Real Christianity (1797) by William Wilberforce
This Christian classic is certainly among my top 10 favourite books beside the Bible and one that the Lord formatively used in my life. While written many years ago it is highly relevant for today.
Made more accessible by the paraphrase of Bob Beltz in 2006 (along with the release of the Song, “Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone” and the movie about the abolitionist, Amazing Grace), this work is the best seller that helped end slavery in the British Empire.
Frustrated that the populace of a “Christian” nation wouldn’t support his appeals to end slavery, Wilberforce realized the reason, most were nominal. This can be seen in the historic and long title: A Practical View of the Prevailing System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity [emphasis added].
He knew he couldn’t change the direction of his country until the Lord had changed its heart:
"But fruitless will be all attempts to sustain, much more to revive, the fainting cause of morals unless you can in some degree restore the prevalence of Evangelical Christianity. It is in morals as in physics; unless a source of practical principles be elevated, it will be vain to attempt to make them flow on a high level in their future course… By all, therefore, who are studious of their country’s welfare…every effort should be used to revive the Christianity of our better days."
This is a helpful reminder for those Christians who still think the political process can deliver Canada—it cannot, only the Gospel can!
By his work Real Christianity, example, network and involvement in the Evangelical Revival, Wilberforce was a powerful figure in shaping a nation for Christ, a legacy still felt in many respects today.
Though Canada is a post-Christian nation, the problem of nominal Christianity persists. This book will help you recognize what nominal Christianity is as you contrast it with real Christianity.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.