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"The revered Christian author whose bestselling classics include The Divine Conspiracy and The Spirit of the Disciplines provides a new model for how we can present the Christian faith to others.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 wo"The revered Christian author whose bestselling classics include The Divine Conspiracy and The Spirit of the Disciplines provides a new model for how we can present the Christian faith to others.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"--...

Title : The Allure of Gentleness: What Makes the Christian Faith Compelling and Attractive
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ISBN : 9780062373601
Format Type : Audiobook
Number of Pages : 5 Pages
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The Allure of Gentleness: What Makes the Christian Faith Compelling and Attractive Reviews

  • Steve Penner
    2019-06-02 23:04

    I was so looking forward to this last book, published posthumously, by Dallas Willard. Every one of his books sits on my shelf. I have learned much from his writings. Alas, I encountered primarily disappointment. This is the book that Willard had intended to write, perhaps even had begun, but it was not to be due to the cancer that took him. So it is pieced together from lectures, notes and outlines by his daughter. It promises a new view of apologetics, but fails to deliver.What is most missing is Willard's voice. The words communicate some very basic truths about apologetics but the voice is totally absent. There is nothing winsome or evocative which I had come to expect from him. As far as I am concerned it is a total failure to have published this book under his name. It should have been a reflection by his daughter on the themes of apologetics and an apologetic lifestyle with her as the author. I suppose it would not have likely sold much. Sorry, but that's the way it all feels.

  • Ann
    2019-06-21 03:17

    This book is based on a series of lectures and was edited and published posthumously by Willard's daughter. Target readers are Christian laiety who want to share their faith with skeptics. As the title implies, there are ways to do it and ways not to do it. Willard offers arguments for the existence of God and sensible guidelines for discussing one's faith with interested and receptive friends, based on his own gentle style, which he learned from scripture and a lifelong personal relationship with Jesus. He does not advocate arguing with people who are hostile to the Christian faith.

  • Christian
    2019-05-21 03:59

    Wonderful read. Apologetics is not about engaging in intellectual debates and arguments to win people to Christ. It calls for the gentleness of Christ in walking alongside seekers in their attempts to know the truth. It is the work of aiding, enlightening, and helping the seekers experience Christ. Our conduct must embodies the message and Person we want to communicate.

  • Bryan Neuschwander
    2019-06-02 00:59

    Beautifully thought provoking.

  • Kent
    2019-05-28 04:22

    A unique book on apologetics, Willard invests some ink in one's manner in doing apologetics, that it is not a contest to win, but that it is a helping ministry, a ministry by which we are assisting individuals by using our God's-given reason (while trusting the Holy Spirit) to help people come to faith in God. He stresses that apologetics is not just a ministry to those who are not believers, but also to those who do believe but who struggle with doubts in one or more areas.Willard highlights the importance of, even the biblical mandate/example to use our, reason, to use our minds. He also emphasizes that what really sells the Christian faith is a Christian life, a life that is surely lived in obvious communion with the living God and in the obvious power of something greater. He returns throughout the opening chapters to the NT charter on apologetics, 1 Peter 3:15-16, and its surrounding context.In addition to the manner of apologetics, he also dives into the content of various apologetic issues. He responds to typical questions about the Christian faith with fresh answers and helpful illustrations. His illustrations remind me of Jesus' parables--using ordinary life to illustrate spiritual principles.Is it necessary to say that I don't agree with all his theological points? Perhaps not, but I will say that his understanding of Scripture is down-to-earth, thought-provoking, and attention-getting all at the same time.

  • NebraskaIcebergs
    2019-05-26 22:16

    bookstore this past summer. Number one reason was that I felt challenged by an earlier book of his, Spirit of the Disciplines. That book helped me better understand the place of solitude, prayer, meditation, sacrifice, and service in the Christian life. Another reason for my interest was that, according to the subtitle, about defending the faith in the manner of Jesus. I've been going through a season of reading about apologetics and Willard's approach intrigued me. There's much I appreciate Allure of Gentleness, including the simplicity or casualness of its tone. With each new chapter, I felt almost as if Willard were having a conversation with his readers. I also found of interest his contention that apologetics isn't for those outside of the faith; but for the doubters and questioners within the faith. While I did initially seek out books on apologetics as a way to answer questions by the skeptics, I've also come to find them to reassure me when I walk through valleys. Because reading material in defense of the Christian faith isn't new to me, I found myself already acquainted with much of what Willard wrote. Yet I still enjoyed Allure of Gentleness and believe it a worthy addition to my shelves.

  • Jim
    2019-05-20 19:58

    Dallas Willard talks apologetics. So much better than anything else I've encountered that has to do with apologetics.Apologetics, as defined by Willard, is "a ministry that uses thinking and reasoning, in reliance on the Holy Spirit, to assist earnest inquirers in relinquishing disbelief and mistrust in God and God's good purposes for humankind." Apologetics has come to be defined by terms like defense and argument and debate but Willard points out that it is a "loving service" and to engage in Christian apologetics, one must examine and understand the way Jesus did it.For much of the book, Willard examines the way Jesus interacted with earnest, and not so earnest, questioners including the specific time and attention he gave to each individual and the gentleness and graciousness he had in engaging with them.In the last few chapters of the book, Willard spends some time tackling some of the major barriers people have to belief in suffering and whether God speaks to people today.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-23 03:01

    Willard's treatment of the subject comes at a different angle than most, establishing first and foremost that apologetics is a serving ministry in which we examine "What are the hard questions that smother faith?" It is not an in-depth, comprehensive approach to apologetic argumentation, but chock full of succinct insight and pertinent scripture to meditate on. Emphasis is placed on the believer seeking to work with the Holy Spirit "in gentleness and reverence. We surrender our powers and use of words, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to relieve the burden of doubt from a troubled heart." Willard address a broad range of questions and difficulties, (of an intellectual, spiritual, and emotional nature) such as cosmology, the seeming illusiveness of God, God's redemptive work in human history, the problem of pain and evil, and others. The final section begins with this affirmation: "The ultimate apologetic–that is to say, the ultimate lifter of doubt–is the believer acting in faith in an interactive life with God." A worthwhile read.

  • Keith
    2019-06-04 23:25

    Dallas Willard tackles apologetics with a strong emphasis on using reason and experience in a way that invites the seeker and the believer into ever deepening belief. Willard disparages the arrogant apologetic that is often used today and stresses gentleness and good will as well as a readiness for genuine listening and engagement, not for a 'win', but for the good of one another. i appreciated the spirit in which Willard leads us into deepening faith.

  • John Anders
    2019-06-21 01:15

    A really good primer on apologetics. Answers some timely questions most believers have or will ask. And, as the title suggests, Willard ensures the reader knows apologetics should be done with gentleness.

  • Rob
    2019-05-21 19:57

    God bless Dallas Willard's daughter. She brought together some of his last talks and edited them into book form. It's a final word from one who was brilliant in teaching apologetics and evangelism by way of discipleship.

  • Eric
    2019-06-04 00:18

    You can tell this was not actually written by Dallas Willard.

  • Patsy
    2019-06-08 22:23

    purchase my own copy so I can reread as much as I want

  • Susan Kendrick
    2019-05-21 03:06

    This was such a thoughtful, truth-filled book.

