Seminary Dropout 111: Gary Black Jr. “Heaven is not a cosmic car wash!”

Gary Black Jr. Author of "Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying, and Eternal Life"


Gary Black Jr. is a professor of theology at Azusa Pacific University. He is the author of The Theology of Dallas Willard, and coauthor of The Divine Conspiracy Continued.

In his acclaimed books, renowned writer, speaker, and philosophy professor Dallas Willard explored the nature of Christian life in God’s Kingdom. Yet one topic remained undisclosed: Willard’s understanding of heaven and eternal life. In the months before his death, Willard engaged in moving and insightful conversations about the meaning of life and the life to come with close friend and theologian Gary Black Jr. These inspiring dialogues were steeped in biblical theology as well as practical wisdom grounded in the here-and-now.

In Preparing for Heaven Black reveals not only Willard’s profound and liberating vision of life after death, he also deftly unpacks the implications these realities hold for our lives today. Black shows how Willard understood our mortal lives as preparation for what comes next—that death is not the end of one life and the beginning of another, but rather a transition through which we continue the transformational work begun on Earth. Informative, challenging, and poignant, Willard and Black’s conversations and insights challenge us to reconsider our beliefs—that perhaps the line separating the afterlife from this life is not as absolute as we think, and that there is work to be done both now and in the glorious life to come. As a result we will find that our faith is more vibrant—and eternal—than we have dared to imagine. -From the Publisher

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2 thoughts on “Seminary Dropout 111: Gary Black Jr. “Heaven is not a cosmic car wash!”

  1. Every time I finish an episode my heart feels like it’s going to explode! This one was no exception.  What a blessing, what a challenge, what a message that Christians need to hear!  I can’t wait to read this one.  Also, Shane, he is so right, this podcast is important beyond description! It is the most important spiritual resource I’ve ever encountered, in the most effective format.  So grateful you found your calling!

  2. I
    listened to the “cosmic car wash” episode this morning and the one
    thing that really struck me was Gary Black’s presupposition that
    “believing something about the cross, saying the sinner’s prayer, reading
    your bible and tithing” is what would get you to heaven.  Then
    arguing that under the cosmic car wash view, Jesus would then turn you into
    some kind of perfected being that you never wanted to be in the first place,
    and against your will.  I can’t be the only one to see the blatant flaw in
    this logic.  It seems to me that if someone on earth never really wanted
    to be perfected in Christ and to be so would be against their will, then
    regardless of what motions they go through or how much they pretend, they
    probably would never be in heaven anyway. This speaks to the major flaw in
    western Christianity that all you have to do is say you believe.  Black
    even quotes Luke 6:46, where Jesus says “So why do you keep calling me
    Lord, Lord!, when you don’t do what I say”, which contradicts his own
    point because this indicates that “believing something about the cross,
    saying the sinner’s prayer, reading your bible and tithing” is not enough.  Western Christians need a better
    understanding of the difference between faith and belief.  James 2:19 says that even the demons believe.  We are not saved by works, but
    by faith, but faith without works is dead. 

    agree that many who claim to be Christian are sadly lacking in compassion and commitment,
    but I really don’t see the cause of that being their view of what heaven will
    be like. I don’t know what heaven will be like and neither does anyone
    else.  If scripture teaches that it is
    beyond what any of us can imagine then I have to conclude that Black’s view of
    heaven is at best, an interesting theory.

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