William P. Young has written a dangerous book. It shouldn’t have been possible to write this one. I first heard about it from my friend Earl who said, “This will probably be one of those books I read again and again.” I picked it up yesterday. As I began to read it, the novel seemed to run into impossible dead ends. I kept wondering how Young was going to write himself out of where the book seemed to be going. He didn’t. He kept on going, and amazingly, he pulled it off.
The Shack is one of those books that you’ll probably need to read more than once. I kept arguing with it before realizing that the author was way ahead of me. It’s not a safe book. I’m sure that there are some areas of theology to quibble over, but this is a theologically profound book that will stretch you and lead you down paths to Scriptural truths you thought you believed but have never really allowed to sink into your heart.
“Flesh and blood is apt to have very hard thoughts of [God],” writes John Owen. “There is not anything more grievous to the Lord, nor more subservient to the design of Satan upon the soul, than such thoughts as these.” The Shack gets to the heart of the issue of how we see God, which is usually with the “hard thoughts” Owen talks about. I highly recommend it.
Update: Tim Challies offers his review, focusing on his theological concerns:
Because of the sheer volume of error and because of the importance of the doctrines reinvented by the author, I would encourage Christians, and especially young Christians, to decline this invitation to meet with God in The Shack. It is not worth reading for the story and certainly not worth reading for the theology.
Tim is right in many, but not all, of his concerns. The beauty of the book is that it captures the essence of relationship with God; the negative is that some of the theology needs a second look.