on 23 July 2007
I agree with some previous comments on here: in purely intellectual terms, Dallas Willard is possibly not quite up there with CS Lewis; he does appear to make one or two unproven assumptions about the nature of God; and the book does not sit comfortably in the mainstream of evangelical theological thought (even the tamer UK version).
I've been a Christian since the 1960s: I've read a lot of books, seen a few movements come & go. I observe strengths and weakessnes in a number of approaches to Christianity. And for me personally, I want to echo the confession eminent author Richard Foster makes about the book, which is: "THIS IS THE BOOK I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR ALL OF MY LIFE"
Thought-provoking. But not overly intellectual. With a lightness of touch, manages to pull together a disparate collection of disciplines: biblical; theological; philosophical; historical; touch of science; Jesus; day to day life. Presents, for me, a very attractive, satisfying and workable world-view. Just the first 1/3 opened new perspectives for me on... how aware was Jesus, where is God actually, what is life meant to be all about anyway ...in fact it even changed my mind on the nature of reality itself!!
It's relatively easy to ask questions. A New Kind of Christian does that very effectively. What is much, much more challenging is to then attempt to give answers. And this book, in the midst of the post-modern world in which we now find ourselves, does dare to do that. Answers that make claims upon, not only how should we think, but how should we live. No book in my admittedly limited experience has even come close to the integrity Dallas Willard has achieved in marrying such a relevant, challenging and all-encompassing (and Biblical) worldview with such practical, moment-by-moment "how to live" guidance.
But the Divine Conspiracy is not dry. It is not a heavy read. In fact it makes the spiritual pulse race! I love books that make me want to put them down, leap from my seat & live life with more expectancy, more vibrancy. And this book achieves that. Is it too long? When I finish reading it, I want to read it all over again.
But is it a classic?
You bet it's a classic.
on 4 July 2013
I am still reading this powerful volume, very slowing. It is a tome of well thought out ideas, , concepts and overall truth. The authour just passed away and I feel very moved to finish this book at a pace that I understand the hidden depths of this book. I am on a God journey, and this book is a lamp. The book arrived in great time. I love the rich texture of yellowing pages. I recommend this book to those who are desiring a deeper walk with God, on a relational level. Living it and loving it.
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.
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.
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!
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?
on 5 April 1999
If you are drawn to the unflinching truth-telling of Bonhoeffer, the razor sharp reason of CS Lewis and the gentleness of St. Francis, you will find a treasure in Willard who explores what it means to truly seek the Kingdom of God by changing the affections of our hearts. I commend it to you (as I am to many!) as the most deeply challenging, gracious and practical book I've ever read.
on 18 June 2015
Massively, over-hyped. I found it inspiring in places, and a little bit quirky in others. All in all, I was glad I had read it and it will have a good effect on my spiritual life, but would have done so at much less length.
However, Richard Foster's foreword is breath-takingly over the top. He describes the book as a masterpiece on a level with the ceiling of Michelangelo's Sistine chapel! I laughed out loud.
He then places it "alongside the writings of John Calvin, Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Wesley, Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo". This is an absurd exaggeration. It is well worth reading. But will it be in print in 20 years time? Let's see.
Will this be in print in twenty years time? I doubt it.
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?'
on 12 March 1999
I was practically born in a church pew and thought I had heard and read all there was in the Christian church! How wrong I was!
Never before have I heard the concept of discipleship explained so eloquently. Dr. Willard (who I had the privilege of meeting in college) tackles subjects that have confounded theologians for years, such as the Beattitudes, and combines scriptural references with God-given logic to arrive at insights that are elegant in their clarity and simplicity.
Dr. Willard destroys that too-often-held belief that intellect and Christianity cannot go hand-in-hand. He reminds us that Jesus was not only a Savior, but a brilliant teacher and scientist as well. And He reminds us that the path to church growth is not all about marketing that grows the numbers, but about a discipleship program that grows the people.
My husband and I bought four copies to give to the leaders in our church -- we hope that can be the first step to transforming our local congregation of converts into dynamic disciples.