On Honoring Dallas Willard and Continuing as His Student

May 23, 2013

This Saturday, May 25 at 10:30 am, there will be a Memorial Service for Dallas Willard at Church on the Way to celebrate his life and grieve our loss of his departure.  The service will be broadcasted through the church's website.  Dallas asked that three people share at the service--John Ortberg, Richard Foster, and I.  It is very hard for me to express adequately my emotions about all this.  On the one hand, it is one of my life's greatest honors to have been asked to so participate.  On the other hand, I do not feel worthy or adequate for this task, and would ask for you to pray that I will sense God's presence prior to and during the service.  The Willard family is so precious that I want the time to be a healing one for them.

As I have already commented in an earlier post, Willard was someone who actually achieved genuine competence at life in the Kingdom, and he absence leaves a large whole in this world.  Yet, the way he left us was very uplifting.  In my research and reading on Near Death Experiences, nurses say that it is not uncommon for people who are at the point of death to see beyond the veil into heaven, to see an angel coming for them, and so on.  This is what happened to Dallas.  He was given glimpses "beyond the veil" and I am certain that these were deeply encouraging to him.

As for me, I have decided to read Spirit of the Disciplines, The Divine Conspiracy, and Renovation of the Heart in that order.  I plan to read them slowly and to ponder how I might use their contents to enter more deeply into the life of Jesus.  In this way, even though he is gone, Dallas will continue to be my teacher.

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9 Responses to 'On Honoring Dallas Willard and Continuing as His Student'

  1. Matt Harbour says:

    Bless you JP. Dallas had a huge impact on our development of Rivendell Sanctuary. I, for one, was deeply moved by the news of his passing. May we all strive to lead the Kingdom life that he lived and taught – a true testimony to the living Christ. May the Lord be very near you as you participate in this memorial service.

  2. Bobby Sparks says:

    I’m thankful that he left us the books you mentioned. They are my three favorites from Dallas. And all the mp3 downloads. So that we can have access to his wisdom for years to come.

  3. Kiel West says:

    I will pray for you sir.

    If it is any encouragement, I have found your voice to share a quality with Dallas’, though I did not at first know that you two had any affiliation. Both voices are patient, forthcoming, and unassuming. I have always trusted Dallas, and I trust you. If I were in charge, I would also ask you to speak at this event.

    Do you know by any chance, if the service will be recorded? I would love to hear it. I am doubtful that I will be able to stream it live while I’m in the woods this weekend.


  4. Michael Robb says:

    Dear J.P.
    This is a wonderful post. It reminds me that I should renew my efforts to speak to you. I wonder if you received my letter which I sent to Talbot. I couldn’t find an email. If you didn’t get it or even if you did, get in touch. I’m the guy writing the PhD on Dallas’s soteriology, who lives in Munich.

    Michael Robb (Mike)

  5. […] In his blog post about the memorial service on May 25th for Dallas Willard, J. P Moreland wrote: […]

  6. Cindy K. says:

    Praying for you J.P.!

  7. Rita says:

    Dr. Moreland, I will pray for you. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that this service can be seen via the internet. Dallas Willard’s life and ministry has touched people all over the world—even mine all the way on the East Coast. If I were able, I would travel to CA to be at the service—he meant just that much to me. And so, I am so thankful that I will at least be able to participate from afar.

    Since his death, I have been re-reading Dallas’ books and articles and have been comforted to celebrate him and grieve his departure with others like you who have written tributes. This, too, has been a gift.

    I pray regularly for his wife, children, granddaughter and all his family members, as well as those like you who were his personal friends. I can’t imagine the loss you all must feel. I am just heartbroken and have gotten “to know” him through his writings and through hearing him in person a couple of times.! Yet, I am also inspired to, intend to, live and die as a disciple of Jesus. This, I’m sure would please Dallas more than anything.

    God be with you and all the speakers and participants tomorrow and in the following days, weeks and months of grief.

  8. Sean Meade says:

    I prayed for you and great job today, JP.

  9. Susan Smith says:

    You did a beautiful job today. Your authenticity, your sadness, your tears moved me deeply. And for the record, I think you are a lot like Dallas Willard, especially in his refusal to be bullied. Thank you for being so generous in what you share with us. I, for one, love and need you and your scholarship. Thank you.