A woman standing in line outside the theater to see The Shack movie was eager to talk with me about Paul Young’s best-selling book. She said she “loved” The Shack and couldn’t understand why it had so many critics on the Internet. She was especially perplexed by the number of “negative” comments made by pastors. Obviously confused by all the controversy, she suddenly exclaimed— "But The Shack is just a novel!”
What the woman and so many other Shack readers fail to take into account is that the book is much more than just a novel. It is a carefully crafted presentation of Paul Young’s alternative “Christian” universalist theology based on “real” conversations he claims to have had with God. In Young’s forward to The Shack Revisited, a book written by his friend C. Baxter Kruger, Young corrects any misunderstanding that The Shack is “just a novel.” He writes: Please don’t misunderstand me; The Shack is theology. But it is theology wrapped in story.
In Lies We Believe About God, which was released on March 7th, Young states that he believes in “universal salvation” and that “every single human being is in Christ” and “Christ is in them.” Thus, Young himself makes it very clear in his own words that The Shack is not “just a novel” but rather a “cunningly devised fable” (2 Peter:1:16) for presenting some of his own heretical universalistic New Age views.
(Warren Smith, "When People Say, 'But The Shack is Just a Novel!'” Lighthouse Trails Blog, March 13, 2017)