Catalyst West Interview with John Ortberg

April 22, 2010
Mariner's Church - Irvine, CA

John Ortberg and Dallas discuss the central message of Jesus' gospel and its importance in establishing an appropriate basis for Christian discipleship. Their discussion also includes the nature of spiritual growth and the role of disciplines in creating space in our lives for God to act.

Recorded April 22, 2010
Catalyst West
Mariner's Church in Irvine, California. 


Catalyst West Interview with John Ortberg

This dialogue between John Ortberg and Dallas Willard provides a good introduction to Dallas's teachings. Interview topics include:
1 . Jesus’ gospel as the availability of life in the kingdom of God here and now for anyone who puts their trust in Jesus and      becomes His disciple.
2.  The Kingdom of God is God acting. It is the range of God’s effective will
3.  Grace is God acting in our lives to accomplish what we could not on our own.
4.  Spiritual disciplines are practices of wisdom and engagement that create space in our lives for God to act. 
5.  Intelligent action versus trying harder.

Catalyst West Interview with John Ortberg


  • Impact of Dallas Willard: John Ortberg opens by highlighting Dallas Willard's significant impact on contemporary Christian thought, especially in the areas of spiritual life and growth. Ortberg emphasizes Dallas's intellect and his heart, sharing a personal anecdote about how Dallas's teachings, particularly through his book "The Spirit of the Disciplines," profoundly influenced Ortberg's own spiritual journey.
  • Redefining the Gospel: Dallas challenges the traditional view of the gospel as meeting the minimum requirements for entry into heaven after death. Instead, he presents it as an invitation to live in the kingdom of God now. This reframing shifts the focus from afterlife assurances to experiencing God's presence and action here and now.
  • Kingdom of God and Grace: Dallas explains that the kingdom of God is about God in action and that experiencing this kingdom equates to experiencing grace. Grace is not just about forgiveness but is the active presence of God in one's life, enabling individuals to do what they cannot do on their own. This understanding of grace underscores the necessity of learning to live with God in charge, rather than relying solely on one's efforts.
  • Spiritual Disciplines and Transformation: The conversation delves into the role of spiritual disciplines, not as punitive measures, but as practices of wisdom and engagement that lead to transformation. Dallas emphasizes that disciplines such as solitude, silence, worship, and study are about engaging with reality and allowing God to reorder one's life. He clarifies that the goal is to change the inner character of the person, not just external behaviors.
  • Reality of God's Presence: Dallas stresses the importance of recognizing the underlying reality of God's presence, which is more substantial than the physical world. He discusses how spiritual disciplines help make space for God to act, allowing individuals to experience the nourishing presence of God directly.