One of my great joys came when I got up from a chair to walk to the podium and the Lord said to me, “Now remember, it’s what I do with the word between your lips and their hearts that matters.” That is a tremendous lesson. If you do not trust God to do that, then will let you do what you’re going to do, and it’s not going to come to much. But once you turn it loose and recognize we are always inadequate but our inadequacy is not the issue, you are able to lay that burden down. Then the satisfaction you have in Christ spills over into everything you do. — Dallas Willard, Renewing the Christian Mind
Dallas Willard has an essay titled “The Failure of Evangelical Politics” in the book Renewing the Christian Mind. In it he lays out the failure of the evangelical church in the past several decades to live out what is truly the gospel. Continue reading “The calling we have in culture”
Today, equality is not actually regarded as a matter of human dignity and value. That is very hard to defend. Rather, it is regarded as a doorway to freedom. Freedom itself is not regarded in terms of the inherent dignity and value of human beings, but rather as opportunity. Opportunity is not regarded as opportunity to do what is good and right, but to get what you want. We talk a lot about them, but the basic values of our society are not equality and freedom — they are pleasure and “happiness.” And these are interpreted in sensualistic terms. Our society is a society of feeling… Feeling is our master. That’s why we have so many issues about abuse of one kind or another: abuse comes out of frustration over feeling. That is why we are such an addictive society. Also, watch your commercials for automobiles and so forth, and see how many of them are predicated upon feeling. Feeling furs our society. It also runs our massively failing education system. It is the only acknowledge ultimate value. That explains why we do so badly in areas of learning that require sustained discipline — which doesn’t “feel good.” — Dallas Willard, Renewing the Christian Mind
Continue reading “Our massive cultural failure”
We should perhaps start with recognition that, for almost everyone today in Western Christendom, being saved has nothing essentially to do with transformation. — Dallas Willard, Renewing the Christian Mind
Continue reading ““Being Saved” or Being Transformed”
The organ of spiritual knowledge is obedience. Just as you open your eyes to see colors, you know the presence of the kingdom of God by obeying. You act on the knowledge you have. And in acting you encounter the reality of the kingdom. Continue reading “Growing in spiritual knowledge”
Having grown up Pentecostal (and still being one) the mentality of the “altar” was more cultural in my time growing up than in previous days, I think. By the time I was growing up, and in my early days of ministry, there were things “solved” at the altar. Lust, anger, bitterness… come and pray and get delivered and go home. But then next week… back you go… Continue reading “The learning curve”
One key question in evangelism used to be this: “If you were to die tonight and come before God and he should ask, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?” Continue reading “If you were to die tonight”
Dallas Willard had bold thinking that would constantly challenge me.
The words of Jesus are real. They are meant to be followed, not just repeated. Continue reading “Being responsible for the future”
I am deeply thankful for Gary Black, Jr. and the work to carry on the writings of Dallas Willard. The latest work is a compilation summing up Willard’s thoughts on renewing the Christian mind. It is becoming a primer on spiritual formation. Continue reading “Bar Code Christianity”
We don’t seem to be in the mood for it these days in our culture, but what is needed now more than ever is right thinking.
A new book compiling some of the work of Dallas Willard starts with what Dallas did best: think. He calls us to right thinking. And where that starts is the Word of God.
And so we must apply our thinking to the Word of God. We must thoughtfully take that Word in, dwell upon it, ponder its meaning, explore its implications — especially as it relates to our own lives. We must thoughtfully set it into practice. In doing so, we will be assisted by God’s grace in ways far beyond anything we can understand on our own; and the ideas and images that governed the life of Christ through his thought life will possess us.
Right thinking is vital right now. When emotions are high, when rhetoric is divisive… right thinking is needed. This is where the Church should be leading the way.
Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks