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THE SHACK: Unauthorized Theological Critique [Paperback]

Tim Challies

Price: 6.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

14 July 2008
In this booklet I hope to guide you through The Shack. We will look at the book with a charitable but critical eye, attempting to understand what it teaches and how it can be that opinions about the book vary so widely. We do this not simply to be critical, but as an exercise in discernment and critical thinking. We will simply look at what the author teaches and compare that to the Bible.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.1 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must but don't pay for it 5 Jan 2009
By James R. Baty - Published on Amazon.com
The Shack is such an amazing story but you cannot complete your experience without reading the critiques. This is a very good angle to challenge your interpretations and your response to the story. However, I found the exact critique online in pdf with a little searching that would have saved me the money.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done 20 Feb 2010
By Stephen - Published on Amazon.com
Challies has received a great deal of criticism (online) for this well written critique of "The Shack"... which only serves to confirm the need for such a document.

Anybody who has read or intends to read "The Shack" must read this powerful review. Well done.
76 of 100 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read with open eyes and mind 11 Dec 2008
By Independence Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Most of the reviews of this booklet have been negative, and for a variety of reasons. I agree that ten bucks is a lot to spend for a small book - it is offered for free on Challies' website, but there are times that you simply need to have something to hand to someone if you expect them to read it. Fewer published copies mean higher prices - this is why you paid more for a college textbook than for the last Harry Potter book - with very little profit coming to the author himself.

Perhaps it should come as a surprise to me that so many fans of "The Shack", while criticizing reviewers who urge caution as closed-minded and judgmental, are themselves unwilling to prayerfully consider the objections raised. Five-star reviewers tell critics to just lighten up - it's just a work of fiction! But over half of "The Shack" is presented as monologues or conversations meant to teach or present information, not as a story. If William Young, or any author, purports to teach his audience about God from a Christian point of view, then he is accountable to the Word of God - and if he is in error, allowing him to go unchallenged does no one a favor.

I am sincerely sorry for the tragic experiences of Mr. Young's life, as well as those of other hurting readers who have identified with him. But the healing offered by "The Shack" is a Band-Aid, not a cure, because it encourages a relationship with an imaginary being: not a God who is holy, righteous, and sovereign, but one who will make you cookies and tuck you in at night.

Don't just follow the crowd into "The Shack" - there are good reasons for concern. Reading the book with a critical eye is both responsible and biblical. Mr. Challies' booklet (or website) is a good start - his review is thorough and specific, fair, and tells the truth in a loving manner.
102 of 140 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Charitable, but critical viewpoint 19 Sep 2008
By D. P. Randolph - Published on Amazon.com
Sorry, Tim. Having read your reviews and critiques on many works, I have to say that I usually agree with you. You have debunked some real quirky theology from some very influential people. This one we disagree on, not that The Shack is rock solid theology, but that it wasn't meant to be what you, and I, expected it to be. Mr. Young is not rewriting the Gospel, nor does he intend to. He has taken some concepts that many who don't have a deep theological knowledge simply have a hard time with and set them in a new perspective. Personally, I am glad that he has made it easier for some to recognize how much of a priority our relationship should be. He doesn't say, "Go and sin some more.", but rather, "Are you looking at others and Me the way you should?". Anyway, I still respect your knowledge of theology and your critical analysis, but this one really could have been dealt with on your web site adequately.
225 of 312 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money!!!!! 28 Aug 2008
By Bob Kerstetter - Published on Amazon.com
The Shack is well written and timely to the needs of a church strangled by theological bickering and relational tepidness--and we all know how much Jesus loves lukewarm attitudes in matters of faith and life. Evangelicalism in particular has become the modern equivalent of the Pharisee party with its right theology--political right wing theology, perhaps--and its wrong relationships. Consider the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals: he wasted thousands of words condemning homosexuality and then turns up gay himself. The real problem is this: correct theology--practicing homosexuality is sin, for example--is weakened by wrong relationships--condemning homosexuals, instead of directing them to our redeemer. In his Amazon review of The Shack, Tim Challies says he reviewed to satisfy requests he received. To make a long review short, he says The Shack suffers from a subversive attempt to undermine orthodox Christian faith. This is simply not true. On the essentials of the faith--Christ as the single way to God and as the truth that sets us free--The Shack is totally orthodox. Jesus is presented as who he was and is and is to be--the Word who became flesh, who gave up his godly glory, who became a servant of lost humanity, who lived his life in total dependence on the power of his Abba, who forgave his murderers, who cried out in agony from the cross, who is alive in us today through the power of the Spirit and who is the coming King. This is all in The Shack. Perhaps, like many other theologians, Mr. Challies suffers from educational blindness. Our salvation is totally about reconciliation relationship to God because of the blood of Christ. To point this out, in the separation, Christ astonishes the goats who claim salvation because of their great works. His response, "I never knew you." Wake up people, salvation is about knowing God through the Spirit and in the heart. The works bubble up and overflow from that relationship. The Shack is fiction and contains some speculations on debatable issues. Many of the ones on the nature of the Trinity, for example, ring true to biblical revelation. But undermining the faith? No. And undermining it subversively? For goodness sakes, Mr. Challies, stop bearing false witness against Mr. Young.
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