A Compelling Defense of the Faith for Our Time
Addressing the central question facing the church today—Is the Gospel true?—Dallas Willard offers an impassioned argument that Christian spiritual ideals are a reliable source of wisdom that should be granted the same authority as other intellectual disciplines such as science or philosophy. He shows how faith and reason are complementary and confronts the difficult issues of Christian pluralism (the challenge of other faiths) and how we can know God exists.
Dallas Willard goes straight to the point and opens the book with a question, Can faith ever be knowledge? He takes the first chapters of the book to share his perceptions about knowledge, about institutions of knowledge such universities and the church and their relation to the christian faith. There are several concepts like knowledge, belief, commitment and profession which are important to identify since are used throughout the rest of the book. According to Willard:
We have knowledge of something when we are representing it (thinking about it, speaking of it, treating it) as it actually is, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience. p.15 – Dallas Willard
The central part of the book deals with the existence of God. And it deserves special attention since its easy to get lost among many explanations and theories. Almost every time something becomes difficult to grasp for the average person (like me) Willard gives a practical example with things from daily life. At this point it’s easy to understand why Willard took his time to elaborate the foundation in the first chapters. It was funny to find this ‘disclaimer’ at the beginning of the book:
I should alert the readers to the fact that this is not a devotional book and that it will require considerable mental effort to understand. p. 10 – Dallas Willard
The book closes with a practical aspect for every believer. There are some advises given by Willard on how we can develop our relationship with Jesus as a means to prove his knowledge by acquaintance position. Experience is the only way we get to know not only about Jesus but Jesus himself.
Knowledge is interactive relationship, and grace is God acting in our lives. p.161 – Dallas Willard
Finally the last chapter is an invitation to the spokespeople for Christ or ‘pastors’ to grow in the knowledge of Christ, but also to share that knowledge to others, and fulfill Christ’s calling to make disciples.
I recommend this book to those who are specifically interested on the matter of knowledge or apologetics. As Willard said this is not a devotional book and it requires full focus from the reader. If you like C.S. Lewis I dare to say you’ll like Knowing Christ Today by Dallas Willard.
I received this book for free from HarperOne for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.