This summer while in Tanzania I was listening to a sermon by Mark Driscoll - I think on the subject of the trinity. He made a quick comment about a book called The Shack and quickly shared his concerns that this was hitting the Christian community, people were gobbling it up and there were some heretical statements in the book. He encouraged his church NOT to read it.
Now of course my curiosity was piqued. One of the girls with us in Africa happened to have it and lent it to me after she was done. I read it. I was swept away by the emotions (powerful and raw) and the story (heartbreaking and tragic) of the book. But I was torn. At the very same time there were some things that felt wrong and bothered me in my heart. Vague statements that alluded to Unitarianism and weird personifications. I've never felt that reading a book before. Being so torn about what I actually feel about it after I've put it down.
When I got home I started hearing more and more about it. Rave reviews. Scathing reviews. I've seen so many people I know read it, love it, and recommend it.
In the end, I don't know that I'd recommend it to very many people. There are too many tricky things in there and as my cousin (in-law?) said on his blog:
"Certainly there is some good teaching in The Shack, but there is so much bad teaching that it becomes a chore to sort out the good from the bad, and you need to ask yourself why it is a good idea to read a book where you will have to spend so much time sifting the wheat from the chaff (and there’s quite a bit of chaff to sift!)."
I also listened to a sermon that Tim (Jamie's cousin) recommends at the end of his blog post on The Shack which you can listen to here. Think very carefully about what you read, even if it is, "just a novel".
*On a side note, I feel like I could go on and on about how concerned I am about so many people loving and recommending this book, but I think there is already far too much hype about this book and I need to let it be and move on. Just check out Tim's blog post (it's lengthy but so good) for more resources and Biblical thoughts on this book.