Posts Tagged ‘the devil’

“Shack” Theology: Where Is the Devil?

By Warren B. Smith

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves.1 – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The Shack’s author, William P. Young, quotes C.S. Lewis favorably and frequently in his books, but The Screwtape Letters by Lewis is not one of the books from which he has quoted. I bring up Lewis, not as an endorsement, but to point out a discrepancy. The Screwtape Letters is a novel that presents some of the many ways Christians can be effectively seduced and deceived by Satan and his demons—a subject that is completely ignored in The Shack and in Young’s other books. The discrepancy is that Young  chooses quotes from authors like Lewis to serve his own personal and theological agenda while conveniently ignoring writings by the same author that actually contradict his agenda. The Screwtape Letters is a perfect example.

The Screwtape Letters consist of a series of letters sent by a senior seducing spirit named Screwtape to his young understudy Wormwood. In the letters, Screwtape teaches Wormwood how to subtly undermine and eventually destroy the faith of his Christian “patient.” In the quote cited above, Screwtape tells Wormwood to conceal himself in such a way that the designated individual remains unaware of his spiritual presence. And this is exactly what we find in The Shack. The Devil and his deceptive spirits are never mentioned—not even once. It’s no wonder Young avoids The Screwtape Letters when he quotes C.S. Lewis. Acknowledgement of a real Devil and seducing spirits plays no part in The Shack and its supposed expression of  Christian theology.

Young has a witty but innocuous C.S. Lewis quote at the beginning of The Shack’s main chapter on relationships.2 But where The Screwtape Letters serves to expose and warn about the ways Satan thwarts and undermines a believer’s relationship with God, Young’s novel—and in particular this chapter on relationships—says absolutely nothing in this regard. Given The Shack’s emphasis on the importance of  “relationship,” it seems odd that no mention is ever made in Young’s novel about a believer’s uninvited yet inevitable “relationship” with his Spiritual Adversary—Satan the Devil. There is no acknowledgment, no warning, no advice, no anything in The Shack concerning the Devil, his seducing spirits, and their many wiles.

Contrarily, the Bible tells believers to put on the full armor of God, so they can stand fast against the wiles of the Devil and powers of darkness that are very real (Ephesians 6:11-13). We are admonished to be “sober” and “vigilant” because our Spiritual Adversary is walking around like “a roaring lion” and “seeking whom he may devour”—whether that be in a shack or anywhere else (1 Peter 5:8-9). We are told to resist the Devil and his temptations with the Word of God—not with human wisdom and “relationship” (Matthew 4:1-11).

Young’s easy dismissal of the Devil implies that our Spiritual Adversary is not someone we have to contend with in our lives and relationships. Young goes so far as to teach that “evil and darkness” don’t even exist. Young puts these words in the mouth of his “Holy Spirit” character “Sarayu”:

Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence.3

But this is what the universal New Age Christ teaches—that “evil does not exist.” This false universal Christ states:

Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, and evil does not exist.4

With darkness having no existence of its own, it’s no wonder that Young’s presentation of evil and darkness agrees with the teachings of the New Age rather than the teachings of the Bible. His expressed disbelief in the existence of independent evil goes right along with his self-confessed universalist leanings.5

 Hidden in Plain Sight

The Shack’s Papa “God” cites a number of inhibiting factors concerning “relationship” in what Papa calls “all the limiting influences in your life that actively work against your freedom.”6 These limiting influences are also referred to as “that confluence of multifaceted inhibitors.”7 But again, Young fails to make any mention of the Devil as one of these influences or inhibitors. For a man who likes to quote C.S. Lewis, Young might want to read or reread The Screwtape Letters. It would seem that Wormwood-like seducing spirits have effectively convinced Young they have no existence. As a consequence of this spiritual deception, Young has defined the Devil right out of existence—out of The Shack, out of his “Christian” theology, and out of the Bible. Sadly, most Shack readers become so emotionally caught up in Young’s novel, they never notice that the Devil is completely absent from his Shack story and Shack theology.

