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Renovation of the Heart

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  2,784 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
Renovation of the Heart explains the common misunderstandings about human nature and the discipleship process by outlining the general pattern of personal spiritual transformation––not as a formula, but as a systematic process.

This bestseller by Dallas Willard explains that as intentional apprentices of Jesus, we are to move deeper into a relationship with God while becomi

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 15th 2002 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published October 1st 1987)
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Best Christian Growth Books Ever
39th out of 159 books — 91 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jacob Aitken
It's hard to write a new book on spiritual formation. Even the books that are good seem to have covered already-covered ground. What more is there to add? Dallas Willard takes a different angle. Rather than aiming for spiritual formation or spiritual disciplines, which advice always runs the risk of sounding pedantic, he speaks of "forming Christlikeness." In this review I will summarize some of his key points, note some potential problems and tensions, and end with a reflection.

Unlike other aut
Sep 05, 2011 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity
In “Renovation of the Heart – Putting on the Character of Christ” Dallas Willard supplies such a plethora of information that it is difficult to sort through everything and find a place where to begin to respond. Usually I like to pick out ideas that have an impact on me—either positively or negatively, but the abstract concepts Willard presents are not easily digested in one reading even at a stayed pace.

I want to start with a discussion on the will but I can’t decide whether it is my thoughts
Betsy Brown
Jan 12, 2011 Betsy Brown rated it it was amazing
If you haven't read Dallas Willard, now is the time to start. I have him up there with Bounds, Wigglesworth, Andrew Murray, etc. You will read, reread, then read again. The best book on spiritual transformation that I have read!
Adam Shields
May 15, 2014 Adam Shields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: If it were just evaluating on spiritual wisdom this would definitely be a five star book. But I think it could have been edited better. Maybe that is because it took me so long to read it (about 3 weeks). But most of that time was really because I needed time to process the content. This is probably the best book I have read on the how and why of really changing our character to become more like Christ. It is not an easy read and certainly not a silver bullet. But it is worth readi ...more
Jan 07, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. The very practical explanations it gives on the Christian's part of sanctification (earnest discipline) is unparalleled in contemporary Christian literature. I have never read a Christian book that gives such practical advice on disciplining one's emotions. Willard is so insightful and this book is life-changing. I find myself rereading certain parts from time to time, even after I've read them 10 times. he shows how following Christ is objectively wise and wiser than not f ...more
Jan Livingston
Jul 27, 2008 Jan Livingston is currently reading it
I have listened to this book eternally this summer...I guess each CD 5 or 6 times. Each time is a new revelation and pertinent to the day/situation. One or two fresh ideas percolate each time I drive around. Even my teenage kids are getting used to it and aren't complaining about the deep ideas.(This is somewhat of a miracle in itself).
The author is wise, deeply Christian yet humble...I believe he lives what he preaches and this resonates with the message to many of us who are lucky enough to le
Apr 06, 2016 Skipr rated it really liked it
Even though I've been an admirer of Dallas Willard for many years, I just got around to reading his 2002 book, Renovation of the Heart. I'll refer to it as ROTH in this review. In many ways I found ROTH to be one of the most helpful things I've read by Willard, but I also found myself disagreeing with some of the things in ROTH more than anything else that I've read or heard from Willard.

Over the past 15 years or so, I've spent quite a bit of time learning from Willard. I've read several of his
Joe McFadden
Jun 27, 2016 Joe McFadden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The premise of this book is that the spirit, mind, body, social context, and soul of an individual needs to be spiritually transformed into Christlikeness, by relying on the grace of God, and having and implementing the appropriate vision, intention, and means to Christlikeness.

Willard’s book is essentially divided into two major sections. The first section begins by defining authentic spiritual formation. Willard emphasizes how true spiritual formation is not just about the external, but it is
Jan 22, 2008 Brett rated it really liked it
The Kingdom of the Heavens is not then and there, but here and now. Jesus’ radical reordering of society in His ‘sermon on the mount,’ offers a sustained and penetrating look into this new reality. Willard provides a methodical and immensely practical examination of this profound sermon. Although at times drifting into questionable exegesis, Willard’s central thesis is rock solid. In particular, Willard’s explanation of the Kingdom of God and discipleship make this a must-read. A-
John Martindale
Feb 11, 2014 John Martindale rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator read the book at a slugs pace and Willard's writing was at times as dry as the Sahara and often quite dense (It seemed the kind of book that needs to be slowly read and meditated on). I do wish it was better written, but with criticisms aside, the actual ideas and concepts that Renovation of the heart contained were excellent. It seemed comprehensive and biblical and logically sound. Sanctification is a topic I've been thinking a lot on for around 14 ...more
Mar 08, 2008 Jaime rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jaime by: Chad B.
This book challenges the way I look at what it means to follow Christ. He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). His good work is in every aspect of our lives. His desire is not to get people in heaven, but rather to get heaven in people.

