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A Look At UnSHACKled
“UnSHACKled: Facing Suffering with the REAL Jesus (And NOT The Shack or Pop-Culture Christianity)” by Author Chase Thompson
Good or bad or just boring, this is my first written review. I tend to be too critical of other Christians. Perhaps this is why I chose this book. Mr. Thompson also seems a bit critical. But perhaps it is just that I too feel that The Shack greatly misses the truth, misleads non-believers, and hinders Christians.
UnSHACKled, my review…
UnSHACKled opens by dismissing God’s promises of a victorious life in favor of a version of God wherein suffering is the norm and the primary benefit of being saved. Yet the opening also defines a goal to examine the theological errors that run throughout “The Shack” by William Paul Young. It’s kind of strange. I agree that The Shack lacks much in the order of Scriptural integrity. However, I also believe that there is much error in any teaching that dismisses God’s promises of prosperity to His own. Thus I must admit that the author’s declared resistance to promised prosperity creates within me an immediate turn-off to his words.
But this is a review, thus I complete the task.
UnSHACKled seeks to compare cultural Christianity to Scriptural Christianity. Yet like all discussions of Scripture, many of the viewpoints remain anchored to the private interpretations of the author. And this too is strange: That a book defined to be not of any “private interpretation” is so often taught based upon private interpretations.
We do understand, as Mr. Thompson so clearly defines via applied Scripture, that false teaching must be rejected. But we must also recognize the importance of balanced application of all Scripture. In this, I believe that Mr. Thompson sometimes fails.
Does this invalidate his work? Not in the least. His coverage of The Shack is honest and rightly defined by Scripture. Furthermore, his goal is not that of trashing The Shack, but rather that of addressing the many errors so often presented in popular Christian, so-called, books, movies and teachings.
Thus I present the details in brief disclosures:
a) A humble opening and an admission of personal human failings, followed by a brief overview of “The Shack.”
b) A thought-provoking explanation of what makes “The Shack” an enjoyable read coupled to brief discussions concerning some of the theological errors.
c) A clear statement defining The Shack as a book that is short on truth while also lacking the value of good medicine for suffering people.
d) A discussion of three major theological errors in The Shack:
1. The presentation of a Universalism vision of God and the work of Christ.
2. A flawed presentation of God as the Triune God
3. AND a distorted vision of the crucifixion in God’s plan for a fallen humanity.
e) In Chapter 5, Mr Thompson uses Scripture as the root for presenting an accurate description of the Gospel. The details are presented clearly and without undue discussion. Readers of The Shack should easily note a clear contrast in the defined “truth.” This is the most important chapter in UnSHACKled.
f) Chapter 6 addresses the problems faced when studied Christians speak frankly concerning The Shack. It also offers advice to church leaders concerning:
· What can be learned by the success of The Shack?
· How is this to be applied toward pain and suffering?
· AND why is truth so much more the better response?
g) Chapter 7 presents a series of Q&A on The Shack with a primary focus on the dangers of heresy, as well as the dangers of incorrect applications of that very concept. He also does a good job explaining why and when theology in a book becomes important.
h) Chapter 8 positions Jesus as the real answer for how mankind can best deal with suffering. Points made to define God’s methods in solving the problem of human suffering will prove valuable to every Christian. Be warned that this chapter also shares some very troubling word-imagery concerning the sufferings of others as well as the personal sufferings within the author’s family. But know also, that there is victory in the making.
All in all, UnSHACKled is a well-crafted review of The Shack. But more importantly, it is a well-crafted lesson on pain and suffering. Although I disagree with some of the author’s points, I also find much value in his suggested solutions.
It’s a good read that sometimes fails to fully find the Scripture balance that I desire. Yet, as my brother-in-law likes to say, “Chew the meat and spit out the bones.” In essence, UnSHACKled meets the following primary goals…
On the crucial points of Christ, God the Father, and God the Spirit
On the crucial points of salvation and the gospel
On defining the errors in The Shack
There are no failures in this author’s presentation.