Living The Shack: An Interview with Author William P. Young

If you haven’t already heard of The Shack chances are you will soon. The best-selling novel is storming through the Christian community changing lives, stirring dialogue and fueling controversy. Recently New Man talked about the book’s success with the author, William P. Young.

Interview by Drew Dyck

New Man: Were you surprised at the tremendous success of The Shack?

William Young: Well, let me give you a little backdrop. I wrote it for my six kids. I’ve never published anything in my life or tried to. I’m the most accidental author you’ll ever meet. It was not even on the radar that anyone other than family and friends would ever read this thing. Read More…

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Living The Shack: An Interview with Author William P. Young

  1. Pingback: William P. Young on The Shack « Read, Think, Pray, Live

  2. Chris Stephens

    I enjoyed your book so much,i cant stop talking about it. It has opened my eyes to a whole new world of thought and belief. Iam a grown man and it yet still brought a tear 2 my eye numerous times. I look forward to reading more of your releases in the future.

  3. John

    i have read excerpts of “The Shack” and none of these speak of the God of the bible. It is a heresy.. Please read God’s word for yourselves to find the Truth as He says to us all.

  4. John,

    Thanks for commenting…people read excerpts of the Bible all of the time and create heresy everyday. Read all of the Bible and we get a clearer picture of who God is…read part and we might miss Him entirely. My point…don’t comment on The Shack unless you’ve read it all for yourself!

  5. Aar0n

    Well said Chris! I agree and I think God has a special purpose and plan for every person that reads “The Shack.” It makes you think about how biased we humans really are on the subject of the Father. I feel that this story will help many people and I pray that God’s will becomes evident.

  6. John Langemann

    Well Chris,
    John said that he had read excerpts of “The Shack” and that none of those excerpts resonated with biblical truths. I am very glad that you advised John, and others, to read the whole Bible, because if they do, and they are illuminated by God’s Holy Spirit (not Sarayu), they will clearly see that the theology conjured up by Paul Young and doctored and sanitised by Wayne jacobson and Brad Cummings,is a dangerous heresy which has no validation in the Bible at all. It is a desperate attempt to justify an aberrant mess of a lifestyle and philosophy, without puting any hard yards in, whilst being yoked to Jesus our Saviour.It is, however, good for itchy ears though, to create a god who validates one’s sinful lifestyle and when one sin’s, to hear “her” say: “Go ahead, I don’t want to embarrass you.”.

  7. John Langemann

    Well Chris,
    John said that he had read excerpts of “The Shack” and that none of those excerpts resonated with biblical truths. I am very glad that you advised John, and others, to read the whole Bible, because if they do, and they are illuminated by God’s Holy Spirit (not Sarayu), they will clearly see that the theology conjured up by Paul Young and doctored and sanitised by Wayne jacobson and Brad Cummings,is a dangerous heresy which has no validation in the Bible at all. It is a desperate attempt to justify an aberrant mess of a lifestyle and philosophy, without puting any hard yards in, whilst being yoked to Jesus our Saviour.It is, however, good for itchy ears though, to create a god who validates one’s sinful lifestyle and when one sins, to hear “her” say: “Go ahead, I don’t want to embarrass you.”.

  8. Nan

    I am having a hard time dealing with people who can quote scripture with such malice from such a puffed up place of self righteousness. All these critics of W P Young and The Shack who haven’t even read it, yet take it upon themselves to shout “blasphemy” to the world are making a mockery of Christianity. Nobody is forcing anyone to read the book, but if you haven’t read it you don’t have a right to denounce it. Young is not making any effort to change anyone’s theology, he has simply found a moving way to express his own profound, life-changing encounter with God. Everyone has a right to express their own experience in a way that is meaningful to them. I never realized that Christians really believe that unless you are knocking down the door of their particular address and experience God the way they say has to happen, then you are part of the anti-Christ. But this is what Young’s critics seem to be saying.

  9. LsB

    I think people are missing the point of the book. 1. It is fiction meant to get people thinking about their walk with Christ. 2. It even states that this fictional piece was recounted to the best of Mack’s memory. MEANING that it is not meant to be perfect. Pretty much anything human does is flawed, so wasting time focusing on little doctrinal issues is a waste of time. This book is NOT the bible and with it being fiction there shouldn’t be so much controversy. It has some good points in it that are worth thinking about that chances are you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of which are important. If you are a Christ follower you ought to be studying the Word anyway and be able to recognize human error in everyday life. All the controversy just proves how we make things complicated, thank goodness God keeps it simple.

