Wednesday, December 25, 2013

We Believe

"Our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his transcendent love, became what we are to bring us to be what he is himself"  — St. Irenaeus

Holy Spirit, on this day of shocking divine humility and salvation, reveal to us the agreements that we have made with the darkness concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.  We want no more darkness.  In our culture of unbelief, we declare that we believe in Jesus Christ, the beloved, eternal and faithful Son of the Father (Homoousios to Patri), the One anointed in the Holy Spirit, incarnate, crucified, resurrected, and ascended Lord of all Creation, the Vicarious Man, Immanuel.

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Crisis of the Western Church

We just posted on our web site a lecture I gave several years ago, "The Crisis of the Western Church and the Way Forward" that I suspect needs to be revisited.

Here is the link.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Isaiah 53

Heather Celoria forwarded me a simple, but fascinating article on Isaiah 53.  The title is "Punished 'for' or 'by' our sins — The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53," by Santo Calarco.  Here is the link.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

From Gregory Nazianzen

“We needed an Incarnate God, a God put to death, that we might live.  We were put to death together with Him, that we might be cleansed; we rose again with Him because we were put to death with Him; we were glorified with Him, because we rose again with Him,” Gregory Nazianzen, A Select Library, The Second Oration on Easter,” XXVIII.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Union. Union. Union!  Anything less than the true, real, and personal union of Jesus Christ—the Father's eternal Son incarnate, anointed in the Holy Spirit—with the fallen human race is unworthy of the word 'salvation.'

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Words from Ancient Warriors for Truth

“For this was the very end and purpose of His Incarnation, that our human nature might in His Person obtain and receive whatever it could not otherwise have obtained, and that we might be partakers both of the same nature and of the same blessings within Him...  It was necessary, therefore, that God and man should be personally united, in order that human nature might be invested with power and exalted to glory” The Orations of St. Athanasius Against the Arians (London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh), IV.6; cf. III.34, and II.70.

“As, on the one hand, we could not have been redeemed from sin and the curse, unless the flesh and nature, which the Word took upon Him had been truly ours (for we should have had no interest by his assumption of any foreign nature); so also man could not have been united to the Divine nature, unless that Word, which was made flesh, had not been, in essence and nature, the Word and Son of God.  For that was the very purpose and end of our Lord’s Incarnation, that He should join what is man by nature to Him who is by nature God, that so man might enjoy His salvation and His union with God without any fear of its failing or decrease” The Orations of St. Athanasius Against the Arians (London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh), II.70; cf. III.34, and IV.6.

 “For that which He has not assumed He has not healed; but that which is united to His Godhead is also saved.  If only half Adam fell, then that which Christ assumes and saves may be half also; but if the whole of his nature fell, it must be united to the whole nature of Him that was begotten, and so be saved as a whole,” Gregory Nazianzen, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, second series, vol. VII (Edinburgh: T&T Clark), Ep. CI.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Prayer

For the past several months I have had the privilege of getting to know CMSgt (Ret) Paul Lavelle of Operation Restored Warrior (  He and his team are involved in the most daring, and astonishing mission, restoring the hearts of warriors.  Nearly 500 men have been through their program Operation Drop Zone, and every one of these men—men who were suicidal, suffering from PTSD, and CSD, and other profound and terrible issues—have been healed.  Their mission is simple and beautiful and powerful.  Lavelle and his team believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, his oneness with his Father in the Holy Spirit, and Jesus has led these men to understand how He has united himself with us all, and how He heals our broken souls. I have been honored to be part of the conversation among ORW's team.  I am more honored that I have been given a place in the next Operation Drop Zone (Oct. 21-26), and asked to speak at the reunion to follow.

Over the last several years the Holy Spirit has been revealing himself to me in profoundly personal ways, awakening me, loving me, revealing to me who I am in Jesus, and encouraging my heart.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, I will have more please.  Brothers and sisters we are in a war.  We have an enemy, cowardly as he is.  He knows he has been defeated in Jesus, and he knows that we don't know much of Jesus' victory.  The enemy deceives us, and then hides his deception, so that we don't know that we have made agreements with him and his darkness. As we get hints of his schemes we are attacked with accusations and assaults.  The picture that the Hoy Spirit has given to me is of a beaver dam, with hundreds of limbs and twigs interwoven on top of large logs at the bottom.  This beaver dam is formed by the agreements we have made with darkness throughout our lives. (Simply ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the agreements that you have made, and then break them in the name of Jesus).  This beaver dam holds back the river of living water, the great, overflowing fountain of the trinitarian life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that is already at the core of our beings because of Jesus' union with us.

So, daily I have been asking about my agreements, and the Holy Spirit has been faithful to reveal them to me, often to my shock and horror.  As I break them in the name of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will give me a new agreement to make with the Father, Son and Spirit to replace the old one that I had made with wicked one.  

This morning, as I finished praying through the ORW prayer, the prayer below rose in my heart.  It is my honor to pass it along to you, in the hope and joy of our liberation together (Col. 1:27; John 14:20).        

Lord Jesus Christ, beloved and eternal Son of the Father, Homoousios to Patri, Anointed of the Holy Spirit, incarnate, crucified, resurrected and ascended Lord of all creation, I believe in you.  With great joy, with the praise of my whole heart I acknowledge and agree that you have found me in my darkness and sin, laid hold of me and taken me down in your death, freed me from sin and evil, quickened me with new life in your resurrection, and lifted me up into your Father’s arms in your ascension.  All of me, and mine, every war-torn fragment, every fearful, unbelieving, shame-riddled, broken part is in you, in your Father, in the Holy Spirit.  I rest in you, Jesus, lover of my soul, my Savior, my Salvation, my Saving Act, my King, my Liberator, healer of my broken heart, the author and finisher of my faith. You have included me in all that you are and have in your union and face-to-face communion with your Father, and you have included me in your own anointing in the Holy Spirit.  You have included me in your victory over evil and wickedness, and in your session at the Father’s right hand, above all rule and authority in heaven and on earth.  Nothing can separate me from you, your Father, and the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, blessed brother, Lord Jesus.  You became what I am to bring me to be what you are in your life with your Father in the Holy Spirit.  I hear you speak my name, and with the freedom of your heart, and mind, I turn toward your Father to see him with your eyes.  I receive the witness of the Spirit of Adoption.  I hear you Lord Jesus, and your “Abba! Father!” inside my own soul.  I receive your Father’s everlasting love, and give myself, all of me, to your Father’s embrace, and to the healing and restoration of the Holy Spirit’s communion.

Lord Jesus, in your courage, in the comfort of the personal presence of the Holy Spirit, and in the unearthly assurance of your Father’s arms, I pledge all of me to your service, to participate in your ministry of liberation of our brothers and sisters.  Reveal to me the agreements that I have made with evil and darkness, that I may break these agreements in your name, and that I may walk in every way in the glorious freedom of the children of God, in full agreement with the Holy Spirit, and in all the Holy Spirit’s gifts. 

I take my stand in you, Lord Jesus, and in your name and authority I bind and banish from my life, my body, my humanity, my family, my sphere of influence, my kingdom, my ministry, and my properties every foul thing, every spirit, power, and art, every prayer, curse, covering, idea, and desire that are directed towards me, and mine, that are not in full submission to you, your Father, and the Holy Spirit.  In your name, and by your authority, Lord Jesus, I summon the holy and faithful angels and command them to destroy the kingdom of darkness throughout my kingdom, and to establish the kingdom of the blessed Trinity throughout my domain.

Worthy are you blessed Lord Jesus Christ, Father’s Son, Homoousios to Patri, Anointed One, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit, Victorious Warrior, worthy are you of all praise and adoration and worship, now and forever.  Thank you for being my Savior, my Good Shepherd, my High Priest, my True and Faithful witness, my Alpha and Omega, the Captain of my salvation, and the Healer of my soul.  I rest in you, and await your Word to me today. Amen

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Wedding Blessing

A Wedding Blessing
Kyle and Laura

May God the Father give you His heart
May God the Son give you His eyes
May God the Holy Spirit give you His fellowship
That you may love one another with the love of the Father
See one another through the eyes of Jesus himself
Enjoy one another, body and soul,
in the communion of the Holy Spirit. Amen


Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Word from Professor T. F. Torrance

An excerpt from Professor Thomas F. Torrance’s essay, “Come, Creator Spirit, for the Renewal of Worship and Witness,” in his book Theology in Reconstruction, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975 reprint). p 241.

“With the Incarnation, God the eternal Son became Man, without ceasing to be God and without breaking the communion of the Holy Trinity within which God lives his own divine life.  In the birth and life of Jesus on earth human nature and divine nature were inseparably united in the eternal Person of God the Son.  Therefore in him the closed circle of the inner life of God was made to overlap with human life, and human nature was taken up to share in the eternal communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.  In this one Man the divine life and love overflowed into creaturely and human being, so that Jesus, Man on earth, received the Spirit of God without measure, for the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily.  Jesus became the Bearer of the Holy Spirit among men.
“But who was Jesus?  He was very Man, our Brother.  In him the Holy Son of God was grafted on to the stock of our fallen human existence, and in him our mortal and corrupt human nature was assumed into union with the Holy Son of God, so that in Jesus, in his birth and sinless life, in his death and resurrection, there took place a holy and awful judgment on our flesh of sin, and an atoning sanctification of our unholy human existence.  It was only through such atonement that God in all his Godness and holiness came to dwell in the midst of mortal, sinful man.  Because that took place in Jesus who made our flesh of sin his very own and who wrought out in himself peace and reconciliation between man and God, he became not only the Bearer but the Mediator of the Holy Spirit to men.
“Now we may understand the distinctively new mode of the Spirit’s coming into the experience of men.  The inner life of the Holy Trinity which is private to God alone is extended to include human nature in and through Jesus.  This is possible because of the atonement that took place in him, for now that the enmity between God and man has been abolished, God the Holy Spirit may dwell in the midst of mortal sinful man.  This is the way that the divine love has taken to redeem man, by making him share in the holy power in which God lives his own divine life.  The pouring out of that power from on high took place at Pentecost, with the entry of the Holy Spirit in his new mode of presence and activity into the experience of mortal men.”

Monday, September 9, 2013

Open Table Conference-Asheville

In the summer of 1979 I worked as a counselor at Camp Rockmont near Asheville, NC. Having no previous experience with camping I was thrown to the wolves, the dreaded 13 year olds, the veterans of the Camp, which I dearly loved.  Each morning we had a devotional before breakfast, which I found challenging, to say the least.  One morning we were awakened by an announcement that the whole camp would gather in the Gym for a special devotional time. Since my guys were perpetually late, except for food, we were the last group to get there.  The only seats left were on the front row.  At some forsaken hour, I sat there wondering why there was such a hushed tone in a room full of hundreds of boys.  Then I noticed a middle aged man walk in from the right.  It was Billy Graham in person.  I did not realize that he was friends with the owner and lived just around the corner.  Needless to say, we were all speechless.

Much taller than I expected, and a handsome man, his eyes spoke volumes.  Some years later I had the privilege of meeting Professor Thomas F. Torrance in his home.  He had the same eyes—apostolic eyes—the kind that stare into your soul.  When that happens, you wither until the light finds something ancient within you that is quickened.  I cannot recall much of what Billy Graham said, except for one statement.  He gathered his breath and stared straight at me, at least it felt like it.  With his Virginia accent he thundered, “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.”  My heart knew instantly that the Lord himself was addressing me.  I did not have the understanding at the time to process what was happening, and if I had, I would have probably run. 

Nearly 35 years later things are clearer.  On that sleepy morning near Asheville, through Billy Graham, the Lord answered my heart.  This was the summer between my Junior and Senior years at Ole Miss, and although I certainly had been having a ‘large’ time, I knew that there had to be more.  Many nights, after the parties, I would walk in a field behind my dorm and pray—cry is more like it.  Now, at this moment, the Lord answered.  “The answer is the Truth. It is the Truth that you seek.”  Of course the answer begs another question, what then is the Truth?  So through Billy Graham came the answer that then became a new question, which turns out to be the question of my life.  What is the Truth that sets us free?  And there was one other thing, a final word. “You will know that you know the Truth when it sets you free.”

Jesus is the Truth.  Not Jesus alone, but Jesus in his Father, and Jesus anointed in the Holy Spirit, and Jesus as the one in and through and by and for whom all things are created and sustained.  In his incarnation the Father’s Son and Anointed One established his relationship—the relationship he already had with us and with all creation—inside his own humanity.  Submitting to our murder on the cross this Son established his relationship with us in our sin and darkness. 

He came to seek and to save that which was lost.  He found all of me, every broken, shame-riddled fragment.  He found all of you, and all of us, in our sin, bound as we were in the trauma of evil.  Under the spell of the wicked one, we rejected Jesus and damned him, cursing and mocking him in our profound confusion.  He accepted us as we were.  He bore our scorn, and died in the affliction of evil’s bitter enmity as it was vented through the world’s darkened heart.  Through submitting to us he made his way inside the headquarters of the cruel one, the source of our blindness, sin and death, and hell.  This is atonement.  This is the Truth, Jesus himself inside our darkness, finding and accepting us as we had become in the wickedness of evil, loving and embracing us in our brokenness, to deliver us from what we had become in the dark.  And he was not alone.  He brought his Father and the Holy Spirit with him. 

Now Jesus bears our pain in himself as he sits face to face with his Father in the abounding life that is the Holy Spirit.  Now, inside the dastardly confusion that has captivated our minds and hearts, Jesus summons us in the Holy Spirit to break our agreements with evil and to agree with him about who we are, to take sides with him against our own way of thinking, and to live in the freedom of the Holy Spirit’s witness inside our own souls.

So, for me to return to Asheville, North Carolina, after all these years, and to speak with Paul Young and John MacMurray at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, was a monumental moment in my life. Personally speaking, The Open Table Conference turned out to be a blessing beyond my wildest dreams. It was a gathering of hungry sisters and brothers from around the country, and even from the Motherland.  I have never experienced such a beautiful, clear, sustained vision of Jesus Christ in my life.  Tears and hope, life, freedom and healing rose in us all like an oasis as conversations cascaded around our meals and walks and debriefings.  There was sadness, as we had time to share our hurts, and I am sure from some of the questions that there were a few feathers ruffled.  Jesus has a way of doing that.  One lady said to me, “Finally, I have a gospel that is actually good news to share.”  Another person said, “I hope this is true; if it is not it will be the greatest disappointment in the universe.”  I assured him that Jesus is the Truth, and that our issue is not that we have overestimated Jesus Christ.  He is the One who has found us in the great darkness, embraced us, included us in his life with his Father, and in his anointing in the Holy Spirit, and he is setting us free by revealing the Truth in the Holy Spirit.

Thank you John MacMurray for your vision, and for your courage, and for making this Open Table Conference happen.  It proved to be a quickening in the Holy Spirit in the vision of Jesus, the Truth.  We had a ‘large’ time.  And, as my friend David Kowalick likes to say, ‘the best is yet to be.’  I cannot wait for Hawaii.  But first comes the event of the year, my daughter Laura’s wedding on September 21st.  Speaking of ‘large’ times.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Beam

I have been reading Dallas Willard's, The Divine Conspiracy.  Note what he says about the beam (or board) in our own eyes.

"Condemnation is the board in our eye.  He knows that the mere fact that we are condemning someone shows our heart does not have the kingdom rightness he has been talking about.  Condemnation, self-righteousness, blinds us to the reality of the other person.  We cannot 'see cleary' how to assist our brother, because we cannot see our brother.  And we will never know how to truly help him until we have grown into the kind of person who does not condemn.  Period.  'Getting the board our' is not a matter of correcting something that is wrong in our life so that we will be able to condemn our dear ones better—more effectively, so to speak" (p. 224).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Presbyterian, Natchez, MS

Paul Young and I will be speaking together at First Presbyterian Church in Natchez, MS on August 21, at 6:30.  You are all welcome to join us.  It promises to be a large time.

For more information visit

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I Will Make You Known

"I have made Your name known to them, and I will make it known; that the love wherewith You love Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).

