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Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  516 ratings  ·  64 reviews
At a time when popular atheism books are talking about the irrationality of believing in God, Willard makes a rigorous intellectual case for why it makes sense to believe in God and in Jesus, the Son.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by HarperOne (first published April 21st 2008)
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David
This was the first of three Willard books I read this summer. His purpose in the book is to argue that Christianity, discipleship to Jesus, rests on actual knowledge. Our world tends to reserve “knowledge” for one sort of thing, such as science. Religion, it is said, is mere opinion. Hence people can assert that all religions are the same, since they are all equally devoid of truth or knowledge. But if there is truly spiritual knowledge, truly a way things really are, then religion is more than ...more
Jacob Aitken
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thesis: A life of steadfast discipleship to Jesus Christ can be supported only upon assured knowledge of how things are, of the realities in terms of which that life is lived (Willard 7). Correct knowledge gives us secure access to reality.

Interplay between faith and knowledge

What is it to possess knowledge? “We have knowledge of something when we are representing it….as it actually is, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience” (15).

Faith is contrasted with sight, not true knowledge.
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Alexander Velasquez
Dallas Willard's theme in this book is knowledge and the role knowledge plays in the Christian faith. He argues that Christ's Kingdom does not simply rest on what he calls 'blind faith' or a 'leap of faith' of being the correct worldview. Rather, he argues that there is actual knowledge that Christ's Kingdom actually rests its foundations upon.

In Chapter 1, Willard defines knowledge: "We have knowledge of something when we are representing it (thinking about it, speaking of it, treating it) as
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Jeff
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book by Dallas Willard. "Knowing Christ Today" explains in clear fashion how it is that Christians have available to them knowledge that is not available to those that live within the confines of the modern scientific worldview that dominates Western culture and society. In typically Willardian fashion the author writes with both gentleness and humor as he takes apart so much of what passes for deep-thinking on the part of Christianity's (and other faith's) cultured despisers. ...more
Jason Kanz
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Knowing Christ today by Dallas Willard is a useful, informative understanding of Christian worldview particularly as it pertains to moral knowledge. Willard is a gifted communicator and a clear thinker. In my opinion, chapter 6, "knowledge of Christ in the spiritual life" is worth the price of the book alone.
Mark
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book on knowledge. I'm still grasping some of what he is saying but his argument for the existence of God and thus Jesus is worth the price of the book.
Tim
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
As always, Dallas Willard is brilliant in this latest book. Unlike most of his books, spiritual formation occupies only one (very good) chapter, while the bulk of this volume deals with the more philosophical question of spiritual knowledge.

Willard is responding to the pervasive assumption in society and the academy that when it comes to religious faith, a person can believe whatever they want because we can’t really know anything about God (if he even exists). So what does it matter what one
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Pastor2112
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, philosophy
Willard utilizes his philosophical skills by arguing that religious knowledge is true knowledge, and deserves a hearing equal with that of physics, mathematics, sociology, and other intellectual endeavors. Religious truth is not mere opinion, but truth that applies to reality. This is true for all major religions. For example, he writes, "One cannot seriously imagine the Buddha, for example, presenting his teachings merely as his sentiments, guesses, 'personal commitments,' or a 'leap of faith.' ...more
Derrick
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Came across this one at the library on an endcap and remembered Willard as a big name for me when I was still into that sort of thing. Had a few hours, so I sat down and read it.

Willard is a lovely writer, though not as complex as he claims to be when he warns readers how complicated and difficult the book will be. He does start out with a thought-provoking discussion about the difference between knowledge, faith, belief, and commitment. And towards the end, he makes a case for a kind of
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Valerie
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Yikes. I've never read Willard before. A friend has been recommending him to me. Maybe this was not the one to start with. I liked a couple of chapters near the end, but the first 2/3 fell completely flat with me. How can one write a book about "knowledge" without discussing the many ways we know (or don't) the many things that we think we know? Even a short treatment would take three chapters at least. I appreciated when he discussed how we "know" Christ through primarily "heart" knowledge, or ...more
John Wilson
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The fact that the Lord has taken Dallas Willard home to be with him is a testament to Willard's finished work for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. In "knowing Christ Today" Dallas Willard gives us perhaps his most important work today--teaching and showing that Christian knowledge can truly be known and that knowledge of Christ deserves and must be recognized as truth in the public domain of knowledge world wide. An amazing and poignant read!
Laurie
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
An excellent intellectual defense of the foundational truths of the Christian worldview, beginning with the logical necessity of postulating a supernatural intelligence as the source of the universe. Willard at his most thorough and understandable. Digest this book, really grapple with the arguments and make them your own, believers! We need to be able to speak persuasively for the truth of what we KNOW..."belief" or "faith" is NOT divorced from knowledge and reality.
Alan Rathbun
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! This is not an easy read, but definitely worth the effort. A combination of spiritual formation plus foundational apologetics. I highly recommend it if you would like encouragement and deeper understanding about standing up for Christ in a reasonable and calm way. Many will wrestle with chapter 7, but it is helpful to wrestle with it.
Dorothy
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I inhaled sharply

I found myself intently reading every word, not skimming as I sometimes do. This message of knowledge in Christ is crucial for an honest walk with God. Please read with the Holy Spirit helping to give you eyes to see and ears to hear.
Eric
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First off, if you are to read Mere Christianity by Lewis and wonder what book should you read next, this would be it.

