Exposing the Deceptive, though Appealing, Theology of William Paul Young’s The Shack
“They have also healed the break of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14 LITV).
There are major differences between the Truth of Scripture and Paul Young’s beliefs as expressed in The Shack. In this book, he:
- Tries to overcome orthodox Christian thinking by using imagination. Not a good idea, according to the Scriptures and godly reasoning.
- Effeminizes God. Shall we disregard God’s own preferred identity as expressed in His Express Image (Hebrews 1:3)?
- Distorts the Biblical account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel. He preaches “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4).
- Attributes thoughts and ways to God that are simply untrue and dangerously misleading. He preaches “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4).
- Confuses man’s love with God’s love, a most common error in nominal Christendom.
- Presents the trinity doctrine (another major orthodox Christian error) and thus brings reproach to Jesus Christ. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is One Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
- Presents God as one who doesn’t involve Himself in our choices and systems. Yet the Bible says that by Him all things consist, and He actively governs all (Colossians 1:17 KJV; Matthew 7:11; Luke 21:15-18; and literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other verses). How much more involved can God possibly be than to come to earth and lay down His life on behalf of His creatures?
- Disregards a cardinal element of the salvation message, that being repentance of sin. Yet repentance is the first step to harmony with God (2 Chronicles 7:14).
There are many other matters that could be discussed, but these should do to deliver any sincere seeker of truth from the power of a book that is quite appealing to the flesh, but deadly to the spirit.
The Genesis of Error
Where are all these false beliefs coming from, and what purpose do they serve? Paul Young, who was a sexually-abused preacher’s kid, found that his religious background wasn’t able to help him cope in adult life with an accumulating burden of sin and darkness. So to help with the trauma of his experiences and sins, he looked for an alternative version of the religion he had inherited, one that he would have to create for himself. He didn’t look to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who isn’t found in man’s religion or imagination, and Who alone can wholly heal us from the traumas induced by both.
We, the Box
By his imaginative book, The Shack, W. Paul Young presumably sets out to get nominal Christians and others thinking outside the orthodox Christian religious box concerning the nature and ways of God. That is why, for example, he depicts God as a black woman and an Asian woman.
However, there are a few problems with his strategy, one being that we are the box. So as interesting and cosmopolitan a heartstring-puller Young may be, he begins on a corrupt footing. The apostle Paul said:
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 MKJV
(4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,
(5) pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ.
Essentially, the carnal man’s thinking is naturally in conflict with the Scriptures and their Divine Author:
Romans 8:5-8 MKJV
(5) For they who are according to the flesh mind the things of flesh, but they who are according to the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
(6) For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace
(7) because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be.
(8) So then they who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Of course, if one doesn’t consider the Scriptures to be God’s inspiration, then it won’t matter to him, but if he recognizes the Bible is God’s Word, then he should realize that anything taught contrary to the Bible is contrary to God:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 MKJV).
Man became that erring imaginative box ever since Eve was deceived by the serpent in Eden, partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and gave her husband to eat with her.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6 MKJV).
God had told Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and that if he did so, he would surely die. Adam took his wife’s offer, disobeying God, and plunged from light to darkness and from freedom to bondage. Man fell from Life and became his own prison.
Now, in that darkness, Young presumes to encourage us to conceive God as we wish, or as he wishes, Him to be. He proposes we think outside the box, something no more possible than turning ourselves inside out. This philosophy is the very fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in action, the symptoms of sin.
The Bible tells us that without the Resurrection Life in Jesus Christ to raise us from the dead, we are doomed as slaves to ourselves and sin:
Romans 7:14-24 MKJV
(14) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
(15) For that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do.
(16) If then I do that which I do not desire, I consent to the law that it is good.
(17) But now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
(18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find.
(19) For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do.
(20) But if I do what I do not desire, it is no more I working it out, but sin dwelling in me.
(21) I find then a law: when I will to do the right, evil is present with me.
(22) For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man;
(23) but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin being in my members.
(24) O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Just as a branch can’t produce its own sap for life, and live apart from the tree, so we can’t think outside the box. Oh, we have great imaginations and can think up veritable storms in our darkness, as does Young, but it is all fiction, a product of our fallen selves, cut off from our Life Source:
Romans 3:9-18 MKJV
(9) What then? Do we excel? No, in no way; for we have before charged both Jews and Greeks all with being under sin,
(10) as it is written: There is none righteous, no not one;
(11) there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.
(12) They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one.
(13) Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips;
(14) whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
(15) their feet are swift to shed blood;
(16) destruction and misery are in their way,
(17) and the way of peace they did not know.
(18) There is no fear of God before their eyes.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 MKJV).
Jeremiah put it this way: “I know, GOD, that mere mortals can’t run their own lives, That men and women don’t have what it takes to take charge of life” (Jeremiah 10:23 MSG).
Our brother John declares: “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him” (John 3:36 MKJV).
How then shall we escape His wrath? How shall we know the way? How shall we know truth from error? If we can’t depend on ourselves and on our strength, virtue, ability, intelligence, and knowledge, what shall we do? The Bible is replete with the answer:
“Start with GOD–the first step in learning is bowing down to GOD; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning” (Proverbs 1:7 MSG).
Authority of the Scriptures
The Scriptures are the Testimony of God and His Written Instructions to mankind from the beginning of time; His Law is the way:
Psalms 19:7-14 GNB
(7) The Law of the LORD is perfect; it gives new strength. The commands of the LORD are trustworthy, giving wisdom to those who lack it.
(8) The laws of the LORD are right, and those who obey them are happy. The commands of the LORD are just and give understanding to the mind.
(9) Reverence for the LORD is good; it will continue forever. The judgments of the LORD are just; they are always fair.
(10) They are more desirable than the finest gold; they are sweeter than the purest honey.
