Introduction: The root of corporate being is ultimately founded upon the implicit unity of the created social order of individuals in that God creates persons to become more complete in and through relationships. Persons cannot progress in accordance with the will of God in isolation. By Creation we are social beings. By redemption we are united with God. This essential relationship promises profound individual and therefore corporate transformation. But just as the creation of individuals predicts a social order, so too does the salvation of individuals predict a new social order. Just as God is revealed as a trinity of divine individual and distinct persons in a relationship of oneness, so too are we individually destined by redemption to belong to one another in some greater redeemed capacity defined as oneness. The basic social construct of man in accordance with Creation is threefold. Man has developed his highest cooperative natural social order based upon religion, economy, and government. But the Body of Christ is not intended to limit its social roots or developmental potential in the natural order. The Body of Christ is intended to find its social order and identity in the Godhead. In this, Creation is a prelude to Redemption. Redemption is a prelude to the eventual social order of the Kingdom of Heaven; Now on earth and later in the fullness of time in Heaven. Could this be what Jesus knew and saw from a distance that He prayed to the Father in Gethsemane? (John 17:20-23)
The words of Jesus hold a key for unlocking our understanding about relationships in three dimensions, the vertical, the horizontal, and these in depth. These are measured three ways; in oneness , in unity , and these in maturity . From the spiritual or soulish perspective, we are to be in God and united with God and therefore united with one another. This is called oneness. Becoming mature in our shared oneness with God means being unified outwardly in the working out of God’s plan together just as Jesus was unified with the Father in all His redemptive works, and just as the Holy Spirit came to us from the Father and the Son and does His redemptive works. By our new redeemed nature, we who are born of the Spirit are participating in the divine nature. (2 Pe.1:3,4) As the assembled Body of Christ we are each variously gifted to perform the works of God together . Not only are we given spiritual gifts but we are organized into a social order which is patterned after God’s own social order within the Trinity. Having [each] been created in the image of God, and having [each] been born of the Spirit of God, we can ascertain the sociology of the Godhead in redeemed man, the Body of Christ. By working together from within the oneness and unity of the social likeness of God, while we remain unique and distinct from one another, we participate in the requisite mutual interdependency that is rooted in mutual submission. Realizing this requires our recognizing the nature of God as Trinity in a cooperative and truly interdependent social order and as witnessed by the economy of the Godhead; that is, the working out of the eternal plan of God by each Divine Person of the Trinity in each respective role relationship in time and space history. We will see that to be in oneness is itself a social spiritual reality by redeemed nature. To be unified is a practical outworking of that social oneness.
Part One: There are six theological concepts which will be examined in this section. Moving from the creation of man to the redemption of man we may construct the Divine pattern for individual being and social cooperation in working relationships that is inherent in the Trinity. The role relationships of the Father (Yahweh), the Son (Yahshua), and the Holy Spirit (Kodesh ha Ruach) are revealed in their working together (economy) in mutual submission. We each have an orientation to the Father (Cause), the Son (Community) and the Holy Spirit (Corporate). It is only in the plan of Redemption now fully revealed by Jesus Christ that we can observe both the oneness and unity of the nature and working order of the Godhead. Before Jesus’ testimony this insight was not revealed. Inasmuch as man is the invention of the Trinitarian Godhead, we are made in the image of the Godhead individually and socially. Each Person of the Godhead voluntarily submits to the other for the successful enactment of the Plan of Redemption which has proceeded from eternity. The Body of Christ is the ‘fourth’ working element added to the plan. But in reality the Body of Christ never stands alone as a working element. It is by definition an extension of Jesus Christ. This is why we are called to in all things mentioned in context to do so in ‘submitting to one another out of reverence to God’ (Eph. 5:21). This may also be read ‘to Christ’. In either case, the mutual submission called on is not inherent to the nature of man but it is inherent in the nature of God. This one point alone keeps the natural mind from understanding how a powerful God can at times appear so weak. It is a challenge for the faith of the true Christian until one matures in thinking with the mind of Christ. (1Co.2:6-16)
The term ‘god’ as a title for divine being is rendered as ‘el’ in its singular abbreviated form; ‘elohe’ in its full singular form and; as ‘elohim’ in its plural form. The term Yahweh Elohim denotes the personal name of the Father in oneness and unity in the Trinitarian Godhead. The term Jesus or Yah-shua denotes the Son of the Father in oneness and unity in the Godhead. The term Kodesh ha Ruach is the Spirit of Holiness or Holy Spirit who is in oneness and unity in the Godhead. While each Person is individually unique, They are as one, equal in nature without confusion or diminishment. It is in the image of Elohim that man is made; that is, man is made in the image of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This construct makes man singularly created with an individual nature distinct from the rest of creation (each person a unique living soul) but Trinitarian in his individual and social orientation as patterned after the Godhead. Each person created is prepared to relate to each person of the Godhead differently in accordance with identity and economy. More on this later. The realization of this created order is limited due to the fall of Adam our federal representative. Under the redemption of Jesus Christ, (the Second Adam) the federal representative of the redeemed people, a fuller individual and social realization in the experience of the Godhead and each other is possible. (Mt.18:20) While it is imperfectly and incompletely experienced, this redeemed construct is nevertheless a profound departure from the natural order of the natural realm. It is as such, a new creation of a hybrid people, whose greater reality rightly perceived in Spiritual terms and not Natural terms. They are a people rooted in the oneness and unity of the Trinitarian Godhead. This is so because of the faithful application of Divine power and not human effort or knowledge as its individual and social basis.
