Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard (1935–2013) was a renowned teacher, acclaimed writer, and one of our most brilliant Christian thinkers. He was as celebrated for his enduring writings on spiritual formation as he was for his scholarship, with a profound influence in the way he humbly mentored so many of today's leaders in the Christian faith. His books include The Divine Conspiracy (Christianity Today’s Book of the Year in 1998), The Spirit of the Disciplines, Hearing God, Renovation of the Heart, and others.

Willard was professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for over forty years, and his books have received numerous Christianity Today Annual Book Awards and other recognitions. He served on the boards of the C. S. Lewis Foundation and Biola University, and was a member of numerous evaluation committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. He received bachelor’s degrees from both Tennessee Temple College and Baylor University and a graduate degree at Baylor University, as well as a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Philosophy and the History of Science.

Visit the Dallas Willard Center to find more information on Dallas Willard's legacy and work.

View the IVP press release: Acclaimed Writer and Respected Teacher Dallas Willard Dies.

Learn more about Willard's spiritual biography by Gary Moon, Becoming Dallas Willard.

by Dallas Willard
by Dallas Willard
by Dallas Willard
Featuring Richard J. Foster and John Ortberg
by Dallas Willard
Compiled and Edited by Jan Johnson
by Dallas Willard
Compiled and Edited by Jan Johnson
by Dallas Willard
by Dallas Willard
by Dallas Willard
by Dallas Willard and John Ortberg
Edited by Dallas Willard
Edited by Dallas Willard
by Trevor Hudson
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Trevor Hudson
Foreword by Dallas Willard
Edited by Gary W. Moon
Contributions by John Ortberg, Jane Willard, Richard J. Foster, James Bryan Smith, and J. P. Moreland
Featuring Dallas Willard
Edited by Gary W. Moon
Contributions by John Ortberg, Jane Willard, Richard J. Foster, James Bryan Smith, and J. P. Moreland
Featuring Dallas Willard
by Ruth Haley Barton
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Mary Poplin
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Mary Poplin
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Joshua Choonmin Kang
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Joshua Choonmin Kang
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Phillip E. Johnson
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Keith Meyer
Foreword by Dallas Willard
by Keith Meyer
Foreword by Dallas Willard

Tributes from Friends and Colleagues

"Dallas Willard made major inroads into our understanding of the huge philosophical issues of phenomenology and the philosophy of mind. To the general public he is best known for his Christian writings, the most prominent being The Divine Conspiracy. Again and again I have been profoundly struck by Dallas Willard's ability to speak fully to both mind and heart. His intellectual stature and his deep devotion to Christ were distinguishing marks of his life. And, above all else, the humility and gracious character of his life were simply stunning."

Richard J. Foster


"My beloved friend and mentor, Dr. Dallas Willard, was the most brilliant and Christlike man I have ever known. He preached and taught the gospel of the available Kingdom of God, and lived it each day. Quite simply, his life and teaching radically changed my life for the good. I was privileged to have known him for twenty-eight years, and was richly blessed by serving as his teaching assistant at Fuller for seven summer courses, wherein I listened to Dallas teach about being an apprentice of Jesus. He lived with grace and dignity, free from anger or envy, and offered wisdom and kindness to all he met. My heart is in pain at his passing, but I am comforted in the certainty that at this moment he now rules and reigns in the heavens with the blessed Trinity, and that one glorious day I shall see him again."

James Bryan Smith


"This morning our wonderful teacher and friend awakened to the full goodness of the Kingdom of the Heavens he had described so beautifully. I believe Dallas Willard was one of the great reformers of Christian thought of the past century and that his most powerful lessons were in how he lived an unhurried life with God."

Gary W. Moon


"Renovaré is grieving the loss of our dear friend, brother and ministry team member, Dallas Willard. And yet, we are rejoicing that Dallas is fully experiencing the Kingdom of God he so beautifully and faithfully taught us about. Dallas's work has had an enormous impact on the ministry of Renovaré, and although we were recipients of his great intellect and wisdom, we have learned the most from Dallas by just watching him live his life—fully devoted to Jesus and passionately sharing with others what an abundant life looks like in the here and now."

—Rachel Quan


"He was the kind of figure and person that only is given by God once in many generations…. Dallas Willard has called evangelicals back to the ancients and their practice of the forgotten disciplines of silence, solitude, reflective reading of Scripture and unceasing prayer, fasting, etc. and their vision of the kind of life these can produce. We who have learned from him stand on his shoulders looking for how to build on his work."

Keith Meyer


"Many years ago in a private moment I asked Dallas, 'What is your greatest concern about the kingdom-based spiritual formation movement?' Without hesitation he answered: 'Willard-ites.' We sat silent for a few moments, that word hanging in the air. On his countenance, in his eyes, I could see a fear that someone might mistake Dallas or his teaching for the endgame, not the signposts he meant them to be of his profound love of Jesus and his kingdom. I can't say much more or I'd run the risk of either hyperbole or sounding like what Dallas wanted greatly to avoid. Perhaps I could end with this: no human being taught me more about life in Jesus and his kingdom."

