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Kingdom Triangle - Review

Think Christianly: Kingdom Triangle - Review

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Kingdom Triangle - Review

J.P. Moreland’s new book Kingdom Triangle (hereafter KT) offers a clarion call to the 21st century church. For at least the past decade, Christians have been lulled to sleep by a culture of self-help books and privatized beliefs. Far too many of us have been naturalized into believing that God doesn’t do anything miraculous or supernatural in our sophisticated age. And a good number of us have not been intentional about cultivating a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ and attending to the important task of Spiritual Formation. Moreland’s book offers a passionate, sober, and biblical corrective to this lethargy.

The first section of KT seeks to analyze and assess where we are at as a culture. In a helpful analogy, Moreland discusses the difference between living in a “thin” world and a “thick” world. A “thin” world is one in which nothing ultimately matters (e.g., atheism would be a “thin” world). In this world, chemistry and physics exhaustively explain reality. On the other hand, if we live in a “thick” world, then objective morality exists (along with ultimate meaning, purpose, and value etc.). Christianity offers a “thick” world. In the next few chapters, Moreland highlights the inadequacies of postmodern and naturalistic worldviews. But he does not stop with analysis only. He prescribes a threefold remedy to counteract the prevailing winds of culture that are eroding the potency and vibrancy of Christians today. (1) Recover the Christian Mind (2) Renovate the Soul (3) Restore the Spirit’s Power. I will briefly summarize each of these in turn.

First of all, Moreland contends that knowledge is not the sole possession or province of the scientists in the white lab coats. While science yields important knowledge of our world, it is certainly not the only source of knowledge. Christians can and do possess knowledge of God, moral facts, and what a good life is (among other things). These are not private beliefs on the level of personal preference or pragmatism; rather they are bona fide instances of knowledge of reality—the way things really are. Not only is Christianity true, but it can be known to be true.
Next, we are reminded how easy it is to allow our hearts to grow cold and calloused. If we are not intentional about examining the health of our souls, then we can become emotionally detached over time and eventually discover we are devoid of the vitality that God desires us to experience in our relationship with Him. We also tend not to cultivate a healthy community of relationships. This part of the triangle invites us to take our daily journey from brokenness to Christlikeness seriously (i.e., Spiritual Formation).

Finally, Moreland reminds us that the Holy Spirit did not die with the last Apostle. And while we certainly don’t want to drift into a mindless and wild-eyed sensationalism, I think many of us have shied away from the supernatural because we are either afraid we will look weird to our culture or we have been so conditioned by naturalism that we don’t really (i.e., beyond lip service) believe in anything beyond the five senses. Moreover, stories of God’s power and deliverance remind us of the supernatural world in which we live and can embolden our Christian lives.

As I have read and reflected upon KT, I have been both challenged and encouraged. This is an important work which has something to say to all of us—regardless of our tradition or spiritual pedigree. I am grateful that J.P. Moreland took the time to integrate decades of ministry experience and study and then package it in an accessible format for the Christian community. If you have not yet read Kingdom Triangle, I encourage you to pick up a copy and read it carefully. While KT contains much that our “thin” world needs to hear, it just may be the timely catalyst you need for taking the next step in your journey with the Savior.

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