Dallas Willard: The Divine Conspiracy Continued

It isn’t fair to criticize this book for not having the same impact that Willard’s earlier books did.  Much of it was published posthumously while other relevant parts simply echoed “worldview concerns.” Good stuff, no doubt, but no different than what Charles Colson said years ago. Nonetheless, there are key areas that shed light for the Christian thinker today.

The thesis of the book follows the title: continuing the Divine Conspiracy by applying Christian knowledge in the marketplace.  Unlike other worldview, “let’s reclaim culture” books, this one actually engages in epistemology.

Any kind of public theology or ministry follows from Plato’s insights on the City. It is the division of labor.  Not everyone in the city can be a “jack-of-all trades.” Public leadership, therefore, recognizes that we divide our labors in the pursuit of goods (51).

Moral Theory

  1. A right action is one that is not wrong (94ff).
    2. An action is right if it is the kind of action a good person would do.
  2. A morally good person cultivates understanding of the various “goods.”

What are goods? “These are things and qualities that represent, illustrate, and point us to what the Good is like” (102).  Goods are “noble and virtuous ways of acting and being in both individual and communal life.”

Knowledge: “the capacity to represent things as they are on an appropriate basis of thought and experience” (139). Knowledge gives one authority to speak in an area.

“Take-home points”

*We are participants in God’s grace, not merely passive recipients.  Willard, though not Reformed, isn’t saying this in a “see my good works for salvation” sense.  We are coworking with God in his programme for the world (21).

*Shalom: the enduring, “encompassing experience and expectation of restful, secure, holistic wellbeing” (30).

Justice: simply, the greater good (Plato). It is shown and understood by the consequences of its presence (49).

“I am not influenced by the expectation of promotion or pecuniary reward. I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary for the public good becomes honorable by being necessary.”

~Captain Nathan Hale, 1776

 

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