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