Historically, the idea of being created in the image of God has been limited to personal attributes and not social attributes as seen in the working relationships of the Trinitarian Godhead. But Creation itself is part of the Plan of Redemption. To be consistent we must interpret Creation through the fuller revelation of Redemption. It is in Redemption that we see the Trinitarian Godhead more fully than in the Creation account in Genesis. It follows that we need to work backwards to properly understand the nature of man before the Fall, which radically corrupted all of that which God created, and to discover that man was made in the image and likeness of the Trinity. There are two evidential aspects of this blind spot in the development of our thinking about God and Man which need to be considered. In all cases except two ‘God’ is referred to as a collective noun in the plural ‘elohim’ but with the singular third person personal pronoun ‘he’ and in the possessive forms ‘his’ and ‘your’ and the first person ‘I’. (Ge.1-3) In the two cases where God is referred to as plural by the same ‘elohim’ plus the personal pronoun plural ‘us’; the usage is presented as a direct quote from within the dialogue among the persons of the Godhead. (Ge.1:26; 3:22) The difference between the narrative usages of ‘elohim’ with either singular or plural personal pronouns is extremely important. In the plural usage narrative, a direct quote is lifted from within the dialogue of the society of the Godhead . Moses wrote what God told Moses to write as an insight into the dialogue among the persons of the Godhead. (Gen. 1:26; 3:22) In the singular usage cases of the Genesis narrative, Moses is relating what God said as told in the third person using ‘elohim’ as the collective noun with the singular masculine personal pronominal usage. What can this mean? From the earthly perspective we see only the oneness of God and at this point of the revelation God presented Himself to man (Adam and Eve) as one God. But as we are given a glimpse into the revelation to come, through two direct quotes from within the interpersonal Trinitarian dialogue (later revealed by Jesus as recorded in the gospels) God is presented as a Trinity of Divine Persons and is seen in the unity of the oneness ; that is, the Persons of the Trinity are cooperative and consultative in the social aspect of Their working together. In this case the decision to make man in Their image and likeness. And, man has become like Them in his knowledge of good and evil. Image tselem tseh'-lem From an unused root meaning to shade ; a phantom , that is, (figuratively) illusion , resemblance ; hence a representative figure , especially an idol: - image, vain shew. Likeness demûth dem-ooth' From H1819; resemblance ; concretely model , shape ; adverbially like: - fashion, like (-ness, as), manner, similitude. Does the use of these two distinct terms hint at the difference between the personal and social aspects of God? In many cases theology like science leads us to speculate based upon specific evidence, even where direct evidence is limited in quantity and scope. However, as the Scriptures unfold the progressive revelation of God as Trinity over time and space history and in accordance with the Plan of Redemption, the abundant evidence that is missing from the Genesis account unfolds later in the fullness of the revelation in and by Jesus Christ.
In this slide we introduce the observed traits we believe God has created into each and every person. Then, we consider the havoc wreaked individually and socially through the sin condition as it relates to the practical possibilities of oneness and unity among persons as a society. Lastly, we address the hope that is linked to oneness and unity through redemption in Christ. While there limitations related to our experiential incompleteness, those who are in Christ experience an oneness and unity that is impossible without the direct influence of an ongoing, personal, experiential, spiritual encounter with God. According to Creation each human person has an affinity for each divine person of the Godhead. Each person is created to express that affinity as a distinctive of one’s created ‘spiritual’ personality. As a subset of the human population, those who are Born of the Spirit are awakened to the ability to intimately know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This knowing includes the identification with each Divine Person’s working role in the Plan of Redemption in accordance with the Eternal Covenant of the Godhead. This means that in each redeemed person there is this awakened desire for the will of the Father, to become personally and corporately realized through the ongoing obedience (and in the name) of the Son, by the indwelling presence and administrating power of the Holy Spirit. Only those under the power and influence of Redemption, as biblically defined, accomplished and applied, are we able to realize these personal and social outcomes to any significant and truthful degree. The reason for this is that Redemption itself is the necessary prerequisite by which the intended created order may be established, having been severely compromised by original sin. Through the Sin nature, resulting from the Fall, man as creature has been subjected to frustration, isolated from God, self, and others. His ability to identify and cooperate with God became impossible and with one another was severely limited. While man was still be informed by natural revelation, and empowered to live by prevenient grace, nevertheless man was doomed to become an order of creation in frustrating decline, driven by fear and prejudice, exercising many forms of dysfunction and pursuing divisions. (Ro.1:18ff) The resulting disconnect is expressed in both personal and social division through asymmetrical relationships. Through Sin, Cause, Community, Corporate aspects of man become isolated and competitive quite unlike the nature and working order of the Trinity. The ability to work together is corrupted by the Death that came from the Sin that was act that lead to the Fall. Through Redemption the Cause, Community, Corporate aspects of human nature are made alive again to their proper created orientation to the Godhead; The First social order.
There is much written about the Trinity as a propositional doctrine. It is one of the earliest Christian theological contributions made, as deducted from the Holy Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments and in particular the gospels. While the Trinity remains a logical mystery in terms of our ability to fully comprehend how such a construct among uniquely individual persons is possible, it is not a mystery as to the clear revelation of this construct being intentionally declared. In the case of applying a proper hermeneutic to the study of the Godhead, the New Testament interprets the Old Testament precisely because of its place in the progressive revelation of God the Father and His purposes having been interwoven into history. As such the Plan of Redemption is the Eternal Plan of God the Father into which the work of Creation fits. Interpreting the work of God requires our working backward as the will of God the Father is the first cause out of which all things flow unto final glory. The glory of God the Father is seen in the completed work in Heaven, through the prophecy of the Apostle John. The Plan of Redemption was intentional in its full scope and sequence. History is not a series of messes by man that God has to keep up with as though they were not previously taken into account. In this respect the more full revelation of the Trinity comes relatively late in the special revelation that is the Biblical account. In terms of the progress of the revelation, the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, and all associated related prophetic material, including the inside look at the Trinity from Jesus’ eternal and heavenward perspective; all these came together in the fullness of time in accordance with the eternal Plan of God the Father. The very purpose of Christ, to reveal the way to the Father, begs the revelation of the Trinity! What develops from the specific gospel revelation is that which was not once obvious at Creation; that Jesus and the Holy Spirit also are as much the God who creates and redeems, sanctifies and glorifies as is the Father. The only difference among the members of the Godhead is the specific limited role each Divine Person performed and is performing in the working out of the Eternal Plan of Redemption including Creation; that is the Economy of the Godhead.
It is to Jesus that we owe special attention because of the level to which He alone elevated the revelation and application of all things pertaining to the Eternal Plan of the Godhead. The testimony of Jesus Christ beginning with the fact of His appearing at all was no small incremental addition to the prophecies which preceded Him. Rather, the revelation of Jesus Christ, through His knowledge, Who He is, and what He did, represents a quantum leap in everything and anything that was previously and cumulatively known! This is both objectively and experientially true in all applications and their effects. We cannot allow ourselves to respond casually to the brightness of His particular Light of revelation. The difference between the knowledge of God that was available before Christ and after Christ is impossible to measure. Suffice it to say that it was the single most important event in human history even when measured by worldly standards!What Jesus did was to give us an inside look at the Trinity that was only hinted at in Genesis. Jesus came to us from outside of Creation and from within the inner sanctum of the Godhead to speak firsthand about the Eternal Plan of Redemption and all things of and pertaining to it. In the fullness of time He came and He was the fullness of the revelation. That which preceded Him in time and space history pointed to Him. Everything which follows after Him occurs under the banner of His Lordship as King of Kings. What Jesus offered as Prophet was His own Self as the embodiment of the message.
It is relatively easy for us to recognize the submission displayed by Jesus in obedience to His Father’s will, in coming into the world as a human, to accomplish His missionary role, in fulfilling the terms of the Eternal Plan of Redemption. We do not easily comprehend it but we can appreciate the challenge He faced based on the testimony of the gospels. Jesus’ humility is the visible standard that is held out to the church as paradigmatic for the Spirit led Christian life in Philippians 2:1-13. So much attention is rightly focused on Jesus that one might miss what submissive roles are played by the Father and the Holy Spirit in accomplishing redemption. Where control is an issue each of the Persons of the Godhead must depend on the others to fulfill individual aspects of the plan. If one fails, all fail. In the case of the Father, there is no action taken that is not taken by Jesus Christ. The very first action, that which originates in the will, that is, the volitional intelligent mind of the Father, is the spoken word. Whereas God the Father speaks, Jesus is the Word of God. (Jn.1:1-3) Beginning with Creation and until Redemption is complete, the command or decree which is first recognized as having been spoken must be fulfilled perfectly. Again, Jesus is the fulfillment of the entirety of the Father’s revealed eternal will. Moreover, Jesus limited Himself under the Redemptive regime to doing only the Father’s will, not more and not less. (John.4:34; 17:4) Likewise, the Holy Spirit is limited in the scope of His ministry. According to Jesus’ teaching the Holy Spirit will speak to the world only that which He is assigned to speak. And to the church He will have nothing original to say being limited to that which He hears from the Father and the Son. (Jn.14:15-18, 26; 15:26; 16:1-15) This unity in working out the details of the Plan of Redemption is rooted in the oneness of the shared nature of the Divine Persons of the Godhead.
The fourth operational element of the Plan of the Redemption is the participation of the church as a direct extension of Christ, hence the title, “Body of Christ”. The church is in the same oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit as Jesus. The church is in the same unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit as Jesus. The church is the ingathering of all those who by redemption are participants [or partakers] in the Divine nature. (2 Pe. 1:3,4) All of the work of Redemption will find its singular strategic achievement and conclusion in the one accomplishment, that the Father be glorified in accordance with His eternal will. That which began in the mind of the Father, the first cause, will find its expression in the community of saints before His throne, presented to Him by the firstborn of many brethren, Jesus Christ, having been preserved as one corporate whole throughout history by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rev.21:9-22:5)
In terms of Creation, the Fall, Redemption and Sanctification, the Trinity is The Godhead in three Divine Persons that are active and engaged in all aspects of the works that constitute the physical evidence of the Eternal Degrees. Moreover, the biblical evidence, and especially the New Testament, points out that each Person of the Godhead shares in those works as one and in the various points of identification are united. As these works are delegated and proceed forward as that construct called the Economy of the Godhead each Person consistently assumes a specific role in relation to the Others. Incorporated into this construct is the church, made to be one with God as indicated by the preposition in . It is the Trinity who is active in the church through the presence of the Holy Spirit. (Jn.15:1-27) The consistent roles played by the Persons of the Godhead may be identified as Cause, Community, and Corporate, in relation to the Father, Son, and Spirit respectively. The inner workings of the interpersonal relationships of the Persons of the Godhead are based upon mutual submission as each One yields to the Other with respect to the work. The strategic endgame is the restoration of the Creation order through the redemption of the Sons of Adam, into a new hybrid people, namely the Sons of God in Jesus Christ, to the glory of the Father. (1Co. 15:20-28)
In Summary, the specific relation-ship role of each Divine Person in the Economy of the Godhead is integral to the working out of the Eternal Plan of Redemption. Once a person is born of the Holy Spirit into Christ, he is revived or resurrected back into the point of identification with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that is intrinsic to the Imago Dei, but was radically corrpted by the Fall. Typically every believer first identifies with Jesus. But as we mature the challenge is for each believer to grow up into the spiritual maturity or completeness that is an identification, or oneness and unity, with all three Persons of the Godhead. This challenge to become spiritually mature, or complete, of course extends socially to the church. The proper focus of the Body of Christ regarding these developments is part of our sanctification. The church is a redeemed, organized, social entity as part of the Kingdom of God. In it a redeemed sociology emerges as an experiential possibility for the church. But based on the biblical evidence, it is an intended outcome of the Plan of Redemption. This redeemed sociology is integral to the ideal theology of the church that the Apostle Paul describes in the Ephesian epistle. (all) When read through the perspective presented herein the Ephesians epistle carries a heightened sense of clarity and power. Rather than be rooted in humanist theoretical social paradigms, the church may enter into the intended will of God the Father as the corporate expression of oneness in being and unity of purpose patterned after the internal workings of Godhead itself. The interactive relationships pictured in John 15 in the parable of the vine and the branches are also clearer. The Father is the vine dresser. Jesus is the vine. His life is in us through the Holy Spirit. We are the branches that bear the fruit of the Trinity. All this is only possible through the intercessory ministry of Christ. But our identification and relationship with [the] God are not limited to Christ. Our identification and relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit are in fact Christ-like. Our identification and relationship to our [new] selves and one another are like the oneness and unity of the Trinity, if we will become spiritually mature corporately as well as individually in accordance with the terms of the New Covenant as described and taught in the New Testament. (2Co.5:16-22) (Eph. 3:8-21)
His being the firstborn of the church. In the greater sense we relate to and identify with Jesus in all the ways His tripartite ministry of Prophet, Priest, and King leads us into a dependency upon Him and allegiance to Him. We relate to and identify with the Holy Spirit who applies all of the power of the Godhead to us in order that the great work of Redemption will become secure and complete in us and so that we will have the power to do the will of the Father and be the witness of Christ on the earth. In fact we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us by the hand ( parakletos ) through this life as though the Father and Jesus themselves were doing it. We rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to take us through this life even as Jesus did in having humbled Himself to live as a man. We are literally called to participate in the manner of life experience that the Second Adam who went before us did, albeit perfectly. This supernatural life that we now live, rooted in the supernatural identification with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is as natural to the person who is born again as it is natural for the unredeemed to live after the manner of the first Adam who sinned against God. We are a new creation. We are newly created after the image and likeness of the Godhead and we enjoy the identification and relationships which flow from and are integral to our new, hybrid, spiritually alive constitution. But this aspect of our sanctification comes to us with no small difficulty because we are still incomplete and therefore inconsistent. We are still limited to our natural bodies which are instinctively inclined and trained to follow after the old nature of the first Adam.
