Monday, June 1, 2009

The Shortest Review of The Shack Ever

I wanted to make good on my promise to review The Shack, but there have been so many such reviews that I figured it might just be white noise. With all that in mind, the following is my review:
    If I was an egalitarian, arminian, open theist who was rather confused about the trinity and about justification, and who had no concern about writing quality in literature, then I would have absolutely loved The Shack.

    But I am none of those things. Seriously, the fact that there is actually any discussion by evangelicals about the merits of this book is indicative of how poorly our minds are working.
And that concludes the shortest review of The Shack ever written.


Trevor said...

Ha. ha. ha. (How come Eugene endorsed it? And was that the best advertising it could have had?)

Anonymous said...

Spot on!

Andrew Faris said...


EHP's endorsement is puzzling. How could a guy who talks about loving Brothers K in The Contemplative Pastor possibly like The Shack so much, just on a literary level?

But then, that's Peterson: he writes some of the best stuff out there for pastors, and then some really poor stuff. I don't get it.

For that matter, I used to rip on The Message wholesale a lot more, but then it occurred to me that any Bible-believer who has spent that much time simply thinking through God's Word would probably come out of it with some good things to say (even if his translation is terrible).


Trevor said...

I think Peterson made a poor decision. And ... maybe he would now agree. Maybe not.

One consolation is, perhaps, that it has started people talking about important things (ha. here we are now!)

Another is that the humble well taught trinitarian theologians, can assist the simpler folk, the naive, the heretics, the anti-theology dudes, and those who will read anything ... to come to a richer understanding. Maybe.

And maybe Baxter Kruger, will also look a little more closely at his theology, there too. Maybe.

David W. Congdon said...

Excellent review. I couldn't agree more.

Journeyman said...

Thank you.

Norman Jeune III said...

I'm not sure which is more entertaining; the blog post itself, or the comments in resounding favor of it!

Maybe the piblisher would consider printing this on the back cover....

Unknown said...

To you Andrew and all the other "Christians" who take this book seriously, it's just a story. It reminds me how so many Christians took the Left Behind series to heart and think that it is how the world is going to end. IT'S JUST A STORY!
I thought the shack was a nice story, I wasn't IN LOVE with it, but it was nice. So I agree that I'm not on board with everyone who think it's one of the greatest stories ever told.
It's like renting a movie and thinking it was good but you are glad you got it from Red box for $1.00 verses paying $11.00 to see it.
So my comment is.... don't put too much effort in criticizing this book, IT'S JUST A STORY! Not of your hard core theological books you probably normally read!

Andrew Faris said...


Then why do you think people are latching on to it so much and talking about it changing their lives and such?

The fact that a book is "just a story" doesn't somehow make it non-theological. And in fact, there is every indication that this book is intentionally theological. Story, for that matter, really only develops through the first third of the book, which feels like nothing more than a way to introduce theological discussion. The bulk of it is in fact theological discussion.

Left Behind is actually a good example: those guys are purporting an eschatological system that they believe, but they're doing it through the lens of a story. But make no mistake: as far as general eschatology goes, they believe it!


Steve Hayes said...

The main reason I might read it is because a lot of people were talking about it.

The last time I read a book for that reason it turned out to be excruciatingly bad -- badly plotted, badly written, just generally bad.

That was The da Vinci code. I don't think I'll fall for that again. If someone gives me The shack I might read it, but I don't want to pay good money for it.

betty said...

hi; just found your blog and I couldn't agree with you more about this review of the Shack. I didn't even finish it; I found it hard getting past how the author depicted God when Mac met him at the Shack. That's not how I depict the God I know from the Bible so even though I know it was fiction and I'm sure there are some good points about it, I just couldn't see reading any further into it. I also didn't think much of the book "90 minutes in heaven" although I know that was a nonfiction book as compared to this fictional story.