Christian Leaders Express Concerns (Including Depicting God as Woman) with Film Adaptation of Bestselling “Heretical” Novel, ‘The Shack’

The Shack

The Shack

NOTE: This article was edited after it was published to more accurately and comprehensively reflect and provide context for Pastor Joe Schimmel’s concerns about the novel, and thus the upcoming film that is based on it. Schimmel also took to his blog to respond directly to the original article; read his words hereThe edited version follows below…


Today brings word that some Christian leaders have taken issue with, among other things contained within it, the depiction of God as a woman (played by Octavia Spencer) in the upcoming Lionsgate faith-based film “The Shack,” which is an adaptation of the best-selling book by William P. Young.




“If the film is a faithful portrayal of the events and the theology of the book, then every Christian should be gravely alarmed at the further advance of beliefs that smear the evangelical understanding of the truth of the Bible,” said James B. DeYoung, author of “Burning Down the Shack: How the ‘Christian’ Bestseller is Deceiving Millions,” told the Christian News Network (CNN) website in a December 20th article titled “Christians Warn Upcoming ‘Shack’ Movie Depicting God as Woman Could ‘Far Outweigh’ Harm of Novel.”

In addition, Joe Schimmel, the pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, and host of the documentary “Hollywood’s War on God,” shared his concerns with the CNN stating: “Young’s pretentious caricature of God as a heavy set, cushy, non-judgmental, African American woman called ‘Papa’ (who resembles the New Agey Oprah Winfrey far more than the one true God revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ—Hebrews 1:1-3), and his depiction of the Holy Spirit as a frail Asian woman with the Hindu name, Sarayu, lends itself to a dangerous and false image of God and idolatry.”

Schimmel is very concerned that the bestselling book and its “false messages” (as he puts it on his blog Cup of Joe) has apparently been widely-embraced by the Christian community, despite what he describes as its “counterfeit Christianity that draws in fans but distorts the Bible.”

Schimmel lays out what he calls 13 false representations of God (“heresies”) found in “The Shack” (the book), in a post on his website titled “The Shack and the Seduction of the Church.”

The piece begins with: “Many people are being moved by emotional stories and seduced into accepting another Jesus rather than the Jesus of the Bible. Sadly, even Christians are being deceived into this false message about God and embracing an all-inclusive counterfeit Christianity that draws in fans but distorts the Bible. How does the Bible compare to the theology taught by William P. Young’s characters in ‘The Shack’? Because The Shack continues to be a best seller, and evangelicals and otherwise conservative churches are so taken in by this novel, we felt it was necessary to call attention to this subject again. Evangelicals have embraced the book and pastors have bought the book by the cases for their church members, even centering bible studies around it. Why would a book that contains 13 separate heresies about God be so popular with those who ought to know Scripture? It has caught on like wildfire because Christians today let their feelings determine truth rather than let truth dictate their feelings.”

He invites his readers to “learn the truth” in an hour-long audio sermon (click the link above), and then goes on to list “Thirteen Heresies in ‘The Shack'” by Dr. Michael Youssef.

Christian author James DeYoung (mentioned at the beginning of this post) is also a critic of the novel, and chimed in as well with his opinions on its content and the upcoming movie it’s based on, stating that the film’s faithfulness to the book’s message and wide distribution could “far outweigh” the damage that the book alone he claims has already done.

Both Schimmel and DeYoung are critical about a concept known as “Universalism,” which apparently the book embraces; essentially the belief that all people, regardless of sin, will ultimately go to heaven, which goes against what they say the bible teaches. According to Schimmel, “The Shack” is guilty of “denying that God will pour out his wrath on unrepentant sinners, as well as the fact that Christ took God’s wrath as the substitutionary atonement for the wicked,” describing what the “abberant” book does as “heresies,” adding that “these are not mere trivial matters but strike at the very heart of God’s character and the gospel that saves our eternal souls.”

I suppose you’ll have to listen to his sermon to know and fully grasp what his concerns are.

In closing, author DeYoung suggests the following: “My word to the viewers of the movie ‘The Shack’ is this: If they confess to be Christians, they should pay close attention to the statements made by the actors and ask themselves: Does this theology agree with the Bible and Christian doctrine? Or, is it more in line with the old distortions of the truth that Christians have identified as heresy as early as the Council of Constantinople in 533?… Contrary to UR, 2,000 years of Church history cannot be wrong.”

In summary, both Schimmel and DeYoung take issue with a number of things within the book; one of them being the depiction of God as a “pretentious caricature… a heavy set, cushy, non-judgmental, African American woman called ‘Papa’ [who] resembles the New Agey Oprah Winfrey far more than the one true God revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ—Hebrews 1:1-3.”

The question that evangelicals can answer for the rest of us non-evangelicals is how God is revealed in Hebrews 1:1-3, and whether or not your expectations of how God should be depicted in media is challenged by how God is depicted in the source material (the novel) that they film is based on; and also whether any of that ultimately matters.

Read the full article on the Christian News Network here.

Directed by Stuart Hazeldine, Lionsgate will release “The Shack” on March 3, 2017.

Watch a trailer for the upcoming film below:



173 Comments

  1. Its more a gender issue than race. Had it been a Black male, then you wouldnt have heard anything from them. Most Christians regardless of race would have an issue with God being portrayed as a woman because God is referred to as “Our Father”. Also, “universalism,” is blasphemous and should be criticized as it goes against a basic Christian tenet.

    • We share many of the same thoughts on this issue. However, the word “Black” was used, along with other negatives directed more at the actress than the concept which in my opinion smacks of a host of un-Christian-like behaviors. After all, it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, for it reflects the heart.

        • No, but he called her a “Fat Black woman”. That’s an insult. This b**** doesn’t represent Christianity

    • So how do you explain that fact that no one made a peep when Alanis Morrisette played God in Kevin Smith’s film Dogma? Let’s be honest it’s because it’s a black woman

      • I remember lots of folks complaining about “Dogma” back in the day just on principle. But because it was Kevin Smith making fun of religion, instead of a purportedly Christian film like “The Shack”, details like Alanis playing God got buried. Octavia Spencer playing “Papa God” in a characterization not played by a woman of color since the 1930’s just adds more layers onto the complaints.

          • This was literally my first reaction to this headline (although I was thinking of Whoopi playing God in 2002’s “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie”), and I was shocked that it wasn’t mentioned at all in the article and I had to scroll this far down the comments to find someone mentioning her!

      • Definitely more the black thing than woman thing. Both together?? That’s too much for their little brains…

      • My mother worked for a Catholic newspaper back when Dogma came out and the Catholics were absolutely incensed by Dogma. It was a weekly newspaper and they had a new article about Dogma every single week.

    • I agree that it is more of a gender issue. Morgan Freeman played God in “Bruce Almighty” and not a stir (at least I didn’t read about it). Seldom is a Black woman perceived as a woman who happens to be Black.

      • Whoopi Goldberg played God in the Muppets Christmas. No one cared then, no one cared noe. This is an.opportunity for these race bait writers to use the term Trumps America as negatively as possible.

        • Well it begs the question why people are mad now and not when Whoopi did it.. I think we can all talk/write about contovertial things without going crazy on each other.. I think we are growing spiritually in some ways. I think THAT is how Christians are supposed to be.. not like these wannabes.

      • Race does play into it but the fact that it’s a woman magnifies their discontent. Religion and it’s disdain for women un leadership needs to be seriously examined. I have become some what agnostic because l don’t believe a man is always more suited for leadership simply because he was born male. It’s all about preparation and will as far as I am concerned. History has proven that some women are decisive and have the heart to be very good leaders. I am married; my husband is my partner and friend. I don’t need a prince because I am not a princess. I don’t need a knight because l am more than capable of defending myself and I don’t start fights.

      • So why did some mention her race if only her gender was an issue?

        “Young’s pretentious caricature of God as a heavy set, cushy, non-judgmental, African American woman called ‘Papa’ – who resembles the New Agey Oprah Winfrey far more than the one true God revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ in Hebrews 1:1-3 – and his depiction of the Holy Spirit as a frail Asian woman with the Hindu name, Sarayu, lends itself to a dangerous and false image of God and idolatry.”

    • You hipocritical bunch of god fearing idiots! No one says a word for Christ sake when George Burns (white and old puffing on his cigars) played GOD, REALLY!!!!! Now a
      beautiful women wants to play this part in a movie and you say those things!!! Call your Pope see if he agrees with you! You judgements hipocrits! How dare you!!! This kind of waste if time, pisses me off there are so many more important tragedy, and issues,in the world that need fixing! Wake up!

      • They are self righteous Wanita so they will never wake up. I don’t buy into it. It’s the main reason l have tuned religion out of my head. This has nothing to do with God; it’s a tool men use to manipulate women so they can have theirs way. Not all men think this way and they are the only men who matter to me. The rest can disappear. A real man is not threatened by women in leadership roles.

      • Wanita, also keep in mind that George Burns was Jewish. Something else that should’ve sent these evangelical Christian yahoos through the roof. THEIR God was, of course, a Christian God…and not that heathenous Hebrew God of Abraham. **eye roll**

      • Wanita, I agree! Well said. George Burns was ok but not Octavia Spencer? But please remember the so-called Christians making these ridiculous remarks are members of Protestant sects. They do not recognize the Pope! He’s the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Those Protestant sects ridicule Catholics. Never in a million years would they have anything to do with the Pope.

    • Some of those same “christian leaders” have no problem with putting a crass, crude, ignornant , racist, misogynist like trump in office, so who gives a damn what they think?

    • There is only ONE act of blasphemy and that is the denial sms rejection of the Holy spirit. In the end we will all go to heaven, we all don’t get to stay. According to Christianity we must stand before the judgment seat, where do you think that might be? Her on earth? The gates of hell? A non existent pergatory?

    • Agree that it’s a gender issue and not a race issues. I also totally agree that the reason why the film was made was to promote Universalim, Spiritualism and Paganism. The battle between the Devil’s seed and God’s Seed ( Genesis 3:15) continues.

    • For anyone saying it’s not about a “black thing”… Christians cried big salty tears over the Mall of Americas Black Santa… Tell me again how it’s not a black thing?

    • If the Christian leaders had taken the time to read the book, then they would know that Ms. Spencer is a great choice, if not Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey or Viola Davis. It’s about race, gender and anything that isn’t white male-dominated. It should be quite obvious by now that no amount of stealing, murdering, raping, pillaging, dividing, slandering, lying, electing or other evil and negative things done to others to try to oppress them will stop the truth or The Truth.

