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The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God Hardcover – March 24, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
The title refers to God's conspiracy to undermine evil with good. Among other things, Willard discusses the fundamental problem of nondiscipleship in the church, what it looks like to be Christlike (with an excellent exposition of the beatitudes and sermon on the mount), what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ, how to become disciples of Jesus and how to make disciples of Jesus.
Prior to reading the book, I thought I was well on my way towards becoming a mature disciple of Christ. After reading it, I've discovered that I'm nowhere close to where I thought I was. I realized that I have a real long way to go to becoming the kind of person who is so secure that I don't seek to find faults and weaknesses with people.
I also have gained tremendous new insight into how I can more effectively make disciples and how local churches could do the same.
The Divine Conspiracy is a comprehensive, practical, meaty, challenging, and extremely helpful book which I pray will be widely read.
Dallas Willard's grasp of the Christian life as exposited by Christ himself, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount, is absolutely compelling. Willard mildly castigates both the theological Right and Left for, respectively, emphasizing saving faith alone in the Christian life as though how we live our lives on earth doesn't really make a difference, and preaching a 'social gospel' bereft of the spiritual or eternal significance that gives it its meaning or moral impetus. He then goes on to put forward a very vivid picture, using a wonderfully consistent and contextual view of Jesus' teachings, of what God intends for our lives here on earth. The author's treatment of the subject seems entirely original and unfettered by the various passing trends of thought that seem to color so many Christian books, and as such also sounds almost radical. But read it for what it is, and you'll find it to be as clear and natural an interpretation of Kingdom living as you'll ever hear.
I can hardly imagine a more welcome book for my own spiritual life, and expect it may be so for others too. I would put this book on a par with C.S. Lewis; perhaps even higher since Dallas Willard has crafted a work of not only intellect, but great applicability. This book seems like a life's work, and if so, then I'd have to say it certainly seems to have been worth it. It can be difficult, out of the deluge of Christian books out there, to pick one out as absolutely essential, but as far as I'm concerned this would definitely be such a one, and I ardently hope others find it too.
The primary source of Willard's theology is the Sermon on the Mount. By examining this sermon of Jesus' in light of Jesus' own perspective of the Kingdom of Heaven, Willard posits a fresh thinking about Jesus' commands and His reasoning behind the carefully chosen words of the Sermon, particularly The Beatitudes.
The conclusion of this examination is not so much that Jesus is adding to the expansive set of Mosaic laws, but that the Lord is merely showing how a person who dwells in the Kingdom of God acts and believes. Legalism brings no life, in short, and Jesus already knew that. He is instead saying that as we come to live more in God's Kingdom and less in the world's corrupted kingdom, what we see in the Sermon is how our lives will be.
The exegesis of the passages Willard covers is not traditional by any means, but as he develops his ideas and looks at them within the context of the Kingdom, his explanations make perfect sense. For instance, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" does not mean that we need to become spiritually bankrupt in order to get into Heaven. Willard instead turns this around and says that Jesus is telling those who are already in that state of bankruptcy that now the Kingdom of Heaven has come in Him, and for those that are willing to receive it, it can be theirs. This shift in perspective is then used to examine the rest of the Sermon.Read more ›
Willard's path is a well-traveled one, though he views some of the familiar sights a bit differently than most of us are accustomed to. The Kingdom of the Heavens is seen primarily as the realm of God's rule (kingdom) which is as near to us as the atmosphere around us (the heavens). A new thought for me, and one I'm still mulling over. Eternal Life is mainly a quality of life - an eternal kind of life. Willard's reading of the Sermon on the Mount is certainly unique. Frankly, his understanding of the Beattitudes is one of the more novel and unbelievable parts of the book. But his analysis of Matthew chapters 6 and 7 is very helpful.
The heart of the book, found in chapters eight and nine, tackles what it means to be a student, or disciple, of Jesus, along with developing a curriculum for Christlikeness. Those two chapters alone are worth their weight in gold. I found them immensely helpful.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Truly inspiring. It brings a new understanding of just how close a relationship God desires to have with us and how very possible it is for us to achieve that. Read morePublished 1 day ago by patricia dalessandro
Complex ideas expressed so simply that they become obvious in the application to my life.Published 10 days ago by Robert W Ross
This book has changed my view of Christianity and God and Jesus forever and for the better. It's such a well-written book, full of beautiful sections from other gorgeous books such... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Nora Svihl
This is one of the finest works I have ever read. This is a Christian classic, among the best ever written, through the ages, that just happened to be written in our generation. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Papa
Also pokes current churches in the eye for their, at times, shallow presentation of the gospel and failure to teach what it costs to follow Jesus. Read morePublished 27 days ago by desert rat
I found him to be intelligent, caring, and passionate to help people understand the character of the triune God better. Read morePublished 29 days ago by cwhaskell
Very wordy and slow in getting to the point but if you hang in there through the first 140 pages there is rich insight - worth the effort.Published 1 month ago by JoMomma