The Shack — An apology

 

The following is from a letter that I posted on my personal Facebook page, April 5, 2017. My audience was intended to be just those on my Facebook friends list and whoever else might come across it. Little did I know that it would go viral. It wound up on several online Christian ministry sites. I have finally gotten around to posting here on my design site.

 

Some of you know that I was involved with designing “The Shack” book. At that time, over 10 years ago, I was captivated by the story and felt honored to be part of the graphic creation of the book. I was so drawn into it, wanting to know the God it portrayed. There’s no doubt that the story has deeply spoken to many.

 

I have deep regrets now of not just being involved with it but also in promoting it. The movie release of The Shack has brought all this back to my mind and I felt the need to apologize to all who I may have led astray by my promoting the book. I look back and see how little discernment I had. And I regret and apologize also for waiting this long to publicly share this.

 

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? There are many, but the greatest being that it advocates what is called Universal Reconciliation or Universal Salvation. Meaning, since Jesus died for all then all are saved whether they believe it and receive Him personally or not. This is a grave distortion of John 3:16. One just needs to read the rest of that passage to understand that there is a condition for salvation in that one must believe in and accept Christ as Savior personally:

 

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” —John 3:18

 

One is indeed saved by God’s grace, but we have this thing called “free will” to receive or reject His grace, His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

 

Many will still say that the book was intended as just a work of fiction, but the author himself, William Paul Young, is quoted as saying, “The Shack is theology. But it is a theology wrapped in a story.”

 

Embracing The Shack, as I did, led me to other books, other authors who had started out on the straight and narrow, having solid Biblical beliefs, but strayed off into apostasy land. Rob Bell, Jim Palmer, Brian McLaren, to name a few of those by whom I was inspired. That “inspiration” led me to the edge of this Universalist belief. I thank the Lord that He pulled me back from that edge.

 

The Shack’s story wonderfully painted this picture to me of an incredibly knowable and loving God, one full of forgiveness, but without being judgmental. The fact is that there are two inseparable sides to God. He is both love and judge.

 

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on Him.” —John 3:36

 

Again, this thing called “free will” has given us the ability to willfully accept God’s gracious gift of His Son, Jesus, who died on a cross to save us from our sins, or willfully reject His gracious gift. Jesus did die for the sins of the whole world, but tragically most of the world has and will refuse Him.

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