        • These people are crazy people are people black white yellow red I I don’t know what these Christians are about I am a white man agnostic what was Catholic for many years most of the people I knew were good people had a lot of religion in my family dad almost was a priest three uncles that were missionary priests and 3X that wera nuns for what I saw of them they were good people no judgement that’s not all religion people I see it here on Facebook how can you even think you’re a good person that’s the way you feel about stupid things like people and also the Black Santa get over that life’s too short thanks I just had two blow off some steam hope everybody has a good Christmas and a Happy New Year

    • I agree with the article’ author. This Evangelical objection to the portrayal of God as a Woman is founded in Trump’s racial uprising in America. Joe Schimmel’s physical description of Octavia is anything but a Christian view… it is a racist view expounded by a racist Pastor. He spends more time telling of her “body” imagine, than her gender. Oddly, he has such a strong opinion about how God should look… but has no opinion(s) about how elected president Trump has no intention of even bringing God into the White House. Hypocrites clothed as Pastors… are also found in pulpits.

      • The evangelical objection to the portrayal of God as a black woman is rooted in beliefs that predate Trump by several centuries.

    • OK if we are to STICK WITH THE BIBLE it states Jesus had skin of bronze,hair of wool that’s sound like he was black so why can’t God be black it doesn’t state in the bible whether God is MALE OR FEMALE..”I AM WHAT I AM”..

    • Even the KJV Holy bible proves that God is Black (Jer. 8:21) and She could be as Fat as Aunt Jemima (Job 42:14) grinning at us on the pancake box. In fact our God Parent is so Black and Fat that even Jesus Christ himself calls her our Fat-Her who art in heaven. I am looking forward to seeing this movie. Mostly because People have been misreading and misunderstanding the Bible for far too long. Further if the whole truth be told, I think God is pretty pissed off at Her sons over the treatment of Her daughters. Some people can’t admit We All Come for Her Dark Heavenly Body Waters & Womb. Don’t you remember that in the beginning God showed Her Spiritual Face as Darkness as SHe moved upon the waters, and ‘Then said “let there be light”, or whites. Funny how you can believe Jesus Christ was born from a virgin woman, but that God can’t believe that due to “male and female made he them” that God is actually a Black Female Goddess who had to plays both roles as our father and mother. She told Her son to make Adam 1st to look like himself, but God also made the daughter next and as the 2nd she was made better than him.

    • Universalism does not go against basic Christian tenents. Augustine, the popularizer of evangelical theology including the idea of an eternal hell, mentioned that there were many Christians in his day who did not deny Scripture but did deny that people would be eternally punished without the hope or chance of redemption. Some greek fathers taught universalism and called “apokatastasis” after the greek word in the New Testament which speaks of the “regeneration or renewal of all things.” The book of Revelation itself speaks of the Kingdom of God as the holy city whose doors are never shut. Paul says that God has “concluded all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all. O the depths of the wisdom and kindness of God.” Jesus himself spoke of only one sin that will not be forgiven in the coming ages (which would seem to indicate all others will). Only the sin of resisting God’s holy spirit will not be forgiven. And when the ages are concluded who is not to say that even these will repent and enter the city whose doors are never shut? In regard to gender, Jesus referred to himself being like a mother hen who wants to gather her chicks together. In Isaiah Yahweh is described as a mother. Of course the Fatherhood of God is focused on far more in Scripture. But Scripture was written in a patriarchal area. When Jesus described God as Father he was trying to enlarge people’s view of God, not limit it further.

    • They must have forgotten what the Bible says about how man/mankind was made in the image of G-d.

    • It will never be Donald Trump’s America just like it wouldn’t have been Hillary Clinton’s America if she won. It was never Barack Obama’s or George W. Bush’s or Bill Clinton’s America either. It is just America. The President is a public servant who works for Americans in America. I think this a great time for some especially those who consider themselves conservative/evangelical Christians to start looking at themselves and make sure that what they believe politically doesn’t conflict or clash with fundamental Christianity. This little movie is nothing, but the pious Pharisaic behavior that is growing is sad and a matter of great concern.

    • Father means “source” not man. You can reference this is Strongs Biblical Concordance…

    • Got it sis, it appears to be a beautiful movie, do you think it would push people to search for the true God? One may plant , another waters, but God shall give the increase

    • Cultures were paternalistic at that time. If maternalistic, I suspect Jesus would have referred to “Our Heavenly Mother”. Regarding your assertion about universality, it is not for us to judge who will be saved. To do so is to attempt to replace God.

    • I read “The Shack,” years ago and if I remember correctly God was a black women in the book.

    • Meh…. A myth is still just a myth no matter who you get to play the main character. I might have been able to watch and enjoy the film, but probably won’t bother now. I’m sick of the oh so tolerant left blaming Trump for anything and everything they are scared of.
      Like somebody else said, it’s not Trump’s America, it’s yours, start looking inward at the problems.

    • Dear White PPL..

      Lmfaoooo is u mad or na!!!

      Jesus WAS NEVER WHITE DUMB ASSes😂😂😂😂😂😘awww yaw are mad… get over it.. shes god!! Do bown down bitches😂😂😂😂😂

    • Is this some joke? Obviously, these white Christians never read the book. Oh, that’s right. Many pastors told their congregations to NOT read the book. Being obedient to their pastors, they didn’t read it. So, now, the pastors can tell them to not to go to the movie.

      The book has been very controversial since Paul and friends self-published it. The book was written for Paul’s family to understand his beliefs and way of seeing God. He didn’t write it to publish it. You can go to Paul’s website to read about why it was self-published. (btw – it has sold over 18 million copies since it was published in 2012)

      Not only have I read the book – spoiler alert – In the book, God is a black woman called Papa (cause that is how Paul speaks with God). The Holy Spirit is an Asian woman. And Jesus is a man – in the book, a Jewish/Arabic looking man.

      • Of course none of these white Christians read the book. They would rather burn books than read them. I doubt any of them read the Bible, either. Too many big words. With faith and belief in the white male Lord Almighty, they ain’t got no need for fancy book learnin’.

    • Ok everyone, this shouldn’t even be up for debate. DID YOU READ THE BOOK?? That’s the way the book is written! Please stop jumping off bridges over stupid stuff!

    • For me it’s definitely a gender thing. I don’t think he would ever go out female after what EVE did!!! Also, it’s God the Father and Mother Earth – nobody ever turns Mother earth male so why this?

  2. Idiots…..I doubt that you’d have pale skin and blue eyes living so close to Africa….He had hair like that of wool….Copper Skin…..Those angry Christian should really research the true His*story behind the biblical characters, maybe they’d see that they’ve chosen the perfect person for that part…..

  3. The reason why a black eoman was cast as God is because THE AUTHOR’s Description of God in the book was that of a black woman. No other reason. The people who have a problem with this OBVIOUSLY didn’t read the book.

    • Thank you! They couldn’t have read the book if they have a problem with the race or gender of the God character chosen for the movie. “Papa” looked like a heavy black woman in the book. These people need to try reading it before they complain. Sounds like just something to whine about.

      • I know about the book and I still have a problem with God being a woman. “Our Father” means masculine period. Just because it’s God, regardless of the book.

        • Yeah, but not everyone believes in the Hebrew god, There are quite a lot who believe in a Mother Goddess. I really don’t see what the problem with having a female god(dess) is. They were around long before the so called “one true god” came into the picture.

        • The Book was written by men, operating within a Patriarchal construct, trying to make sense of the concept of the human-deity relationship. Surely you do not believe God actually has an X and a Y chromosome?

    • Thank You. They should read this awesome book. It asks a question of all you Christians. Which of your children would you send to burn in eternity?

  4. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”(John 4: 23-24)

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

    Let those have ears hear.

  5. Whether you read the book or not, it’s still offensive to portray Almighty God as a woman when you classify something as “faith-based”. So whether she’s black, white, purple or teal — tall, fat, short or skinny — the very moniker of “Father” is in itself “male”. No disrespect to the actress, but this film is not a satire, farce, comedy or spoof. So yeah, it is a big deal when God is misrepresented in this context to practicing Christians. If you’re gonna slap a “faith-based” label on a film it’s only fitting you respect the tenets of the faith you’re heavily referencing. It’s just that simple.

    • I disagree. When the original text of the Bible in its original language, the pronoun used did not mean male or female. Man made that change.

      • That’s totally false Deborah. Man was made in the image and likeness of God. Woman was made from man, if God was a woman than the sequence would be changed at creation. God being a man is a milk issue, not a meat issue, the scriptures are very clear to this point. The temple services with the priest were ensamples of the heavenly sanctuary where our high priest is Christ (Man)… the earthly sanctuary where Aaron ministered were only operated by the men. The enemy causes distractions in issues concerning the Word because it divides… this is only an issue because of our fallen culture.

        • Then what do you make of all the stolen books in the Vatican that point to there being a mother God? As the wife of a preacher I have had to study many things, sobe if which are the dead sea scrolls and the stolen books. What we now understand is that the truth is far bigger than then just bible. Why do think there are so many variations of the same story even in places where Christianity does not live. You’re all being far too narrow. Like good would give us the actual knowledge in one sitting. What sine of you think is meat is only mashed up baby food.

        • The truth of the mayer is NONE of us know what’s what. Only the most high knows. Sheboygan we get there it will be resolved. Good said let US create THEM in our image.

        • Maine said “woman came from man”…lmao this comment thread smh…what so-called christians will let themselves be brainwashed in is nothing short of ignorantly amazing. Women don’t even come from men in real life. Some of u don’t even read what you type here, these comments make the book almost irrelevant. Really spiritually immature and lack of imagination type perspectives being shared here. Is this the 21st century? Are u sure?

          • Actually, males come from women!!! Via the delivery of babies. Why does everybody get their panties in a knot when it’s a work of FICTION???? NO one knows what God looks like…..Even Moses was only shown His back because “no man can see God and live”.

      • Thank you for speaking with knowledge and wisdom as those who profess to be children of God should be prepared to do before they open their mouths and insert their feet. God is “I am”. To put a gender on an omnipotent entity, whom we can never fully understand in our human nature is simply folly and breeds divisiveness.

        • No, God is “Our Father” and “He who calms the storm”. Don’t ignore the whole rest of the Bible because one verse doesn’t specify gender. The word is clear.

        • Yes! Exactly! I look at my spiritually the same. I have grown to not limit God, for I know too little when there is too much surrounding the truth. I know that God is love, omnipotent, omnipresent and as humans we will never fully understand the true story. That’s why faith needs to come from a pure place in our soul that operates from sheer love and trust. It’s about positivity and seeking growth openness. It takes too much time to do that. We have never “arrived”. Octavia is the perfect cast for this picture. Her gift in acting is POWERFUL. Let’s focus on the message.

    • God can be whoever or whatever you need at that particular moment. In the book he needed a mother’s love and guidance at that time. Don’t talk about until you read and understand what was going on at that time. God can be whoever you need Him to be. In Isaiah you will find the description of Jesus and He certainly isn’t white or totally black. Just do your research before making comments. It was an amazing story, I loved it.

    • There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    • The book can still be called Faith-Based, they just didn’t say WHICH faith is was based on! christianity is NOT the only religion out there, and it isn’t the only one that matters!

