The Shack Movie and
the War on Grace

by Roger Fields

There’s a war going on.

It’s between us who rely solely on God’s grace and the religious police who are trying to stop us from believing in grace too much. The Shack movie is bringing the conflict to light as the religious Pharisees are now coming out of the woodwork.

But don’t let religious gatekeepers rob you out of the message of this movie. The Shack is a clarion call to embrace the God of love and reject heartless theology. I declare war on the Pharisees, the doctrinal police. For too long they have stripped love out of Christianity.

It’s time to confront their bland, religious correctness. It’s on.

Lori and I saw the “The Shack” last night. In spite of the movie reviews from the doctrinal police who shout “heresy” at anything that doesn’t square with their tightly packed theology, I applaud this movie. It brings God’s love into the real world.

After the devastating abduction and murder of his seven-year-old daughter, “Mack” meets the divine Trinity. God is depicted as “Papa,” an African-American woman. Jesus, a Jewish carpenter. And the Holy Spirit as “Sarayu,” an Asian woman.


The events and talks at the shack help Mack recover from his spiritual/emotional wreckage.

Mack enters the shack consumed with anger and slowly begins to experience the Trinity in a way that melts his rage and draws him into relationship with God. He takes apart everything he thought he knew about God then rebuilds his understanding in a way that allows him to recover his life.

For the fussy pants theologians who whine that God is depicted as a woman they might want to consider that Jesus illustrated God’s love for the lost by telling the story of a WOMAN who lost a coin and relentlessly searched until she found it. Was that heresy?

For the doctrinally anal who moan that God’s wrath is not depicted in the movie, they might want to take their scissors to the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. There is no hint of the Father’s wrath. In Jesus’ story the Father welcomes home his wayward son with no suggestion that the boy avoided punishment. Even the stuffy, older son didn’t get cast into hell. He just opted not to attend the party. Was that heresy?

Apparently, the doctrinal police would have been happy if Papa had simply thrown a few people into hell somewhere in the middle of the movie.

Modern day Pharisees seem more hell-bent on promoting hell than the good news of God’s love through Jesus. Their criticism reveals more about them than about the movie.

The Shack will help you relate to God’s love more than any other movie…ever.

I celebrate that.