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6th November
written by Cullen Webb

A buddy of mine went to the hospital in April for chugging soy sauce. I had no idea a large amount of it could be lethal. Thankfully, he didn’t drink nearly enough to kill him (I believe 2 liters is lethal.)
While my Youth Pastor was at the hospital, the Doctor spoke with him about all the seemingly harmless foods that can be lethal if consumed in an irregular way. One of which was peanut butter.
This was a surprise to me, and a great many others. It turns out, that if you choke on peanut butter, there is no hope for you. Without bread, apple or some other food to keep it company, it can lodge in your throat and suffocate you despite all the efforts of Doctors or Nurses.

Now let us look at a book that has swept across the Nation, and gripped many hearts young and old. A book that is so cleverly written, you hardly have a choice but to become a part of the story. After only a few pages, you laugh when the characters laugh. You cry when they cry.

What is this book? The Shack.

 The Shack

I am afraid to say, that my comments for the most part will cease. I have very little to appreciate about this book.
As I have said, it is well written. The Author, William P. Young, puts his thoughts and opinions on paper in a way few people can.
But opinions are like peanut butter. A wonderful thing when spread on foods like bread, bananas or apples. But without any substance, with no scripture to back his opinion up, it is lethal.

I wanted to read this book so badly partly because I heard of the controversy surrounding it. However, I never exposed myself to outside opinions aside from quick remarks made from my friends. The following is the result of a non-biased reading.

Page 25
“Again silence, then, so is Jesus dying a legend?” Mack could hear the wheels turning in Kate’s mind.
“No Honey, that’s a true story; and do you know what? I think the Indian princess story is probably true too.”

“Is the Great Spirit another name for God–you know, Jesus’ papa?”
     Mack smiled in the dark. Obviously, Nan’s nightly prayers were having an effect. “I suppose so. It’s a good name for God because he is a Spirit and he is Great.”

There it is. Our first sign of universalism. First He acknowledges the human sacrifice to Indian gods as okay and possibly true, then he melds Jehovah God and the “Great Spirit” god into one.

This is only a hint of what he writes in later chapters.

Page 35
“The kids, startled awake by the clatter and under-the-breath expletives,”

This is the first time Mack swears. He is supposedly a christian man, but is somehow comfortable swearing in front of his own children.
Page 63
“Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?”

Wow. Did the Author just describe the Bible as a box? That it somehow confines God to a certain way of thinking? Not only that, but he also says it is full of guilt.

 You will notice as we continue, that he uses the word “guilt” without ever taking time to examine conviction.

Page 63
“Who sent the **** note?”

There he goes again. At least this time he isn’t in front of innocent ears. But does that excuse him?

Page 84
“…the door flew open, and he was looking directly into the face of a large beaming African-American woman.”

Here’s the kicker. The thing I heard most about this book. What people seam most outraged about is the fact that he would describe God as a woman.

However, that does not bother me so much as all these other things. The Author writes later in the book that God does not have a gender, which I agree with.
In the beginning, God created Man AND Woman in his image.

But he still chose to display him as over-weight. That is unacceptable. All throughout the scripture, drunkeness and gluttony are listed side-by-side. God obviously looks down on gluttony just as much as he does drunkeness. But for some reason he condones it by appearing over-weight?!?
Will he next appear to him as a drunkard?

Too sketchy for me.

Page 89
“Now see here Mackenzie. You don’t have to be lookin’ out for me. I listen to everything–and not just to the music itself, but the hearts behind it.”

God listens to everything? I suppose he also has some Kiss, Korn or some other demonic music in his library?

In this passage, Papa (the books name for God) also says she listens to the hearts behind music, not so much the music itself. But what does scripture say about this?

Genesis 8:21
“…for the imagination of man‘s heart [is] evil from his youth…”

Young is undermining the very righteousness of God. He has brought him down to the level of man.

Pages 91 & 92
“…and this weekend is not about reinforcing your religious stereotypes.”

Another subtle reference to universalism.

Page 94
“Mackenzie, the Truth shall set you free..”

Maybe I’m being a little picky. But I would expect God almighty to know every word of scripture to the letter. After all, Satan does.
Here he just quoted John 8:32, which says the truth shall MAKE you free.

Not a big deal. Unless your God.

Page 94
“His gaze followed hers and for the first time Mack noticed the scars on her wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his.”

“We were there together.”

Whoa! Huge violation of scriptural truth. The Author has come up with a lot of pretty words that feel good. He claims that God did NOT forsake Christ on the cross, but was instead hidden from him. And God was not only there, he was with him on the cross, and was crucified.

Where on Earth does he come up with this? All he has to back this up is emotional argument put forth by “Papa.” Here’s a piece of scripture:

Habakkuk 1:13
“You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and can not look upon iniquity:”

When Christ was on the cross, the sin of the entire world was upon Him (Isaiah 53:6, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Go forsook Him, because He became the embodiement of sin itself.

Pages 95 & 96
“You, on the other hand, were created to be loved.”

Where would we be without The Shack? Somehow he knows the very purpose for our existence, despite all the scriptures that say we are to exhalt God.

It’s not about us. It is about God. It is about Jesus Christ.

Page 97
“I live in a state of perpetual satisfaction as my normal state of existence,”

God lives in a “perpetual state of satisfaction”?

What about all the times God has been angry, sad or grieved?

Genesis 6:6
“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”

Page 101
“The God who is-the I am who I am-cannot act apart from love!”

Exodus 32:10
“Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.”

God got so angry at the Israelites that he wanted to wipe them off the face of the earth. I don’t think he wanted to do this in a loving kinda way.
Although Moses talked him out of it, we musn’t forget Sodom and Gamorah. God can act out of hate and wrath.

Page 109
“I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu.”

Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Not simply the best way.

Page 119
“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment,”

Peanut Butter.

I would LOVE to see what scripture verse Young has for this.

If God would overlook all the sins of this world, and never bring them to justice, he would be a tyrant. An unrighteous and unloving tyrant.

Page 123
“You are yielding to the matrix, not to us,”

Jesus Christ just stated, after a speal about government being wicked, that submitting to government authorities is not submitting to God.

This isn’t the Jesus I read about.

Page 140
“I’m not a great swimmer and besides, the water looks pretty **** cold,” complained Mack. He suddenly realized what he had said and felt his face flush. “Uh, I mean darn, pretty darn cold.” He looked up at Jesus with a frozen grimace on his face, but the other man seemed to be actually enjoying Mack’s discomfort.

This is insane. Mack can swear in front of Jesus Christ, and Jesus ENJOYS it?!
Young seams to be scratching itchy ears with this one.

One of my favorite songs is “I can only imagine.” I love the line, “Will I sing Hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all?”

Obviously Young plans to cuss curse and swear when he gets to heaven.

Page 148
“The world, in many ways, would be a much calmer and gentler place if women ruled.”

Don’t get me started on femenism. God has given men natural leadership. Not women. This is etched all through scripture!

Can women have leadership roles? That is another question, for another post.

The point is, Jesus Christ would never speak like this.

Page 150
“Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example to copy.”

That was Jesus who said that.

What does scripture say?

Philippians 2:4
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

Pages 153 – 166

These pages envelope a “Court Room” like scene. Mack is asked to pick 2 of his children to go to heaven, and 3 to go to hell.

Mack says he cannot, bcause he loves them too much. God says that is good judgement, and then explains why “she” feels the same way.

And for future reference, God refers to himself as Sophia in these pages.

Page 167
“Oh my God! Missy!”

Mack uses the name of God in vain, with no rebuke from God who is standing right there.

Page 169
“They are here, but they aren’t. Only Missy is truly here.”

After the judgement scene, Mack is taken to a waterfall where he communicated with his reincarnate daughter. The Author suggests that people who have passed away can come back and visit us through our dreams.

Didn’t Saul try to contact a prophet who had died, only to be rebuked for it later?
Wasn’t the “prophet” who he had seen, truly a demon?

Page 169
“It would be her nature to forgive,”

It is NOT natural to forgive.

Page 170
“Mackenzie, judgement is not about destruction, but about setting things right.”

Nope. it isn’t. It is about punishment being dealt to those who deserve it.

Here is another little peak at what is comming.

Page 172
“Sophia is a personification of Papa’s wisdom.”

Although the Author denies it, this is a fourth addition to the God-head.

Page 178
“Well Mack, our final destiny is not the picture of Heaven that you have stuck in your head-you know, the image of pearly gates and streets of gold. Instead it’s a new cleansing of this universe, so it will indeed look a lot like here.”

Peanut Butter.

William Young claims that all the scriptures about heaven, the pearly gates and streets of gold are only a description of the bride Christ is comming back for.

Again, twisted scripture and nothing to back it up.

Page 183
“Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian.”

Here it comes people!

Jesus Christ has just distanced himself from his own teachings. And we are only paragraphs away from the most devastating thing in the book.

Page 184
“Those who love me come from every system that exists. they were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats or Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious insitutions.”


Here we are. the source of everything the book has only hinted of until this point. If this is true, then Muslims are going to be ticked offwhen they don’t get their virgins. Mormons will be devestated when they don’t get to rule their own universe. Atheists will be bummed about not taking a big cosmic nap.

