Understanding Willard

I am reading The Divine Conspiracy for the fourth time.

Its not that I enjoyed it so much the first three – but rather that I never got past the first 50 pages each time. I just couldn’t get what he was on about. I would read… read…. daydream… daydream… and then give up. I came to the conclusion that Willard was boring or I was really dumb.

My last attempt at this book was 2 or 3 years ago, just before we began this adventure here in Brighton. It still didn’t make sense.

Two nights ago I began again and in one sitting read and understood 100 pages. I couldn’t believe it!! Either Willard was no longer boring or I was no longer dumb…


What I believe is more likely the case, is that my experience over the last few years has put me in a place to understand the ‘gospel of the kingdom’, rather than the ‘gospel of sin management’ I had been part of for all my life. I think I didn’t ‘get’ Willard the first few times because I just didn’t understand the significance of what he was saying about the kingdom of God and how the gospel we communicate must focus on this rather than ‘eternal life when you die’.

As we have moved into missionary mode the gospel of the kingdom has become our gospel more and more and the ‘heaven when you die’ – while still a part of it – has ceased to be the dominant focus. It actually makes sense to me. Big sense.

In fact I am somewhat astounded at how I was unable to comprehend Willard before hand. It is a constant reminder against any kind of intellectual/theological arrogance. To think you hold the whole truth on an issue is a dangerous thing, not because truth changes, but because we can only look thru the lenses we have been provided with.

So, I think I now understand Willard because my own experience has shifted sufficiently to help me. The stuff he speaks about is not a foreign language any more. What bothers me is that it took me this long to really comprehend.

How much more do I think I know and actually have no clue about?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *