Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Theology on Tap

                                                                    Friday, Nov. 2, 7:30
                                                                       Vancouver, B.C.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cross Roads

Our brother Paul Young has done it again.  His new book, Cross Roads will be out on November 13 at bookstores everywhere.  Very few people on planet earth understand our inner worlds better than Paul.  I won't ruin it for you, except to say that Cross Roads is a real 'eye opener.'  Believe me, this is as good as The Shack.  Well done Paul, well done.

Friday, October 19, 2012

George MacDonald & Michael R. Phillips

I just had a long conversation with Michael R. Phillips, one of the world’s leading authorities on George MacDonald.  C. S. Lewis regarded MacDonald as his master teacher, and in his celebrated The Great Divorce has MacDonald coming from deep heaven to the shadowlands to meet and teach Lewis’s character. Of MacDonald, Lewis said, “I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself.”

At this stage in my life I would put MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons at the top my list of my all time favorite books.  Needless to say the conversation with Michael was off the charts.  In his own right, Michael is an accomplished writer, but his great contribution to the world is his editing and republishing of many of MacDonald’s books.  I am very grateful to Michael for his labor of love over several decades.  His web site is a veritable treasure chest of light.

New blog (which is barely in its infancy): www.daretothinkbigaboutgod.com   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Rejoice with the Kruger family today as The Shack Revisited is finally released across the country.  The reports so far have been remarkable.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, we will have more please.

Here are the next book signings for those of you in the Mississippi area.

11-OCT-2012, 5:00pm, Jackson, Lemuria Book Store
16-OCT-2012, Evening, Oxford, Square Books
23-OCT-2012, 4-6, Prentiss, Across from Court House

See you there.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Here are two definitions of Universalism.  (1) “The theological doctrine that all souls will eventually find salvation in the grace of God.”[1]  (2) “The doctrine...that hell is in essence purgative and therefore temporary and that all intelligent beings will therefore in the end be saved.”[2]  Here is my position on universalism.

“That Jesus Christ loves us all and has included us everyone in his life with his Father and the Holy Spirit, I consider to be an absolute, eternal fact.  That every human being will come to experience this life fully, I consider to be a hope, but not a fact.  It is a hope grounded in the astounding love of the blessed Trinity—in the endless fidelity of the Father, the complete and finished work of Jesus, and the redeeming genius of the Holy Spirit.  I think we have every reason to hope for everyone to come to know the truth so as to experience salvation.  But to make such a hope an absolute fact, or a conclusion, or a doctrine is, to me, a mistake.  That would be to deny, theologically speaking, the authenticity of our personhood and our real freedom to participate.  We are real to the Father, Son and Spirit, distinct persons within the life of God, with our own minds, hearts and wills, which will never be violated by the blessed Trinity.  So there remains the possibility that in our distinctness, we will choose to live against our own beings. Such a violation of reality is as absurd as it is painful, but possible.  It is not possible for the Father, Son and Spirit to morph into another God, with another dream for humanity.  In this universe, and in all universes to come, the Father, Son and Spirit will never, ever give up their dream that we would all come to experience fully the trinitarian life together.”

[1] Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, David B. Guralnik, editor, (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1980.
[2] The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F. L. Cross (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summary of the Trinitarian Vision

The Trinitarian Vision
©C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. 2012

