WHY WE MUST GIVE THE HELLISH SHACK MOVIE THEOLOGY A WHACK
Dr. Duke Jeyaraj uses the acronym w-h-a-ck to give a biblical rebuttal of the Trinitarian Gospel which he labels, “Twisted Trinitarian Gospel” and shows how its connected to the equally-dangerous hyper-grace false teaching.
Here is a summary of the movie/book The Shack from ChristianityToday.com, “To summarize, the shape of the novel is this: Mackenzie (Mack) Phillips' youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted and brutally murdered during a family vacation. Following Missy's death, Mack, who has always had a somewhat tenuous relationship with God, falls into what he calls "the Deep Sadness." One wintry day, Mack receives a letter from God (in his mailbox) asking him to meet God in the shack where Missy's bloody dress—the only evidence of her murder—was recovered. The rest of the book is a conversation between Mack and the Trinity.”
I want to use the acronym w-h-a-c-k to outline five main Biblical reasons to give the movie/book, The Shack, and the connected “Twisted” Trinitarian Gospel presented by William Paul Young, the author of The Shack, a whack:
W: The Shack Compromises the WAY:
In The Shack, Jesus declares, “I’m not a Christian,” and then explains, “Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved.” This statement is in direct contradiction with the Biblical Jesus who claimed to be THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life (John 14:6). This quip of Jesus in The Shack, is directly opposed to the Bible Truth found in Acts 4:12 – Salvation is found in no one else except in the name of Jesus. In The Shack, Jesus tells Mack that he is “the best way any human can relate to Papa (God the Father) or Sarayu (God the Holy Spirit).” Please notice this: Jesus is not the “only” way in The Shack, but just the “best” way! What a terrible heresy!!! This declaration of Jesus in The Shack stands against Jesus’ repeated invitation to all and sundry to “come” to him: “Come to me, all you….” (Matt. 11:28); “Anyone can come after me, but that ‘anyone’ should be willing to bear the Cross….” (Matt. 16:24, my translation); “Let the little children come to me….” (Matt. 19:14); It is one thing to say that Jesus “seeks” us, but totally another thing to say that Jesus wants to “join us” as the The Shack bizarrely proclaims. Jesus came to “seek” Zacchaeus-like sinners, the Gospel proclaims (Luke 19:5). But only after he expressed an attitude of repentance (Read Luke 19:8), did Jesus announce “salvation” in his house (Luke 19:9). Jesus calls us to take a U-turn from sin and turn toward him. Biblically this process is called “repent.” In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus said this twice, “Unless you repent you too will perish!” “Perish”/ “die” is the biblical word that ultimately means eternal hell punishment (2 Thess 2:9,10; Rev. 21:7-8).
William Paul Young in his 2017 book, Lies We Believe About God, quotes a verse that perhaps makes him believe that Jesus was the “best” way and not the only way. Here is that verse: “…the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe” (I Tim. 4:10, NIV). This verse does not teach that God ultimately saves from hell all people and that Jesus is the best way to be saved. Absolutely not! This verse is talking about “common grace” that God extends to all people, even if they are not believers. Matthew 5:45 talks about this – God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “In him (God), we live and move and have our being” – Paul mentions this truth to the unbelievers he was preaching to in Acts 17:28, quoting from a secular poet whose works they were familiar with. God gives certain graces to all folks, allover – that was Paul’s point. In that sense, God is the “Savior of all men.” I agree with John Samson who writes this about this verse: “This grace should actually amaze us because God is under no obligation whatsoever to give it (his common grace) to anyone. It can never be demanded. God sustains the lives of His sworn enemies, often for many decades! However, as wonderful as it is, it is only a temporal grace because all unregenerate people eventually die and will face the judgment (Heb. 9:27).” So the essence of I Timothy 4:10 is this: God gives common grace to both believers and unbelievers. But the reception of common grace does not mean automatic hell punishment. In the same sermon where he talked about common grace for all in Acts 17 (in verse 28), Apostle Paul talks about judgment for those who refuse to repent and turn to Christ (in verse 30-31). In the same book which William Paul Young quotes from to ‘prove’ that Christ is the ‘best’ way, the Bible truth that Christ is the ‘only’ way comes out: there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5). There is also the teaching that warns about a coming judgment: “the sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them” (I Tim. 5:24). In the same book is the teaching that only the repentant, truly humble rich people will make it to heaven (I Tim. 6:17-20). When this is the case, there is no basis to conclude that all folks will be ultimately be saved and that Jesus, at best, is only the best way, and not the only way, as William Paul Young wrongly teaches.
