Book Review & Recommendation: The Shack

Friends,

I have just finished reading a book that literally has the power to change your mind, your heart, your entire life. I cannot tell you how valuable this book is and why you should read it. I do not think I have words that can properly describe it. I’m not even going to review it. I’m not going to say a word about it other than this: READ IT! Drop what you are holding, stop what you are doing, go the library, the bookstore, or wherever you get books and get this book and read it. I promise you that you will not be the same when you are finished. I read it in one sitting. It is 250 pages or so and you will be captivated from the start to the finish.

For more information, please check out their webpage: The Shack Book.

Please do not wait another day before you get this book and read it. I’ll leave you with one quote from the book, “Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.” (The Shack, 185) Alright, get off the internet and get to the book! You are wasting precious time. If you have read it, please share your copy with someone you know.

Props to my friend Jason Goroncy at Per Crucem ad Lucem for the introduction to the book.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Advertisements

  1. So glad to hear that you managed to get your hands on a copy and that you found it such a blessing.

  2. Hi…

    Jerry i haven’t read the book but did read a warning about it by Berit Kjos at Crossroad;

    http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/shack.htm#1

    Do you feel, after reading the book yourself, that her warnings have any validity or is she wrong?

    thanks!

    pj

  3. PJ,

    I read some of the review and I think it is much a do about nothing. Nowhere in the book is hell denied, nowhere is it said that sin is OK or that it is unnecessary to repent, nowhere is it said that ‘all paths are paths to God,’ nowhere are the words ‘astral projection’ used, nowhere is the Trinity denied, nowhere is the cross denied, nowhere is the Divinity of Jesus denied, etc., etc., etc. In fact, the cross is referenced often. It is simply a good book and I think that her ‘warnings’ are way off the mark, way out of bounds, and simply unwarranted. The book is, in fact, a treatise on the nature of God’s grace and our call to be forgiving of others. She is, how did you put it, wrong.

    you are welcome,
    jerry

    PS–the complaint about God being a ‘woman’ is way off base. God is neither male nor female. At the beginning the story female, by the end, male. It doesn’t detract the point nor does it violate any theological principle. Remember Jesus himself referred to ‘gathering Jerusalem as a MOTHER hen gathers her chicks.’ The Church is called a ‘Bride.’

  4. twoclayfeet

    Having read the Bible, and the Shack (but not the other book Berit Kjos refers to in her article), I can tell you that her warnings about the Shack are totally valid, and not only warranted, but desperately needed!
    Everyone who has recommended the Shack to anyone owes it to them to make sure they read Berit Kjos’ article.
    She quoted a section from page 99, after which we are indeed told that the Jesus of the Shack, even though fully God has never “drawn upon his nature as God to do anything.” And continuing into page 100 – that when he healed the blind he did so as a limited human being that he had “no power within himself to heal anyone.”
    Jesus said in John 10:30 that He and the Father are one. And we read in Colossians 2:9 “For it is in Christ that the fullness of God’s nature dwells embodied”

    Page 136 states that both evil and darkness don’t actually exist. To follow this thinking, if there is no evil, there is no evil one. And if there is no darkness, there is no hell. Look up the words “evil” and “darkness” even in the limited concordance of a study Bible!!

    On page 184 God tells Mack he doesn’t want his sorrow for his past arrogance, he just wants them to go on together without it. The definition of repent is to feel pain, sorrow, or regret for something one has done or left undone. In theology, to feel such sorrow for sin as leads to amendment of life; to grieve over one’s past life, and to seek forgiveness for sin, with a determination to lead a new life.
    Jesus said in Luke 13:3 that unless we repent, we will perish.

