killed.” p 149

Oh wait a minute! The teaching in Scripture is that we do aspire to be like Jesus and to follow and copy our Lord:

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”
1st Peter 2:21

For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
John 13:15

Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow Christ.”
1 Corinthians 11:1

Mr. Young, you have out-and-out denied the words of the Savior, and in doing so have influenced countless others to follow YOUR heretical example and the example of YOUR "father." Your father would be proud.


The "god" of the Shack states:

You don't need me at all to create your list of good and evil. But you do need me if you have any desire to stop such an insane lust for independence.... Mackenzie, evil is a word we use to describe the absence of good, just as we use the word darkness to describe the absence of light. ...evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence.” p 136

Evil has no actual existence? Take a concordance and look up how many times the words "evil" and "sin" are found in the New Testament alone! I did that and my computerized concordance search results for "evil" included the word devil. How appropriate!

The book rejects all accountability for sin. The black female says that "she" is instead about "curing" sin. A "cure" that comes with teddy-bear hugs, rather than repentance. A "cure" without atonement, without all that the real Jesus was all about.

Mr. Young, God alone has the authority to define sin and evil, and God does not sugar-coat these words. Evil is more than the absence of good. Evil is rebellion. Evil began with Satan's REBELLION against God. And Satan's next move was to draw Adam to do the same.

"Yea, hath GOD said ...?"

Yes, Mr. Young, God DID say!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Does The God Of Love Punish Sin?

I am not who you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It is not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.’” p 119-120

In other words, God's going to make everything all better, so the atonement was unnecessary. There is no mention of hell in the book, of course, because its god is only a god of love and he's going to make everything GOOD, you see, thus the book's elimination of hell as the final place for the rebellious. And now we have a completely different ending to the wonderful story of redemption, versus the results of rejecting the Gospel.

But oh no, there IS indeed judgment, there IS indeed punishment, and there IS indeed a hell:

"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!"
Luke 12:4-5

The Bible

"For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning." p 93

He calls The Word of God "religious conditioning?" He is introducing a challenge to the way God has revealed himself to us. It is suggesting that anyone who believes the Bible as written needs to be rid of "religious conditioning." This is blasphemy.

No, it's just the opposite. Young is feeding gullible minds some "conditioning" all right. "New Age" conditioning.

"Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” p 65-66

To say that reading the Bible forms guilt, shows contempt for God’s eternal Word. Implying the Bible is outdated, the author then plants the concept of God still speaking to us new revelation, replacing the Word of God with new concepts. Young's story furthermore suggests that God will speak to us personally, and what he speaks is superior to what is written in Scripture. p 195 Scripture is diminished to the "voice" of God that introduces doctrinal corrections to the Bible.

Oh no, Mr. Young, this isn't at all new. It started back in the very beginning, when Satan tried to "correct" Adam and Eve's understanding of what God had said to them.

What Mr. Young is suggesting should be instantly recognized as a diabolical attack from hell upon the Word of God. This is the epitome of Genesis 3, "Yeah, hath God said ...?"

Fallen humanity is the result of believing that first lie in Genesis 3. Satan hasn't changed his approach. He hasn't had to. It works.

The Word of God has been written down for all generations. "I do not change," says the Lord in Malachi 3:6

Yes, God does still speak, but he NEVER changes or contradicts what he has said in his Word.

"...if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."

The Danger:

The audacity of this man - he creates a story that puts new words in God's mouth, concepts that are in complete opposition to what has been revealed by God in his Word, he totally misrepresents God, the story of the fall of man, and the atonement provided for man's salvation. He feeds the imagination with images that change the story completely. It's the same lie as recorded in Genesis - with the same intent, to cause mankind to rebel against the Word of God.

"...casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.."
2nd Corinthians 10:5

The teachings of Scripture and the Gospel of Christ are not to be toyed with and re-interpreted to fit one's fantasy as Young has done in this book. This man is a heretic, and responsible for filling the minds of the gullible with this pablum. He'll account for it one day. When he meets his "father," he'll wish he had a shack to escape to!

Reducing The Majesty And Glory Of God

What effect does an encounter with God produce on a human being?

Paul’s encounter with the glorious Christ left the bloodthirsty rabbi fasting and blind for three days.
Acts 9:1-6

When the glorified Christ appeared to John the exiled Apostle, John “fell at His feet as though dead!”
Revelation 1:16-18

Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. He reacts by crying out “Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
Isaiah 6:1-5

When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, he hid his face in fear.
Exodus 3:6

But in The Shack we find a man who stands in the very presence of "God: and uses foul language, "damn” p 140, and “son of a bitch” p 224, who expresses anger to God (which in turns makes God cry!) p 92, and who snaps at God in his anger p 96.

"This is not a man who is in the presence of One who is far superior to Him, but a man who is in the presence of a peer. This portrayal of the relationship of man to God to man is a far cry from the Bible's portrayal."
Tim Challies at

When a man stands before the majesty of God, that man will NOT curse and profane His name. The author of this book will tremble at the presence of the real God of heaven. He will be the one crying!

Reducing The Authority Of God

I'm not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way. I am good, and I desire only what is best for you. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation....” p 126

"...the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding."
Job 28:28

"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."
Ephesians 5:6

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:10-11


Once again, Jesus's work of redemption is being counted as unnecessary. Who other than Satan would want to assail the greatest gift of love accomplished through the agony of the Son of God and suggest that oh no, the atonement's not needed, and repentance isn't needed, and assert that what Jesus said about being THE way to the Father is NOT TRUE. Who else but Satan? And the world gobbles it up.
P Maillet

-Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary calls this book "undiluted heresy."

-"The Shack ...trades a church occupied with people who hear the Word of God preached, for an empty shack where there is neither."
Norman Geisler

-"The Shack has a quietly subversive quality to it."
Tim Challies at

"I would rather have people gleaning lessons from pure fantasy stories like The Wizard of Oz, than to dabble with a story that entwines itself with accepted Christian terminology, only to subtly twist it into a poisonous brew much more lethal than anything the Wicked Witch of the West ever dreamed of."
Discernment Research Group:

The Word Of God Speaks

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron..."
1 Timothy 4:1-2

"...test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1

"For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light."
2nd Corinthians 11:14

"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be ...blasphemers ...unholy ...from such turn away!"
2nd Timothy 3:1-5

* What was the first thing Jesus said when asked what would be the signs of his coming.
"And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you." Matthew 24:4

Remember, deception always comes to us as something good. In the garden of Eden, Satan convinced Eve that the forbidden fruit was something good, something that will make you "as god." Satan never comes with a sign saying, "Here comes Satan, and I'm out to destroy you." Of course not. He comes seducing with pleasant words, words that always contradict the Word of God.