If you read my previous post, The Shack or the Outhouse, you know I already had misgivings about this book. What little I knew about it when my received it as a gift in the mail was enough already to raise a flag on my discernment meter. As I began to look into a bit more, my concern only grew.
Well, the number of five star reviews for this book just continue to pour in for “The Shack”. There are now over 770 review posted on Amazon for this doctrinally deficient work of fiction. I finally broke down and posted a 1-star review on Amazon, which I realize may not be entirely fair since I have not read the book. I *have* flipped through it and read enough in it to know I’m really not interested in devoting the time it would take to read it all the way through when I have so many other books on my list right now that seem to honor and glorify the God of the Bible so much more. But I went ahead and posted this review, which is really less a review than a word of caution to anyone who might be reading through the reviews trying to decide whether it’s a book they want to order. So, here it is. As always, your comments are welcome, invited, but rarely forthcoming. ;~)
Amazon Review: The Shack or The Outhouse?
Several people seem to have really enjoyed this book. Personally, I prefer the God of the Bible. It is not surprising, though, that so many people will gladly accept someone else’s idea of a God that is all love and no wrath. It’s also not too surprising that most of the real defenders of the faith here have been attacked by the people who have fallen in love with this god of The Shack rather than the Lord of the Harvest.
Here’s a passage of scripture taken from Second Thessalonians. Take especial note of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12:
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
2Th 2:9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
2Th 2:10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
2Th 2:11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
2Th 2:12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
2Th 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
Those who reject the true gospel of Jesus Christ–the gospel of sin, repentance, and salvation–will look for alternates wherever they can find them. For many who want the warm comfort of salvation (like a cup of hot cocoa) without the excruciating torment required of the sinner (that is *true* repentance), then something of this sort of Christianity-like-lite can be very appealing. But God’s word is very explicit that for those who would prefer delusion to the way of eternal life, God Himself will send them a delusion. It is similar to the way that God hardened Pharoah’s heart after Pharoah repeatedly insisted on hardening it himself against God’s word and His will initially as Moses pleaded for His people.
We live in a time (and perhaps it has always been this way, I don’t know) when people want a quick-fix, an easy solution, and above all something they can feel GOOD about. Whether it is prosperity gospel in its variety of forms, books like this, or any of the myriad man-centered spin-systems out there (Tolle/Winfrey for example), true gospel Christianity is just not real popular. That’s because it does not, will not, has not, and never will elevate man above anything other than utterly depraved and corrupt in sin, and badly (if not blindly) in need of a Savior. Anyone who professes Christ that ever forgets this should question both their sanity and their salvation.
I don’t care how many people claim that this is a life changing book, I *seriously* doubt that is true for any of them boasting this claim on some book’s behalf. I think it is much more likely that someone reading this book would NOT change because they would have the false assurance that God is just so wonderful and loving that they could continue on in whatever messed up manner they might be in when they arrived at The Shack. I doubt anyone has given up a lifelong addiction to drugs, or alcohol, pornography, or any other form of idol-worship or sin as a result of reading this book. I wonder how many people staking that claim actually changed anything at all about their lifestyle besides discussing the book in some conversations and sending free copies to other people they know.
In short, I would be very surprised if ANYONE has made the radical life changes that I have witnessed first-hand in the lives of someone who has experienced a true conversion to Christ. Why is that? Because that kind of change only occurs when a person truly repents of their sin and believes in Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit can bring about true and lasting change in a believer’s life, but He only operates in those who believe and accept the real gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m sure this will invite some anger among some who have read this book and believe it changed their lives just because it made them feel better about themselves or about their idea of God; that is, a warm and loving God. However, though God is indeed loving He is also just; and is as much a God of wrath as of love. Many are willing to love God for His love as long as they do not have to fear Him for His wrath. But to only accept the love of God as good, and reject the wrath of God–which is also good, actually even perfect–is to misunderstand Him and His plan for salvation altogether. You won’t get it.
If you want to know what God is really like, read the Bible. Not some work of fiction by an author that has put his words into God’s mouth, but the 66 books of Scripture written down by people whom God chose to put His words in theirs. There is a big difference.
May the Lord bless you, keep you, and guide you into all Truth. In Jesus Name, amen.