    The Shack protrays an unusual version of forgiveness and grace. Page 224: that if Mack forgives an individual it will allow God to redeem the individual. Page 225: that because of Jesus’ death on the cross, God has forgiven everyone for their sins, but not everyone chooses to have a relationship with him. And that for us to forgive someone releases them from judgment!
    We aren’t God!! It is each individual’s choice to either accept, or reject, Jesus as Savior. We accept by acknowledging and confessing to Him that we are a sinner, believing in Him (that He is God and God’s Son, that He died on the cross to take on all of our sin on Himself, and also that He was raised to life on the third day ) and asking Him to forgive us of all sin, and come into our heart as our Lord and Savior. We aren’t forgiven of our sins until we ask. Then we must obey Him and live as He directs us to in His Word. We can’t have a relationship with the Lord (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) until we repent, confess, and forsake our sins, surrender our life and will to Him and believe on Him unto salvation.
    When we do all of the afore-written, then we are “born again”, as Jesus said we must be (John 3:3 and 5) in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Let no one decieve you with empty words, for it is because of these things that bring God’s anger and punishment on those who don’t obey the truth. Ephesians 5:6

  5. Clay,

    You are doing what any good person would do and you are reading critically. I’m not going to refute each of your charges against the book. I think you misunderstand the author’s intent. A lot of your remarks and quotes are what we call ‘prooftexting’ and much of what ‘Berit’ has done is the same. For example:

    She quoted a section from page 99, after which we are indeed told that the Jesus of the Shack, even though fully God has never “drawn upon his nature as God to do anything.” And continuing into page 100 – that when he healed the blind he did so as a limited human being that he had “no power within himself to heal anyone.” Jesus said in John 10:30 that He and the Father are one. And we read in Colossians 2:9 “For it is in Christ that the fullness of God’s nature dwells embodied”

    Well, duh. The author never denies that Jesus is God in fact he goes out of his way to state the opposite. The point of your quotes was to demonstrate two things. First, it demonstrates that Jesus was fully human which is an orthodox theological position. Second, it is to demonstrate his complete reliance upon the Father which is also an orthodox theological position.

    People who read books like this: On page 20 this, on page 58 that, on page 33 this, etc., simply do not know how to read books. I too have read the Bible. In fact, I make my living reading the Bible, teaching it, preaching it. I have a degree in theology. So while the book may not be perfect at every point, there is nothing within it that this theologically damning. Read the entire book, not pages, not excerpts. Learn about grace. Learn about forgiveness.

    PS–your quotation of Ephesians is completely irrelevant to this discussion since there are no empty words in the book.

    Thanks for stopping by.
    jerry

    PPS–What does this mean: “that because of Jesus’ death on the cross, God has forgiven everyone for their sins, but not everyone chooses to have a relationship with him.”? I cannot begin to imagine what is unbiblical about this unless you are a Calvinist.

    PPPS–What does this mean: “The Shack protrays an unusual version of forgiveness and grace.”? Forgiveness is forgiveness and grace is grace. How can there be ‘versions’ of them?

    PPPPS–OK, I changed my mind. You wrote:

    “We aren’t God!! It is each individual’s choice to either accept, or reject, Jesus as Savior. We accept by acknowledging and confessing to Him that we are a sinner, believing in Him (that He is God and God’s Son, that He died on the cross to take on all of our sin on Himself, and also that He was raised to life on the third day ) and asking Him to forgive us of all sin, and come into our heart as our Lord and Savior. We aren’t forgiven of our sins until we ask. Then we must obey Him and live as He directs us to in His Word. We can’t have a relationship with the Lord (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) until we repent, confess, and forsake our sins, surrender our life and will to Him and believe on Him unto salvation.When we do all of the afore-written, then we are “born again”, as Jesus said we must be (John 3:3 and 5) in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

    I have to tell you: This sounds terribly similar to works righteousness. “When we do all…” The Scripture says we are saved by grace through faith. Doesn’t say we can ‘do’ anything to be saved. And you are worried about this book? Friend, you need to go back to Scripture and re-read it. We are not saved by anything we ‘do’. We are saved by grace through faith.

  6. twoclayfeet

    Dan –

    You said in your post on 4-23 that “Nowhere in the Shack is hell denied, or that it is unnecessary to repent, and nowhere is the Divinity of Jesus denied.”
    I did read the whole entire book, only in the Bible can you learn about true forgiveness and grace, not by reading the Shack. It was necessary to give the page numbers of where these thing ARE found.
    To say that Jesus had no power to heal anyone IS denying His Divinity. For it to say that God doesn’t want our sorrow for our sins Is saying that it is unnecessary to repent. For it to say that evil and darkness don’t exist IS saying not only that there is no hell, but that there is no devil and no sin.

