I must confess my bias and internal struggle before I begin a review of this book. God used this book to move me from the mega-church experience to the house church experience in 2002. I have been deeply influenced by the writing of Dallas Willard for many years. Now, on this side of my journey through Emergent theology, Lutheran theology, and the PhD studies, I revisit this book, and Willard’s theology, with different lenses and from a different perspective. I still deeply respect it, but I also see that it:read more
My rereading of Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart sparked many questions for me. One of them has to do with the role of our individual will as it relates to the work of the Holy Spirit. In search of conversation partners, I first turned to Stanley Grenz’s tome, Theology for the Community of God. He reframes the conversation by speaking of God’s proleptic work of salvation and the Holy Spirit’s function of bringing about this process in creation.
This essay is both a reflection on Gary Black’s book The Theology of Dallas Willard, and a huge note of gratitude to Gary for shedding light on a much needed subject. This book has not only helped me make sense out of my own spiritual journey, but it has greatly enhanced my dissertation work in the area of missional spirituality in the suburbs.
(The following is a personal narrative of how I interacted with Black’s book. Click here to view my annotated highlights from the book.)read more
I wrote the following passage today while working on the Spiritual Formation Frame of my dissertation. It kind of wrote itself as I was working. What I mean is that I had no intention of including Willard in this section. Then, when I looked more closely at Schneiders’ definition of spirituality, the following ideas just jumped out at me. I love those moments. I’m putting it up here to see if anyone who reads it thinks it makes any sense.
Schneiders makes a distinction between the definition of spirituality and the definition of Christian spirituality. Spirituality, she says, is “the experience of conscious involvement in the project of life-integration through self-transcendence toward the ultimate value one perceives.” Christian spirituality “as an academic discipline is an attempt to realize, by bringing serious and personally transforming study to bear on the ultimate human value of union with God, what is arguably the most cited text in the Christian canon, Jesus’ promise, ‘if you remain in my word you will become my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free: (Jn. 8:31-33).’” She states that “the primary aim of the discipline of spirituality…is to understand the phenomena of the Christian spiritual life as experience…it is a function of interpretation (hermeneutics).”read more