(11) They give knowledge to me, Your servant; I am rewarded for obeying them.
(12) None of us can see our own errors; deliver me, LORD, from hidden faults!
(13) Keep me safe, also, from willful sins; don’t let them rule over me. Then I shall be perfect and free from the evil of sin.
(14) May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to You, O LORD, my Refuge and my Redeemer!
The Bible, including both Old and New Testaments, speaks authoritatively of God as no other book does. The Son of God quoted from the Old Testament extensively, saying, “It is written.” The Bible tells us more about God than all the other books ever written put together.
Comparing Young’s bible to THE Bible now:
A Female Deity
In times of great trials and testing, of deep suffering and sorrow, people tend to look to a maternal comfort reminiscent of their childhood experience. In The Shack, Paul relates a legend of a pure and innocent Indian princess sacrificing herself for another. He parallels her sacrifice to the ultimate act of Jesus Christ on man’s behalf.
Young portrays the Father as a woman. He presents the Holy Spirit as a woman. It seems inescapable that Jesus Christ couldn’t be represented as a woman, so he left Him as a “Him.” But the character “Papa” had wounds in her hands that Jesus suffered. Deliberately or subconsciously, Young has feminized and maternalized God.
Even the victim of the story is Missy, not a boy. Why the fixation on the feminine? Perhaps some psychologist could answer that for Paul, but we would prefer God to answer it for him, because when God answers, He does so with perfect deliverance and healing (He’s done it for me many times). Psychotherapists can’t do that. All they can do is help someone make do with their condition, and that, in limited fashion.
Men have worshipped the ancient goddess, Semiramis, represented in history and in many cultures by dozens of identities such as Isis, Diana, Ishtar, Astarte, the Queen of Heaven, and even Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Madonna.
A mother is a mother is a mother. It is the mother who incubates the fetus in the womb. Only at a mother’s breast can an infant suckle and be comforted in its needs. It is the mother who is usually most affectionate and maintains a bond with the child superior to that of fathers.
Men have been significantly inclined to the worship of a maternal deity, the stage set to try all men in vanity by worship of a gender for selfish comfort’s sake. It is called idolatry.
Yet God represents Himself as a male in His Son. Why? Is He saying our destiny is to grow up? Is He saying we need to realize this world is not one built for comfort, but for trying times and consequent development? Or is it simply His Nature that must be manifest as it is?
Why and by what authority would Paul choose to differ with God’s record and portray Him in any other way than the one and only way God chooses to present Himself to mankind?
Why did the Savior come as a son, not as a daughter? Was it a simple meaningless act, a biased decision, or an insignificant preference? Or was it a matter of patriarchal prejudice, reflected in the Holy Writ, as some charge?
If we can’t believe that the prophets and apostles, while filled with God’s Spirit, represented God as He willed, what can we believe? If we can’t believe that He manifested Himself to the world as the Man, Jesus Christ, what can we believe?
If we believe that there is no difference between man and woman, will there be any reasoning with us? The Bible does say that in Christ there is neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28), but obviously that statement of truth goes only so far. Men still can’t have babies, and women can’t have them without a man. Some things don’t change in this world, faith or no faith.
Furthermore, the man who declared that in Christ there is neither male nor female also declared that wives ought to submit to their husbands and be keepers at home. So we must decide whether he was confused, or lying, or growing in stages of understanding while writing letters intended to be red as Scriptures in all future generations, or meaning something different from what some may suppose.
But by the Holy Spirit of God, we know that Paul was filled with His Spirit and was devoted to His service, by God’s sheer grace, laying his life on the line and speaking the truth with sound mind. We also know that he was matured and prepared for his ministry many years before he began in His service. Therefore, we are justified in believing that he knew what he was talking about, from the beginning of his ministry, and didn’t change in doctrine as time passed.
I say we need to respect God’s ways and choices if we are to worship Him in spirit and in truth. We need to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. To imagine vain things about Him, contrary to His thoughts, is to disrespect, if not contemn, Him.
We Are All in Wrongness
The Bible clearly declares that man falls completely short of the ability to love God and keep His Law, even as Young demonstrates so amply by the creation of his book. Man is a slave to sin, which is the breaking of His Law, a failure of loving Him. Therefore man needs a Deliverer, and God is that One and Only Savior:
Isaiah 59:15-17 MKJV
(15) Yea, truth fails; and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. And the LORD saw, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment.
(16) And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness sustained Him.
(17) For He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head. And He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was covered with zeal like a cloak.
God, through His Son, has provided the answer to our dilemma:
Romans 10:6-13 MKJV
(6) But the righteousness of faith says this: “Do not say in your heart, Who shall ascend into Heaven?” that is, to bring Christ down;
(7) or “Who shall descend into the deep?”; that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.
(8) But what does it say? “The Word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart”; that is, the Word of Faith which we proclaim;
(9) Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.
(10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation.
(11) For the Scripture says, “Everyone believing on Him shall not be put to shame.”
(12) For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him.
(13) For everyone, “whoever shall call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”
Through Adam, all mankind plunged to its death. Through Jesus Christ and His resurrection, all mankind will be raised to life:
“Therefore as by one offense sentence came on all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came to all men to justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19 MKJV).
No Fellowship between Light and Darkness
The Bible is abundantly clear that God only communes intimately with those in faith. He does so, not only for the sake of the person, but also with the purpose of communicating to others. He speaks, anoints with His Spirit, and sends forth His ministers to other segments of mankind.
Young gives us the idea God might appear to a man who has never known Him, one who has never been delivered from the power and darkness of sin, such as Mack (Young’s central character), and may tell him almost everything of concern to him. But God doesn’t just start speaking conversationally and at length with people about their personal tragedies and problems. (That He does so is a popular fantasy also perpetrated by Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God. Read Conversations with God – Truth and Consequences.)
