DALLAS LIVES!

That may be a puzzling title to many who read this.  No, I am not talking about the Dallas Cowboys.  I am talking about Dallas Willard.  Last week while I was speaking in a revival near Bastrop, Texas.  I heard that Dallas Willard had passed away after a short battle with cancer.  He was seventy seven in earth years, but he now lives in the full experience of the Kingdom of God about which he taught me so very much.  I discovered Dallas Willard while I was a pastor in Baird, Texas.  One of my young staff members had gone to Ft. Worth to further his education at Southwestern Baptist Theological seminary.  While there he had picked up a copy of THE SPIRIT OF THE DISCIPLINES in one of his courses.  He wrote a note inside the cover and sent me my first book by Dallas Willard.  I must confess that I had never read any Christian author quite like him.  He was a layman who did a great deal of speaking before churches.  For years I thought he was a pastor.  In actual fact he was a professor of philosophy at the Universtity of Southern California.  He also had taught at numerous other universities.  He was one of the greatest intellectuals of our time.  He was an instructor of pastors to those who had sense enough to listen.  He was one man that no atheist in his right mind would want to debate.  The amount of bible, theology, history, ethics, and countless other disciplines at his disposal were amazing.  All of that mental acumen was clothed in humility that made one think of Jesus.  He was once introduced as the C. S. Lewis of our day.  When he came to the podium with great humility he deflected that idea as not being accurate in a very gracious way.  I am not sure he understood the intent of his introduction.  Though I had never conferred with Rick Davis who had the privilege of introducing him, the accolade fit exactly with my own feeling about Dallas.  No, he was not a writer of literature.  No, he did not construct fiction as a way of illustrating truth as did Lewis.  The comparison lies in the fact that here was a humble layman who was standing head and shoulders above countless preachers and theologians and calling us all to a deeper life and a more keen awareness of the God who is speaking if we only have ears to hear.  Dallas wrote great books.  They are not easy to read, but they are the kind that one reading will never be enough.  If you want to check them out try these:  HEARING GOD, THE SPIRIT OF THE DISCIPLINES, THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY, THE RENOVATION OF THE HEART.  There are also many essays, lectures, and videos to be examined.  I had only one conversation with Dallas Willard.  It was about the Trinity.  I showed him some prepared remarks for a manuscript that I was writing and ask if he thought those remarks were true to the message of the Word of God.  After reading them he said, “I think you are right.  Keeping working on this.  We need help to grasp the message of the Trinity.”  Dallas lives because of his faith in Jesus, the one who said that those who believe in Him would never die.  Dallas lives because of his amazing books and lectures.  Dallas lives because his teachings live on in those who understood and embraced his truths from the one who is Truth. Dallas lives because of his magnificent example of a supreme intellect wrapped in Christ loving and humble flesh.  Thanks Dallas.  Well done.

Dan Wooldridge

1 thought on “DALLAS LIVES!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *