Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Review: Finding God in the Shack by Roger E. Olson

An In-Depth Look at a Publishing Phenomenon

At first glance, “Finding God in the Shack” by Roger E. Olson (2009 Intervarsity Press) appeared to be an over reaction to William Paul Young’s controversial novel “The Shack.” The book has drawn criticism from some Christians because of its depiction of God as a woman (well, two women and Jesus, actually) and because of some references that some have taken to mean that the God in the book suggests you don’t have to be a Christian to be saved.

Upon closer examination, however, I found this study a helpful guide as Olson looks for “truth in a story of evil and redemption.”

Because “The Shack” may appeal to people seeking answers, but who don’t have a foundation in the Word, Olson’s study is at once a guide for the seekers and a reference manual for Christians who might be helping them in their search.

Olson highlights each theological point raised in “The Shack” and expands on it from a biblical perspective. His emphasis is on finding the positive aspects of God as depicted in the novel and helping people “develop a relational view of God as defined by Jesus Christ – loving, forgiving, compassionate and merciful.” A handy study guide with questions is included at the end of the book.

“Finding God in the Shack” would be a great companion to a book discussion group in your neighborhood or church.

Tp purchase this book, click here.

--Lauren Yarger

1 comment:

David Murdoch said...

Books that contain heresies or untruths, can still have much truth in it that can benefit people. The main problem, however, is sometimes a reader doesn't successfully distinguish between the two and can be led astray by the errors.

I prayed and did my best to make sure that my novel didn't contain anything of that sort. I know how much some christian fiction authors feel concerned by this too.

God Bless,

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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