What to Make of The Shack

The internet is full of comments on the new movie, “The Shack.” This is the film adaptation of the popular novel by the same title from 2007. I’d like to add a couple of comments, then some links to some helpful information about the Christian’s thoughts toward this book and film. 

First of all, I think it is a very bad idea to portray deity the way The Shack does (and for that matter, “Oh God!” “Bruce Almighty,” etc.). The Triune God of Scripture has revealed Himself in the manner we are to understand Him. Scripture is not an accident, nor cavalier in this, but very precise. The words of Scripture are clear and placed as they are for a good reason.

Second, no I have not read the book nor seen the movie, and that doesn’t matter. There are many books, films, plays, recordings that I have not personally taken in, and it is because there is an army of trusted reviewers and scholars who do that. I comment on what I have seen or read for the benefit of others, and others for me. If you are ever confronted by someone who tells you, “You can’t criticise a book or film unless you’ve seen it yourself,” just use your thinking abilities to show the absurdity of this view. Think of things we criticise yet without experiencing (reading, viewing, participating in); do we have to personally partake to know something is in error?

Third, those who think the movie is just wonderful will tell you that it is only a novel, a fiction, and not theology. But in our feelings-led and anti-thinking culture fiction almost automatically becomes doctrine. One only has to remember the horrible, “Left Behind” series of books and films to recall that what was supposedly fiction soon became settled doctrine. The reason for this is because fiction is first based upon doctrine (teaching), whether or not it is so admitted. No fictional idea arises in a theological vacuum. Likewise, the Shack offers its comfort in a non-Biblical doctrine of God; a Christian should be asking, “Why do I prefer The Shack’s portrayal of God to the one in Scripture?

Please take a look at the following links, by men who are much more articulate on the subject than I. Please think this through before the images of the “The Shack” enter your imagination.

Albert Mohler

Tim Challies and Tim Challies

David Mathis

Mary Kassian

Luke the Historian

“Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy; he is possessed of the true historic sense; he fixes his mind on the idea and plan that rules in the evolution of history; and proportions the scale of his treatment to the importance of each incident. He seizes the important and critical events and shows their true nature at greater length, while he touches lightly or omits entirely much that was valueless for his purpose. In short, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

W. M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (London; New York; Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton, 1915), 222.

.Ramsay 1

“I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it here. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and of justice.”

W. M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (London; New York; Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton, 1915), 89.

Ramsay 2