A Review Of William Young, “The Shack” -- By: Noel B. Woodbridge

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 08:1 (Sep 2009)
Article: A Review Of William Young, “The Shack”
Author: Noel B. Woodbridge


A Review Of William Young, “The Shack”

Noel B. Woodbridge1

Young WP 2007. The Shack. Newbury Park: Windblown Media.2

1. Introduction To The Book And The Author

The Shack, one of the most popular and controversial Christian books of recent years, is the fictional work by first-time author William Young, which embodies lengthy conversations between the main character, a man named Mack, and three persons who represent a version of the Trinity. It is a national bestseller widely embraced by some churches and many professing Christians.

The Shack is a fresh, unique, and thought-provoking book that manages to touch the heart in very real ways. Young uses contemporary metaphor to reveal God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Evangelical recording artist Michael W. Smith states, “The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God.”

The Shack has been touted as a modern day successor to Pilgrim’s Progress. Eugene Peterson believes “this book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!” In both C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, one can see how the authors use the power of metaphor and association to illustrate the character and attributes of God.

On the other hand, seminary president Al Mohler says that the book “includes undiluted heresy”, and many concur. Given its popularity (number one on the

New York Times bestseller list for paperback fiction), influence, and mixed reviews, one needs to study the book carefully. Good Christian fiction has the ability to get across a message in an indirect, non-threatening, yet powerful, way. Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is the most successful in the genre and has been mightily used of God to teach spiritual truth. What determines the value of fiction is how closely it adheres to Scripture. One would therefore need to utilise Biblical criteria to measure the value of The Shack.

2. A Summary Of The Book

The Shack is a story about an Oregon man, Mack. He is married and has a family of his own, but tragedy strikes when his daughter, Missy, is kidnapped and brutally murdered in an isolated shack. Since her death, Mack has lived in a fog state, The Great Sadness, as he accuses that Great Interferer God for letting an innocent die.

A few years after her murder, during ...

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