Posted by: raddestnerd | March 31, 2008

‘Kingdom Triangle’ by J.P. Moreland

I was floored by this book. In J.P. Moreland‘s own words, this book is “a twenty-first-century Christian manifesto for recapturing the drama and power of Kingdom living.” I heartily agree. This book is an outgrowth of Moreland’s own personal journey with God, and oddly enough it parallels my own journey as well.

The book is divided into two main sections: 1) What’s the problem? 2) What’s the solution?

According to Moreland, the problem with the western church is that we’ve become heavily influenced by the mores of secular society. By osmosis we have come to reflect our secular culture more than the Kingdom of God. So what is so off-kilter about our western (secular) world? It’s that humans have been created to live dramatic lives — we crave for the events in our lives to have very real meaning to them. We desire to live in a world where what we do does matter. Where the stakes are high and they are real. Yet in embracing naturalism and/or postmodernism, we have given that up. Nothing really matters, anymore.

Moreland suggests a concerted effort in strengthening these three areas (corners of this “kingdom triangle”) will be the solution: 1) Recovery of Knowledge; 2) Renovation of the Soul; 3) Restoration of the Kingdom’s Miraculous Power.

I first me the Lord in a “charismatic” church context. Although it was Presbyterian, being a Korean church, the charismatic aspect was still there, where we would go to a “prayer mountain” — a rustic, rundown retreat center — and like Job we would have shouting matches with God. But, this was middle school and by the time high school rolled around I found myself surrounded by Christians who said they believed in the supernatural power of the Kingdom, but in practice they didn’t. (Actually, the subject of the kingdom was never even brought up.) I was encouraged instead to focus on Bible study and the life of the mind. (Which in itself is a good thing — foundational even — but, the point of Moreland’s book and the cornerstone of my own theology is that if any one point is out of balance, it’s not good.)

After college I went to Talbot Theological Seminary where I was exposed to the concept of the need for a “renovation of the soul”: the need for inner healing from the scars that form in our heart through sin — those of my own that I commit against myself and others, and the sinful acts of others committed against me.

And finally, I found Time In Destiny Church where the pastor prophesied and started teaching that we could prophesy as well. (See 1 Corinthians 14). Of course prophesy is not the end-all, be-all of participating in Jesus’ ministry on earth as he expands his kingdom.

But that is my spiritual journey thus far. Sure, the line breaks aren’t so clear-cut as I’ve chosen to present it here. In reality my exploration of the three legs of the kingdom triangle was always overlapping, it’s just that there were different seasons where different aspects of it were being highlighted in my understanding and experience of them.

What’s wonderful about Moreland’s book is that it shows that you can embrace the work of the Holy Spirit without committing intellectual suicide. And conversely, you can be an intellectual Christian without becoming a bore (or becoming haughty — “renovation of the soul” comes in here quite nicely).

Here’s a radio interview with J.P. Moreland about Kingdom Triangle. But you really have to read the book for yourself. It’s deep stuff, that no simple review can do justice.

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