Over the past 25 years, philosopher Dallas Willard’s influential writings on spiritual formation have shaped the way countless people understand what it means to follow Christ.

Now, for the first time in that span, a group of scholars from across the country has teamed up to offer a wide-ranging examination of Willard’s ideas and their impact. In the latest issue of the Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care — an academic journal published by the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology — 10 leading thinkers in the area of spiritual formation provide their critiques and assessments of Willard’s contributions to the field.

“[O]ne of the best compliments that can be paid a scholar is to have his or her carefully presented ideas thoughtfully and critically engaged,” managing editor Steve L. Porter writes with co-editor Gary W. Moon in the introduction to the special issue. “The articles and reflections which follow attempt to take Dallas’ work as seriously as he took it, and in that we trust Dallas will be encouraged.”

Willard, a former member of Biola’s Board of Trustees, is a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, where he has taught for the past 45 years. He is the author of several books, including The Spirit of the Disciplines, The Divine Conspiracy, Hearing God, Renovation of the Heart, The Great Omission and Knowing Christ Today.

For the special issue of the journal, the editors solicited and received dozens of submissions interacting with Willard’s work on spiritual formation. The 10 articles that appear in the issue include submissions from the likes of Darrell Bock, Keith Meyer, Klaus Issler and Gregg Ten Elshof.

The Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care has made Darrell Bock’s article, “Embracing Jesus in a First Century Context: What Can It Teach Us about Spiritual Commitment?” available for free. A list of the other articles from the special issue is also available.

To subscribe to the Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care or to order a copy of the special Willard issue, visit our website.

Written by Jason Newell. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.