Check this out:
Let’s say you meet an author who wants to use your grandparents as the main characters in a novel. The author tells you that the narrative will be fictional, but that your grandparents will have the starring roles. Sounds great!you think.
But when the manuscript arrives in your hands, you discover that the story does not accurately represent the personalities of your grandparents. The relationship between them is all wrong too. Grandma berates Grandpa. Early on, they run off and elope (which is totally out of character). At one point, they contemplate divorce.
When you complain, the author responds, “Remember? I told you it would be fictional.”
“Yes,” you say, somewhat exasperated, “I knew the story would be fictional, but I thought you would get my grandparents right. The grandparents in your story aren’t anything like my grandparents.”
“Who cares?” the author responds. “It’s a work of fiction.”
“Well, I care,” you say, “because people will put down this book thinking that my grandparents were like the way you portrayed them.”
My biggest problem with The Shack is its portrayal of God. I understand that the book is a work of fiction, not a theological treatise, and therefore should be treated as fiction. But the main characters are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are actual Persons. To portray God in a manner inconsistent with his revelation to us in Scripture (and primarily in Jesus) is to misrepresent living Persons.
When people put down The Shack, they will not have a better understanding of the Trinity (despite the glowing blurbs on the back cover). They will probably have a more distorted view of God in three Persons.
What he says nicely is exactly what I said not nearly as graciously.
I am afraid that if someone reads the Shack and falls in love with Papa, then all they have fallen in love with is a fictional African American woman who likes to cook and give hugs. They have not been led to God. They have not fallen in love with the biblical Jesus.
They have instead been distracted by an anthropomorphic three headed idol created by Wm. Paul Young.
Do not read The Shack and think that you have gained insight into the Trinity as it is portrayed in Scripture.
Trevin goes on to point out some other problems with the book as well as things it does well. Definitely worth a read.
HT to Justin Taylor.