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.