  10. Enough with this “Its only fiction” nonsense already. Paul Young, along with Wayne Jacobson and Brad Cummings hold to a theology that is aberrant to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as espoused in the Holy Bible.

    Wayne Jacobson knew that their “out of the box” theology (of which they are extremely proud) would never see the light of day if they tried to publish it as a theology, so he decided to weave it into a heart wrenching story.All three were asked to leave their various churches because of their theology years ago and 26 publishers wanted nothing to do with the book so they published it themselves.

    Paul Young said in his own words: “A story has a way of getting past our defenses.” he also said in another interview: “Parables by-pass our filter systems.” They calculatingly figured out a way to get their false doctrines about God out, and couched in a way, that even Christians would be fooled by it.

    So called “little doctrinal issues” are indeed important (apostle Paul says that we should watch it closely)if you purport to characterize God as He really is and how people should follow Him. Of course, in reality, the theology in the Shack is as fictional as the story is. All three protagonists of the book, however,say in many places that the book contains spiritual truth.

    Of course the writings of the three are not perfect. That is because they invented it with their own imaginations and did not get it from the Bible. Even today, you can read on Paul Young’s own web-site where he says in his own words: “I have written volumes of imaginations in my own head, things that have no substance, no reality, and are empty, vain imaginations. But I treat them as if they are real.”

    And like dumb sheep, millions of Christians believe his fantasy about who God is, and what He expects from us, as being the truth. They have created a god in their own image. Anyone can do that. One day we will all stand naked in front of God and He will judge us against His own rules and what we did with what He revealed to us about Himself and us in His Holy Word, the Bible, and not by what a fictive Mama, acting as a Papa, says in a book called “The Shack”
    John Langemann
    Author of “Beware the Shack”

  11. LsB

    Well you have every right to your opinion, but I know for me it was a good reminder about 1. I need to stop doing all the talking in my relationship with God and make time to listen and have a real relationship. 2. Tragedy is bound to happen and I need to make sure that I am strengthened in my faith so that I am ready to face the giants that may come. 3. Remaining in the habit of reading my bible each and everyday is a necessity. My mom passed away at the time I read this book and I just had my first child as well. Things were really tough and this book did help me work through some things I was trying not to face at all. So I do find merit to the book. It doesn’t mean that I am any less of a believer and follower of Christ than someone who disagrees with me. I leave it to Christ to judge others hearts. That’s my opinion.

  12. Dear LsB,
    1.1 A good relationship has a good balance between talking and listening. Too much of either makes it unbalanced.
    1.2 In our relationship with God, the ‘listening’ comes from reading His word, the Bible; not from words put into the mouth of God by someone who does not subscribe to His word being entirely true.

    Do you know that Young and his cohorts do not believe that Jesus died on the cross as a propitiation for our sins? That He died in our place so that we need not go to Hell?

    If you read the Shack, you will see that according to them, God does not punish anyone. God does not send people to Hell.God will save everyone, even those who don’t believe in Him. No one needs to repent of their sin etc. etc.

    Now you may have received great comfort from a god who has been characterized like that, but the God of the Bible is entirely different to the god manufactured by Young and company.The god of the Shack is a false god giving false hope. The Bible tells us of people having itchy ears wanting to hear what they would like to hear. As far as judging goes, Paul (of the Bible) tells us that we should not judge unbelievers, but that we should judge believers who stray from the truth.

    If you read the Bible regularly, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, you would have seen clearly that the characterization of God in the Shack and the lazy, floppy way Christians should live according to its authors, is a entirely a figment of their imagination.

    The true God of the Bible loves those who love Him and who try to live according to His precepts as espoused in His word, the Bible. His truth sets one free and is everlasting. His comfort is deep and lasting as well. Short term psychological relief from false premises and a false god wilts away like a flower in the blazing sun.If you really believe that ‘The Shack’ is fiction, why do you take what Paul Young says about God as being true and factual?

    You can only get through this life, and ultimately live with Jesus in eternal paradise, if you live according to His precepts as set out in the Bible.

