GPS, John Wesley's Quadrilateral, & the Kaleo Life

Our family has a minivan that has a GPS (global positioning system) in it.  This little device, built-in to the console of our van, has proved invaluable in helping us navigate short trips through unfamiliar cities and guided us home from long road-trips.  It has become a family game to try to confuse the GPS.  Some families play the alphabet game or car-bingo.  Our family tries to confuse the GPS and time how fast it will recalculate our route!

The speed for recalculation is astounding and the accuracy of the GPS is incredible. But the clarity that comes from the GPS does not find its source from within.  The receiver in our van is dependent upon a large, sophisticated network of 31 satellites orbiting the earth.  And of the 31 satellites, 24 are needed for optimal accuracy of the global system and for the GPS receiver in my van, well it needs at least four signals from four satellites to fix a “transcendent” point of reference.*

For followers of Jesus Christ, the ultimate source of clarity is God’s perspective.  But the age-old question is how do we, with certainty, acquire God’s perspective?  How do we know what God’s call is upon our lives?

Well John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement in the 18th Century, is credited with what is now commonly called “Wesley’s Quadrilateral” in which it is believed John Wesley brought clarity to his theological questioning through the four satellites of:

  • Scripture – the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments)
  • Tradition – the two millennia history of the Christian Church, including our  immediate and present theological influences which contribute to our understanding of God
  • Reason – rational thinking and sensible interpretation
  • Experience – a Christian’s personal and communal journey in Christ

All four must be present and none of these should be taken in isolation without the balancing effect of the others, and always Scripture should have the central place of authority.  When we are receiving input from all four of these satellites clarity emerges.  When we are living without even one of these sources, we find ourselves confused and oftentimes lost.

If you find yourself asking: “what is my Kaleo?” Perhaps this is God’s way of asking you to push the ‘recalculate route’ on your life.  Begin by asking yourself: am I searching the Scriptures? What have theologians and my theological tradition said about this? Am I developing my ability to study and interpret the bible?  In light of my skills, gifting, abilities, passions and life experiences what has God being forging in me? What do those close to me see?

When clarity comes, follow the new coordinates and share your story with us!


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