It’s been wonderful to see some of the tributes pouring in for Dallas Willard, after his death yesterday.
Back in 2000, I got take part in a conference organised by Vineyard Churches US, that had Brian McLaren, Stanley Grenz and Dallas Willard as speakers. They also led us in small group seminars.
It was one of those events that change the course and direction of my life and ministry. In particular Willard spoke about atonement, and the problems of reducing the gospel to penal substitution. Then in my seminar group with him, one phrase from him stuck with me (at least this is how I remember it); ‘there are facts and we have theories about the facts, but we must never mistake our theories for the facts’.
My wife asked me on the phone if the event was worthwhile and I replied that just hearing Willard at the start had made the trip worthwhile.
A few years ago, I got to meet him again and say thank you in person and share how he had impacted my life. He was warm, gracious and kind in response.
A life so wonderfully lived, and a man who died so well.