Wow, two of my biggest influences as authors have passed away in the last month. I recently gave my thoughts on the passing of Brennan Manning, and now today, Dallas Willard has passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 77. Willard was a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, but his books were known for their theological approach to spiritual growth. Willard was characterized as being on a “quiet quest to subvert nominal Christianity.”
Willard’s classic work may have been The Spirit of the Disciplines, which examines the role of the disciplines in spiritual transformation. The Divine Conspiracy is another book for which he is well-known. I will forever associate this book with a personal retreat I took. It was during that retreat that I wrestled with the question of how to integrated the kingdom of God with everyday living. The Divine Conspiracy both prompted those questions and served as a guidebook through my retreat. I just recently enjoyed flipping through it again and discussing it with my brother when he asked for a Dallas Willard book I would recommend.
One of the first topics I wrote about here was on Willard’s book The Great Omission. Willard did not hesitate to challenge the church where he saw gaps in theology. He wanted the believer to always experience more in their relationship with God. The other book I have read by Willard is Hearing God.
Willard’s spiritual, yet intellectual approach to faith will be missed!