Should I listen to haters who hate The Shack?

Why in the world would Christians ruin a perfectly great movie with their criticisms and negativity? Finally there is a film about forgiveness that helps people think in an out-of-the-box way about God, so why can’t they just leave well enough alone?

Those are the questions you may be asking, and if you follow this link from a well-meaning friend or you saw it posted on The Shack’s fan page on Facebook, welcome!

I am one of the “haters” you’ve heard about, and I want to take a moment and explain why I do what I do.  First, let me assure you that I don’t have fangs or horns. I’m just a woman who loves God and wants to be pleasing to Him.

And I do care very much about taking Him seriously when He commands us to love one another. He wants us to tell the truth always, even if it doesn’t earn us balloons and hearts from people on the Internet. I write because I love His sheep, and do not want them to be deceived or bamboozled in any way by the lies of the enemy of our souls.

This enemy hates you, you know. He’s not fond of you at all.  And he wants to distort the very nature and character of God so that you will believe a lie. The enemy indeed is the “hater,” and not those who lovingly warn people against his ploys.

Let’s cut right to the chase: Are there heresies in The Shack?

Yes.

Scroll down. There are more than a dozen of them. Movies about God always make big bucks at the box office, and this one is already headed for mega-blockbuster status after opening in March.

Maybe you read the book. Maybe this emotion-tugging story about “Papa” made you think about Jesus for the very first time. But which Jesus? We know that the Jesus of the Bible is very different than the one author William P. Young wrote about in his mega-bestseller.

Yes, I know it’s fiction. And I get that the story of forgiving a heinous, unspeakable crime against a child is powerful. I never tell people what not to read or what movies they shouldn’t see. That’s your business. But here’s the thing. If you’re looking for the God of the Bible in this book, or thinking that this is a great film to give your kids a “whole new perspective on God” (we hear that one a lot), then I’m going to speak up and say that there are some things you ought to know about how and where this story veers off track into dangerous waters.

First there is the matter of Universalism. Everyone gets into heaven in Young’s story. No sin or repentance, no need for a savior, and no need for a Gospel at all. Last year we interviewed an old colleague of Young’s, James B. De Young, professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., who wrote the book, Burning Down The Shack: How the “Christian” Bestseller is Deceiving Millions.

You may also want to check out the Thirteen Heresies in The Shack, written by Michael Youssef. Here is what he wrote about those 13 concerns along with what the Bible says about them:

1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.

Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).

2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.

The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).

3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.

Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).

4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.

Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).

5. God will never judge people for their sins.

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).

6. There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity.

The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.” Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit” (John 4:34, 6:44, 14:26, 15:26).

7. God submits to human wishes and choices.

Far from God submitting to us, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.” We are to submit to Him in all things, for His glory and because of what He has accomplished for us (Matthew 7:13-15).

8. Justice will never take place because of love.

The Bible teaches that when God’s love is rejected, and when the offer of salvation and forgiveness is rejected, justice must take place or God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for nothing (Matthew 12:20; Romans 3:25-26).

9. There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.

Jesus’ own description of hell is vivid … it cannot be denied (Luke 12:5, 16:23).

10. Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

11. Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.

Jesus, who dwells in the splendor of heaven, sits at the right hand of God, reigning and ruling the universe. The Bible says, “In Him there is no change, for He is yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 11:12, 13:8; James 1:17).

12. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.

Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life” (John 3:15, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40).

13. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.

The Bible is God-breathed. Sure, there were many men through 1,800 years who put pen to paper (so to speak), each from different professions and different backgrounds, but the Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. These men were writing the same message from Genesis to Revelation. If you want to read more about the place of Christ in the Scripture, read “We Preach Christ” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Here is a brief video of Yousseff that is well worth the watch:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/4479699?wmode=opaque&api=1","url":"https://vimeo.com/4479699","width":320,"height":240,"providerName":"Vimeo","thumbnailUrl":"https://i.vimeocdn.com/video/10995870_295x166.jpg","resolvedBy":"vimeo"}” data-block-type=”32″>

https://player.vimeo.com/video/4479699?wmode=opaque&api=1” data-provider-name=”Vimeo”>

Bottom line is, there are many Christians out there who are now warning against this movie and book for the reasons you’ve just read about. If you’ve lasted all the way to the end of this article, then I want to thank you for hanging in there and considering why people like me are so concerned about you. I am glad that you have taken the time to be a Berean (Acts 17:11), and I hope to hear from you in the comments section.
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2 Responses to Should I listen to haters who hate The Shack?

  1. joanne says:

    You are so far OFF BASE IT ISN’T EVEN FUNNY!! You are not a Christian!! You’re in a damn cult!! listen to yourself!! I’ve been saved since the 70s and left the church due to hypocrisy and started going again because I found a wonderful Lutheran Church that is inclusive and loving. NOT like some of the extremist churches out there who claim to be Christlike in their behavior!!! You are the farthest thing from Christlike my friend. WAKE UP!!! Christ knows my heart and its inclusive of everyone. It isn’t picking everything around me apart like you’re doing here!!! This is where the hatred is rooted! This is a BIG disappointment to me!! You need to get off of your high horse! Are you watching too much Faux news and Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell Jr??? yes, I thought so.

    Like

  2. ASPREE says:

    Oh dear. Well first Joanne, I do not listen to any of the folks you mentioned at the end of your rant.
    If I may, I’d like to answer the rest of your accusations in chronological order.

    1. “You are not a Christian!! You’re in a damn cult!!”
    What is your definition of a Christian? Mine is that I am born again by my faith that Jesus is my Savior, and that as His child I am no longer bound by sin but am forgiven. I obey and follow His commands as much as I am able, though I fall short. What is your definition of cult? How am I following a cult by raising theological concerns with The Shack?

    2.” found a wonderful Lutheran Church that is inclusive and loving. NOT like some of the extremist churches out there who claim to be Christlike in their behavior!!!”
    Let me guess, ELCA? This Lutheran sect went of the rails years ago. The churches you call “extremists” are the ones that believe Scripture is truth.

    3. “You are the farthest thing from Christlike my friend.”
    I’m not sure we know each other well enough for you to call me a friend, but you are right – I do fall short of being Christlike.

    4. “Christ knows my heart and its inclusive of everyone.”
    Christ DOES know your heart. The Bible says you (and I) are wretched sinners, whose hearts are black with sin. But God…. As of inclusive, I think I know what that means…. accepting of the sin Jesus bled and died for.

    Anywho, thanks for stopping by. I guess you aren’t going to hang out here much, but I do appreciate the chance to respond.

    Like

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