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Great Quotes: Dallas Willard

June 29, 2011

Things have been pretty busy in the Christian household lately – including the Smith family vacation and the StoneBridge Fireworks Bonanza (our largest community outreach of the year) both this past weekend. So it’ll probably be next week before I post anything substantive. But I did run across this quote by Dallas Willard today, and really liked it.

“Theology is just what you really think about God, and if you’re going to do that, you’d better use your mind and not just be a receptacle – a catch-all for whatever beliefs happen to be passing by.”  – Dallas Willard

Wise words. I tend to think of theology as the study of all things in relation to God – but Willard’s definition is also a good one as well. And his admonition not to check our brains at the door – to always be thinking and processing what we believe about God – is an important one. They have particular relevance to me today as I reflect on the unfortunate amount of negativity in some Christian circles – voices that encourage people to tear down other Christians while calling it “discernment” and some twisted version of “love.”  These voices should be rejected.

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From → Faith

7 Comments
  1. Mark Johnson permalink

    Do you think it’s relevant to consider if a pastor knows the Gospel? I don’t mean to be negative or judgmental, but I do think we are commanded in scripture to be able to give an answer for the hope we have.

  2. Jake Christian permalink

    Of course its relevant. Of course, the definition of Gospel being used is important as well. And even when we don’t feel someone’s definition fits what it should, we’re still called to show love and grace in how we deal with them. That never changes.

  3. Mark permalink

    The definition of the Gospel is very important. The apostle Paul was very clear that we not preach a false Gospel. My concern is that based on what you’ve said, you seem to be endorsing Rob Bell’s statements. From what I’ve seen of Rob, he seems to be jumping into universalism. At best he was very very sloppy in his writing. I’m wondering why you are so smitten by him?

  4. Jake Christian permalink

    With all due respect, I’d appreciate it if you stay on topic when commenting, Mark. If you want to talk about the Willard quote, this is the place to do so. If you want to comment on what I’ve said about Bell, please do so on that post. But before doing so, please read the actual posts. No reasonable reading of what I said could conclude that I am “smitten” with Bell or “endorsing” his statements in any kind of blanket fashion – in fact, I was pretty clear that I liked some of what he said, and didn’t necessarily agree with some of it. And I touched on both the universalism issue, and the issue of whether or not what he is saying is a “false gospel.” Simply repeating these charges – without dealing with the substance of my arguments – isn’t helpful.

  5. Mark permalink

    Good enough. To be honest, I followed a link here from the C-D board where your name and blog was mentioned. That’s why I was on the Willard quote page.

    I think Willard is correct on this statement, and unfortunately we can tend to be willing to be too open-minded and not discerning enough.

  6. Jake Christian permalink

    Thanks Mark. I’m aware of the forum (which will be clear since I responded there earlier tonight), and think its unfortunate that the thread there has been used to attack churches rather than to point seekers toward good churches.

    As for the quote, obviously I like it as well. :-) I would simply caution that Willard’s words are important for the so-called “discernment crowd” as well. Its clear you have your concerns about Bell and what he teaches, which is fine. But its equally important not to simply accept Bell’s detractors’ words without seeking out the truth for yourself – there is a great deal of misinformation floating around out there about figures like Bell, and we need to exercise discernment when considering those claims as well.

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