Who can but marvel at the hope of these words?  Jesus prays to his Father.  He shares his heart.  He lets his own desire be made known.  Father, I desire that the love that we have known from all eternity in the freedom and joy of the Holy Spirit would be in them, that they could taste and feel and experience our relationship.  Life.  Eternal, abounding, overflowing life.  Indeed, it is even deeper.  We have been prayed over by Jesus himself.  Father, I desire that I would be in them.  Jesus himself, and all that he is and has with his Father, in us, as much ours as it is Jesus'.  The gift of all gifts.

The heart of the universe is here before our eyes.  The gospel itself is right here.  This is the conversation that predates the creation of all worlds.  Here is the agenda behind our existence.  Here is the eternal word spoken over the human race before we ever came to be.  Away with external religious systems.  Jesus desires to be in us—and is.  His prayer has been answered.  He heads to the cross to meet us in our shame, in our rejection, in our treachery—and he did.  He made his way into our humanity, into our broken humanity, into our sinful, black, blind, obstinate, and hopeless humanity.  That is what he did on the cross.  He made his way into our lives, into our hearts, into the soul of our broken being.

Jesus desires to be in us—and he is.  Now comes the best part.  "I have made Your name known to them, and I will make it known."  He is declaring to us, to the black pit of our shame, to our despairing and broken parts whose only word is utter silence, "I will make Your name known."

Jesus is saying, I take responsibility for meeting you in your sin and revealing My Father to you.  I will meet you.  I will find you.  I will enter into your terrorized inner worlds and make contact with you hiding in the bushes of your great fear.  I will cross all worlds, all illusions, all delusions, into the abyss of evil's lie and embrace you—and I have.  And I will not rest until every leaf of your gnarled darkness is turned over, until you see with my eyes, until you know with my heart who My Father is, and you are liberated with the freedom of our Holy Spirit.

"I have made Your name known to them, and I will make it known."


Lord Jesus, beloved and faithful Son of the Father, anointed One, I have nothing to give to you but my brokenness.

Can you not hear Jesus say, 'I take your brokenness and in exchange I give you My heart to know My Father?  I embrace you in your great sadness, now take sides with me against the way you see My Father, and against the way you see yourself, and against the way you see others?'


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Redeeming Genius

The Holy Spirit is a redeeming genius. He or She walks with us in our pathology, and weaves it with our giftedness, to transform us into a living sacrament of the Father's love and Jesus' grace, for the liberation of others. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fort Collins, CO

I will be in Fort Collins, Colorado speaking on Saturday, July 27th.  If you would like to join us contact or call 970-402-0747.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Interview with Baxter

Several folks of late have asked me about an interview that I did a few years back with Rod Dumas.  I finally found it, so I thought to post it on my blog.  This interview is actually on our web site.  The link is down on the bottom left of the first page.

On the Origin and Mission of Perichoresis Ministries:
An Interview
C. Baxter Kruger, Ph. D.

Q. 1. Baxter, when was Perichoresis started and what is its main mission?

“Officially speaking, Perichoresis was started in 1994 in Jackson, Mississippi by Steve Horn, Clayton James, David Upshaw and me.  Unofficially it is hard to date, because Perichoresis is more about a conversation and theological fellowship, and both the conversation and the theological fellowship involve more people and began long before 1994.  But for the four of or us, the most stunning news in the universe was that the Father’s eternal Son became human.  We wanted to know what it meant.  So our focus was then and always has been on Jesus’ union with the human race and what it means for us, and for our relationships and lives today.  This conversation took form through my writing and teaching and the personal and theological fellowship spread across the United States, Canada and abroad.
“We did not set out to start a ministry.  We were simply awed by the incarnation of the Father’s Son.  We could not stop thinking about the implications of Jesus’ very existence.  Perichoresis is not so much an organization as it is an ongoing discussion stretching across years and oceans.  We want to understand and experience our adoption in Christ and we want to share what we are learning and experiencing with others.  Our “ministry” is to discover and articulate the trinitarian gospel of the early church and to share the truth with the widest possible audience.  We do this through relationships, teaching and preaching, and through making our materials available.” 

Q. Would you summarize the heart of Perichoresis’ beliefs? 

“It may sound trite, but Jesus Christ is the heart of what we believe.  I mean, the very identity of Jesus Christ as the Father’s eternal Son incarnate, and as the One anointed in the Spirit, and as the one in and through whom all things were created and sustained is the heart of what we believe. Our intention is to rethink everything we thought we knew in the light of this Jesus Christ.  A few years ago I summarized the core of what we are doing in two paragraphs:

To speak the name of Jesus Christ, biblically and in the tradition of the early church, is to say “Trinity” and it is to say “humanity” and it is to say “creation,” and it is to say that the Triune God, the human race and all creation are not separated, but bound together in relationship.  For Jesus Christ is the Father’s eternal Son incarnate, and he is the One anointed in the Holy Spirit, and He is the One in and through and by and for whom all things were created and are sustained.  In His incarnation, the Father’s Son did not dissolve his relationships with his Father or the Spirit and he did not sever his relationship with all creation.  His very existence, therefore, as the incarnate, crucified, resurrected and ascended Son is the gospel.  In Him, the Father and the Spirit, the human race and all creation are bound together in relationship, in union.  

In the person of Jesus Christ, the life of the triune God is united with the human race and with all creation.  In Jesus the impossible has happened, humanity has been adopted, and creation has been lifted up into the trinitarian life of God.  This vision of Jesus Christ is the gospel to be proclaimed, and it is the starting point of proper Christian thought–the non-negotiable truth of all truths.

