Christian groups around the country are up in arms over Octavia Spencer being cast to play God in the upcoming faith-based film The Shack.
Joe Schimmel, the pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California, told Christian News Network that the “pretentious caricature” of God as a “heavy set” black woman is “dangerous and false.”
The film is based on the best-selling novel written by William P. Young, who portrays God as a woman. The book has sold approximately 20 million copies worldwide.
But critics say Young’s depiction of God is not only inaccurate but an insult.
“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.”
Schimmel adds, “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.”
“The Shack” novel tells the story of a man named Mackenzie “Mack” Phillips who faces a crisis while on a family vacation as his youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted and presumably killed in an abandoned shack, according to Christian News. Years later, the grieving father receives a note from “Papa,” who tells him that it has “been a while” and to meet up at the shack.
Phillips returns to the site, where he meets God, portrayed as what Young calls a “large, beaming African American woman,” a young Asian woman named Sarayu, and a carpenter named Jesus.
The film adaptation is set for a March 2017 release. Watch the trailer for the film below.