Impressions of The Shack


Inquiring Minds Want to Know: What do you make of The Shack?

To be quite honest, I do not know what to make of the book, The Shack.  My impression is that the author, William P. Young, made a noble attempt to explain some of the more difficult questions about God, and did so in an engaging narrative.  At the same time, he crossed over some cherished ground in a manner that leaves him open to charges of heresey.

Is Young alone in this?

No. C.S. Lewis, among others, trod this path long before Young. 

So what do I think?

I think I am thankful for keener minds than mine.

In particular, I was intrigued with Tim Keller’s analysis of The Shack. Keller makes it clear that he was not offering a review, only some impressions. Still his comments are worth considering:

At the heart of the book is a noble effort — to help modern people understand why God allows suffering, using a narrative form. The argument Young makes at various parts of the book is this. First, this world’s evil and suffering is the result of our abuse of free will. Second, God has not prevented evil in order to accomplish some glorious, greater good that humans cannot now understand. Third, when we stay bitter at God for a particular tragedy we put ourselves in the seat of the ‘Judge of the world and God’, and we are unqualified for such a job. Fourth, we must get an ‘eternal perspective’ and see all God’s people in joy in his presence forever. (The father in the story is given a vision of his deceased daughter living in the joy of Christ’s presence, and it heals his grief.) This is all rather standard, orthodox, pastoral theology (though it’s a bit too heavy on the ‘free-will defense’).  It is so accessible to readers because of its narrative form. I have heard many reports of semi-believers and non-believers claiming that this book gave them an answer to their biggest objections to faith in God.


Keller’s “However” needs to be considered. To read Keller’s post click: The Shack – Impressions.

4 thoughts on “Impressions of The Shack

  1. Thanks, I’ve thought about picking this book up but now I’m not….I like what Keller had to say.

    The quote ” Safe? who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good…..”

    Thats a great line. Reminds me of the verse that says ..”don’t fear him who can destroy the body but fear him who can destroy both the body and soul..”

  2. But can God be unconditional love, period. …and that not be a reduction of transcendence and holiness?

    Also, could God, at core, want relationship…with all people and all things…but this relationship place expecations upon us?

    I like the C.S. Lewis quote about God not being safe, but good. Yet it doesn’t seem that this would imply that God is anything less than unconditional love, unless we have a diminished view of love. It could be an unconditional love that is terrifying, a Reality which places us into question, and which were we to face, would kill us by its truth. But it could still be love.

  3. Katye,

    We know God is Love, & all that Love implies that is revieled in his Word to us about His Character and His Attributes. I do think God wants Redemption and Restoration for his Creation and His People, no question. That’s the Gospel or part of it, and how his Love is provided to us.
    I never did understand the context of “unconditional” Love as God paid the high price of Jesus crucified for us. In that way it doesn’t seem to me as unconditional. But I think I understand what you mean…maybe. Real Love as far as I can tell brings a price…I John 4:10

  4. Katye, I also ment to say that His Holyness and Transcendancy may be / is all part of the Love that God is. I’m at a loss for words to discribe Gods Love. It’s somthing beyond my capability to get my arms around. I know it’s effects by His Loved displayed. It leads to life.

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