Saturday, December 12, 2020

True Church Is the Kingdom of God Operating in Power and Action

(Maumee Bay State Park)

Dallas Willard's life continues to inspire me. I regularly read his material. More than that, I re-read it. I soak in it. I don't do that with many books.

Today I am reading from Gary Moon's Becoming Dallas Willard: The Formation of a Philosopher, Teacher, and Christ Follower. I have to take it slow. That's a good sign. To go deep, you must go slow. (Which is why, in our culture, shallow people are increasing.)  

Here's what I just read. Willard was teaching in his church on the book of Acts. His view of life was indebted to German philosopher Edmund Husserl's philosophical realism. We see it here. Moon writes:

"“Use your imagination,” Dallas exhorts, “If you can’t see these as real events, you’ll not get it. . . . Jesus brought the kingdom of God before people in a way they could not ignore; he made it present for them.” 

Acts was written, Dallas believed, to tell us that what happened while Jesus was on earth could continue to happen in reality after his life, death, resurrection, and ascension—the kingdom of God operating in power and action." (Moon, p. 165)

This is similar to what Craig Keener argues for in his Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost. You will understand things like the book of Acts better if you have experienced the kind of things written about in the book of Acts.

The church, as seen in Acts, is the prototype. This is what I am going after. 

True Church is the kingdom of God operating in power and action.

Note: I feel connections with Dallas Willard, who was indebted to Husserl. In my doctoral work in philosophy at Northwestern University, I took two seminars on Husserl's phenomenology, taught by Prof. Samuel Todes. Todes was a philosophical giant. From the Wikipedia article:

"According to philosopher Piotr Hoffman, "Had [Todes' {doctoral} dissertation {at Harvard}] been published at the time it was written, it would have been recognized as one of the most valuable contributions to philosophy in the postwar period and as the most significant contribution to the field of existential phenomenology since the work of Merleau-Ponty." 

For any who know something about about philosophy, one of Todes's dissertation advisers was Willard Quine.

In retrospect, I see the hand of God was preparing me for reading Dallas Willard.