Q. The “truth of all truths,” as you call it, is more than a doctrine, isn’t it?

“Way more, and on two different fronts.  First, the truth is not a doctrine at all, but Jesus himself.  We are so locked into thinking of “truth” as propositions or about scientific facts, that we cannot see the obvious.  Jesus tells us outright that he is the truth.  His identity involves the being of God, and our being, and the being of the cosmos itself.  His existence carries immediate implications for all of us.  So to speak of Jesus is to speak of God, of humanity and of creation, and of their relationship. The name of Jesus Christ truly speaks volumes.  Second, Jesus is so central in the whole scheme of things that his identity is the light illuminating everything in the cosmos.”  

Q. Would you elaborate on the centrality of Christ?

“Let me ask a few questions here. Is Jesus an accident?  Is this union between the Triune God, the human race and creation in Jesus Christ plan “B,” quickly implemented after the failure of plan “A” in Adam?  Or is Jesus Christ plan “A,” the eternal foreword to all divine activity?  What does it mean to speak of Jesus Christ as the eternal Word of God, if not that Jesus is the eternal point?  What does it mean to speak of him as the Alpha and the Omega if not that he is–in his union with his Father and Spirit, and with us, and with creation–the truth preceding creation itself?  Why, and on what grounds would we look beyond Jesus Christ–in his three-fold union–to find another, higher, deeper or secret plan of God?  Is this union a divine afterthought?”

Q. So the identity of Christ is the revelation to us of who God is and who we are?

“Absolutely, and also the revelation to us of why we are here and where this universe is headed.  Paul says that God the Father predestined us to adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5).  I cannot think of a better word to sum up the heart of the Father and the plan behind creation than the word “adoption.”  That truth in itself is stunning, but the real stunner in Paul’s comment is the phrase “through Jesus Christ.”  Think about it.  Before creation was called into being our adoption was set forward as the great goal of creation itself.  And, our adoption was given into the hands of Jesus Christ to accomplish.  The implications here are staggering.”

Q.  Can you be more specific about these implications? 

“That would take a long time.  But let me make two general points.  First, by implications I am speaking in terms of our general orientation of thought.  For the most part we see the coming of Jesus as a reaction to the Fall of Adam.  But if we take Paul seriously then before the foundation of the world, “the Word of God is on the road to becoming flesh” to lift a great phrase from Professor T. F. Torrance.  The Father’s eternal purpose of our adoption in Christ is the reality that drives creation and the incarnation, not the disaster of human sin.  That, of course, does not mean sin is not a problem.  It just means that the Triune God is preoccupied with the eternal purpose of our adoption not driven by reaction to the Fall.  That seems to me to be rather huge.  There is a lot of work to be done here.”

Q. You mentioned two general points, what is the second? 

“Since Jesus Christ, and the union between the triune God and the human race in him is not plan “B,” but the eternal plan of the Father, then in Jesus we are face to face with the truth about God and with the why and wherefores of our human existence.  For me, everything we thought we knew, from our doctrine of God to our notions of salvation, from election to eschatology, from heaven and hell to repentance and faith have to be rethought in the light of Jesus’ identity.  Jesus is the light of the world.  It seems to me that the Christian community is called to believe in Jesus and that means to stop believing in ourselves and our own notions of God, life, and history.  If we err, we are to err on the side of making too much of Christ and his place in the whole of creation–which, of course, is impossible.  Given that the incarnation of the Father’s Son was predestined before creatioon, then a threefold scheme of history opens before us–the preparation, the fulfillment and the revelation.  Those categories are not hard a fast, but they do help us see that from creation to Christ is the formation of ‘the womb of the incarnation’ to cite Torrance again.  In the incarnate life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ we have the fulfillment of the Father’s eternal purpose for us and for creation.  After the ascension and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost we have the time of revelation, wherein the Spirit is at work educating the human race as to its real identity and destiny in Christ, until we come to know the truth and are set free by it.

Q. Would you say that this calling to ‘rethink everything we thought we knew’ in the light of Christ is central to the ministry of Perichoresis?

“Yes, and here you will have to indulge me for a moment or two to read a section from my essay, ‘Jesus Christ: The Truth of All Truths.’

As the fully divine Son incarnate, Jesus Christ is the One in whom the Triune God, the human race and creation are not separated, but bound together in relationship.  And as this union is not an afterthought, but the eternal foreword, Jesus Christ stands before us as the truth of all truths.  He is at once the gospel itself and the raison d’ĂȘtre of the cosmos, both the one constant in the universe and its integration point, and he is the divine hermeneutic, the true light shining from eternity.  In him we are confronted with divine revelation, with the true law, the rule of faithful thinking about God, humanity and creation, beyond which there is only the sophisticated silence of human projection.
What happened in this Son, Jesus Christ, involves the being of God and the whole universe, for in him they meet and are together.  Immanuel is not a theory.  It is the truth, the light of life, the non-negotiable point of departure for the Christian community.  The Christian Church is summoned to be the sphere within creation where this Son is known, embraced and taken with profound seriousness.  The Church is called to be the community in which the light of Jesus Christ is allowed to shine, where the truth of all truths is allowed to question every assumption, and the fact that in him the Triune God, the human race and creation are not separated, but bound together is permitted to restructure the basic vision of the human mind and heart.  The Christian Church is called to proceed in earnest faith and joy, obediently bringing every thought captive to Christ. It is the Church’s great privilege and calling to think through the implications of the stunning reality established in Jesus Christ for every sphere and discipline of human thought, from theology proper to ecology and international politics, from sin and human brokenness to economics, education and healing.  No leaf is to be left unturned until the staggering implications of Jesus Christ’s existence are understood and received in all joy.  In this calling the Christian Church is the witness to the human race and to the cosmos of Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, the Anointed One, the rhyme and reason and the Lord and life of all creation, until the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.