  • Amanda Tranmer
    2019-05-30 04:03

    The first thing that struck me as I journeyed into this book is that it's not just a book on apologetics. It's a Dallas Willard book on apologetics. So really it's a lot of Dallas Willard's ministry focus (Kingdom living) with some apologetics sandwiched in there.The thing I most appreciate about Willard's teaching in general is how he'll define things you assumed you had already fully conceived and bring into focus that which you already thought was clear. He has this way of taking the things you've always known and making you see the backside of them, of causing you to question what you always knew it meant. And when he does that, you can't unsee it. You wonder how you never saw it before because it was obviously always there. But these experiences aren't always pleasant. He can have an unsettling effect when he comes at the ideas you're most attached to, the places where you are comfortable. I squirmed a couple of times (I have some remaining questions about his thoughts on the inerrancy of the Bible for example.) But he is the first to tell you that he could be wrong. He is always careful to qualify his own ideas with statements like "I believe, I think," and then explain why against a backdrop of Scripture. Where Scripture is not explicit there is no demanding, only leading and questioning and exhorting you to seek. I love his teaching.In this book he has ultimately lead me again to Jesus, the One with the real answers, the express image of God, the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, the One through whom the world was created and who sustains all things by His powerful Word, the One we are meant to follow and learn from. Willard's writing is whole life application. Everything he writes is connected to everything else. This book is no different. It's a Kingdom worldview with an apologetic slant, a book that deals equally with doubts outside and inside the church and why it matters and where we go from here to participate in what God is doing to advance His Kingdom right now. Our genuine, transformative belief, in gentle action, founded on reason and faith, fueled and directed by the Spirit, is ultimately the best apologetic. We are told to avoid trying to argue belief into people, to "prove it," and instead come alongside, question with them, let them see, help them see, what we genuinely and reasonably know and experience and how it all actually works in our lives beyond theory and "blind" faith.There were some sections I thought were overly brief and left off with too many jumps, holes, and unexplored branches. At times it does have a transcribed feel, lacking the polish of an intended volume. Still totally worthwhile.

  • Rick Dugan
    2019-06-08 22:22

    Fascinating and refreshing are not words that normally come to mind when reviewing books on Christian apologetics. But these are words that capture my feelings as I finished this modified transcript of talks given by Dallas Willard before he died. The book addresses, though not as deeply as other books on apologetics, the expected topics of theodicy, reliability of spiritual knowledge, first causes, evolution, etc. However, it also makes three assertions that I've not encountered in other such books.First, Willard makes the case that the spirit of the apologist - a spirit of love, humility and gentleness - is as essential (if not more) than the content of her arguments. Jesus launched a revolution because he was gentle, not in spite of his gentleness. "When we do the work of apologetics, we do it as disciples of Jesus—and therefore we are to do it in the manner in which he would do it," says Willard.Second, though apologetics is usually addressed to the skeptic and unbeliever, Willard's book is addressed to believers. Apologetics is coming alongside people (including Christians) with their doubts and fears, and providing them with reasons to believe God. This is a pastoral and compassionate apologetics. Such an approach makes the local church a safe place for those who struggle to trust God and see His goodness in the midst of real life suffering, doubt, and anxiety. Apologetics, when done with the mission of Jesus in mind, brings liberty, joy, comfort, and faith. It's about entering new life in Christ.Third, apologetics done in the Jesus way can't be separated from discipleship. This begins with the commands to seek God, which imply that God is not easily or obviously seen. God is hidden, and though we can find him, God maintains a certain distance from his children so that our free will is not overrun by his blazing glory. We have the freedom to choose.Yet at the same time, we believe that "Jesus has the knowledge required to solve your problems." We pursue God's truth to deepen our confidence in and relationship with him. An apologetic of the possibility of a relationship with God includes the following (which Willard explains in detail):1. God exists.2. God is infinitely powerful to accomplish his purposes.2. God is good and has a good purpose for history and humanity.3. Through history, he is creating a community that freely responds to his good purposes.4. This community discovers God and the life that he offers described reliably in the pages of the Bible.5. Pain and suffering are also real.6. But pain and suffering are not necessarily incompatible with the goodness of God (though this is not immediately obvious).7. "A world that contains the possibility of evil is the one that also contains the greatest possibility of good." To become good people, we must have the real possibility of choosing evil. Evil in the natural world (earthquakes, sickness, etc.) "occurs because there is an enemy that wishes to make you doubt God."8. "Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal."9. In this life, we "overcome evil with good." Each of us can make "a significant impact on the moral evil in our world."10. In all of this, Jesus becomes our model and the Holy Spirit our guide: discipleship.11. This requires learning to have a conversational relationship with God: prayer.12. It reflects the possibility of a personal relationship with God, who is imminent and active in and around us. We just have to learn to see and hear him.13. This leads to a confidence (faith) to speak "in Jesus' name" and to pray with confidence; to acknowledge that God is active and good things aren't merely coincidence. This requires a humble vulnerability and trust.14. Discipleship is teaching such spiritual knowledge of God, relationship, prayer and faith.I'd love to see an expanded version of this book. I give it only 4 from 5 stars because it raised many unanswered questions. However, perhaps this will encourage me to continue to seek the God who is hidden.

