Thursday, September 06, 2018

Revival, and the Difference Between Knowing About God and Knowing God

Holland (Michigan) State Park

I love reasoning about things. That doesn't mean my reasoning is always excellent. Mostly, I don't mind being shown that my thinking is faulty. It presses me to think harder and better.

I taught logic at our county community college for seventeen years. A subset of logic is critical thinking. I enjoy this. I like logical puzzles. I do them for fun, and neural strength.

There is a lot of logic in the Bible. Jesus was an excellent logician. Read, for example, "Jesus The Logician" by Dallas Willard. And J. P. Moreland's book Love God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. And, see chapter 2 of Craig and Moreland's Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview ("Argumentation and Logic"), which serves as an introduction to a college logic course. 

God gave us minds, and we are to love the Lord with all of our mind. But more than rational thinking is needed. Thinking about God is not equivalent to knowing God. And knowing God is the point of the Scriptures.

In their book on revivals, A God-Sized Vision, Collin Hanson and John Woodbridge share this story about the great intellect and revivalist Jonathan Edwards.

"Edwards spurred on the revival with one his most famous sermons, preached in August 1734. In “A Divine and Supernatural Light,” Edwards contended, “There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of its sweetness. A man may have the former, that knows not how honey tastes; but a man can’t have the latter, unless he has an idea of the taste of honey in his mind.” With this analogy, Edwards sought to show the difference between merely having knowledge about God and experiencing his love and the truth of his Word." (Kindle Locations 529-534)

We are to love God with our minds. But the story doesn't end there. Loving God with our minds can lead to knowing God by experience. Which is the point of the whole thing, and which true revival brings.

(I am praying, along with several colleagues in ministry, for the Church in America to be Revived and Awakened. If you want to join us please email me at

My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God