    Repenting and confessing our sins to the Lord and accepting His forgiveness are not ‘works.’ Obedience to our Lord’s commands are not ‘works.’ We obey the Lord because we love Him, it’s simply the outflow of the praise and gratitude of a cleansed and surrendered soul. Jesus taught us that we must repent (be sorry for our sins, ask forgiveness, and forsake our sins — be born again)for us to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 13:3 and John 3:3) When Jesus said in John 3:16 that anyone who believes in Him wouldn’t perish, but would have everlasting life, He did not only mean believe in who He is but believe on Him for salvation — the salvation He taught (repenting and being born again.) We are not saved until we do — then we are saved by grace through faith.

    What good is it, my brethren, if a man professes to have faith, and yet his actions do not correspond? Can such faith save him? Suppose a Christian brother or sister is poorly clad or lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “I wish you well; keep yourselves warm and well fed,” and yet you do not give them what they need; what is the use of that? So also faith, if it is unaccompanied by obedience, has no life in it — so long as it stands alone. Nay, some one will say, “You have faith, I have actions: prove to me your faith apart from corresponding actions and I will prove mine to you by my actions. You believe in one God, and you are quite right: evil spirits also believe this, and shudder. But idle boaster, are you willing to be taught how it is that faith apart from obedience is worthless? Take the case of Abraham our forefather. Was it, or was it not, because of his actions that he was declared to be righteous as the result of his having offered up his son Isaac upon the altar? You notice that his faith was co-operating with his actions, and that by his actions his faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and his faith was placed to his credit as righteousness,” and he received the name of God’s friend.’ You all see that it is because of actions that a man is pronounced righteous, and not simply because of faith. (James 2:14-24)

    Our God is holy. We are to be holy, because He is holy. Matthew 5:8 says that the pure in heart will see God. The only way to have a pure heart is to be cleansed of all sin. The only way to be cleansed of sin is to confess that we are sinners, ask to be forgiven, forsake it, and walk in obedience to the Lord.
    Jesus taught us that if we love Him, we will obey Him, and that only those who do the will of His Father will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says that it is God’s will that we be sanctified. The Greek word used in this verse for “sanctified” (or sanctification) means purity. Being holy is being pure in heart and free from sin. We can only be pure in heart and totally free from sin by being wholly sanctified,or totally surrendered and obedient to the Lord, so that He may fill us with His Holy Spirit. And also as Jesus taught, we must obey Him, and ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.(John 14:15-17,21,23 and Luke 11:10-13.) 1 Thessalonians 4:8 says that if anyone rejects this teaching, they are not rejecting man, but God.

    For you to reject the teaching on the need for repentance and being born again, is to reject Jesus.

    Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father (1 John 2:23)

  7. Clay,

    Well, thanks for the lesson. I don’t think you have read the book at all. I really do not believe for a minute you have read any part of it let alone the ‘whole entire’ book. The author never denied Jesus had the power to heal–he denied that in his humanity he had the power to do so. You miss the point. No where did the author say repentance is unncessary. No where did the author deny evil–the entire book is premised on the fact there IS evil in the world. The author wants us to think about our role in redeeming it and using it for God’s purposes. Truth is, we Christians are often the very ones who get in the way of God’s redemptive work.

    You are not very perceptive of a reader, are you? I suggest you go back and read it again.

    As for your comments about my ‘rejecting the teaching…” or ‘denying the Son…’, etc., you have no idea what you are talking about. If you ever comment on my status before the Lord Jesus I will forever banish your posts. You have no right to judge my standing before the Lord you arrogant ass. Look around my blog, read my posts, and then tell me I have denied the Lord. Go and learn what the Scripture says: Judge not lest you be judged, and the standard you use will be used against you. Don’t you come to my blog and start tossing around Scripture like you have any idea what it even means. Grow up or, should I say, grow down.

    You don’t even know what those Scriptures you are throwing at me mean. I swear, it’s people like you that really, thoroughly irritate me.

    You wrote: “The only way to have a pure heart is to be cleansed of all sin. The only way to be cleansed of sin is to confess that we are sinners, ask to be forgiven, forsake it, and walk in obedience to the Lord.”

    No. The only way to be cleansed of sin is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and to be washed in his blood. It’s called faith. When we put our faith in Him He justifies us on the basis of his grace. I’m not saved on the basis of my sanctification (which is an ongoing process) in the Spirit (who is given at the time of baptism) but on the basis of my justification (which is trusting in Christ’s Cross work). You really should brush up on all this. It’s elementary theology.

    You are free to take your judgmentalism elsewhere.

    jerry

    PS–If you have read the book, you will know that hell is not denied. In fact, there’s an entire chapter on it called ‘Here comes Da Judge.’ And you will also know that the divinity of Christ is never denied either. Not a single time. Not on a single page. Learn how to read.

  8. Carolyn Clement

    Clay,

    I wanted to give you my personal story of how forgiveness can release another from judgement based on the scripture “judge not that you be not judged” as well as the scriptures on sowing and reaping.

    My whole life from age six was ruled by a fear of rejection and abandonment because of a bitter root judgement that I made against my father. This was not about his sin against me but about my sinful reaction to his broken action.

    Much later in life this judgement which became a bitter root expectancy that men will reject me, defiled my husband and drove him from our marriage.
    As often happens, Papa, Abba, as I have come to know Him, used this crisis in my life much like He used the crisis in Mack’s life to draw me unto Himself.
    This was and is a process(sanctification). I eventually forgave my earthly father when the Holy Spirit revealed the judgement to me and this in turn freed my husband from my hook in him and my defilement of him which set him up to reject me.

    This story has a joyful ending in that our marriage was restored! I could continue with examples of this truth from my own life and from many others over and over.

    I was tremendously blessed by The Shack and have bought many copies to share. The Trinity portrayed in this book, although different from my experience and uniquely Mack’s, was so familiar to me because of my personal relationship with Papa. It is uniquely mine and like no other!

    I lived a large part of my life filled with bitterness, anger and fear which was hidden away in my deep heart . I was ruled be a religious spirit. I pray for all who are bound in this way that Papa will tenderize their hardened hearts and restore their brokeness with His love. I thank you Papa that I am a “becoming” one saved by grace through faith in Yeshua my Lord!

    Carolyn

  9. Carolyn,

    Thank you for the story. I am blessed to have read it. I too have been coming under fire from God’s grace lately and I cannot tell you, but you already know, how freeing, how liberating, how wonderfully washed I have felt under this grace. Thank you for sharing. Perhaps your story will be more touching to Clay than my, uh, replies.

    jerry

  10. Clay,

    I’m not publishing your graceless opinions. “Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

    I’ll take my chances with God’s grace. You take your chances with your rules.

    jerry

  11. Jerry,
    I totally agree with your experience of reading The Shack. It teaches us about relationship with God and people around us, not the legalistic religion. However, I do believe it will not go very well with people who have worked very hard to impress God by doing all the ‘right things’…. like the older brother in the story of Prodigal son… but it does bring us back to God, us the broken and messed up people. I think you and I understand grace much more because we have experienced the abundance of it in our lives…

    But individuals like twofeetclay will not understand our experience…. And Clay doesn’t irritate me, or I don’t hold anything against him/her because I believe his/her intentions are good… I think as much as we want to tell what we believe he/she wants to be heard too… we know that the truth ultimately triumphs… and it’s only the truth that has the ability to touch hearts of people and power to release them, so we really don’t have to worry if people believe differently than we do.

    By the way, among many other things that I experienced while reading The Shack, one that stands tall is my healing experience from the loss of my father. It is been couple of years now since he suddenly disappeared. As I read, I paused and felt God’s love just envelop me and I believed from all my heart that God was with my father and God had made him strong no matter how bad situation it might have been…. I loved the book and recommend it to all…

  12. Tara,

    Thanks for sharing your story with me and everyone else who happens to stop by. I am thrilled that so many people are discovering the true message of this book and coming to a deeper understanding of God’s Grace.

    jerry

  1. 1 The Shack: More to Love « Life Under the Blue Sky: The View From Below

    […] have written a little here about the fantastic book simply called The Shack. I know many people are really uptight about some […]




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: