Newsletter 08-12-09

The Shack is only fiction

People defend the book The Shack by saying it is only fiction and that we shouldn't be too concerned with everything it says.  Fair enough.  On page 225 of The Shack, we are told by God, “In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.”  So this fiction story says that all people are forgiven of their sins.  Is this true?  No, it is not.  In fact, it is a direct contradiction to scripture that says there are people whose sins are not forgiven (Matt.12:31).  So, for those who love the book, appreciate its warmth, see great things in it, and since it is only fiction, don't worry about it.  It isn't that big a deal.  It's excusable.

On page 206 Papa (God the Father) says, "Honey, I've never placed an expectation on you or anyone else.  The idea behind expectations requires that someone does not know the future or outcome and is trying to control behavior to get the desired result."  So, The Shack tells us that God has never placed an expectation on anyone?  Really?  What about 1 Pet. 1:16, “You shall be holy, for I am holy."  Or, Matt. 10:38 where Jesus expects the Christians to pick up their cross daily and follow him.  But, since The Shack is only fiction and makes people feel good about God, don’t worry about this little insignificant problem that contradicts scripture.  It's okay.

On page 205 God says to Mack, "My words are alive and dynamic-full of life and possibility; yours are dead, full of law and fear and judgment.  That is why you won't find the word responsibility in the Scriptures.”  The word ‘responsible’ occurs in the NASB in (Num. 4:16; 1 Chr. 9:31; Ezra 10:4; 1 Tim. 5:22).  It does not occur in the King James.  The NIV has it in 13 places.  I guess this nitpicky point doesn’t matter since The Shack is only fiction.  But heck, you’d think the author would have done more research before making such a blatant mistake.

On page 145-146 we find, "Mack was surprised. 'How could that be? Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me?'  'Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationship.  I don't want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me.'   Wow, God submitting to people!  Is there anything in scripture that says that God wants to submit to his creation?  Nope!  But it’s okay to say otherwise when its fiction, isn’t it?  James 4:7 says that we are to submit to God.  But again, since The Shack is only fiction, this small, insignificant point isn’t that big a deal and we theologians should lighten up and just go with the flow of enjoying the book's great message.

On page 136 The Shack says that evil has no actual existence: "Mackenzie, evil is a word we use to describe the absence of Good,  just as we use the word darkness to describe the absence of Light or death to describe the absence of Life.  Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence."  So, are we to conclude that according to The Shack, Satan doesn’t actually exist?  After all, Satan is evil and The Shack says evil doesn’t actually exist.  Is this important?  Of course not!  We don’t have to worry about New Age teaching in a Christian fiction book, do we?  Remember, it is only fiction so its okay.

On page 95 we see that God the Father (who’s a woman) has crucifixion scars.  Well, sorry, only the Son has crucifixion wounds.  The Father and the Son are not the same person according to scripture and it was not the Father who was crucified.  But, hey, in fiction writing this isn’t important, either.  It is okay to combine the Father and the Son’s personhood so that what happens to one actually happens to the other.  But, it makes me wonder.  Did the Father also change water into wine at Cana (John 2), wash the disciples’ feet (John 12:5-11), and ride a donkey into Jerusalem (Luke 18:28-37).  He didn’t, but, that isn't important.  That's why it is okay to say the Father had crucifixion wounds (even though he didn't really).  Isn’t Christian fiction great?  You can do so much.

So, considering everything, The Shack is a warm, enjoyable book that is only Christian fiction and we Christians shouldn’t take those areas where it directly contradicts God’s word to be a serious issue.  Why?  Because it is only fiction.  It isn’t real.  It's okay.  Lighten up.  Just enjoy the book and stop being so picky about stuff and stop comparing it to Scripture so much.

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Radio Station Opportunity

WITA radio in Knoxville, Tennessee has offered us a great deal on radio time.  They have an 8:30 - 9:00 morning opening on their AM station for $30 per half hour (a great deal).  It would be very easy for us to send them 1/2 hour shows that they could air.  They are asking for a 6 month commitment which would be around $3800.  So, we're letting the CARM folks know about this and see who'd like to support it.

If you're interested in supporting this opportunity financially, please contact us at and include WITA RADIO in the subject line.  But, don't send any money.  If we get enough people who'd like to contribute to this then we can contact them and ask them to send their contributions to CARM.

So, if God wants it to happen, it will.  If not, it won't.  Either way is God's will.  Praise God!

From Ryan Turner

I have spent these past few weeks busily catching up on things here at CARM. It took me about a whole week to link all of our English articles with their equivalent foreign language articles. You can see a sample here by looking at the bottom of the page:

I have been working just recently with Polish, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese translators. We already have added some Polish, Chinese, and Japanese material to our site and we expect to have a series of Russian articles available on our site sometime in October. We are always looking for more translators. If you are fluent in another language or you know someone who is who might be interested in helping CARM translate a few articles, please let us know. One of the languages that I am really looking for help translating is Portuguese. The specific issue relating to Portuguese is Mormonism. The Mormon Church is growing down in Brazil and we would like to help reach these precious people with the truth about the gospel. Please pray that the Lord will raise up some Portuguese translators.

