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Fiery Response

Noted Professor Exposes Great Deception Lurking in Church’s Blindside

James De Young’s New Book Burning Down ‘The Shack’ Will Release
June 1

DAMASCUS, OREGON, April, 2010 - It’s the feel-good novel about faith that millions of people love. And its warm and fuzzy depiction of God the Father is cherished by millions of Evangelical Christians who’ve embraced it as though it were gospel.

This mass adoration has helped seemingly cement William Paul Young’s The Shack to the stratosphere of numerous best-sellers list - where it’s remained for more than 100 weeks - a claim no other book can make.

Yet it is infused with counterfeit Christianity, says author James De Young in his new book, Burning Down ‘The Shack’: How the ‘Christian’ Bestseller is Deceiving Millions, and its depiction of God the Father as an African woman who bore the scars of Calvary with Jesus Christ is just one example of its many dangerous deceptions.

De Young isn’t only a New Testament Language and Literature professor at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., he’s also a former longtime colleague of Paul Young, and was his Portland-area neighbor when Young wrote The Shack.

Burning Down ‘The Shack,’ which WND Books publishes June 1, challenges readers to consider the perilous religious beliefs of the author.  While writing The Shack, Young, a victim of child molestation, had recently embraced “universal reconciliation” - a belief identified as far back as the sixth century as heresy - which emphasizes that Jesus’ loving nature renders him incapable of eternally damning people.

“It’s often said that one can understand a book better by knowing the author,” Burning Down ‘The Shack’ states, which De Young wrote to “expose the greatest deception to blindside the church in the last 200 years!" 

To interview James De Young or receive an advance review copy, please contact Gregg Wooding at 972-567-7660, gregg@iampronline.com or media@wnd.com.

As a seminary professor for 34 years with degrees from Dallas Seminary, Talbot Theological Seminary, and Moody Bible Institute, De Young decided to help readers uncover the embedded errors in The Shack and to show from scripture why they are so serious.

“How they strike a dagger into the heart of the gospel!” warns De Young.

That’s why De Young not only faces down the falsities, but he also takes unique creative license and shows readers wonderful stories and instruction in scripture that would have helped Paul Young’s fictional character, Mack, find the forgiveness and restoration he so desperately sought—but was not offered.

In confronting The Shack, De Young says he feels a little like David, with stone and slingshot in hand, taking on the nine-foot success of the book. As of January 2010, The Shack had spent 70 weeks at number one on the New York Times Best-seller List, had sold at least 7 million copies worldwide, and had been translated into two foreign languages. It still ranks on several best-sellers’ lists and whispers are circulating of a widespread feature film release.

Further, much of the church has bowed to its message of grace—though subtle but not insignificant recognition is surfacing of its potential to spark a split among believers. In some cases, Christian bookstores sell it with a disclaimer warning: “This book may contain thoughts, ideas, or concepts that could be considered inconsistent with historical evangelical theology.”

De Young is ready for opposition: “Now some will question the relevance of my dealing with Paul Young’s background and writing, but this history lays the groundwork for the plausibility of uncovering errors.”

In 1997, De Young and Young co-founded a Christian think tank, called M3 Forum, and for the next seven years they discussed and probed topics, doctrine and problems facing the church as it approached the New Millennium. Then, in April 2004, Young submitted a surprising103-page paper in which he embraced universal reconciliation and said “he was putting aside his earlier evangelical paradigm.”

Less than two years later, Young asked friends to read the early draft of a novel he was writing as a Christmas gift for his children. Though highly impressed by the manuscript’s potential, the friends were opposed to the universal reconciliation they found in it and acknowledged publicly that they spent over a year trying to remove that message. Mainline Christian publishers declined interest in publishing what became The Shack, so Young and his friends formed their own publishing company to self-publish.

“When I carefully read The Shack in January 2008, I was dismayed to find universalism still embedded, deeply and subtly, in it,” De Young recalls.

In Burning Down ‘The Shack’, De Young delivers a chapter-by-chapter evaluation of more than 15 heresies within The Shack. Chief among the errors is what Young left out. “A familiar, but deceptive maneuver is to give an aspect of a theological issue, while ignoring an equally important aspect that qualifies or limits the first one,” De Young writes to explain Young’s obvious exclusion of Satan and Hell.

For information about “Burning Down ‘The Shack’” visit online at www.wndbooks.com.

To interview James De Young or receive an advance review copy, please contact Gregg Wooding at 972-567-7660, gregg@iampronline.com or media@wnd.com.

About the Author

James De Young is the professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon, where he’s taught for 34 years.

His extensive education includes diplomas and advanced degrees from Moody Bible Institute, East Texas Baptist University, Talbot Theological Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary. De Young has taken his knowledge and faith on the road, teaching in Holland, evangelizing in Mexico and performing outreach throughout Europe and in Afghanistan.

He’s chaired the Hermeneutics section within the Evangelical Theological Society since 1994. He’s also served as chairman of the SaltShakers, a proactive community organization working to extend Christian values throughout Portland. Married to his wife, Patricia, for 44 years, they have four married children and 10 grandchildren.

Release Date: June 1, 2010
Publisher: WND Books
Price: $15.95 Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-935071-84-6