Burning Down "The Shack:" A study in Universalism

Have you read The Shack, a Christian novel by Canadian author William P. Young? Many Christians have read this book, and it spent 50 weeks at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list. There are 15 million copies in print. The Shack revolves around Mack (Mackenzie) Philips. Four years before this story begins, Mack’s young daughter, Missy, was abducted during a family vacation. Though her body was never found, the police did find evidence in an abandoned shack to prove that she had been brutally murdered by a notorious serial killer who preyed on young girls. As the story begins, Mack, who has been living in the shadow of his Great Sadness, receives a strange note that is apparently from God. God invites Mack to return to this shack for a get together. Though uncertain, Mack visits the scene of the crime and there has a weekend-long encounter with God, or, more properly, with the godhead.

Millions have shared this book, and have endorsed it. Eugene Peterson, author of the Message Bible, says, “When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of “The Shack.” This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” did for his. It’s that good!”

But almost immediately, as other Christians have read this story, some problems with biblical theology immediately sends up red flags. Today we're going to share what those red flags are, and why these concerns prompted today's guest, James De Young, to write a response--a book titled, Burning Down The Shack: How the "Christian" Bestseller is Deceiving Millions. De Young will show us how this book, the author, and many others are promoting Christian Universalism as mainstream thought.