Ur Video: Dallas Willard on the Gospel
It's about getting into heaven before you die, not after.

John Ortberg interviews Dallas Willard at Catalyst West about what the church is getting wrong today. In a nutshell, Willard says we're getting the gospel wrong. We'd love to hear your responses to this video.

May 11, 2011

Displaying 1–10 of 26 comments

glamur

December 05, 2013  6:55am

Willard is famous for saying that "Grace is opposed to earning, not effort." Willard lives in the world of our efforts in the Christian life because "earning" is a settled question. His work is concerned precisely with the practical living out and living into reliance on Christ. There is no question as to his cred on his understanding of the Gospel if you've done the work to understand him.

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Bill Williams

May 18, 2011  3:53pm

I'm reminded of something I've heard N. T. Wright say on various occasions, to the effect that the problem most theologians have is that if you don't say everything you believe every time you talk, people will accuse you of not believing what you didn't say! Dallas Willard has a very significant body of writings on this issue, and it is unfair to define his beliefs of the gospel only what he says in this clip. Elegance, yes, it's a shame people don't do the same with Piper or MacArthur, but the truth is that if we don't do the work necessary to understand such a prolific author, we have not earned the right to critique such an author. David Anderson, Dallas Willard wasn't trying to articulate the gospel to a stranger in six minutes, and his answer shouldn't be judged as if he was.

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Leonard

May 13, 2011  8:17am

I have read Dr. Willard's materials and personally I have found him to actually be pretty solid in his thinking. I would caution people to not be so harsh on a 6 minute clip to a specific audience. I do not believe we have gotten the Gospel wrong nearly as much as we have simply failed to make disciples. We have made converts but in our haste we have assumed that meeting on a Sunday for 75-90 minutes, facing one direction and singing a few songs and listening to a 30-45 minute explanation of the scripture would do the trick. What I love about Dr. Willard's statement is the focus on living daily in grace. The grace of God that saves us also teaches us. Jesus said follow me. What we have somehow done is made that into "follow me to a destination" instead of "follow me, go where I go and do what I do." So our message is "follow me to heaven" rather than "follow me because I am your king."

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nathan

May 13, 2011  6:55am

@elegance: this post isn't about Piper or MacArthur. What do they have to do with it?

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elegance

May 12, 2011  5:26pm

"It seems that to condemn someone apart from a fuller understanding is a bit harsh." - Isn't that what Willard himself is doing without naming names?

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David Anderson

May 12, 2011  3:50pm

If you had six minutes to articulate what the gospel is to a stranger, is this what you would say?? Good stuff, true stuff, but he misses it. Leeman is right.

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DC

May 12, 2011  1:24pm

As someone noted, context is important. Who is the audience? What is assumed? @Linda, it seems like you don't know much about Dr. Willard apart from this video. Here's an excerpt of what Dr. Willard says about himself, "If you were to get to the bottom of my theology you would find me pretty Calvinistic, but my sense of ministry is to judge the lay of the land for your times and shoot where the enemy is. The enemy in our time is not human capacity, or over activism, but the enemy is passivity - the idea that God has done everything and you are essentially left to be a consumer of the grace of God and that the only thing you have to do is find out how to do that and do it regularly." Dr. W. has written a number of books. Any of us can read about his understanding of the Gospel. It seems that to condemn someone apart from a fuller understanding is a bit harsh.

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elegance

May 12, 2011  1:15pm

"There is no question as to his cred on his understanding of the Gospel if you've done the work to understand him." Funny how no one ever says that about John MacArthur or John Piper, isn't it? Why should a person have to 'do the work' to understand someone who is such a prolific writer and speaker. When John Ortberg specifically asks Willard for a "concrete" (his word) explanation in this clip, the response was rather muddy.

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nathan

May 12, 2011  12:37pm

a careful reading of Willard would put this video into correct context. Willard is famous for saying that "Grace is opposed to earning, not effort." Willard lives in the world of our efforts in the Christian life because "earning" is a settled question. His work is concerned precisely with the practical living out and living into reliance on Christ. There is no question as to his cred on his understanding of the Gospel if you've done the work to understand him.

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DC

May 12, 2011  11:16am

@David D - I think that would be Arminian.

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