So I see the ministry of Perichoresis as part of the Church’s calling.”

Q. That is a rather huge calling isn’t it?

“Yes, we are in over our heads.  The calling of the Church and ours within it are altogether impossible, but anything less is an insult, isn’t it?  How can we not attempt to paint something so beautiful. And if we aren’t willing to follow the truth, how will we escape our own darkness and stop imposing our own marred vision upon God?
“Jesus said, “Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me (John 15:5).  We have a choice before us.  Either we abide in Jesus and in his vision of God. others and creation, or we abide in ourselves and our own vision and continue to impose that vision, marred as it is, upon God and the world around us, and suffer the consequences. We live in the crucible of response.”

Q. As the years have gone by, what are the main themes that have emerged in your teaching and why?

“Several issues are quite clear.  The first is the whole question of God.  The default settings of the fallen mind simply cannot believe that Jesus’ Father is for real.  We can’t seem to get beyond our own notions of god, which amount to projections of our own fear.  We tar the Father’s face with the brush of our own angst and find scripture verses to prove what we see, and that is our doctrine of God.  The ‘natural mind,’ as Paul called it is a terrible thing to live with.  So I find again and again that the beautiful vision of the Trinity and of the relationship between the Father and Son in the Spirit must be proclaimed and that the faceless, nameless, heartless Judge/God of the fallen mind must be exposed for the lie that it is.  The gospel of the Triune God, the news of our adoption and the universal, indeed cosmic significance of Christ are all constant themes in our work.  In addition there are the themes of healing and wholeness and dealing with the question, ‘if we are so loved by the Father and so reconciled by the Son, why is life such a mess?  It is here that the theme of human blindness finds its necessary emphasis.  In the last few years the global, political and social implications of Jesus Christ’s existence have become more prominent. Of course, from the beginning relationships have been a constant theme and is the practical heart of all that we do.  Finally, the devastating dualisms built into the Western tradition have to be addressed constantly.”

Q. I heard you say once; I believe in your lectures on John’s Gospel, that we don’t receive an absent Jesus into our lives.  What did you mean by that statement?

“We are accustomed to hearing preachers talk about praying to receive Jesus into our lives.  For me that is a singular disaster.  I think I know what they intend, but there is something very wrong in the vision of Jesus Christ that lies behind the wording.  How can we receive someone into our lives in whom we live and move and have our being?  That would be like me asking my daughter to receive me into her life.  We’ve got it exactly backward.  The gospel is not the news that we can receive an absent Jesus into our lives, as if we have life at all without him.  The gospel is the news that Jesus Christ has received us into his life.  We don’t make Jesus part of our world; he has made us part of his, part of his life and relationship with his Father, part of his anointing in the Spirit, part of his relationship with his creation.  It is this reality that summons us to faith and repentance.”

Q. Speaking of faith and repentance, can you give us a brief definition of each?

“The gospel confronts us with the news that in Jesus Christ we belong to the Father, Son and Spirit and in so doing it challenges the way we see God, ourselves and others.  The news creates a crisis in our lives, a crisis of faith.  Which vision are we going to believe in, our own or Jesus’?  Sin is our insistence that Jesus repent and believe in us.  Sin is saying to Jesus Christ, ‘your vision of God and of salvation and of life make no sense to me, therefore you are wrong and you must change your vision and join me in mine.’  Christian faith is simply saying to Jesus, ‘I believe in you and in your vision and I want you to convert my thinking, my vision, my way of seeing.  I do not want to live in my own world any longer.  I want to live in yours.  Help me.’  So proper faith is a discovery of the real world in Jesus Christ.  A discovery that challenges us to the core of our thinking and believing, and thus, one that summons a personal acknowledgement from us, and then summons us to walk in the light of Christ.  The fight of faith is the fight between believing in ourselves and our own vision, or in Jesus Christ and his.  Repentance is a radical change of mind, a change in the way we see God, ourselves, life and others.  It is the transformation of our minds out of which comes freedom to accept ourselves and others, freedom to know and be known, to love and be loved, and deliverance from personal hurt and religious bondage.  My friend Bruce Wauchope speaks of faith as letting the Father love us.  Christian faith is saying yes to Jesus’ vision of his Father and His love.  Repentance is responding to the question of the Father, ‘why won’t you let me love you?’  Both faith and repentance are, as Calvin insisted, a life long process.” 

Q. In one of your lectures you talk about the five key words to the Trinitarian gospel–Trinity, adoption, Jesus, secret, and education.  Are those 5 words structurally important or was that just a way of framing things for that particular lecture?