So where is the Devil in Young’s novel? Be sure of this—the Devil’s presence completely overshadows and thoroughly permeates the pages of The Shack. Cloaked in humor, clouded in human wisdom, concealed in flattery, tucked away in mockery and sarcasm, and hidden in half-truths and lies, the Devil thoroughly inhabits the many conversations that ultimately produce Young’s universal, New Age-flavored Shack theology. The Devil may appear to be absent from The Shack, but for those who have the eyes to see, the Devil is the unspoken force that inspires Young and purposely and cunningly drives his novel. As they say, the Devil is in the details. The Devil is not absent from The Shack, he is just hidden in plain sight.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us:  for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)


  1. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York, NY: Macmillan Company, 1960), p. 39.
  2. William P. Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity ( Los Angeles, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 104.
  3. Ibid., p. 136.
  4. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975) (Text) p. 38.
  5. Wm. Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2017), pp. 118-119. (Young states that he believes in universal salvation.)
  6. William P. Young, The Shack, op., cit., p. 95.
  7. Ibid.

Related Information:

BOOKLET – The Shack and Its New Age Leaven by Warren B. Smith

The Shack’s Universal Papa

“The Shack,” TBN, and the New Age


From the Truth To Strong Delusion

“How do you think that the great deceiver works? Does he show up in a hideous looking devil’s suit? What would be a good way for Satan to get a foot in the door of the church and many would not know it?” – Roger Oakland

Commentary by Roger Oakland
Understand the Times

Many have asked the question: how is it possible that End Times apostasy can sweep the world so quickly in these Last Days and so few see that it is happening? There is only one way to understand this phenomenon. The Bible foretells this would happen (Matthew 24: 3-4). Now that we are witnessing End Times spiritual deception fewer and fewer Bible professing Christians see what is taking place.

When discerning believers confront their pastors or church leaders about the apostasy happening in their churches where they have worshiped for many years, they are often told to leave and go somewhere else. This “get out or shut up” attitude is common and follows a pattern. The teaching of the Word and the love of God once in fellowships of believers has got up and gone. How sad it is to see what is happening to the church of Jesus Christ in our time.

Over the past three months, I have had the opportunity to meet with numerous brothers and sisters located in five different cities throughout North America. These people represent Christians who have been asked to leave the churches they once attended. All were serious Bible believing Christians who love the Lord and His Word. The churches they attended have all “gone south” by accepting postmodern “googly-gook” promoted by the emerging church/purpose driven movement. All of them have asked me the same question: how did it happen that strong delusion crept in so quickly?

The answer to this dilemma can only be understood in light of the Bible. The purpose of this commentary will be to try to explain what is happening from a biblical perspective, why this is happening, and where things are headed in the future.   We know that the Word of God is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching and for correction (2 Timothy 3: 16). We live in a day and age when God’s Word is ignored or annihilated. We need to stand firm on the Word and proclaim it.

Two Kingdoms

The Bible clearly describes a spiritual battle raging all around us (Ephesians 6: 12). Two kingdoms are in this battle: the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan (Colossians 1: 13). God’s Kingdom is associated with light (Acts 26: 18). God’s Word is light and exposes darkness (Psalms 119:105). Satan’s agenda is to hide the light and to promote darkness (Revelation 16:10). God’s light will set us free from the wiles of the devil if we accept what God has revealed to us and act upon it accordingly (Psalms 119: 130). Satan’s kingdom is always associated with darkness. The Bible states that men like darkness more than they like light (John 3:19). The light of God shines into the darkness so that men can be saved, but men choose darkness over light (John 12:35). Even believers are not immune from Satan’s plan and they can be used as tools of deception because Satan is the one who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9).

Therefore, in the Last Days both unbelievers and believers will be the target of Satan’s agenda. He wants to deceive the whole world, as he is the god of this world. Apostasy involves seducing those who once believed and deceiving them so they become part of the problem rather than the solution. Rather than warning others that the end is near and that the antichrist is at the door, they actually promote the lie that there is a PEACE Plan authored by man (I Thessalonians 5:3) These are the perilous times that Paul warned about (2 Timothy 3:1).

According to the Bible, the battle for the truth will intensify in the last days. If the Word of God is light and Satan’s kingdom is darkness, then it is easy to see what is happening. Satan has an agenda to attack the Word of God. One way he does this is through human manipulation. If he can make God’s Word the word of man and the pope’s word the “word of a god,” he will have succeeded. This is the goal of the Jesuits who are still operating throughout the world to bring the separated brethren back to the mother of all churches with headquarters in Rome.

While this agenda may seem far-fetched, you will find this plan explained in the Bible. One man will eventually rule the world with a system of control. The pope and his throne in Rome and a man who sets up his throne in the temple in Jerusalem certainly seem to provide the scenario the Bible foretells will happen. If you pay attention to current events, it is very close to happening right now! Click here to continue reading.

Also check out this news alert from Understand the Times: 

Newt Gingrich and Calvary Chapel – Connections That Beg Answers

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