The Shack is a popular movie currently showing in theaters. It tells the story of Mack – a husband and father who has a lot of issues with God. Some of those issues go back to an abusive childhood. But the real spiritual obstacle is the abduction and murder of his daughter. He ultimately is led to a shack in the wilderness where he encounters God and is transformed.
The movie conveys a number of true and powerful themes. God loves people and pursues them – in the midst of their sin and brokenness. God knows about our deepest hurts and struggles – and he cares. It is never too late for a person to change. God is triune – one God in three persons. God is able to bring good out of evil.
But there are also reasons to watch with discernment. At the shack, God is depicted by three individuals who represent the three members of the trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Whenever we try to depict God, we always get it wrong and we make God out to be less than he really is. This is why God prohibited his people from making any graven image (Exodus 20:4). The minute we try to depict God in physical form, we reduce God to something we can grasp and control.
In The Shack, we encounter a one-sided God. His love is on full display but his holiness is muted. God’s loving, forgiving nature is emphasized and Mack is urged to forgive his father and his daughter’s killer. But there is no place given for God’s wrath and judgment against sin. The gospel is not just about God healing our hurts and providing therapy to help us navigate the evil in our world. The great hope of the gospel is that God conquers sin. We look forward to the day when suffering is vindicated and evil is eradicated and God sets everything right and reigns over a kingdom of peace.
Photo credit: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shack_in_the_Edo-Tokyo_Open_Air_Architectural_Museum.jpg