This Politician Was Passionate for Precious Doctrine

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce was driven in his political, emancipation efforts by a clear doctrinal understanding of what Christianity was. Pray that those today who care deeply about social justice will be as vigilant to righteous action in right thinking.

He was especially jealous to keep clear the right relationship between good works and justification. Notice especially his third statement below about what Christianity is.

Wilberforce said, "Christianity is:

  • a scheme "for justifying the ungodly" [Romans 4:5], by Christ’s dying for them "when yet sinners" [Romans 5:6-8],
  • a scheme "for reconciling us to God"—when enemies [Romans 5:10];
  • and for making the fruits of holiness the effects, not the cause, of our being justified and reconciled."

William Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, ed. Kevin Charles Belmonte (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), p. 64. Emphasis added, but the capitalization is his emphasis.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.