How can everybody be right?!?

Here are some verses from the Koran:

Sura 5:17
Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.”

Sura 5:73
Infidels are those who say “God is one of three in a Trinity.”

They don’t love Jesus.

Man oh man I need to post about universalism sometime. This will have to do for now:

Page 189
“Guilt’ll never help you find freedom in me.”

Conviction will.

Page 191
“Will you please forgive me,” Mack finally offered.
“Did that a long time ago, Mack.”

Mack is trying to repent, but Papa blows him off and says she already did. Before he even repented.

Page 192
“All evil flows from independance, and independance is your choice.”

Peanut Butter.

The Author gets through the entire book without any mention of Satan. Maybe it’s because he isn’t universally accepted?

Page 205
“Jesus laid the demand of the law to rest; it no longer has any power to accuse or command.”

Jesus Christ made the law much more difficult.

Before he came, we simply couldn’t commit adultary. After he came, we are no longer allowed to even lust.
Before he came, we had to love our neighbors. After he came, we now have to love our enemies.

Matthew 5:17
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Page 206
“Rules cannot bring freedom;”

Romans 7:7
“What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

Page 216
“As they mature and grow to become  who they are, the colors they exhibit will become more distinctive, and unique hues and shades will emerge.”

In another reincarnate experience, Mack is surrounded by long-dead saints. Young and old.

But they odd thing about this, is he can see their personality and emotions as a colorful aura surrounding each person and between persons. The children however are only white, because they do not have a unique personality yet.

Doesn’t God create us unique in the womb?

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formedthee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Page 227
“…how can I ever forgive that son of a ****…”

Again, Mack swears in front of God almighty, who is unable to look upon immorality.

Page 228
“I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.”


God also says that even the Child abductor, who has not yet repented, is his child.


All in all, this is a book I will never suggest to even my worst enemies. My brothers father-in-law placed a sticky note on it reading: “fly swatter.”

Are there some good things in it! YES! Is it worth it? NO!
Imagine passing through a mine-field simply because there is more land than there is mines.

Thank you for reading everybody! I know it was long.
-Cullen Webb


Related posts:

  1. Hail Jesus, not Mary
  2. Blasphemy in the church
  • Acaspians

    I just got done reading a 17-page review on this book, the Shack, written by a close friend of the author.
    He, too, cited many of the same flaws in the book, unveiling the true foundation of the book, which is Universalism; his review helped me to understand clearly my unsettled feelings about the book, and this post has helped to put it in laymen's terms. THX

  • faithr

    good job, Preacher.

    and for anyone who decides to comment on the women ruling the world thing, because they think that women could do the job, think again. women gave up that right a long time ago.

    “Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
    Genesis 3:16

  • stevekarp

    Amen! Amen! I thank God that you are standing on the rock solid word of God. Anything that contradicts his nature revealed in his word is false! I am posting this for my nice college friends :)

    “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord” 1 Peter 3:1

  • Cullen Webb

    Thanks everybody! I could have gone a lot more into detail, but as Acaspians has said, it was intended to be put into laymen's terms.

    I'm going to add a ping to the 17 page review.

  • Michael Wedding

    We ALL must be Bereans with what we speak of….even taking other “professing” Christians comments as “gospel” to HIS truth, which is the only truth can lead to falsehoods. God bless you Cullen as I look forward to reading this. I read the book myself and now can speak from my own experience what is true about the book rather than just going along with “crowd” because of what we heard. We must all be careful with our judgement and our sources.

  • R. Larson

    You missed where God says that marriage is not an institution it's a relationship, this to me is Young's way of slipping in gay marriage. There was also a slight to conservative Republicans that I cannot pinpoint at this time.

    As a Christian I knew and was strong enough not to fall for the bad theology but there were many wonderful insights into life and eternity. I would not dismiss the entire book because of some of Young's humanness because there are many meaningful concepts here!

    • Cullen Webb

      Hey Larson.

      After going over all of my notes I realized I missed a lot of issues. Another one is where Papa says there is no train of authority within the Trinity.

      I agree with you….kinda. There are a LOT of good points the Author makes. I loved how he dealt with the reasons for Missy's death. Saying we could never begin to understand why God decided to allow something to happen.
      He had awesome examples and did a pretty good job of explaining things. BUT, it isn't worth it. There is so much bad in the book, it would be like giving somebody poisoned water because there is a little bit of good water in it. As Solomon in scripture says: a proverb in the mouth of a fool is as clouds without rain.

      The Shack isn't the only book that can deal with the issue of loss. Many more are out there without all the false doctrine.

  • jlynne52

    your reference to:

    1) “This is the first time Mack swears. He is supposedly a christian man, but is somehow comfortable swearing in front of his own children.”

    He IS Christian man – and he is human who is imperfect and with faults and struggling with his faith and belief in God – which many people do. That does not make him “un-Christian”.
    it just makes him human – which is the premise of the book.

    2) “Don’t get me started on femenism. God has given men natural leadership. Not women. This is etched all through scripture!”

    Your sexism is offensive. I know many women, including myself, who lead well – with love, compassion, tolerance, understanding, supportive, encouraging as well as firm and decisive when needed. I know many men who couldnt lead themselves or anyone else if their lives depending on it. And I have seen the reverse of these. To attribute one characteristic to a group of people – be it gender, race, age – whatever – is pure ignorance. And that goes for the other comments on this page regarding this as well.

    • Cullen Webb

      Hello jlynne.
      You have a lot of courage being the first and only person to agree with the book. I respect that.

      1) Scripture reveals that we are to be held accountable for what comes out of our mouth. Jesus Christ said it is not what goes in, but out that defiles you.

      It is indeed human to swear curse and cuss, but we are not supposed to be human any longer when we become a christian. We are not of this world. Swearing is.

      We will know people by their fruits. And the fruits of Mack were rotten. Now, if you were to tell me he was not a christian at all, and was merely a false convert who was playing the church game I would understand. But God didn't have any problem with him swearing in this book. In fact Jesus enjoyed it. That is unacceptable.

      2) I know my oppinions concerning woman leadership is offensive. But these are the views of God almighty, not me. I would be more than willing to root for what's popular, in this case femenism. But I cannot, for that goes against Christan teaching. I noticed that all you had to offer was your oppinion, and no scripture whatsoever. If you can point to a book, page or verse that reveals woman as natural leaders I would agree with it. However there are none.

      Also, I never said that woman COULD NOT be leaders. You assumed that is what I meant.

      I will be devoting an entire post to this soon.

      jlynne, I want you to realize that what you think is right and wrong is nothing compared to what God thinks is right or wrong. If he told you directly that woman were not meant to be leaders, would you ignore him?
      The fact of the matter is, he already has.

      Thanks again for commenting.

    • faithr

      please allow me to share with you my thoughts on this. i have been in the place where i thought that women were just as good at leadership as men. i have been somewhat of a feminist, and i hated it when people said that men were the natural leaders. i have been told that i have natural leadership ability. yet i have been learning more and more that God has placed in men a special ability to lead. i too, have seen men that are not good leaders, and they all have the same thing in common: an ignorance of God and His will.
      now God did give women special abilities as well, and some do involve leading. Timothy was taught about God by his mother and his grandmother, not his father. God has blessed women with unique gifts that need to be recognized. such as most of the ones you mentioned. love, compassion, tolerance, understanding, supportive, encouraging, and as we need to be, firm and decisive. these qualities are not unique to leadership. God has given each of us our own special design, and i trust Him. Sometimes it's better to make the assist than to take the shot. i don't see this as ism, i see it as men and women of God embracing the purpose that was instilled in them by their Divine Creator. how can we argue with that?

  • wina

    I happen to love this book. I just finished it today and I was amazed that I was reading things I felt in my heart to be true about God all the time.
    The kinds of things that you disagree with are what makes it so hard to follow Christianity sometimes… it has to be one certain way or it is wrong…
    Well, I believe that God is bigger than that…. if that is universalism, then maybe I should check that out.
    I think that your comments about women leading, and God not being overweight, and the “Great Spirit” that Native Americans worship not being God are very offensive. God is all things to all people and I believe that all of those names are simply names for the same God. There is only one God… just many names to call Him … as in the author calling him “Papa”… did you not like that either?
    I don't mean to be rude to you, and I am sorry if it is coming across that way, but I really get upset when people try to limit God to being just the way that they think He should be…. I belive God is bigger than everything and everyone, and no matter what… He loves me…..
    Enough said….

    • Cullen Webb

      Hello Wina. You have not offended me in the least. I posted a very controversial review on a book that is accepted abroad. I should be willing to accept some flak.

      You are suggesting that woman should be leaders? I am willing to hear your opinion as long as you have some scripture to back it up.

      Allah commanded Mohamed to strike off the heads of 400 Jews in a single day. Was this the God of Christianity?
      Islam also teaches that if you kill a mans wife, you must pay the man the same you would pay if you killed 2 of his dogs. If you are offended by Christianity's view of woman, how can you support other religions that degrade them to the value of 2 dogs?

      I would also like to know what scripture you have for God being just like every other gods. Because I remember him devoting the first of the ten commandments to debunking worshiping other gods.