    • We don’t know what God looks like and the book depicts God as this character. That’s the problem with people and their religious ideologies–they put restrictions on things. That’s not faith, that’s people believing that because the Bible says “Father” it must ONLY be so. The Bible was written by man, man is flawed. therefore the Bible is flawed too.

      • Revelations 1:14-15 shows what the most high looks like. The bible is actually not a religious book it is a book about the 12 tribes and their nationality. All these religions took bits and pieces of the bible and made there own thing but that’s not the truth of the most high. Cause christ came not to destroy the laws and commandments but to fulfil Matthew 5:17. If the bible is flawed why is there scriptures on not following the world and man. 1 John 2:15 and acts 5:29.

    • I am a christian woman Kiki. I believe it all boils down to what one believes. Who are we to put God in a box, to even say if he is male or female. God is not of us, we are of God. So wouldn’t it stand to reason to say that God is everything and can not be defined by race or color or gender. What does it matter what God looks like. Have you not seen the infinite ways the God creates. It is only the simple human mind that restricts God and casts him/her to be in the image of what we think him or her should be. I believe God is a spirit, and energy a creator that has no boundaries. The term “Father” is more so referring to the “Creater of all things” not nessecarily to the gender. And even though this may be written in “The Bible” the words may have come from or been inspired by God but the filter was still Man. And men tend to manipulate realities to fit their own ideas or beliefs. We are all small minded when it comes to the greatness of God. We shouldnt even attempt to understand or know God well enough to put forth an opinion as truth. Like please open your mind.

      • Thank you Ty, for this message! Many may disagree with what you have written, but, it is how and what I believe my FATHER is and about!!!

    • Where you n the bible does it say GOD IS MALE OR FEMALE you one seen him but Jesus..and yes he said MY FATHER..but my kids say I am they mom and dad..Jesus taught to be a white man with brown hair when the bible say hair of wool skin of bronze.. So who and do we believe..I SAY READ THE BIBLE/BOOK and let prole make up their on minds.IJS

  6. White people doing more hypocritical things.

    Jesus nor God are White. But I guess those images aren’t considered dangerous or false so long as the privilege continue to worship images of themselves. What a sick and twisted religion this is. I’m just happy to know Jesus for myself.

  7. I was aways taught that it is actually a great sin to say or write his name in Judaism. That’s why his name is often written as G-d .To refuse to say his name is a sign of respect . And I wonder how these people would think of a black man playing Jesus . After all , Jesus was supposed to have come from the Middle East . Many Jewish people from this part of the world are very dark .

  8. Why are folks upset if you read the book, God was portrayed as a black woman. And the Holy Spirit was an Asian woman if I recall

  9. I find it blasphemous to insist on one gender for a deity. God has a penis? Lol!
    Even using English language for that collection of books that make the bible; it states “God created man in his image. Male and female created he them.”
    So why would Christians have this problem?

    • 1st thing-what we feel doesn’t matter it’s what is taught in scripture that matters most. Christ Himself mentions God as the Father(Man). He even went on to say “if you seen me you have seen the Father”… the verse you quoted says “so God created man in His image, in the image of God created he him; (it then states) male and female He created them. Man was formed by God at creation woman was made from man… This is not a argument with study of the scriptures.

  10. Though mankind will never see what the Almighty looks like, the Bible say the God’s image is supposed to be an entity who has woolly hair and darker eyes in the book of Revelation. He may not be a race,but if he were, he seem like is appearance is that of a Black person.

    God also speaks of false prophets( Matt 7:15) and if anybody who is ” dangerous ” is the ” pastors” mentioned on here. He’s not racist ( Numbers 12,Acts 17:26,Genesis 1; 26-27).

    It just irks me when a pastor can come up with racist lies like that. When they think about it,God created a diverse world.He didn’t just made everything the same and the diversity he created he seen it as ” good ” .So if the Almighty seen a mistake with it,he would have corrected it himself.

    • Plus, in the original text, God is neither male or female. We are all born in his likeness.

  11. True Christians don’t have a problem and certainly not a true religious leader … now faux Christians, Christian Capitalists, merchants of unjust power …. that could be a problem for them

  12. I know the Bible, as men, males interpreted the thoughts & words of God. Here in the movie, a creative endeavor we are taken out of this world into an imaginative realm. The characters come from the writers imagination not reality.
    I believe in God in a way that transcends my thoughts & imagination. That is a God one that transcends my linier thinking.
    Historically God had to be male. Consider the times & culture.
    Then move two thousand plus years or what ever and ponder all the changes God has made through men & woman. The discoveries. What a blessing.
    I’m a Christian I love God the creator. I love Jesus my savior. I love the Holy Spirit. In my thinking I like to think of the Holy Spirit the feminine.
    I would like to think God could and has presented Godself in many forms. Amen

  13. I read the book and it saved my life. God will be for you what you need Him to be. I’m so tired of everything being a problem, why can’t we just get along. God created all of us,we’re all blood kin so get over yourself and let our Father reign. We as a nation are in serious trouble, let’s began to pray and watch our Father God do what He does best.LOVE.

