Friday, October 30, 2009

this is problematic

"We have counted on preaching, teaching, and knowledge or information to form faith in the hearer, and have counted on faith to form the inner life and outward behavior of the Christian. But, for whatever reason, this strategy has not turned out well. The result is that we have multitudes of professing Christians who well may be ready to die, but obviously are not ready to live, and can hardly get along with themselves, much less with others." - Dallas Willard (2006).

2 comments:

Holly Priscilla said...

good.

T. Nathaniel said...

"We have multitudes of Christians who may well be ready to die, but obviously are not ready to live..."

I am glad that Willard is drawing attention to this problem, but I still think that the language around it is not strong enough. If Western theology is not producing people who are ready to live, then it is also not producing people who are ready to die.

One can only be ready to die by having been crucified with Christ. This is no small matter and not something that we can truly do and then go about our lives as if nothing is different. In the East it is understood that this crucifixion begins in baptism and then is the theme, process, and goal of one's entire life. To prepare for death is to live in a radically different way; the two are inseparable.

To my mind, Willard does not go far enough since he even considers the possibility that one could be prepared to die without also being prepared to live. This is like using one's chains to strike at the bars of one's cell. Sure the cell is something to be opposed, but the chains themselves hardly serve as an effective tool towards liberation.