In my humble opinion, one of the true spiritual giants in our time has been Dallas Willard. Not only does he have a profound biblical message for the church in our generation, he has grown and developed his character and thinking outside of church ministry, in a philosophy department of a secular university. I sincerely hope there are some young men and women coming up in university settings that will replace him when he is gone.
Have any of you read his newest book yet? I have not, I just became aware of it this morning when I went to Scot McKnight’s web site and saw this overview of the book.
I believe that the greatest weakness of the current church in the United States is the underdeveloped spiritual formation. Dallas Williard picked up where Robert Coleman (Master Plan of Evangelism) left off, and has been calling followers of Christ and the church to in-depth discipleship to Jesus for a generation –.
he has been a voice in the wilderness, crying out to the church to prepare the way of the Lord through spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation.
His new book is called Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge
Here is a brief selection from today’s post on Jesuscreed:
“The third part of the book, which shifts slightly in style to less philosophical argument and more to Christian exposition, concerns knowledge of Christ in the spiritual life -- and here he enters into what for many of us is the classical style of Willard's form of a more mystically-shaped Christian life. The seventh chp enters into a spirited but reasonable form of Christian inclusivism, which he calls Christian pluralism where final redemption is ultimately shaped by whether or not a person -- Christian religion or not -- has a heart that is properly oriented toward God.
Finally, he has a chp in which he expands the meaning of "pastor" and argues that it is pastors who have the responsibility of making this "knowledge of Christ" known today.”
Which book by Willard has been your favorite? What do you get out of his writings as the central theme?
The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives.(1988). San Francisco: Harper and Row, ISBN 0-06-069442-4 (you can buy this for as cheap as $3.75 online now)
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God (1998). San Francisco: Harper, ISBN 0-06-069333-9
Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship With God (1999). Intervarsity Press (USA), ISBN 0-8308-2226-7
Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (2002). Colorado Springs: NavPress, ISBN 1-57683-296-1
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship" (2006). San Francisco: Harper, ISBN 0-06-088243-3