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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2001
This is the second best book I have ever read. Dallas Willard has captured so much wisdom in one volume that it is amazing. Buy this book if you cant afford it sell your car,house just get a copy, read it and read it again.
Dallas looks in a fresh way at the reason we are alive, he looks at the beatitudes from new and inspirational perspective.
He looks at the key disciplines to becoming a true student of Christ and how to become a person through wholm natural works of rightousness flow, not through effort but as a natural process of a transformed life.
Excellent
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 27 November 2002
This book has been hailed by many as ground-breaking, classic stuff. I certainly think it's worth reading, but have to be slightly more reserved in my praise; and I don't think it deserves to sit alongside CS Lewis's works, for example.
The book essentially explains Willard's contempt for 'cheap grace': the idea that salvation is all about the afterlife- and once we are 'saved', we can do what we like (an idea which seems to be fairly popular in the States, I think). He turns this on its head, and a large chunk of the book is taken up with looking at the Sermon on the Mount: what is this, asks Willard, but instruction to strive to live a better, more moral life for God- here, before we die?
His look at the Sermon on the Mount is refreshing and engaging, and a lot of people seem to get a lot out of it: it is not at the academic end of the scale, and is very practical (as the Sermon itself is, of course). However, if you want a commentary, I wouldn't get this book.
After reading the book I felt a strong desire to really live out my faith. For this alone, the book is worth commending. But I was slightly worried by Willard's approach on a lot of things; he seems to assume a fair amount about the nature of God, and quotes thinkers who I would have second thoughts about (John Hick, for example). I imagine that anyone solidly focused on the Bible as their final authority might find a couple of problems with this book. And if you are unclear about what the 'gospel' is, this book won't make it any clearer. However, as I've been a Christian for a while, I could ignore these bumps in the road and get a lot out of reading it.
This book will help you to develop as a Christian, if you have been a believer for a while already: but I don't think it will help new Christians very much, to be honest. And it is a bit longer than it really needs to be!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 1998
The easy yoke, OH! That's what You meant! Duh! What can you say when you have been a "Christian" since you were thirteen, studied at one of the country's best "evangelical" universities, challenge and question everything along the way and wake-up at 42 realizing how little you really UNDERSTAND (but you've got a lot of the "right" answers)? Willard so gently, yet so precisely, retools thinking about things muddled by years of warring, doctrinal-headed Christianity. Bible passages that made no sense, particularly words spoken by Jesus, now do--Jesus was a really brilliant guy. Here, Jesus rises afresh. And that Jesus compels me to come, follow Him in ways I either ignorantly missed these years, never heard, or wasn't ready for, likely all three. From one poor hungry beggar to another, this is the Good News, food for the savagely hungry soul. Eat. Enjoy. Live.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 1998
During my apologetics class, professor J.P. Moreland said that we (his students) MUST check out this book. Richard Foster (author of _Celebration of Discipline_ and _Prayer_) calls it "the book I have been searching for all my life" (makes it sound like the "silver bullet book"). I found Divine Conspiracy to definitely live up to this hype.
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, but after reading it I've discovered that I'm nowhere close to where I thought I was. I realized that I have a real l! ! ong ways to go to becoming the kind of person who routinely automatically blesses those who curse, cheat, or stink-eye me or to grow 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 coud do the same.
The Divine Conspiracy is a comprehensive, practical, meaty, challenging, and extremely helpful book which I pray will be widely read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 1999
Dr. Williard is an extraordinary teacher. I know of no other book which is so absorbing and well written that brings Jesus Christ alive as if he lived and breathed among us in Middletown, U.S.A. and his exploits were being reported daily on the 6 pm news. (HE is alive today, but the news never covers HIS story). After goring some Christian-claiming fads such as TV evangelists, the author closely examines the life of Jesus of Nazareth and illuminates HIS teachings in a modern perspective. With a stunning breadth of knowledge, he challenges the reader on every page to understand the meaning of Christ's teachings today. To paraphrase noted author Richard J. Foster from the introduction, this book represents the "Sistine Chapel" of Christian writing. The final volume of Prof. Willard's trilogy, it will really restore the joy in your life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 1998
The Divine Conspiracy, along with Dr. Willard's other books, is one that every Christian should read at least once, and refer to zillions of times. It's not entertainment or hype,as some reviewers, apparently, would have liked. Neither is Dr. Willard trying to win some kind of popularity contest. What he does so faithfully and eloquently, is show the reader what discipleship looks like by examining the words of Jesus. He compels us to walk with the living Christ, learning from Him how to walk, talk, think--how to live. Dr. Willard causes us to re-examine our understanding of what it means to be "saved", to be a follower of Jesus, and to be a Christian. I approach Dr. Willard's books knowing that he will provide pearls of wisdom and I am so very grateful and encouraged to him for his work and his example.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 1998
I had the priveledge of meeting Dallas in 1984 and can say without hesitation that after 3 years of bible college and a masters degree in theology it was the first time I had heard the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. In this book, Dallas articulates for all who would really take themselves and the message of Jesus seriously, the "what it is" and the how do you really do it". As he masterfully develops the real message of Jesus,"what is the kingdom of God and what must I do to enter in", you begin to realize that the cross is only the starting point in our life with God...and that life begins here and now. You will never look at your Christianity the same way!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 1998
This book levels the playing field for all of us and extends an almost irresistible invitation to join the Divine Conspiracy. By grace, we can choose to enter the hidden kingdom of God. We can become coconspirators with the Father through Jesus, present with us in his Spirit, and be empowered by God's lavish love to overcome evil with good, as Jesus himself did. We thereby become co-laborers with Him to bring His kingdom on this earth into our present reality. In that reality we begin to see, through glass darkly, our relationship to eternity. We begin to understand our lives as a process of character transformation into an evermore joyful life now and, as preparatory to passing, with wild anticipation, into eternal life when the tent of our flesh is torn down.
While to read this book is to have my beliefs and the reality embraced through them revealed and challenged, the challenge is offered with the graciousness I have come to associate with Dallas Willard. He! is a man for all seasons, whose pursuit of life in Jesus has built him into a person with such kindness of presentation that even I can understand and accept. At the same time, he presents concepts with such great simplicity and experiential validity that to challenge them seriously is a more formidable task than most of us would be willing to take on. A life/belief changing must read! Destined to become a classic!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2008
Just a thought really about comments on how academic or not this book is. Jesus was never 'academic'. He used parables, he acted in a way that was an example, then told the disciples to do the same, he told us to obey, not JUST hear. He said things gently but directly, unless he was talking to the self-righteous, in which case he often used harsh sounding words. He said that he would leave the Spirit and that the Spirit would give them power. This was to a mixed bunch of characters, some of whom were definitely not academic, yet look at what God did through them. So, to me, a book that is practical is worth reading. This isn't a put down on anyone who's academic, people have considered me so, but just that since I've been more prepared to read & obey, the Bible makes a lot more sense & I have less desire to use it to be 'right'. Winning an argument with someone usually leaves them in a worse state, but letting God change ME is catching when people see the results!

I would recomend 'Hearing God' by the same author - biblical, and God does still speak, if we're willing to listen without thoughts of 'what can I get out of this?'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 1999
Although somewhat turgid in his writing style, Willard has hit the nail on the head (hard!) about what's wrong with the Church, without coming across as a sour-faced know-it-all. All the reviews about "Divine Conspiracy" being a "must-read" are too understated: READ THIS, especially if you are a leader in Christian ministry. So why do so few Christians talk about the Kingdom of God, when it seems to be at the heart of life in Jesus?
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