Todd Hunter


"Dallas was a lighthouse for all Christian academics and intellectuals. When I first met him, I was a new and bewildered Christian teaching in a secular university. I knew instantly—this is what Jesus would look like as a professor! Dallas was ever the generous spiritual academic father to so many of us. Now that he has become a part of that great cloud of witnesses, we must encourage one another to continue the work he so brilliantly, lovingly and faithfully began. The lighthouse still beckons us."

Mary Poplin

"In his book Hearing God, Dallas Willard wrote 'Spiritual people are not those who engage in certain spiritual practices; they are those who draw their life from a conversational relationship with God.' These words reflect his profound wisdom and his profound life of knowing and following Christ on a daily basis.

He did this in not only Christian settings but in the broader academic world. What he learned from God and about God was not as a 'professional Christian' or in a monastery, but it was as a philosopher in the marketplace of people and ideas. His life exuded intellectual and spiritual integrity as he was being conformed to the image of Christ through prayerful obedience.

Dallas thought about his faith and he talked about his faith but most importantly he talked about Jesus whom he called 'the smartest man who ever lived.' I am deeply indebted to Dallas for his winsome example and rich teaching on how to be a spiritual person as a disciple of Jesus Christ."

Bob Fryling, IVP publisher


"Many people will miss his strong, gentle wisdom, remembering him as someone who was soaked in the presence of Christ. He was a beloved friend and writer to many. We enjoyed publishing a number of titles by Dallas, especially one of his signature books, Hearing God…. As Dallas taught so many, the Sabbath and Sabbath moments like the ones he described are ways of acknowledging who is in charge of the world and who is not. It reminds us that we are dependent on God and not ourselves. Our activity, our work, our intensity are not god. And by resting from those things, we acknowledge who is…. These I gratefully carry with me, gifts from Dallas Willard."

Andy Le Peau, associate publisher for editorial, form a blog post: "Remembering Dallas Willard"


"My friend Dallas deserves the finest tribute I could give to anyone: he showed me so much more of Jesus, and helped me want to know his friend Jesus and depend upon him with everything I've got. I saw Dallas imitate Christ and depend on him when facing smart-aleck students, sticky family situations and circumstances where I knew he disagreed with what was going on. Salt and light, love and power. Thank you, Jesus."

Jan Johnson


"I was privileged to know and cherish the friendship of Dallas Willard…. I am grateful for the breadth of his wisdom, the quick flash of his humor, his sharp intellect. Whether we were talking about Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer or some lighter topic, he constantly encouraged me. He spoke well of my work, helped me to believe and trust in Jesus Christ and his promises."

Emilie Griffin


"I have had the delightful privilege of getting to know Dallas Willard through many of the authors we have published, particularly in IVP's Formatio line. James Bryan Smith has shared with me of how Dallas would encourage him not to reference him so much, saying, 'If it was any good, it did not come from me, but from the Holy Spirit, so consider it public domain.' Todd Hunter likewise told me how Dallas encouraged him to run with many ideas that Dallas had seeded in him. Alongside the encouragement from Dallas came a gentle guidance. Keith Meyer has often recalled the message he received from Dallas after we had sent a book contract: 'Keith, just remember, you are the donkey pulling the Jesus cart.' So thank you to James Bryan Smith, Richard Foster, Nathan Foster, Gary Moon, Kent Carlson, Mike Lueken, Todd Hunter, Mindy Caliguire, Keith Meyer, Gayle Beebe, Glandion Carney, Emilie Griffin and Jan Johnson for giving me glimpses into what it is like to do life in companionship with Dallas. Dallas Willard was a person who repeatedly gave himself (even when it meant sidelining his own projects) to invest in the lives of others."

Cindy Bunch


"Dallas Willard loved to say that for those who are living fully in the Kingdom of God, this world is a perfectly safe place in which to live. The news of his death this morning grabbed that beautiful truth and shook it vigorously. The world, at least for a moment, seems less safe with Dallas not here. I sense a vulnerability. His captivating and enthralling vision of our life with God dismantled and rebuilt my understanding of God and His ways. He taught me to how to believe in God again. Dallas spoke about our life with God in a manner that often made me laugh with joy, thinking to myself, 'It's all true, isn't it? There really is a God and He is wonderful!' I don't want to lose that. I heard Dallas say recently that some people will die and it will be a while before they realize they are dead. That is vintage Dallas. Eternity is real and it has already begun. He lived this. He once wrote, 'You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God's great universe.' I cling to this truth today. But for now—in this moment—the world seems less safe. I miss him."

Kent Carlson

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