      I was not offended by his reference to God as Papa. That is an intimate title that can be used without watering down his holiness. Unlike swearing in front of him.

      Also, Christianity is very hard to follow. It is the most unnatural decision you will ever make in your life.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Michael Wedding

      My wife recently pointed this out when a man she witnessed to remarked about Christianity being too “narrow” (i.e. like your comment regarding Christianity having to be one certain way or it is wrong)
      If you were in a house that was on fire and there was only “one way” out would that be too narrow? If you were in a flood and a boat came along and it was the only hope you had would that be too narrow? If you were deathly sick and there was only one type of medicine that would work, would you reject that as being too narrow? I understand your “feelings” that “people” have made “Christianity” too narrow and have been judgemental but “the Way, the Truth and the Life” is the “only” way despite what the world has to say. Throughout the whole bible, it is only the “few” that is saved. How many millions were living when Noah and only 8 were saved from the flood. Scripture declares a second coming is coming where that same type of judgement is happening, the world will be destroyed by fire. God is Spirit and he is holy and he calls us to repentance (not only confessing our sin but turning from it). There is only one true God! God is Jesus Christ! Yes, he does love you but you need to accept HIS TRUTH not your own. I just read this morning “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be liar and his word has no place in our lives. I John 1:6-10 We can not be purified from our sins by any other belief that our faith that our sins are purified by “the blood of Jesus” There is no other way! Call it narrow minded if you will. It (Christianity) is the only faith where God (whatever God you want to believe in) took it upon himself to die for “our” sins and make a way of salvation…we need only believe HIS TRUTH.
      Mike Wedding

    • beverly howard

      thank you finally someone with mt views. this book explained so much to me and i have recommed it to people who were really strugggling with their walk with god and it has saved them. and it has helped me too.. i feel the same way as you do

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  • Kathy L

    I enjoyed the book as entertainment & another person's take on religion, relationship with God, and the Bible. Did I take it all to be factual, guidelines, truth without question? NO!! God gave each of us free will to exercise our own judgment about our actions — even faith. He doesn't jump in front of us to stop us from making dumb decisions or huge mistakes. It is up to us to weigh our options, consider the consequences, and proceed with our FREE WILL. Why do you feel it necessary to tear a book apart — essentially page by page — when it may be a way for one (or more) person(s) to see the possibilities in God that was not seen before?

    • faithr

      please don't look at this as tearing the book apart, but analyzing it. you are correct that God gave us free will to exercise judgment. That is what Cullen was doing in writing this post. The has subtle ways to hinder us, and for, say a baby Christian, this book may lead them to some very wrong assumptions about God and who He is, and what He stands for. This post was a warning for Christians that this book contradicts God's Word in many ways. I, for one, am grateful that cullen took the time to write this for us. We may have free will, but that doesn't mean we can't help and encourage one another.

  • beverly howard

    i am so sorry that you have to pull this book apart/ i recommeded this book to a frien d who was really strugging with their walk with jesus and it had helped them so much. and why not a womanand does the color really matter.this book has helped me so much with my walk with god.. if this book can bring people to god i would recommend it to everyone to read. a curse word. big deal remember he without sin.

    • faithr

      but is it God that this book is bringing people to? if this goes against God's Word, then it cannot be of God, and therefore is of the world. this book goes against the Bible, which God designed to show us what is pure and holy. it's more than just about race, gender, swearing, or anything else. it cannot contradict God, and be of God. whatever few good things may be in it are nothing compared to the things that aren't.

  • Bruce Records

    Mr. Webb:

    I am surprised that you can stand to read very much of the scripture since there are passages there that portray much more horrendous blasphemy and sin than Young's little book.

    The Shack is a novel, Mr. Webb, not a doctrinal primer. You do your readers a disservice by underestimating their ability to filter out the insignificant wrongs from the positives of the book.

    Commentators like you would have us read nothing but scripture and then only according to your interpretations.

    It is my sense that you like to hear yourself preach. In fact you say early on: “I am afraid to say, that my comments for the most part will cease.” All I can say to that is praise God!

    P.S. When critical “Christians” like you display your wares publicly please work harder on your spelling and grammar. It makes the rest of us look bad.

    Bruce Records

    • faithr

      If you, sir, are more concerned about spelling and grammar than the truth, i would suggest you take a good look into your life.

      As for making the “rest of us” look bad, i truly hope you are not referring to Christians, because the last time i checked, only God had the authority to speak for everyone.

      suggest you stop referring to yourself as a Christian. The Bible is the Word of God through and through. I wonder that you cannot believe that and still believe in God.

      • Bruce Records

        Dear Faithr:

        May I defend myself from your criticism? I did not say that the scriptures contained error. I believe that the Bible is without any significant error and is the Gold Standard for God's communication with us. I do believe that among dedicated followers of Jesus there are many variations of interpretation of many passages of the Good Book. I did say that the Bible contained many passages that portray horrendous blasphemy and sin [e.g. the lies of Satan, a homosexual crowd intent on raping angels, the crucifixion of Jesus].

        I acknowledge that if read as a doctrinal text The Shack can be criticized on many levels.

        I am concerned that critical, legalistic, marginally literate, and self focused brothers and sisters are not displaying the love of Jesus to an unbelieving world that is lost and unfortunately going to hell.

        As for my “rest of us” statement, I will excuse you from those of us that have a love for God and truth AND literature AND literacy. By the way, perhaps a little remedial work on reading interpretation would be helpful for you.

        Warmest regards,

        Bruce Records

        • faithr

          You can not imagine how hard i am laughing right now. I have no care for what you think of me. My only concern is that you have misjudged this post and the author of it. You would be ashamed of yourself if you actually knew him. There has never been a more humble Christian that i have had the privilege to befriend. And he has always been the first to reach others with Christ's love.

          • Bruce Records

            Dearest Faithr:

            Well how about these for some thoughts about you[!]:

            I think that you are likely a very good friend to Mr. Webb.

            I think that you take your faith seriously.

            I think that had you known that I was an old man, perhaps you would not be speaking harshly to me [that is not scriptural you know :)].

            I think that you are likely quite young [am I right about that?].

            So tell me about Mr. Webb so I might consider him in a better light.

            Again, warmest regards,

            Bruce Records

          • faithr

            Yes to the first two. At least i hope I'm counted as a good friend. :)

            As for the third, i knew that you were not young. I could tell by the way you spoke. And as far as i am concerned, that was nowhere near harsh.

            As to the fourth, i would guess i am young by your standards. I will be 19 in several weeks. Though I don't think it is truly a factor here.

            As for the fifth, what would you like to know about Mr. Webb?

          • Bruce Records

            Dear Faithr:

            I wonder about his spiritual education. Self taught? Seminary? Church related training?

            Does he listen for any of God's communications to him aside from the gold standard [the Word]?

            If I were to ask you and Mr. Webb how God communicates with us in this dispensation, how would you and he respond?

            How old is Mr. Webb?

            Is he employed or perhaps still a student? Details please?

            Did he get his laptop?

            That is enough for now. Merry Christmas.


            Bruce Records

          • faithr

            His father is a pastor. One of the finest i have ever known. That contributed, as well as the fact that he is home schooled, and the curriculum is Bible based. He also has a love of learning. Much of what he knows comes from diligent studying.

            I have never met anyone of his age to be so in tune with God. He is very perceptive to God and His will. He listens to God in many ways, though i wouldn't know them all, because his faith is a very personal relationship with God, and you would have to ask him.

            Again, i can not answer for him on this. I would be doing him a disservice as he would definitely be more profound than I. I would ask you to which dispensation you are referring: the book itself, or the review?

            I can not give his age without his permission. I can tell you that he is a student, but not what type. I will ask him if i may share these things, and get back to you.

            His laptop is still on it's way as far as i know, but it will not be long.

          • Cullen Webb

            Hello Mr. Bruce.
            I am sorry I have come in so late on this discussion. Until my laptop arrives I need to use the family computer, which has died.

            I do not believe the entire book to be blasphemous. There are indeed many good qualities, and I am sure that some good could come from reading it. However the moments where he makes statements that are obviously against foundational Christian beliefs cannot go without skepticism.
            Universalism, for example.

            To answer your questions, my spiritual education is first and foremost through my Father. He, as you have already been informed, is a pastor. Elders of our Church, Uncles, visiting Pastors and various seminaries have also “educated” me.

            I do indeed listen to other sources. So long as they teach within biblical beliefs. An example would be “The Christian in Complete Armor.”

            I am a 17 year old student. I have no employment beyond a simple job from home. I love ebay by the way.

            Seeing as you are the only commenter to come back, I would greatly appreciate it if you would be the first to give a scriptural argument for some of the bold statements of the book. All I have heard so far has been emotional and/or opinion. Remember that results do not justify the means.

            Merry Christmas. I look forward to future discussions.
            -Cullen Webb

          • Bruce Records

            Mr. Webb:

            May I first apologize to you for the critical nature of my first comment on your post. Had I recognized your youth, I should more likely have congratulated you on your interest in spiritual matters.

            Obviously your daddy and your other mentors have done a marvelous job of engaging your interest in the most important things of life. Would you commend them for me?