From all eternity, God is not alone and solitary, but lives as Father, Son and Spirit in a rich and glorious and abounding fellowship of utter oneness. There is no emptiness in this circle, no depression or fear or insecurity.  The trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight.  This life is good.  It is right, unique, full of music and joy, blessedness and peace. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it.
The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal and abiding reason for the creation of the world and of human life.  There is no other God, no other will of God, no second plan, no hidden agenda for human beings.  Before the creation of the world, the Father, Son and Spirit set their love upon us and planned to bring us to share and know and experience the trinitarian life itself.  Unto this end the cosmos was called into being, and the human race was fashioned, and Adam and Eve were given a place in the coming of Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son himself, in and through whom the dream of our adoption would be accomplished. 
Before creation, it was decided that the Son would cross every chasm between the Triune God and humanity and establish a real and abiding relationship with us—union.  Jesus was predestined to be the mediator, the one in and through whom the very life of the Triune God would enter human existence, and human existence would be lifted up to share in the trinitarian life.
When Adam and Eve rebelled, ushering in chaos and misery into God’s creation, the Father, Son and Spirit never abandoned their dream, but wonderfully incorporated darkness and sin into the tapestry of the coming incarnation.  As the Father’s Son became human, and as he submitted himself to bear our anger, and bizarre blindness, and as he gave himself to suffer a murderous death at our hands, he established a real and abiding relationship with fallen humanity at our very worst—and he brought his Father and the Holy Spirit with him.  It was in Jesus himself, and in his death at our bitter hands, that the trinitarian life of God pitched its tent in our hell on earth, thereby uniting all that the Father, Son and Spirit share with all that we are in our brokenness, shame and sin—adoption. 
In the life and death of Jesus the Holy Spirit made his way into human pain and blindness.  Inside our broken inner worlds the Spirit works to reveal Jesus in us so that we can meet Jesus himself in our own sin and shame, and begin to see what Jesus sees, and know his Father with him. The Holy Spirit takes of Jesus and discloses it to us, so that we can know and experience Jesus’ own relationship with his Father, and we can be free to live in the Father’s embrace with Jesus.  As the Spirit works we are summoned to take sides with Jesus against our own darkness and prejudice, and take simple steps of trust and change.  As we do Jesus’ own anointing with the Spirit—his own fellowship with his Father, his own unearthly assurance, his own freedom and joy and power in the Spirit—begin to form in us, while not diminishing but augmenting and freeing our own uniqueness as persons.  The Spirit’s passion is to bring his anointing of Jesus to full and personal and abiding expression in us as unique persons, and not only in us personally, but in our relationship with the Father in Jesus, and in our relationships with one another, and indeed with all creation, until the whole cosmos is a living sacrament of the great dance of the Triune God.

An excerpt from The Shack Revisited, C. Baxter Kruger, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fort Collins, Colorado

I will be in Fort Collins, Colorado next weekend (Sept 7-9) speaking on Saturday.  I you are interested in joining us, here are the contact details.  www.fathershousefc.com 970-402-0747.

Monday, August 27, 2012


To abide in Jesus means, at the very least, to see with his eyes—to see God, yourself, others, life with the mind and heart of Jesus.  To do that you must stop abiding in yourself, and that, at the very least, means that you must stop clinging to your way of seeing things, to your interpretations.  If you are going to abide in Jesus and see with his eyes you must listen to him, and you can’t actually listen if you are not aware that your own way of seeing could be dead wrong.  Well, perhaps you could listen, but you are listening to confirm you own thoughts rather than learn new ones. 

I suspect that most of us live with the unspoken mantra, ‘If it doesn’t make sense, it can’t be true.’  Those who face this secret mantra discover that a few more words need to be added.  ‘If it doesn’t make sense to me, it can’t be true.’  This is the assumption of the fallen mind, and the single greatest hindrance to our growth as persons in relationships.  We have an awful lot invested in the way we see things.  To admit that you could be as blind as a bat is scary because we have built our security on being right.  It is a false security, to be sure, but if you don’t see with Jesus’ eyes it’s the only security you have.  So you defend yourself, which is not relationship, and does not lead to communion.  How much time, I wonder, do we spend defending ourselves and our positions rather than listening to others, and not least to Jesus?  Insofar as we listen to Jesus we get to see with his eyes, love with his heart, and experience his life.  Insofar as we don’t we get to live with ourselves and our own worlds, stuck in our own delusions, victims in a world that doesn’t get it.  And that is a lonely place.

Holy Spirit, give us Jesus’ eyes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Shack Revisited

Available 2 October 2012

“The Shack Revisited is Baxter’s masterpiece.  On the canvas of The Shack he has distilled the heart of the Trinity.  This book is a Bible School for all of us, expounding the heart of the God who is love.  A must read.”

—Malcolm Smith, International Bible Teacher and author!of The Power of the Blood Covenant

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The House of His Father

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich” (2COR 8:9).

