Posted tagged ‘Multiperspectivalism’

J.I. Packer’s “Three Facets of Faith” or Triperspectival Catechesis

September 2, 2011

J.I. Packer, in his excellent book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, unpacks the practical out workings of the “the glorious Gospel of our blessed God” in what he calls the “three facets of faith.”  Here is how Packer explains it:

“The essential content of the Faith, then, includes first of all the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which covers the whole many-sided reality of the divine plan and work of salvation.  Secondly, the Faith includes the sound doctrines of the truth that properly accord with that glorious Gospel.  It includes thirdly the Way of living that conforms to those doctrines.  And fourthly it includes the experience of all the life-giving benefits that flow from the power of the Gospel and enable us to walk in the Way of the Lord.  The last three of these elements may be regarded as three facets or dimensions of the Faith that derive from the Gospel” (121, emphasis added).

So Packer argues that the three facets of faith are the truths to be believed, life to be experienced, and ways to conform our lives.  Anyone familiar with Scripture will see that Packer is pulling from John 14:6 where Jesus defines Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  These three facets inherent to the Gospel, Packer argues, are confirmed from three witnesses, namely they are “historical affirmed, biblically grounded, and psychosocially validated”.

Similar to the “multiperspectivalism” of Poythress and Frame, Packer believes there is “sufficient biblical warrant for a multifaceted approach to the content of our teaching ministries” (127).  He argues, “When we take the testimony of these various witnesses together, we see how the glorious Gospel of Christ and the three dimensions of the one Faith speak powerfully to the deepest of our human needs and desires” (130).  Packer agrees with Frame/Poythress that the multiple perspectives or “dimensions” (or facets) are not intended to be viewed in isolation but rather comprehensively and holistically.  He explains, “These facets overlap and interrelate, and we therefore make no overly fine distinction between them.  But we do well to name each of the three facets so that we may better understand and apply ourselves more effectively to them” (ibid.).

In summary, Packer provides the relational claims of each facet to the whole of the gospel this way. We proclaim Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life, and who is our prophet, priest, and king.  Each one of us is called to be a disciple, worshiper, and servant together with all the saints who make up the pillar and foundation of truth, the temple of the living God, and the body or bride of Christ.  As such, we are called to live in light of the faith once for all delivered, the new and better covenant, and the kingdom of God, exercising faith, hope, and love as those who are taught the Truth, liberated by the Life, and walk in the Way.

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Triperspectival Transitioning (Crafting Culture)

July 19, 2011

I have been thinking in recent weeks about the role of leadership in transitioning and in particular a kind of transitioning that requires a paradigm shift of crafting a new culture. For example, how does a church that has largely been ingrown and maintenance-driven become outward-focused and mission-driven? How do you lead a church that has been static and on “ecclesiological birth control” to experience a movement of reproduction through individuals, gospel communities, and eventually daughter churches?

Those are significant questions been asked by many people today, and I don’t pretend to have the answer. Yet, I would like to hash out something that I am calling triperspectival transitioning for crafting a new culture. Triperspectival transitioning (TT) is a leadership approach built upon the three perspectives/offices of Christ’s mediation, namely prophet, priest and king. These perspectives are intended to serve the purpose of helping church leaders through times of transition. Through the various phases of transitioning, the various perspectives of prophet, priest, and king play a pivotal role in shaping or crafting the new culture leaders are hoping to birth.

I have laid out TT in a seven-phase process where each perspective carries the lead role (at least) twice.  Here is a simple diagram that shows the seven components:

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Lord Jesus Christ – A Triperspectival Meditation

June 30, 2011

The phrase “Lord Jesus Christ” is used throughout the epistles of the Apostle Paul (some 60+ times). For instance, you find it in the beginning of most of his letters to the churches (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2-3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1-2; Philemon 1:3), and you will also find it in the ending of most of his letters (Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 6:18; Eph. 6:24; Phil. 4:23; 1 Thess. 5:28; 2 Thess. 3:18; Philemon 1:25).  In a rather significant way, the phrase serves as bookends to the letters to the churches.  Everyone knows that the things people remember the most are at the beginning and at the end of a message or letter, so it stands to reason why Paul would employ this phrase when speaking about Jesus, and in particular what he may intentionally be drawing to their remembrance.

Furthermore, Paul employs this phrase in reference to the past, presence, and future work of Christ.  In a gospel sense, Paul uses this phrase regarding the work of Christ in his first coming (Acts 20:21; 1 Cor. 6:11; 15:57; 2 Cor. 8:9; 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:14) as well as the work of Christ in his second coming (1 Cor. 1:7-8 Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Pet. 1:16).  And in the practical outworking of the gospel , Paul makes the phrase the grounds for his appeal to fellow believers (Rom. 15:30; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Thess. 3:6; 3:12).  Whether looking back (at the cross), looking forward (at his coming), or looking around at everyday situations in life, Paul invokes the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Triperspectival Pastoral Priorities and Practices

May 24, 2011

Yesterday, Dustin Neeley (who runs Church Planting for the Rest of Us) drew our attention to an interview he did with Mark Dever in which he asked about balancing time between sermon preparation and shepherding people.  Here’s the video:

I resonate with everything that Dever is saying in this interview.  One of the more profitable studies I’ve done over the past year is to evaluate my pastoral ministry practices and priorities in light of what Scripture reveals descriptively and prescriptively about pastors.  Principally, I focused my attention on Paul’s exhortation to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20, Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3 as well as Titus in Titus 1, Paul’s explanation of church life in Ephesians 4, and finally Peter’s instruction in 1 Peter 5.

Without being overly simplistic, I came away with three overarching roles of a pastor/shepherd/overseer. They are to be exemplars in their holiness/gospel-centered living (leadership dynamic), they are to be shepherds of the flock (body dynamic), and they are to be equippers of the saints for the work of ministry, edification of the church, and advance of the gospel (mission dynamic).  Accordingly, I have sought to find practical ways in which my practices as a pastor most align with what I’ve discovered in Scripture to be normative, which is often undermined or rivaled by a corporate, business (professionalized) mindset of church leadership.

As Dever noted regarding sermon time and sheep time, they often overlap and compliment one another. This is one way in which I see the triperspectival model helpful in thinking through pastoral priorities because each perspective sheds light on the particular ways in which ministers are to fulfill their ministry.  Each perspective intends to illuminate the other perspectives in ways that don’t compartmentalize the calling but recognize them as interdependent roles which comprise the calling holistically.

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Audio of Jamie Munson on Triperspectivalism

December 12, 2010

Last month, I linked to a short video clip of Jamie Munson priming triperspectivalism prior to his speaking at the Stick Teams Conference.  His conference audio is now available through the Resurgence website.  If you’d like to download the audio, here you go:

–> Jamie Munson Main Session
–> Jamie Munson  Q&A

I will be updating my compilation page on triperspectivalism which continues to be accessed by a number of people on a daily basis.

Jamie Munson Primes Triperspectivalism

November 11, 2010

One of the most frequented “back pages” of my blog is my compilation on Triperspectival Leadership.  I was first introduced to multiperspectivalism back in early 2008, and since then, I have employed this paradigm of thinking in preaching, leadership structures, and discipleship process.  In the video below, Jamie Munson of Mars Hill Church (Seattle, WA) gives an overview of trispersectivalism as it relates to church leadership. Check it out (and to go deeper, see my compilation).

HT :: Josh Cousineau