  • Lee Harmon
    2019-06-13 01:08

    This is one of those books that I can only half-agree with, yet earns five stars for its approach and message. More conservative readers will appreciate the book most. Willard considers the work of apologetics as extremely important. “Being mistaken about life, the things of God, and the human soul is a deadly serious matter.” About such things he and I will disagree, yet I still enjoyed the book immensely.It is, like other effective apologetics books, a “feel-good defense” rather than a rigorous argument. For example, Willard begins many discussions with the assumption of God’s omnipotence. He states that a creator creates for good, therefore the world is good. See the underlying assumption of omnipotence within the argument? But this deduction then lays the foundation for the question of all questions: Why is there evil? Willard spends ample time trying to explain that the suffering we experience is necessary, but the whole thing would become a pointless exercise if we could only divorce ourselves from the assumption of God’s omnipotence.Willard discusses the role of reason, but recognizes the ineffectiveness of logical proofs. Christian apologetics, he insists, is not an attempt to prove we’re right. Defending the faith is about how you live. Amen, brother Willard! However, I think he errs in asserting that Christianity is the only religion based on love.Nevertheless, Willard does provide a reasonable argument for the existence of an intelligent creator when he argues that order comes from minds. From there, he suggests that Christian faith makes sense. An important part of the book is devoted to the matter of communication between God and humanity, both on a large scale and as a quiet voice to the individual. Willard realizes its hard to believe in God if you don’t recognize his voice. “God speaks constantly to people, but most of them don’t know what’s happening.” To this end, I found his explanation of how God speaks both simple and eloquent: “The fundamental way God speaks to us is by causing thoughts in our mind that we come to learn have a characteristic quality, content, and spirit about them.”For the believer trying to solidify their faith, or the unbeliever wondering what the heck is going on in the heads of believers, this is a great book. Gentle apologetics at its best!Harper One, © 2015, 191 pagesISBN:978-0-06-211408-2

  • Steven Bullmer
    2019-06-20 22:22

    When I was in seminary and a District Superintendent from my home Conference (Northern Illinois) came out to Iliff in Denver to see how we who were from the Conference were doing, he asked me about my passions for ministry. I told him about all that I was learning in seminary, how exciting it was to be learning it, how I wish someone had told me about some of this before I got to seminary (for it would have saved me a lot of unnecessary heartache, worry, and misunderstanding about the Christian faith), and how what I really want to do in ministry is teach people the stuff I'm learning so that they can be spared unnecessary heartache, worry, and misunderstanding. And he said, "Ah, so you want to be an apologist!" I had never heard that word before, but I was pretty sure I had nothing to apologize for when it came to my faith in Jesus. I have since learned that's not what an apologist is, and that he was right about my passion for my ministry. But apologists have gotten a bad rap, and rightfully so. "Apologetics" has come to mean "arguing," and many times "arguing in a rather confrontational manner." And further, it often seems today's apologists are trying to defend the faith by propping up an orthodoxy to which most thinking Christians don't subscribe. Dallas Willard's books is a wonderful breath of fresh air in all the stale smog of today's apologetics; and it starts by "defending the faith" the way Jesus did--with love, understanding, gentleness, and grace. Instead of shooting bullets at the enemy, apologetics in the manner of Jesus is more like planting seeds (I believe he told a parable about that). And while it takes longer to plant and nurture seeds than it does to empty a clip of bullets, the results are far superior.

