Todd Burus has written a two part “personal” review of the Shack. He pulls no punches on either the theology or the literary style of the book. Entertaining stuff. Now I think that I will have to break down and read it myself.
Here is part 1 where Todd addresses the book as literature.
So what did I think? Well, just to get it out of the way now, I think as a piece of literature this book was horrible. The author lacks all understanding of subtlety, choosing instead to beat you over the head with certain images he deems important and completely missing the concept of foreshadowing. Things like God’s dislike of Mack’s gun (cf. p.90) or the scars on God the Father’s wrists (cf. p.97) are repeated shamelessly and with the same words, making it perfectly obvious that the author wanted to make a point through them. And even if you were interested in what was going to happen next, there never was much anticipation because the author continually short-circuited himself by giving way too much information or using “suspenseful” sentences eerily reminiscent of the ones my 8-year old daughter uses in her 2nd grade stories about evil elves.
and here is part 2 where Todd addresses the theology.
Next, consider the other image which Young beats to death in the book, that being the idea that both Jesus AND God the Father bear the scars from the cross. There are two things wrong with this. First, it is inaccurate. It did not scar the Father to have his Son sacrificed. In fact, it was the opposite. Isaiah 53.10 says, “It was the will of the Lord (Father) to crush him (the Son).” The Father was not tortured in doing this; through the sacrifice of his son, God was propitiated, which means that his righteous anger was satisfied. God was satisified by the death of his son. Obviously, this is not a popular message in the era of belief in the “divine child abuse” theory of the atonement, but it is Scriptural nonetheless.
The second reason why depicting scars on the Father and the Son is inaccurate is because this, along with the statement on page 101 that the whole Trinity made itself fully human and limited in the incarnation, advances an old, old, old heresy known as Sabellianism, or modalism. This is the teaching that God exists in different modes as experienced by the believer. It also historically teaches that God the Father suffered on the cross. This heresy has been out of vogue for at least a good millenium and a half, but apparently is receiving a revival in the popular appeal of this book. As a note, if a heresy is so false that it goes dormant for 1500 years, it is probably a good indication that it really is wrong. Yet not only does Young present it, he goes back to it again and again by constantly retelling that the character of God the Father has scars on his wrists like Jesus.
Go read all of both parts linked above. Very entertaining.
I just can’t resist posting the conclusion as well. Sorry Todd.
Anyways, I’ll close with four words: don’t buy the hype. This is not a life changing book, unless of course you read it and embrace all that it teaches, in which case you have just become a heretic. Maybe that is strong language, but when I see a wolf like this coming in and devouring sheep the way it has I can find no better word. Well, maybe one: pathetic. Try reading the Bible instead. It has a lot more to say than this glorified dollar bin crap.
that is some good stuff right there.