Daily Riches: The Acid Test of Theology (Dallas Willard)

“Modern attempts to think about God independently of historical revelation have been thoroughly victimized by currents of nineteenth– and twentieth-century philosophy that simply make knowledge of God …an impossibility.  …This forces one to handle the texts and traditions of Jesus in such a way that he can never bring us to a personal God whom we can love with all our being. But things often turn out little better for theology on the right. It tends to be satisfied with having the right doctrines or traditions and to stop there without ever moving on to consuming admiration of, delight in, and devotion to the God of the universe. On the one hand, these are treated as not necessary, because we have the right answers; and on the other hand, we are given little, if any, example and teaching concerning how to move on to honest and full-hearted love of God. The acid test for any theology is this: Is the God presented one that can be loved, heart, soul, mind, and strength? If the thoughtful, honest answer is; ‘Not really,’ then we need to look elsewhere or deeper. It does not really matter how sophisticated intellectually or doctrinally our approach is. If it fails to set a lovable God – a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being – before ordinary people, we have gone wrong. We should not keep going in the same direction, but turn around (repent?) and take another road. …The theologian who does not love God is in great danger, and in danger of doing great harm….” Dallas Willard

“If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge
… but do not have love,
I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

Jesus hoped we would know him, love him, and follow him. After his resurrection it became clear we also should worship him. It doesn’t always work that way.

  • Has your philosophy or theology made a loving relationship with Jesus impossible for you?
  • Has fighting for the truth (right doctrine) become more important to you than loving others well (right relationships)?
  • Does your faith rest in a God who is “a lovable God – a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being?” Will you determine to look “elsewhere or deeper” for that God if necessary?

Abba, may I know you in truth, in spite of your mystery and my hang-ups.

For More: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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