As more churches & leaders begin to use triperspectivalism as a philosophy of ministry, there are a few dangers I wanted to warn against (these came up in an elder meeting at Kaleo):
Personality Test – One of the dangers of triperspectivalism is using it as a personality test. eg. “Oh, you are emotional, you must be a Priest.” This type of stereotyping is not only limiting, but also harmful. As Christians we must hold to a ‘already/not yet’ tension in our understanding of self. While, because we are not perfect, so that certainly there are areas we will tend to be weak in, it is crucial for people to know that Jesus Christ was the PERFECT Prophet, Priest & King on our behalf and has given us that identity. If we have an area of weakness we can look to him, who is perfect in our weakness. This also means that we cannot ‘work’ to grow in areas without it being done in a gospel/grace renewal by God.
Reductionism – A second danger is defeating the very triperspectival emphasis by not seeing all three elements as co-existing. I have seen people emphasize one area in such a way to eliminate the other two perspectives. All three must be held together at all times. For example, a counselor isn’t just a Priestly function, it must be grounded in God’s Word (Prophet) and the counsel needs to be applied to a person’s life (King).
A word of caution is to know your audience when using triperpectivalism. It may be something you reserve for people in leadership who won’t be confused or prone to slip into one of the above errors because they understand the broader context of it’s usage.
View previous articles on triperspectivalism.