It is precisely these evidences that testify that we belong to God. We celebrate Them by faith even though our thinking about them is incomplete. We are still able to bear witness to the greater things God has for us even when we are immature. What we lack in our ability to define these integrated relationships does not change the fact that we have a true experience because God is faithful. Whether we know in detail or not, nevertheless, each mature follower of Christ expresses an affinity for each divine person of the Godhead. Each follower of Christ expresses that affinity first in Christ and later in a different order of orientation which may be assumed to be a distinctive of one’s measure of grace and church socialization. Each follower of Christ is alive again to all things pertaining to knowing God individually and socially. The resulting reconnect is expressed in both personal and social oneness and unity through maturing symmetrical relationships. Imagine what would be possible if we were to become intentional about such individual and corporate developments as a direct outcome and expectation of our being sanctified?
The examination of this topic was first motivated by a question based on an observation. Why are churches seemingly only able to focus socially on one or at best two of the Persons of the Godhead? While the theology and doctrine of Trinitarian churches proclaims the biblical presentation of God as Trinity, there seems to be a limit in the ability of churches to apply the revelation of the trinity in a practical discipleship method applied to the socialization and training of the saints.As previously stated everyone who is saved will rightly identify with Jesus Christ because He is the first point of contact in addressing our deep seated need for salvation in the first place. Everyone who will be saved must be saved through Jesus Christ. There is simply no other way for the Eternal Plan of Redemption to be applied except on the basis of the person and work of the Divine Person, the God-Man, Jesus Christ. It is only after we are saved and begin to grow up spiritually that we are challenged to fit the Trinity into our thinking. How we do this is largely influenced by our church experience. We look to older qualified saints to help us handle what God has given us both subjectively in our walk and objectively in our quest to under-stand the Scriptures. Generally speaking historically, churches have gravitated in one of two directions based upon their history and tradition. One direction takes the church into a veneration of the Father which will carry with it an emphasis on doing the will of God. (Although this is complicated by the tendency to relate to the Father as the Law giver which seems to have a negative impact on the ability to become intimate.)
The following illustrations were designed to examine in more detail the felt culture of a church as measured against the declared culture of the church. A second standard of measure of course must include the felt culture of a church as over and against the revealed culture of the Trinity. The various illustrations attempt to expose things that are hidden, not obvious but nuanced, and are felt on a deeper level of the conscience. Such things are hard to put into words. In this case where our emerging theology offers new direction for individual and church development the possibilities excite the imagination. We offer this encouragement from the Apostles Paul and John; That love rejoices in the truth (1Co.13:6) and perfect love drives away fear (1 Jn.4:18). Certain corporate qualities, while not easy to objectively quantify, may be verified by other tools available for church assessment. Objective testing typically offers reinforcement of what we intuitively suspect on a wide range of subjects involving matters of human and organizational development. These tend to reinforce our more subjective findings in somewhat different language and terminology. But the goal is to grow spiritually by properly identifying what is healthy and then embracing the change needed to more fully participate in what we claim is our desire, namely to grow up in Jesus Christ. In this sense we are all in the same boat. And Jesus is calling us forth to walk on water! There is not a right or wrong church as such. There are churches just as there are people who are simply incomplete in matching their theology with their experience. We all struggle individually and corporately with certain inconsistencies and we all have room to grow and mature.
While any attempt to illustrate the nature of the Trinity ultimately finds its limitation in our ability to comprehend, nevertheless we can illustrate the working relationships in and among the three Divine Persons of the Trinity as they are presented to us in Scripture, that which we have referred to as the Economy of the Godhead. What must be kept in mind is that the benefits of those life transforming spiritual realities which come to us by way of regeneration find their significant limitations in the incomplete nature of our redeemed state of being. That which has been realized by grace through faith must be developed through the progressive process the bible calls sanctification. Even with God’s help progressive sanctification is hard work. But of course without regeneration, sanctification would be impossible. Furthermore, we need to keep in mind that when we are looking into the biblical testimony of the inner workings of the Godhead we are witnessing a perfect order of relationship among the Divine Persons. This is by definition impossible for us to attain no matter how sincere we may be. While these considerations may seem obvious to us it is not uncommon for sincere believers to become zealous to a fault and end up either frustrated or discouraged at the apparent lack of results. In this model we will look into the role relationships and inherent interests of the particular Persons of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfection. No individual or church can attain to it. But it does serve us as a standard against which we can measure a greater level of excellence in the social or interpersonal communication and cooperation of our faith, namely, our ability to work as teams in oneness and unity.
At this juncture, for the sake of the application to churches, our presentation will focus more on groups than individuals with the understanding that what is true for individuals is true for groups although the interpersonal dynamics may differ and are less obvious due the socio-political structures upon which each depends. The wheel of learning dynamics that apply to individuals also apply to the group dialogue in a learning organization as we shall see. This group dialogue may be called a learning dialogue because of the listening skills development required for the members of a learning organization. Dialogue occurs within the life of the organization much like the dialogue flows within the life of an individual. The individual exists within both informal and formal social structures. The organization [of size] lives within only formal social structures. In this case the learning dialogue is factored out among several voices as opposed to the one voice of the individual learner. This will become clearer when we put several elements of this presentation together. For now we follow upon the previous point about the need for harmony or balance among and between the aspects of Trinitarian interests namely, Cause, Corporate, and Community.
