Real Christianity: A Nation Was Blind Until One Man Made Them See Paperback – 19 Dec 2006
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About the Author
BOB BELTZ is a popular writer, speaker, and film producer. Currently, he oversees film development for the Anschutz Film Group, parent company of Walden Media (Holes, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Amazing Grace.) He’s a graduate of Denver Seminary where he earned both his Master of Arts and Doctor of Ministry degrees. He is the author of several books, including Somewhere Fast and Becoming a Man of Prayer.
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I read "A Practical View of Real Christianity" by Wilberforce many years ago. This book is not that book. I should have been more cautious when attempting to purchase it again. Certainly the publisher could have been straightforward about who the author of this book is.
Wilberforce argues that many a Christian have a misperception about the nature of God and the nature of sin, therefore they do not perceive oneself correctly before God. Christians do not take Satan serious and do not take sin serious. One finds oneself belittle their own guilt and not acknowledging the importance of the cross. The author lists the essentials of the Christian Faith:
Jesus came to earth to live as a human being, to suffer through the humiliations of being man as if he were a sinner, to die as if he were a sinner, to rise from the dead - so we can come with confidence to come to God for forgiveness for ones sins.
Jesus did not die on the cross so God the Father could have a more tolerant perspective about sin. Man is still worthy of hell. Man without repentance is doomed. Salvation is not about living a more ethical life. Salvation only comes from having an emotional response to a correct knowledge of one's own accountability to God and His hatred of sin. One is dependent on Jesus to avoid the punishment of sin. Behavior through the Holy Spirit will improve after conversion of Faith, but in way does the believer merit salvation.
Wilberforce goes to great lengths to express what it means to put God first in contrast an earthly attempt to be a good person, self-effort attempt to serve God, and a life lead by the Holy Spirit. Does one take doctrine serious; does one take the teachings of the bible to heart? Do you love God more than the acceptance of man? This perspective will effect how one budgets his time, use his Sunday. Does one grudgingly go to church then use the rest of the day for leisure or business? How does one study God's word, how does one worship?
The author goes into detail distinguish between man directed behavior and God directed behavior. A good reputation seeking God's will is something to seek, but one should be provoked to sinful anger or violence when one slanders you as a hypocrite. It is not the approval of man a Christian seeks, but the approval of God. Revenge and/or hate should not be a Christian response to slander or lies about ones Christian walk.
Wilberforce makes a case for a weaken nation because less people are authentic Christians. I find this regrettable because it seems to contradict his thesis about why someone should be an authentic Christian. The Author completes the book with a plea for the Christian to have a self examination of his Christian walk.
Yes, his efforts to end the slave trade and the movie Amazing Grace are two major factors in me seeking out this book.
"With [Baxter's] controversial pieces I am little acquainted: but his Practical Writings, in four massy folios, are a treasury of Christian wisdom...[I]t would be a most valuable service to mankind to revise them, and perhaps to abridge them, so as to render them more suited to the taste of modern readers."
Editor Ellyn Sanna has done just this for Wilberforce's "Real Christianity." Her abridgements are judicious, and the revisions in language allow modern readers to derive the greatest benefit from Wilberforce's timeless call to embrace biblical Christianity and let it inform their lives. Thus, this new edition of "Real Christianity" does much to perpetuate a proper understanding and appreciation of Wilberforce's life and achievements. I have profited from, and will continue to profit from this valuable new edition. I regret, however, the omission of an index in this book, which would have been a helpful addition. Happily, this is the only detraction (and a small one at that) from this new edition.
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