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Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge [Hardcover]

By Dallas Willard (Author)
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Item description for Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge by Dallas Willard...

Explains how Christian teachings can be a reliable source of information that can be tapped as a framework for the practice of Christian discipleship.

Publishers Description
At a time when popular atheism books are talking about the irrationality of believing in God, Willard makes a rigorous intellectual case for why it makes sense to believe in God and in Jesus, the Son.

Awards and Recognitions
Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge by Dallas Willard has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Christianity Today Book Award - 2010 Award of Merit - Theology/Ethics category

Citations And Professional Reviews
Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge by Dallas Willard has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 04/01/2010 page 64
  • Library Journal - 05/01/2009 page 66
  • Publishers Weekly - 05/11/2009 page 47
  • Christianity Today - 06/01/2009 page 55
  • CBA Retailers - 07/01/2009 page 78
  • Christian Retailing - 07/06/2009 page 33

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   245
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2009
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0060882441  
ISBN13  9780060882440  

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More About Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard Dallas Albert Willard was born in Buffalo, Missouri, USA, September 4, 1935. He married Jane Lakes of Macon, Georgia, in 1955. They live in Southern California, where Jane is a Marriage and Family Therapist. They have two children, John and Becky (married to Bill Heatley), and a granddaughter, Larissa

DALLAS WILLARD is a Professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He has taught at USC since 1965, where he was Director of the School of Philosophy from 1982-1985. He has also taught at the University of Wisconsin (Madison, 1960-1965), and has held visiting appointments at UCLA (1969) and the University of Colorado (1984).

His undergraduate studies were at William Jewell College, Tennessee Temple College (B.A., 1956, Psychology) and Baylor University (B.A., 1957, Philosophy and Religion); and his Graduate education was at Baylor University and the University of Wisconsin (Ph. D., 1964: Major in Philosophy, Minor in the History of Science).

His philosophical publications are mainly in the areas of epistemology, the philosophy of mind and of logic, and on the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, including extensive translations of Husserl's early writings from German into English. His English translation and edition of Edmund Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic was released in September, 2003. His Logic and the Objectivity of Knowledge, a study of Husserl's early philosophy, appeared in 1984, and his Early Writings in the Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics (1993) makes available to the English reader nearly all of the shorter philosophical works that Husserl produced on the way to the phenomenological breakthrough recorded in his Logical Investigations of 1900-1901.

He also lectures and publishes in religion. His most recent book, Knowing Christ Today, was published in May 2009. The Great Omission, which was published in 2006, received a Christianity Today annual Book Award in the Christian Living category in 2007. Renovation of the Heart was published in May 2002, and received Christianity Today's 2003 Book Award in the category of Spirituality. The Divine Conspiracy was released in 1998 and selected Christianity Today's "Book of the Year" for 1999. The Spirit of the Disciplines appeared in 1988, and Hearing God (1999) first appeared as In Search of Guidance in 1984 (2nd edition in 1993).

Dallas Willard lived in Chatsworth, in the state of California. Dallas Willard was born in 1935 and died in 2013.

Dallas Willard has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Coleccion Teologica Contemporanea: Estudios Ministeriales
  2. Renovare Resources
  3. Th1nk LifeChange
  4. Through the Year Devotionals
  5. Veritas Books

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Reviews - What do customers think about Knowing Christ Today?

What if you woke up  May 17, 2010
and realized that YOU were a disciple? Wouldn't that feel strange? Of course knowing my own circumstances I would immediately protest: "I'm not right for the job!" I'm a sinner and I'm confused and I often don't even want to do it. I hardly participate at all. I have a list as long as my arm as to why I would make a poor disciple! I'm barely a prodigal. Yet, if I still felt compelled, the whole thing weighing on me like a sack of multiplied fish, perhaps I could persist. Or perhaps unlike Paul I would want to go immediately back to tent making. The disciples didn't even review or buy books on this site. Being a disciple in modernity is a crushing burden. The Gospel According to Me: A heretic finds his way in modernity using Jungian psychology, science, dreams, and, well, the Gospels
Jesus Christ = Knowledge  Apr 23, 2010

Dallas Willard has had a huge influence on the evangelical Christian community over the last couple decades. He has written some very important books during that time. His latest, `Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge' is the first book that I have read by this author. Reading a book by Dr. Willard by me is long overdue!

Here is the biography of Dr. Willard from the book cover flap:
Dallas Willard ( is a bestselling author and professor at the University of Southern California's School of Philosophy, and has held visiting appointments at UCLA and the University of Colorado. His groundbreaking book The Divine Conspiracy and The Spirit of the Disciplines forever changed the way thousands of Christians experience their faith. Willard won the Christianity Today book award in 2007 for The Great Omission. He lives in Chatsworth, California.

Dr. Willard explains the purpose for this book in the Introduction:

This book is about knowledge and about claims to knowledge in relationship to life and to Christian faith. It is concerned, more precisely, with the trivialization of faith apart from knowledge and with the disastrous effects of a repositioning of faith in Jesus Christ, and of life as his students, outside the category of knowledge. This is one result of the novel and politically restricted understanding of knowledge that has captured our social institutions and the popular mind over the last two centuries in the Western world.