It's a very meaty read. It took our community group a good 6 months to process through it together.
Jun 16, 2015 Keith rated it really liked it
An excellent book that focuses on the Christian life as one of transformation. The transformation does not come by will-power but by an incredibly clear and engaging Vision which inspires Intention and is supported by a Means. Trying to do anything by share will-power is an elixir for both self-righteousness and ultimate failure. At the same time, we do need to be intentional and work with God in the transformation process. Willard says that Christianity is no longer attractive because the focus ...more
Nate Walker
Nov 08, 2014 Nate Walker rated it it was amazing
Besides the fact that this book needs a healthy dose of sovereign grace in it (there is a lot of emphasis on our own effort in the process of transformation), this book was in many ways life changing for me. The biggest take aways: (1) Character transformation is the essence of Christ being formed in us and of the utmost importance for Christian discipleship, (2) transformation happens through intentional orderly devotion to the means of grace. Willard is a very thoguhtful and careful writer, an ...more
Frans Karlsson
Jul 27, 2016 Frans Karlsson rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
A book that goes into different areas in our lives that we should work on. More ideological/ theological than practical.
Todd Luallen
May 13, 2016 Todd Luallen rated it it was amazing
Dallas is an intellectual writer, and his books have a certain quality to them that tends to appeal to the analytical side of the brain. I often find myself saying something to the effect of "I never thought about it that way." But because of this analytical aspect, I think his books are best taken in small sections rather than big blocks. In addition, when he reads his own books, the pace is slow and his voice is sleep inducing (I listened to this book at 1.25x speed to make it sound normal). H ...more
Amy Vereggen-goeldner
Jun 04, 2015 Amy Vereggen-goeldner rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books on Christianity. Full of Biblical points to look up in your Bible and slowly digest. Full of intelligent and inspirational wisdom to help each Christian on their individual journey towards the Kingdom of God. I found Renovation of the Heart an easier read then a few of his other books (The Spirit of Disciplines and Hearing God), also with this book the way its laid out it has small bit size points (1-2 pages) you could quickly read (and re-read) and then put dow ...more
Greg Stadter
Jan 12, 2015 Greg Stadter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
A great book focusing on how a person becomes more Christ-like, which is highlighted as the major goal of Christianity, to make disciples of Jesus and teach them to obey everything as Jesus taught them. Christian are suppose to be changing in their thoughts, minds, will, character, body, social behavior, and depths of their soul to be like Christ. Willard does not offer a formula, he says, but does lay out a path or flow for Christians today. I feel like this book is encouraging and helpful for ...more
Stephen Redden
Apr 20, 2016 Stephen Redden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps no one has shaped my view of the Kingdom life following Jesus more than Dallas Willard. In this work he has given deep and meaningful insight into the process of spiritual growth and transformation, and I was moved and challenged by this book. It pains me to give this book only 4/5 stars, but I feel that I must due to its accessibility to its intended audience. I read this book with a small group, and probably 2/3 of the group stopped reading it within the first half of the book. To be f ...more
May 29, 2014 Sonny rated it really liked it
The reality of the church in North America today is a sad story. Many have fallen far short of the standard of Christ’s holy life. Why does the life promised by the Bible seem so radically different from our lives today? We can experience this life. We need not live in spiritual defeat-—we just need to take the right approach. Willard’s approach is not burdensome. We just need a renovation of the heart. A vision of change and hope is outlined; he then shows how every element of the human person ...more
Dec 24, 2013 Shawn rated it it was amazing
This is an encouraging book about transformation of the self into the image of Christ. I read this book about 8 years ago, but quite superficially. This is one of those books that requires a quiet space to read and some time to think over the principles.

I took a few key ideas from this book that are very encouraging. The first thing that struck me is the holistic effect of sin on the individual. The heart, will, and body are all interconnected in their ruin. God offers restoration and transforma
Dec 19, 2013 George rated it it was ok
Oh thank goodness I finally finished that. I got the audiobook version and listened to it on the road. I had a very hard time paying attention much of the time. Grammatically, it was not very well written. It was grammatically correct, but could have cut out 10% of the redundant words or more and still kept its meaning.

