Posted tagged ‘Triperspectivalism’

Gospel-Centered Spiritual Formation: Spiritual Disciplines

May 4, 2012

So far in this series, I have provided a little background, the triperspectival framework, and the role of gospel forms in the development of the diagram I created to illustrate what I’m calling gospel-centered spiritual formation.

Role of Spiritual Disciplines in Gospel-Centered Formation

Now we have come to the role of spiritual disciplines in gospel-centered spiritual formation. What I’ve done with this approach is create subsets of disciplines that correspond both to the triperspectival framework and particular “form” of the gospel.  The reason spiritual disciplines are intrinsically connected this way is to correct the bifurcation of gospel centrality and formative spiritual disciplines. The former tends to focus on delight (gospel), and the later tends to focus on duty (disciplines). But duty can been an overflow of delight when we discover how spiritual disciplines are cultivated in light of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  In other words, they are not exercises of spiritual growth as much as they are exercises in gospel application (leading to spiritual growth).

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Gospel-Centered Spiritual Formation: The Triperspectival Framework

April 25, 2012

In my first post, I provided a little background to the development of this paradigm I’ve created, called gospel-centered spiritual formation. I argued that the literature on spiritual disciplines largely does not factor in the gospel, and gospel-centered literature has yet to address the role of spiritual disciplines in the life of a gospel-centered Christian.  This dichotomy is an unfortunate one, and I think it can be addressed, which I intend to do through a triperspectival framework.

Brief Primer on Tripespectivalism

Although I have written several articles on triperspectivalism, I don’t want to assume everyone knows what I’m talking about.  The two pioneering theologians on triperpsectivalism (or multiperspectivalism) are John Frame and Vern Poythress.  Generally speaking, triperspectivalism focuses on the three offices of Christ’s mediation, namely prophet, priest, and king. In his book Symphonic Theology, Poythress says “each of the three main offices can be expanded into a perspective on the way in which Christ mediates the presence of God to human beings” (39). Ultimately, prophet, priest, and king–the three roles of Old Testament leadership–culminate in the person and work of Christ.

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Gospel-Centered Spiritual Formation: A Little Background

April 23, 2012

I never heard about spiritual disciplines until I took a class on it while in college. In those early years of my spiritual development, I was directed to books like Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, and Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines. As a lifelong athlete training who loved to train for physical fitness, I really liked the idea of spiritually training/discipline for godliness.  I am grateful for this period of time in my life where I was not only taking the call for spiritual growth seriously but also the call to gospel ministry.

Fast forward four years, and I am ending a four-year stint in youth ministry and entering seminary.  It was at this time that God began to work deeply in my about the sufficiency of the gospel, and more specifically understanding how my union with Christ changes how I live as a Christian.  When I looked back at the intentional efforts of being spiritually disciplined, I realized how little attention was being paid to the gospel. For whatever reason, the gospel was absent from a lot of the literature pertaining to spiritual disciplines, and the consequence (in part) was that the gospel was assumed in a lot of my spiritual development.

Over the past 2-3 years, there has been a renaissance of gospel-centered literature, and for that I’m extremely grateful. I have attempted to argue for years that the greatest need in evangelical life is the recovery and rediscovery of the gospel. In the midst of all the excellent literature coming out on the gospel, I have not seen anything written on the relationship of gospel centrality to spiritual disciplines. They appear to have two different approaches to spiritual formation, angling in two different directions for living the Christian life.

And yet I don’t think that must needs be the case.

I have recently thought about this, in particular how the gospel-centered life and importance of spiritual disciplines work in concert for a believer’s spiritual formation. The result is a triperspectival diagram that I want to break down for your consideration.  For now, I’m simply going to post the diagram. In the coming days, I hope to explain it in detail for those interested in my attempt to bridge the gap between gospel centrality and spiritual formation through a triperspectival framework.

Triperspectival Church Structures

November 7, 2011

I’ve come to find that healthy churches make disciples in multiple venues, namely church gathered (large group), church scattered (small group), and life-on-life (one-on-one).  From a triperspectival approach, church gathered focus on the normative perspective (prophetic), church scattered focuses on the existential perspective (priestly), and the life-on-life focuses on the situational perspective (kingly).

Church gathered is normative because it deals directly with the text with the primacy of preaching and calls disciples to repentance and faith where God’s revelation becomes normative in their thinking, believing, and living.

Church scattered is existential because it deals directly with the context of one another’s lives and calls disciples to apply and appropriate the text to each other’s lives in a gospel community.

Life-on-life is situational because it deals directly with the subtext of what is going on beneath the surface of people’s initial responses and probes deeper the matters of the heart, enabling disciples to expose areas where they are not gladly submitted to the reign and rule of king Jesus.

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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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Triperspectival Prayer: Daily Communion Rhythms Through the Mediatorial Offices of Christ

April 1, 2011

So that has to be the most Puritan-ish title I’ve ever given a blogpost, and I hope I haven’t lost you already.  🙂 I realize that some of you may not be familiar with triperspectivalism, and if you are in that category, here’s a good list of resources to check out.  The purpose of this blogpost is to show how I am learning to practically apply triperspectivalism to my prayer life in order to create a more balanced, continual communion with God throughout the day.

Triperspectivalism focuses on the three offices of Christ’s mediation, namely that of prophet, priest, and king and shows how those offices functionally relate to Christian life and ministry.  What I want to do is the make the case how appropriating the triperspectival model can encourage prayer rhythms while at the same time directing us to revel in Christ our mediator.  Makes sense?

The way this is unfolding in my day is to break down my prayer times in three specific periods: early morning, noontime/mid-day, and late evening.  While there is spontaneous prayer throughout the day, these periods are intentionally set aside for communion with God and to lay of Jesus who is my prophet, priest, and king. Doing this causes me to remain awestruck in wonder of my Savior and cultivates communion in a manner not centered on me and my needs but God and the beauty of His manifold perfections.

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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