In the genius of the blessed Trinity, our cruel rejection of Jesus became the way of our adoption; our bitter abuse became the way of the Father’s embrace and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. For how could our unfaithfulness and contempt and treachery, or the enslaving lie of the evil one, or death itself break the love and oneness and life of the blessed Trinity?  In dying at our hands, Jesus brought his life into our death, his relationship with his Father into our gnarled pathology, his anointing by the Holy Spirit into our twisted darkness. Out of his boundless love “he was dishonored that he might glorify us,” (Gregory Nazianzen, Orations, I.5.) “he endured our insolence that we might inherit immortality”( Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word of God, §54). Suffering our abuse to give us grace, he met our cruelty with his kindness, our rejection with his merciful acceptance, and our dead and despairing religion with his joy.  By accepting us at our very worst, by submitting himself to us in our great darkness, he entered into our world with his, thus transforming the shack of Adam’s horrid fall into the house of his Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit.

In a variation on St. Paul’s great statement we might say, “For you know the stunning grace of the Father’s Son: that though he was rich in the shared life of the blessed Trinity, yet for our sake he became poor, suffering our wrath to meet us, and that now through his suffering we who were so poor have been included in Jesus’ own rich relationship with his Father in the Spirit.”

Friday, April 6, 2012

Who Rejected Jesus?

“Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45). 

“For consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3). 

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered up to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and will deliver him up to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify him...” (Matthew 20:18).

The inherent legalism of the Western Church trains our eyes to see Jesus’ suffering as the judgment of God upon our sin, and virtually blinds us to the more obvious point that Jesus suffered from the wickedness of humanity. It was the human race, not the Father, who rejected his beloved Son and killed him.  The wrath poured out on Calvary’s hill did not originate in the Father’s heart, but in ours.  The humiliation that Jesus bore, the torment that he suffered, was not divine but human. We mocked him; we detested him; we judged him. We ridiculed him, tortured him, and turned our face from him. It was not the Father or the Holy Spirit who abandoned Jesus and banished him to the abyss of shame; it was the human race. We cursed him.

Either the Father, Son, and Spirit were caught off guard by our corporate rejection of Jesus, or there is a redemptive genius at work here that is too beautiful for words. Was the Jewish and Roman rejection of Jesus not foreseen by the triune God? Was the Father surprised when we killed the solution? Was Jesus bewildered and the Holy Spirit shocked when things went south and the crowds turned against him? No, of course not. The animosity of the human race towards the Father’s Son was anticipated, and indeed counted on, and literally incorporated (See Acts 2:23) as the critical part in bringing about our real relationship. Here is amazing grace. In breathtaking love, the Lord’s way of relationship and reconciliation involves the shocking acceptance of our cruelty. The Incarnation involves the inconceivable submission of the Trinity to our bizarre darkness and its bitter judgment.

And the point of such shocking grace is to find us, to meet us, to relate to us and to embrace us as we really are as broken, deceived, wounded, terror-filled, and rebellious creatures.  Here is the heart of the grace of the blessed Trinity.  Jesus bowed to suffer from our loathsome enmity.  He took a dagger to the heart.  He willfully and astonishingly submitted himself to us in our profound darkness—and we damned him—and in submitting himself to us he embraced us at our very worst. 

What does this mean?  It means that Jesus took our treachery, our betrayal, our murder and turned them into the way of his Father’s embrace and into the Holy Spirit’s anointing.  We killed him.  Jesus is saying to us on Good Friday: “I can take your murder, and I can let it happen, and in so doing I am accepting you as you are, and I am bringing my relationship with my Father, and my anointing with the Holy Spirit into your murderous darkness.  I use your murder to be the way I bring you into real relationship with my Father and the Holy Spirit. 

Our contribution to our adoption was to pour our wrath out upon Jesus.  And on this day we did.  Jesus took it, and drew us in all our anger and brokenness and sin into his Father’s arms.  Shocking, stunning, beautiful grace. It is not ‘dark’ Friday, but ‘good’ Friday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Few Gems

"And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people" (Rev 14:6).

"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Eph 1:4-5)

"...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity" (2Tim 1:9).

Sunday, April 1, 2012

First Words

The first words of Jesus in John’s gospel are a question: “What do you seek?”  Twice John the Baptist had pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Two of the Baptist’s disciples followed behind Jesus.  It was then that Jesus turned and asked them, “What do you seek?”  Such a simple question, yet so loaded.  What?  What is it that you want?  What are you after?  What is driving you?  What is the prize you seek?  What is the object of your desire?  You?  What do you want?  Here the searching eyes of Jesus touch the heart.  This is not an abstract question, not even theological.  This is personal, profoundly so, searching.  Jesus himself turns his penetrating gaze upon two young men.  He has no time for surface conversation.  He wants to know what they think.  He cares about where they are in their journey of understanding, where they think they are.  What do you seek?

