The Shack by William Young – Book Report/Review Example
The paper "The Shack by William Young" is an excellent example of a book report on religion and theology. The plot of “The Shack” begins with a flashback told from Mackenzie “Mack” Phillips’ point of view. Mack is a man living an apparently ideal life – one full of happiness and contentment. However, things suddenly take a turn for the worst during a camping trip after he lets two of his older children to take a canoe to the lake. Their canoe, unfortunately, tips over, getting one of them stuck underneath the waters.
Mack rushes off to rescue his son but on returning to the shore, he finds Missy, his youngest daughter, missing. The massive search that follows does not bear fruits as the girl is not found. However, the gives clues that point towards a serial offender going by the name Little Lady Killer. A few days later after his realization that Missy may never be found, Mark sinks into great sadness where his relations with the other kids, his marriage and his overall life suffers.
Four years later, Mark receives a handwritten note in his mailbox, apparently from God, asking him to go back to a shack in the woods where some of Missy’s possessions had been found. Even though Mark experiences difficulty believing that God actually wrote him the note, he still cannot forget the whole incidence. Mark heads to the shack where he meets and spends a couple of days with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, who provide answers to his questions and reveal to him all about true faith.
Youngs’ View of the Bible
In tackling issues about God and evil, Young states theological views that seem confusing about the nature of God. He criticizes the sole use of the Bible as a source of teachings liking it to a reduction of God’s voice to paper (Young, 65). He seldom refers to the Bible choosing to focus on experience as equal or a better source of teachings than the Bible. In the few instances that he mentions the Bible, Young neither portrays it to be as authoritative as it often the case nor does he accept it as the complete Word of God. He seems to scoff at the concept that God speaks authoritatively through the Bible.
The book suggests that the Trinity exists wholly and devoid of any hierarchies stating that any hierarchies result from sin (Young, 124). The author refers to the Trinity as a relationship circle and not a command chain, which is rather controversial. In the conversation about the Trinity, Young refers to it as the issue of submission, suggesting that the Trinity has always and will always submit to each other and goes a step further by suggesting that the Trinity even submits to humans. Young in addition suggests that understanding freedom only happens after submission.
The story mainly centers on the subject of forgiveness; Mark has to understand why God did not save Missy and forgives Him for not doing so, and he also has to forgive Missy’s murderer. This Mark finds difficult but at the book’s climax, Marc shouts that he has forgiven the murderer even though he (the murderer) is not present at that point and has not sought any forgiveness from him. The issue of forgiving God is also controversial since it implies that God goes wrong at times.
The Shack may be a story based on fiction but it contains a lot of theological errors which can mislead an average reader in issues regarding salvation and God’s nature. For instance, the author represents God as an African–American woman yet the Bible clearly teaches that God does not take a physical form. Furthermore, the story illustrates God’s wrists as having scars (Young, 95) yet the Scripture says that it was Jesus who was nailed on the Cross. Jesus and the Holy Ghost are also misrepresented in the book.
The story teaches pluralism by suggesting that there exist other ways to achieve salvation besides through Jesus Christ (Young, 182). The author implies that it does not matter whatever religion one follows, salvation can be achieved without necessarily embracing Jesus Christ and Christianity, contrary to what the Bible teaches. This causes confusion since, in the book, the author writes about having to go through a transformation in order to become children of God while at the same time, writing that God does not desire to change anyone.
The book addresses the difficult yet relevant issues of God and evil with the argument of free will, stating that people have been created with the will to take part or not to take part in evil and that God allows people to exercise free will even if they choose to disobey Him. On a positive note though, the author writes that God posses an ultimate plan for all humans that cannot be changed, not even by evil acts.