Until Christ is Formed in You

Dallas Willard and Spiritual Formation

Steven L. Porter, Gary W. Moon and J.P. Moreland

Until Christ Is Formed in You brings together ten authors who knew Willard well to introduce his wide-ranging vision and consider again the overall significance of this one-of-a-kind teacher.

Available in paperback from: Amazon

(Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2018), 256 pages, ISBN-10: 1684260906, ISBN-13: 978-1684260904.


Dallas’s unique perspective on discipleship and personal transformation was part of the allure of his teaching as well as cause for much discussion. This collection explores his teaching on topics including the Beatitudes, the relationship of body and soul, the kingdom of God, discipleship to Jesus, the nature of formation, and Ignatian spirituality. The book begins with a comprehensive overview of Dallas’s understanding of formation, and it concludes with practical applications of this understanding to the disciplines of psychology and counseling.

The authors offer this volume with the desire that it would help to stimulate Christian scholarly engagement with Willard’s writings on spiritual formation; not for the sake of scholarship alone, but for the sake of increased holiness in the lives of God’s people.

Until Christ is Formed in You uniquely combines the rich legacy Dallas left us in both his writings and in his students. Through the lens of their own experience and training, these scholars, whom Dallas identified as his fellow-pilgrims, beautifully illuminate and respectfully critique Dallas’s thoughts on complex themes of discipleship and personal transformation worthy of extensive dialogue. The Willard family views this academic treatment of Dallas's work as a great gift as we seek to broaden the impact of Dallas’s teaching, and we invite you to join in the conversation.

Read the Preface to learn more about the purpose and contents of the book.


Dallas Willard combined intellectual rigor with a deep commitment to spiritual growth in a way that is rare among recent Christian writers and thinkers.  Until Christ Is Formed in You is more than a tribute to Willard; it is a demonstration of the continued power and relevance of his work. The intellectual rigor of these essays pushes all of us to become the persons God intends us to be.

C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University

Those who have been captivated by Dallas Willard’s writings on Christian transformation will find in Until Christ is Formed in You a rich presentation of clarifications, extensions, critical reflections, and interdisciplinary commentary by ten theologians, philosophers, and psychologists who have been touched by his person and work.

Robert C. Roberts, Distinguished Professor of Ethics, Emeritus, Baylor University

FINALLY—a scholarly yet accessible volume that explores the broad spectrum of Dallas Willard’s remarkable contributions to the field of Christian spiritual formation! These well-rounded essays by reputable scholars probe Willard’s central themes by addressing the Holy Spirit’s work until Christ is formed in us. An indispensable resource for theological educators, students, and ministry leaders!

Diane J. Chandler, Associate Professor of Christian Formation and Leadership, Regent University School of Divinity

The book has something for everyone. Academics will enjoy the deep dive into philosophy and theology; spiritual directors, psychologists, and pastors will love the mystical and practical wisdom related to transformation; all lovers of Willard will enjoy hearing these men and women reflect on their mentor with the earnest desire to carry forward the heart of his message that spiritual formation is about transformation in this life through renovation of the heart rather than the prevailing anemic view that formation has been reduced to "sin management." From his heavenly vantage point, Dallas leads us on through these disciples and scholars.

Theresa Clement Tisdale, Professor of Psychology, Azusa Pacific University




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—Steven L. Porter, Gary W. Moon, J. P. Moreland
  1. An Overview of Willard’s Primary Writings: The Willardian Corpus
    —Steven L. Porter, Gary W. Moon, J. P. Moreland

Engaging Wiilard
  1. Body and Soul: Tweaking Dallas Willard’s
    Understanding of the Human Person
    —J. P. Moreland
  2. Neither Because nor in Spite of: A Critical Reflection on Willard’s Read of the Beatitudes
    —Gregg Ten Elshof
  3. Redeeming Moral Formation: The Unity of Spiritual and Moral Formation in Willardian Thought
    —Aaron Preston

Extending Willard
  1. “Living with the Lord Always Before Them”: Considerations of Spiritual Guidance Offered by Ignatius of Loyola and Dallas Willard
    —Catherine Looker
  2. Embracing Jesus in a First Century Context: What Can It Teach Us about Spiritual Formation?
    —Darrell L. Bock
  3. Putting on Christ: Spiritual Formation and the Drama of Discipleship
    —Kevin J. Vanhoozer
  4. Learning from Jesus to Live in the Manner Jesus Would if He Were I: Biblical Grounding for Willard’s Proposal Regarding Jesus’ Humanity
    —Klaus Issler

Enacting Willard
  1. Rethinking the Kingdom of God: The Work of Dallas Willard and Some Applications to Psychotherapeutic Practice
    —John Ortberg
  2. Dallas Willard: My Favorite Psychologist
    —Gary W. Moon

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