  14. The best thing we can do is get out and support this movie.. The book has changed MANY lives, and now Satan seeks to use the ignorance of these individuals to try to be an hindrance. William Paul Young’s book is one of those books that makes us think and reminds us of our own ideals. A black female was NOT who “Mack” thought he’d meet at “The Shack” but that’s just why Young wrote the book like this. I for one plan to go see this movie for the entertainment, just as I have read his book over and over again and yes I’ve bought the books for others, even those in prison. My favorite movie is The Ten Commandments, but I didn’t get upset seeing all the Caucasians in the role of Pharaoh, Moses, Aaron, and others… We always, see movies at, Easter and etc. Where Christ is portrayed, as a white man.. William Paul wants us to THINK people. God is a part of ALL of us, and so he can come to us in ANY form He wants even as a FAT BLAVK LADY.. PAPA GOD!! These folks didn’t like the book and so they want to cause a stink about the movie, but GOD made the movie come to fruition and SATAN You can forget sabatoging it!! Go back to Hell

  15. Take the time and spend the $11.99 and purchase the book. God presented Himself to Mac as a black woman.

    • I have to agree. Whoever read the book, would understand the context of what the author intended. Don’t put God in a box and to shake their religious paradigm. Religious people think they know what God looks like and think. No man can contain the mind of the Father.

  16. So it would be ok for woman to portray Mohammed? Or Martin Luther King, because that’s how the author “perceives” the character? God is real. HE is always referred to as our heavenly Father. Portraying Him as a female is wrong. Just as wrong as advertising a movie based on Martin Luther King and casting King as a white female world be wrong. Some people sure have a hard time with right and wrong, don’t they?

    • wel Mo is1. not a god. Some ppl may revere him with similarly deep fervor, but thats not really intended.
      2. Like Jesus also a historical person who existed.In a movie that purpotedly cares about narrative grounded in some facts(because a millenium is lots of time for stuff to get lost/mixed up. We know where they lived and can readonably assume their ethnicity (not white. Semites, one Jewish, other Arab.)
      BUUUUUAT.. seeing that Quentin Crisp played Queen Elizabeth I in the filmversion of Virginia W.s Orlando in partially fictional works.. because that Mo isnt THE mo, doyougetwhatImean?

    • Just like some people have a hard time with “real” and “imaginary”, eh, Tstanek?

    • I agree with you 100 percent. Not only do they struggle with right ,and wrong but also with honor, and respect. God is male, not a black woman , nor is He a black man or white man. Matter of fact it is blasphemous to portrait God in any human form. No one has ever seen God. Also it is just as blasphemous to continue the lie of portraying Jesus as a white man. Also the imagination of men. Because someone says it,thinks it , or does it, does not make it right. I know that man is inherently evil by nature and so is his thoughts and deeds. Look at the world today , it is so obvious. The book and the movie are wrong and disrespectful on so many levels. Because it feels good does not make it right. Feelings are deceitful. You cannot make God be what you want Him to be , and God does not change because the changes. It is obvious by the the comments that the True and Living God in unknown to many and their own god has been created in their mind. Also knowledge and understanding of His word is also lacking by many.

  17. Why do these so called narrow-minded religious leaders think they have a monopoly on what constitutes the “appropriate” image for G_D, disgusts me no end. I’m tired of these Evangelicals forcing their interpretation of religion down everyone’s throats. It runs counter to this nation’s First Amendment, and it constitutes a genuine violation of religious liberty as it is properly defined. I’m sorry, but folks like Joe Schimmel, James DeYoung, and others of the same ilk are no more representative of Christianity than the Man in the Moon with a Silver Spoon. They are CINOs — Christians-In-Name-Only and while they are free to spew their vitriolic hatred, I will be the first to challenge and call them phony Christians, because they most certainly are the most unChristian and unAmerican individuals to inhabit the airwaves and pollute the air I’m breathing.

  18. I wonder how many of these commenters are S&A followers. Does the speed of the internet inspire rebuttal?

      • Sergio, be careful! Your spine can’t stand the weight of you patting on your own back, so hard. 🙂

        But look, although you’re still the comment king around here, you have a way to go to catch Andre’s post “Why White People Don’t Like Black Movies”. That post attracted 3000 comments! That’s right, a lot of angry white folks pushed back hard on that one. Hmmmmm, I can’t remember why they were so pissed off?

        Anyway, as I like saying, what about a time called now? You ARE da man!

  19. It’s almost like the Bible was written by a bunch of men living in a patriarchal society who wanted to solidify their social status as the dominant gender. XD

    I also find it very telling that in a movie where POC are once again accessories to a white man’s emotional and spiritual journey, Christians are more pissy about the Trinity’s ethnicity.

  20. Honestly, before anyone talked about a film, I was hearing about the “sacrilege” of the Shack. It’s the universalism more than anything that has them angry. Note that they say it’s a “cushy” black woman, meaning she’s inherently comforting, and it’s that idea of God as *comforting* that they really, really hate. Their God is not about comfort. Their God is about fire and anger and commandments.

  21. Firstly the oldest Christian society in earth is in Ethiopia. Christianity is an African religion. The Europeanisation of Christianity was started by emperor Constantine
    where a bible was concocted at the
    council of Nicea where gospels were chosen out of many to reflect the emperors agenda to control the population of his empire. This white washing of Christianity is based on idolatry where all images of Jesus & the saints were given white faces. This sin against the creator was given further credence when the image of Jesus as painted by Michelangelo was actually his lover Ceasore Borge. The church of Constantine became the Catholic Church which created more false idols & saints and the pope also gave European kings permission to enslave millions of Africans whilst promoting their fake religion. The
    European based Christian church is evil and will pay the price for its sins in time.

  22. Try making a movie portraying Allah as a white women then you’ll see people up in arms.

  23. Where were these two outraged pastors when Gods of Egypt and countless other White-washed movies came out?

  24. In the movie “Dogma”, singer Alanis Morrisette was cast as God; maybe I was the only one who saw the movie, but I don’t remember hearing or reading about this type of backlash regarding said casting.

