The Shack, the Church, and the Truth


I’ve heard of The Shack, a book that is all the rage now in Christian circles, particularly, apparently, among emergent-types; it would seem to be this year’s Blue Like Jazz, from all I’ve heard. I spent a few minutes perusing it at Barnes & Noble recently, reading particularly the chapter where the Trinity messes around in the kitchen with the main character (sounds kinda queasy just saying that). I’ll tell you, I’m not a fan. Yes, yes, I know, I should read the whole book before I castigate it–so I’m not going to castigate it, only say that some folks I trust are nonplussed by it. I’m not a reader of fiction anyway, and there seems to be enough objectionable stuff in it that I won’t be recommending it.

But there’s another reason I’m not going to be recommending it, and that is the attitude of its author, William Young, toward the church. In a word, he’s dropped out. This article gives some of his reasoning; I find that I can perhaps identify with some of his concerns, but I totally and completely reject his conclusion, this bogus notion, echoed a lot recently by some commenters on the Ronald Weinland post, that the local church is not important. That notion I find unbiblical, and more godless than many other things that we’d stick with that label. I have no interest in reading a guy who is so wrong on such a fundamental issue.

Instead, I concur, almost completely, with John MacArthur’s very Biblical words regarding the church. Here are several posts that outline his thinking, entitled “Why I Love the Church”:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV


Finally, this post on the local church:

Local Churches: Do We Need Them?

Reading and understanding a Biblical theology of the church, such as MacArthur espouses, will be very helpful; I highly recommend it.


  1. Bart Breen on August 5, 2008 at 1:36 am

    I respect the fact that you limit your comments in the light of not reading the entire book.

    I don’t agree with some of the conclusions you are drawing, but your comments are measured and you avoid some of the knee jerk comments I see from others, so … credit where credit is due.

    If you’re interested in what Paul Young is saying about the Church and why, you might want to look at the book “So You Don’t want to Go to Church Anymore” by Jake Colson, which is actually a pseudonym and written by Wayne Jacobsen in part who is also part of the team that edited and published The Shack.

    You may not agree but I think you’ll understand better what is being said, which is a little different than what I hear you reflecting.

  2. Byron on August 5, 2008 at 9:54 am


    I think that the book you mention is another one I thumbed through at Barnes and Noble. I may try to take a longer look at it. Still, I can’t imagine being convinced that the local church is anything less than indispensable in the life of a Christ-follower; I say that, by the way, fully aware of the many warts and foibles of the church (they drive me crazy sometimes!). Anyway, thanks for posting, Bart, and I’ll see about taking that longer look at the Colson book.

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