Just as when Cause is a dominant rather than complementary influence in the assembled body of believers so too does a cultural imbalance occur when Community is overemphasized over Cause and Corporate. The imbalance herein encourages the development of a corporate culture where the very strength of Community becomes a weakness. A brief digression here… It should be mentioned that these truths about God and Man all apply to corporate culture whether redeemed or not. Just as in the American Declaration of Independence where certain truths are considered to be derived from God and are therefore self-evident and intrinsic to human nature everywhere in the world, so too are these built in factors of created personality in respect to and as a function of the creation of man in the image of the Godhead. It is the fact of the redemption that gives us true hope for experientially driven transformational change both individually and corporately. This is the fundamental difference between personalities in general which, is a beautiful thing because they all come from God by creation, and spiritual personality which, comes to us by the power of redemption in Christ. But that we are all made in the image of the Godhead is a fact of creation and not redemption. Even where creation serves redemption as an a posteriori necessity, the hopelessness of falling short of the intended created glory cannot be overcome without the grace of God the Father which comes by the blood of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. But even in darkness, since all truth is God’s truth, the application of the principles contained in this work could not help but upgrade what it means to be human and therefore what it means to be in human relationship. Besides no culture is absolutely pure.
An overemphasis on Corporate aspects as a function of our desire to manifest our faith and our identification with the Godhead is the most difficult to identify. The reason being is that whether the church emphasis is focused on spiritual gift manifestation (freedom) on the one hand or on efficient administration (order) on the other hand, while these are derived from the same Trinitarian interest from an economic standpoint, they will appear very different in character in public. For one thing the very ministry of the Holy Spirit in terms of the economy of the Godhead has a broader range of applications by definition. And these applications are always being manifested on two simultaneous planes of development, individual and corporate. Moreover the very focus on sanctification where the Holy Spirit is emphasized can create a counterintuitive consequence however unintended. This is rooted in the fact that the Holy Spirit as a Divine Person remains the most mysterious, ubiquitous, and deflective, when compared to the Father and the Son. It is as though we are supposed to know and understand that we are being led and taught by the Holy Spirit but at the same time we are not supposed to pay too much attention to Him in that His very ministry focus is to point the way to the Father and lead us in the way of Christ.
Before we move on to examine the learning process that is integral to change it would be helpful for us to attempt to conceptualize what individual and corporate development might look like as we move toward a conscious effort to identify with the Trinity in a more balanced orientation. It is unclear if the very role relationships of the Divine Persons in the working out of the plan of redemption them-selves predict certain limitations in our innate ability to become more balanced in our orientation to each Person of the Godhead. There is no doubt but that certain other limitations do interfere with one’s ability to mature spiritually except to the maximum limit that is predicted by our measure of grace and factors unique to each person. Suffice it to say that there are profound limits to the value of comparing one’s self to another after some point. To become mature, God must be our template and our progress in relation to becoming like God must be measured against our former estate. That being said in conversing with one another rather than comparing ourselves against one another we may become one and unified thereby enhancing our ability to overcome many individual limiting factors precisely because the intelligence and spiritual gifting of the group is greater than the most brilliant individual however well endowed. This requires a culture that is invested in freedom from fear where each person is valued as vital to the team. Another complexity related to learning and change is our ability to rightly perceive God
We now turn our attention to the aforementioned wheel of learning to offer an illustration of how the Cause, Corporate, Community interests, inherent in the economy of the Godhead, manifest themselves in the dialogue of the leaders of the organization. By becoming intentional we can make this process more certain and consistent as we learn to listen to one another. This in turn will change the culture of the organization. The wheel of learning diagrams and subsequent learning organization material was first read several years ago in author Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline , Doubleday New York, New York 1990,(423pp) and The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, Peter M. Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard B. Ross, Bryan J. Smith, Doubleday, New York, New York 1994,(593pp). Senge’s book and the Fieldbook are about creating Learning Organization by utilizing systems thinking strategies and tools. The hope is that by presenting this somewhat complex
It is a quick and easy exercise to get a snapshot of what is your personal and organization profile in relation to the Trinity. You have already taken the Spiritual Personality Inventory before this presentation. Simply take your individual scores and indicate where you’re most likely to fit into the wheel of learning on your team. Also identify your place in the wheel of learning in relation to the Trinity. Once again these are moving targets in a dynamic process and so you may fit in two places in the team dialogue. Identify if you tend to are a ore reflective and abstract contributor or if you are a more concrete and action contributor to your team. What does the overall team profile suggest about your leadership group and perhaps your church culture? Take time to dialogue about this with your team. Once you all agree as to what the raw data indicates begin to construct a team definition of your church culture. Is your church culture weighted towards a particular Trinity orientation? What changes would need to occur in order to move into new church culture based on a more balanced practical orientation towards the Trinity? This process will take some time. Eventually you will move into making concrete, action oriented decisions. Can you identify where the current team dialogue is in the wheel of learning?
This section of the presentation will focus on concepts and ideas associated with the work of becoming a learning organization. The tools contained herein are all part of Peter Senge’s work and is included in his book to which we have already referred. These concepts and ideas will aid the team in its work of dialogue along the way through the wheel of learning. These are very important because language communicates ideas and ideas contain our actual belief in what we think is our mission, vision, values, strategy, tactics and plan for our organization. The goal is to upgrade our ability to work together in greater unity (more like the Trinity does) since we are already one in Christ. Whenever a team comes together to do a work its primary work is to become a team. We know are a team when we have shared mission, vision, values, strategy, tactics and plan. Also, as a team we work together to observe and lead our organization together making the needed adjustments along the way.
Senge has identified five disciplines a team must learn and employ in order to realize the purpose for which the team exists. We have mainly considered the fifth discipline and integrated Senge’s insight into our theological goal of a more fully realized social sanctification for the church. This begins with examining and then adjusting our leadership culture so that we have a practical basis upon which we can more fully match the Trinitarian paradigm of experiencing working unity in our spiritual oneness . Once the leadership culture is transformed it will gradually effect the entire organization. Rather than see this influence as a top down authority which commands, we need to think of the leadership team as the hub out of which its influences flow to the full extent of the organization. It is this culture that the world comes into contact with and the culture that transforms lives by the inner working of God’s power; the process we call discipleship through sanctifying grace. Do you notice immediately the importance of the work we call leadership? I truly hope you pastors, elders, deacons, and directors will be inspired and not threatened by all that has been presented in this project. Changing the culture of an organization requires a patience and determination that is worthy of the work. Change comes several ways such as Revolution, Revival, Reformation, and Re-education. In this work there will be, at different times, for the team the felt experience of all these forms. All these are the work of the Holy Spirit in Sanctification. The following pages offer definitions of the disciplines and values that are crucial to the process of change in any organization and not the least which includes the church.
