22 responses

  1. rick
    January 18, 2011

    good stuff

    • Dan Edelen
      January 18, 2011

      Thanks, Rick. I think that the greatest lesson I’ve learned in the last couple years is to maintain some level of peace with the craziness. It’s okay if I don’t have all the answers; God does. Some truths can be gleaned out and others will just be “weird” as long as I’m here on earth. That it has taken me 30+ years to get to that place makes me feel for young believers.

  2. slw
    January 18, 2011

    Some very good thoughts and some very helpful advice.

    I thought point #4 was particularly well put.


    • Dan Edelen
      January 18, 2011

      Thanks, slw. Realizing our own frailty puts the question into the right perspective.

  3. Clint
    January 18, 2011


    Thanks for this. All of the points were very helpful–especially the encouragement towards humility.

    • Dan Edelen
      January 18, 2011

      Glad I could answer your very good question, Clint. I hope what I wrote makes sense. I think very few Christian learn these things. I know it has taken me a long time, sadly. I can be kind of thick. ;-)

  4. Laurie M.
    January 18, 2011

    This is simply a wonderful post!

    These are lessons God has been teaching me over the last nine months or so. It was scary at first, and frequently painful, to let go of my systematic know-it-all brand of faith and embrace the truth that no system can contain Him, and that I have a lot to learn that I cannot when I’m busy trying to fit God into my neat tidy package. But I would not trade the difficulty of change for the love, hope, and vibrant faith that is beginning to take hold.

    • Dan Edelen
      January 18, 2011

      Glad you found the post to be a blessing, Laurie.

  5. Clint
    January 18, 2011

    Dan, can you give me an example of how one would implement general revelation in discernment? I understand the latter two to some degree but am having trouble applying that one.

    • Dan Edelen
      January 18, 2011


      Much of ancient wisdom literature is filled with observations from the natural order. The Book of Proverbs is jammed with this kind of observational discernment (see Chap. 30, for instance). Ecclesiastes has much of this kind of natural world observation. Jesus himself packs his parables with wisdom gleaned from the natural order. God answers Job by inundating him with illustrations from the natural order.

      Despite the fact that this type of discernment and wisdom permeates all of the Bible, many Christians today act as if the created order has nothing to teach us now that we have the Canon. Yet the books of Moses existed in the OT and the prophets still referred to the natural order to reinforce the word of God.

  6. Jeremy Kelly
    January 19, 2011

    I really enjoyed this post especially #3. Although logic and rationalism should not be completely divorced from the Church we have adopted too much of our culture in this regard. We get ourselves into futile arguments when we have to have the answer for everything. There seems to be a lot of gray and not always black and white. And we need to find comfort and beauty in that.

    • Dan Edelen
      January 25, 2011

      Thanks for being a reader, Jeremy!

  7. alan
    January 20, 2011

    Beautifully articulated, Dan.

    • Dan Edelen
      January 25, 2011


      Thanks. I hope this helps people keep from being afraid. His grace covers us in all these situations.

  8. Daniel Sladen
    January 22, 2011

    I liked this. I like the realistic emphasis on journey and the humility that goes with that kind of understanding.

    One thing that surprised me though: referring to 3 sources of revelation rather than the more “normal” (at least in my limited theological study) 4, that would also include church tradition. I realise that the formal recognition of church tradition as revelation is often more associated with Catholic and Orthodox churches, but it’s embedded in every church: you can’t really see Scripture as special revelation without thinking about the interpretative tradition that a particular church, denomination or movement has brought to its reading of Scripture – for example, the Enlightment rationalism that Evangelicalism has often introduced into its use of texts, something which is an essential part of the conclusions and commitments that Evangelicalism reaches.