            If you don't mind communicating with an old man for a bit, I would be happy to have an opportunity for us to instruct one another.

            Time limits me a bit at the moment, so I will get back with you on universalism and some of those other bold statements in the Shack. By the way, I suspect you and I will likely agree on more of these issues than disagree!

            You responded to my question about listening to God's communications outside of the Good Book, and your response was excellent. God communicates to mankind first through the Bible, but also through our Christian brothers and sisters, through answered prayer, through creation, and through the somewhat mystical nudgings of the Holy Spirit. Some think that God speaks to people through dreams and perhaps in a few other rather obscure ways – I think that most of my dreams are due to indigestion [!] so I I am not real excited about that mode of communication. The thing that made your response excellent was that you pointed out that if what you perceive to be a communication from God is not consistent with scripture, either it is not from God or [I suppose] our understanding of scripture might be incomplete.

            One specific question: How do you feel about the writings of Clive Staples Lewis?

            One comment, you have a faithful friend in Faithr.

            Until later.

            Bruce Records

  • Bruce Records

    Dear Faithr,

    Thank you for responding. As perhaps you can see, Mr. Webb has responded as well.

    In answer to your question about a question of mine ["If I were to ask you and Mr. Webb how God communicates with us in this dispensation, how would you and he respond?"] I was thinking of the word dispensation in terms of a period of time in which mankind has an agreement or kind of a contract with God. May I share a long quote from a web site I just found that gives you a more complete picture of the type of thing I am talking about. Please note that I have not taken the time this evening to study this particular scheme in detail, so I do not know that I agree with everything in it, but you will get the idea from the material. I quote:

    “The Seven Dispensations
    Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
    by Dr. C. I. Scofield

    The Scriptures divide time (by which is meant the entire period from the creation of Adam to the “new heaven and a new earth” of Rev. 21: 1) into seven unequal periods, usually called dispensations (Eph. 3:2), although these periods are also called ages (Eph. 2:7) and days, as in “day of the Lord.”

    These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God's method of dealing with mankind, or a portion of mankind, in respect of the two questions: of sin, and of man's responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment, marking his utter failure in every dispensation. Five of these dispensations, or periods of time, have been fulfilled; we are living in the sixth, probably toward its close, and have before us the seventh, and last: the millennium.

    1. Man innocent.
    “This dispensation extends from the creation of Adam in Genesis 2:7 to the expulsion from Eden. Adam, created innocent and ignorant of good and evil, was placed in the garden of Eden with his wife, Eve, and put under responsibility to abstain from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The dispensation of innocence resulted in the first failure of man, and in its far-reaching effects, the most disastrous. It closed in judgment: “So he drove out the man.” See Gen. 1:26; Gen. 2:16,17; Gen. 3:6; Gen. 3:22-24.)”

    Salvation Gospel in this dispensation:Do not eat of the tree of knowledge.

    Genesis 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

    2. Man under conscience.
    “By the fall, Adam and Eve acquired and transmitted to the race the knowledge of good and evil. This gave conscience a basis for right moral judgment, and hence the race came under this measure of responsibility-to do good and eschew evil. The result of the dispensation of conscience, from Eden to the flood (while there was no institution of government and of law), was that “all flesh had corrupted his way on the earth,” that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” and God closed the second testing of the natural man with judgment: the flood. See Gen. 3:7, 22; Gen. 6:5,11-12; Gen. 7:11-12, 23.)”

    Salvation Gospel in this dispensation:Do good and do not do evil.

    Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

    3. Man in authority over the earth.
    “Out of the fearful judgment of the flood God saved eight persons, to whom, after the waters were assuaged, He gave the purified earth with ample power to govern it. This, Noah and his descendants were responsible to do. The dispensation of human government resulted, upon the plain of Shinar, in the impious attempt to become independent of God and closed in judgment: the confusion of tongues. (See Gen. 9: 1, 2; Gen. 11: 1-4; Gen. 11:5-8.)”

    Salvation Gospel in this dispensation:Believe God and build an ark.

    Genesis 6:16 “You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it [with] lower, second, and third [decks]. 17 “And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which [is] the breath of life; everything that [is] on the earth shall die. 18 “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark–you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.

    4. Man under promise.
    “Out of the dispersed descendants of the builders of Babel, God called one man, Abram, with whom He enters into covenant. Some of the promises to Abram and his descendants were purely gracious and unconditional. These either have been or will yet be literally fulfilled. Other promises were conditional upon the faithfulness and obedience of the Israelites. Every one of these conditions was violated, and the dispensation of promise resulted in the failure of Israel and closed in the judgment of bondage in Egypt.”

    “The book of Genesis, which opens with the sublime words, “In the beginning God created,” closes with, “In a coffin in Egypt.” (See Gen. 12:1-3; Gen. 13:14-17; Gen. 15:5; Gen. 26:3; Gen. 28:12-13; Exod. 1: 13-14.)”

    Salvation Gospel in this dispensation:Believe God's promise.

    Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you.

    5. Man under law.
    “Again the grace of God came to the help of helpless man and redeemed the chosen people out of the hand of the oppressor. In the wilderness of Sinai He proposed to them the covenant of law. Instead of humbly pleading for a continued relation of grace, they presumptuously answered: “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” The history of Israel in the wilderness and in the land is one long record of flagrant, persistent violation of the law, and at last, after multiplied warnings, God closed the testing of man by law in judgment: first Israel, and then Judah, were driven out of the land into a dispersion which still continues. A feeble remnant returned under Ezra and Nehemiah, of which, in due time, Christ came: “Born of a woman-made under the law.” Both Jews and Gentiles conspired to crucify Him. (See Exod. 19:1-8; 2 Kings 17:1-18; 2 Kings 25: 1 -11; Acts 2:22-23; Acts 7:5152; Rom. 3:19-20; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3: 10.)”

    Salvation Gospel in this dispensation:Obey God and keep His commandments.

    Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth [is] Mine.

    6. Man under grace.
    “The sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ introduced the dispensation of pure grace, which means undeserved favor, or God giving righteousness, instead of God requiring righteousness, as under law. Salvation, perfect and eternal, is now freely offered to Jew and Gentile upon the acknowledgment of sin, or repentance, with faith in Christ.”

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” (John 10:27-28). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

    The predicted result of this testing of man under grace is judgment upon an unbelieving world and an apostate church. (See Luke 17:26-30; Luke 18:8; 2 Thess. 2:7-12; Rev. 3:15-16.)

    The first event in the closing of this dispensation will be the descent of the Lord from heaven, when sleeping saints will be raised and, together with believers then living, caught up “to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16-17). Then follows the brief period called “the great tribulation.” (See Jer. 30:5-7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15-18; Matt. 24:21-22.)

    Some teachers number the Tribulation as one of the dispensations, while combining the dispensations of Promise & Law. However, we see the Tribulation as a special period during which human civilization crumbles under the weight of the combined features of its ages long rejection of God. The Lord has limited this period to a short 7 years, to prevent man's self-destruction.

    After this the personal return of the Lord to the earth in power and great glory occurs, and the judgments which introduce the seventh, and last dispensation. (See Matt. 25:31-46 and Matt. 24:29- 30.)”

    Salvation Gospel in this dispensation:Confess Jesus as Lord and believe in the resurrection.

    Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    7. Man under the personal reign of Christ.
    “After the purifying judgments which attend the personal return of Christ to the earth, He will reign over restored Israel and over the earth for one thousand years. This is the period commonly called the millennium. The seat of His power will be Jerusalem, and the saints, including the saved of the dispensation of grace, namely the church, will be associated with Him in His glory. (See Isa. 2:1-4; Isa. 11; Acts 15:14-17; Rev. 19:11-21; Rev. 20:1-6.

    But when Satan is “loosed a little season,” he finds the natural heart as prone to evil as ever, and easily gathers the nations to battle against the Lord and His saints, and this last dispensation closes, like all the others, in judgment. The great white throne is set, the wicked dead are raised and finally judged, and then come the “new heaven and a new earth.” Eternity is begun. (See Rev. 20:3,7-15; Rev. 21 and 22.)”

    Now Faithr, perhaps you understand the question more fully. I believe that Mr. Webb and I can carry on a nice discussion about his response, but I am also still interested in YOUR response. What do YOU think?

    I am impressed with your attention to confidentiality :).


    Bruce Records

  • Bruce Records

    Good evening Mr. Webb,

    I trust you are well. Please allow me to more kindly respond to some points in your post on the Shack by starting with this one:

    Page 94
    “His gaze followed hers and for the first time Mack noticed the scars on her wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his.”

    “We were there together.”

    Whoa! Huge violation of scriptural truth. The Author has come up with a lot of pretty words that feel good. He claims that God did NOT forsake Christ on the cross, but was instead hidden from him. And God was not only there, he was with him on the cross, and was crucified.

    Where on Earth does he come up with this? All he has to back this up is emotional argument put forth by “Papa.” Here’s a piece of scripture:

    Habakkuk 1:13
    “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and can not look upon iniquity:”

    When Christ was on the cross, the sin of the entire world was upon Him (Isaiah 53:6, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Go forsook Him, because He became the embodiement [sic] of sin itself.