At some point in time, it became a popular notion that believing in Jesus and knowledge are not necessarily compatible; that thought has even been accepted by Christians. Dr. Willard posits that knowledge matters:

Knowledge, but not mere belief or commitment, confers on its possessor an authority or right - even a responsibility - to act, to direct action, to establish and supervise policy, and to teach. (p. 17)

Dr. Willard expands upon a particular passage of scripture which deals with knowledge, Hosea 4:6:

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Dr. Willard asserts:

To say that "the righteous (or just) shall live by faith" does not mean that they live by blind and irresponsible leaps in total absence, or even in defiance, of knowledge. It does not mean that the "just" live in a state of ignorance or stupidity. They do on occasion act in specific ways beyond what they know, but only within a framework of knowledge that makes such action reasonable. (p. 37)

Dr. Willard points out that Jesus answers five worldview questions (pp. 50-55):

Question # 1: What is real? What is reality?
Answer # 1: God and his kingdom
Question # 2: Who is well-off, blessed?
Answer # 2: Anyone who is alive in the kingdom of God
Question # 3: Who is a really good person?
Answer # 3: Anyone who is pervaded with love.
Question # 4: How do you become a really good person?
Answer # 4: You place your confidence in Jesus Christ and become his student or apprentice in kingdom living.

Dr. Willard asserts that there are currently three competing worldviews (p. 62):

1. Theistic story - consists of Christianity's four answers of Jesus and his tradition to the four worldview questions.
2. Nirvana story - most familiar today through current presentations of the teaching of Buddhism and through many of the popular arts along with "New Age" presentations of various kinds.
3. Naturalistic/secularist story - often tries to present itself as the findings of science. This one now attempts to dominate our main social and political institutions.

This fine author explains that law is now more important than morality in the United States:

What is permissible and what is done, much less what is required in social and governmental institutions and policies, are no longer to be decided by reference to what is morally good, admissible, or right, but ultimately in the United States by reference to the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court. (p. 69)

Dr. Willard uncovered four major causes of the elimination of moral knowledge from the knowledge institutions of our society (p. 79):

1. The failure of the church to guide the development of modern societies into the ways of Jesus Christ
2. The failure of modern thinkers and scholars to find a secular basis for Christian moral principles
3. The emergence of many "moralities" at the hands of anthropological "research"
4. The disappearance of the human self at the hands of the "advances" in psychology

Dr. Willard brings up the important subject of the resurrection of Jesus, and how it relates to knowledge:

Can we know that Christ rose from the dead? Yes, if we will but "do the math." That he arose is the only plausible explanation for what happened after his death and what still exists today as a consequence. The established mental habit of many people today is to say with no thought, no hesitation, that he did not arise. There are numerous causes of this. For one thing, to many people this is a "religious" question, and therefore it automatically falls outside the domain of facts and knowledge. (p. 134)

I loved how Dr. Willard explains our interaction with Jesus and His Kingdom:

To know Christ in the modern world us to know him in your world now. To know him in your world now is to live interactively with him right where you are in your daily activities. This is the spiritual life in Christ. He is, in fact, your contemporary, and he is now about his business of moving humanity along toward its destiny in this amazing universe. You don't want to miss out on being a part - your part - of that great project. You want to be sure to take your life into his life, and in that way to find your life to be "eternal," as God intended it. (p. 139)

That's the most exciting news I have read in a long time!

One of the most important sections of this book is found in Chapter 8: Pastors as Teachers of the Nations:

To make "disciples" of Jesus is to bring knowledge of him to people in such a way that they want to know his answers to these questions, and the roles of pastors is to help them attain the knowledge they seek. Their task is not to get people to believe things, to share "Christian" feelings or rituals, to join Christian groups... The task of Christian pastors and leaders is to present Christ's answers to the basic questions of life and to bring those answers forward as knowledge - primarily to those who are seeking and are open to following him, but also to all who may happen to hear, in the public arenas of a world in desperate need of knowledge of what is real and what is good. (p. 198)

I found this to be a very valuable work; it lived up to my expectations of what a Dallas Willard book would be. Dr. Willard has the credentials that will be respected by Christians and non-Christians alike, and should be read by everyone, regardless of one's worldview. He writes on a scholarly level; this is not easy reading, but it's worth the effort. In addition to the valuable content, which chapter also concludes with Discussion Questions; therefore, it could work for individuals or small groups.

This book was provided by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for review purposes.

Reviewed by Andrea Schultz - Ponderings by Andrea -
Essential Reading  Jan 29, 2010
Whatever your position is on the existence of God and the truth about Jesus Christ you owe it to yourself to read this book, especially if you have arrived at your current conclusions through rational, logical thought or consider yourself to be an intellectual! Dallas Willard, in one of his most accessible books yet, presents a logical presentation of how one can come to KNOW the truth about these matters, and from my perspective, he is spot on.

