Renovation Of The Heart
By J.E. Hurtgen, Jr.
June 7, 2002
Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard
[publisher: Navpress; non-fiction, spiritual formation]
"When we open ourselves to the writings of the New Testament, when we absorb our minds and hearts in one of the Gospels, for example, or in letters such as Ephesians or 1 Peter, the overwhelming impression that comes upon us is that we are looking into another world and another life. It is a divine world and a divine life. It is life in the "kingdom of the heavens."—Dallas Willard, in the Prelude
his book, Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard not only points the reader towards this life in the "kingdom of heavens," but goes the next step by discussing what that life entails and some practical ways to move forward in it. In a fairly conversational style, Willard guides the reader deftly through the path of spiritual formation. He does this first by convincing the reader that the greatest need that any of us has is for "renovation of the heart." This renovation requires us to let Christ guide us through spiritual transformation (he is the only one who really can, Willard argues). Willard then moves into describing exactly what that should look like.
Of particular interest are Willard's discussions on grace vs. effort, the importance of the biblical understanding of the soul, and the practical side of spiritual formation. In addition, the last chapter, “Spiritual Formation in the Local Congregation,” is worth the price of the book alone. In it, Willard presents a concise, yet complete vision of a local congregation that "understands clearly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and to be solidly committed to discipleship in their whole life." Truly, Renovation of the Heart is full of real wisdom and in it, Willard has successfully presented a vision of Christianity that is remarkably coherent and balanced, calling the reader to life in the abundance of Christ. If you read no other books on spiritual formation this year, read this one.
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