Sadly, Dallas Willard died yesterday morning at age 77.
The world is the worse for this loss. The world was made better by his life.
If you’re not familiar with Dallas Willard, he was, by day, a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California. He is better known, however, for his tireless work in Christian spirituality. His writings are clear, profound and dangerous for their capacity to transform a life.
His Spirit of the Disciplines is the unofficial companion piece to Richard Foster’s classic Celebration of Discipline. If Foster tells us how to practice many of the central disciplines for accessing the grace of God, Willard tells us why they work.
Hearing God is a wonderful introduction to a conversational relationship with the living God. If you ever had the privilege of being in Dr. Willard’s presence, you had the distinct impression that this was a man who spent ample time in the Lord’s presence and knew the voice of God.
The Divine Conspiracy is, on its surface, a study of the Sermon on the Mount. This belies its true purpose. The Divine Conspiracy is a treatise on God’s invisible reality, fermenting beneath the surface of our “real” world. Willard here opens the doors to the possibility of living the kind of life Jesus lived, living the eternal kind of life here and now. The Divine Conspiracy is one of the few books (alongside Celebration of Discipline) I wish I could purchase for every believer in the world. It’s that good.
Paul exhorts the Roman Christians, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2, NIV). Dallas Willard’s work has been the critical tool to aid the renewing of my mind. For that, I am grateful to the Lord for the life of Dallas Willard.