There isn’t one such example in man’s history, or doctrinal testimony in Scripture, that we know. So why make up stories as though there could be such an experience? It is a misrepresentation of God and His ways, saddling people with fictitious notions engendering false hopes in life and death matters.
God certainly doesn’t have an intimate relationship without first calling people to repentance from sin. The Shack says nothing about repentance. That is unrealistic and misleading. It is more fruit from the box of carnal imagination, man presuming to be original and spiritual. It’s one thing to write fiction; it is quite another to write fiction about God. The latter is egregious sin.
What is Love?
Love is Young’s theme. The message is tantalizing and insidious. Many wish to hear of a God such as Young portrays out of his vain imagination. A fellow in prison writes me, “…an ‘angel’ brought me a book: The Shack…. Have you read [it]? It is an excellent book and I love it!! … The only thing I can tell you about The Shack is that there is a beautiful message in the whole book that I can describe in one word: ‘love’.”
But is it the love of God or of the serpent? Does this man know love, or is he defining it as one in darkness perceives it, after being poisoned in his understanding derived from the Tree of Knowledge? That is the question and the problem. He isn’t aware of the “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). So we need to know what we’re talking about, before we presume to speak of love and judge people and issues by our corrupted understanding of love sourced in the Tree of Knowledge.
What man calls love and what God calls love are antithetical to one another. Read from our section False Love – Satan’s Last Stronghold.
As a central theme of the book, Young’s main character, Mack, tells his daughter, Missy, her favorite story, the legend of a beautiful Indian maid, the only daughter of an aging chief, who was about to marry a young warrior chief from another tribe. However, a deadly plague suddenly came and proceeded to decimate the men of their tribes (why no female victims isn’t made known).
There had been a prophecy many years prior to this event that such a plague would visit them. The prophecy declared that in order to stay this plague and prevent the annihilation of these people, a pure and innocent Indian maid, a daughter of a chief, would have to willingly sacrifice her life.
Many men died, yet no solution was decided upon by anyone until the husband-to-be of the princess became ill. The princess loved this man very much, and she knew that he would perish as the many others did, unless something was done. She decided to believe the prophecy and its direction to save life. She secretly stole away and jumped off a cliff to her death to save her would-be husband. As a result, he recovered, as did many who had taken ill during the time of her intervention.
Paul Young compares the maiden’s sacrifice to that of Jesus Christ. But let’s look at the essential and significant differences:
- Young’s chosen legend (whether borrowed or original) says that the warriors were dying of a disease, a plague for which there was no indication they were responsible.
Jesus Christ came to save those who were perishing in their sins, in their disobedience toward God. Those for whom Christ died were responsible for their condition.
- She died for one man, someone she loved and who loved her.
Jesus Christ died for all. The record states that He had already planned this redemption even before man was created:
“According as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4 MKJV).
Read from our section The Restitution of All Things.
- She died with a selfish interest. While others were perishing, she wasn’t moved to give her life, but when her betrothed’s life was on the line, she decided to act.
Jesus Christ laid down His life for His enemies, those who hated Him:
“For we yet being without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will with difficulty die for a righteous one, yet perhaps one would even dare to die for a good one. But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners [those contrary to God] Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 MKJV).
- Death overcame the princess. She never returned to enjoy the fruits of her sacrifice.
Jesus Christ was resurrected, victorious over death, and not only so, but He comes to live within those who believe on Him. They become one, as two in the flesh could never even imagine. He also accomplished the salvation of every member of the human race that ever lived.
- She sacrificed herself secretly, without her father’s consent.
Not so with Jesus Christ, Who declared He would die for all and did so publicly, His Father sending Him expressly to do so:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 MKJV).
- Young’s legend implies there had to be a consummate victim, who was the Indian princess.
Priests of dozens of pagan gods in the Scriptures, such as Molech, demand victims for sacrifice. In South America, the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs had their gods demanding live human victims.
Jesus Christ wasn’t a victim. He may have been victimized and regarded as one, but He was so much more. He said:
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I might take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down from Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment from My Father” (John 10:17-18).
- The Bible plainly teaches that the debt for our sins could only be satisfied by a perfect sacrifice; in other words, only God’s sacrifice would do, He being the only Perfect One. There has never been a pure and innocent human being, except for Jesus Christ.
He was the One and Only Prophesied Lamb of God, spotless, without defect or blemish, entirely without sin. He alone could turn away destruction from mankind. But how was it that the plague was miraculously turned away from these tribes of Young’s legend when the princess sacrificed her life? He substitutes man for God and man’s righteousness for Christ’s.
Young has the temerity to point out that the story was much like the Gospel record in that it “centered on a father who loved his only child and a sacrifice foretold by a prophet.” True, there are similarities, but there are much more significant differences.
It can be argued nothing morally requires the two stories to be identical. So what’s wrong with Paul saying they are similar? The problem is that he misleads by giving the impression there is more similarity than disparity. Paul’s book presents a message that offers no true hope in terms of how to relate to God and how one can deal with reality, as God would have us do, as we must.
“Her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions, and divining lies to them, saying, Thus says the Lord GOD, when the LORD has not spoken” (Ezekiel 22:28 HNV).
Christ without the Cross
The nub of The Shack:
After Missy heard the story, she thoughtfully asked her father if she would ever be expected to lay down her life, as the Indian princess did for her lover and as the Son of God did for all mankind.
Mack’s reply was an emphatic, “No.”
But wouldn’t God require sacrifice of life of His people? Young is ignorant of the meaning of true Christianity. When Jesus met with His disciples physically one last time on earth, as He was about to ascend into Heaven, He commanded them, saying:
“And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49 KJV).