As I read it, the disciples are a little shaken, perhaps dazed. Who wouldn’t be?  There is no hiding with Jesus.  No wiggle room.  It was one of those moments when you know that he knows that you know that he knows.  It was a moment in the crosshairs of grace, which necessarily judges or exposes the inner world and its confusion.  Taking our cue from what Andrew, one of the disciples, did next and said—found his brother Peter and announced, “We have found the Messiah”—and the cascading ripples and implications that take shape immediately thereafter, we can see that a lot was happening in this simple discussion. The disciples answer Jesus with a question.  “Rabbi, where are you staying.”  I suspect this was a recovery question of sorts.  They knew how to handle the Baptist and his fiery passion, but Jesus and his question are so simple, so authentic, so real they were stopped in their tracks and rendered momentarily speechless.  The best they could do was, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” 

For John the gospel writer, their question too is loaded.  At first it seems arbitrary, if not inane.  The prophet had just declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and these disciples get a chance to talk with him personally and all they want to know where he is staying?  Why the translators chose to use ‘staying’ instead of ‘dwelling’ is a mystery to me.  For the gospel writer, their question is dead on as well, and he gives them quite a compliment.  Jesus where are you dwelling?    In terms of the flow of the gospel, John had just written that Jesus is the one who was face to face with the Father from the beginning, and that Jesus is the one who dwells in the bosom of the Father, and the one upon the Holy Spirit dwells. 

In his ‘discussion’ with the religious delegation sent out to discover his identity, the Baptist answered, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.”  Among you stands.  He is here, present, not absent, in your presence, and you do not know him.  The Baptist’s disciples, unlike the religious group, hear their leader, turn and follow Jesus.  They see something in Jesus.  They want to know where he dwells.  Jesus does not give a theological answer about his dwelling.  He does not name the place or describe how to get there.  He does not give them a map—if he did, no doubt, we would all try to get there without him. 

Jesus had to be thinking to himself, ‘so, you boys want to know where I dwell?’  With what must have been a wry smile, he simply says to these two young men, “Come, and you will see.”  Walk with me and you will know for yourself.  You cannot find the answer you seek in your heads.  This is not about five esoteric principles that can you apply to your life for your own betterment.  This is not about a place where the Father’s blessings are housed, and can be accessed.  This is about relationship.  Jesus is the one who knows the Father and dwells in his bosom.  Jesus is the one upon whom the Holy Spirit dwells.  He has come to be with us.  He is the living one.  He has life.  We cannot have what he has without him.  He commands us to walk with him.  This is a command of relationship, full of eternal promise.  Walk with me.  Put your agenda away, let go of your ideas, walk with me and I will show you who I am, and who my Father is, and the Holy Spirit, and thus who you are, and what your souls actually seek, and you will dwell with me in my Father’s bosom in my anointing in the Holy Spirit.

“In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (14:20). 

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Of all things, I have been drawn of late to study John’s Revelation.  The book has scared me since my early Sunday School days, and every time I’ve read it since—even Peterson’s The Message—it strikes me as bizarre, ungracious and brutal.  This time, I have been reading it with Darrell Johnson’s help (Discipleship on the Edge) and at last the utter Christ-centeredness that you would expect from John shines through.  Darrell has done a fantastic service to believers everywhere.  Note what Jesus says of himself to the seven churches.  Each affirmation is so profoundly personal to each particular struggle of the individual church.  Each is strong, simple, and so much bigger than our Western minds.  Jesus is the center of all creation, always has been and always will be.  One day we will all see it.

“The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1).

“The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life” (2:8).

“The One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12).

“The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze” (2:18).

“He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1)

“He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens” (3:7).

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning [arche, source and meaning] of the creation of God” (3:14).

The seven stars represent the whole of creation.  The seven spirits represent the complete anointing of Jesus in the Spirit.  He is the one and only person in Biblical history who received the Holy Spirit as an abiding, immeasurable gift.  The seven lampstands represent the whole church.

