Item description for Real Christianity: Discerning True Faith from False Beliefs (Victor Classics) by William Wilberforce & James M. Houston...
Overview As a young politician, William Wilberforce (1759 - 1833) set out to do two things: rouse professing Christians to understand the nature of true faith, and bring about the end of slavery in England's colonies. Real Christianity challenged the ruling classes of early nineteenth-century England more than any other work. Even today Real Christianity is a tool to soundly teach the tenets of evangelical faith and stir the conscience of all Christians.
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Studio: David C. Cook
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date May 31, 2005
Publisher David C. Cook
Series Victor Classics
ISBN 0781441994 ISBN13 9780781441995
Availability 0 units.
More About William Wilberforce & James M. Houston
William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was a member of the British Parliament. He was also affiliated with the Clapham Sect, a group of Evangelicals who were active in public life. He was very instrumental in many social justice issues, including the abolition of slavery in England.
William Wilberforce lived in Hull. William Wilberforce was born in 1759 and died in 1833.
Reviews - What do customers think about Real Christianity: Discerning True Faith from False Beliefs (Victor Classics)?
I Expected Better Feb 27, 2009
Perhaps the problem is me; perhaps my expectations were too lofty. But I had higher hopes for this book. It turned out to be a standard exhortation to believe wholly, and to live in that belief. While I embrace that thesis, in our modern plural world, we need to push harder and further than that. And I also have issues with the adaptation in front of me.
Wilberforce states that Christianity has been hijacked by a warm, fuzzy, abstractly noncommittal set of practices that let "believers" live their same old lives without having to change. He calls on Christians to reject this nebulous religion for true faith based on prayer, Bible study, and self-sacrifice leading to more Godly lives. So far I fully agree.
But the application he proposes unnerves me, especially as his argument nears its culmination. His naïve belief in the pious potential of the rich and powerful, coupled with his patronizing attitude to women, rings hollow. Maybe I read too much Borg and Crossan or Jacques Ellul, but I can't reconcile Wilberforce's hierarchical conservatism with Biblical Christianity.
The later it gets in the book, the more Wilberforce's ideas make me squirm. He makes totalizing statements about anybody who disagrees with him, including youth, foreigners (especially the French), and secularists. He is guilty of seeking simple solutions to complex problems, putting too many people in too small a bucket. It's too pat for the real world.
Though most of his principles are stated in generalities, they're the sort of generalities that serve as code for his fellow evangelicals. When he speaks of liberal theologians who "have gutted the faith of [its] theological foundations," Wilberforce's contemporaries probably knew that was a wink to his fellow abolitionists. Modern readers likely will rush to homosexuality and other hot-button issues.
To top all this off, I have problems with the adaptation. I see why Bob Beltz wanted to update the language. But his chapter notes indicate that he took material out, such as one point where Wilberforce name-checked a list of 18th-century theologians we wouldn't recognize. At another point he also added in a quote from C.S. Lewis which he thought succinctly encapsulated Wilberforce's point.
So I have to wonder: how much else did Beltz add in or take away? How much of the book in my hands is really William Wilberforce, and how much of it is Bob Beltz? This is a major concern for me, if Beltz is trying to co-opt Wilberforce for his current concerns. Barring time and energy to read through the original text, I can only wonder at the answer to this question.
Most of the book isn't bad. In many places, it says what many self-proclaimed Christians need to hear. But his lapses into dogmatism and his right-wing tendencies may alienate as many readers as they attract. And the adaptation is problematic. Maybe I let Wilberforce's legend loom too large in my expectations, but this isn't the book it should have been.
Utterly Aplicable Jan 14, 2009
Real Christianity is a fantastic read. It expresses the basics of the christian faith and contrasts it with those who live outwardly like Christians but are not serious about their faith and those who say they are Christians but their actions don't line up. Though the language has been updated, which I am not usually a fan of, it has been done very well. And Wilberforce himself was a proponent of updating language. It is highly relavent to our culture today. Many times as I read it I was amazed to think that this book was written over a hundred years ago instead of in the last 3 decades. This definitely a worthwhile read and a good investment.
Honest look at religion Jan 28, 2008
Written over 200 years ago, yet still intensely relevant, Real Christianity reminds us what it means to BE a Christian. William Wilberforce lived in a decadent and inauthentic society. His light shines brightly today with as much love for us as he had for those in his life and times.
Paraphrased version Jan 27, 2008
While it is my own fault for not examining the fine print, I was disappointed to find that this book was not the one written by Wilberforce. Rather it is a paraphrased version, containing a number of inappropriate word substitutes that alter the meaning dramatically. 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.
Amazing Grace Dec 25, 2007
It is an excellent book. Many who preach christianity should read this book to know what it really means to be a Christian - to walk by the teachings of Christ. As Gandhi said, if the Christians imitated the ways of Christ, there will be no need for another religion!!