“But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 MKJV).
The word “witness” is the translation of the Greek word “martoos,” which means witness, record, or martyr. Christians are those who are called to lay down their lives, even unto death, if need be. We are the “record” of God’s Son, Who laid down His life, each of us a “little Jesus,” if you will, as my Catholic uncle, Donald Hafichuk, once scornfully called me.
Genuine Christians follow in His steps. As He was in this world, so are those who believe on Him.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalms 116:15 KJV).
True Christianity comes from God the Father, Who gave His only begotten Son for sinners, so that these sinners would be saved and transformed. There is only one option for them:
“And He said to all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever will lose his life for My sake, he shall save it” (Luke 9:23-24 MKJV).
He also said:
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:37-39 MKJV).
Children Are Not Spared
When I was about four years old, I realized that if I were to ever have fellowship with God, Jesus Christ, the saints and angels of Heaven, it would cost me my life. I knew that. It was a sad realization, a bittersweet experience. I knew I would lose my mother and father and all that was in this world. It is the reality. There’s no point in hiding or trying to avoid it.
Our children pull at our heartstrings. We try to protect them from all danger and woe, to stave off sadness and fear, and to paint them a picture of pleasant things, but that is impossible to achieve, try as we might. This world is all about suffering and sorrow. Young recognizes it is inescapable; however, his error is how he presumes to deal with the reality. His corrupt theology may salve temporarily, but it doesn’t save indefinitely.
So forget about Santa Claus, Peter Pan, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, concoctions of unbelieving pagans, seeking to pamper the flesh. Tell your children the truth. By truth, prepare them for, and encourage them in, the reality they have already entered the moment they came from their mother’s womb. Death, sorrow, and suffering strike infants, too. Don’t confound them with illusions; tell them the truth, which is always wholesome, realistic, and practical, indeed necessary, as undesirable as it can be.
Consider that when Jesus Christ died, He died publicly. His enemies didn’t care if children stood by to witness His death. He was planted on a public road that surely children traveled, with or without parents and guardians.
Consider that wars, famines, diseases, droughts, and wild beasts have plagued countless millions of children.
Children have been abused by their so-called caregivers in the supposed safety of their own homes, schools, churches, and other public and private institutions.
By the media, children are exposed to all sorts of violence and tragedy. All of society is exposed to it, children included, like it or not.
Consider that children today are dying by the thousands from cancer and other diseases, and from the heinous treatments of vaccinations, chemotherapy, medications, radiation, and surgery.
Young children have been bought and sold as labor and sex slaves. In many parts of the world, millions have been subjected to work in sweatshops for virtually no pay. They have been armed and trained for war, even forced to kill their own families in cold blood.
They suffer and die from a complete variety of tragedies. Consider that nearly everywhere they turn, they are confronted with, or exposed to, wickedness, and subjected to every abuse imaginable – evils of every kind.
Throughout the world, Muslims are slaughtering children everyday in the infamous names of Muhammad and Allah. They train their own children from the cradle to hate Jews and to blow themselves up, killing others to promote Islam and Sharia law.
The Catholic Church by its clergy has despicably abused countless children over centuries. Notwithstanding the multitudinous reports, we don’t even see the tip of the iceberg. How do I know? Icebergs don’t try to hide their tops, but the Catholic Church makes every possible effort to do so, with the help of governments, law enforcement agencies, and other authorities.
In the Scriptures, adults killed children in war and peace. Egypt tossed male Hebrew newborns to the crocodiles to prevent the proliferation of their race. Because of sin, parents were eating their own children in sieges. Children were being sacrificed to other gods. Wicked kings had children slaughtered, even as did King Herod when trying to destroy the Christ child.
In Israel today, without provocation, innocent children spend much of their time, day and night, year after year, with their siblings, parents, and friends, facing death and destruction, and living in bomb shelters. They are constantly attacked within and without their borders by vicious and hateful enemies who seek their annihilation. Also consider the Holocaust in this century and all the children that perished in prolonged terror and agony. Don’t you think those children wonder why the world lets it happen?
Is the answer to deny the reality of this world, or is it to square with children and prepare them to face it as early as possible? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating constantly drumming kids with all the gruesome details; God forbid. Just don’t tell them lies or try to conceal that which is inevitably known, and better to know, sooner than you would hope. Believe it or not, kids can handle the truth, especially if wisely prepared for it.
I have truly wondered if limited exposure to violent scenes on TV hasn’t had a needful enlightening, sobering effect on children, countering the good-intentioned, yet unrealistic, efforts of caregivers to shelter them from the realities of this world. Not saying any age for such viewing is suitable, or that children’s time and attention should be occupied with these unpleasantries. Too much exposure to the depravity of this world can also have a detrimental effect, I grant you.
When my son, Jonathan, was only about four years old, the realization of the nature of this world struck him, not only by my say-so, but by witnessing circumstances and reasoning about them. I marveled at his comprehending abilities at that age, and I felt so badly for him in the mental and spiritual pain he was experiencing in the development of his understanding at that moment.
But I also knew I couldn’t give him a false promise of protection, as some parents try to do with good intentions, false promises, and “little white lies” to comfort their children, as though they have the power of God to protect them from every evil. I had to tell him that this world has no guarantees for peace, safety, and happiness. And consider the need to tell him these things in a relatively safe Western society, where we’ve had it so good. How much greater the need in the rest of the world!
He was alarmed in his natural disillusionment, yet he needed to come to terms with the truth. I gave him the best advice I could – to have knowledge of, and faith in, God. There, he could be safe and secure, guaranteed (notwithstanding the trials and tribulations sure to come). There is no other viable alternative.
But that isn’t what I understand Young to be saying.