In a very subtle way, The Shack demeans Jesus and makes the One who is THE truth, a liar! Here is how: Papa (God the Father) asserts “regardless of what He (Jesus) felt at that moment, I never left him” when Jesus said, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?” hanging on the Cross. So, according to The Shack, Jesus was a liar or emotionally unstable. A foundation for starting a cult is well and truly laid, when Jesus’ very character is attacked and William Young does that in The Shack!
James De Young, a former friend of William Young, the author of The Shack challenged the theology of shack with this title: Burning Down the Shack: How the ‘Christian’ Bestseller is Deceiving Millions. De Young brilliantly explains how subtly the theology of The Shack attacks the uniqueness of Jesus by magnifying one select character of the God the Father, this way: “There is a de-emphasis on the person of Jesus Christ (by William Young, the author of The Shack) because he is very exclusive – he’s the only way to God. They don’t like those statements, so there’s an overemphasis on the fatherhood of God and a lack of teaching about Jesus Christ, and yet when you look at the New Testament and the prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ is preeminent and he’s the one to whom we go for everything: to understand truth, how to find comfort and encouragement in our daily lives, and so forth.” What James De Young wrote about The Shack theology is also true about the “leading-people-to-hell” hyper-grace cult false teaching as well.
W-H….:The Shack Compromises HOLINESS:
Papa (Who is God the Father in The Shack) tells Mack (the main character of The Shack), “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.” The message of The Shack is obvious: “Don’t worry about sin. There is no punishment for it!” The Shack, thus, serves as an inspiration for unholy living. The Bible, however, calls each one of us for holy living, at times, pointing to the “coming wrath” of God. Colossians 3:5-9 was written for believers. There apostle Paul warns believers about “wrath of God that is coming” if they do not turn away from sins they were so used to doing in their former life. Read that passage yourself and you will get it: ‘Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.’
There is another clear way The Shack implies unholy living is okay. Jesus, in the movie The Shack says, “my life was not meant to be an example to copy; being my follower is not trying to be like Jesus; it means for your Independence to be killed.” The basic message of this movie/book is this: “As a believer you need not copy the holy Jesus!” This is absolute rubbish! The ultimate purpose that God has for any believer is best expressed by this familiar verse: “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Rom. 8:29, NLT). If believers were not supposed to copy Jesus, Apostle Paul would have known. Hear him please on this subject, directly. He says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” You have to make up your mind, dear reader: to follow the heretic called William Paul Young of The Shack fame or Apostle Paul of the Bible who taught that we must follow his example as he followed Christ’s! Not just Apostle Paul. Hear the words of Apostle Peter as well on this subject: ‘Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps’ (I Pet. 2:21, ESV). Apostle John, wrote in similar vein, this: ‘whoever says he abides in him (Christ) ought to walk in the same way in which he walked’ (I John 2:6, ESV). Don’t miss the word ‘ought’ in Apostle John’s statement, I just quoted. Walking as Jesus walked is not an option for a believer – it is an obligation!
W-H…..:The Shack Compromises yet another “H” –
the doctrine of Hell.
