©2009 Dallas Willard; (P)2009 christianaudio
I read reviews of this book on other websites, and it was getting 5-star ratings across the board. Either that, or 1-star ratings, from people on the opposite end of the academic/religious/political spectrum from Willard. Here are my reasons for giving it 3 stars:
Christian ideas, Willard argues, have been largely dismissed by our culture in that they are perceived to be "beliefs", as opposed the "knowledge", which has a stronger and more direct relationship with universal reality. He calls for Christians (and everyone else, for that matter), to gain respect for, and confidence in Christian ideas by treating these ideas the way we would treat any historical or scientific knowledge. So far, this is a relatively defensible position, although from here Willard breezes through a series of "proofs of God's existence", known to be controversial, and chooses not to address the controversy. He repeatedly decries our "postmodern age", and "the current state of academia", and seems to long for a vague and long lost Golden Age when Christian ideas were commonly respected in the academic and everyday world.
Had the book stopped here, I would have assigned it a poorer mark, and dismissed it as yet another example of crotchety Christian conservatism bound to alienate readers who are not already on board with such ideas. However, the final chapters of the book are quite illuminating. This book is worth reading, if only for Willard's discussion of the relationship between accessing knowledge, adopting beliefs, and obtaining salvation. In this capacity, he is more generous and broad-minded than I had expected he might be, offering a defense for a sort of "Christian Pluralism", without suggesting that any individual might choose from a multiplicity of "pathways to God".
I return to this audiobook time and again when I need to be strengthened and encouraged in my faith. Dallas Willard Rings the best and most rigorous academic thought to contemporary issues and misconceptions about what it means to be a disciple of Christ in our time. Book is well written and this version is well read by David Heath.
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