  25. What’s sad is the comments people make without really studying the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek and make blanket statements about God that’s incorrect.

    For example in Genesis 1:1-2 God is both written as masculine and feminine

    Verse 1: God is noun/masculine.

    Verse 2: The “Spirit of God” part of speech is noun/feminine.

    God is Spirit. Therefore, neither male nor female, nor any race. (Note: The term race isn’t even biblical in the way we use it. It’s the human race, but different ethnic groups.)

    Simply, God is. God is whatever you need him to be in the moment.

    The Shack was a great book and paints a beautiful picture of how God becomes whatever you need him to be in your life for healing, hope, and life.

    There have been times in all of our lives when we needed God as a father, mother, friend, and lover. And God was there in our lives to be such.

    People open your eyes and see God in all of his fullness.

    God is!

  26. Admit it, folks. Do we really know what God looks like? We have our opinions and theories. To invoke His name in the same breath with hate, insults, racial overtones is unchristian any way you slice it. Man, whether he/she be minister, pastor or so-called Christian, will skewer anything, even the Bible. Out of everything in the Bible, if this is all a minister can impart to his flock, then it would appear that he really doesn’t know the God that is written about in the pages of the Holy Scriptures. I’m going to do him the favor of ignoring him.

  27. Number 1: God is a Spirit
    Number 2: We are not to make ANY image or recreation of God. Black, white, red, wood, steel, paint, gold, male, female, or animal… Christians are commanded not to do such things.
    Number 3: God has both male and female attributes. The very first words of the Bible are “In the Beginning God” translated to Hebrew is B’reshit bars Elohim. Elohim is used to refer to both genders and is also plural. Elohim created mankind in their image, both male and female.
    Number 4: No one has seen the face of God and lived. Moses saw the Glory of God passing by and he saw God’s back. Leaving Moses’s face in radiance. So much so, he had to wear a veil amongst the people .
    Number 5: God is light and truth. God is immortal . God’s physical being is not like human flesh.

    Christians should study and understand the attributes of God so they are not easily thrown about into these trivial arguments. God is not bound under the limitations of our thinking or flesh. Those who wish to marginalize God only seek to make the Christian faith comfortable for themselves and exclusive to others. Christ did not come to make you feel comfortable or to exclude those who you feel are not up to your defiled standards! Christ has come with a new covenant and opportunity for all who seek, to have life and life more abundantly. Christ opens a door that no man can shut.

  28. if yo read the book or see the movie with an open mine
    it may start you to think more about forgiveness of the person that have harmed you imaginary or real still needs forgiveness it will free you of your anger and hate witch is only destroying you and thousand of others forgiveness is a decision not a feeling. because we forgive shows that we are not ingeronet of satin plan to kill and destroy us all

  29. Why, obviously God must have XY chromosomes and a penis. Why he would have a penis and what he does with it is anyone’s guess, but he’s a MAN, darn it!

  30. If God is all powerful, and can change his.her form to suit his/her whim or message (burning bush, animals, etc) why does it matter if the form is that of a black woman, or asian man, or anything else?
    To quote Darth Vader: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

  31. Wish I could be there to see Joe Schimmel’s face (the pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California) should he ever discover that Jesus wasn’t Caucasian!! 😆😆

  32. it is about race…
    That why he said …
    “A fat black woman”
    ……
    Lets just ignore the biblical description of Jesus who is a middle eastern man ….

    Lol i can’t deal with this hate no more…

    No need to be surprised…
    It was Christians who kept slaves…
    This is nothing new

  33. I see a lot of vehemence, snark and disrespect in these comments and it saddens me. For so many people to be defensive about the appearance, character and likeness of God — your behavior has been most “ungodly”. We can debate as the day is long on this. But ultimately, the point of God making himself know to man was to ultimately reveal Christ, who was indeed a male. The very expressed image of God in human form. But that might spark another debate about whether or not Jesus Christ is really the messiah, etc. But if we’re going to debate “Christian” ideals, then please understand the rules of engagement. Otherwise, it’s every man’s opinion for himself and we get nowhere. But in honor of my FATHER in Heaven aka God Most High (El Elyon), Adonai, Jehovah, Yahweh, I Am That I Am, Elohim, El Shaddi, Jesus Christ, G-d — I wish you ALL a very Merry CHRISTmas and a prosperous New Year!

    • The Trinity doctrine was manufactured. Jehovah SENT his SON to the earth to DIE as a ransom sacrifice in place of Adams sins so that we may all have a chance at everlasting life. God’s face cannot be seen by man…do your research. Jesus himself said he was to not be worshipped and that the father was greater than he.

  34. I think it’s important to first read the book and ponder the message (eat the meat and spit out the bones), second get reacquainted with your bible and read it understanding what God is trying to accomplish in our world right now, and third, examine or own biases trying to hide as Christian doctrine so that we are aware. This is not the time to strain at gnats.

  35. I actually believe that this is as liberal issue, taking a few ” so called ” Christian comments and making it seem like a major concencious . Then to add Trumps name into the article like he’s the mastermind behind it all. I am a Christian and have been waiting for this movie ever since I read The Shack. Get over your liberal high horse and quit trying to speak of which you do not know

  36. Please clarify who used the term “fat, black woman.” The article from christiannews.net states “Reluctantly, Phillips returns to the site, where he meets the Godhead, portrayed as what Young calls a “fat black woman.” This attributes the quote to the author, not Mr. Schimmel from Simi Valley. As a side note, I emailed Mr. Young who stated that he did not make this comment. I look forward to the clarification.