Personal Mastery – Learning to expand our personal capacity to create the results we most desire, and creating an organizational environment which encourages all its members to develop themselves toward the goals and purposes they choose. Mental Models – Reflecting upon, continually clarifying, and improving our internal pictures of the world, and seeing how they shape our actions and decisions. Shared Vision - Building a sense of commitment in a group, by developing shared images of the future we seek to create, and the principles and guiding practices by which we hope to get there.
Team Learning – Transforming conversational and collective thinking skills, so that groups of people can reliably develop intelligence and ability greater than the sum of individual member’s talents. Systems Thinking – A way of thinking about, and a language for describing and understanding, the forces and interrelationships that shape the behavior of systems. The discipline helps us see how to change systems more effectively, and to act more in tune with the larger processes of the natural and spiritual world. Aspiration – The capacity of individuals, teams, and larger organizations to orient themselves toward what they truly care about, and to change because they want to, not just because they need to.
Reflection and Conversation – The capacity to reflect on deep assumptions and patterns of behavior, both individually and collectively. Conceptualization – The capacity to see larger systems and forces at play and to construct public, testable ways of expressing these views. Strategic Results – Knowing how and when to measure important results. Focusing on the interrelated issues when assessing results in a learning process, namely, patience and quantification.
3 C Presentation
1Toward a Redeemed Sociology:A Theological Model ForCorporate DevelopmentIntroducing The 3C SystemsThinking Model For OrganizationalDevelopment
2Our ObjectivePresent the 3C Model as a derived biblical paradigmfor understanding the nature and furthering thedevelopment of the corporate social structure ofthe Body of Christ based on the Old Covenant,Old Testament representation of the Creation ofMan in the Imago Dei and the New Covenant,New Testament presentation of the Economy ofthe Trinitarian Godhead in oneness and unity untothe successful resolution of theEternal Plan of Redemption.
3A Theological Model For CorporateBeing Applied To Organized SocialDevelopment• Theological Model - Based on the Old Covenant revelation thatman was created in the image of God and the New Covenantteaching of Jesus Christ revealing the working relationship(economy) of the Godhead; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.• Corporate Being - The Imago Dei in relation to Creation andRedemption by a Triune God; Is there a redemptive sociologyrevealed?• Organized Social Development - The Will, Love, and Power ofGod, skillfully applied by leaders, to the development ofredeemed community to the glory of God.
4John 17:20-23Im praying not only for them But also for thosewho will believe in me Because of them andtheir witness about me. The goal is for all ofthem to become one heart and mind-- Just asyou, Father, are in me and I in you, So theymight be one heart and mind with us. Then theworld might believe that you, in fact, sent me.The same glory you gave me, I gave them, Sotheyll be as unified and together as we are--I in them and you in me. Then theyll bemature in this oneness, And give the godlessworld evidence That youve sent me and lovedthem In the same way youve loved me.
5Part One: Theology• Creation by the Trinity• Imago Dei based on God as Trinity• New Covenant Economy of the Godhead• Submissive Role Relationships in the Trinity• Essence of Trinity Interests:– Cause– Community– Corporate• Essence of Trinity Cooperation: Submission
6Creation by the Trinity• Yahweh - Father Creator (Ge.1:1)• Jesus - Son of Yahweh Creator (John 1:1ff)• Holy Spirit - Spirit of Elohim Creator (Gen. 1:2)• Elohim - Ge. 1:6 “Let us make man in our image,in our likeness…”• Yahweh Elohim - Ge. 2:7 “And the Lord (I AM)God formed man from the dust of the Earth andbreathed into his nostrils the breath of life…”
7Imago Dei Based onGod as Trinity• Inherent Traits– To be created in the image of the Father is to have an affinity towardsGod’s Revealed Will being done. His glory is the first Cause. (Knowing)He is therefore the ultimate Truth as knowledge. (Ro.1:18ff)– To be created in the image of the Son is to have an affinity for therevealed essence of God’s nature which is Love. (Doing) His glory isfound in the Community of the saints motivated by and acting on theLove of the Father in and through Christ. (John 14-17)– To be created in the image of the Holy Spirit is to have an affinity forGod’s Power. (Being) His glory is found in the successful functioning ofthe Corporate whole conforming to the nature of Christ in accordancewith the will of the Father and the command of Christ. (John 14-17)
8Imago Dei Based onGod as Trinity• Observed Traits– According to Creation each human person has an affinity for each divineperson of the Godhead.– Each person is created to express that affinity as a distinctive of one’screated personality.– Through the Sin nature resulting from the Fall this aspect of creation issubjected to frustration, isolated from God, self, and others, becoming anorder of individual prejudice along with all other forms of dysfunction anddivision beginning with the willful rejection of God in every way andcompletely.– The resulting disconnect is expressed in both personal and social divisionthrough asymmetrical relationships.– Through Sin, Cause, Community, Corporate are isolated and competitive.The ability to work together is marred by the Fall.– Through Redemption, Cause, Community, Corporate are made alive againto their proper created orientation to the Godhead; The First Social Order.
9New Covenant Economy of theGodhead• The Trinity: One God in Three Persons. EachPerson fully God in essence without confusion ordiminishment of their Divine attributes.• The Gospel of Jesus Christ gives a unique insightinto the inner working of the Trinity.• The three Persons of the Godhead are the Father,The Son, and the Holy Spirit.• Each Person of the Godhead is known by manyother names and titles in relation to their particularministry role in Providence and the Plan ofRedemption.
10New Covenant Economy of theGodhead• Over the course of Jesus’ presentation of the Godhead we observe apattern as to the role relationship each Divine Person has to the otherin the divine works of Providence and Redemption. The patternemerges as follows:– Father - (Yahweh) His Will Be Done and this to His Glory– Son - (Yah-Shua) His Work is the only work that satisfies theFather to the end that His Will be Done.– Holy Spirit - (Kodesh ha Ruach) His Power is the applied basisupon which the Father and the Son have determined to accomplishthe same.– Each Person of the Godhead glorifies the other in the context ofProvidence and Redemption.
