Jeff Walden's Reviews > The Shack

The Shack by William Paul Young
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's review
Mar 30, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: christianity, religion, faith
Read from July 31 to October 15, 2010 , read count: 1

This book chronicles the story of how Mack deals with the abduction and murder of his daughter. His anger, bottled up, eventually begins to overflow -- but then he receives a note, purportedly from God, telling him to return to the titular shack where evidence of his daughter's murder was found. Thus begins the strangest weekend of his existence, as the author's imagining of the Three in One help Mack resolve his emotions.

The book definitely makes a good story, although the ending seemed just a bit too pat to me. And the characterizations of God are good but not always comfortably so, in the "He's not a tame lion" sort of way. As a matter of doctrine, however, it's not nearly so good. It portrays God the Father as a woman, for the moderately flippant reason of playing against Mack's preconceptions -- as if God the Father, really and truly, wouldn't be discomfiting enough without alteration. It uses universalist language in at least one place that I noticed. And given that I wasn't always reading it closely with a specific eye to doctrine, I've probably missed other places as well.

If you're going to read this book, don't consider it unalloyed wisdom. It takes considerable artistic and creative license in portraying God and Mack's process of healing, and it is flat-out doctrinally wrong in places. It might perhaps be best approached in a discussion setting, particularly taking critical note of the doctrines it propounds, both correct and errant. Just be sure not to always take it as truth.

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