“I think I would have to say both.  As a teacher, you have to find ways to communicate and to give people a way of holding together a lot of ideas.  So the five words function as pegs, so to speak, that people can hang thoughts on.  On another level, we use different orders in our thinking.  There is the order of discovery, then there is the logical order of the material once discovered, and then the order of teaching.  Sometimes in teaching we can begin at the end or with more practical questions and work back.  For me, all our learning begins with Christ.  We discover who God is in Jesus, and in him we understand who we are and why we are here, as well as why our lives can go so wrong. That is the order of discovery.  If we presented the material along these lines the five words would be Jesus, Trinity, Adoption, Secret and Education.  Typically I present the ideas in the logical order as you set them out.
“As to the significance of five words as opposed to, say, ten I don’t know.  Perhaps that is a vestige of my old Calvinism coming through.  What is significant is the way they help us get a picture of the purpose of the Triune God in history and of our place within it.  God is Father, Son and Spirit.  The trinitarian life is not about three self-centered persons battling for dominance.  It is about other-centered love, about passionate acceptance and shared life.  This God is not, strictly speaking, alone.  Within the being of God there are three persons bound together in communion.  It is not accidental that, as Paul tells us, the purpose of this other-centered God is to share the trinitarian life with others (adoption).  Jesus was appointed before the foundation of the world to accomplish our adoption, and that is what he has done.  In the light of our adoption in Christ we now are called to rethink what we think about ourselves; for being included in the trinitarian life of God means there is far more going on in our lives than we ever dared to dream (secret).  It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring us through our own marred vision to see the truth in Jesus and then learn to walk in it personally and relationally (education).”

Q. I wanted to ask you about the word ‘perichoresis’ earlier, but the conversation went in another direction. What does the word mean and why did the early group choose this word for the name of your ministry?  

“The word means ‘mutual indwelling’ and I would add ‘without loss of personal identity.’ In each of our books there is a statement at the back about the meaning of ‘perichoresis.’ Let me read it:

Genuine acceptance removes fear and hiding, and creates freedom to know and to be known.  In this freedom arises a fellowship and sharing so honest and open and real that the persons involved dwell in one another.  There is union without loss of individual identity.  When one weeps, the other tastes salt.  It is only in the Triune relationship of Father, Son and Spirit that personal relationship of this order exists, and the early Church used the word ‘perichoresis’ to describe it.  The good news is that Jesus Christ has drawn us within this relationship, and its fullness and life are to be played out in each of us and in all creation.

“If you know the story of my son and his buddy in the den (The Secret, Home) then you have a wonderful picture of how this works.  We chose the word because it says in one word what we believe to be the truth of all truths; in Jesus Christ the Triune God, the human race and the cosmos are not separated, but bound together in relationship, without loss of personal identity.
“We were aware of the “marketing problem” of using such a strange word for the name of our ministry, but we were more aware of the fact that we were not called to market Jesus.  It is critical that we recover the early church’s vision of Jesus Christ.  Bringing the word ‘perichoresis’ back into the discussion is one way to do it. On another level we had an eye toward the future.  Given that Jesus Christ is the center of all things, we believed it was only a matter of time before the larger scientific community would begin groping for a concept that could speak to the obvious unity and diversity of the cosmos.  Perichoresis is that concept.  To me it is just plan sad that Christians don’t even know the word.”
Q. You speak often of the early church.  What have been the main theological influences on your thinking and that of the fellowship of Perichoresis at large?

“The early church is critical for us.  And by that I mean specifically the apostles and then Irenaeus, Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzus and Hilary, among others.  In many ways we have nothing new to say at all.  I hope we are faithful to this tradition, and I certainly hope we are saying what they said for our own time.  As a rule we have a problem with Augustine and his Greek philosophical split between the “essence of God” and the Trinity, and with the way the Western tradition has been so bound in a legal framework. Luther and Calvin, of course, and then T. F.  and J. B. Torrance (my professor) and with them Karl Barth, George MacDonald, Thomas Erskine, John MacLeod Campbell and C. S. Lewis are constant sources of guidance.  There are many others but that is the general family tree of influence.”

Q. Of your books and essays and lectures, do you have any favorites?

“That is not a fair question.  So much depends on the context and my mood at the moment.  Today I think I would have to break the question into personal or practical favorites and theological favorites.  Under “personal favorites” I would say the first and last chapters of God Is For Us and chapter 4 of The Great Dance are at the top of the list.  Under “theological favorites” I would say the central chapters on Christ and reconciliation in my new book, Across All Worlds, the essays, ‘A Discourse on Method” and ‘The Truth of All Truths,’ and the book Jesus and the Undoing of Adam.”

Q. What about lectures or lecture series? 

“Using the same breakdown, I would say, ‘Your Are the Child the Father Always Wanted,’ ‘Home Revisited,’ and ‘Why The Trinity Matters.’  Theologically I would have to say ‘The Big Picture: From the Trinity to Our Adoption in Christ’ first, then both parts of ‘The Light of the Cosmos,’ and of course, ‘The Gospel of John.’”

Q. Have there been any surprises over the years with respect to the outreach of Perichoresis?

“Yes indeed.  The greatest surprise has been the Australian people and their hunger for the gospel. We had dreams, but the Ozzies have taken the ball and run beyond anything we imagined.  Personally speaking, I think their hunger has saved my life.  It has called me and summoned my best. 
“As a rule, the response of the Church has been surprising.  Not the individual people in the pews, but the leadership.  On the whole it seems that we are not wanted.  Of course, that is not surprising on one level, but it is disappointing.  But it is early yet, as the Scotts say.
“And I have to say that success of The Parable of the Dancing God was shocking to me.  There are now well over 60 thousand copies of the book in print world-wide. It is used widely in counseling and as a gift for visitors in various churches, even as a gift at the Cursillo and Walk to Emmaus events, and there are plans in place to have it translated into 50 languages. I had no idea that it would touch such a nerve.  As my friend Ken Blue has taught me to say, ‘Thank you Holy Spirit, we will have more please.’”

