Kingdom Triangle Discussion

Friday, December 4, 2009

2010 Dallas Willard Conference in Southern California

A longtime friend and mentor of JP Moreland's, Dallas Willard, will be doing a conference at JP's church, the Anaheim Vineyard in Southern California. Dallas also wrote the Foreword to Kingdom Triangle.

When: April 17, 2010 (Saturday)
Where: Anaheim Vineyard (directions)

The all-day Saturday conference will center on this theme from Dallas:

"Knowledge for Life: Learning to Trust & Grow in Spiritual Knowledge."

In January, at, tickets for the conference will go on sale.

In part, the conference will echo similar themes in Dallas Willard's Knowing Christ Today.

JP writes:
Dallas Willard’s Knowing Christ Today is a stunning achievement. I could not put it down. It is the foundational book for all of his other works on the spiritual life, and a must read for all who wish to grasp the appropriate framework for knowing and following Jesus in the contemporary setting. Far too often, Christians interested in the intellectual aspects of Christianity do not pay much attention to the distinctively spiritual formation side of things. But just as importantly, those who are committed to spiritual formation frequently set aside the more philosophical, cognitive side of the journey. Both sides in isolation are truncated and, fortunately, with the publication of Knowing Christ Today, the intellectual and spiritual facets of walking with Jesus are brought together in one place in such a way that their essential inseparability is laid bare for the reader in a life-changing, persuasive way. This is one of the most important books published in my lifetime, and I urge everyone to read it with care. However, I am happy to announce that those of us in the So Cal area do not need to rest with merely reading the book; no, we can attend a critical conference at which Willard himself will interact about the themes and implications of his book and handle questions from the conferees. I am deeply involved in this conference and consider it to be of critical importance. I urge everyone who can to attend it.
If you are in the southern California area, JP will also be giving a full review and leading a discussion of Dallas' book on March 25, 2010 (Thursday @ 7 pm) at the coffee shop of the Anaheim Vineyard.

Kingdom Triangle and Christian Intellectuals that Serve Global Christianity

In November, at the 2009 annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, JP gave a talk to over 100 members in attendance about how Christian intellectuals can serve the Non-Western church.

While audio is unavailable, here are the main points from JP's talk. We are happy to feature these ideas here since this topic echos so many wonderful aspects of Kingdom Triangle.

  1. The church is exploding all over the world outside of Western cultures, and the disciples in these countries hold to an overtly supernatural worldview.
  2. The emerging young intellectual leadership in these countries look to the ETS/EPS/SCP for guidance and help. They read our writings and follow us. They are confused and hurt when we advance ideas that undermine the commonsense, supernatural worldview of the Bible that they embrace. Thus, we have a responsibility to do our work in light of how it impacts our brothers and sisters in these countries.
  3. Here are four suggestions for how to better fulfill that responsibility:
  • Work together with others to write books, produce edited works, and so forth. The synergy of such efforts increases our impact and it models the importance of the body of Christ and cooperation among its members.
  • Produce works that range from popular to technical, but be sure we do not look down upon those who work at the popular end of the spectrum. The key is to find one's role and play it well.
  • Beware of living for a career and for the respect of the "right" people in the profession instead of living for the Kingdom and seeing one's work as a calling from God rather than a place to re-assure oneself that he/she is respected.
  • Require a burden of proof before one adopts a view, e.g., Christian physicalism, that if read by a brothers and sisters outside Western culture, would hurt their supernatural faith, especially if the view is not one held by a significant number of people in church history and if it is "politically correct" to adopt it under pressure from the academic community.

Friday, September 4, 2009

How Kingdom Triangle is Transformative: Interview with Matthew Bazemore

We interviewed Matthew Bazemore about his ministry's experience with Kingdom Triangle. Matthew is a research fellow of Campus Crusade's Faculty Commons' Academic Initiative.

Tell about your ministry and why did you host a reading group around Kingdom Triangle for faculty and students?

I minister to faculty and graduate students at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN through Faculty Commons. This past spring the graduate student discussion group read The Kingdom Triangle. I had four grads in philosophy and one in mathematics. I chose KT for several reasons: 1) I wanted to expose the students to a credible Christian scholar, 2) the topic is important for living faithfully in general, 3) KT has implications for living faithfully as Christian scholars, and 4) I was pretty confident that the topics raised by Dr. Moreland would be challenging to each of us, and thus, confident that the Spirit could use this book to work in our hearts.