    Your explanation, Mr. Webb, of Jesus' words from the cross “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” is a commonly repeated one. I have never liked it. A better translation of this passage is in the NIV. In context, the prophet wonders why God “looks” upon the conquering Chaldeans and their sin when He can’t tolerate wrong and is too pure to look on evil.

    Hab 1:2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
    Hab 1:3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
    Hab 1:4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
    Hab 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.
    Hab 1:6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.
    Hab 1:7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.
    Hab 1:8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like a vulture swooping to devour;
    Hab 1:9 they all come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand.
    Hab 1:10 They deride kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; they build earthen ramps and capture them.
    Hab 1:11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on— guilty men, whose own strength is their god.”
    Hab 1:12 O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
    Hab 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

    Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible expounds on this passage:

    Though the wickedness of the wicked may prosper for a while, yet God is a holy God, and does not approve of that wickedness (Hab_1:13): Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil. The prophet, observing how very vicious and impious the Chaldeans were, and yet what great success they had against God's Israel, found a temptation arising from it to say that it was vain to serve God, and that it was indifferent to him what men were. But he soon suppresses the thought, by having recourse to his first principle, That God is not, that he cannot be, the author or patron of sin; as he cannot do iniquity himself, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any allowance or approbation; no, it is that abominable thing which the Lord hates. He sees all the sin that is committed in the world, and it is an offence to him, it is odious in his eyes, and those that commit it are thereby made obnoxious to his justice. There is in the nature of God an antipathy to those dispositions and practices that are contrary to his holy law; and, though an expedient is happily found out for his being reconciled to sinners, yet he never will, nor can, be reconciled to sin. And this principle we must resolve to abide by, though the dispensations of his providence may for a time, and in some instances, seem to be inconsistent with it. Note, God's connivance at sin must never be interpreted into a giving countenance to it; for he is not a God that has pleasure in wickedness, Psa_5:4, Psa_5:5. The iniquity which, it is here said, God does not look upon, may be meant especially of the mischief done to God's people by their persecutors; though God sees cause to permit it, yet he does not approve of it; so it agrees with that of Balaam (Num_23:21), He has not beheld iniquity against Jacob, nor seen, with allowance, perverseness against Israel, which is very comfortable to the people of God, in their afflictions by the rage of men, that they cannot infer God's anger from it; though the instruments of their trouble hate them, it does not therefore follow that God does; nay, he loves them, and it is in love that he corrects them.
    II. The grievances he complains of, and finds hard to reconcile with these truths: “Since we are sure that thou art a holy God, why have atheists temptation given them to question whether thou art so or no? Wherefore lookest thou upon the Chaldeans that deal treacherously with thy people, and givest them success in their attempts upon us? Why dost thou suffer thy sworn enemies, who blaspheme thy name, to deal thus cruelly, thus perfidiously, with thy sworn subjects, who desire to fear thy name? What shall we say to this?” This was a temptation to Job (Job_21:7; Job_24:1), to David (Psa_73:2, Psa_73:3), to Jeremiah, Jer_12:1, Jer_12:2. 1. That God permitted sin, and was patient with the sinners. He looked upon them; he saw all their wicked doings and designs, and did not restrain nor punish them, but suffered them to speed in their purposes, to go on and prosper, and to carry all before them. Nay, his looking upon them intimates that he not only gave them no check or rebuke, but that he gave them encouragement and assistance, as if he smiled upon them and favoured them. He held his tongue when they went on in their wicked courses, said nothing against them, gave no orders to stop them. These things thou hast done, and I kept silence. 2. That his patience was abused, and, because sentence against these evil works and workers was not executed speedily, therefore their hearts were the more fully set in them to do evil. (1.) They were false and deceitful, and there was no credit to be given them, nor any confidence to be put in them. They deal treacherously; under colour of peace and friendship, they prosecute and execute the most mischievous designs, and make no conscience of their word in any thing. (2.) They hated and persecuted men because they were better than themselves, as Cain hated Abel because his own works were evil and his brother's righteous. The wicked devours the man that is more righteous than he, for that very reason, because he shames him; they have an ill will to the image of God, and therefore devour good men, because they bear that image. Though many of the Jews were as bad as the Chaldeans themselves, and worse, yet there were those among them that were much more righteous, and yet were devoured by them. (3.) They made no more of killing men that of catching fish. The prophet complains that, Providence having delivered up the weaker to be prey to the stronger, they were, in effect, made as the fishes of the sea, Hab_1:14.

    It is not that God can not look upon sin, Mr. Webb. He commonly does so when he looks at mankind, yes, on me and perhaps even on you.

    Mr. Young through “Papa” suggests another possible explanation for Jesus’ words. I do not really like that one either.

    I prefer a third explanation, God neither turned His back on Jesus nor was Jesus overtaken with doubt and fear. Jesus knew the Old Testament Scripture. The 22nd Psalm [considered a prophesy regarding the crucifixion of Christ] begins with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Everyone focuses on the beginning of Psalm 22 and ignores the end. Jesus is pointing us to this Psalm so that we will see how it ends — that God is victorious over all. I believe that this is the best explanation for Jesus’ words. Read the whole Psalm below:

    Psalm 22:1 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

    My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?
    Psa 22:2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.
    Psa 22:3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.
    Psa 22:4 In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.
    Psa 22:5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
    Psa 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.
    Psa 22:7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:
    Psa 22:8 “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
    Psa 22:9 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast.
    Psa 22:10 From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God.
    Psa 22:11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
    Psa 22:12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
    Psa 22:13 Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me.
    Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.
    Psa 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
    Psa 22:16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.
    Psa 22:17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.
    Psa 22:18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
    Psa 22:19 But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
    Psa 22:20 Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.
    Psa 22:21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
    Psa 22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.
    Psa 22:23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
    Psa 22:24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
    Psa 22:25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.
    Psa 22:26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever!
    Psa 22:27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,
    Psa 22:28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.
    Psa 22:29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive.
    Psa 22:30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.
    Psa 22:31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn— for he has done it.

    So, back to your original complaint, why did the author portray Papa with the wrist scars? First, a couple definitions: Figurative language
    A] Easier definition- Figurative language or speech contains images. The writer or speaker describes something through the use of unusual comparisons, for effect, interest, and to make things clearer. The result of using this technique is the creation of interesting images.
    B] Harder definition – Figurative language is not intended to be interpreted in a literal sense. Appealing to the imagination, figurative language provides new ways of looking at the world. It always makes use of a comparison between different things. Figurative language compares two things that are different in enough ways so that their similarities, when pointed out, are interesting, unique and/or surprising.

    I think that the author uses figurative language and depictions [like the scars on Papa’s wrists to emphasize that though triune, there is but one God and to also emphasize the loving relationships among the three persons of the Trinity.

    The interpretation or perhaps the mis-interpretation of figurative language in not only the Shack but also in the Holy Bible is a common cause for faulty analyses of many passages. We must be cautious to consider these techniques in our study.

    I am sorry, but that is all the time I have for today. More later.

    In His service and yours,

    Bruce Records

    • Cullen Webb

      Hello again Mr. Records.

      I understand the need for negative words at times. After all, I just wrote plenty of them for the Shack. It takes a lot to offend me, and your comment fell short. No offense.

      There is wisdom in your grey hairs Bruce. Of course I'll listen to what you have to say.

      This is not the first time I have heard that explanation for Christ's final words. And I like it.
      However, I am still very bothered by his portrayal of the father while Christ was on the cross. I can understand the necesity for figurative language, and how we should take it with salt and sugar. But on the front of the book he claims to have written a book comparable to “Pilgrims Progress.” Everything in the book had a meaning.
      I wanted to clarify that Father God was not on the cross, as William Young portrayed.

      -Cullen Webb

      • Bruce Records

        I originally sent this several days ago. Apparently you did not receive it. Sorry!

        Thank you for your gracious response Mr. Webb.

        Not to be picky, but it was not the author that compared the book to “Pilgrims Progress”, it was one of his readers. Of course the publishers did choose to put that comment on the cover.

        Of course you are correct. Father God was not on the cross.

        Merry Christmas, Mr. Webb.

        Bruce Records

        • acaspians

          Dear Mr. Bruce ~

          I thank you for your comments; they have been very insightful and I have greatly enjoyed reading them. However, I would submit to you that the general populace who will read the Shack will not be of your caliber in regards to taking into account the techniques of writing, such as the afore mentioned 'figurative language'. Mr. Wayne Jacobsen, as you mention later, states his surprise at how little controversy there has been in light of the content in the book and this, I think, shows how complacent (detrimentally so) are the readers. Very few of my friends – Chirstian or no – use their time to study and know the truth or foundation of what they believe. My caution with this book is that many of those who read it will indeed take it as a revelation on biblical doctrine, not as figurative writing. Unfortunately, this has been proven a justified caution among my friends, not only with the Shack, but with many “christian” music lyrics and other writings as well. All people like to hear what sounds good, and I am not an exception; but I have been taught from my parents to 'try all things; hold fast what is true”. Thus, I would not recommend the Shack to anyone, because I do not know how commited they are to seeking truth, and though there are some good things in this book, I agree with my cousin, Mr. Webb: “It is not worth it.”