Offend Not One of These Little Ones
Children are nowhere sheltered from reality, so don’t lie to them. Disillusionment is every bit as painful as reality, if not more so, but it is the exit door out of darkness and ignorance. Death and hell are what this sin-sick world is all about.
If you deceive children into thinking a field of landmines doesn’t exist, instead of teaching them how to avoid or dismantle landmines, you are automatically their enemy, like it or not. “Mommy, Daddy, you didn’t tell me!” they’ll say, when they step on one unexpectedly.
Man’s Love vs. God’s
In his lust for comfort, William Paul Young is an enemy to all mankind, young and old, by the falsehoods he proclaims in The Shack, with all its false “Christian” doctrine and defiance of the Scriptures, the Gospel, and Jesus Christ.
Were truer words ever spoken than these concerning his work and influence on mankind?:
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6 MKJV).
There are friends who are counted as enemies because they speak the truth, which can hurt at first, but which, if accepted, brings healing, deliverance, and substantial comfort in the end. People stoned the prophets for speaking the truth they didn’t want to hear. The Perfect Friend came, and they crucified Him because He spoke the truth.
And who led the slaughter? Was it not the religious and the rulers – the fine, upstanding citizens, the messengers of a false love? Yes, it was, and they used the Scriptures to do so. They wanted to retain their power and influence, so they might enjoy the lusts of their flesh. They taught children according to their self-serving agendas. Again, children are pawns everywhere in the hands of wicked men.
Then there are enemies who appear as friends because they try to comfort and encourage their children and others with sympathies and silly platitudes. Isn’t that something of what the apostle Peter was trying to do with the Lord, when the Lord related to them what must happen to Him in Jerusalem?
Matthew 16:21-25 EMTV
(21) From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go off to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised the third day.
(22) And taking Him aside, Peter began to rebuke Him, saying, “God be gracious to You, Lord! This shall by no means happen to You!”
And what did Jesus say to Peter?
(23) But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block unto Me, because you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
(24) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
(25) For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life on account of Me shall find it.”
Man’s love is the most formidable of enemies to the human soul.
In their darkness and preservation of the flesh, people don’t realize or acknowledge that the Truth alone will save, protect, and make one free, adult or child, male or female, rich or poor, black, brown, yellow, or white.
Jesus Christ is the Truth. He said, “Allow the little children to come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:14 MKJV).
In other words, speak the truth to them.
What Does God Require of His Own?
Paul Young had Mack tell Missy the biggest lie ever told:
“Then will God ever ask me to jump off a cliff?” Missy asks her father.
And he answers: “No Missy. He would never ask you to do anything like that.”
No, God may not ask anyone to literally jump off a cliff, but He asked Abraham to leave his country and kin behind and head out not knowing where. Years later, he was called to sacrifice his beloved miracle son, Isaac.
When Samuel was barely weaned, his mother, Hannah, surrendered her precious firstborn and delivered him to the Temple to the care of the priests, as a fulfillment of her vow to God for answering her earnest prayer for a child.
God has asked all His followers to forsake their families, to deny themselves and take up the cross (this is the call to death).
Will Missy ever be asked to sacrifice her life? If she is called of God, you can be sure of it. It is the way of God, as demonstrated to all in His Son’s supreme sacrifice. Young’s gospel is a false gospel, one without death, without the cross.
Of course, God wouldn’t have one jump off a physical cliff, committing suicide, as a sacrifice for others. But if Young understood the truth, he would have expressed it in Mack’s response to Missy. He wouldn’t have spoken so highly of the story of suicide to the reader. He would have exposed its falsehood by telling us the truth.
Jump Off the Cliff, You Must
I solemnly speak to Missy, Mack, Dale Lang (who lives but a short distance from me, Victor), Paul Young, and all those who have suffered the loss of loved ones in the world, along with everyone else: God will most certainly call on you to lay down your life if you are ever to live, to worship God in spirit and in truth, if you are ever to enter the Kingdom of God. There is no other way. There is no salvation otherwise.
Buddy Jesus, Not Lord Jesus
How does Paul Young present Jesus Christ, Lord of lords and King of kings, the One in Whose Presence men fall prostrate, even in a faint – men of godly faith, such as the apostles Paul (Acts 9) and John (Revelation 1)? And Daniel was full of fear at the sight of an angel, how much more in the very Presence of Jesus Christ?
Even before Jesus was crucified, His disciples treated Him far more reverentially than does Young’s Mack the risen and glorified Lord and Savior. Paul quotes Jesus as being a human (page 110), but those who saw Him after His resurrection could no longer relate to Him as a human, as they did in His days of flesh.
“Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Messiah after the flesh, yet now we know Him so no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16 HNV).
Young makes God out to be so down-to-earth that He eats “eggs and bacon” (page 118). There is the common misconception that the cross made all animals clean to eat – which would include rats, skunks, dogs, pigs, mice, vultures, and so forth. Paul brings the Lord down, not only to the level of humanity, but to the level of corrupt, sinful humanity, from which corruption He came to redeem us. Read Christian Physical Diet. I’m not saying proper diet will save us; I merely point out that our need for reestablishing harmony with God is manifest in a myriad of ways, physical diet included.
People, Jesus made Himself in the likeness of man, but only for a brief time. He is not ashamed to call us brethren because He raises us up to His level, certainly not because He brings Himself down to ours.
“For both He Who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will declare Your Name to My brothers; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You’” (Hebrews 2:11-12 MKJV).
I know that when the Lord appeared to me only in a dream, it was an astounding, unforgettable experience. Though He is love and a true friend, He is no buddy, I can assure you. John concurs:
Revelation 1:12-18 MKJV
(12) And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me.
(13) And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied around the breast with a golden band.
(14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like a flame of fire.
(15) And His feet were like burnished brass having been fired in a furnace. And His voice was like the sound of many waters.
