Triperspectivalism and it’s application to Epistemology

This summer I was introduced to the idea of Triperspectivalism, a theory popularized by John Frame, but originated by Cornelius Van Til. Triperspectivalism is not a final conclusion by any definition; on the contrary it is a means, a way of thinking. It stresses the idea that different perspectives are essential in finding the truth, indifference and relativism are not options for us as we learn, think and know. This framework emphasizes absolutes. From these perspectives comes the fullest understanding that we can have as finite beings.

Frame writes: Often, however, God's revelation to us of his own perspective is itself multiperspectival in structure. He has, for example, given us four gospels, rather than one. It is important for us to hear the story of Jesus from four different perspectives. God's perspective, in this case, embraces those of the four gospel writers. His infinite perspective validates those four human perspectives and commends them to all of us. Similarly, God has given us both Kings and Chronicles, though these books overlap in many ways. He has also given us both a prose account (Ex. 12-14) and a poetic account (Ex. 15:1-18) of his deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Many of the Psalms, too, give us poetic accounts of what other Scriptures present in prose narrative. There are two givings of the law (Ex. 20:1-17, Deut. 5:1-21). Paul often repeats his ideas (as Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12), adding and subtracting matters of interest, varying their contexts.

We can see such perspectives teaching the fullness of truth in: The three offices of Christ. If one does not know Christ as King or Prophet, will one really know Him as Priest? It is the same with Divine Lordship, the Ten Commandments, salvation and finally human knowledge.

At the middle of this paradigm is human knowledge. We know things by experiencing them, which we can only do through our senses, and in order to remember, God gave us reason to discern such moments. In any epistemology, when you separate any of these you come with a theory of knowing that is lacking. Once understood in this way, by God's common grace, it is realized that Descartes was right, in part, when he said, "I think, therefore I am." And Rousseau when he stated, "I feel, therefore I am."

Others have used such a paradigm and applied it to church offices, ministry and church growth. I have not thought about it applying to such areas yet, but I think it is a useful idea, especially when one remembers that it is a means, not an end. (Frame's Primer is found here.)