  • Michael Austin
    2019-05-26 00:11

    The book includes some excellent material on faith and reason, the logical argumentation of Jesus in the gospels, some very interesting thoughts about hell (“hell is simply the best God can do for some people”), and discussions of materialism, science, technology, the problem of evil, and much more. The content here is concise, deep, and thought-provoking while remaining clear and accessible. I plan to go back through it again.The book centers on the ultimate apologetic: a life grounded in the resources of God’s kingdom, lived in friendship with him. We ourselves are living proof of the reality of God and his kingdom, or we at least should be. We aren’t perfect, but we are doing progressively better as we learn to live in him. Apologetics include argument, but they must go beyond this to the level of real life experience. What are the hard questions that smother the faith of others, and us? As we relate to others, and reflect on this question for ourselves, we will see which issues we ought to pursue. Once we do this, we can offer people something that will be helpful to them.As we engage in gentle apologetics, we will step out and risk, such that we will fail unless God shows up. We do what we can in partnership with God to help others step out and try something themselves, to experiment in life. As God meets them there, they may respond in faith. But whether they do or not, we continue in “a posture of joint discovery and of understanding together” (p. 170).

  • Meshach Kanyion
    2019-06-06 01:05

    You can tell it was transcribed. But the content is good.

  • Jason Kanz
    2019-06-20 21:26

    A few months ago, I saw this book show up as a pre-buy on Amazon and immediately purchased it. To say that I could not wait for it to come was a bit of an understatement. Yesterday, I saw that it was out for delivery and I couldn't wait to get home and get started.The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus (2015) by the late Dallas Willard is an exceptionally good book. It is unusual for me to be sad when I have finished a book, though I wish this one had kept going.Willard, a former philosophy professor from the University of Southern California, offered this book as a gentle pushback on the apologetics engine that occupies much of Christianity. Apologetics, or the defense of the faith, has unfortunately become an adversarial enterprise where the goal is to win the argument rather than love the person. Willard calls us to something more; he calls us to love others with the compassion and wisdom of Jesus. He also rightly makes the argument that our lives and the outworking of our faith is essential to our defense of the faith.Hints of his previous books--Spirit of the Disciplines, Hearing God, and the Divine Conspiracy, to name a few--find their way into the pages of this book, yet this book stands alone as a unique, important, and much welcome offering from Willard. May our lives of love reflect our message of truth.

  • Jeff
    2019-05-22 22:26

    Apologetics, according to Dallas Willard, is to be understood as serving others with the aim of helping them to solve or resolve the issues that smother faith. This service, says the author is just as needed to overcome the doubt within the church as it is to overcome the doubt without. The "Allure of Gentleness," both the title of this book and the way in which the attractive manner of our service ought be characterized, removes necessary hindrances and makes a way for God's truth into the lives of the beneficiaries of that truth. This idea is paramount in the mind of Willard as he goes on to help his readers understand how the apologetic task can best lead to changed lives. Really? Apologetics as service to others!? Where have you ever heard that before? Don't we all know that apologetics is all about winning an argument by undercutting the very ground upon which one's opponent stands? Well, that's Dallas Willard for you! And God bless him for it. The entire book registers in a tone which is consistent with the allure of gentleness to which the author points us. I found the first two and the last two chapters the most helpful but the entire book is a fitting tribute to a man who walked the talk.

  • Frank Peters
    2019-06-02 21:09

    This was a wonderful book completed posthumously Dallas Willard’s daughter. Giving that it was not actually penned by Willard, I was initially concerned about the quality of the book, by this concern was unfounded. The material from the book was collected from a series of talked by Dallas Willard which had been recorded. This created something beautiful. Not only were the words taken from Willard, but they were considerably simpler than the typical Willard prose, since they were based on what he had said. My comparison would be NT Wright, who speaks very well to a broad audience, but writes to a much smaller audience. Similarly, this Willard book should have the broadest appeal and I already want to purchase it for a number of friends and family members. The book is based on reflections on “giving and answer to the hope we have as Christians – with gentleness and respect”. The emphasis is on the gentleness & respect part which is too often missing when Christians seek to do apologetics. Willard encourages us not only to take part in verbal apologetics, but to do apologetics with our lives.

