BOOK OF THE MONTH – ‘The Divine Conspiracy’ by Dallas Willard

Divine Conspiracy“The book I have been searching for all my life.” (Roger Foster)

“We must help the church understand that Jesus is leading a subversion of all human governance. And that will happen by the transformation of individuals, through the power of the gospel. And the community that emerges as a result is the divine conspiracy.”

These are the words of Dallas Willard, an American professor of philosophy and sometime church pastor who died in 2013. The bulk of this long but very accessible book is about developing a better understanding of discipleship, which Willard prefers to call apprenticeship – an entirely appropriate word, given the very practical nature of the book and of the task it implies. Being an apprentice is about learning from Jesus “how to lead my life as he would lead my life if he were me”.

In this short review it is impossible to express the totality of Willard’s ideas, based as they are on many years’ experience and thought. However, he achieves a clarity of thought and expression which make his genuinely radical insights easily understandable.

I have been reading Christian books for more than fifty years, and reviewing them for about twenty, and The Divine Conspiracy is one of the best two or three I have ever read. I am glad to say that you don’t have to take my word for its excellence. Richard Foster and John Ortberg are of the same opinion!

As a writer of reviews myself, I am always put off by the overblown praise heaped on quite ordinary and pedestrian books. In the case of The Divine Conspiracy however, the words of Roger Foster, “The book I have been searching for all my life”, are entirely appropriate. You won’t agree with everything that Willard writes, but that’s normal. You will agree, I hope, that the vision he expresses of what being Jesus’ “apprentice” actually means is one which is both authentic and necessary for the furthering of God’s kingdom.

THIS BOOK WAS REPEATEDLY REFERRED TO AND RECOMMENDED BY JOHN MARK COMER IN HIS TEACHING AT NEW WINE THIS SUMMER. IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO COME TO THE DISCOVERY EVENINGS WHERE WE SHALL BE WATCHING THE DVDS OF HIS TEACHING, YOU MAY WELL FIND THIS USEFUL.

Copies of ‘The Divine Conspiracy’ are available on the bookstall at a discounted price of £9.

(Reviewed by Roger Coode)