The Shack refers to the “fallacy of belief in God sentencing anyone to hell.” The author’s viewpoint is this: God does not punish anyone. But this is directly contrary to Scripture. God told Moses, “in the day when I punish, I will punish them (the people of Israel) for their sin” (Ex. 32:34 NASB). Yahweh does not beat about the bush in Leviticus 26:18: “If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” Is there no more punishment for sin post the Cross? Absolutely not! The author of Hebrews writes, “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:29). Disobedience to the Gospel message (which is “repent from sin and trust in Jesus, the only Sin-Savior”) will result in “everlasting punishment” – these are Apostle Paul’s Spirit-inspired words post the Cross (2 Thess. 1:8-9). Post the Cross, our God continues to be a “consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29) as he continues to be a “compassionate father”!
W-H-A….:The Shack Compromises the A-TONEMENT:
In The Shack, Mack discovers, "scars in [Papa/God the Father's] wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his." Papa (God the Father) says in The Shack, "When we three spoke our self into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed. Even though we have always been present in this created universe, we now became flesh and blood." No where does the Bible speak of scars in hands of the Father God. God is spirit (John 4:24). A spirit does not have a body or body parts like the mouth with which it can eat as Jesus himself confirmed (Luke 24:39). Only Jesus (the Word) became “flesh” (John 1:1; John 1:14). Because Jesus had a body, he could shed His blood for us on the Cross. Both God the Father and the Holy Spirit did not chose to incarnate (that is take up a body) and therefore cannot have scars. At least eight times, the Bible talks about “the blood of Jesus/Christ” (Rom. 3:25; I Cor. 10:16; Eph. 2:13; Heb. 9:11; Heb. 9:14; I Pet. 1:2; I Pet. 1:19; Rev. 1:5). But the Bible never speaks about “blood” of God the Father or the Holy Spirit!
W-H-A-C….:The Shack Compromises biblical truth on C-REATION-CREATOR Divide:
In The Shack, Jesus says thus to Mack: “Papa (God, the Father in The Shack) is as much submitted to me as I am to him, or Sarayu (Holy Spirit in The Shack) to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way.” Read the again! The Shack teaches that the Trinity is submitted to us humans, created beings!!! But if you read the Bible, the Creator-Creation divide is crystal clear! For starters, the Bible makes it clear that while God is holy, each human is a sinner!!! Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true and every man a liar!”
The Bible teaches that a day is coming, when unbelievers will be separated from the God-head and cast into hell. Read Matt. 13:30 – “Allow both (wheat and tares) to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” Notice here that all tares do not become wheat at the end of time – Jesus himself said. If all people in the World would be saved and merged into a fellowship with the Trinity, this would have happened. But it does not happen. Jesus himself pointed this out, as we just saw! So, the truth is, some will be saved, and others will be lost. But William P. Young, as it is made clear by his 2017 book, Lies We Believe About God, believes that all people in the World will be saved!!! In fact in The Shack, Papa (God the Father) says, “The Whole World” (not just “those who believe”) will be ultimately saved.
Just like all cults start off with a wrong idea about the Doctrine of God (think of Jehovah Witnesses who say that Jesus is not God), William Paul Young, through his writings, has fuelled the rise yet another cult! Beware!!
W-H-A-C-K: The Shack compromises on THE K-ONFESSION TEACHING IN THE BIBLE.
“Forgiveness does not establish relationship. In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.”This is one of the most anti-Scriptural statements you will read/hear in The Shack, mouthed by the so-called God, the Father. In the movie, The Shack, the Lady-killer (a serial killer who killed women) who apparently raped and killed the little daughter of Mack, is forgiven by the Trinity, even if he did not ask for forgiveness. Mack’s father, a stubborn, unrepentant alcoholic who never asked for his sins to be forgiven, is shown in The Shack, as being in heaven. Mack is already forgiven, even before he asks for it in The Shack. William Paul Young, in his 2017 book, Lies We Believe About God, writes, “So what is the Good News? What is the Gospel? The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibility of salvation and you have been invited to receive Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into His life, into His relationship with God the Father, and into His anointing in the Holy Spirit (My note: Notice here, the reference to the Trinity, hence the name Trinitarian Gospel, but I would call it Twisted Trinitarian Gospel). The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less or more true….Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!”
