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His last words are ours. Thank you, Dallas Willard.

Dallas Willard In Memoriam web

You couldn’t read him lightly or quickly. His words took time to sink in. But, oh, they were worth it.

Even if you haven’t read Dallas Willard’s books yourself, you’ve likely been influenced by them through someone else who has.

His books have been some of my favorites: The Divine Conspiracy, Renovation of the Heart, The Spirit of the Disciplines, The Great Omission. I frequently discover some of my newer favorite authors were either mentored by Willard personally or indirectly through his writings.

Willard sent a clear and consistent message in all his writings:

  • Our kingdom life has begun now.
  • Be an active disciple of Jesus Christ.
  • Deep soul transformation is possible, if pursued, because Christ is with us.

Dallas Willard died Wednesday after a short battle with cancer. His last words are reported to have been, “Thank you.”

How appropriate for us to echo those words back to him.

Thank you, Dallas Willard, for teaching us how to better love God and love others. May your words live on for God’s glory for many years to come.


A few favorite words I’ve recorded from Dallas Willard:

Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ

~ The greatest need you and I have—the greatest need of collective humanity—is renovation of our heart.

~ But this eternal kind of life is not a passive life. Passivity was for the Israelites, and it is for us one of the greatest dangers and difficulties of our spiritual existence.

~ “Knowledge” in biblical language never refers to what we today call “head knowledge,” but always to experiential involvement with what is known—to actual engagement with it.

~ The way to get as many people into heaven as you can is to get heaven into as many people as you can.

The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives

~ Human life cannot flourish as God intended it to . . . if we see ourselves as “on our own”—and especially if we struggle to preserve ourselves that way.

~ The disciplines are activities of mind and body purposefully undertaken, to bring our personality and total being into effective cooperation with the divine order.

The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

~ Much of our problem is not, as is often said, that we have failed to get what is in our head down in our heart. Much of what hinders us is that we have had a lot of mistaken theology in our head and it has gotten down into our heart. And it is controlling our inner dynamics so that the head and heart cannot, even with the aid of the Word and the Spirit, pull one another straight.

~ Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action.

~ We have emphasized trying but not training . . . . We have lost discipleship largely because we have lost Christ as Teacher.

~ Any time ritual and compassion (for example, for hunger) come into conflict, God, who gave the law, favors compassion. That is the kind of God He is.

The Divine Conspiracy (see here)

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Do you have a favorite book by Dallas Willard?

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