    I don’t mean this as abstract intellectual nit-picking and sorry if it comes across at that – it’s just that I think that personal revelation is really only capable of being understood properly when a concept of community is introduced, i.e. my personal experience of revelation tied in with yours, and as many other people’s as possible, both now and in centuries past. I guess this seems important because we often aren’t very good at discipleship and community – in fact the lack of those is the biggest problem in our church movement – and I think that’s because we don’t understand the role of tradition (i.e. community) as an essential part of revelation in arriving at a well-rounded faith. This undervaluing of tradition leads to an over-emphasis on the rationalising self, autonomously looking at creation, the Scripture, and the Holy Spirit’s private prompting without seeing the need for commitment to others.

    • Dan Edelen
      January 25, 2011


      Yeah, the church tradition issue is a big one. And while there’s a lot to mine there, the revelation is tricky, as is evidenced by all the division in the Church.

  9. Mark
    January 27, 2011


    Great post. As always.

    As I was reading this post the following thoughts went through my mind:

    1. Dan tends to write long posts
    2. Dan’s posts are always well written
    3. Of any blogger I know that writes long posts, Dan’s are the easiest to read and follow, for someone like me with a short attention span.

    Finally, the thing I think every time I read your blog, is how much love, care and wisdom are packed into your posts. I have read in the past where you felt your calling was to raise up Barnabases (Barnabi, Barnabas’s?), but felt frustrated that you weren’t in a position to do that. I hope you are able to see the degree of maturity and wisdom the Lord has brought you into, and realize that you have much to offer those around you. I pray that the Lord will open the doors for you to disciple in the manner that you so strongly feel called to. I realize you have not arrived, as your post accurately declares that none of us have (or will). However, the Lord gives “graces” to His people, and I feel a definite grace on you, brother.

    God bless,

    Mark V.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy
    March 3, 2011

    Our problem in North America 2011 is that we’ve stymied our willingness to wonder. And when you kill wonder and mystery, all that’s left is bitter argument.

    As a starting-out SF writer (and SF litfan since Old Testament Star Trek days), I can attest to that; the tipping point happened around the time when the First 1960s transitioned into The Sixties (TM). A lot of stuff just went south all over around 1968 or so.

    In SF, it resulted in the loss of the “Sensawunda”. Until then, a LOT of the “What-if?” futures in SF were Bright Futures, Futures you WANTED to live to see. (Old Testament Star Trek was probably the last mass-media expression of that.) There were some Dystopias and other Dark Futures, but they did not dominate.

    Post-1968, the Dark Futures dominated. Nuclear War Dystopias; Nixon-as-Fuehrer Dystopias; Race War Dystopias; Christian Theocracy Dystopias; Reagan-as-Fuehrer Dystopias; Cyberpunk Dystopias; Bush-as-Fuehrer Dystopias; Y2K Dystopias; Global Warming Dystopias; et al. If Bright Futures surfaced, they were met with the Seinfeld Sneer and Appropriate Ironic Quip, dismissed as “fluff”.

    Then around Y2K, another change. Dark Futures were replaced by No Future, as Alternate History and “Forward Into The Past” time-travel surged into prominence, escaping from the Dark Future into Alternative Presents or Mythic Pasts.

    Now, instead of Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before, we cower under our beds, breathing shallow to minimize our Carbon Footprints while watching Documentaries on how The Planet will Heal Herself once the Cancer of Humanity is Finally Extinguished.

    From Bright Future to Dark Future to No Future — exactly the same progression as pop Christian eschatology, from the Post-Mil Bright Futures, to the Pre-Trib Pre-Mil Dark Future (Seven Years of Antichrist Dystopia), followed by The End.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy
    March 3, 2011

    Oddly enough, our failures to heed all three contribute to the host of conflicting voices in the Christian Church. When one teacher is talking about the Bible being the only genuine source of revelation and another teacher stresses we have to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, it sounds like a clash. It’s not, though. It’s just men failing to live up to the entire calling of the Lord.

    “A fanatic is a man with one piece of a pie who thinks he has the whole pie.”
    – Pope John Paul II

  12. Clint
    October 1, 2012

    Dan, Its almost been two years since I first asked you about this. I should say that this post has been very formative for me and is still helpful. I just wanted to say thanks.

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