(16) And He had seven stars in His right hand, and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. And His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
(17) And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, Do not fear, I am the First and the Last,
(18) and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.
You must remember that while in the flesh, John was His most beloved disciple. Yet now, in the Lord’s glorified station, John could only know and relate to Him as God.
The apostle Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, confirms this truth as well:
Acts 9:3-6 MKJV
(3) But in going, it happened as he drew near to Damascus, even suddenly a light from the heaven shone around him.
(4) And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?
(5) And he said, Who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus Whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.
(6) And trembling and astonished, he said, Lord, what will You have me to do? And the Lord said to him, Arise and go into the city, and you shall be told what you must do.
Young takes pains to paint God in a form acceptable to the flesh. Besides the preponderant feminine element in “Papa” and the “Holy Spirit,” he presents the “Son of God” as an ordinary Joe, a pal and handyman – even a bit of a klutz on occasion – not anyone you need fear or worship. If you can’t trust him with a bowl of batter, which he drops, breaks, and spills everywhere, including on the “Father” (page 104), how can someone completely put their trust in him?
Talk about the “other Jesus” of which the apostle Paul sternly warned! Most definitely not the One found in the one true record of God, the Holy Scriptures, whence Young presumes to have gotten most, if not all, of his information on Jesus Christ.
I suppose Young was trying to demonstrate the love of God in a common mishap that would upset mortals. But if Jesus Christ can goof in the small, can He be trusted with the great? Remember, this is He of Whom it is said:
“And all the people of the earth are counted as nothing; and He does according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the people of the earth. And none can strike His hand, or say to Him, What are You doing?” (Daniel 4:35 MKJV)
Read from our section Jesus Christ Is God.
The Trinitarian Heresy
With his bold version of the trinity concept of God, Young breaks many barriers, not including, however, the six sides of the box. Read about that most confounding of doctrines: The Asininity of the Trinity. We touch on some of Young’s thoughts on the trinity here.
“There’s that whole Trinity thing, which is where I kind of get lost.”
Mack, you aren’t the only one. As a matter of fact, there’s no one in the world who isn’t “lost on the Trinity thing.” And guess what? The greatest and most prolonged of studies with copious cogitations and explanations won’t help you!
“Papa” says to Mack:
“To begin with, that you can’t grasp the wonder of my nature is a rather good thing. Who wants to worship a God who can be fully comprehended, eh? Not much mystery in that.”
Must God’s basic nature be mystery forever? Does He not promise to reveal Himself to His sons, who are destined to be as He is, some of whom become mature in Him here on earth? Has Jesus Christ not promised that the Holy Spirit would lead His brethren into all truth?
“Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:13-14 KJV).
And Who is the Holy Spirit? Jesus makes it known:
“A little while, and you shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and you shall see Me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:16 KJV).
He returned; He returned as the Holy Spirit to dwell in men.
To “Papa,” Mack replies: “But what difference does it make that there are three of you and you are all one God. Did I say that right?”
(You can’t even phrase a question about the trinity without confusion!)
“Papa” answers: “Right enough. Mackenzie, it makes all the difference in the world…. We are not three gods and we are not talking about one god with three attitudes, like a man who is a husband, father and a worker. I am one God and I am three persons, and each of the three is fully and entirely the one.”
Paul writes: “The ‘huh?’ Mack had been suppressing finally surfaced in all its glory.”
Yes, “huh,” indeed! Trinitarians have three shells they shift any way they please, and if you can’t guess which one the pea is under, it’s because it’s impossible to know. As the game goes, there is only one shell with a pea. As the doctrine goes, there is no pea to be found under any of the shells. It’s a game of bluff, of sleight of hand, of smoke and mirrors. And many are the educated, pagan-induced idiots who play it.
So how does “Papa” answer her confused, unintentional critic, Mack, on the trinity concept? She avoids it:
“‘Never mind that,’ she continued. ‘What’s important is this: If I were simply One God and only One Person, then you would find yourself in this creation without something wonderful, without something essential even. And I would be utterly other than I am.’”
Now doesn’t that make a whole lot of sense? Putting it another way, by God being a mysterious multi-personality that isn’t a multi-personality, an entity that confounds me, we have something wonderful and essential, but if He were to be God in any other way, even one equally mysterious, He would be something else, and I’d be missing out! Yikes!
Young goes on to explain why a trinity. He declares it is for the purpose of love and relationship: “All love and relationship is possible for you only because it already exists within Me, within God myself.”
Now we understand the trinity, but we don’t. We are told what it is, told it can’t be explained or understood, but it’s explained ad nauseam anyway by all those who believe in and vainly attempt to teach it. We are to worship an entity that we don’t, aren’t meant to, and find impossible to, understand.
Does that make sense? Apparently it does… to someone! But to whom? Let’s face it, nominal Christendom has been led down a very slippery slope to damnation by a serpent’s imaginative invention transported to us throughout history by Semiramis, the “Queen of Heaven.”
And woe to you should you differ with Seductive Semiramis and her Train of Tricky Trinitarians! What I find most amazing is that if there is any doctrine for which true believers are condemned by orthodox Christianity, it is the Biblical doctrine of Oneness, that God is one, and not three:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV).
John Calvin burned saints at the stake for denying the trinity, and we have also been accosted on the net by murderous proponents of the devilish doctrine. We have no doubt whatsoever that if they had their way, and the law of the land permitted, we would have been burned at the stake with green fagots or hung high at the nearest tree some time ago. Such is the nature of the beast with which we do battle.
But do we who believe in One God threaten to destroy Trinitarian heretics? No. “Love your enemies and bless them,” said Jesus, unlike His implacable enemies who say, “Hate your enemies and burn them.”
Shall you not know men by their fruits?
