Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard —Promoting Contemplative Prayer and Mysticism Through Spiritual Formation

An interesting interview with John Ortberg and Dallas Willard:
“Tough Questions” with Dallas Willard . . . and His Contemplative Propensities

Dallas Willard: Bible Study and prayer not as important to the Christian life as silence and solitude:

"Indeed, solitude and silence are powerful means to grace. Bible study, prayer and church attendance, among the most commonly prescribed activities in Christian circles, generally have little effect for soul transformation, as is obvious to any observer. If all the people doing them were transformed to health and righteousness by it, the world would be vastly changed. Their failure to bring about the change is precisely because the body and soul are so exhausted, fragmented and conflicted that the prescribed activities cannot be appropriately engaged, and by and large degenerate into legalistic and ineffectual rituals. Lengthy solitude and silence, including rest, can make them very powerful." (Dallas Willard, "Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Formation and the Restoration of the Soul," Journal of Psychology and Theology, Spring 1998, Vol. 26, #1, pp. 101-109. Also available in The Great Omission, San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2006

Dallas Willard Participating
in the
Ancient Wisdom Conference

"WAY" of Jesus or Jesus as "THE WAY"
David Sheldon Discusses the
Ancient Wisdom Conference
"The conference page purports that "Two thousand years ago, Christian spirituality was new to the world. This was a time before churches as we know them." In other words, this conference is returning us to our ancient "spiritual" roots. (These roots, as articulated, are really mysticism and not truly Christian.)" Read more...

Dallas Willard is a proponent of contemplative spirituality. Here are a few facts to show this:

1. Dallas Willard Helps Launch the Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible. The Renovare Study Bible Released at Renovare's With-God Conference in April of 2005

2. Willard has written the foreword to Ruth Haley Barton's book, Invitation to Solitude and Silence.

3. Willard recommends several contemplative authors including Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Jan Johnson, and Evelyn Underhill.

4. See connections, endorsements chart below.

Dallas Willard Gives Advice to Someone Who Rejects the Gospel

The following is an excerpt of an article written by Dallas Willard, in which he hypothetically responds to a college girl who was raised a Christian but has now rejected the Christian faith and believes all paths lead to God ...

"What Paul is clearly saying is that if anyone is worthy of being saved, they will be saved. At that point many Christians get very anxious, saying that absolutely no one is worthy of being saved. The implication of that is that a person can be almost totally good, but miss the message about Jesus, and be sent to hell. What kind of a God would do that? I am not going to stand in the way of anyone whom God wants to save. I am not going to say "he can't save them." I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved."—Dallas Willard, Apologetics in Action

LTRP Note: Some have expressed concern that Lighthouse Trails has not posted the statement Dallas Willard made after the above statement, in which he says that anyone who is going to be saved is going to be saved by Jesus. While we do provide a link so people can read his entire article, we believe Willard has been very misleading in saying that it is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved. We must keep in mind the context of Willard's statement, in which he is talking about the works of man in relation to salvation. And given his adherence to spiritual formation, this completely aligns with the view that man ( born again or not) can become Christ-like (and worthy of salvation according to Foster and Willard) by doing certain disciplines. It is in that context Willard makes that statement; he wasn’t referring to those who had never heard the gospel.

In addition, it is the role of Christians to preach the gospel, calling out for people to repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.  His instructions are very clear. And the apostle Paul always pointed to Jesus Christ and man’s absolute need to turn to Him in order to be saved and written in the Book of Life.   If such a statement was right to say, then Jesus or the disciples would have said it. On Dallas Willard's website, he recommends mystics who have panentheistic and universalistic affinities. His seemingly ambiguous statements and his recommendations resonate, and they should not be ignored.

How ironic that in Willard's article, he was addressing it to a college girl who had been a Christian and had turned away from and rejected the gospel, saying that all paths lead to God. This was Willard's answer to her.

"As far as the content of what I try to present is concerned it focuses on the gospel of the kingdom of God and becoming a disciple of Jesus in the kingdom of God. SO it doesn't merely have an emphasis on the forgiveness of sins and assurance of heaven as you are apt to find in most evangelical circles. I think that is vital but it is not the whole story."—from Kingdom Living, Dallas Willard


Dallas Willard - His Associations


Dallas Willard's Recommended Reading List
on Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Disciplines

The List Includes:

Richard Foster
Evelyn Underhill
Brother Lawrence
Henri Nouwen
Madam Guyon
Jan Johnson
Agnes Sanford
Teresa of Avila
George Fox

Other Connections, Endorsements, etc.

The Divine Conspiracy
Back Matter
Invitation to Silence and Solitude
Willard wrote Foreword
Spirit of the Disciplines
Back Cover
Spirit of the Disciplines
Back Cover
Spirit of the Disciplines
Thomas Merton, Agnes Sanford, George Fox
Willard quotes favorably
Spirit of the Disciplines
numerous quotes favorably
Hearing God Through the Year
The Post Evangelical (Youth Specialties)
Willard wrote foreword
Evangelical Alliance of Northern Ireland
Speaks at their 2004 conference
Sits on the Allelon Board


"Dallas Willard understands Quaker thinking about as well as anybody," Foster acknowledged. "I had him do a study once on George Fox and his insights just blew me away." An Interview with Richard Foster


Where did Dallas Willard's class lead this man?
Take a look:

built myself a prayer room—a tiny sanctuary in a basement closet filled with books on spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism. In that space I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine monks. I meditated for hours on words, images, and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns, the state in which dreams occur, while still awake and meditating."
Disciplines, Mystics, and the Contemplative Life
by Mike Perschon

What is Dallas Willard Connected With?

Interview with Renovare

Speaker at Renovare

Relevant Magazine

Board Member of Allelon
(what is Allelon

A young man takes a class by Dallas Willard, and he is introduced to contemplative prayer.

"I bumped into the classic spiritual disciplines while taking a course called "Dynamics of Christian Life" in my second year of Bible school. One of our textbooks was The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard. The course and textbook only touched on the actual disciplines, but the concept captivated me. The following spring, I found a copy of Richard Foster's spiritual classic Celebration of Discipline in a used bookstore. Opening it and discovering each discipline detailed chapter by chapter, I felt a profound sense of joy and excitement. I'd found a real treasure."


What Does The Message Do With Homosexuality?

Eugene Peterson has deleted the word homosexuality or homosexuals.
Unlike the KJV, which also does not use those words, The Message changes the meaning of scriptures by inferring that it is not homosexuality that is wrong but rather relationships that are not committed and intimate. more ...

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