The discussion throughout the book was lively and engaging. There were no quiet moments or uncomfortable pauses. There was plenty of material to grapple with and discuss. The biggest challenge for me was to encourage the students to read while listening to the Lord rather than analyzing and critiquing the way they are being trained as doctoral students, esp. the philosophy grads. Upon finishing KT one graduate student had this to say, “The Kingdom Triangle gave me a new perspective on how I can minister to people in an academic setting. It showed me that the American academy needs Christian faculty now more than ever, and it gave helpful guidance on what factors are crucial to build the Church there and beyond: knowledge, spiritual formation, and trust in God's miraculous power.”

Tell us about your own journey with Moreland’s ideas in view of your ministry.

Restoring the Spirit’s power has been the biggest challenge. I have read KT twice now and each time I have read the chapter on the Spirit, tears have come to my eyes. They are tears of a longing desire to have this dimension of life in Christ become a reality rather than lip service. They are also tears of conviction. I feel convicted because I recognize a fear of risking failure (p 198). I would rather remain in safety.

Recently, there has been a movement in my heart. As I pray for others to be healed, I find that I am a little more expectant than I used to be. One specific application that I will be implementing is reading that chapter several more times as a means to deepen my trust in Him for growth in this area.

In light of my ministry, my thinking is this: I am convinced that the Spirit is a necessary condition for Kingdom life. Thus, this needs to be a component of everyone’s vocation, including those in academics. The key question that I am now faced with is: How do I help Christian faculty integrate a more active role of the Spirit into their vocation? What does this look like for the faculty at a Research Level I University? I am still in the beginning stages of thinking about this, but it is my prayer that the Spirit’s power would be made manifest in the growing community of Christian faculty.

What does Kingdom Triangle provide for the Christian academic influencer?

KT provides a well-informed non-technical overview of the two major ideologies that challenge Christianity today. In a vocation that is highly specialized, KT enables and challenges one to think about the forest rather than focusing on the tree. It provides a wonderful overview of why the university is the way it is today and presents a robust picture of the Christian life. It provides hope and a reminder that “Aslan in on the move.”

What did you and the group find to be the most “challenging” as a result of reading Kingdom Triangle?

The biggest challenge for us was the chapter on “Restoring the Spirit’s Power.” We all observed that when we hear stories of the miraculous we have a tendency to be skeptical. We all knew that God could do these things, but does He and to what extent? How does one integrate the Spirit’s power in an academic context? All of us identified ourselves as “open but cautious” but there was a desire to be living out as someone in the “Third Wave” category.

How might Kingdom Triangle influence how you minister?

The book is one of the first books I recommend to faculty and graduate students. It has influenced the way I think about how to minister in the academic culture both for the Christian and non-Christian. Now more than ever I am convinced that one of the most important ideas to get others to consider is that Christianity is a knowledge tradition and that Jesus was and is a knowledge authority. Kingdom Triangle strengthened that conviction in me.

You can read more about Matthew Bazemore's thoughts and ideas from his blog posts at the Antecedents blog.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kingdom Triangle in Ministry Magazine

In the May issue of Ministry magazine, a publication of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, JP Moreland has an article, titled, "The Power of God's Kingdom and Ministry."

Among the many topics that Moreland addresses, he unpacks what he means by the "gospel of the Kingdom" and its relationship to justification. He also talks about the importance of these matters as they relate to evangelism:

the gospel of the kingdom of God is to justification by faith as the whole is to the part, or as the beginning of a journey is to the rest of the journey. The gospel of the kingdom includes justification as an essential ingredient. And it specifies the purpose of justification, namely, to be the entry into a continuing journey, or, perhaps more appropriately, to be the start of a continuing journey. The point of becoming justified? Justification is the way one begins a life of sanctification. The gospel invites us to an entirely new, rich life lived from the resources of and according to the nature of another realm. I become justified so I can learn this new life, a life that will be mine forever ...

the gospel of the kingdom bids me to start by trusting something Jesus did for me (died and rose), and to continue that trust by enlisting daily as Jesus’ pupil so that He can teach me regarding living my life as He would if He were me, that is, living out the kingdom in my own setting.

