September 9, 2008
I am surprised enough to go into a major book store and find a novel by an obscure Christian writer displayed prominently as a best-seller. Imagine my astonishment to find the same novel featured prominently in airport bookstores in places as varied as Los Angeles, London, Johannesburg and Zihuantenejo, Mexico. Combine that with significant stories in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, and USA Today, and you catch something of the impact of “The Shack,” William Paul Young’s novel, that has now sold almost four million copies. The book was published by small company, initially promoted primarily via the internet until it has become a major publishing sensation, with a movie in the offering.
A book with such word-of-mouth popularity obviously is significant, especially when the writing is not particularly impressive. It has touched a chord in the heart of millions of readers, many of whom would not call themselves Christ-followers. At the same time it has generated significant concern in a large segment of the Christian community, with many concerned that it teaches seriously deviant theology.
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