Posted by: Philip Rushton | September 17, 2015

The Divine Conspiracy: Fall Course Preview

“It is good to know that when I die all will be well, but is there any good news for life? If I had to choose, I would rather have a car that runs than good insurance on one that doesn’t. Can I not have both?” Dallas Willard

This summer I began a doctoral program at Fuller Theological Seminary. The main focus of my program will be in the area of spiritual formation and direction.   In preparation for my first course I spent a lot of time reading the works of Dallas Willard. Dallas Willard is like a contemporary C.S. Lewis. He articulates a deep and profound vision of what the Christian life is about.

book_divine_25One of his most famous books is titled, The Divine Conspiracy. It was awarded the book of the year by Christianity Today in 1998, and has become a modern day classic in Christian spirituality. This book had a major impact on my life when I read it this summer. I’ve told many people that it helped me rediscover God in a new and profound way.

In The Divine Conspiracy, Willard suggests that contemporary Christians have inherited a limited view of the gospel. We have focused a lot on making converts but not on making disciples who learn to live as Jesus intended. In effect, we have only told half the story. The message of Jesus isn’t just about guaranteeing where we’ll go when we die, it has a lot to say about how our lives can be different now.   Jesus invites us to an abundant life that is marked by peace, love, reconciliation, and purpose. As Willard leads us through Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, he shows us how we can begin to participate in God’s work in our world.

Willard, then, invites us to trust Jesus at a deeper level. He writes, “how is it possible that one can rely on Christ for the next life without doing so for this one, trust him for one’s eternal destiny without trusting him for the things that relate to Christian life?” The reality is that Jesus has a lot to say about how things like work, relationships, money, and social engagement.   Willard suggests that we don’t always trust Jesus with these matters. “Our souls,” he says, “our soaked in secularity.” While we profess faith in God we often live (to borrow a phrase from Parker Palmer), as “functional atheists.”

This fall I would love to have you join me in a study of The Divine Conspiracy. I will be leading this study group on Wednesday evenings starting Oct 7 at 6:45 in the Fireside Room. This is one of those books that is worth our time, and it is a great book to wrestle with in the context of community!

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Responses

  1. Looking forward to the class.I have been in my journey with the Messiah engaged in the wrestling with in the context of community.


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