Dallas Willard and popular author John Ortberg have teamed together to create a new product being launched right now called Monvee. What is Monvee? Monvee, which bills itself as “the future of spiritual formation,” is an online assessment tool that is used to “handcraft” a personalized plan for spiritual development for its participants. That sounds great, except that there’s a problem. And that problem, one of them anyway, is Dallas Willard.
Dallas Willard, for those who don’t know him, has been a darling of the evangelical world for years. He has been a prolific writer in Christendom, churning out very popular books such as The Divine Conspiracy (Christianity Today‘s Book of the Year in 1998), The Spirit of the Disciplines, Hearing God, Renovation of the Heart, and, most recently, The Great Omission. But Dallas Willard, though he is identified as an evangelical, is anything but orthodox in his views. In a recent interview, Willard made these shocking statements:
“Now, I believe that everyone who deserves to be saved will be saved no matter where they are or what they do.”
“(God) is open and in touch with everyone in the world, and for all who seek them with all of their heart—and that is defined in terms of coming to love Him, and not just have the right beliefs about Him—but coming to love Him, and loving their neighbor as themselves.”
And then on Dallas Willard’s own website, he makes this universalist statement:
“I am not going to stand in the way of anyone whom God wants to save. I am not going to say ‘he can’t save them.’ I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”
In these statements, Dallas Willard – a professing Christian, might I remind you – is making the classic argument put forward by all skeptics who don’t want to believe Jesus when Jesus said these words: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the Father but by me.” And that argument is this: what about the “good Buddhist” or the “good atheist?” I know that it feels good and more loving to think that God will save people, who to our eyes anyway, appear to be good, decent, moral people. Our error comes when we view this problem with human eyes, and not with God’s eyes. More importantly, we use our own standards for “good” to gauge a person’s “goodness” or “worthiness” rather than God’s holy standard.
So my final question is, if Dallas Willard is a Universalist, as it appears to me, where does that leave John Ortberg, his partner and co-creator of Monvee? And what does that make Monvee…..a good thing or a bad thing? We’ll look at that in more detail in an upcoming post.