First, Willard goes after faith and knowledge. Too often people separate the two and live their lives. Willard argues this as a huge fault, and demonstrates how higher ed was held responsible for displaying what knowledge is; including moral knowledge. The church embraced a leap of faith route and became skeptical of knowledge. Well both institutions have failed.

Willard then goes
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Jeremy Manuel
This wasn't the book I was expecting. You hear Dallas Willard talked a lot about in regards to his work on the spiritual disciplines and I expected a book that was somewhat related to that. Knowing God through the daily and trusting in the spiritual knowledge of Christ and the Gospel. This wasn't that book. This book is more of a defense of the faith kind of book, an apologetic work, much more than a spiritual formation or Christian life kind of book.

This doesn't make it a bad book, but I do
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Stinger
3 & 1/2 stars

Not Willard's best book, it is nonetheless helpful. Here is a Christian apologetic addressed to Christians. As someone who is very interested and well-read in Christian apologetics, I was not aware that Willard had made a contribution, but this is his, one that is logically ordered and cumulative by chapter-being based upon a series of talks he gave.

The overall takeaway is that Christians do not just possess a set of beliefs but knowledge of reality. If Christianity is true, for
...more
Ahn, Hang San
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a book all followers of Jesus must study

It was so impressive to see author putting the arguments for the Christian theism in the right sequence: solidifying the existence of omnipotent, omniscient, and caring God first and only then starting to deal with the problem of evil and sufferings. His 2-3 examples for the necessity of the non-physical first cause of the universe were very intuitive and convincing.

His treatment of why the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for the
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Joey
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a great book about what it means to have true knowledge about God through Christ. That is to say, Christians fall into the trap of simply pushing belief, when in fact Christians have knowledge about reality that must be acted upon.
Dallas Willard does a masterful job of laying out the verifiable knowledge claims of Christianity, while inspiring the reader to not shy away from those claims about reality.
This book will change how you think about belief, faith, knowledge, and reality. It
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John Martindale
I loved the historical overview, and Willard did a great job laying out why there is a need to true knowledge. I thought however his apologetic what he considered true was quite weak, I suppose after all the talk of needing solid knowledge in which one can be completely confident, that he'd do a better job arguing for what he considered to be such. Instead it seemed like a two dimensional gospel tract, no interaction with or countering the philosophical criticism leveled towards the "truths" he ...more
Paul
A wisely nuanced, carefully balanced and insightful book. Here Dallas Willard outlines the essential basis that Christianity has in knowledge, not just belief. The book is only lightly apologetic in that sense. The real, and most important, message of the book is in the implications of that knowledge for the way Christians live, think and act toward others; true love of God and others being the primary characteristic. The final chapters on the "Spiritual Life," "Christian Pluralism" and the role ...more
P.Marie Boydston
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
By far, the most personal and powerful book written by Dallas that reveals what it is to be in deep fellowship with a real and living and loving Savior. Dallas' words are powerful insights providing meaning to those spiritual experiences that aren't fabricated or contrived for feel good mountaintop rushes but for soul- sustaining "deep calling unto deep" life journeying endeavors. Must revisit this time and again throughout my own journey to be renewed, revived and restored to be an accurate ...more
Karen
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I don't know why I had a more difficult time understanding parts this book than I have his others. I think I did OK until I got to chapters 7 and 8. As usual, most of the book is thought-provoking, good stuff, but not necessarily easy reading. I feel as though I should go back and take notes, following his argument using the constructions in the lectures I'm listening to about argumentation. Maybe someday.
Dale Critchley
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of the relationship between faith and reason. Faith is not blind, and Willard gives an overview of what that means. This is a general overview and doesn't get deep for those with a lot of interest in apologetics, but it's a good primer with some good nuggets to draw out.

Definitely has some specific theological emphases that I disagree with, but that's the difference between our theological traditions.
April Bumgardner
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although the middle section on Christian apologetics and the identity of Christ became a little tedious, this book was refreshing. It assumes a high view of faith, and the book's end on discipleship, living for the sake of the world, is particularly good. Willard challenges us to live daily and grow experientially in our knowledge of the man Jesus Christ, and to pass that knowledge on to those around us.
John
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2018, apologetics
Willard argues well that religious or spiritual knowledge is true knowledge--knowledge that can be known and verified. This is a solid book, but presuppositionalists have a lot more compelling arguments and have much more to say regarding knowledge than Willard is able to say.

I recommend John Frame's works in particular, as well as Greg Bahnsen's.
Rachel
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another very good Dallas Willard book. A good amount of it covers ideas from The Divine Conspiracy and Renovation of the Heart in less depth, but then there are some concepts in it that are all its own. Worth the read in addition to those excellent books because of the new topics.
Greg M. Johnson
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
New favorite Christian author. Talks about a vibrant faith that is more than “social conformity with a tinge of fear.” Great stuff.
Eclaghorn
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Loved this part philosophy book, part book of Discipleship.
Allie
Dec 25, 2019 added it
Shelves: god-bible-faith, 2019
I consider Willard to be one of the most influential authors in my spiritual life, but this is a dense and philosophical book even by Willard standards.
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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
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“Love is not God, but God is love. It is who he is, his very identity.” 3 likes
“Jesus is the human face on the kingdom of God. He makes it concretely accessible.” 2 likes
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