          God's Peace to you~

          Bethany Armentrout

          “Seek not for something to believe in, but seek the truth.”
          (Not my words, but at this moment I cannot recall who said them, my apologies.)

  • 1steved1

    I have not read the book but I have heard Mr. Young speak about his experiences and how he came to write about his past experiences. Maybe you should have listened to his reasons for the book and you may not be so critical. It is an allegory and a story and anyone who has read scripture will know the difference. I do not see universalism in it and maybe you should look for the good and not be so high and mighty like you know God's purpose for this book.

    • Michael Wedding

      The Apostle Paul reminded us in his Epistles to be like the “Bereans” who studied Scripture “daily” to see if what was/is being said was true. The Bible says that HIS Word is “flawless” and even warns us in some books to not add to or subtract anything from HIS Holy Word. The Bible has been proven through history to be historically, archeologically, geographically, etc. true….if one thing in God's Word is disproved then man has a basis in which to reject it. It is our responsibility as a “Christian” to examine such things (i.e. proclaiming to be “Christian” and examine such things by Scripture. This is what Cullen was doing…being a “Berean” (see my previous post regarding “Berean”). I will not judge Mr. Young nor his motives (God alone knows the intent of the heart), but I will certainly be discerning and “reproof” and “correct” his words by the Authority of Scripture (per 2 Timothy 3:16) if they are in error. In regard to your comment that “anyone who has read scripture will know the difference”, remember, the Bible reminds us that “most” people will reject God and that “most” people are deceived in their beliefs. For me, anything that is “popular” in the world (even among the “Christian” community) sends a big red flag up in my mind and reminds me to be especially diligent in seeking the truth in those things. Who would have thought that 50% of “Christians” marriages end in divorce and the “most” churches now have “homosexual” leaders in the church. Did it happen overnight…no….little by little as HIS HOLY WORD was watered down to believe what we want to about God's truth. We, as “Christians” are often accused of being too “narrow” (please see my previous post about this), proud or arrogant because we proclaim “HIS TRUTH”. If we speak of and for ourselves (i.e. our opinions not based on HIS WORD) we are truly guilty. But to pronounce your judgement on Cullen as “high and mighty” because he expressed his viewpoints and the reason for them…I'm agraid you have judged yourself and it is an unfair judgement. And actually, if you re-read his post he said there were “good” things in the book BUT what “good” there is doesn't change the fact that in the overall big picture of how God is represented…it not a true representation of what our HOLY GOD is like. “Imagery” is and always has been an obstacle to “faith” and something “man” desires in order to believe. (i.e Jews demand a sign and Greeks look for wisdom 1 Corinth 1:22) That is one of the major problems with the book but also why it is so popular….people want to view God as they want to view God and not simply as HE is. Has Mr. Young seen God? Does he know what he looks like? Is it not wrong to misrepresent God and to make God what we make him to be? Is it any different that when people made “idols” representing God? We know what God thought about that! One thing I have found interesting of the critizism that he has received; those who have responded in that way have not “specifically” refuted his points to prove them false but merely expressed their “feelings” of how they didn't view things the way he did. To those that disagee and believe he is wrong….like yourself…does that make you “high and mighty”? By God's grace, we don't have that opinion of you. If you think he is wrong, I would suggest that you give the specific reasons why he is wrong and not merely judge him because he disagrees with you.
      Michael Wedding

  • Bruce Records

    Dear Mr. Webb,

    Good day! This is your opportunity to instruct me! I need some help in understanding the scripture you are referring to for these comments:

    Page 169
    “They are here, but they aren’t. Only Missy is truly here.”
    After the judgement scene, Mack is taken to a waterfall where he communicated with his reincarnate daughter. The Author suggests that people who have passed away can come back and visit us through our dreams.

    Didn’t Saul try to contact a prophet who had died, only to be rebuked for it later?
    Wasn’t the “prophet” who he had seen, truly a demon?

    Mr. Webb, You are in good company when you suggest that the Samuel who appears at the medium's bidding in I Samuel 28 is Satan. Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible echos this view. But a simple reading of this passage without a number of assumptions suggests that the apparition was truly Samuel. If it was really Satan, why does the Scripture not more clearly point that fact out? Other commentators [Adam Clarke in his Commentary on the Bible and John Wesley in his Explanatory Notes] accept that this is indeed Samuel's spirit raised from the dead, so to speak, NOT by the witche's evil power but by God to deliver His message to Saul.
    This episode reminds me of the meeting of the postmrtem Moses and Elijah with Jesus, Peter, James, and John on the mountain top in Matthew 17.

    Perhaps, Mr Webb, you are aware of other references in the scriptures that clarify your position? Or perhaps more convincing arguments from other commentators? Please understand I do not have a comfortable understanding of this passage from scripture and am open to more information :).

    Until later.

    Bruce Records

    • Cullen Webb

      God is completely capable of raising from the dead whoever he wants to. Could God have raised Samual and used him to deliver a message? Yes.

      But to me it seams so outside of his character to raise him seamingly with demonic powers.

      However, this is too debateable for me to lay out a black and white answer. In 1 Samuel 28:12 the Witch gives a reaction that is not normal. The Spirit she hoped to have seen may not be who she got. I.E. the real Samuel.

      Don't forget though, either way argues away with those pages in The Shack.

      • Bruce Records

        Once again, I originally sent this several days ago. Apparently you did not receive it either. Sorry!

        Mr. Webb,

        For both of us to recognize that this passage in I Samuel is not as “black and white” as perhaps either one of us thought is probably the best lesson we have learned from this particular area of concern in the Shack.

        As one interested in contributing to your education, Mr. Webb, the word “seam” has several meanings [e.g. a seam in a piece of clothing, the seam between planks on a ship, or a seam of coal]. The word you have wanted to use in a number of your posts is SEEM. It SEEMS that you have been choosing the wrong word. FYI.

        More to come about universalism in the Shack, but later. Out of time again!

        Your old grey haired “mentor”.

        • Bruce Records

          Dear Mr. Webb,

          You forgot to respond to my question about Clive Staples Lewis. Are you familiar with his writings?


          • Cullen Webb

            I am indeed familiar with his writings and enjoy them very much. However my knowledge of his writings don't go any further than “The Chronicles Of Narnia.”

            I loved the hidden truth he placed into everything. However I had some issues as I will point out in response to your post below.

  • Bruce Records

    Good evening again Mr. Webb,

    I promised to write again about universalism in the Shack. May I point you first to the following article by Wayne Jacobsen, one of the collaborators on the Shack.

    Is the Shack Heresy?

    By Wayne Jacobsen, collaborator on The Shack

    We knew it would happen eventually. Frankly we thought it would happen far sooner and in far greater quantity than we have seen to date. But we knew The Shack was edgy enough to prompt some significant backlash, which is why so many publishing companies didn’t want to take it on at the beginning.

    I never thought everyone was going to love this book. Art is incredibly subjective as to whether a story and style are appealing. I have no problem with a spirited discussion of some of the theological issues raised in The Shack. The books I love most are the ones that challenge my theological constructs and invite a robust discussion among friends, whether I agree with everything in them or not in the end,. That is especially true of a work of fiction where people will bring their own interpretations of the same events or conversations. I never view a book as all good or all bad. It’s like eating chicken. Enjoy the meat and toss the bones.

    What is surprising, however, is the hostile tone of false accusation and the conspiracy theories that some are willing to put on this book. Some have even warned others not to read it or they will be led into deception. It saddens me that people want to use a book like this to polarize God’s family, whether it’s overenthusiastic reader thrusting it in someone’s face telling them they ‘must read’ this book, or when people read their own theological agendas into a work, then denounce it as heresy.

    If you’re interested, read it for yourself. Don’t let someone else do your thinking for you. If it helps convey the reality of Jesus to you, great! If all you can see is sinister motives and false teaching in it, then put it aside. I don’t have time to give a point-by-point rebuttal to the reviews I’ve read, but I would like to make some comments on some of the issues that have come up since I’m getting way too many emails asking me what I think of some of the questions they raise. I’ll also admit at the outset, that I’m biased. Admittedly, I’m biased. I was part of a team with the author of working on this manuscript for over a year and am part of the company formed to print and distribute this book. But I’m also well acquainted with the purpose and passions of this book.

    What do I think? I tire of the self-appointed doctrine police, especially when they toss around false accusations like ‘new age conspiracy’, ‘counterfeit Jesus’ or ‘heresy’ to promote fear in people as a way of advancing their own agenda. What many of them don’t realize is that research actually shows that more people will buy a book after reading a negative review than they do after reading a positive one. It piques their curiosity as to why someone would take so much time to denounce someone else’s book.

    But such reviews also confuse people who are afraid of being seduced into error and for those I think the false accusations demand a response. Let me assure any of you reading this that all three of us who worked on this book are deeply committed followers of Jesus Christ who have a passion for the Truth of the Scriptures and who have studied and taught the life of Jesus over the vast majority of our lifetimes. But none of us would begin to pretend that we have a complete picture of all that God is or that our theology is flawless. We are all still growing in our appreciation for him and our desire to be like him, and we hope this book encourages you to that process as well. In the end, this says the best stuff we know about God at this point in our journeys. Is it a complete picture of him? Of course not! Who could put all that he is into a little story like this one? But if it is a catalyst to get thousands of people to talk about theology—who God is and how he makes himself known in the world—we would be blessed.

