By Mike Oppenheimer
(From his book The Trinity: The Triune Nature of God)
Today, the word Trinity, or Trinitarian theology, is taking on a whole new meaning, one of which most Christians are unaware but one that is working its way into the church through the highly popular book, The Shack. Let me explain. Many people have defended their admiration for The Shack, saying it is “just a novel.” But Shack author William Paul Young admits that The Shack is more than a novel; he considers it a theological book:
Please don’t misunderstand me; The Shack is theology. But it is theology wrapped in story.1
Young said these words in a book written by C. Baxter Kruger titled The Shack Revisited where Young wrote the foreword. He also stated in the foreword:
If you want to understand better the perspectives and theology that frame The Shack, this book [Kruger’s] is for you. Baxter has taken on the incredible task of exploring the nature and character of the God who met me in my own shack.2
Reading through The Shack Revisited, it becomes clear that Baxter’s main theme is what he calls “the trinitarian life.”
[Jesus] became what we are, entered into our world of confusion. . . . He found his way into our darkness, into the scary places inside our souls. And there he pitched his tent forever—and he brought his Papa [the Father] and the Holy Spirit with him. . . . inside of us all, because of Jesus, is nothing short of the very trinitarian life of God. . . . “I am good” because Jesus and his Father and the Holy Spirit have found me and live in me.3
Contrary to what I have described about the Trinity in my book, Baxter’s (and Young’s) view of the Trinity is not just about the shared deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Rather it encompasses all of humanity and all of creation:
From all eternity, God is not alone and solitary, but lives as Father, Son, and Spirit in a rich and glorious fellowship of utter oneness. . . . The trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy . . . This life is unique, and it is good and right. . . . And this love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it.4
In presenting this view of the Trinity that there is “oneness” and “togetherness” throughout the universe and all humanity, Kruger introduces the idea that there is no separation between God and His creation:
The New Testament’s witness to Jesus leads to a revolution in human understanding of God as the blessed Trinity. It also leads to a revolution in our understanding of creation and of human existence as not separated from the triune God, but together with God in relationship forever. . . .
The triune God, the human race, and all creation are not separated but together in relationship. Jesus is the relationship. In his own being, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and all creation are together.5
This is classic New Age panentheistic thought that teaches that God is in all things and all people, that everything is sacred (filled with divinity), and that there is no gap between God and man and God and creation. While we would expect this kind of belief in the New Age, it is absolutely contradictory to biblical Christianity. Yet, the author of one of the most popular Christian books today has come right out and stated that Kruger’s book is the framework of The Shack. Kruger further explains this trinitarian “theology”:
This means that the mutual indwelling of the blessed Trinity now includes us! In Jesus, the human race has been gathered into the Holy Spirit’s world. . . . the staggering oneness of the blessed Trinity, have found us in our shacks—us: you, me, all of us—forever.6
The very identity of Jesus Christ as the One in whom the Father, the Holy Spirit, and all creation are bound together carries profound geopolitical, racial, social, environmental, economic, and educational implications . . . As the Creator incarnate, Jesus, in his relationship with his Father in the Spirit, is integral to every sphere and area of human life and of the life of our planet. Nothing was left behind when he ascended.7 (emphasis added)
Kruger states that “heaven and earth are united”8 and that “the life and oneness of the blessed Trinity have crossed the infinite divide and embraced us forever.”9 This is reminiscent of the New Age idiom “as above, so below” meaning that there is no gap between God in Heaven and His creation on earth. If this were true, then Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross would have been unnecessary. Kruger continues:
Jesus has included us in his relationship with his Father, and in his relationship with the Holy Spirit, and in his relationship with every person, and in his relationship with all creation. Jesus is the center of it all. . . .
We are not separated from the blessed Trinity, but included in the trinitarian life. This is our identity, the truth of our being, and our destiny of joy.10
William Paul Young not only admitted in the foreword of Kruger’s book that The Shack is based on Kruger’s panentheistic ideas on the Trinity, Young also presented the idea of what he calls “the lie of separation” on a television series on TBN in 2017 when he stated:
[I]t is a “lie” to believe that God is “separate” from His creation.11
Former New Age follower, Warren B. Smith, explains this “lie of separation”:
In the New Age, we didn’t believe in a real Satan. The only thing “satanic” was to not believe in the divine “Oneness” of all creation. The only “Satan” were those who were under “the illusion of separation”—those who did not believe that God was “in” everyone and everything.12
Read a few quotes by one who is accepted as the New Age “Christ” who reveals himself in various channeled writings:
The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself. There is no separation of God and His creation.13—A Course in Miracles
The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power.14—A Course in Miracles
Let Me take you with Me, My friends, back to your Source, back to the cradle of your Being, and release in you your Godhead.15—Maitreya
I shall drive from this Earth forever the curse of hatred, the sin of separation.16—Maitreya
The only solution is the Ultimate Truth: nothing exists in the universe that is separate from anything else—The “God” who spoke to Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God.17
This is your assignment. This is your work. You are to destroy the illusion of separation.18—Neale Donald Walsch’s “God”
As we are witnessing a growing apostasy in the church, which the Bible says will happen in the days before Christ’s return, a New Age spirit and false “Christ” who proclaims that God is in everything and everyone and there is no separation between God and man will continue to make himself known to the world. Paul warned about those who worship “the creature more than the Creator” (see Romans 1:23-25) in not recognizing that God and creation are truly separate and always will be. Unfortunately, many who proclaim to be Christians will fall for this lie. God, indeed, is separate from His creation. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is not humanity, and He is not creation.
(from Mike Oppenheimer’s new book The Trinity: The Triune Nature of God)
1. William Paul Young in the foreword to C. Baxter Kruger’s book, The Shack Revisited (New York, NY: Faith Words, Hachette Book Group, 2012), p. xi.
2. Ibid., p. ix.
3. Ibid., p. 49.
4. Ibid., p. 62.
5. ibid., pp. 140-141.
6. Ibid., p. 141.
7. Ibid., p. 218.
8. Ibid., p. 219.
10. Ibid., p. 22.
11. Restoring the Shack television series, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), 20 episodes that were originally broadcast from to July 9, 2017. Restoring the Shack online at: https://www.tbn.org/programs/restoring-shack).
12. Warren Smith, “Wm. Paul Young Teaches New Age Lie About Separation on TBN” (Lighthouse Trails Research blog, September 23, 2017, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=23824).
13. A Course in Miracles, Combined Volume [Text, Workbook for Students, Manual for Teachers] (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992), p. 147 (Text).
15. Message No. 51, November 23, 1978.
16. Ibid., p. 104.
17. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: Book 2 (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1997), p. 173.
18. Neale Donald Walsch, Friendship with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999), p. 21.
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)