“They shall put you out of the synagogue. But an hour is coming that everyone who kills you will think that he bears God service” (John 16:2 MKJV).
Does God Respect Our Choices and Systems?
Paul would have us believe “Papa” when she says, “We carefully respect your choices, so we work within your systems even while we seek to free you from them” (page 123).
This is partially true, but only partially, which makes it all the more potent a deception. We can give a few of the scores of Biblical examples of where God is very much involved in our choices, not always “carefully respecting” them:
God wouldn’t permit Moses to walk away from the call to redeem Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 3 and 4).
God turned Israel back from entering the Promised Land when they refused to believe Him, even though they mourned their ways and changed their minds later (Numbers 14). Consequently, they had to wander in the wilderness until the first generation died out.
God wouldn’t permit Jonah to walk away from preaching at Nineveh. And He didn’t neglect to teach Jonah some much needed lessons.
God wouldn’t permit Jeremiah to escape preaching His Word of dire warning to His people, confronting them on their sins.
God kept a hedge of protection for Job against the enemy. Then God removed the hedge and gave Satan permission to attack Job and to take all Job had but his life and wife. Even Job’s ten children weren’t spared.
God determines the nations and rulers, to set them up and bring them down:
“He gives greatness to the nations, and destroys them. He spreads out the nations, and leads them away. He takes away the heart of the chief of the people of the land, and causes them to wander in a wilderness where there is no path” (Job 12:23-24 MKJV).
Daniel testifies of how King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler over Babylon, the greatest empire that ever existed on earth, learned that God most certainly does judge our choices, and determines our systems, contrary to “Papa’s” declarations:
Daniel 4:28-37 MKJV
(28) All this came on the King Nebuchadnezzar.
(29) At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
(30) The king spoke and said, Is this not great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty?
(31) While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from Heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken. The kingdom has departed from you.
(32) And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will.
(33) The same hour the thing was fulfilled on Nebuchadnezzar. And he was driven from men, and ate grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the heavens, until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
(34) And at the end of days, I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes to Heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him Who lives forever, Whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and His rule is from generation to generation.
(35) And all the people of the earth are counted as nothing; and He does according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the people of the earth. And none can strike His hand, or say to Him, What are You doing?
(36) At that time my reason returned to me. And the glory of my kingdom, my honor and brightness returned to me. And my advisers and my lords came for me, and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
(37) Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and exalt and honor the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth and His ways judgment. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.
How does Paul Young’s “Papa theology” compare to Nebuchadnezzar’s words of revelation and post-chastisement understanding, not to mention the reams of evidence brought forth for our instruction and edification by the prophets and apostles?
No Curse without a Cause
In Young’s book, Missy was murdered, and Mack had a terrible automobile accident. Was Missy “allowed” to be brutally slain without cause? Was Mack’s car accident without moral cause? Does God not protect and keep those who love and obey Him? Do evil things “just happen”? Not according to the Scriptures:
“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come” (Proverbs 26:2 KJV).
There was a cause for the curse. Young, by his character, Mack, avoids culpability for sin. He skirts around his responsibility toward God and ignores the fact that if he and/or his family had obeyed God, things might have been very different.
The truth is that Mack lost Missy because there was sin involved. Missy didn’t die for nothing. Nowhere but nowhere in Scripture does anyone perish, or suffer great and permanent harm, for no good reason. Hear what Jesus pointedly spoke on this very issue:
Luke 13:2-5 MKJV
(2) And answering, Jesus said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things?
(3) I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
(4) Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men who lived in Jerusalem?
(5) I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
The Scriptures are filled with the promise that God will keep those who are faithful to Him, and bless them in all ways.
“If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV).
That is an ironclad promise, without exceptions. He doesn’t destroy, as with Missy. He heals and protects. People, don’t listen to Young’s sweet sugar shack false notions. They are lethal to true faith. Which is better – to believe sweet lies, which keep one in darkness and lead to death and destruction, or to believe the painful truth, which delivers from destruction?
I, Victor, lost my brother, David, to cancer in 1977 when he was in his twenties. The big question I had was, “Why?” At the appropriate time and place, the Lord spoke to me, saying, “I took David because he wasn’t willing to make a break with the world.” Months later, a lady stranger came to me and said, “Are you David’s brother? I have a message for you: God took David because he wasn’t able to make a break with the world.” She hadn’t known what God told me shortly after David died.
In Young’s case of having been sexually abused as a child, if his parents had walked in faith and obedience to God, things most likely would have been very different for him. Sin was somewhere in the household to invite such evil. As is so often the case, false religion was likely what it was. The Harlot, Mystery, pays awful wages for service to her, the judgment of God upon her ways and her subjects.
According to the Scriptures, with hundreds of testimonies and examples, tragedies don’t “just happen.” It is a most heinous offense to make the judgment that God isn’t over both good and evil.
“I am the LORD, and there is none else, no God besides Me; I clothed you, though you have not known Me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and to the sunset, that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is none else; forming the light and creating darkness; making peace and creating evil. I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:5-7 MKJV).
Read The Purpose of Evil.
If any doctrine undermines and counters true faith, it is that God leaves us to our devices and random evil. Young may deny he teaches such doctrine, but I don’t see how he can deny it. How did the murderer get power over Missy? What is the explanation? Mack takes no responsibility but a superficial one, like lack of attentiveness or vigilance for Missy’s safety. Worse yet, God gives no explanation through the character representing His wisdom, Sophia, who answers the following objection from Mack: “But I still don’t understand why Missy had to die.”
Sophia responds, “She didn’t have to, Mackenzie. This was no plan of Papa’s. Papa has never needed evil to accomplish his good purposes. It is you humans who have embraced evil and Papa has responded with goodness…” (page 165).
