Here Willard brilliantly discusses the following:
- the difference between knowledge, belief, commitment and profession
- the major questions of life: what is reality? who is well-off or blessed? who is a truly good person? how does one become a truly good person?
- the disappearance of moral knowledge from our institutions of higher education and religion
- the importance and accessibility of spiritual knowledge (obtainable primarily through practicing what Jesus taught)
- Christian pluralism in its best and worst forms
- the role of pastor in communicating knowledge
As for the last item, Willard argues that pastors should be responsible for the following:
- we must know what real knowledge is and who has it
- we must live according to the realities our doctrine represents (if we can’t because our doctrine is not based in reality then we must address that)
- we must be honest about what we know and what we don’t know, never pretending to communicate what we don’t know
- since we can’t know everything, we need to know people who have knowledge of things beyond our own and learn from them
- we must present the fundamental truths of Christianity as knowledge, not merely something to believe, commit to, or profess
- we must invite people to live in this knowledge and try it out for themselves
- we must not relegate discipleship as something that is done within the walls or the arms of the church body only, rather we must teach our people how to make disciples in the world they live, in the workplace
For anyone who is looking for a solid Christian epistemology, you’ve found it. Each chapter is followed by study guide to help the reader process the material. I recommend every pastor find two or three friends to share a cup of coffee with and the contents of this book.