Amazing Grace In The Life Of William Wilberforce (book review)

If you know anything about the life of William Wilberforce, you may know that he tirelessly worked for the end to slavery in the British Empire. You might think that this singular focus, and uphill battle would make Wilberforce a joyless, serious person. But according to John Piper’s book Amazing Grace In The Life Of William Wilberforce, nothing could be further from the truth.

You might also be familiar with John Piper’s writing about joy-filled Christians (in his classic Desiring God). So it makes sense that Piper would be attracted to the life of a man like Wilberforce. He was one who was described as, “His presence was as fatal to dullness as to immorality. His mirth was as irresistible as the first laughter of childhood.”

John Piper uncovers what made Wilberforce tick. What helped him stay so relentlessly focused on eliminating the slave trade, and remain a joy-filled Christian as well? Piper writes —

He was a radically God-centered Christian who was a politician. And his true affections for God based on the ‘peculiar doctrines’ of Christianity were the roots of his endurance in the cause of justice.

This is a great “starter book” for anyone who doesn’t know much about Wilberforce. It’s a quick and easy read. But there is so much more to learn about this amazing man. If nothing else, John Piper’s biopic on this great politician’s life should serve to whet your appetite to learn more about him. It did that for me!

Thursdays With Oswald—The New Thinking Of Pentecost

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The New Thinking Of Pentecost

     Everywhere the charge is made against Christian people, not only the generality of Christians, but really spiritual people, that they think in a very slovenly manner. Very few of us in this present dispensation live up to the privilege of thinking spiritually as we ought. This present dispensation is the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. The majority of us do not think according to the tremendous meaning of that; we think ante-Pentecostal thoughts, the Holy Spirit is not a living factor in our thinking; we have only a vague impression that He is here. Many Christian workers would question the statement that we should ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). The note struck in the New Testament is not “Believe in the Holy Spirit,” but “Receive the Holy Spirit.” That does not mean the Holy Spirit is not here; it means He is here in all His power, for one purpose, that men who believe in Him might receive Him. So the first thing we have to face is the reception of the Holy Spirit in a practical conscious manner.

     …So as Christians we have to ask ourselves, does our faith stand “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”? Have we linked ourselves up with the power of the Holy Spirit, and are we letting Him have His way in our thinking?

From Biblical Ethics

There are two dangerous extremes: (1) We can become so intellectual, that we never ask for the Holy Spirit’s help, or (2) We can become so “spiritual” that we ignore the development of our intellect.

I believe the proper balance is a both-and approach.

In the Old Testament, David asked for the Holy Spirit to search his heart and thoughts (Psalm 139:23-24).

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth (John 16:13), and that He would help us to recall the things we have heard from Christ (John 14:26).

And the Apostle Paul talked about the Holy Spirit searching our mind and revealing God’s mind to us (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).

All of these speak of a partnership. We have to do our part AND we have to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice. And from personal experience, I’ve found that I think much more clearly and thoroughly when I listen to the Holy Spirit!

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