This is where The Shack theology of William Paul Young gives a handshake, a hug, to the hyper-grace theology put out by the likes of heretic Pastor Joseph Prince of Singapore! The only difference is this: The hyper-grace blokes teach believers do not need to confess their sins to be forgiven; The Shack teaching (called Trinitarian Gospel now) is that both believers and un-believers need not confess their sins to be forgiven!!! But this goes against the teaching of the Bible that God commands all people everywhere to “repent” (Acts 17:30-31). A realization of sin precedes repentance from sin. And repentance from sin will result in confession of sin. This is the teaching of I John 1:8-10. God’s kindness should lead to repentance, Paul wrote (Rom. 2:4). And when we don’t repent, the wrath of God is stored up against us, Paul warned (Rom. 2:5). Paul also wrote, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity..”(2 Tim. 2:19). No one can truthfully say, “I believe in Jesus,” and not turn decisively from sin – that is Paul’s point here. Will a believer be perfect? No. John writes, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God” (I John 3:9). When a believer does sin, he needs to repent from that sin, confess it and get back to Christ as this book teaches (I John 1:8-10).
William Paul Young quotes John 12:32 to teach that all will be eventually saved and that none will go to hell in his 2017 book, Lies We Believe About God. Let us revisit John 12:32 again. Jesus says here, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Young points that “draw” in the original Greek means “to drag.” So he basically says, “even if you don’t chose to believe on Jesus, you will be saved.” This is not true. If Jesus’ meant to say what Young implies, why would he say just fourteen verses later, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who BELIEVES IN ME should stay in darkness” (John 12:46). The corollary is true: if there are folks who refuse to believe in Jesus, they would go to the place of “outer darkness” – hell (Matt. 22:13). John 12:32 never meant to teach that all would be saved. Similarly when the Scripture says, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” in Philippians 2:10, it does not mean all people will be saved automatically in the end. Read four verses below – in Philippians 2:15, Apostle Paul talks about being “blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation (meaning, hell-heading generation).”
In the same way, we could take each Scripture this cultic group spear-headed by the likes of William Paul Young quote and do a rebuttal. But there is no space here for the same in this article.
The acronym W-H-A-C-K presented above will help us to whack the theology that William Paul Young and The Shack fans try to embrace and popularize. The Trinitarian Gospel Young popularizes, should be called, “Twisted Trinitarian Gospel” (TTG), for it twists certain elements of the Trinity to teach that all are saved even though they don’t know it now.
Remember, that Apostle Peter warned us about false teachers who will “twist” Scriptures to the destruction of themselves and their followers (2 Peter 3:16).
(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this piece, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a ministry to presentday people that is reader-viewer supported. Find out more at www.dukev.org ).
Post-Script: My article above, just lists a few of false, leading-people-to-hell teachings put out by The Shack and William Paul Young. Here is a more exhaustive list that “MichaelBattle65” has created in a WordPress site:
1. God is not a Father of authority, but a Papa with no rules.
2. Every person is a child of God.
3. Every person’s sins are already forgiven.
4. Everyone will be saved.
5. Repentance is not necessary for relationship with God.
6. Personal faith in Jesus for salvation from sin is irrelevant.
7. God does not punish sin.
8. God’s wrath is an expression of his love.
9. No divine order within the God head, only a circle of love.
10. God ordained authority among men treated with contempt.
11. A God of authority and holiness cannot be a God of love.
12. No need to fear God.
13. God is a fan of all people.
14. God is reconciled to all people.
15. No one will be eternally punished.
16. Jesus doesn’t want people to become Christians.
17. Jesus is the best way to God, and not the only way.
18. Evil and darkness do not really exist.
19. Jesus no longer draws on his divine attributes. He continues to live as a limited human.
20. Each member of the Trinity became human.
21. The Trinity was crucified.
22. The crucifixion put God at rights with man, rather than man being made right through his faith in the finished work of Christ.
23. God submits to human beings.
24. The bible is just a religious book which reduces God to paper.
25. Adam fell because he sought his independence from God. Instead of disobeying a specific command.