The Shack

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The ShackThe Shack 
Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

William P Young 
ISBN 9780340979495 (0340979496) 
Hodder & Stoughton, 2008 (256pp) 

Category: Fiction 
Subcategory: Christian 
Reviewed by: Max Turner

Take a man whose life has been destroyed by the abduction and murder of his young daughter. How on earth do you bring such a man into the presence of the God who loves and heals? The surprising answer of this book is to take ‘Mack’ back, in bleak mid-winter, to the remote broken-down mountain shack where the blood of the killing still stains the floor. And then God totally transforms it. Makes it a several-day summer-encounter at the same shack, but now with the social-trinitarian God — after the likeness of the meeting of Abraham with the Three at Mamre (Gen 18), but protracted.

The delightfully searching confrontation with Mack is delicious, theologically mature, and wonderfully refreshing. Here you find social trinity, the self-limiting of God in Christ, the wonder of creation, theodicy and forgiveness, all bundled up in the creative encounters of Mack with ‘God’.

Eugene Peterson (aka the guy that did the Bible translation called The Message) has a front cover endorsement that says “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 don’t know what (who) made me pick it up, but I certainly could not put it down. Best engagement I’ve ever seen between theology and the hurt man on the street.

Max Turner, July 2008

Max Turner is Professor of New Testament Studies at London School of Theology.

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6 thoughts on “The Shack

  1. Max used to make my brain hurt when I was in his brilliant lectures at LBC so it is really encouraging to see his review and to heartily agree with it. I thought the Shack was an excellent book with a very warm and penetrating theology. Soon as I get time I want to read it again.

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  4. I was set not to like the book, The Shack but after reading it, I thought it was really good and thought provoking. All the time I reaad it, I kept thinking it needs a study to go along with it. I finally decided God was urging me to write a study which I did. If anyone would like it, email me at I would be glad to send you the study. You are welcome to use it and copy it for others.
    Trish Pickard

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