My evangelism has been transformed by recovering this broader gospel. When I speak evangelistically, I now spend most of my time painting a picture of what life in the kingdom is like. I contrast it to life outside the kingdom. I offer an invitation for listeners to rethink their life in light of the invitation to live from within the kingdom of God. And, finally, I proclaim the need for justification by faith as the essential first step into kingdom life. By connecting justification by faith with this broader gospel, I have good news to offer people. And I have come to recognize that the gospel of the kingdom and kingdom life, generally, should be accompanied with manifestations of God’s power and presence as we see in His ministry and in the book of Acts. And Jesus’ own ministry is to be understood as an example of how to live in and from God’s kingdom in dependence on God’s Spirit. This is our invitation and what an honor it is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pastors Learn about Kingdom Triangle at Moody's Pastor's Conference

In February, JP participated in Moody Bible Institute's Founder's Week conference.

Just this last week, he completed some further speaking at Moody for their noteworthy Pastor's Conference. While at Moody JP did six seminars. Each seminar was had, on average, 100-120 attendees.

I did three on each leg of the Kingdom Triangle, one on the nature of faith from In Search of a Confident Faith, and two on evangelism from The God Question. These topics were assigned to me by the conference organizers and interest was high and responsiveness was very good.

The organizers of the conference believed that the themes in the books are of central importance to pastors and local churches. The God Question lays out for a thoughtful non-Christian the steps leading to belief in the existence of the Christian God, why the topic of God is a life and death question, and how to become a follower of Jesus without being religious once one enters the Kingdom. It is a solid evangelistic tool, and the pastors were incredibly enthusiastic about receiving this content. The Kingdom Triangle's three legs are at the core of pastoral ministry, or, at least, should be, since it provided a balanced set of values for maturing people in the Way of Jesus. And my book with Klaus Issler (In Search of a Confident Faith) is of great help to pastors because it clarifies the nature of faith in the midst of great confusion about faith, and it lays out a series of steps for helping people grow in their faith. This is at the core of pastoral ministry.

Do you want to have JP speak at your pastor's conference? Contact us with the details.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kingdom Triangle & Secularization

Kingdom Triangle provides helpful direction concerning how Christians think about and navigate their lives in light of prevailing worldview influences.

One of the fruitful areas that it helps guide, is how Christians think about the ways that secularism has formed our view of knowledge, especially religious knowledge.

See Moreland in this apologetics conference clip as he talks about such matters

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Apologetics 315 Reviews Kingdom Triangle

Apologetics 315, a major portal for all things apologetics, has provided a handsome review of Kingdom Triangle.
From an apologetic point of view, Moreland’s Kingdom Triangle is a valuable read. Really, he is making the case for a Christian life that is full, balanced, and powerful. He addresses the mind, the heart, and the spirit. This book is insightful, challenging, and very relevant.
Read the full review here:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kingdom Triangle at the Association for Biblical Higher Education

JP spoke about Kingdom Triangle at the annual meeting of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) in Orlando, Florida.

The theme of the meeting was "Engaging Culture Through Biblical Thinking."
The ABHE meeting was attended by several hundred Christian educators, and I was honored with the opportunity to do plenary sessions on the first leg of the Triangle, the life of the mind. I tried to emphasize the importance of general revelation in the integrative task for apologetics. I also did a seminar on building a case for Christianity.
The ABHE is an agency involved with several Bible Colleges and Seminaries across North America.

Moreland went on to observe, "It has always been a source of amazement to me as to how little our Bible colleges emphasize the task of apologetics, and how little is known about how to make the case for Christianity. There was great hunger for my seminar and, in my view, it was the highlight for me of the week."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kingdom Triangle Conference: Moreland, Jackson, Kendall

A major Kingdom Triangle conference was held in San Diego on the tail-end of the National Pastor's Convention. The conference attracted pastors and other leaders in churches and organizations.

JP Moreland was joined with R.T. Kendall and John Paul Jackson to present and model themes related to the book, Kingdom Triangle.

