[#] That Crazy Model

About a month ago, a comment appeared in Haloscan, and it looked like this:
I think your model has holes in it. I also agree with you and think the triangle needs a little tweaking. I'll try to be brief and keep everything lowercase.

First of all, putting "Jesus" in our model is superfluous. It's like circling every science model and writing "God" real big on it. "Jesus" is a given in Newbigin's triangle because...

Secondly, the gospel is the story of God interacting with mankind. It manifested perfectly and absolutely in the person of Jesus. Separating "gospel" and "Jesus" doesn't make any sense.

Third, the church doesn't move furher away from Jesus to bring the gospel to the culture, which is easily depicted in your model. The church is sent into the culture with the gospel. Your model only works if the "Jesus" sun actually moves toward the culture through the gospel and with the church, but I don't think you intended that with this model.

Fourth, "culture" in Newbigin's model is amoral. It doesn't carry any agenda, it's just the way things are expressed. You misrepresent the word [at least how Newbigin used it] when you use it to describe mankind's sinfulness. It's helpful to think of culture as the same as language. Language is the device used to express things - good and bad things. Language itself is not good or bad, just a tool for expression.

I think you're on to something with tweaking Newbigin's triangle, though. I would change the arrows.

I would keep one arrow the same, the gospel to the culture. The gospel influences culture, not the other way around.

I would flip the arrow between gospel and church because the gospel empowers the church. God interacting with us is our fuel, both in history and today.

Finally, I would draw a two-way arrow between church and culture. Church would influence culture by living out and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of God. Culture would influence the church in how the gospel would be presented and lived out. On a simple level, our American culture demands that we preach and live out the gospel in the English language. We don't soil our souls with sin, but we do soil our hands and feet in service, justice, and love just like Jesus did.

I'll have something up soon on my blog so maybe we can keep this dialogue going.

Drew Caperton 03.14.06 - 1:21 am | #

Drew said he'd have something about the diagram on his blog, but checking today I didn't see anything. However, we will be covering this here.

But not today.