Sat in a side room before the conference was about to start someone asked me "Are you nervous about today...?"
"Not really, what's the worst thing that could happen? Apart from calling Dallas, Wallas Dillard!"
A softly spoken voice from the corner joins in "I've been called worse...!"
Willard unpacked his material on knowledge and his disappointment that despite a biblical mandate to know, the church has allowed the world to wrestle knowledge away from the church leaving only faith - a unmitigated disaster.
The bible is a book of knowledge that gives knowledge and offers the best analysis for living. The problem is that people try to deal with human life on a non spiritual basis, with knowledge taken from the church, all that can be offered is a 'leap of faith'. Full knowledge comes from a place of completeness, the antithesis of the brokenness generated from excessive desires that will ruin you (2 Peter 1:2). Willard argued that we live by faith based on knowledge of God, not ignorance, it is this knowledge that represents the answer to living.
"What about Gnosticism?" I asked him over lunch. Of course gnosticism and its duality was all about a secret knowledge to be kept to oneself, biblical knowledge of living is out there in the public square for all, wrapped up in the message of fullness that Christ himself brought.
Certainly plenty to think about, certainly challenged about wanting to offer more than blind faith. Intrigued with the link between eternal life as knowledge within the context of fullness. Disturbed with what he describes as a trivialisation of faith, where faith in Jesus Christ, and of life as his students is repositioned outside the category of knowledge. Liked the idea that we understand ourselves as an outpost of the Kingdom of God.
For a moment it was just me with him as he carefully ate his crisps. I expressed a frustration, "Sometimes this all makes sense then as soon as it does and I try to articulate it, it's gone"
"Well Gordon, get used to it, it still happens like that for me, I've just learned to enjoy looking for for next piece of the puzzle..!"