October 21, 2020

Noted: Mark Driscoll on “The Shack”

UPDATE: A lurker suggests that Driscoll or his researcher were reading Challies’ post on The Shack. Decide for yourself.

Just one note: Driscoll seems unaware of the book’s opening chapters and the dilemma that lies at the center of the plot. It is not a book about a conversation with the Trinity. It is a book about reconciliation to something horrible that has happened in the life of a man who believes in the Trinitarian God.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher’s website:

Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

Odd omission.


  1. Scott Varney says

    I read the book. I was familiar with the criticisms before hand. I expected to be critical of the story. I love the book and love how a story can teach the heart about the relationship God so desires with us all.

    Mark, read the book as a story. Paul does not try to tell us God the father IS a woman or human in any way. The characters representing the trinity are fictional ideas designed to allow the main fictional character to interact in a more relateable way to the trinity. Later in the book God the father is represented as a male father figure to better relate to the fictional point of that part of the story. Goddess worship?

    Mark, I appreciate your zeal for truth and agree truth should be defended and protected. In this case your just wrong, stop and see the good work God is doing with this story.

  2. I talked with Paul Young the other day- he’s good friends with the co-author of Mark’s latest books. He knows that as of this point in time, Mark hasn’t read the book.

    There were a couple of slightly concerning things here- but not what Mark was accusing Young of. I reviewed it and took on his charges point by point.

    Mark’s got his heart in the right place- if he actually read this book and saw how Jesus-centric it was, he might change his mind.

    (I started to type something smart-alecky about Mark never changing his mind but got convicted by what I’d recently read in the Shack about how we judge each other… Nice!)

  3. These comments sadden my heart. So many divisions today and attacks one against another. Personal feelings are of the greatest purpose for many here. What they think and how they feel toward another who differs instead of knowing who God is by scripture. You must be made new to enter into Gods kingdom!!! Woe is you who are not made new!

  4. I’m so surprised that Mark does not like this book. A lot of what he says in his other sermons lines right up with the allegorical story in this book. I listen to his messages online all the time and believe he is a very gifted teacher. I have not known him to be so “off base” as I really believe he is here in his opinions…no, his strong dissuasive comments about the book.

    Listening to his clip and all his arguments with the content of the book, he clearly has not read the book or read it with presumptions of what it was before he read it. I agree he is entitled to his opinion and agree that it is a bad one.

    This book really does have the ability to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” did for his!

    Clearly we should go to Jesus and the Scripture for our basis of love and truth and our everything! I just think God can use other works – teachers, authors, artists, and creation itself! – to help us know Him, too.

    If you are going to make comments like “how many christians are escaping into novels instead of finding refuge in Christ?” then you need to live that comment/indicated belief further, which would be to believe that then you shouldn’t listen to a story you pastor has to share or listen to a single other teacher out there – because then that is not JUST and ONLY the Bible or Jesus! I’m not saying ALL books and authors should be considered teachers, but some certainly are , and they are inspired by God as teachers.

  5. Well, shucks. I was going to go start worshiping black women . . . but now that I know that’s idolatry and/or goddess worship, I guess I won’t. Thanks, Driscoll.

  6. Paul william Young, author of the shck, Came t=o our high school last week at CHCA in cincinnati, Oh and he spoke to us for 4 days and was amazing. he actually did something unbeleivable in our school, he broke down our cliques in the grades and made us all one. We can never repay him for what he has done so upon hearing Driscoll bashing him and his extroadinary work almost made me sick. I do not think Mr. Driscoll has any right to bash the shck. Yes he has read it and obviously disgrees with Paul’s portrayal of the trinity, but it is not Driscoll’s to comment on. The point of the shck is that we all have hard times in our lives that we try to cover up and hide so the shack is a place where we can adress our deepest problems and since Paul has created this plce he has spread mass healing to people who have needed it around the world. So for driscoll to bash this man, makes him a hypocrite. look at driscoll’s job, he is a pastor and he paints the picture of God and jesus everyday in his sermons whether he intends to or not. All pastors do. So for him to indirectly call Paul, the author of the Shack a heretic for his work is not only hypocritical but morally unsound and if I where him I would be a little ashamed.

  7. PS: Original question was “Do you believe Mark Driscoll read the book when he made that sermon ?”

    Personally.. I’m starting to doubt whether he did. The book is not necessarily a theological exposition on the Trinity as Mark Driscoll seems to indicate. I accept that it does pose some challenges in certain theological positions, but it’s not meant to be that. Or at least that’s my understanding from what I’ve seen Paul Young explain. If I ever have the chance to meet him face-to-face and ask him some questions I may change my mind.

    I think the book is all about how God is reconciling a man, who went through something horrible and excruciating, to Himself.

    I read the book, enjoyed it, then noticed all the noise about it in the fall and just found this post.

    My suggestion, read it as a novel. A good story, a heart wrenching story for any father out there. But not theology.

    In Him

  8. I have a hunch Driscoll had not read the book, but that he knew of people he trusts that gave him fairly good info on it. Still, I think he probably should have read it before being so dogmatic. That said, the book is full of subtle heresy. I’ve read it multiple times. It’s fiction yes, but even as a fiction piece it’s intention is to inform the reader as to God’s true character, and so it is very theological…and Driscoll is right about the modalism. You ought to check out theshackreview.com for a thorough review from someone who knows Young and his theology.

  9. You know what. I don’t think Driscoll ever gave the impression that he read the book.

    He has said it himself on a number of occasions, “Do not waste time on bad books.” I assume as much as he claims (and backs it up) with as many books as he has read, why would he waste his time with The Shack.

    The Shack is a bad book. Period. I have read it and it was a bear to get through it.

    Why in the world would I want somebody else to waste a single second reading that book?

    There are too many other books that need to be read.

  10. Come on, guys… he’s read the book.

    Mark Driscoll is a sharp person. Whether or not you agree with him is a different question, but to ask whether he has read the book is ridiculous. Have you ever given a public speech? Anytime you do, even if you are well-prepared, you always open yourself up to accusations like that. It is nearly unavoidable, just because you can’t say everything.

    Now to the issues.

    I think that the real question is how much Christian doctrine matters. It is beyond any real dispute that the book does not reflect biblical Christianity. The question is, does that matter? My take is that it does, because I think our subjective experience ought to be based on objective realities. In other words, I think the bible is true. But me thinking that doesn’t make it true, it is true because it really, actually is true.

    People who love The Shack want to ignore all the ways its ideas aren’t biblical. That is why Driscoll seems angry. He’s not angry at The Shack, he’s angry at what he sees as people being drawn into a worldview where their subjective experience supplants the bible as truth.

    I agree with him.