Home > Brian's Blogs, Triangular Christianity > What is Triangular Christianity? (2)

What is Triangular Christianity? (2)

Triangular Christianity suggests that the essence of Biblical Christianity revolves around three equally important relationships: 1) my relationship with God, 2) your relationship with God, and 3) our relationship with one another. It is this first relationship – my relationship with God – that has been overemphasized by many modern evangelicals and risks being underemphasized by emerging evangelicals.

To illustrate this point, it is helpful to note the exchange between Drs. Scot McKnight and David Turner at the GRTS Talking Points What is the Gospel? (9/25/06). McKnight, who represents emerging evangelicals, discussed the “weaknesses of an individualistic gospel.” Citing the familiar “bridge” model of evangelism, he stated that an “individualistic gospel leads to individualistic Christians” because it excludes the church. Rather, McKnight emphasized the Gospel as “creating a kingdom society” as described in Luke-Acts.

Turner, on the other hand, emphasized the Gospel as the forgiveness of sins. Turner supported this emphasis with a brief tour through the Gospel of Matthew, highlighting the imperative to “repent” (1:23), physical healings as a demonstration of healing from sin (9:6), and the Lord’s Supper as a new covenant for the forgiveness of sins (26:27-28).

But despite the apparent differences between these two scholars, they were actually saying the same thing. Despite McKnight’s communal emphasis, he acknowledged that the Gospel must be responded to individually. Despite Turner’s individual emphasis, he acknowledged that the Gospel always leads to community in the body of Christ.

The point of the first side of the triangle – my relationship with God – is that an individual’s relationship to God is important. Entrance into the Kingdom of God begins with individual faith and repentance. Life in the Kingdom of God involves individual self-denial and commitment to Christ (Mk. 8:34-38). The Gospel is not a Gospel of individualism, but is a Gospel for the individual. Biblical Christianity is most definitely concerned about the individual and the individual’s relationship to God. This essential point cannot be tossed aside.

That being said, an individual’s relationship with God is not the sum total of Christianity. There is an overwhelming communal aspect to the kingdom of God, which is evidenced in other two sides of the triangle!

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