Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Posts Tagged ‘Tri-Perspectivalism

Tri-Perspectival Leadership Diagram

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Here is a link to an incredibly helpful tri-perspectival church leadership diagram.  I think the assessment is pretty fair all the way around.

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3 Month Introspective

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Introspective

So, I’ve been blogging consistently for three months.  This is the week of Christmas and I’ll be all over the place.  I thought I would briefly summarize the 3 months of blog series on here:

Blaise Pascal:  We took a look at Blaise Pascal’s thinking, its use of aphorism and its relationship to both tri-perspectivalism and presuppositionalism.  We also looked at his use of aphorism and his warnings against deism and atheism.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Past, Present, and Future, Parts 1-7:  We defined the term evangelical.  We looked at its historical roots in the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and its ties to celebrity culture, democritization of knowledge, and modernism.  Then we looked at the roots of liberalism, the Protestant split and suburbanization, and defined and outlined evangelical populism and their game plan for reaching America.  Finally we assessed the current status of American evangelicalism and then made some predictions of future trends.

Introduction to Apologetics, Parts 1-7:  We looked in broad strokes at the various schools of apologetics.  We then took a more in-depth look at:  Classical Apologetics, Evidentialist Apologetics, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the specific apologetics of Blaise Pascal and Alvin Plantinga.  Finally, we employed the three phases football as an analogy for the different apologetic schools and I likened Tim Tebow to the presuppositionalists.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Parts 1-10:  We looked at some analysis of some shifts evangelicalism will need to make moving forward:  Doctrine, Worldview, Urbanization, Globality/Mobility, “Post-Modernism,” American Culture(s), Contextualization, Balance, and Final Analysis.

Top ~10 Books by Topic:

Top 10 Systematic Theology Texts

Top 10 Devotional Classics

Top 10 Books on the Church

Top 10 Books on Science and Christianity

Top 10 Books on Christian Biography

Top 10 Books on Culture

Top 10 Books on Eschatology

Top 5 Books on Worldview

Top 15 Books on Status of American Evangelicalism

Top 10 Books on Church History

Top 40 Books to Read While in College

Top 10 Books on Missions, Discipleship, and Evangelism

The 25 Most Destructive Books Ever Written…

Top 10 Apologetic Works

Top 10 Books on Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Top 10 Books by John Piper

Top 5 Children’s Books

Best Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms of the Christian Church

A Comprehensive List of Top 10 Book Lists of 2009

Up Next:  We will be looking at some thoughts on the economy and investment and then delve into the mind of Friedrich Nietzsche…

Written by Michael Graham

December 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

Introduction to Apologetics, Part 7: Concluding Thoughts

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Tim Tebow Presuppositionalist

Tim Tebow as Presuppositionalist

I see a place for all the apologetic schools in defense of Christianity.  There are some that are firmly entrenched in their particular school or tradition, and for the most part I understand where they are coming from.  I happen to think the presuppositionatlists are head and shoulders above the other schools and I happen to agree that their approach is the most Biblical, and therefore the most God glorifying.  However, I see a lot of value in the classical and evidentialist schools and I don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bath water.  From a personal perspective, intelligent design, the teleological argument, and the ontological argument had a profound impact on my life.

I think the main value of evidences are to bolster pre-existing faith by showing that our faith is not unreasonable, unjustified, or unwarranted.  I think the main value of presuppositional apologetics is calling all non-Christian worldviews to task over the fact that they hold mutually exclusive propositions and cannot account for all things.

Perhaps its a silly analogy, but I liken apologetics to the three phases of footballoffense, defense, and special teams.  The presuppositionalists are on the offensive challenging false notions in other worldviews.  The classical and evidentialist apologetists are defending the reasonability of the Christian faith.  Then there are guys like Blaise Pascal, and Alvin Plantinga that specialize in kickoffs, punts, PATs, and field goals.  Together they present a coherent, consistent, and believable Christianity that makes sense of existence intellectually, emotionally, and experientially.

Seeds of Tri-Perspectivalism

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John Frame

This picture is of John Frame.  He is quite possibly the most brilliant human being alive.  If you have not read his Divine Lordship Trilogy (Doctrine of God, Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, and Doctrine of the Christian Life), it is most thorough, thoughtful, and foundational (and surprisingly readable).  If you don’t know what Tri-Perspectivalism is, I suggest you read this primer from Frame, or this more succinct article on wikipedia.  We all have beliefs/positions/opinions and we also all have frameworks through which we come to affirming those beliefs/positions/opinions.  The beauty of tri-perspectivalism is that it Biblically accounts for knowledge from Scripture, from experience, and from interaction with others…

Well, one of Pascal’s most intriguing thoughts is #170.  These foursentences are an incisive critique of different theories of knowledge, as well as, a shell of an epistemological framework:

170.  Submission.  One must know when it is right to doubt, to affirm, to submit.  Anyone who does otherwise does not understand the force of reason.  Some men run counter to these three principles, either affirming that everything can be proved, because they know nothing about proof, or doubting everything can be proved, because they do not know when to submit, or always submitting, because they do not know when judgment is called for.  Skeptic, mathematician, Christian;  doubt, affirmation, submission.

Pascal deconstructs the person who doubts everything – the skeptic, and accuses them of never knowing how to submit.  Pascal deconstructs the person who thinks that everything can be affirmed – the Mathematician (or axiomatic thinker), and accuses them of not knowing the limits of pure axiomatic reason.  Pascal deconstructs the person who submits to everything – the Christian, and accuses them of not being more discerning in their judgment.

I don’t think that Pascal’s – submission/affirmation/doubt perfectly fits the Tri-perspectival mold.  It doesn’t.  However, Pascal is balanced on the issue of faith and reason and elsewhere on the use of heart knowledge.  This heart knowledge does take into consideration faith, experience, and interaction in community.   Are there seeds of Tri-Perspectivalism in Pascal’s epistemology?

Here are two more tidbits:

183.  Two excesses: to exclude reason, to admit nothing but reason.

110.  Principles are felt, propositions proved, and both with certainty though by different means.

Written by Michael Graham

September 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm

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