There were so many, that is to say a lot, of redundant, self-repeating, or ideologically similar, phrases and sentences, with so many commas, which are a type of punctuation, and
Steven Bullmer
Aug 31, 2013 Steven Bullmer rated it really liked it
Once again Dallas Willard wrote a book that is deep, challenging, and right on. What he says about putting on the character of Christ is so much more challenging than the usual superficial stuff that's popularized these days. But renovating one's heart is a spiritual challenge!
I especially appreciated his Pattern of VIM (Vision, Intention, Means). I also appreciated his taking a holistic approach to renovating a human life, recognizing that we are made up of several components (Mind, Will/Heart,
Jan 17, 2009 Stevie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lynda Infante, Lauren Petrick, Jordan Brooks, Tom Weiner, Jody Olsen
A good and dense book about becoming like Christ.

Poignant Quotes:

A carefully cultivated heart will, assisted by the grace of God, forsee, forestall, or transform most of the painful situations before which others stand like helpless children say “Why?”

There arises a very real danger that we will set ourselves in opposition to what God truly is doing now and aims to do in the future. Often we miss the opportunity to act with God in the now.

Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to
Tim Patrick
Sep 22, 2013 Tim Patrick rated it liked it
This is an explaining book, not a doing book. Dallas Willard, who passed away just this year, has a special talent for understanding and analyzing spiritual renovation to its fullest extent. The book's thirteen chapters discuss renovation for each aspect of the inner human: the mind, the heart, the will, the body, one's social context, and the soul. He crafts an obligatory acronym, VIM, to discuss the renovation process in three steps: vision, intention, means. It's all fully explained and tied ...more
Janine Tinsley
Jun 04, 2013 Janine Tinsley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Ok, so this book took a very long time to get through. It's dense, very dense, and take time to digest, sometimes re-read, or just take a break from at times.

Still, it's an excellent methodological step through of what it means to be spiritually transformed, what it looks like, and how it can be done. I think this last part is especially important, since as humans we tend all too often to lean on the side of trying to transform ourselves (an impossible and discouraging task) or assuming that Jes
Jul 01, 2016 DeeAnn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent but take each chapter in two week chunks. First half of the chapter is generally giving you the theory and the second half is more of the practicals. Also, the writing is....just have a dictionary nearby. And should this book make you feel stupid, know you're in good company (more than once I wanted to chuck it against a wall---speak to me in English man!!!!)
May 27, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it
Much is good about this book. It goes into good deal about all aspects of our created being and how to have all bring our entire being under Christ's. It also walks that precarious line between legalistic do/don't lists and do what you want subjectivity. Finally, it challenges the reader to consider what it means to truly be a disciple of Christ's. Much like Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship, it doesn't let the reader off the hook with any degree of cheap grace. On the downside, it is probably m ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Vaughn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Newer Christians that are just learning about spiritual disciplines.
I picked this book up as a freebie from Amazon Kindle. While the content is sound, the first 30% of the book contained a lot of repetition and very few ah-ha kind of moments. I put the book down at that point as I wasn't gaining much for the investment in time.

If you've not read much on spiritual disciplines, this may be a good place to start.
David Meldrum
Like everything Willard wrote, this has much depth and truth to it. His main concern here is how followers of Jesus become true disciples truly transformed into His character. There's Biblical richness here, and weighty truth to be visited and revisited. My concern is that sometimes he seems to fall prey to generational, cultural or classist stereotypes about how society has changed rather than grappling with the good in contemporary society as well as the bad.
Jul 10, 2012 Donna rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book on the recommendation of my pastor, as he mentioned this one and another by Willard in his sermon. I was expecting an interesting read addressing certain aspects of the Christian life as regards how we make our decisions (i.e. from which aspect, our feelings, thoughts, old nature vs. new nature, etc.) I wasn't prepared to read a book that so foundationally changed my view of the Christian life, and my role as an "apprentice" of Jesus Christ. Dallas calls his readers to more ...more
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DALLAS WILLARD was a Professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He taught at USC from 1965, where he was Director of the School of Philosophy from 1982-1985. He has also taught at the University of Wisconsin (Madison, 1960-1965), and has held visiting appointments at UCLA (1969) and the University of Colorado (1984).

His undergraduate studies wer
More about Dallas Willard...

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“A carefully cultivated heart will, assisted by the grace of God, foresee, forestall, or transform most of the painful situations before which others stand like helpless children saying “Why?” 27 likes
“We don't believe something by merely saying we believe it, or even when we believe that we believe it. We believe something when we act as if it were true.” 14 likes
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