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Knowing Christ Today Hardcover – May 26, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In prose that is both decisive and austere, Willard (The Spirit of the Disciplines) throws down the gauntlet to those in both the secular and religious realms who claim it is impossible to know Christian truths. A professor at the University of Southern California's School of Philosophy, Willard attempts to demonstrate how knowledge and faith can support each other. Arguing that the standard of knowledge is truth and proper evidence, the writer leads readers through his proofs for the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus, God's ongoing intervention in the world and the then logical possibility of a vital spiritual practice centered on interactive life with Christ. Christian discipleship, as the author sees it, includes such crucial elements as humility, intent to be inwardly transformed, the practice of the presence of Christ and obedience. As Willard admits in his introduction, the book is a mental workout—even the questions at the end of the chapters are challenging. Woven through with the ideas of classical and contemporary philosophers, theologians and sociologists, this volume will engage readers who are willing to follow Willard on his self-assured way, and trust him as a guide. (July)
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“Dallas Willard focuses like a laser beam on the issue of moral knowledge as a legitimate source for understanding reality and applying it to daily life. It is a must read.” (Richard Foster)

“A spiritual defense of the proposition that faith and reason are not contradictory.” (Peter L. Berger, Director, Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, Boston University)

“This is clear, lucid thinking about what matters most, as is desperately needed today. Only Dallas Willard could have written this, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need to read it.” (John Ortberg, Pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and author of Faith & Doubt)

“In prose that is both decisive and austere...this volume will engage readers who are willing to follow Willard on his self-assured way, and trust him as a guide.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Willard is always fascinating reading. [In Knowing Christ Today] he cares not only about God’s people being rooted in solid theology and thought, but also in Christ’s apprentices actually living out the life of the Spirit.” (Baptist Standard)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060882441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060882440
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #609,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Vogt on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As I sat in my classroom at Florida State University during the Fall of 2007, beginning my first New Testament class, I was very confused. I signed up thinking that the class would delve even deeper into the words that had recently begun to transform my life, bringing me even closer to this Jesus I had just encountered. However, I very quickly felt disillusioned; the teacher of the class was speaking about Jesus in very different words than my pastor used. Her words about Christianity sounded very detached, spoken as an outsider looking in.

For some reason, most professors and leaders of academic circles seem to treat Christianity as a quaint system of myths and beliefs that should not be taken seriously by true thinkers. They believe that science and modern thought have shown Christianity to be irrelevant and untrue.

In his newly released book, "Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge", Dallas Willard exposes these views as utterly false. He brings light to the truths and knowledge of Jesus and reveals them as imminently knowable.

Simply stated, Dallas is one of my favorite authors. Months before this book was released, I knew I would immediately devour it. Thankfully, the publisher--HarperOne--sent me an advanced copy to review.

The book, though only 256 pages, is extremely thick with content and is a very intense read. Dallas begins by fairly warning that, "...this is not a devotional book and that it will require considerable mental effort to understand."

He starts his discussion by stating some truths about the role knowledge plays in today's Christianity. He explains how our culture tends to treat religious beliefs as something other than--and often less than--firm knowledge.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Lemaro Thompson on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are wondering if this book is worth the $16 or if the book is only worth a quick read from the library, the answer is: it is worth every penny !! Buy many copies! Buy some for friends, family, and especially your beloved university professors! This book is a God-send.

Exactly what is the book about and does Dallas disappoint?
If you have read any of Willard's previous books, you will know that mediocrity just does not seem to be a possibility for him - neither does unoriginality! Okay, the book is simply about addressing the state of "spiritual knowledge" in today's world. Know that may sound vague, so let me quote a blurb from the book and then expound:

"Serious and thoughtful Christians today find themselves in a quandary...In the context of modern life and thought, they are urged to treat their central beliefs as something other than knowledge --something, in fact, far short of knowledge. Those beliefs are to be relegated to the categories of sincere opinion, emotion, blind commitment, or behavior traditional for their social group. And yet they cannot escape the awareness that those beliefs do most certainly come into conflict with what is regarded as knowledge in educational and professional circles of public life. This conflict has profound effects on how they hold and practice religious beliefs and how they present them to others."

This book basically points out that the information/truths that Christianity provides is knowledge. No less than the information/truths that other fields from science and mathematics present is knowledge.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mondok on August 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Knowing Christ Today
Author: Dallas Willard
New York, HarperCollins, 2009
Number of pages: 212

The universe hangs on the Word of God but knowledge of God is not treated as a credible by contemporary scholars and educators. What can actually be known about God is not even given passing consideration but off-handedly and unfairly relegated to education ghettos by those responsible for educating about what is real and knowable.

"In practical terms, reality is what you rely on... Mistakes about reality lead to brutal encounters with it. Illusion, a mistake about what is real, is what will let you down, what you cannot count on. Knowledge of reality tends toward successful and confident interactions with reality," writes author Dallas Willard. "The double minded person is someone with a reality problem."

Christian Spiritual truths are a body of knowledge and should be treated as such. They are not a hunch. They are not strong feelings. Christian Spiritual truths are reality and can be known and taught as verifiable reality.

"[Atheists] literally do not know what they are talking about when it comes to knowing Christ as a life that some people actually live. They have not taken the trouble to understand even what they could know as 'outsiders' by sympathetically studying the lives of the great 'insiders,'" says Willard.

"'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks the door will be opened' (Matt. 7:7-8).
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