The novel, *The Shack,* is getting tremendous amount of play nationally. The book is currently ranked number eight in sales on Amazon.com. The story is a fictionalized account of a man, Mack Phillips, who is emotionally dealing with the brutal murder of his young daughter. Mack is overwhelmed with questions about the suffering of the innocent, and as a result, has an unusual encounter with the Holy Trinity in a shack. Yes, I said a shack. In the novel, the Trinity is an African-American woman (the Father), a Middle Eastern man (the Son), and the Holy Spirit is an Asian songstress named Sarayu. The book has major theological problems: modalism, rejection of Biblical hierarchy, overemphasis on free-will to the neglect of God's sovereignty, and a misunderstanding of the concept of submission, feminism, etc. Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church Seattle, addresses these concerns here ( seven minute YouTube video) and Tim Challies, a Reformed blogger/reviewer, writes here.
If your folks have gotten fascinated by this book, I would suggest addressing these theological problems on May 18, Trinity Sunday. Get a good simple systematic theology like Wayne Grudem's. For the everyday layperson, Grudem does an excellent job of explaining the key issues surrounding the doctrine of the Trinity. Read again the church's classic understanding of the Trinity. In the simplest manner possible, explain the main points concerning the Trinity using basic scripture texts. Your congregation will not be bored. Your folks will be excited about being equipped to defend the Historic Christian faith. You do not need to mention the book, *The Shack.* However, you may want to show the cultural relevance of your sermon by pointing to the current controversy.
As Article One of The Thirty-Nine Article states:
Faith in the Holy Trinity:
There is only one living and true God, who is eternal and without body, indivisible and invulnerable. He is of infinite power, wisdom and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible. Within the unity of the Godhead there are three persons who are of one substance, power and eternity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
"Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life.It is worse than useless; it does positive harm.Something of 'the image of Christ' must be seenand observed by others in our private life, andhabits, and character, and doings." --J.C. Ryle