Goodmanson

Unlocking Value for Entrepreneurs

The Dangers of Triperspectivalism

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.

14 Comments

  1. Good word. Also, a robust teaching on the offices of Christ might weaken the possibility/tendency of misapplication. I’m doing a three study on the offices of Christ for this very reason.

  2. “three week study”

  3. Good stuff Drew. I don’t want to end up confusing people with perspectivalism that’s for sure. Coming up, I’ll be teaching, though, on the importance of perspective when it comes to a harmonious congregation and what true worship gatherings should look like.

  4. D. Goodmanson

    July 3, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Good word Foster on routing it in Christ’ offices. This is something we mentioned in our meeting as well. The more we focus on him, the less it will become a consumeristic or pragmatic tool devoid of it’s intention.

  5. For anyone who is interested in doing such a study for themselves I recommend going to monergism.com and doing a search for “offices of Christ.”

  6. Thanks for this post. I have never heard of this subject before.

  7. Drew,

    I agree with those risks. I think the guys (in Australia) that got focused on the whole APEPT (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) thing ran straight into those very potholes. Especially the “personality test” bit!

    Certainly a grounding in Christ’s nature is the first guard against such risks.

    I also wonder if there’s not a further risk of reductionism in trying to go too far in isolating 3 offices. Because Christ is also wise man, counselor, shepherd, creator, etc?

  8. “I also wonder if there‚Äôs not a further risk of reductionism in trying to go too far in isolating 3 offices. Because Christ is also wise man, counselor, shepherd, creator, etc?”

    You have a point but I would argue that all those things you mentioned could easily fall into one of the three offices of Christ. Also, I suppose it all depends on how loosely you use the word office.

  9. Mike (Porter that is), I definitely appreciate your concern. I think this is why the normative side can not be diminished for the temptation to work this out in a kingly way. When looking at this theologically we should be asking “Why do we look at only three official offices and why did those chosen for the offices of prophet, priest, and king in the OT need to be anointed with oil? What was behind this practice?” We see that their anointing set them apart to the Lord. The oil with which they were anointed was symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Endowed with the Spirit, through their anointing with holy oil, these prophets, priests, and kings, were transformed into the likeness of the Lord of Glory.

    It is noteworthy that in the Old Testament, these three offices of prophet, priest, and king were never united in one person. There were some in the Old Testament who functioned as both prophet and priest. Others functioned as both priest and king. But God never permitted any one person to hold all three offices. These offices pointed beyond themselves—they were shadows and types—pointing to the fulfillment of the One who is the Prophet, Priest, and King. Incidently, they are the only official offices that needed to be annointed with oil.

    In Christ, the offices of prophet, priest, and king are united. He is the One to whom the Old Testament prophets, priest, and king are united. He is the One to whom the Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings pointed. As Prophet, he proclaims salvation. As Priest, he merits salvation. As King, he applies salvation.

    Christ has been ordained by God the father to be our prophet, priest, and king. Christ has been anointed not with the holy oil used in the Old Testament, but with the Holy Spirit himself.

    The concern that this is reductionistic is only valid if God Himself did not limit (in foreshadow/type) his annointed offices to three. I do believe (as Mike Foster has stated) that the working out of Christ’s offices of Prophet, Priest, and King would help us to understand how we was a shepherd, how we was a counselor, how we was a creator. We don’t limit his activity for the sake of neat and tidy triads, but we also see that this was the flow of the OT and it is what Christ won for us and we are now described as prophets, priests, and kings by the very fact of Christ’s imputed righteousness. He’s succeeded where Adam has failed as prophet/priest/king.

    I can not stress enough the importance of having a good Christology (normative) before we run out and apply a theological framework which we may not have fully thought through. Drew’s caution here is needful to those who are elders and wanting to apply MP to their ministry.

    I hope this helps in some way. Great question brother.

  10. David (and Mike),

    Yes, that does help- lots!

  11. You guys have got me really thinking from all this. I just posted something on a triperspectival view of gospel application:
    http://unveiledface.blogspot.com/2007/07/gospel-application-three-perspectives.html

  12. This is a great discussion. We are just beginning to use the PPK model at our church. It is interesting to see that you guys seem to be doing the same thing. I would love to discuss this more with someone from Kaleo. Who “owns” this movement in your church?

  13. Enjoying the teaching on this. Your speaking right now…”go through a triperspectival filter”. Still can’t say or spell that word. 🙂

  14. @David Fairchild,

    “We don‚Äôt limit his activity for the sake of neat and tidy triads, but we also see that this was the flow of the OT and it is what Christ won for us and we are now described as prophets, priests, and kings by the very fact of Christ‚Äôs imputed righteousness.”

    Where is there a didactic passage on the imputation of Christ’s righteousness where either implicitly or explicitly “we [are] now described as prophets, priests, and kings”?

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Goodmanson

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