After debuting at number three at the box office last week and taking in $10 million last weekend at number four in the nation, The Shack is causing more and more evangelical leaders to warn Americans that the movie designed to attract Christians is a “theological disaster.”
Gaining popularity from being based on the bestselling novel by William P Young donning the same title, The Shack is reportedly one of the most successful faith-based films to hit the big screen in recent years – a trend that is making many Christian leaders concerned about its reportedly false interpretation of the Gospel.
Teaching false doctrine
Addressing the incongruities with Scripture on his daily podcast, The Briefing, last week, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler, Jr., alerted his audience that the movie is most likely giving Americans a false portrayal of what Bible-believing Christians believe.
"The real danger – the seductive danger of The Shack – is that it's presented as a retelling of the Christian story," Mohler expressed on his program.
The theological expert went on to warn believers and non-believers alike about the deceiving nature of the film that should be regarded only as entertainment – not as a true Christian testimony.
"Christians armed by Scripture and committed to the Christian worldview should highly value fiction and thus evaluate it by Christian norms,” Mohler continued. “But we can never value a vehicle for importing heresy into the Church or misrepresenting Christianity to the watching world."
The gender-bending of God in the film is one of the main complaints raised against it.
“One of the more controversial aspects of the movie – which deals with deep loss and tragedy – is its depiction of the Holy Trinity,” The Christian Post (CP) reported. “God the Father (Papa), for instance, is played by Octavia Spencer – portrayed as a woman – while the Holy Spirit is also presented as a woman.”
A New Age depiction of the Bible
Another Christian leader agrees that The Shack pushes the envelope as heresy.
It was argued by Jerry Newcombe – who serves as a senior producer, on-air-host and columnist with D. James Kennedy Ministries – that depicting God as a woman could validly be considered by many as heretical.
"I felt the movie was too New Age for my tastes,” Newcombe expressed in his CP column. “If Oprah Winfrey were to make a 'Christian' movie, The Shack would be it. I felt it took too many liberties with the Person of God. God commands us to not to make any graven images."
According to Mohler, the depictions of God and the Christian faith in the controversial movie were “profoundly unbiblical” … to the extent that it promotes a vice commonly warned about in the Bible – idolatry.
"The Bible warns against any false depiction of God and calls it idolatry,” the biblical scholar told the Baptist Press. “Making that into a compelling story just compounds the theological danger, and when all of this is added to the creative storytelling power of Hollywood, it also becomes very seductive."
Blindly standing for The Shack?
Sam Worthington, who is one of the stars in The Shack, defended its controversial content without making a biblical case for it.
"The Shack helped him understand his own relationship with God,” Worthington told CP in an interview while reflecting on his character. "I came to religion very late – in my 20s – and it was never something that was thrust on me as a young kid. It's something that I discovered – and [it’s] my choice,"
The actor avoided directly speaking on the controversial portrayals in the movie by conceding that he is still learning about God, his own faith and the Bible.
"I'm still on this journey of discovery [myself] and I think part of my journey was getting involved with The Shack," Worthington shared.
Also asked to address the controversy surrounding The Shack, country music star Tim McGraw – who plays a leading role in the film – justified the movie’s depiction of God by implying that the Bible does not clearly represent God as a masculine or male figure.
"We don't know … I don't know,” McGraw told Know News. “I know if I told you what God looked like and felt like, then I'd be telling you a story. I just think we don't know. God manifests Himself, herself or itself in a way that we need it – in a way that we can grab a hold of and a way that we can put our arms around."
Promoting the movie’s themes of “love, compassion and forgiveness,” McGraw went on to insist that The Shack can be used as a “tool” to help people in the journey of life – without indicating whether its so-called guidance leads audiences on a biblically correct path … or on a road to destruction based in false doctrine.