Doesn’t that mean we’re subjected to random evil, the “curse causeless,” contrary to the Word of God and His declaration of complete sovereignty over all events, good and evil? Young elaborates on his unScriptural teaching by putting these words in God’s mouth:
“Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes…. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors” (page 185).
Who put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden, before man had sinned? Young’s “God” once again shows himself boxed in man’s mind, but here is what the true God says about His grace, as applied to sin, not to accidents:
“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, so that as sin has reigned to death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21 MKJV).
In another place, Paul has “Papa” say, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it” (page 120).
There’s truth here, but we present a few of many examples in Scripture where God does indeed bring punishment and judgment:
Didn’t God slay Er, who was wicked, and then his brother Onan, for spilling his seed on the ground instead of bringing up children to his departed brother (Genesis 38:7-10)?
Didn’t He rain fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying all the inhabitants for their great wickedness (Genesis 19)?
Didn’t He slay all the firstborn of Egypt (Exodus 11)?
Didn’t He slay Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire (Leviticus 10:1-2)?
Didn’t He command the Israelites to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan (Exodus 23:27)?
Didn’t He send leprosy on Miriam for murmuring against Moses (Numbers 12)?
Didn’t He bring swift judgment on Korah, Dathan, and Abiram for their rebellion (Numbers 16)?
In numerous places, God says He will send the sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beast because of sin. He sent disease (Numbers 11:31-34) and serpents to bite murmurers (Numbers 21).
Didn’t He command the man gathering sticks on the Sabbath to be stoned to death (Numbers 15:32-36)?
Didn’t He command Israel to stone one of their own for blasphemy (Leviticus 24:10-23)?
Isaiah prophesied by the Spirit of God: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).
You say, “That was the Old Testament. Things are different now. God doesn’t do such things anymore.” But the Scriptures refute that line of argument.
God slew Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5).
The Scriptures declare that God hasn’t changed:
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 KJV).
Again, remember and take to heart Jesus’ words in Luke 13.
Tragic Accidents for Those Walking in Faith Is Unbiblical
Whether before or after his visit at the shack, Mack is subjected to a terrible auto accident (Young leaves the timing as a mystery, although he seems to suggest that God used a tragic accident to somehow cover up or mystify Mack’s experience). But from everything we read in Scripture, we know God doesn’t work that way. With whomever He chooses to have fellowship, and has it, there is no tragic disease or accident. Search the Scriptures and see that their testimony is the exact opposite. That should be of great assurance to us.
But Young doesn’t know that; he errs, not knowing the Scriptures or the power thereof. People who don’t know God or His ways don’t know these things. They have no explanations for tragedies, so in their ignorance, fear, and confusion, they make them up. This is never satisfactory to those who want to get to the bottom of things and do something about them.
It is God’s will to deliver by the truth. Now isn’t this something?: Here we have a fictional story that purports to explain how God works and the reason for tragic occurrences, pretending God is giving the explanation, yet the author, in all unbelief, doesn’t consider that we can indeed have sure explanation from God. God gave me an explanation for why He took my brother David. He has explained many things to many people. He does it! The truth about these mysteries is available to those who believe, repent, and obey.
Speaking of repentance…
The Greatest Problem with The Shack
Here is perhaps the greatest part of the problem of W. Paul Young’s doctrine. Out of unbelief and lack of understanding, he denies the crucial element of repentance from sin!
Yes, we believe in the reconciliation of all things, as does he. We also know that one day all men will be saved, even as the Lord has purposed. Read from our section The Restitution of All Things.
There is a great difference between Young’s doctrine and ours, however. To know the difference, read from Universalism – The False Kind. Young bypasses the cross and the grave, as most universalists do, heading straight for the resurrection and the throne, not realizing the way is strictly by the cross for us, as well as for the One Who paved the way. In this, Paul greatly errs.
For Whom Was The Shack Written, Anyway?
I see a book of theological rationale written for those suffering what is known as one of the greatest tragedies in life, having a child, especially a young and tender one, predeceasing the parent, torn from the bosom, and perhaps most especially, by a violent act. I see people in great grief, scrambling for consolation in an event that leaves one stunned, particularly in the context of faith in God. They look for understanding as to why such a horrific thing happens, wondering why God would allow it to happen, especially to those who believe and worship Him. I see them trying to establish some rationale to cope.
Let it be known that there is solace available in reality. It is not only possible, but necessary, to cope constructively and healthily. Answers are available to those who really want to know, as hard as the experience of discovering the truth may be.
The answer isn’t found in fiction, in our wishful thoughts, imaginations, theories (plausible or otherwise), or rationalizations. Substantial comfort isn’t found in fairytales and touchy-feely explanations. The answer can only be found in Truth, where God lives and Whom He is. There’s no other way.
We must face reality and come to terms. And the truth does make us free! We must repent of our own ways and thoughts, of our independence we assumed at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Mr. Young, you do great damage to many people, filling them with illusions and false hopes they love to entertain, comforting them in falsehood and obscuring the Truth of the Scriptures by your vain imaginations and “logical” and “reasonable” explanations. In your unresolved, albeit repressed, pain and presumptuous speculations, you prevent reality and block the way to freedom, both for yourself and for others. You may not intend to do so, but the result is the same.
There are several doctrinal errors that others have identified in The Shack. What we have made known is more than sufficient, covering the essential errors. Lord willing, you’ll know the only effective way through trouble, torment, and sorrow – knowing the Truth, which makes free. In everything, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Almighty God is the Answer.
Psalms 46:1-11 KJV
(1) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(2) Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
(3) Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
(4) There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
(5) God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
(6) The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
(7) The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
(8) Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations He has made in the earth.
(9) He makes wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in sunder; He burns the chariot in the fire.
(10) Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
(11) The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.