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Asking the Tough Questions

A conversation with Dallas Willard
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Can Smart People Believe in God?". See series.

Introduction

We're in the series called "Can Smart People Believe In God?" and we're thinking through some really important issues. Today we'll be talking with philosopher Dallas Willard, on whose book, Knowing Christ Today, this series is based. Dallas Willard has been a professor at the University of Southern California since 1965. He specializes in epistemology: the study of how we know what we know.

Dallas holds an esteemed place in the world of scholarship and academic life, which I mention because in this series we're talking about the most important questions human beings can grapple with: Is there a God? Can that God be known? What does God's existence mean for human life?

We often get so caught up in day-to-day living that we don't give hard thought to these questions, so we're going to think really seriously—not abstractly or theoretically, but accessibly—about what matters most to every single human being.

A lot of times in churches, we feel we can only talk about what we think we're supposed to believe, and then we're left with real doubts and questions. But we'd like to be a place where we can talk openly and freely about what it is that we really think and believe. I want this to be a very open conversation and one you'll find yourself thinking about for a long time. So let's begin.

John Ortberg: One of our main questions in this series is this: What is the value of right knowledge?

Dallas Willard: The value of knowledge is that it enables you to deal effectively with reality. That is the value of having knowledge. That is true whether you're flying airplanes, or operating on brains, or whatever it may be. You want more than just faith, because you can believe stuff and still be wrong. That is where knowledge ...

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John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.

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Sermon Outline:

This message consists of a conversation between John Ortberg and Dallas Willard.