Read Revolution of Character: Discovering Christ's Pattern for Spiritual Transformation by Dallas Willard Free Online
Book Title: Revolution of Character: Discovering Christ's Pattern for Spiritual Transformation|
The author of the book: Dallas Willard
ISBN 13: 9781576838570
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 617 KB
Date of issue: October 5th 2005
Read full description of the books:Philosopher and popular Christian author Dallas Willard has earned a reputation for both his insight into the human person and his love for spiritual formation. In Revolution of Character, a condensed and more accessible version of Willard’s Renovation of the Heart, Willard and co-author Don Simpson present their case for a new awakening in the understanding of the nature of both the human person and also the process of spiritual formation as necessary correctives to the spiritual apathy and immaturity prevalent in many Western cultures today. Composed of twelve chapters, Revolution of Character can be broken down into three main movements. Chapters 1-5 describe the problem facing the body of Christ, provides an in-depth analysis of the nature of human personhood, and describes Jesus’ revolutionary pathway of personal spiritual transformation. Movement two, comprised of chapters 6-11, take each of the dimensions of the person described in movement one to the “spiritual woodshed” and asks the reader to examine that particular part of their life. The concluding movement of the book, chapter 12, asks the reader to consider the wider missional applications that being the person Jesus wants them to be entails.
Dallas Willard’s central thesis in Revolution of Character is that for too many in the Church today, a life “in Christ” doesn’t look all that much different from a life “without Christ.” Many believers lack the victory over sin, hurt, and pain that they expected to find when accepting Jesus’ call to believe the Gospel. Rather than being an indictment of Christianity however, Willard asserts that this failure to thrive in the Christian life comes down to a failure to “accept the life Jesus offers us in the right way” (Willard & Simpson 11). In many cases we, the believer, do not do our part in the radical transformation that Jesus offers us with the Gospel. The Gospel then, is not just Good News on a cosmic scale—a promise of a renewed and revitalized cosmos in the eschaton—but also at the individual human person scale—an invitation to a new life empowered by God’s Spirit that offers a true renewal of the human person.
The process of renewal and restoration of the person is synonymous with spiritual formation for Willard. Indeed, he defines spiritual formation as “the Holy Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself” (Willard & Simpson 16). This transformation of the inner person into Christ-likeness takes place in six aspects of the human person in Willard’s understanding of personhood: Thoughts, Feelings, Heart (spirit/will), Body, Social context, and Soul. The central portion of the book, movement two, challenges the reader to spend a great deal of prayerful time examining each aspect of their own personality in turn.
For Willard, the dimensions of “thoughts” and “feelings” make up the human mind and are key diagnostic tools of what is operating in the heart. The heart then is the center of volition in Willard’s understanding and represents the seat of human character. The body is the vessel in which the heart resides and the incarnational vehicle of our diving image bearing. Our social context consists of our relationships, particular with those few who make up our inner circle. Finally, the soul in Willard’s understanding is that area of our person in which all of the other dimensions of personhood integrate. When we interact with other humans, the Creation, and with God we do so as integrated souls.
Throughout the book, Willard asks the reader to prayerfully reflect on their true spiritual condition. From the “magnificent ruin” he describes in chapter three, how far have we truly come? What does Jesus want us to give up? Willard’s short answer is “the self.” As Jesus commanded, we are to die to self. It is only through this death, a sacrifice of immense proportions, that we can be truly free—but free for what? We are free to be transformed. Free to open our lives to the transforming power of God’s spirit, to let it well up inside of us until that which kept us in slavery is purged. The purpose of this transformation is two-fold. First, we are called as chapter 12 informs us, to be a “light to the world.” As we yield and cooperate in the revolution of our characters, we begin to shine with the inner light of God. We can then truly guide others along the way to their own transformations. Finally, the ultimate purpose of this revolution is to prepare us for the day in which we participate in the life of God fully—when we are cleansed and transformed and will be like Jesus and share in his inheritance eternally.
Read information about the authorDALLAS 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 were at William Jewell College, Tennessee Temple College (B.A., 1956, Psychology) and Baylor University (B.A., 1957, Philosophy and Religion); and his Graduate education was at Baylor University and the University of Wisconsin (Ph. D., 1964: Major in Philosophy, Minor in the History of Science).
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