My wife and I went to see The Shack last Saturday. No spoilers here if you read the book, but I will say that if you loved the book you’ll love the movie.
On the other hand, if you’ve already made up your mind that The Shack is heretical and dangerous false doctrine, well…your opinion probably won’t change.
To be clear, I don’t think disliking The Shack is wrong. Some objections I’ve heard are understandable and need to be asked, but others are downright damning. Here’s a few examples of the latter:
– The Shack Exposed
– Connection between Beyoncé and Shack to Mother Goddess
– Dangerous heresy and error
– Wolf in Sheep’s clothing
– Blasphemous representations of God
– Mystery Babylon, Jezebel spirit
– New age paganism
– Not a Christian story
I have to admit, the “Beyoncé and Shack to Mother Goddess” conspiracy connection cracked me up. 🙂
And this comes from what seems to be the biggest objection, that God the Father appears to Mack (the protagonist) as an African American woman, and Holy Spirit appears as an Asian woman. While it’s understandable to be surprised by this unique depiction, in actuality, God is neither male nor female (besides Jesus).
I talked about this already in “By the way, God is not a man… “
The argument goes that the Bible always refers to God as Father…as “He”…Jesus is a Son, not a daughter. Okay…so…is God also a mother hen who gathers her chicks…with feathers and wings? Is He a dove? After all, God’s described this way in Scripture, too!
Using this logic, how can any woman believer ever be a “son”(Gal.4:6; Eph.1:5; Heb.2:10; 12:5)? And are all believing men not part of the “bride” of Christ? Why are we not understanding this?
Beloved, these are metaphors and anthropomorphisms. God the Father is Spirit (John 4:23-24), not a human being of any kind. Jesus is the only human in the Trinity (and He’s a Middle Eastern Jew). The Holy Spirit can be feminine or masculine, technically speaking (see note *).
So, if we’re going with this standard of judgment, it would be just as heretical to say that God is an angry looking old man with a white beard!
It’s NOT about gender, okay. There’s not some new age goddess worship conspiracy going on here, so please…put down your torches and pitch forks.
“Father” and “Son” are relational terms. They are used this way so our tiny finite brains have a mental grid to relate to an infinite God. To harp on the movie for not making God a white old man with a beard is just totally missing the point.
As Insanitybytes brilliantly put it in her blog post, “The Shack“:
“This is one of those times when people’s theology can go all wrong, because we have forgotten who the patient is. Just for a reminder, the patient is actually the guy bleeding out on the floor in front of you.”
Amen. Who is the patient here? We are! The “Shack” represents our Great Sadness…the hidden brokenness in all of us. It’s not about God’s gender, it’s about His furious love coming into the middle of our deepest darkness and loving the “hell” out of us.
As author William Paul Young has stated many times, the story was never meant to be systematic theology. It’s a story about the questions that haunt everyone of us: “Is God really that good?” and if He is, “Why does He allow suffering and evil in the world?”
One site even accused the movie of promoting the heresy of Patripassianism because Papa shows Mack the wounds on His wrists. Their accusation would be just if the movie were saying that Jesus was the Father, but this isn’t being said at all.
But it does reveal what I believe is a critically important point (and fitting as we head toward Easter). It exposes a lie that we believe about God, that the Father abandoned His Son on the cross. I believe that popular myth has done much harm.
The scene in question is where Mack and Papa are in the kitchen. Mack accuses Papa of going missing when people need Him most. After all, He abandoned His own Son on the Cross. Watch this clip…
The reason Mack “misunderstands the mystery” is because that’s what he was taught, and a lot of us were taught. What both Mack and the movie’s accusers don’t understand is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor.5:19). I go into greater depth on this point in my post, “The Father did not abandon Jesus.”
If you really need theology for this book and movie, I would suggest you read “The Shack Revisited: There’s a Lot More Going On Here Than You Dared Dream“ written by theologian C. Baxter Kruger. Dr. Kruger actually understands the book and does an excellent job of showing how Mack’s experience does line up with the God of the Bible.
Is there a Demonic Spirit related to the movie the Shack? The Answer is yes!
I read the book several years ago and wept so hard. It made me angry then broke my heart. Then watching the movie tonight with my wife Angie Dawkins, all those emotions were stirred once again. This story is really about the author’s horrific struggle with the Lord after suffering sexual abuse as a missionary’s kid. This deep wound is depicted in the story with a horrific tragedy in a family.
None of the depictions of God are Caucasian (loved it!) And portrays God in both male and female form (loved that too). This movie is so powerful and I felt the presence of the Lord so strong at various points of it. And felt the theology to be very sound.
So what of the demonic I mentioned you ask? I believe there is a demonic assignment against this book and movie. It’s both by a Religious Spirit and a spirit that incites Prejudice. These demonic spirits are trying to block people from experiencing healing and freedom from a critical spirit.
I highly recommend you take every atheist, spiritually wounded, orphaned spirited person you know to this movie and then a “sit down” with them afterwards to process it. It sets us up to bring many to Christ…”
I would agree with Robby on both counts. If there’s a demonic spirit here, it’s a religious one that feeds on fear and control, that seeks to keep God’s people bound in a critical spirit. But it’s also a divine setup to bring countless people to Christ…if we’re willing to see it. Many will find redemption and healing by encountering the unfathomable and unconditional love of God through this story.
I have no qualms about highly recommending The Shack. Don’t go if you don’t want to, but make up your own mind…don’t be bullied by fear. I’m confident that if you see it with an open heart and mind, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. God is that good!