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Paperback The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship Book

ISBN: 0062311751

ISBN13: 9780062311757

The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship

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Book Overview

Jesus's Last Command--Ignored

The last command Jesus gave the church before he ascended to heaven was the Great Commission, the call for Christians to "make disciples of all the nations." But Christians have responded by making "Christians," not "disciples." This, according to brilliant scholar and renowned Christian thinker Dallas Willard, has been the church's Great Omission.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An easy to understand anthology

This book is a collection of Dallas Willard's articles, lectures, and essays regarding the main idea expressed in his book THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY - that as Christians we should focus on being "disciples" or "apprentices" of Jesus, allowing God's grace to develop Christ's nature in our lives and internally transform us to bear fruits of holiness in response to our salvation. We do this by saying "yes" to God, accepting His Gospel grace and submitting to Him as Lord, intentionally setting aside time for regular solitude, Bible reading, meditation, prayer, etc. and seeking to conform all our thoughts and actions to Christ's nature. As such it is a much more dynamic version of "What Would Jesus Do?", without becoming a legalistic "law" that we follow artificially. The chapters are short, easy to read, and the repetition on the main idea helps one to understand it and absorb what Willard is saying. If you found THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY a little challenging, this book expresses the main ideas in a little easier format. I also enjoyed the many references to other books and resources that Willard used to develop his ideas, I plan to read some of those also.

The First Book to really tackle the disparity between "Disciple of Christ" and "Christian"

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, thos book is the best collection of Willard's thoughts and messages regarding the essential nature of literally "being a disciple" instead of simply taking on the moniker and thus only being a nominal "Christian." Willard's lessons and investigations into New Testament events and examples of "discipleship" as an action and a lifestyle are certainly revolutionary in execution and have influenced countless contemporary writers, including some classic works from the past century and upcoming classics for the 21st century. John Ortberg's "The Life You've Always Wanted" is built upon the foundation of Willard's "spiritual disciplines" approach, a fact Ortberg heartily agrees to readily. I think the most poignant revelation of Willard's relevance and genius is that fact that the next generation of Christian authors who will shape Christianity cite him and tell how Willard is an influence on their writing style and thinking. For example, J.G. Marking, young author of "A Voice Is Calling" has stated many times over that "Dallas Willard has shaped so many minds and hearts towards pursuing Christ that we will never fully appreciate his influence and insight in our lifetimes; and that's how it should be." One of the best discussions and examinations of what it ACTUALLY means to take on the name of Christ as His disciple.

The Great Omission is Grace

"Grace is opposed to earning, not opposed to effort." That quote is repeated often throughout Dallas Willard's latest work The Great Omission. Like most of Willard's other books, The Great Omission is challenging and convicting. It reminds us that while God is full of Grace and our salvation is by His Grace alone, that God's Grace seems to be more fully realized in those who put for the effort to pursue that Grace. Dallas Willard utilizes the rich resources of many historical streams of the Christian faith. And reminds us that, despite all our differences, Christians all have one thing in common: being disciples of Jesus Christ. It often takes me twice as long to read a Dallas Willard book as any other author I read because of its depth, and because I don't want to miss anything. In the Introduction, Willard reminds his readers that this book is a compilation of articles, lectures, sermons, and writings tied together by the common theme of pursuing God's Grace in discipleship. There are times when the book seems a little disjointed, but that is because of this compilation process. I recommend this book as a must read for those looking to be challenged to go deeper in their faith. It is not a hands-on/how-to book, but is certainly will challenge you.

Rev. 3:2

Dallas Willard's latest book is a collection of previous writings and lectures surrounding the importance of discipleship for Christians. This book is a great introduction to Willard's other books and a stirring exposition of his chief concern: That becoming a disciple of Christ is seen as optional in most churches today. It is enough that a person accept Christ as savior and affirm certain beliefs to be a Christian. While these things are absolutely essential, they are not enough and they only partially fulfill the teachings of scripture and the commands of Jesus. When many people consider discipleship, or spiritual formation, they think of what it costs (a la Bonhoeffer). This is a valid perspective, but Willard asks us to take a look from the other side: The cost of nondiscipleship: "Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God's overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, nondiscipleship costs you exactly the abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10)." Discipleship is essential for every Christian, not just for the "super Christians." There is nothing in the teaching of scripture that suggests that being forgiven and "saved" is all there is to being a Christian. To the contrary, Willard shows that Christians need to be undergoing a profound transformation in character becoming more like Christ from the heart. How does this happen? By the faithful acceptance of everyday problems, interaction with God's Spirit in and around us and spiritual disciplines. He recommends four spiritual disciplines as basic to discipleship: solitude, silence, fasting and scripture memorization. For those to whom spiritual disciplines sound like "works righteousness," Willard repeatedly emphasizes the difference: "Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action." The process of transformation isn't passive on our part. Its effectiveness is all due to God's grace. But our effort makes us receptive to this grace. God will not impose it upon us. Willard likens spiritual discipline to the physical discipline of an athlete (cp. 1 Cor. 9:24-27). The spiritual disciplines aren't meant to be burdens that we groan under. They are tools which we can help us make God's grace more effective in our lives. In fact, our bodies themselves are tools for spiritual growth. The heart of the book is chapter 9, "Living in the Vision of God." Here Willard distinguishes between the substance of devotion to God and its effects. When we become too attached to the latter we are in danger of losing the former. Here there is a very good analysis of how this happens and what can be done about it. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength in Mark 12:30 and Will


Five Contemplative Stars! This very absorbing book is a compendium of individual writings and speeches on discipleship from 1980 to 2004 by the awesome Christian idealogue and writer, Dr. Dallas Willard. In this book, some deeply acerbic questions are asked, while providing straight answers to those adhering to Christianity. No shortcuts, no easy way out, and no really radical thoughts. He appears to me to be right on target based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, but he's looking deeper than most as he develops his topics in the book. The book's title references Jesus' "Great Commission" to his disciples just before He ascended to Heaven. Willard feels that for many Christians there has been a "Great Omission" in achieving the true goals of Christianity. He even takes issue with the term "Christian" early on, which he says is mentioned only a few times in the Bible and originally was a way of differentiating Jews from Jesus' jewish and non-jewish followers. Indeed, Dr. Willard finds a "Great Disparity" (my caps) between the life Christians should be living and the secular life that many actually live, which is also certainly being observed by those who are not Christian and who see no difference between lifestyles of Christians and non-Christians. He urges that we make disciples of ourselves first, before making disciples of the Church and the world. Dr. Wiliard rationally makes a powerful case for a new Christian discipleship and tells those disciples how to live in this age of confusion and temptation. Spiritual formation, living one's life as if Jesus was in their place, changing our mindset, and the critical role of "grace" leads us to the literally change our feelings. Other too-seldom heard relevant terms like "piety" abound in this book to flesh out Wiliard's concepts. He also gives numerous examples along the way, as well as plain language 'translations' of some verses of the Gospel. He does make lofty claims: like the "one verse in the Bible that is worth more than any college education" (you'll have to read the book to find out which one it is, but it is a powerful verse. The worth of it is up to the reader.) In the "Books on Spiritual Living", he references books by two disparate but awesomely empathetic sources which have greatly affected Dr. Willard: the consummate "Each One, Teach One" missionary (Dr.) Frank C. Laubach, who worked among indigenous peoples and urged keeping God in mind every minute of our waking hours, and the wonderful mystic nun (Saint) Teresa of Avila whose awesome "The Interior Castle" describes her very close spiritual union with God and how we can do it. It took great scholarship and courage to compile this book, and to not only challenge general contemporary Christian thought in this modern world, but to lay out a blueprint for how to live our lives amidst secularism and temptation based on Jesus' teachings. Ths scope of the book is IMPRESSIVE. Some may find this book beyond their understanding; other
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