Kendall spoke three times and emphasized the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit to being grieved by unholiness, the importance of totally forgiving those who have hurt us, and of completely forgiving ourselves for Christ's sake. Kendall is a gentle, humble man with a very keen mind, and his presentations were penetrating (a version of Kendall's talk can be downloaded here)

John Paul Jackson spoke three times and he emphasized the importance of learning how to live in Kingdom power and authority, of resisting the temptation of thinking that the sense-perceptible world is all there is, and of being aware of the battle going on in the spirit world all around us. John Paul demonstrated the use of words of knowledge and wisdom on Friday night, and the ministry time was edifying and encouraging.

JP spoke twice and emphasized the life of the mind, the importance of study, the centrality of thinking theologically, and of learning to keep our minds habitually focused on God, the good things in our lives, and our identity, mission and character development in the Kingdom.

JP observed

This conference was unique in that it represented a balance among the life of the Christian mind, the inner life of spiritual formation, and the overt supernatural nature of the Kingdom.

We hope to see other Kingdom Triangle conferences of this sort

Sunday, February 15, 2009

JP Moreland at the National Pastor's Convention

JP was delighted to be a speaker at this year's National Pastor's Convention in San Diego, California. With excitement, here is what he wrote to us:
I spent two wonderful days from February 12-13 at the NPC in San Diego. The conference brings together about 1500 pastors from all over the country. I was honored to present two workshops on the three legs of the Kingdom Triangle. The workshops were well-attended and very stimulating. I take away from these sessions a few lessons:

(1) There is a growing interest in Kingdom power and the supernatural aspects of Christianity across theological lines and denominational divisions. I sense that pastors are getting that this is a matter of the Kingdom, not primarily of spiritual gifts, and while there is still concern about abuses, more and more pastors are desiring to see the Kingdom preach in to their churches. The Kingdom Triangle book provides them with a theological and intellectual rationale for moving wisely into this area.

(2) There is a growing awareness and acceptance of spiritual formation, along with a desire to learn how to practice spiritual disciplines in the corporate setting. Much progress has been made in awakening the church to the need for disciplines in individual believer's lives, but more work needs to be done in applying these disciplines to the church as a whole.

(3) I was impressed with the desire among the pastors to learn more about how to think about worldviews. I presented some fairly tough material, but the audience was hungry for more and more. In all, my heart was encouraged by these men and women, especially by their openness to get the job done somehow.

Pastors continue to resonate with Kingdom Triangle and are finding fruitful ways to discuss its importance for their churches.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Moreland at Moody's Founder's Week

From cold and windy Chicago, JP spoke at Moody Bible Institute's Founder's Week conference.

The Week brought together hundreds of attendees and several well-known Evangelical speakers and teachers. "It was a joy to participate," said JP.

My first workshop was a review of my recent work The God Question.

There were about 120 people packed into a room that held 100, and there were dozens of folks in the hallway who could not get in. I explained how to explore the contemporary rise in depression and concomitant loss of happiness with the shift of ideas from biblical theism to secularism, especially as regards the nature and limits of knowledge. I then offered a prĂ©cis of the sorts of arguments for God I have found helpful in doing evangelism, I shared a number of illustrations for why people should seek religious truth with their minds and not pragmatic help with their feelings and desires. I closed by offering four criteria for selecting one’s religion and claimed that Christianity satisfies these better than its alternatives. A very stimulating time of Q&A followed.

My second workshop was a review of my other recent book with Klaus Issler entitled In Search of a Confident Faith. Because of the large crowd at my first talk, the room was moved to a small auditorium on campus. About 350 attended. I addressed the nature of faith as confidence or trust, explained that it is based on knowledge (and teased out some important facets of knowledge) and claimed that it comes in degrees. I then explained the difference between vague doubts from the culture’s plausibility structure and specific doubts that can be written down in a paragraph or so, and showed the way to address these different sources of doubt. This was followed by a brief treatment of emotional sources of doubt, e.g, trust issues, woundedness, inability to form attachments and healthy friendships, and I closed by emphasizing the importance for growth in God-confidence of testifying to the things we have seen and heard God do.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What on Earth is Happening with the Kingdom?

For "World Outreach Week" at Twin Lakes Church, JP Moreland gave a talk titled,

"What on Earth is Happening with the Kingdom?"

You can download and view it here.

JP's talk is a helpful summary of the third point of the Kingdom Triangle.