  37. Once you give a listening ear to “crazy” and start responding to “crazy” you are on loosing ground. Moses and Jesus alike kept quiet when “crazy” had anything to say and that is my response to “crazy” what you have to means absolutely nothing take your meds and have a 💺 ladies and gentlemen. Gods needs no help in defending His character or description.

  38. It seems the pastor’s concerns (from a Christian perspective talking about a story marketed as faith based) are about the story’s portrayal of God rather than about the actress choice for the movie. He refers to “Young’s characterization of God”. His problem is with the story in the book (which many people inside the church have “studied” rather than reading as fiction. His comments are just more relevant to the public as the movie brings it back to the forefront. It is very important for leaders of any faith group to give warnings to be careful about “feel good” stories that easily mislead and misrepresent the truth of their religion (in this case of the Bible). If you are not concerned with or do not believe the Bible, then ignore the “warnings”. The movies criticizers need to make it clear the criticism is about the book, not about what looks to be an accurate portrayal of the book in movie form.
    As a Christian it is important to be firstly informed by the word of God. If we cannot believe what He has said in His word, then we have nothing to stand on. My feelings on a matter are going to be different than your feelings and are not a reliable source for truth. As far as the dilemma in the book over God “sending his children to hell”. We are born into a sinful nature. Not one of us deserve fellowship with Him (that requires absolute perfection as He is absolutely holy, perfect, and undefiled), yet He has done all the work of redemption to bring some pretty self-centered people back into a relationship with himself. Seems downright unfair to me….. By the way, He is the God who gave us life, He has the right and authority to require us to live however He wants. We like to say what we would do if we were God. I am pretty sure if i wer blessed with omnipotence, I would choose to wipe out anyone who had wronged me rather than make sacrifices to pay for the wrongdoers sin “out of my own pocket”. God, in his infinite power, still chooses mercy and grace. Sin still has to be paid for. if in the end it doesn’t matter, then Jesus died for nothing.

  39. First of all, I don’t see why the Author is blaming Trump for this. I couldn’t find any incidence of him bashing the movie or the actress. It appears that there are two people/ ministers? quoted as being upset by her portrayal. Two opinions hardly represent the feelings of all Americans. I think more and more people are becoming spiritual vs religious and are more accepting of different concepts of God and what he/she looks like. The mere writing of this article trying to portray angry white Christians and Trump as haters is actually devisive. Writing an article about the two men who are complaining gives more life to their ignorance and narrow mindedness. To truly promote peace, equality, unity and a sense of oneness, the Author could instead have written about people who think Octavia Spencer is a wonderful choice and quote praise for the book. I loved the book, think Octavia will be perfect for the part and can’t wait to see the movie 🙂

  40. The world is so confused. First of all Angels and spirit creatures have No gender. Secondly Jesus is not God, he is the Son of God. He prayed to his father not to himself….male and female organs are for the sake of reproduction and not existent in the spirit world. The reference to father is because we equate the male with dominance and headship…. God himself is neither make nor female nor is he of flesh and bloodnso this is just symbolism no MAN can see the face off God and live…. the bible says so. Know who God is first before judging ..

  41. Did no one consider that God, if it chose to manifest itself, could take any form at all and would likely choose the one that would be the most effective for whatever its purpose was?

    • Couldn’t agree more. It’s as if “Christians” don’t even understand their own religion or the implications of omniscient and omnipotent.

  42. Those who are against this most first prove that the Bible is not a work if Fiction before they can make any historical claim and correction!
    The Ten Commandments themselves are just a plagiarist work of male European chauvinism that began from Rome. No man and no god ever had the infamous conversation at the top of a hill. It is the work of a woman her name is the Royal Holy Mother Nezemt and it was from her hand that the Ten Commandments came to them by taking from her works the 42 negative confession, from which ten were taken. The Bible is not even an inspiration by a god just old angry white men and has for the clown Trump this is not Germany get out and take your fascism with you this is our America not your Hillary win the popular vote which means America still belongs to the people. Not to some clown with a little red penis

  43. There are a lot of so-called “Christians” that are arrogant enough to think they know what ‘the truth’ is. They are a mile wide and an inch deep and do not deserve a minute’s consideration. mho I can’t wait to see this! I love Octavia Spencer!

  44. I think these folks are forgetting that the Shack is a work of non-fiction. It is not a bible, this movie is not a bible story.

  45. Sergio Mims blames Trump, who hasn’t even taken office yet, for the racial divide created and maintained by the Obama administration…..typical liberal logic.

  46. If Xtians are true to or even knew what their concept of God is about, they’d either not care or have the same reaction anytime God is anthropomorphised without regard to race or sex. According to your dogma, he’s not human and doesn’t have human form. Ultimately it’s a fool’s errand as they’re arguing over an entity that doesn’t exist. Makes about as much sense as arguing over the color of Rudolph’s nose.

  47. First, I can’t believe so many Christians are all upset about God being portrayed as a woman. As A Christian I know in Genesis the word says, “In His image He made them, Male and Female He made them” Well……. God is both because God is spirit. I thought it was fantastic and THe Father explains why he manifests that way to Mackenzie at that time in that way. I think Olivia is the perfect person to play that role. I’m very excited to see i. This book has blessed my life so much, blessed my relationship so much with my Savior, I’m so happy it’s coming out in movie form.

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