I also spent some time on various family vacations in South Carolina, Florida, and New York Whew! Travelling is tiring. I was busy working on my laptop much of the time. I am finally beginning to get back in the swing of things.

I also have been busy preparing for a speaking engagement that Matt and I will be participating in later September near Portland, OR. I will be speaking on three different topics: “What is apologetics?” “How to use apologetics in your personal ministry.” and “Did Jesus rise from the dead? An application of apologetics.”

Please pray for a young Mormon guy that I have been witnessing to. I met this guy during a recent trip down to Utah a few months ago. He is so confused regarding who Jesus is, salvation, etc. I want him to truly have his sins forgiven.

Love and Hate Mail


  • Greetings in the name of our Lord! I took your theological test, thanx be to God that I got all the answers correctly.  I have learned much from your website, its really a great help for us here in the campus ministry
    in dealing w/ unchurched friends and students, esp. in witnessing... its also a great help to diagnose our own weaknesses as a Christians..and challenges us to study Gods word more diligently...may our God bless you more, and uphold you in doing His work..we'll pray more for you... and other doers of Gods work, sincerely, Hew.
  • You guys are an amazing blessing. Since I started digging into your site a year ago, God has totally blessed me with a sound, reasonable and rational defense for my faith. Based mostly off of what I learned from your site and radio show I was able to teach a small 8 week course on basic apologetics. It has been such a blessing to share this information with others and provide answers to tough questions. Your ministry has taught me to read the Bible without so many presuppositions and accept it for what it says, not what I want it to. Continue serving God by serving others. Thank you! Kris (Riverside, CA)
  • I enjoy your use of twitter, it gives me a quick update on what is going on with CARM and yourself. I like the updates of your new articles. Keep up the good work, know that your work is a tremendous help to more people than you think. The Lord has blessed you with a gift, don't get discouraged. God Bless. Tim
  • Matt Slick’s information has helped me to understand JWs on my door. Please pass my thanks to him, with love in Christ, Edward

< style="font-family: arial; color: #000000;">Hate

  • That you are soooooooooooooooooooo misinformed and blindly opinionated without looking at God’s word and to stop coming up with why Trinity and other things of welcomed in worlds religions. WoW, I hope that you eventually get the truth to this. I suggest that you first be humble. Clear your mind and ask God in prayer if you really want the TRUTH….he will show you. If you are humble and sincere. Gary
  • You are not seriously using this chart to prove the historocity of the bible....You are using tha illiad by Homer and say it is 95% accurate....It is a story of Greek Mythology. Are you retarded? Look to believe in the Bible is one thing, but this chart does not prove your case. Try again! Tim
  •   This page is: a) offensive b) patronizing c) unresearched  You have no right to make these comments whilst masquerading as a christian, caring organisation. Going to church does not set you higher than anyone else. Take the page down or at least have the decency to write at the top that this is an opinion. I am disgusted with what I have read today and will be, in future, using your organisation as an example of bigoted distorted and infectious malice against people you have never met- but you probably think it is perfectly justifiable because you go to church! The people who practiced nature religions for thousands of years before christianity were not all possessed surely?  Perhaps next time you people celebrate a christian festival you may like to do a little research (what a novelty) and find out for yourself which pagan holiday it has been stolen from. There is no need to reply (or try to convert me) just delete the page and THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE WRITING Yours, Outraged against christian patronisation
  • Dear Sir/ madam, Reading through your website, it is easy to see that a lot of bible reseach has been done and that a lot of energy has gone into building your website. I just felt I needed to point out that although I am not a Jehovah's Witness I find it offensive the amount of negative comments of a group of christians who strive to serve their God. Why the fascination?? Why spend all this time time and research on something that is not upbuilding or beneficial for anyone?? If alive today would Jesus being doing the same thing?? Regards Dave
  • you are completely in error. How?  your being intellectually dishonest and remaining ignorant.  Dishonest? It is 100% Bible proof. As far as ignorance, yes I am. I am only in abundance of knowledge through my Lord God.  But now that I have figured out the truth, I won't stop here. I will teach this truth to anyone I know. It IS the truth, and you have yet to prove me wrong. I will not be among the Anti-Christ believers who think the Sabbath is not have to be kept any longer.
  • So, you believe that there is no right or wrong as long as you believe it is right, ask the Muslims. You don't think Christ might have been a little overbearing when he threw the money changers out of the church? You say Mr. Murrary don't practice or preach religious tolerance, evidently you do not either since you are condeming hie teachings also.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.