Note: Julie Moore is a winner! Julie won the robbinswrites' book giveaway and will be receiving the book Love You More by Jennifer Grant soon! Congratulations to Julie!
I see not as much, but the same understanding in the writings of C.S. Lewis, and now in the writing of Dallas Willard, a present-day philosopher and theologian who wrote The Divine Conspiracy.
"The Kingdom of God is at hand" is the pervasive theme of this book, with every argument, thought and example pouring into this theme. Willard explains logically that this kingdom is not something in the distance to be experienced after death only, but is a miracle to be experienced in the here and now. His explanation of “the kingdom of God is the range of his effective will, where what he wants done is done.” (P. 25) It is that simple. According to Willard, we can be part of that kingdom in our everyday lives.
Since reading this, I have to admit to changing some of my prayers, to asking the Father to help me to live within this kingdom. I have felt a difference.
Willard’s work is brilliant and his theology is right on the mark.(Keep in mind that this assessment comes from a layperson). This 400 page book took me two weeks to read because I couldn’t read it like I do most books. Most books, I just zip right through. But not this one. I had to read a section or two and then take time to reflect on the words.
If there was anything in this book at all that I did not like, it was that he took the liberty to paraphrase scriptures into his own words. I like for scripture to be quoted as is, in a particular book. For if everyone who wrote paraphrased scripture to suit their purpose, there would be many distortions. I followed the scriptures quoted in the first half of this book with my bible and found one citation to be incorrect on the bottom of page seventeen where he quotes a story as coming from Luke, Chapter 5; it should have read Chapter 7. Other than that, this book was perfect. In Willard’s defense about the paraphrasing, he did disclose this in the his Introduction. And, he is after all, Dallas Willard. He may be qualified enough to do his own paraphrasing.
The same thing that I am criticizing, I found that I liked at points. When discussing the Beatitudes on the Mount, he put some of the conditions in a description that hit home to me:
“Blessed are the physically repulsive,
Blessed are those who smell bad,
The twisted, misshapen, deformed,
The too big, too little, too loud,
The bald, the fat and the old-” P. 123
What contemporary can not identify with some element of this passage.
After Willard discusses the God’s Kingdom, he discusses how to become the disciple of Jesus with practical suggestions for entering into discipleship. He ends this book with a discussion of death.
This book covered too much to be discussed in one post. Let me say that as Christians, there are certain books that we should have on hand and read annually. The first is the Holy Bible. The second is C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. This is the third. I am sure that there are many others. But this book has the potential, when used in tandem with the Holy Bible, to change lives for the better.
copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins