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The Theology of Dallas Willard: Discovering Protoevangelical Faith Paperback – August 6, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''Dallas Willard has impacted countless numbers of us looking for a fresh perspective on the dynamic, surprising, compelling life Jesus invites us into. And Gary has been on the leading edge of helping explain this new movement that's brewing. . . . People from a broad range of perspectives will find Gary's clear, informed, nuanced, and hopeful voice a welcome guide as we navigate the shifting landscape we're living in.''
Rob Bell, author of ''Love Wins''

''There is simply no one whose understanding of Jesus and his good news has the power and depth of Dallas Willard. Gary Black offers us all a tremendous gift a journey of thought that will illuminate your faith and change your life.''
John Ortberg, author of Who Is This Man?

''No one has had a greater impact on my understanding of spiritual formation and life in God's kingdom than Dallas Willard, and I know of no one who has a more thorough grasp of Willard's teachings than Gary Black. . . . The hopeful vision of life in God's realm expertly summarized in this book has the potential to revolutionize the church and our world if only we summon the courage to make it our way of practice.''
Mark Scandrette, author of Practicing the Way of Jesus

''Gary Black writes a comprehensive and penetrating survey of the thought and context of one of American evangelicalism's most influential reformers. The resulting analysis The Theology of Dallas Willard is worth studying and then studying some more, because Dallas Willard is that important to the future of the church in North America.''
David Fitch, author of Prodigal Christianity

''Black has given us a window into Willard's thoughts, showing his deep and systematic approach to living life as a disciple of Jesus. This is an excellent read for understanding the depth and beauty of a contemporary theological giant. I highly recommend it!''
Keith J. Matthews, coeditor of Dictionary of Everyday Theology and Culture

''The present volume is a masterful and accessible presentation of Willardian theology, which is, at its heart, an invitation to step into a real, present, holistic, experiential, and incarnational form of Christian faith. This is an important book.''
Gary W. Moon, author of Apprenticeship with Jesus

''Quite possibly some of the theologically richest, deepest, and most well-formed thoughts for God's church are in these pages. Excavating below leadership tactics and spiritual formation approaches lays this breathtaking vision of God. Read slowly, savor, and ponder. Let it simultaneously affect your heart and your mind. It is a distant light leading us home.''
Nancy Ortberg, author of Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands --Wipf and Stock Publishers

About the Author

Gary Black, Jr. (MDiv, PhD, University of Exeter) is Chair of the Advanced Studies Department, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, and Assistant Professor of Theology at Azusa Pacific University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Pickwick Publications (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620329638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620329634
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I learned of this book only a few weeks ago. I then purchased it and read it straightaway. But this is a book I've been waiting a very long time to read. As I understand it, this book is a re-write for general publication of the author's Ph.D. thesis. It's clear that he knew Willard well and is totally familiar with Willard's thinking and theology. While there are a number of typos or formatting issues with the book that I read, which we normally expect an editor to deal with, these are only a minor annoyance in what is otherwise a very fine, stimulating and helpful presentation of Willard's theology as found in his published works. The first chapter presents the best brief historical summary I've read of the quandary to which Evangelicalism has come; discipleless churches. What I don't get and what the author is not in a position to discuss is why after the wide popularity of Willard's, "Divine Conspiracy" more people in a position to do something about it did not. The question remains for me at to why it has taken so long for someone to write this book on the so-called 'protoevangel' when the popular and stunted version of the gospel as commonly presented is so inadequate in terms of both Scripture and the needs of the world. Better now than never, I suppose. Thanks to Dallas Willard and Gary Black.
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Format: Paperback
No one has had a greater impact on my understanding of spiritual formation and life in God's kingdom than Dallas Willard, and I know of no one who has a more thorough grasp of Willard's teachings than Gary Black. In this book on Willardian Theology, Black has brought to bear his considerable intellectual intensity and deeply personal affection for Willard, to produce a work that provides broad context and deep understanding of it's subject. It is an invaluable resource for reader's of Willard's work and anyone who grapples with what an authentic and transforming Christian faith might look like in a postmodern age. The vision of life in The kingdom of love expertly summarized in this book has the potential to revolutionize the church and our world--if only we have the courage to risk experiencing it through practice.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What is most helpful about Gary Black's book is that he has addressed the major themes of Dallas Willard's works, drawing together ideas that appear in multiple publications and videos. This isn't a systematical theology of the work of someone who defied systematics, but a woven presentation of the great man's greater thoughts.

The book could have used a thoughtful editor easing the transition from dissertation to general publication, but for students of either Willard or the evangelicalism of the last century, it's worth a good read. I know I'll be referring back to it over the next years.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is thorough as an analysis of its subject. But it's quasi-scholarly vocabulary and the author's verbose writing style tend to obscure its message. When I encounter more than two consecutive comma-separated phrases of some length, I tend to lose sight of where the author is going. Four of more, and I'm out of luck.
Yet, the book does provide insight into Willard's belief system that is perhaps not as clearly laid out or put in context by Willard's own writings. So I would recommend it for those who, like myself, feel drawn to Willard's uncanny understanding of the nature of the Kingdom of God, and his perscriptions for living within it. This understanding I believe is a unique gift which fortunately, Willard elected to share wtih us. Understanding the framework within which Willard understood these teachings of Christ is itself a gift.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Black has some good material, though it's somewhat hit and miss. The first chapter detailing the history of evangelicalism is well researched, thorough, and quite interesting but feels unnecessary to his overall argument. When detailing Willard's theology, it's less an analysis and more of a rearrangement of what can be found in Willard's books, just in different categories that are more friendly to typical theological thought. At the same time, his argument for Willard's theology being grounded in an essentia Dei was a nice concept that I think adds a great deal to better understanding his thinking. Black's explanation for why Willard's thought was not modern or postmodern, yet appealed to both based on his philosophical ideals is likewise a worthwhile analysis. Overall, Black's work has some worthwhile thoughts, though it doesn't seem poised to break open any new spiritual movements.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a huge fan of Willard's corpus, I looked forward to reading this book once I heard that Willard himself highly endorsed, supported, and participated in Black's work. I was not disappointed. Throughout the book, Black consistently demonstrates scholarly expertise in analyzing and explaining Willard's mission, passion and theological dedication to the overarching theme of the kingdom of God. This book serves as an excellent complement to Willard's own work by helping the reader understand the background and undercurrents inherently essential to Willard's theological and philosophical writing. As a seminary grad and current Higher Education staff member, I recommend this book to any reader who wants to better understand the life and theology of Dallas Willard.
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