11Submissive Role Relationships inthe Trinity• The Will of the Father is completely in the hands of Jesus toaccomplish. To the extent that all authority is given to Jesus, theFather is utterly dependent on the obedience of the Son.• The Son Incarnate is in complete dependence on the Father to revealHis will to Him and to raise Him from the dead. Furthermore, He isdepends on the Holy Spirit to lead, while on earth, according to theFather will.• The Holy Spirit shall proceed from the Father and the Son toadminister all the the Father and the Son determines. He will have noother basis for acting on His own.
12Submissive Role Relationships inthe Trinity• The Plan of Redemption is the Strategic endgame.– The Father shall be glorified by His will being accomplished. Thisis the first Cause of all of history.– The outcome of which shall be evidenced by the Community ofSaints, the product of Jesus’ work.– The Church, throughout history, shall have been sustained anddeveloped into one Corporate whole, worshipping the Fatherbefore His throne, by the inner progressive working of the HolySpirit.
13Key Points of Convergence forthe Imago Dei and Trinity inRedemptionTrinity in Creation: Man in the image of GodTrinity in The Fall: Man separated from GodTrinity in Redemption: Man is One with GodTrinity in Sanctification: God and Man are InTrinity Interests: Cause,Community,CorporateTrinity Cooperation: Mutual SubmissionTrinity in Church: Restoration of Order of Creation
14Redemption of the Imago DeiDivinePersonCovenantRoleFocus Aspect EffectFather To Will Cause Truth inKnowingOneness &Unity ofMindSon To Obey Community Love inDoingOneness &Unity ofHeartHoly Spirit ToAdministerCorporate Power inBeingOneness &Unity ofBody
15Review: Imago Dei Based onGod as Trinity• Inherent Traits– To be created in the image of the Father is to have anaffinity towards God’s Will being done. His glory isthe first Cause. (Knowing) He is therefore the ultimateTruth as knowledge.– To be created in the image of the Son is to have anaffinity for the revealed essence of God’s nature whichis Love. (Doing) His glory is found in the Communityof the saints.– To be created in the image of the Holy Spirit is to havean affinity for God’s Power. (Being) His glory is foundin the successful functioning of the Corporate whole.
16Review: Imago Dei Based onGod as Trinity• Observed Traits– Each mature follower of Christ expresses an affinity for eachdivine person of the Godhead.– Each follower of Christ expresses that affinity first in Christ andlater in a different order of orientation which may be assumed as adistinctive of one’s measure of grace and church socialization.– Each follower of Christ is alive again to all things pertaining toknowing God individually and socially.– The resulting reconnect is expressed in both personal and socialoneness and unity through maturing symmetrical relationships.
17Practical TheologicalOpportunity• We tend to think about the Trinity in one dimension ratherthan three dimensions at a time.• The key to practically applying what we know of theTrinity is to do so through interpersonal relationshipsworking as a team.• Therefore we need to:– Discover each person’s point of identification with the TriuneGodhead as a function of personality. (Measure of Grace?)– Discover each team’s primary point of identification with theGodhead as a group profile.– Determine how we can begin to build into our organization’sspiritual experience of the Triune God a more symmetrical andholistic corporate experience and structure as needed.
18Part Two: Application Models• Oneness/Unity of the Spirit- Symmetrical Model• Spiritual Dysfunction - Asymmetrical Cause• Spiritual Dysfunction - Asymmetrical Community• Spiritual Dysfunction - Asymmetrical Corporate• Possible Developmental Outcomes• Individual/Team Learning Model
19Community tends to identifywith Christ and Persons. Tendsto think in terms likeHospitality, Passion, Honor,Principle, Loyalty,Relationships, the Individualand Doing! The needs of theindividual outweigh the needsof the Church. Concerned forthe one lost sheep. Identifieswith phrases like “Matters ofthe Heart & No man is anisland.” Community knows nostrangers, needs to be withothers, action oriented. Feelsburden for active Fellowship.Emphasis on Great commissionevangelism and missions.Community keeps the Churchoutreach focused.(Sacrifice of the Son)Cause tends to identify more withthe Father and His eternal will.Tends to think in terms of Vision,Truth, Quality, Purity, Holiness,Teaching & Knowledge.Identifies with phrases like “Themeaning behind it, God’sintended Purpose”!God’s Will outweighs the will ofthe Church and individual.Feels burdened to seethe church mature.Emphasis on bible study,theology and doctrineCause keeps the Church focused.(Will of the Father)Unity of the SpiritCorporate tends to identify more with the Holy Spirit and the administration/leading of the Body. Tends to think interms like Power, Organization, Systems, Projects, Quantity, and Efficiency. May be objectively analytical orsubjectively intuitive and likes defined structure whether formal or informal and generally is willing to operate in thebackground. Likes to view things in the form of Assets, Spiritual Gifts, Liabilities or Hindrances, Equity andEdification within a spiritual power structure. The needs of the Church outweigh the needs of the individual. Feelsburden for Unity of the Spirit.Corporate keeps the Church oriented or organized. (Administration of the Spirit)CommunityCorporateCauseCommon Law Copyright by The Praetorian, Monroe County, Indiana, 2000Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Uscreate man in our image,…”3C Symmetrical
20When Community isimproperly dominated byCause, relationships areoften driven by fear ofjudgment and pressure toconform to the culture ofknowledge overcompassion.Spiritual heroes are valuednot so much as lovers butas thinkers. Thus theculture of the Church maybecome cold or uncaringsince the community focuscelebrates those who knowthe Bible best occupy thetop of the social heap.When Cause is overemphasized theapplication of Truth may lack obviousfelt Love and may dominate andintimidate immature believers.The Church may experience anexcessive or exacting doctrinalemphasis. May become rigid,unmovable, or absolute. Leadershipmay be perceived as autocratic.Education is the key ministry asknowledge of the Truth is the ultimateexpressed ideal. Believers who identifywith Freedom and Love may leavefrustrated, feeling misunderstood andrepressed.The very thing that Cause desires most,individual spiritual growth andmaturity, is not accomplished because itfails to grasp that the Truth must belearned not just as information but alsoit is demonstrated and experienced inloving relationships.SpiritualDysfunctionWhen Corporate is improperly dominated by Cause, grass rootsexpression, and spontaneity are stifled and ineffective. Churchgrowth is limited or unimportant. Activities are centered aroundthe ‘most prominent members’ which really means the mosteducated in a highly controlled environment. Often structures arerooted in history where the group traces the establishment of Truthback to a founding movement or person or both.Cause3C Asymmetrical
