Monday, December 12, 2005

The Divine Conspiracy

OK, so I just finished Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy. Anyone who's been following my blog the past couple have weeks can easily see the extent to which it has captivated my thinking. It's a wonderful call to a life of serious discipleship. Still, I wouldn't accept it entirely uncritically.

In particular, there were times that I questioned Willard's interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. He turns the Sermon, as a whole, into something like a program for building character built on the foundation of an astute analysis of human nature. I don't buy that. Admittedly, it's better than the standard "impossible ideal" interpretation, but it still didn't quite sit right. On the whole, I like Bonhoeffer's exposition, as presented in Discipleship, much better.

Also, when Willard first began rolling out his curriculum for Christ-likeness, it started out sounding an awful lot like a self-improvement scheme. This concern was eased somewhat when he got more concretely into his explanation of spiritual disciplines, but I think Lutherans will always have a tenuous relationship with spiritual disciplines in as far as they are claimed to be an aid to sanctification.

Even so, as a lover of the deep tradition of the Church, I can't help but be drawn to the classical disciplines, and I appreciated seeing an actual plan for discipleship.

On the whole, I think this is an excellent book and deserves to be read widely.


Luthsem said...

Nothing beats Bonhoeffer.

Andy said...

Yeah, he rocks.

In fact, Willard quotes Bonhoeffer several times throughout the book and recognizes the excellence of "Life Together" but unfortunately he doesn't look to him in his interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount.