Conversatio Divina

The Interrelations of Natural and Supernatural Moral Formation

Aaron Preston

This talk is from the session on Philosophy, the first breakout session of the 2018 Experiencing Life with God Conference, an academic conference hosted by the Martin Institute of Westmont College and Renovaré. Here is Aaron Preston's description: One might think that genuine spiritual formation is open to Christians only, but on Dallas Willard’s view this is not the case. For Willard, Christian spiritual formation overlaps with ordinary moral formation in ways that make genuine moral and spiritual progress possible apart from any concrete, historical embodiment of Christianity. However, this never happens apart from engagement with Jesus Christ Himself. This talk will lay out the textual basis for this interpretation of Willard, and will explore some of the issues it raises, including the relationship between spiritual and moral formation, God’s role in each, and the special contribution that Christian teachings and practices can make to the project of formation.