21When Community is over-emphasizedas an end in itself and dominates thefelt culture of the church, evangelism(often by socialization) may be strongbut the Church remains spirituallyimmature and undereducated. TheGospel is over-simplified and there is alack of intentional discipleship.Church relationships are important butusually only as they relate to achievingtasks. For those in need spiritualcounsel is weak and nearly everyonedefaults to the Pastor as counselor orcrisis manager. Under the veneer ofhappiness the church may turn into aspiritual intensive care unit fordysfunctional believers. Church life isevent driven. The new convert iselevated to the most celebratedaffirmation of Church life. Publicbaptism is a cause of celebrationbeyond all other functions.Community’s sincere desire for churchwide fellowship is not accomplished asCause and Corporate are overwhelmedby false or shallow intimacy.When Cause is dominated byCommunity, discipleship anddeeper study are stifled. Qualityand vision are sacrificed.Teaching is narrow in scope.Deep questions are best notasked. Faith is over-simplified tobumper-sticker axiomaticexpressions. Doctrine is a thingof the past. Cause is frustratedbecause after salvation, personswill move elsewhere fordeveloping true spiritualmaturity.Spiritual DysfunctionWhen Corporate is dominated by Community, mature Body Life is ignored infavor of superficial sentimentality. Corporate perceives the unbalanceddevelopment of a biblical ‘one another’ and ‘each other’ culture as being self-absorbed and shallow. Corporate struggles for lack of purpose and direction.Organization is weak and the church just continues along often losing thepeople she gains. (Usually the loss occurs when the participants becomeburned out or when they go elsewhere seeking deeper experience.)Community3C Asymmetrical
22When Community is dominatedby Corporate, it feels a lack oflove and freedom. Relationshipsare conformist, shallow or non-existent. Loyalty is weak anddeep relational commitment isgenerally missing. Both men andwomen struggle for a sense ofbelonging. They feel processedor even used by the controllers.Unhealthy competition mayemerge as members are recruitedby “bureaucrats” to serve inselective ministries within thechurch. Sub ministry growth is asure way to assert greatercommand the budget and otherresources including people,money, time, and space.When Cause is dominated by thepractical idealism of Corporate it issaddened by the perceivedshallowness and superficiality ofthe church. There may be a generallack of commitment due to feltdisenfranchisement. Vision isobscured even though there isimage of busy activity and taskfocused leadership. Cause strugglesfor direction. Cause may suspectthat any form of faith that does notengage the mind is “contrary to theGospel”! Church growth may beperceived as an accomplishmentbased selling out to consumeristreligiosity where numeric successis the key standard of measure.Spiritual DysfunctionCorporate may be perceived as Unrestrained Spiritual Freedom (in yielding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit) or asProfessionally Controlled Management (where the pastoral staff stifles individual initiative) relationships becomesecondary to the development of the worship service. Activities and programming incorporate individual SpiritualGifts, like evangelism. The systems themselves grow the Church. Corporate has little need for “intimate” Community.Cause is perceived as “abstract and impractical”. Corporate will become authoritarian, even demanding compliance andconformity to its perceived “Will of God”. It can be oppressive as it feels the need to control all aspects of the Church. .Corporate sincere desire for unity is not accomplished because it doesn’t realize that its overarching controlsuppresses shared ownership.CorporateCommon Law Copyright by The Praetorian, Monroe County, Indiana, 20003C Asymmetrical
25Part Three : ApplicationExercises• Identify Your Personal Profile• Identify Your Team Members Profile• Identify Your Organization Profile• Identify Your 3C Model BasedOrganizational Change Requirements• Decision Making and Follow Up Action
26Part FourLearning Organization• Deep Learning System• Five Disciplines• Deep Learning System Lexicon• Summary• Resources and Support
27Five Disciplines forLearning Organizations• Systems Thinking• Personal Mastery• Mental Models• Building Shared Vision• Team LearningSenge, Peter: Fifth Discipline
28DLS Lexicon– Personal Mastery – Learning to expand our personal capacity tocreate the results we most desire, and creating an organizationalenvironment which encourages all its members to developthemselves toward the goals and purposes they choose.– Mental Models – Reflecting upon, continually clarifying, andimproving our internal pictures of the world, and seeing how theyshape our actions and decisions.– Shared Vision - Building a sense of commitment in a group, bydeveloping shared images of the future we seek to create, and theprinciples and guiding practices by which we hope to get there.Senge, Peter: Fifth Discipline
29DLS Lexicon– Team Learning – Transforming conversational and collectivethinking skills, so that groups of people can reliably developintelligence and ability greater than the sum of individual member’stalents.– Systems Thinking – A way of thinking about, and a language fordescribing and understanding, the forces and interrelationships thatshape the behavior of systems. The discipline helps us see how tochange systems more effectively, and to act more in tune with thelarger processes of the natural and spiritual world.– Aspiration – The capacity of individuals, teams, and largerorganizations to orient themselves toward what they truly careabout, and to change because they want to, not just because theyneed to.Senge, Peter: Fifth Discipline
30DLS Lexicon– Reflection and Conversation – The capacity to reflect ondeep assumptions and patterns of behavior, both individuallyand collectively.– Conceptualization – The capacity to see larger systems andforces at play and to construct public, testable ways ofexpressing these views.– Strategic Results – Knowing how and when to measureimportant results. Focusing on the interrelated issues whenassessing results in a learning process, namely, patienceand quantification.
31Summary• We have learned a theological model for humanorganization and dialogue based on the power ofRedemption as seen through the economy of theTrinitarian Godhead and our ability to identifywith each Divine Person.• The 3C Model Provides an opportunity for a freshstart at personal and organizational spiritualdevelopment no matter where the starting point.• The 3C Model offers a simple discipline forapplication to the profound and difficult masteryof mutual submission in Christ.