Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Engaging The Shack

The novel The Shack has reportedly sold over 4 million copies. The self-published phenomenon has been a New York Times bestseller and author William Young has been interviewed by almost every major media outlet. If you haven’t read The Shack, someone you know has. And, chances are, it has left a lasting impression on how they view God and understand faith.

The Shack
is about a man whose daughter is kidnapped and murdered, plaguing his life with a “Great Sadness.” He is invited to a meeting at the shack where his daughter’s dress was last seen. There he meets God and engages in long conversations with the Trinity trying to make sense of how a loving God would “allow” such an evil thing to happen.

The book is not without its critics. Some have declared it unbiblical and heretical. In his new book, Finding God in the Shack: Seeking Truth in a Story of Evil and Redemption (Intervarsity, 2009), Roger Olson offers a fair and wise assessment. Olson was moved by the book, found it very encouraging, especially for people who have endured hardships, and doesn’t want it dismissed. He explains, “The Shack is not a book of systematic theology or orthodox doctrine; it’s a story—like Jesus’ parables—meant to convey a message about God.” But, according to Olson, that does not mean we shouldn’t read it critically: “However great and inspiring it may be, The Shack is just a story and not God’s Word … while there have been amazingly popular and life-transforming books written since the Bible, all must be judged by Scripture.”

This book helps to that end, by walking readers through the story and comparing it to God’s Word and Church history. The Shack is not without its faults, and Olson has provided a user friendly guide to make sure readers do not lose sight of the truth of the God portrayed in The Shack. A small group discussion guide is also included.

2 comments:

Nicholas said...

I like Tim Challies' review:

http://www.challies.com/media/The_Shack.pdf

Nick

Nicholas said...

Tim Keller just wrote an even better one:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2010/01/27/the-shack-impressions/