    This is a story of one believer’s brokenness and how God reached into that pain and pulled him out and as such is a compelling story of God’s redemption. The pain and healing come straight from a life that was broken by guilt and shame at an incredibly deep level and he compresses into a weekend the lessons that helped him walk out of that pain and find life in Jesus again.

    That said, the content of this book does take a harsh look at how many of our religious institutions and practices have blinded people to the simple Gospel and replaced it with a religion of rules and rituals that have long ceased to reflect the Lord of Glory. Some will disagree with that assessment and the solutions this book offers, and the reviews that do so honestly merit discussion. But those who confuse the issues by making up their own back-story for the book, or ascribing motives to its publication without ever finding out the truth, only prove our point.

    Here are some brief comments on the major issues that have been raised about The Shack:

    Does the book promote universalism?
    Some people can find a universalist under every bush. This book flatly states that all roads do not lead to Jesus, while it affirms that Jesus can find his followers wherever they may have wandered into sin or false beliefs. Just because he can find followers in the most unlikely places, does not validate those places. I don’t know how we could have been clearer, but people will quote portions out of that context and draw a false conclusion.

    Does it devalue Scripture? Just because we didn’t put Scriptural addresses with their numbers and colons at every allusion in the story, does not mean that the Bible isn’t the key source in virtually every conversation Mack has with God. Scriptural teachings and references appear on almost every page. They are reworded in ways to be relevant to those reading the story, but at every point we sought to be true to the way God has revealed himself in the Bible except for the literary characterizations that move the story forward. At its core the book is one long Bible study as Mack seeks to resolve his anger at God.
    Is this God too nice?

    Others have claimed that the God of The Shack is simply too nice, or having him in humorous human situations trivializes him. Really? Who wants to be on that side of the argument? For those who think this God is too easy, please tell me in what way does he let Mack off on anything? He holds his feet to the fire about every lie in his mind and every broken place in his heart. I guess what people these critics cannot see is confrontation and healing inside a relationship of love and compassion. This is not the angry and tyrannical God that religion has been using for 2000 years to beat people into conformity and we are not surprised that this threatens the self-proclaimed doctrine police.

    One reviewer even thought this passage from The Shack was a mockery of the true God: “I'm not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way. I am good, and I desire only what is best for you. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation….” That wasn’t mocking God but a view of God that sees him as a demanding, self-centered tyrant. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed himself as the God who would lay down his life for us to redeem us to himself.

    The words, “I don’t want slaves to do my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me,” are simply a reflection of John 15:15. Unfortunately those who tend toward legalism among us have no idea how much more completely Jesus transforms us out of a relationship of love, than we could ever muster in our gritted-teeth obedience. This is at the heart of the new covenant—that love will fulfill the law, where human effort cannot.

    Does it distort or demean the Trinity?
    One of the concerns expressed about The Shack is that it presents the Trinity outside of a hierarchy. In fact many religious traditions think they find their basis for hierarchical organizations in what they’ve assumed about the Trinity. To look at the Trinity as a relationship without the need for command and control is one of the intriguing parts of this story. If they walk in complete unity, why would a hierarchy be needed? They live in love and honor each other. While in the flesh Jesus did walk in obedience to the Father as our example, elsewhere Scripture speaks of their complete unity, love and glory in relating to each other. Different functions need not imply a different status.

    This extends in other ways to look at how healed people can relate to each other inside their relationship with God that defines authority and submission in ways most are not used to, but that are far more consistent with what we see in the early believers and in the teaching of Scripture. It is also true of many believers around the world who are learning to experience the life of Father’s family without all the hierarchical maintenance and drama that has plagued followers of Christ since the third century.

    People may see this differently and find this challenging, if only because it represents some thought they have not been exposed to before. Here we might be better off having a discussion instead of dragging out the ‘heretic’ label when it is unwarranted.

    Does it leave out discussions about church, salvation and other important aspects of Christianity?
    This is some of the most curious complaints I’ve ever read. This is the story about God making himself available to one of his followers who is being swallowed up by tragedy and his crisis of faith in God’s goodness over it. This is not a treatise on every element of theological study. Perhaps we should have paused in the story to have an altar call, or perhaps we should have drug a pipe organ into the woods and enlisted a choir to hold a service, but that was not the point.

    Is this a Feminist God?
    The book uses some characterizations of God to mess with the religious stereotypes only to get people to consider God as he really is, not how we have reconstituted him as a white, male autocrat bent on religious conformity. There are important reasons in the story why God takes the expressions he does for Mack, which underlines his nature to meet us where we are, to lead us to where he is. While Jesus was incarnated as man, God as a spirit has no gender, even though we fully embrace that he has taken on the imagery of the Father to express his heart and mind to us. We also recognize Scripture uses traditional female imagery to help us understand other aspects of God’s person, as when Jesus compares himself to a hen gathering chicks, or David likens himself to a weaned child in his mother’s arms.

    Has it touched people too deeply?
    Some reviewers point to reviews and people who have claimed it had a transforming effect on their spiritual lives as proof of its demonic origin. Please! How absurd is that? Do we prefer books that leave people untouched? This book touches lives because it deals with God in the midst of pain in an honest, straightforward way and because for many this is the first time they have seen the power of theology worked out inside a relationship with God himself.

    Does The Shack promote Ultimate Reconciliation (UR)?
    It does not. While some of that was in earlier versions because of the author’s partiality at the time to some aspects of what people call UR, I made it clear at the outset that I didn’t embrace UR as sound teaching and didn’t want to be involved in a project that promoted it. In my view UR is an extrapolation of Scripture to humanistic conclusions about our Father’s love that has to be forced on the biblical text.

    Since I don’t believe in UR and wholeheartedly embrace the finished product, I think those who see UR here, either positively or negatively are reading into the text. To me that was the beauty of the collaboration. Three hearts weighed in on the theology to make it as true as we could muster. The process also helped shape our theologies in honest, protracted discussions. I think the author would say that some of that dialog significantly affected his views. This book represents growth in that area for all of us. Holding him to the conclusions he may have embraced years earlier would be unfair to the ongoing process of God in his life and theology.

    That said, however, I’m not afraid to have that discussion with people I regard as brothers and sisters since many have held that view in the course of theological history. Also keep in mind that the heretic hunters lump many absurd notions into what they call UR, but when I actually talk to those people partial to some view of ultimate reconciliation they do not endorse all the absurdities ascribed to them. This is a heavily nuanced discussion with UR meaning a lot of different things to different people. For myself, I am convinced that Jesus is someone we have to accept through repentance and belief in this age to participate in his life.

    Throughout The Shack Mack’s choices are in play, determining what he will let God do in his life through their encounter. He is no victim of God’s process. He is a willing participant at every juncture. And even though Papa says ‘He is reconciled to all men” he also notes that, “not all men are reconciled to me.”

    Is the author promoting the emergent movement?
    This guilt-by-association tactic is completely contrived. Neither the author, nor Brad and I at Windblown have ever been part of the emergent conversation. Some of their bloggers have written about the book, but we have not had any significant contact with the leaders of that movement and they have not been the core audience that has embraced this book.
    That said I have met many people in the emergent conversation that have proved to be brothers and sisters in the faith. While I’m not nuts about all they do, a lot of the statements made about them by critics are as false as what some say about The Shack. They do deeply embrace the Scriptures. As I see it they are not trying to re-invent Christianity, but trying to communicate it in ways that captures a new generation. While I don’t agree with many of the conclusions they’re sorting through at the moment, they are not raving humanists. I have found them passionate seekers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who are asking some wonderful questions about God and how he makes himself known in us.

    Does The Shack promote new age philosophy or Hinduism?
    Amazingly some people have made assumptions about some of the names to think there is some eastern mysticism here, but when you hear how Paul selected the names he did it wasn’t to make veiled references to Hinduism, black Madonnas, or anything else. It was to uncover facets of God’s character that are clear in the Scriptures.
    It’s amazing how much people will make up to indulge their fantasies and falsely label something to fit their own conclusions. Some have even insisted that Mack flying in his dreams was veiled instructions in astral travel. Absolutely absurd! Has this man never read fiction, or had a dream? Just because someone screams there is a demon under that bush, doesn’t mean there is.
    * * * * *
    We realize this would be a challenging read for those who see no difference between the religious conditioning that underlies Christianity as it is often presented in the 21st Century and the simple, powerful life in Christ that Jesus offered to his followers. Our hope was to help people see how the Loving Creator can penetrate our defenses and lead us to healing. Our prayer is that through this book people will see the God of the Bible as Jesus presented him to be—an endearing reality who wants to love us out of our sin and bondage and into his life. This is a message of grace and healing that does not condone or excuse sin, but shows God destroying it through the dynamic relationship he wants with each of his children.
    We realize folks will disagree. We planned on it. We appreciate the interaction of those who have honest concerns and questions. Those who have been captured by this story are encouraged to search the Scriptures to see if these things are so and not trust us or the ravings of those who misinterpret this book, either threatened by its success, or those who want to ride on it to push their own fear-based agenda.