Take some time and reflect on what we are being told about Jesus here.  The One who is at the center of the cosmos and the church; the One who is the source and meaning of all things, the One who died and rose again; the One anointed with the Holy Spirit; the One who sees and discerns; the Truth; the Father’s Son; the true witness; the One who opens doors than none can shut; this One is in our midst. There is a reason that again and again John simply says, “Look!”  “Behold!”  No doubt, we, like the individuals and the churches in John’s day, face serious turmoil, especially in our darkness.  John’s answer is to shine the light on Jesus.  He is where the buck stops.  Jesus is where all pretentious arguments cease.  Before Him everyone will know that He knows that we know that He knows.  Jesus has overcome.  His victory is eating its way through the (and our) darkness. Meantime: “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  

Monday, February 13, 2012



Thanks for your patience.  I am making my way back from a long journey of writing and completely refurbishing our house.  There are several things in the works, which I will be writing about soon.  The main project has been my book The Shack Revisited, which I am pleased to tell you will be available around the world in October, published through Faith Words, a division of Hachette.  Meantime, it was published in Brazil by Sextante Press in September, and in four months reached number 11 on the non-fiction, best-seller list.  Not sure how to handle that, but, 'Thank you, Holy Spirit, we will have more please' is definitely in order.  It is clear that the spiritual climate around the world is changing.  People are tired of the emptiness of religion, and they are open and hungry for the truth.  What could be more beautiful?  The ancient gospel is being recovered and people are ready to hear it.

Over the last year I have been reading and re-reading a good bit of the great George MacDonald.  His book, Unspoken Sermons, which has been republished by Regent College Publishing as Christ in Creation: Unspoken Sermons of George MacDonald, edited by Roland Hein (available on Amazon), is so beautiful it is beyond words.  I read several of these sermons years ago, perhaps all of them, but I was not ready to appreciate what our brother was saying.  He grew up in harsh world of Calvinist Scotland, with an exceptionally loving father and and equally harsh school master.  His life long question related to holding together the love of Jesus' Father with what is called 'the justice of God.'  Unlike most of those of the growing liberal persuasion in his day, MacDonald was not willing to throw out the hard passages of Scripture to fit the softer God of the day.  So what you find in MacDonald is an extraordinary vision of the Father heart of God—the best I have ever read anywhere—with an equally extraordinary vision of the fact that this Father will never let us off with anything—again, the best I have ever read anywhere.  We must be clean, MacDonald would say, else we would never enjoy our Father and life in his house, and what Father would want that for his children?  Who really wants to go to heaven only to hide from the Father?  That is a rather honest and huge question.  What emerges in MacDonald's thought, through some 50 plus novels, fairy tales, sermons, lectures etc, is a picture of the self-sacrificing nature of the blessed Trinity for our benefit, and a sacrificing love that demands that we have not a feather of evil in us so that we can enjoy forever the life of the Father, Son and Spirit.

"All that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love's kind must be destroyed."

For MacDonald, judgment is not vindictive punishment for sin, the overflowing wrath of a disapproving deity, but a discerning, and a dividing of our false selves from who we are in Christ, so that we may live.  All that is alien in us to the trinitarian life of God has to be removed.  The judgment of God is the same as his mercy, love and goodness.  For what merciful God would ever allow us to be miserable in our darkness?  "If a man refuse to come out of his sin, he must suffer the vengeance of a love that would not be love if it left him there."  Jesus alone (not the church) is able to discern the demarcation between what we have become in our darkness and sin, and who we are in him, and he will strike his mark in patience, tenderness and grace.  No doubt it will hurt, but it is a good hurt, a redemptive hurt, a burning unto real purification and life.  So MacDonald does not throw out hell as an anachronistic bit of religious superstition; he gathers it into his vision of the determined Father heart of God.  It is redemptive.  We will be ready for the glory given to us in Jesus.  Thus we must be discerned in utter love—and righteousness, holiness, justice, mercy, truth.  We will be brought to the place where we run to Papa and beg him to judge us to the core of our being, for nothing will be more precious to us than life his house, life with Jesus and in the free-flowing fellowship of the Spirit.

How we get there from here lands us in the center of the ministry and the mystery of the Holy Spirit, the lover or our souls.