  • Derek Winterburn
    2019-05-24 21:11

    Scholars talk about ipsissima vox and ipsissima verba - the voice and the words of the speaker. This book no doubt contains the words of Dallas Willard but it very much captures his voice. Many of his 'written books' have his words but less of his voice: they are dense and towards obscure. However his talks (many available on hiswebsite) were full of content but had a lightness of touch and were shot through with his good humour. This is neither a long book nor a complicated one. Willard sets out the way he presented the Christian faith with gentleness, honesty and integrity. He is quietly confident in Christ's power to match any other great authority, but suggests how to open up issues and questions with non-believers. The Christian attitude in apologetic work consists in three things. The first is to have confidence in God and his truth. Second, we are to be humble, generous, and open toward other people. And, third, we are to have a true desire to lovingly serve.This is a good place to start if you have never read any of Dallas' work.

  • Elaine
    2019-06-13 03:15

    The idea of this book is to teach a Christian how to do apologetics but to do it gently. A quote from the intro sums it up nicely, "what is not fitting is for apologists to engage in debates and arguments with an antagonizing, arrogant spirit. Indeed, the best way to make the intellectual aspects of apologetics more effective is to combine them with the gentle spirit and kind presentation."Dallas Willard didn't technically write this book. He and his daughter had the idea to pull this book together from various articles and sermons he had given. They talked about it before he died but he didn't live to see the book actually put together. There were a couple things I greatly disagreed with. I wonder if they would have been in the final copy if Mr. Willard had lived.Overall I loved the book! My favorite chapters were on faith and reason, the problem of pain and evil, and living and acting with God. The book just gives an introduction to these ideas, but Mr. Willard gives a list of resources for further study at the back of the book.This would be a great book to read with a group, reading one chapter at a time and discussing questions and ideas from that chapter.

  • Craig L.
    2019-06-09 01:17

    A unfinished apologetic Dallas Wiilard is best remembered for his writings on the spiritual life. But, he was a philosopher — he taught philosophy for many years — and also gave quite a bit of thought to the philosophical defense of the Christian faith. This book is one example of his thinking along these lines. His concern here is how to present a winsome and attractive case for the Christian faith. What he presents are traditional arguments for Christian theism — but he also emphasizes the spirit and attitude in which they should be presented. The book feels a little incomplete — it is something he was working on when he died — but his thoughts are worthwhile. There is nothing groundbreaking here, but it is still worth reading.

  • Kate
    2019-06-06 22:57

    This book has a great premise, presented clearly, and I admire it. I even heard a wonderful sermon this Sunday that called to mind the thoughts as presented in this book (I have gotten two-thirds of the way through the book). However, I, so far, have had trouble reading books by Dallas Willard, largely because of their tone, and that includes this one. I can't pinpoint it. I have watched him speak, as a lecturer and as a conversant in a series of talks involving him, Richard Foster and John Ortberg. Dallas Willard presented in these forums so kindly in addition to learned, and I could have listened to him for hours on end. Yet I can't sit and read his books. So I am putting this book down for now, but do not let that stop you picking it up!

  • Clara Roberts
    2019-06-09 22:20

    There was much to like in this book but it was not a particularly well written book. Willard died before he could put this book in print. His daughter wrote the book using his notes and sermons. "Reason is is a natural human process or behavior very much like seeing or walking." "..we are to be humble, generous, and open toward other people." ".. we are here to learn and for that we need humility."

  • Marilyn
    2019-06-03 19:58

    The present day of apologetics and defense of one's faith has taken an ugly turn - particularly on the social media platform. Willard reminds us that Jesus never changed anyone's mind by bullying or intellectual one-upping. Instead, Jesus desired to serve, not convince - and always with a gentle spirit. The best defense we have to offer is the way we live out our daily lives in interaction and reaction with others.

  • Bruce I. Clardy
    2019-05-28 23:15

    The gentle way of apologetics Apologetics conducted in a gentle way rather than in a competitive debate is shown to be much more effective. The late Dr. Willard, in a most readable style, encourages the reader to approach the ministry of apologetics with the intent to dispel doubts the believer or unbeliever may have about Christianity for the benefit of that person. In my opinion, this is a 5 star read on the subject of apologetics.