Friday, May 16, 2014

Impressions from God (SOAR)

We were thinking in a class today about discerning God's will, especially in terms of how to way an impression you have, whether it is from God or not. I looked up an old book by Martin Wells Knapp called Impressions that he wrote in 1892 (Knapp was one of the founders of one of the parent bodies of The Wesleyan Church).

Knapp gave four principles, which put slightly differently are: 1) Is it Scriptural? 2) Does it fit with conscience? 3) Is it providential? and 4) Is it reasonable?  The so called Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a little different, although with some similarity: 1) Scripture, 2) tradition, 3) reason, and 4) experience.

I thought I would modify the list a little (since conscience is largely a function of culture). Not really happy with the acronym, but I'll leave it at this for now:

Scripture - Does the impression fit with the Scriptures as they are generally understood by Christians?

Opportunity - Has God opened the door for the impression to be possible? Has God's providence
          prepared the way?

Advice - What do wise, godly souls say about it? What does the counsel of others say?

Reasonable - Does the impression make sense? What does common sense tell you?


Bob W said...

This is an interesting synergy Ken. And I appreciate your codification. Perhaps the opportunity designation could be expanded to say divine opportunities. In the leadership world the word opportunities carries the connotation of external factors over which you do not have control. And certainly divine opportunities would fall into that category. But opportunities also designate cultural factors beyond control. Therefore it might be helpful for the leadership mind to reinforce in the title the divine nature of the opportunities. Just a thought.

Ken Schenck said...

With divine opportunities including open doors in the real world too? I don't have a problem with at all. I was considering opportunities here to be divinely opened if they are of God.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Don't opportunities have to do with how leadership has made them available? If so, then, "divine" is only the use of "Providence" to justify what leadership already has decided/determined. Opportunities, are available, but are freely chosen by the individual, otherwise, leadership makes demands that are presumptive upon another life. Those are not opportunities, but oppression, if not tyranny. "God" is a great "justifier" of what one wants to do anyway.