Q. Do you have any final comments you would like to make?

“Never ask a theologian if he or she has anything else to say.  Of course I do.  Several things in fact.  First, I want to say that the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives rocks our illusions and demands a serious repentant rethinking of everything we thought we knew about God, ourselves, others and creation.  History is the space and time given to the human race to come to grips with the relationship Jesus Christ has with us and the cosmos.  He is the center.  We are all united to him and he is not going away.  Being blind as bats, we are in for a wild ride.  He promises freedom and life to those who follow him, and warns us all that continuing to live in our own worlds spells greater and greater pain.  Second, I want to say that Jesus is right about the Father and we are dead wrong.  Jesus’ Father loves us forever.  It has never crossed His mind to abandon us.  Why won’t we let Him love us?  And I would regret it sorely if I did not say something about the redeeming genius of the Trinity.  I love that about the Father, Son and Spirit.  They are in it for our blessings and they are constantly at work turning our darkness and our blunders into life and good.  Jesus suffered our universal rejection.  We condemned him, mocked him and crucified him.  He did not retaliate.  He did not meet our rejection with rejection.  He embraced us in our darkness through his suffering, and thereby established a real and personal relationship with us at our very worst.  He brought his communion with his Father and Spirit into our hell, and he knows how to meet us and share his life with us in every form of our brokenness.”

Dr. C. Baxter Kruger is a native of Prentiss, Mississippi.  He and his wife Beth have been married for 31 years and have 4 children. A life long student of psychology, Baxter has a degree in political science, a Master of Divinity, and earned his Doctor of Philosophy from Kings College, Aberdeen University in Aberdeen, Scotland under Professor James B. Torrance.  Baxter is the Director of the ministry of Perichoresis and the author of 8 books, including The Great Dance, Jesus and the Undoing of Adam and Across All Worlds, and recently the international bestseller, The Shack Revisited.  He teaches around the world. He is an avid outdoorsman and holds two United States patents for his fishing lure designs.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Asheville, NC: The Open Table Conference

For the last several months I have awakened to, or have been awakened by the single thought that Jesus Christ is holding all things together—the entire cosmos, including you and me. The apostles John and Paul are emphatic about this reality. "All things came into being by Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:3-4). "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col 1:16-17). When we integrate these statements with Jesus' death on the cross—in a non-legal way—we begin to see the real gospel. For in dying at our hands Jesus has shifted 'the place,' as it were, of his holding all things together. In accepting our betrayal and murderous rejection, Jesus established the place of holding all things together not only in his Creative power as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, but as the One who has submitted himself to our hostility toward him. In his redeeming genius, our faithlessness became part of the way his faithfulness bonds the universe. He incorporated our betrayal and rejection into the way he holds all things together. Peter’s betrayal became the way that Jesus met him his broken humanity and embraced him forever. To broaden this slightly, since Jesus is the Father's Son and the Anointed One, his submission to the human race's rejection is the way of our inclusion in his eternally stable relationship with his Father (adoption) and into his eternal anointing in the Holy Spirit (recreation). Jesus himself, the Creator crucified and resurrected and ascended, is not only the place where the cosmos is held together, but as such he is the truth of all truths, our truth. He is the light of the world. Therefore, his very existence commands us to see ourselves held together in him. He commands us to see ourselves included in his relationship with his Father, and in his anointing in the Holy Spirit. Thus, the simple, yet searching gospel proclamation becomes a summons for us to take a break from our interpretation of reality and to take sides with him against the way we see God, and against the way we see ourselves, and against the way we see others. For in Jesus we see that his Father has embraced us forever, and we see ourselves not excluded, but included, and we see others not as outsiders or foreigners or aliens, but as brothers and sisters in Jesus. He is ‘the place’ of our togetherness. Who can fathom such grace and mercy and togetherness? Yet this is the command of the very being of Jesus. He is ‘the place,’ as Athanasius said, where the Father, the Holy Spirit, humanity, and all creation meet, and are together. Thus, Jesus commands us to a vast reinterpretation of ourselves, and of our vision of God, and of our vision of ourselves, and of our vision of others, and of our vision of the cosmos. The Open Table Conference, with John MacMurray, Paul Young and me, is about the free discussion of this vision of Jesus Christ—which I would argue is the New Testament’s vision of the Lord Jesus. The first OTC, as John calls it, in Antelope, Oregon, amazed me in the beautiful diversity of folks from around the country and abroad who wanted to be a part of this discussion. Personally, I was shocked and thrilled at the range of people and the backgrounds that gathered in the Oregon desert. We listened; we questioned; we learned; we cried, but mostly we were all thrilled to know that we are not alone in our journey in the Holy Spirit. So I invite you to join us at the next Open Table Conference in Asheville, North Carolina on August 30-September 2. Visit the web site ( for details. I hope you will join us for a gathering.

Monday, May 27, 2013

West Coast Swing

Notes on my upcoming schedule Eureka, California, Eureka Presbyterian Church, Friday, May 31- Sunday, June 2. Conference with Paul Young Contact: Connie Smith ( Antelope, Oregon, The Open Table Conference, June 7-9. Conference with Paul and John MacMurray Contact: John MacMurray, ( Northwest School of Theology, June 10-11 Contact: John MacMurray ( Santa Cruz, California, June 14-16 Contact: Rod Williams (