    Put your trust in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; not ‘Papa’ (Mama), Sarayu and the ‘Jesus’ of the Shack. They are frauds and will lead you down a path of destruction.
    John Langemann

  13. richard hatfield

    to john langermann,
    i think everyone is missing the message behind the book. everyone is caught up in wether its truly about god or what it portraits god as and thats not what it is about. its a deeper message about how corrupt our world really is and how even bible followers true god goers who think they are in the right with theyre beliefs and pushing their beliefs are wrong. its about forgiveness about love for not people you know but people in whole. its about the understanding that no one is perfect not even god himself.its about if god gives you lemons you make lemonade people are suppost to take their problems and rise above to live as a stronger person some day instead of scowling and turning to god saying its his fault. in the book mack loses touch with good over the great sadness. in fact god shouldnt be there to baby us and hold our hand throughout life. god wants us to make our own decisions live our own lifes and what comes of it is what we make it. now the book isnt denouncing god but its saying to back off a little. its all about learning to live with god as a friend an aquaintance more of a guide than a father that will beat you if you do any wrong. now i have had people tell me im going to hell for never praying and for not going to church. now to me that sounds nothing like god it sounds like people are taking control of an idea and portraying it in their words which is another thing brought up in the book power is the route of evil because noone has ever mastered the art of it humans are far to selfish to be able to tell anyone what to do besides themselves. people need to release the fact that god is controlling what happens to realize that god only wants people to be people and hopefully we can figure it out some day.

  14. Hi Richard,
    I don’t think that people are missing the message behind ‘The Shack’. They get it.

    The problem is that the message propagated throughout the book, is purported, by the writers of ‘The Shack’, to be a mirror to the esse of God, in that they claim it to be a reflection of His true nature and being. That it is not. As I said earlier, it’s a construction of the writer’s imagination.

    Anyone is entitled to believe what they want about God, but people who call themselves Christians, have no right to propagate any image of God or put any words into His mouth, that is antithetical to what the Bible reveals about Him.

    When God created humankind, he gave them free will, and our first parents, Adam and Eve exercised that free will and decided to disobey an explicit command from God. They could do anything they liked, and could eat the fruit from any tree except for one. The devil conned them by saying: “did God really say?” as the writers have conned more than 10 million people so far. “Did God really say?”

    From that moment on, all the progeny of Adam & Eve were born into sin.The Bible tells us elsewhere that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. God cannot condone, or accommodate sin in any shape or form, because He is Holy and… I’m afraid… unlike what you say, He is perfect. He, as the supreme judge of every created being, declared that the penalty or wages for sin is eternal death, not just a passing from this life, but for all eternity.

    But the good news (The Gospel) is that because of His great love for all His created human beings on earth, he found a way to save people from people being damned and separated from Him for all eternity in a place called Hell without compromising His Holiness.

    He sent His one and only son, Jesus, ‘the lamb of God’ (referencing the Old Testament way of obtaining forgiveness)to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross as a once for all oblation and propitiation for sins committed past present and future. (In Old Testament Times, believers had to sacrifice animals over and over because of their continuous sinning.)

    That display of love is amazing, but it is offered on God’s terms, not on the terms proponed by his creation. For instance He says in many places in the Bible: “If you love me, keep my commands.”

    Now! Paul Young, and his writing, and business buddies, do not believe that Jesus died on the cross as a propitiation for our sins. They do not believe that God punished Jesus there. They do not believe that God punishes anyone. They do not believe that there is a place called Hell, where all those who do not take God up on His offer, on His conditions, and who reject what He says about Himself and about humankind in the Bible will go.
    They believe that God will ultimately save everyone, that he’s not so nasty. They do not believe that you need to repent of your sins before God will forgive you even though the Bible states explicitly that repentance is absolutely necessary for forgiveness. They do not believe that people should go to institutional churches etc.etc.etc.

    So, to be told that God is like a Huggy Bear, who isn’t fussed too much when you sin, and who ‘crawls into your mess’ and who’s into Eurasian funk and who just says do your own thing, that’s great, that’s terrific. That’s soothes what the Bible calls ‘itchy ears’.

    The imaginary god of The Shack, and the God of the Bible, are two totally different people. You have the free will to choose the one who suits you best. The God of the Bible is the only one who can give you real and lasting peace, be a true, meaningful friend, and save you from an eternal hell.

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