Author of “The Shack” to appear at Family Fest

The Gaither Studios recently posted a trailer for their May Gaither Family Fest:

The biggest surprise is that William Young is one of the featured speakers.ย  (Probably by mistake, the trailer called him “Paul Young.”) Young wrote the controversial novel “The Shack,” a book criticized by various Christian leaders for its unorthodox doctrines. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

The rest of the lineup looks stellar as always, with artists like the New Gaither Vocal Band, Signature Sound, and the Collingsworth Family headlining what is sure to be one of the year’s finest concert events.

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29 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Hmm…not sure what to think about this one! I haven’t read the book but have heard mixed reports….

  2. The Author id WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG.
    Our pastor has read the book and feels even though it is written in an unusual way, it is still doctrinally sound. He has actually bought numerous copies to share with the congregation. It really has an impact on some, and other not so much.

  3. i read the book and didn’t like it at first. Wasn’t use to how Jesus, God and the Holy Ghost were diplicted. Once getting over that and thinking of them in my own way, then the book was wonderful.
    A must book for everyone to read.

  4. Well, the book is FICTION, so once you can wrap your brain around that, the “doctrine” issues shouldn’t even be an issue anymore…

  5. Even fiction represents a worldview. Due to the power of a moving fictional story, the worldview of the author is perhaps an even bigger issue than in a non-fiction book, whether the readers is actively engaged, analyzing the case made.

    A well-written fictional story presenting an unbiblical worldview is probably even more harmful than a nonfiction book advocating the same worldview. Da Vinci Code, anyone?

  6. I had a friend recommend this book to me. I didn’t read or get it, and your links are the most I know about it. I think the individual I know recommended more as something “thought-provoking” than to be totally agreed with.

    I am concerned about the direction such things are taking. It’s one thing for an individual to read a book that is questionable and make a mature judgment about what he wants to accept. It’s another to recommend or endorse the material without any qualifications. (It’s the friend that I got the Perrys’ album for … I hope that does him more good! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  7. I read the DaVinci Code and knew it was fiction. As fiction it was great. I also think all the stink about it was over-done. Where are all the people who lost faith over it? Sometimes as Christians we strain at the gnats!

  8. To me, why bother reading it. If someone offerred me the book to read and told me it was ‘thought provoking’ or ‘a different perspective’, I’d definitely decline fiction or not.

    As Christians, we need to speak out and express our concerns. It only takes a spark to get a fire going and in this instance – going (or growing) the wrong way. There are a lot of young, impressionable minds out there who still need to be lead to Christ.

  9. FYI: Mr. Young goes by his middle name Paul.

  10. I take it that most are against the book. Also, it seems that most against the book haven’t read it either.

  11. It is a work of fiction, a great one at that. However, if you allow yourself to open up a bit, you will gain new perspective from this book.

  12. I wouldn’t say “most are against the book” – considering the millions upon millions of copies that have been sold.

    My question is this Daniel – have you read the book for yourself to see the worldview that it represents?

    I know I haven’t, so I can’t give an honest opinion one way or the other…

  13. Hmmm. My earlier post disappeared….
    The author of The Shack goes by his middle name Paul.
    Just thought you’d want to know.

  14. Wait… it’s there now… but it wasn’t a few seconds ago…

  15. #11…sorry, I meant most of the posts here. Not that they don’t have the right to feel that way.

  16. I read the “DaVinci Code” at the same time I was reading “Purpose Driven Life”. Try to keep a clear mind while doing that!

    (fyi, I preferred “DaVinci Code”)

  17. @pj: Posts with links typically get held for moderation.

    @Chris: Based on what I’ve heard about it, from people I trust (specifically a good personal friend who is nationally known in the field of apologetics), I chose not to read it. There’s enough good stuff out there and little enough time that I just don’t bother with something I know I would have serious issues with.

  18. The DaVinci Code and the Shack may be fiction, but they are dangerous in different ways. Dan Brown with the DaVinci Code claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and even though the book is a “novel” he claims the facts are real, but he gets them from bogus documents. For a strong Christian they would not be swayed by this drivel, but many other people not knowing the scripture are swayed against the church and against the trustworthiness of the Bible.
    The Shack portrays a “new age” version of the Godhead. Here is a good article breaking down the false theology in the Shack.

  19. The problem is people are reading this book and taking the what is used in the book as doctrine. It is a lot like trying to take the comments of Job’s friends as doctrine. They had no clue what they were talking about. By the way, the author doesn’t even consider himself a Christian. How could this be a ‘christian’ book, I say it is marketing. Even Christian Book Distributors see this book as dangerous, but Gloria Gaither loves it?

  20. I haven’t read the book, but I have read many reviews–both pro and con. I feel I have a good general idea of the subject matter. I’m opposed to the depictions of God in the book as well as to the theology implied by the storyline. Christians should be very careful to get their information about God from His source and from no other place. Who God is and what His purposes are is a topic of utmost importance! People may like the book or not for various reasons, but given the importance of the topic I believe it’s a mistake to have the author invited to Family Fest as a featured speaker. It’s a sign of caving to the whims of popular culture. Are there not enough gospel singers to give their testimony? Are there not enough gospel authors to speak? Why a person who has written such a disputed book??? Should we now expect to hear gospel songs extolling the characters of the Shack? This is a poor decision on the part of the Family Fest organizers.

  21. I think the purpose of THE SHACK is not to give us information about God, but a new way to see that information (from what I have been told). I am plan to read this book as soon as I get a copy. Just keep in mind…This is FICTION!

  22. DJPhil – do you mind providing proof that William Young doesn’t actually consider him a Christian?

    I’ve not heard this and would like to see a quote or something backing this up before I believe it.


  23. Hmmm, I don’t remember saying that William Young doesnโ€™t actually consider him a Christian…I think that Joshua said that. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I vaguely remember reading something to that effect several months ago myself, but I’m not sure.
    Here is a link that goes into more depth about the book and also to William Youngs Universalist background. The title at this link is very perceptive, The Death of Discernment
    โ€“ How The Shack Became the #1 Bestseller in Christianity [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed.]

    For myself, if Dr. Albert Mohler pegged it , “blatant heresy”, Chuck Colson says, “stay out of the shack” and other Godly people I trust like Dr. Michael Youssef, Janet Parshall are critical of the book, it is something I want to stay away from. Somehow I think a Holy God that values His word GREATLY, would not want anybody, much less Christians reading books that change the scripture.

  24. I haven’t read it, but there are people that I trust that have told me to stay away from and that’s enough for me.

    And why would any Christian read the DiVinci Code? I don’t care if it is fiction and the author claims the events weren’t true – I am not reading a book saying my Jesus was married. Sorry friend, but I don’t want anyone turning my Redeemer’s life into a work of fiction. He is holy and perfect, He is God and I’ll be dead before I touch a book that messes with who He really is.

  25. Those that complain the most, are those that have never experienced the most. I find that to be true.

    From most of your comments here, you’d think God is this great big JUDGE who sits in his bench seat and waits for us to slip up or make a mistake.

    This book in MY OPINION…is the total opposite of this. Which in turn makes me wonder if you’ve ever experienced the DEEP love of God…not as a God but as a Father who loves his child.

    I read the book, and though I realize it was fiction, I couldn’t help but have my heart stirred by several aspects of the book. i.e. the scene where “the judge” told Mac to start judging, in order for him to see the true hardship/difficulty of judging those you love, or the scene where God describe to Mac the real meaning of “Love” – it’s not a verb it’s an action, or even at the beginning when Mac is frantically asking God why did this tragedy happen to him??. Haven’t we all struggled with that question from one time or another?

    I for one choose not to partake in the believing that God is a scornful judge, who sits on the edge of his bench chair waiting to find the mistake or two, or three, that we are going to make today. I don’t believe His word is meant to “scare” us into believing He’s real. I believe His word is meant to “love” us into believing He’s real.

    Maybe I’m a bit more open-minded b/c I was raised to have an open mind. I was raised to NOT believe what my parents/grandparents told me to believe but more what I have knowledge of and what I KNOW is real in my life.

    Sometimes, we’re of so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly good. EVEN if Mr. Young is not a self-proclaimed Christian, the fact that his book as touched so many lives in such a spiritual way, reminds me that what the devil means for harm God turns to good.

    I wish we could be as adamant about the winning of our families/friends to Jesus as we are about whether or not a man who may/may not be a Christian wrote a book that we do/don’t want to read.

  26. Well, He is longsuffering but He is also the Judge of this world. The Bible warns us of false prophets and we are to expose them…even in the world of fiction.

  27. Interesting that you would associate an author of a fictional book to a “false prophet”….Being of the pentecostal background, there are many books written today, some that are not considered fictional, in which I don’t necessarily agree with the doctrine…but to accuse those authors “false prophets” is not something I would gather to be appropriate.

  28. I am reading the book right now and find it fascinating. Controversial? Sure. Relevant to today? Absolutely. It has sparked such an interest iin the name of ‘Christianity’ that I as a Christian wanted to read it to be able to know the scoop. Eugene Peterson and Michael W. Smith wrote reviews on the cover – can’t be all bad.

  29. J.D.
    You’re right, it’s not all bad. But what percentage of poison would be acceptable in your bottled water?
    For an excellent review, read Tim Challies on Amazon – it is ALL covered there.