    Mr. Webb, I tend to believe Mr. Jacobsen. I also think that some of your criticisms of the Shack are valid. Your concerns about the passage in the last page or so of Chapter 12 are well founded. Essentially, this passage is not clear. It starts off with Jesus saying that a number of different followers of God WERE of other faiths or philosophies or political agendas, or were guilty of some of the worst sins [like in I Cor 6] then He says that some of them ARE still sinful or of different faiths or nationalities and that He has no desire to make them Christian. Jesus then says that not all roads lead to Him, but that He will travel any road to find us. Again, very confusing. I do know from viewing interviews with the author that he feels that “Jesus is the only and sole hope of anyone on this planet”, which still is not saying that one must be a Christian to be saved.

    I think that the passage from the Shack that reassures me most that the book is not intended to be a “Universalist Manefesto ” :) is contained in about the last three pages of Chapter 13. In this passage, Father God, talking to Mack about Jesus, says “Everything’s about him, you know.” . . . [Jesus accomplished] the substance of everything that love purposed from before the foundations of Creation. . . [and] through his death and resurrection, I [Father God] am now fully reconciled to the world.” Mack responds: “The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?” And then the most telling comment from Father God: “The whole world, Mack. All I am telling you is that reconciliation is a two way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally. It is not the nature of love to force a relationship but it is the nature of love to open the way.”

    Father God is saying here that He has forgiven all mankind via the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, BUT that men must accept that free gift of grace through faith.

    This passage makes me think of what Jesus said from the cross: “”Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” God forgave them [and me, for I was there driving nails into His flesh as well] before we ever believed. Now does that mean that we all are saved? Certainly not, but God has done His part. It is up to us now.

    Perhaps I can help shed at least some dim light on what the collaborators of the Shack were thinking at the back end of Chapter 12. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him. What does it mean when Jesus says “except through me”?

    C.S. Lewis, arguably the one of the greatest apologists of the 20th century, and perhaps the one to whom I most credit my interest in spiritual matters, feels that “no man can be saved except through Christ” but is not sure that “through Christ” means through a saving understanding of Christianity. See Mere Christianity, the last couple pages of “Book Two, Chapter 5”. A supportive passage from the Bible exists in Romans 2:12-16.

    Rom 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
    Rom 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
    Rom 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,
    Rom 2:15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
    Rom 2:16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    Clearly, we will be judged according to our understanding. See James 3:1.

    Jas 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

    C. S. Lewis, again in Mere Christianity, suggests that God does not judge us on our raw material, but on how we have used it. See the 5th-7th paragraphs of Book Three, Chapter 4.

    I believe that it is possible, and likely, that Jesus might allow particularly devout members of other faiths to partake of everlasting life in Heaven. By judging them according to their understanding, He may act as their advocate before the Father and so truly they might be saved through Jesus. Certainly, I hear even very conservative Christians assure others that their children below the age of accountability, even the unborn ones or aborted ones will be automatically ushered into heaven. If that assumption is true, I see no way that God could withhold salvation from that same group of fetuses, infants, and children from every tribe of man [Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, or Satan worshippers though their parents might be]. How about those adults who are so developmentally disabled that they can not make any real decision about their spiritual health?

    I think that C.S. Lewis was of this same mind set. In The Last Battle, the last of Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, a young Calormene soldier named Emeth, who was a particularly devout follower of a demon-god named Tash, is allowed to enter Aslan’s Country. Though he is confused as to his circumstances, he acknowledges Aslan and is welcomed as Aslan’s own, and is invited to “go further up and further in” into Aslan’s Country [the equivalent to Heaven]. See Chapters X and XV of The Last Battle.

    Mr. Webb, I have been traveling the road from a conservative youthful need for justice and maybe also judgmentalism to a more merciful, graceful outlook in my maturity. I sense that I am the better for it. Please remember that there are many minor doctrinal variations that help make our lives on earth interesting but do not need to impinge on the certainty of our salvation. These variations may be birthed in legitimate differences in how we interpret God’s Holy Scriptures, or perhaps in less legitimate differences more based on the difference in perspective we have from our different positions of spiritual maturity. Regardless, recall that God in His word cautions us not to place stumbling blocks in the paths of those less spiritually mature.

    Focus your teaching on the essentials, allow freedom in the non-essentials, but in all things conduct yourself lovingly*.

    Passages from Romans 2:1-16 and Romans 14 and 15:1-17 are important to remember for those of us who would instruct others in the faith. An excellent commentary on those passages can be found in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. It can be accessed for free at [an outstanding resource for intensive study of the Bible].

    In closing, re-read the Shack as a piece of fiction designed to reintroduce our Trinitarian God to the disillusioned as the loving God that the Good Book time after time after time describes Him to be. You will like it better if you do :).

    Warmest regards in Jesus,

    Bruce Records [YOGHM]

    * Augustine

    • Cullen Webb

      Here are some of the things I have to say in regards to that interview:
      “Does the book promote universalism?
      Some people can find a universalist under every bush. This book flatly states that all roads do not lead to Jesus, while it affirms that Jesus can find his followers wherever they may have wandered into sin or false beliefs. Just because he can find followers in the most unlikely places, does not validate those places. I don’t know how we could have been clearer, but people will quote portions out of that context and draw a false conclusion.”

      This is a cowardly retreat. The Author has openly stated his universalist beliefs and the blunt statements made in the book are too obvious to argue away like that.

      “Others have claimed that the God of The Shack is simply too nice, or having him in humorous human situations trivializes him. Really? Who wants to be on that side of the argument? For those who think this God is too easy, please tell me in what way does he let Mack off on anything? He holds his feet to the fire about every lie in his mind and every broken place in his heart. I guess what people these critics cannot see is confrontation and healing inside a relationship of love and compassion. This is not the angry and tyrannical God that religion has been using for 2000 years to beat people into conformity and we are not surprised that this threatens the self-proclaimed doctrine police.”

      In the book Jesus enjoys it when Mack swears. God let Mack off on that.

      I have never heard a more convincing argument for Universalism. But then again, that is not Universalism that you just taught. However, I cannot say that I agree.

      Reading the Last Battle was a thrill for me. And I was always troubled by why Emeth was allowed into “Heaven.” All of the writings were so in depth and scripturally sound up to that point. The donkey in the lions pelt, the “Islamic” religion, the monkey claiming to have a superior intelligence, all of it was exciting to read.

      I will be writing about Universalism. That will be a huge undertaking, and will take some time. I already have on my plate Feminism Part 2, and various films that are being released about pagan gods and demonic invasion.

      I assure you that your argument will be met. But I cannot do it now, as I could not give an honest rebuttal without knowing for myself.

      • Bruce Records

        Mr. Webb,

        You are indeed correct. I was not presenting an augument for universalism, just my guess as to what the collaborators of the Shack were trying to express.

        I am sure that you would agree that C.S.Lewis was not a universalist, and nor am I.

        Happy New Year! And warmest regards,

  • Lauren Spiker

    Wow, I knew that this was an odd, blaspheming book, but wow. That is sad. Have you ever read the book The Five People you meet in Heaven?

  • Howard

    Well, it seems some folks are locked in tight! Though I could not wade through what I considered cliche' after cliche', it seems to me that the friends who recommended the book were changed for the better by reading it. A personal relationship with the Creator or Bright and Shining Star took place as they felt less alone in their confusion. It amazes me the dogmatic approach of all religious fundamentalists, for they continue their worship of mythological histories and fail to see the only hope is for humans to grow beyond “santa claus” and understand that the spiritual truths passed down through the ages have been sorely abused. Good luck, people, as you worry about such things as whether Christ was always with the Father, or whether He was created at some point by the Father. Who really cares? Love one another, in the end, that's all we really have. I am glad for this book, no matter how trite the writing style might seem. It is a book about respect, about searching, and forgiveness, and yes, about love.

  • His4mine

    Those who say that God has no gender are on a huge slippery slope! Wake up and re-read your bibles, God is ALL MALE, and incidentally so are ALL HIS ANGELS. AND THIS IS PRECISELY WHY MEN CAN BE ELDERS OF ONE WIFE, AND NOT WOMEN. Women were made from the male.

    Great review, AND lets go the whole hog when it comes to TRUTH. God is MALE.

    • Cullen Webb

      Thanks for the huge compliment!

      However, I do disagree on a few points.

      I don't believe God has a gender, because He is a spirit. But I use the word “he” when I make reference to Him, because His character more-often-than-not is the authoritative male.

      Also, we don't know that all the angels are male. The male angels are simply the ones who were sent to Earth on missions, which is exactly what God would do if male and female angels followed the roles set down by God.


  • Cullen Webb

    Thanks for the huge compliment!

    However, I do disagree on a few points.

    I don't believe God has a gender, because He is a spirit. But I use the word “he” when I make reference to Him, because His character more-often-than-not is the authoritative male.

    Also, we don't know that all the angels are male. The male angels are simply the ones who were sent to Earth on missions, which is exactly what God would do if male and female angels followed the roles set down by God.


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