A Powerful, Thought-Provoking Guide to Living the Life Jesus Intends for Us
Is Jesus part of your daily life—here and now? Or, by failing to take him seriously, have you relegated him to the realm of the "hereafter"? In The Divine Conspiracy, biblical teaching, popular culture, science, scholarship, and spiritual practice are weaved together to capture the central insights of Christ's teachings in a fresh way and show the necessity of profound changes in how we view our lives and faith.
Christians for the most part consider the primary function of Christianity to be admittance to heaven. But a faith that guarantees a satisfactory afterlife, yet has absolutely no impact on life in the here and now, is nothing more than "consumer Christianity" and "bumper-sticker faith." In an era when so many consider Jesus a beloved but remote savior, readers of The Divine Conspiracy will explore a revolutionary way to experience God—by knowing Him as an essential part of the here and now, an integral part of every aspect of our existence.
The Divine Conspiracy calls us into a more authentic faith and offers a practical plan by which we can become Christ-like. It challenges us to step aside from the politics and pieties of contemporary Christian practice and inspires us to reject the all too common lukewarm faith of our times by embracing the true meaning of Christian discipleship.
"My hope is to gain a fresh hearing for Jesus, especially among those who believe they already understand him. Very few people today find Jesus interesting as a person or of vital relevance to the course of their actual lives. He is not generally regarded as a real life personality who deals with real-life issues, but is thought to be concerned with some feathery realm other than the one we must deal with, and must deal with now."
"[A]ctual discipleship or apprenticeship to Jesus is, in our day, no longer thought of as in any way essential to faith in him. It is regarded as a costly option, a spiritual luxury, or possibly even as an evasion. Why bother with discipleship, it is widely thought, or, for that matter, with a conversational relationship with God? Let us get on with what we have to do."
"This book, then, presents discipleship to Jesus as the very heart of the gospel. The eternal life that begins with confidence in Jesus is a life in His present kingdom, now on earth and available to all. So the message of and about him is specifically a gospel for our life now, not just for dying. It is about living now as his apprentice in kingdom living, not just as a consumer of his merits. Our future, however far we look, is a natural extension of the faith by which we live now and the life in which we now participate." -- from The Divine Conspiracy
What is "the divine conspiracy"? It is God's plan to intervene in human history... now.
In an age when Jesus has become either a "nice idea" or a poster boy for the issue du jour, Willard argues compellingly for the relevance of God to every aspect of our daily life. He captures the central insights of Christ’s teachings in a fresh way that invites in the seekers and searchers of today. Willard, a theologian and professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, challenges the 21st-century church away from the millennium of "sin management" to an apprenticeship in the gospel. He comes down equally hard on Sunday-only Christians and left- or right-wing Pharisees who use Christianity to advance political agendas rather than spiritual ones. The Divine Conspiracy unleashes a simple, creative, and deeply spiritual energy toward renewal of the church.
– Sojurners Magazine's 1999 "Books of the Year" list
Awarded Book of the Year by Christianity Today, April 1999
Reviewed by John Wilson in Christianity Today magazine, January 11, 1999
(San Francisco: Harper, 1998) 428 pp, ISBN: 0060693339.
Chapter 1: Entering the Eternal Kind of Life Now
Chapter 2: Gospels of Sin Management
Chapter 3: What Jesus Knew: Our God-Bathed World
Chapter 4: Who is Really Well Off? — The Beatitudes
Chapter 5: The Rightness of the Kingdom Heart: Beyond the Goodness of Scribes and Pharisees
Chapter 6: Investing in the Heavens: Escaping the Deceptions of Reputation and Wealth
Chapter 7: The Community of Prayerful Love
Chapter 8: On Being a Disciple, or Student, of Jesus
Chapter 9: A Curriculum for Christlikeness
Chapter 10: The Restoration of All Things
See also an excerpt, "A Curriculum for Christlikeness," posted on the George Fox University web site.