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The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  11,059 ratings  ·  527 reviews
The Divine Conspiracy has revolutionized how we think about the true meaning of discipleship. In this classic, one of the most brilliant Christian thinkers of our times and author of the acclaimed The Spirit of Disciplines, Dallas Willard, skillfully weaves together biblical teaching, popular culture, science, scholarship, and spiritual practice, revealing what it means to ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 24th 1998 by HarperOne
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 ·  11,059 ratings  ·  527 reviews


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Dave Oliver
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you are uncomfortable with the theology of the Fundamentalists and their emphasis on "getting into heaven is the most important thing, and the only way to get there is to believe what we believe"...

and if you find that there is something lacking in the Liberal's theological conclusion that it is all about social justice...

then here is a book which digs into the heart of Jesus's message and challenge to us living in the world today.

We can never pass enough laws to force people to be good peopl
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Amanda Tranmer
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Update: Even better the second time. I read it with a Calvinist's (I am personally somewhat undetermined) eyes this time, and see why Willard makes some people uncomfortable. I say it's worth getting over it, because this book is SO good. Life changing. Revelatory. I will never look at life, eternity, Jesus, Christianity the same, ever again. I won't be throwing out the baby with this one.
.......................

Not since my first experiences with C.S.Lewis have I been so impacted by a writer, Ch
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James Korsmo
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In The Divine Conspiracy, philosopher Dallas Willard paints a compelling picture of the Christian Life by investigating what God is doing in the world, and how humans can experience it.

Willard begins by laying out some of the problems he sees in our world, and in Christianity, today. These include the erosion of "truth" and abosolutes in our culture, and the loss of the depth of the meaning of the gospel message. He then sets out to reconstruct a clear picture of what it means to be a Christian,
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Barnabas Piper
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this book is a labor of love. Or maybe just a labor. I really struggled with Willard's writing style, but there is no denying the wisdom, richness, and depth in these pages. Some passages were worthy of reading 3 or 5 times repeatedly to soak in them. The scope is expansive and it's a true classic. Just be patient and prepared to grind through parts.
Chauncey Lattimer
It was as early as the introduction that I realized I was in for a good read when Willard stated, "Whatever the ultimate explanation of it, the most telling thing about the comtemporary Christian is that he or she simply has no compelling sense that understanding of and conformity with the clear teachings of Christ is of any vital importance to his or her life, and certainly not that it is in any way essential." There is no doubt that the influence of the church has been weakened in the western ...more
Letitia
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-to-read
This is another one of those books where I am not the intended audience, so I have a hard time rating it. My dad said this book challenged him more than any other book he had ever read and, being a good sport, I decided to read it and discuss it with him. This does not mean I have much to contribute to the conversation, but at least I participated.

Some good stuff: I really love the section on the Lord's Prayer. I think this is the most important part as far as exegetical prowess and spiritual in
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Kris
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: followers of Jesus
Recommended to Kris by: Nathan Baxter
Perhaps the most formative book of my adult life. I remember the first time I read this how unimpressed I was. But some kind of switch was flipped and the second, third, fourth.....it became my handbook. No one in our day has more important things to say than Dallas Willard concerning discipleship and spiritual formation. I see him as my grandfather, at least spiritually. His book inspired me to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. I led near twenty college students through this book over a 5 year ...more
Anne Hamilton
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
I don't know what it was about this book - the length of the paragraphs, the density of text on the page - but I couldn't really get with the flow until the last chapter or so. Instead of reading and meditating, often normal for me in a book like this, I found myself skimming in the hope of finding a way in.

I don't doubt I will read it again. I made quite a few notes on the way through. But there isn't a forest of bookmarks jutting out of the book as there normally is for something like this.

201
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Meghan Armstrong
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I’ve ever read someone who takes Jesus and his words as seriously as Dallas Willard. This is mostly a treatise on the Sermon on the Mount, and instead of towing a denominational interpretive line, many of which in my limited experience skirt this very difficult text, he dives in and finds a Jesus who is both the most brilliant philosopher of all time, while also being the most effective human practitioner of life. He gives the sermon the credit of actually having an intentional str ...more
Silvia Cachia
I'm not prepared to review this long and well written book. As with all books on theology, you probably guess I'm going to say that I had reservations to some of the teachings. Aside from that, the book was for the most part, a compelling call to exactly what it claims in the title, Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God.

