William P. Young's book, The Shack

I’m busy these days trying to crank out more than a thousand words a day on a church history text contracted by Zondervan, and I don’t have a lot of spare time. I leave it to my readers as to whether or not I should expend the money and time to buy and read The Shack. The book is getting incredible BUZZ and the vast vast majority of reviews on Amazon are 5 star. Here is what Eugene Peterson 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!

I learned about the book from my friend Greg Albrecht (editor of Plain Truth Magazine); his review is equally glowing:

You will be captivated by the creativity and imagination of The Shack, and before you know it, you’ll be experiencing God as never before. William Young’s insights are not just captivating, they are biblically faithful and true. Don’t miss this transforming story of grace.

But there is also Michael Burton’s review, one of the two 1-star reviews on Amazon: He says the book is for you if, and only if . . . .

You want to recreate God in your own image;

You find Isaiah’s portrayal of a holy God seated upon His throne to be a disturbing image;

You would prefer to metaphorically cast God the Father as a loving and large black woman named “Papa,” Jesus as a laid back and friendly Middle Eastern man, and the Holy Spirit as a calm and cool Asian woman;

You want a God so small that you and she/he/she can just hang out together as best buddies;

You regard the Bible as an extremely biased, narrow-minded, and insufficient revelation of God in leather binding with “guilt edges” (page 65);

You therefore believe that God talks to people today, and that whatever she or he says to people trumphs biblical truth (page 66);

You believe that God is never to be feared (page 90). . . .

Who is this guy, William P. Young? Here is his own self-effacing bio:

The Shack was a story written for my six children, with no thought or intention to publish. It is as much a surprise to me as to anyone else that I am now an “author”. Overall, I am a very simple guy; I have one wife, six kids, two daughter-in-laws and two grandkids on the way. I work as a general manager, janitor and inside sales guy for a friend who owns a small manufacturers rep company in Milwaukie, Oregon, and I live in a small rented house in Gresham, Oregon, that Kim has made into a marvelous home. My time is spent loving the people that are a part of my life. I am not connected, or a part, or a member of, or involved inside any sort of organization or movement anywhere. The truth is that I doubt anyone would want me. From my perspective that is a very positive thing for both of us. I have lots of incredible friends, and now you are one of those.

My questions to you all are: Have you heard about the book? If so, what’s the BUZZ you’re getting? Have you read it? Should I expend my time and money on it?

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