The Divine Conspiracy Continued

The Allure of Gentleness:
Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus

When Christians share their faith, they often appeal to reason, logic, and the truth of doctrine. But these tactics often are not effective. A better approach to spread Christ’s word, Dallas Willard suggests, is to use the example of our own lives. To demonstrate Jesus’s message, we must be transformed people living out a life reflective of Jesus himself, a life of love, humility, and gentleness.

This beautiful model of life—this allure of gentleness—Willard argues, is the foundation for making the most compelling argument for Christianity, one that will convince others that there is something special about Christianity and the Jesus we follow.

From the Introduction
Finding real truth is the point of reference we share with all human beings. No one can live without truth. Though we may disagree about which particular things are true or false, allegiance to truth—whatever the truth may be—permits us to stand alongside every person as honest fellow inquirers. Our attitude is therefore not one of “us and them,” but of “we.” And we are forever here to learn together, not only to teach.

So, if at all possible—sometimes it is not, due to others—we “give our account” in an atmosphere of mutual inquiry animated by generous love. However firm we may be in our convictions, we do not become overbearing, contemptuous, hostile, or defensive. We know that Jesus himself would not do so, because we cannot help people in that way. He had no need of it, nor do we. And in apologetics, as everywhere, he is our model and our master. Our confidence is totally in him. That is the “special place” we give him in our hearts—how we “in [our] hearts sanctify Christ as Lord” (1 Pet. 3:15) —in the crucial service of apologetics.

And that is why our apologetic needs to be characterized by gentleness. Like Jesus, we are reaching out in love in a humble spirit with no coercion. The only way to accomplish that is to present our defense gently, as help offered in love in the manner of Jesus.

 

208 pages, hardcover. Available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and ChristianBook.com.
Also on Kindle, Nook and in Audio CD and Audio Download formats.

 

 

Table of Contents

Preface by Rebecca Willard Heatley
Introduction
Chapter One
            Beginning to Think for Christ
            Hiding from God
            What Is Knowledge?
            Reason Is a Gift from God    
            The Spirit of Apologetics
            At the Mercy of Our Ideas
            What Is Truth?
            Correcting Our Ideas Through Discipleship
            The Meaning and Method of Life in the Spirit

Chapter Two
            The New Testament Charter on Apologetics
            A Model for Dealing with Doubt
            The Nature of Faith
            The Context of Apologetics
            Apologetics Is for Everyone
            In Gentleness, Fear, and Good Conscience
            The Result of a Truly Happy Life

Chapter Three
            Biblical Apologetics
            The Role of Reason
            What Apologetics Is Not
            Confident, Humble, Generous, Open Servants

Chapter Four
            Faith and Reason
            Human Reason Under Grace          
            Why Is God Not More Obvious?
            God’s Omniscience
            Why Is There a Hell?
            “They Are Without Excuse”
            Why the Physical World Cannot Be All There Is
            The Physical Causes for Any Event Cannot Be Infinite
            Commonplace Myths of the “Big Bang” and of “Cosmic Evolution”
            Order Comes from Minds
            Reading E = mc2  from Left to Right
            God’s Involvement in Science and Technology
            Faith to Build Your Life On

Chapter Five
            Communication Between God and Humanity
            The Process of Creation
            Building on What’s Already Been Established
            God’s Good Purposes in Human History
            The Friend of God
            The Uniqueness of Jewish Culture
            Animal Sacrifice
            God Works Within the Culture
            Is Scripture Perfect?

Chapter Six
            The Problem of Pain and Evil
            A Formally Valid Argument
            Benevolent and Powerful
            Separating Pain from Evil
            The Value of Pain
            Rejection of the Argument
            Is God Responsible for All Evil?
            If God Is Good           
            “In a Perfect World”
            Why Won’t God Do It My Way?
            There Is No “Good” Without “Evil”
            Character Development
            The Importance of Order
            Dilemma Dissolved
            The Christian Response
            Human Responsibility
            The Other Problem of Evil
            Jesus as Our Model
            The Hound of Heaven

Chapter Seven
            Living and Acting with God
            Does God Speak to Us?
            Hearing God Speak
            Learning the Master’s Voice
            A Personal Example
            Objections to Hearing from God
            Testing What We Hear
            The Three Lights
            The Reality of a Personal Relationship with God
            Our Interaction with God
            Living in the Twenty-Third Psalm
            Praying and Saying
            The Fate of the Fig Tree
            When to Pray and When to Say
            Power in the Name
            The Ultimate Apologetic

Acknowledgments
Notes
Resources for Further Study
Scripture Index

 

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Reprint Permission Information

Dr. Willard's books are available at most bookstores and can be found on-line at Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.com.