I took my time to read it, thus by the final chapters, I forgot about the beginning ones, what tells me this will be re-read. But the last chapters are fresh in my head. And they
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Nathan
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Willard continues to challenge me: from ministry, to the importance of Christ's bodily (not just spiritual) resurrection. A difficult read though, and his "program for discipleship" was not among my favorite features. Overall, a thought-provoking, enlightening book.

First review: I just began reading Willard's book, but already it has me thinking. Within the first paragraph, he lays out his philosophy: "Presumed familiarity has led to unfamiliarity, unfamiliarity has led to contempt, and contempt
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Haiko Eitzen
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: da-list
"My hope is to gain a fresh hearing for Jesus, especially among those who believe they already understand him." This is how Dallas Willard begins his introduction, and he certainly inspired me to take a new good look at the Jesus I claim to follow. The Divine Conspiracy is the most thorough, structured and comprehensive book I have read on Christian faith and practice. This book encases a (in my limited experience, unrivaled) wealth, breadth, and depth of theological knowledge for every follower ...more
Andy Love
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Too much to say about this one, so a few key quotes I stuck on will have to do:

"Draw any cultural or social line you wish, and God will find his way beyond it."

"When we see Jesus as he is, we must turn away or else shamelessly adore him. "

"The acid test for any theology is this: is the God presented one that can be loved, heart, soul, mind, and strength? If the thoughtful answer is; "not really," then we need to look elsewhere or deeper."

"Kingdom obedience is kingdom abundance."

"As a disciple o
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Naum
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Some tidbits in here had me wincing as the author is laden with fundamentalist assumptions and presuppositions and/or cultural mores -- that he appears to be oblivious to, all the while evincing a wondrous text.

But this is an epic work that should occupy the reading list of every Christian in America (and non-Christians interested in philosophy or spirituality). In a gracious, humble manner, Willard pokes and prods at the western religion of Christianity and expounds upon what the Jesus Gospel s
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Caidyn (NO LONGER ACTIVE; he/him/his)
This was a really short book. Four chapters, according to the audiobook I listened to. Short and interesting, although the author was a really bad narrator. Sort of monotone so I could space out pretty easily.

What I liked about this book was that it really tied in right living with Christian doctrine. While I wouldn't consider myself a Christian, I do love Jesus Christ's teachings. (Yes, I also love the Jesus that Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth talked about, but I do really love
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Carol
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read again in August of 2014 and I am revising my stars to 5 because it only gets better every time I read it!
Read again in March 2017. Here is the latest review with links to the other ones: http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/...

Read it again September 2017 because it is OFFICIALLY in my Renovaré Institute Curriculum!
http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/...
...more
Matthew Hudson
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Dalas Willard is probably the most insightful protestant author I have ever read, and certainly the wisest to come out of his particular tradition.

Willard is not trying to discover anything new, but rearticulate ancient Christian truths to an age that had lost them. He does this well, and perhaps his greatest value is the language that he uses. He neatly defines and redefines words so that we see the gospel again, free from the sentiment and tired phrases that have lost all meaning.
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Hannah Ross
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really don’t know if I’ve ever been as enthralled with God as reading this book has made me feel. In the introduction of this book, Willard says his hope is to “gain a fresh hearing for Jesus,” going on to describe that, “He (Jesus) is not generally regarded as a real-life personality who deals with real-life issues but is thought to be concerned with some feathery realm other than the one we must deal with.”

I found Willard to be quite effective in that goal; truly, I have never experienced a
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Elisha Lawrence
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've heard nothing but great things about Willard and in my first read, I was not disappointed. Willard's insight into discipleship and following Jesus is fantastic. I am positive that the two weeks I've read this people have heard me talk about this book at least 30-40 times.

Dallas Willard seeks in this book to show that the Christian life must be lived. The Kingdom life is for life right now and life eternal. He walks through the Beatitudes in the middle of the book and shines a light on thei
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Claxton
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow. I am blown away. I hope I am changed. I am NOT one for 600-page books -- this was worth every word. I will buy a copy and read it again, in hopes it may sink in...
Kathy Robbins
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In the New Testament Gospels, people marveled at how Jesus taught as someone who had authority. When I read the writings of Paul, I am impressed by his spiritual understanding and knowledge. He wrote, taught and preached as someone who had authority and knowledge that is beyond the average Christian.

I see not as much, but the same understanding in the writings of C.S. Lewis, and now in the writing of Dallas Willard, a present-day philosopher and theologian who wrote The Divine Conspiracy.

"The Ki
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Ross
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Despite its somewhat Gnostic-sounding title, this gem of a book is pretty straightforward commentary on biblical Christianity. Anyone seeking to develop their understanding of Jesus's teachings, and feed their vision of his beauty could benefit from reading The Divine Conspiracy.

Most of the book is an extensive commentary on the sermon on the mount, showing how it is more than just a brilliant collection of moral teachings. It is a unified guide to walking in the Kingdom of God in this life; a
...more
Sam
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church, discipleship
Excellent book. Notes/highlights/quotes below:

Problem: Contemporary christian has no compelling sense that understanding of and conformity with the clear teachings of Christ is of any vital importance to their life, and certainly not that in any way it is essential. There’s a nervous laugh, knowing look. Such obedience is regarded as impossible or out of the question.
Jesus was the prophet of the kingdom and was the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom was Christ in essence. He was the truth of h
...more
Angus Mcfarlane
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have been meaning to read Dallas Willard for some time, and I'm glad I did. Modern Christianity is not well known for its thinkers, so people like Dallas Willard stand out. And like many deep thinkers, the conclusions reached appear paradoxical. Although conservative, his agenda is radical change, critiquing established conventions in both the Christian and non Christian world view, holding a tension of both modern and traditional outlooks throughout. I liked that while warning the church agai ...more
Tom Watterson
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I worked my way through this book largely at a crawl, which is necessary to glean as much from it as possible. Even so, I will need to revisit it again and again to profit maximally from Willard’s insights into Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Chapters 4 & 5 in particular provide much in the way of practical approaches for cultivating the kind of character necessary to be an effective disciple of Jesus in everyday life. Whilst Chapter 10 offers some wonderful material for meditation on the hope, which
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Bradley
Sep 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: theology
If you like concepts and ideas, this book is for you! If you like concrete examples on how the kingdom of God here on earth is lived out, well there are very few in this book. Those of us who are kinetic learners, who need a feel for how things work before we understand the overall concept of what it is we are viewing, don't get a lot out of this book. If you love academics and love listening to professors all day long, then by all means read this book.

The concept of the Kingdom of God here on
...more
David
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This summer my fellow staff and I read this book together. Most of us have read it before. It is brilliant and definitely a modern classic. I was a bit more critical my second time through, as I’ve learned a lot since the first time and saw a few points where I thought Willard could be clearer or where he made assumptions perhaps he shouldn’t. But overall, this is a fantastic book. Further, though its been around a while now, the problems he diagnoses remain. We need to realize we can actually g ...more
Mike Jorgensen
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
Willard flirts with numerous heresies in order to make some outdated muddled point about sanctification. He may seem profound to an older generation but any missional-minded gen x or y person will have already understood his central point. Between his fuzzy understanding of justification and atonement it's hard to give it a good review especially since he is not the least bit interesting to read.
Jon Marq
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
A soft three stars. I recommend this as a sweet dessert after you have eaten the meat and veggies of other commentaries on the Sermon on the Mount.
Greg Williams
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most influential books about Christian spirituality for me. I read it the first time over a decade ago and it blew me away. I decided to read it again and, after doing so, it is still as good for me as when I first read it.

It would be hard for me to summarize this and do it justice. The phrase "eternal life" in the Bible does not mean what Christians have made it mean over the past 2000 years. We've reduced "eternal life" to something that we only experience after we physicall
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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
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“We must understand that God does not "love" us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as "Christian" love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word "love".” 55 likes
“Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it.” 47 likes
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