For those who are well acquainted with the teachings of orthodox Christianity, The Shack by William Young is an easy target. As seen in my evaluation of the theology of The Shack (to which I will likely add even more), its pages are filled with almost incessant heterodoxy. From its idolatry of the triune God, to its distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to its man-centered view of God and creation, its heresies are such that they would, as a friend of mine quipped, make Arius blush. And despite these abounding heresies, The Shack has been accepted and even heralded by many evangelical Christians as a great work of Christian literature.
However, The Shack is not the disease of the American church, but its acceptance by the church is merely a symptom of the disease that she has had for years. For, though Young will certainly be judged one day for his heretical portraiture of God, there will be many pastors who fill pulpits in American churches today who will incur a much more devastating judgment. For these pastors have for decades neglected their office by their disobedience of the command of our Lord to the apostle Peter, “[If you love me], feed my sheep” (Jn. 21:17). For these pastors have acted precisely in the manner of the shepherds of Israel whom the Lord condemned through the prophet Ezekiel:
Thus says the Lord God: “Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.”
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord”: Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them” (Ez. 43:2-10).
This indictment by the prophet of the pastors of Israel fits well with the pastors of the American church, for they have fattened themselves with their seminary educations, their conferences, their theological readings, and their bible studies, but they have withheld these things from their flocks. Instead, they have ruled their congregations with a harsh hand promoting their own agendas, preaching incessantly about giving one’s money to fund their building projects, about having their people draw more candidates for starvation into their buildings, all the while making their followers twice the children of hell that they are (cf. Mt. 23:15). They have neglected teaching their flocks the weightier portions of the Scriptures (cf. Mt. 23:23) and have rather fed them with chaff leaving them meager and defenseless against such wolves in sheep’s clothing as William Young.
For this–for their willful neglect of rightly handling the Word of truth (cf. 2Tim. 2:15) and their not preaching the Word be it in season or out of season (cf. 2Tim. 4:2), American pastors will have to answer. They will answer for their large churches and their shallow and distorted Gospel. They will answer for their expensive cars, big houses, and large church budgets and their neglect of the poor, widowed, and orphaned. They will answer for their love of their traditions over the commandments of the Lord (cf. Mt. 15:1-3), and they will answer for the souls that they have guided to hell by their false teachings.
Therefore, beware, you who esteem yourselves as leaders and teachers of the Church of God. Your congregations’ being led astray by false teachers is your responsibility and your condemnation, whether you think it is or not.