In my college days I was a staunch atheist who enjoyed logical discussions about religion and God and who was quite adept at reasoning Christians out of their faith. It was later in my physics classes studying sub-atomic physics that I began to seriously wonder if the amazing complexity and order of all matter could ever have originated by accident, spontaneously, without a designer or intelligent controller. I hated to admit it but it seemed I was beginning to see real empirical evidence of a creator! I decided to seek out the truth whatever it was, even if I had been wrong. Today I am a Christian because of that search and can tell you I know that I have sought the truth and found it. I know it as well as I know I am writing this right now.

If you are an atheist you should read this book to fine tune your arguments. If you run into someone like Dallas you will want to be prepared. If you are a Christian and sometimes feel uncomfortable with the constant focus on belief (with no apparent basis in reason or reality) for your faith you will be empowered with knowledge! If you are a seeker of the truth, and not really sure what is real, this book will give you much to think about, and hopefully point you towards a life you've never imagined. Approach this book with an open mind and you will benefit from the lifetime of study Dallas has absorbed.

Dallas strips away the Christianity that consists of saying a prayer, going to heaven and suddenly being better than everyone else, and promotes what Jesus intended and offers to us today - an eternal kind of life that can begin today - why wait until you die to find out the truth when you can begin Knowing Christ Today! Read it!
A Mixed Bag  Jan 27, 2010
Willard makes a valiant effort to connect what one can "know" about the Christian faith but falls short. I come to this text open to believing but I am left void with his arguments. In short, I was "born again" as a teen and was a devoted christian. Later, I began to question some of the precepts in the Apostle's Creed and certainly wanted to believe but the more I read of apologists like Willard I am left thinking there is little substance to their arguments.

Certainly, Willard makes a significant effort to show why I should have knowledge of Christ and I respect his efforts. He does more than the average "run of the mill" evangelical apologists but I end in the same place.

A few observations...

1. Willard routinely makes statements like this one from page 21. "Alvin Plantinga is one of the most highley regarded philosophers of recent decades. In virtue of his research and publications, NO ONE (emphasis mine) has clearer insight into knowledge and belief than he does. He rightly points out..."

No one has clearer insight? No one? Is this true because you agree with his conclusions?

From page 66..."One of the most highly regarded European thinkers of our day, Jurgen Habermas, recently made the following statement...."

From page 220 of the endnotes..."John Wesley, a remarkably deep and clear thinker..."

Willard make his opinion of the man the focus of the argument. Why does he need to include his opinion of the greatness of the man? Why can't he simply rely on the argument?

2. He uses ideas of John Hick as supporting arguments for our ability to "know" but Hick himself would disagree with Willard's conclusions about knowing. Hick himself has stated that

"If nevertheless you ask me, what among all of this incompatible and often conflicting material I feel sure of, I would have to say that I feel sure that there must have been visions of Jesus after his death. I do not feel at all sure that there was a physical body. But my faith in Jesus as lord does not depend on a balancing of the sort of considerations I have been outlining; and I would not want to have a faith that was precariously balanced on such conflicting indications. Nor however would I want to have a faith which ignored them. I know of course that many are happy to set all that aside, and affirm a simple straightforward belief that Jesus rose bodily from the grave, and I have no quarrel with them, although I cannot in honesty share their certainty."

Hick himself is OK with the uncertainly that Willard professes we can know. Does Willard know this about Hick? I can only assume he does but his endnotes on chapter one would lead one to think Hick agrees with Willard.

3. Willard claims what he is presenting is quite simple to understand and know. From page 134..."Can we know that Christ rose from the dead? Yes, if we will but 'do the math.' That he arose is the only plausible explanation for what happened after his death and what still exists today as a consequence."

I have done the "math" as Willard suggests and it simply doesn't add up. Like Hick, I don't pretend to tell those that do make my own conclusion our wrong necessarily but I can't share their certainty.

Willard continues on page 136..."So the factuality of a major miracle in this world can be known by those who would like to know and who are willing to give adequate consideration to the available evidence."

What does this mean precisely? That those of us who don't agree are simply stubborn? Unwilling to examine the evidence? Hard hearted? Willards arguments work for those that believe or "know" as he claims is possible but his arguments leave those skeptics that are in the church already (a quiet but significant number) left wanting more...much more.

The conclusions of John Hick are more intellectually honest. I respectfully disagree with Willards evidence; unfortunately, he doesn't appear to respect those that disagree with him.

I do agree with Willard that our modern reliance on science or on the scientific method as the only way of knowing is insufficient and falls short of bringing meaning to life. The book is worth the read but if you are searching for a reason to believe in more certain manner (knowing) I think you will be left wanting more. If you are looking for confirmation of what you think you already will probably like this book.
Not so fast  Nov 24, 2009
If only it were all as simple and straightforward as Dallas would have us to believe. I am sympathetic to what he is trying to accomplish but think he comes up quite short. While he makes interesting points on a number of fronts, he overreaches in trying to prove too much and in claiming he has done so. He ends up looking sophmoric and superficial.

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