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Real Christianity

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  643 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Just in time for the release of Amazing Grace, the movie about the life of William Wilberforce, is this edition of his classic book from 1797, Real Christianity, paraphrased in modern language and made more accessible to contemporary readers. This is the book that helped abolish the slave trade in the United Kingdom, and called Christians to live a more authentic life of f ...more
Paperback, 203 pages
Published December 19th 2006 by Regal Books (first published April 1797)
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Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in practicing a real, radical Christianity
Recommended to Gary by: My wife
Shelves: gutenberg, owned
 After reading this book, I heard the song, Amazing Grace. The thought which I had was, what does a man do with the life and love God has given to him? This is the depth of question which this book raises in a reader.

There are many versions of this book, such as the Real Christianity, edited by James Houston. I read the version from 1797. Consequently, it is a harder read than the more modern, sometimes having references and mannerisms more with the times. On the other hand, once I started getti
While the wording is dated, the message of this book is as relevant today as it was with Wilberforce wrote it.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
A Practical View of Christianity is William Wilberforce's treatise on what exactly makes a person a Christian and contrasting it with what many people claim to be Christianity.

His main attack is against Cultural Christianity and he spares no words describing the duplicity and hypocrisy of his day by church-going people who show no respect for the authority of God as revealed through His written Word.

His arguments are highly relevant for today since there exists a profound Biblical illiteracy amo
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Puts words to so many things I've thought over the years in a way that is challenging yet encouraging. Plus, it was a gift from my parents-in-law, so I have to like it!

It's eerie how many parallels there are between the England that Wilberforce writes about and the upper middle class American world that I live in today--he could have easily been writing today.

As I read this, I am convinced that there are many ways that the world has tempted me to abandon God as my first/only pursuit, ye
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who identify as Christians
Shelves: christian
This is an important book for anyone claiming to be Christian. It strikes the heart of the issue and tells us who profess this faith to reevaluate what it means to be Christian. Namely, it is not just being a moral person. Morality has no value without the sense of God's justice that gives it a foundation. It is not just going to church and talking the talk. Christianity is not an external faith, not a hat you can slap on every Sunday. No -- "Christianity is a religion of motives and principles" ...more
Jul 02, 2008 marked it as to-read
I was so moved by "Amazing Grace" I'm gobbling up as much information about William Wilberforce. I really want to understand his worldview from the man himself and how someone who cared for the poor and underpriveleged, while being so priveleged himself, managed to remain faithful. Unlike so many before and after him, he did not start out well and then get enraptured by wealth, greed, fame and self-interest. His heart was unwavering in his devotion to issues of social justice.

He was also no ped
Solomon White
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a paraphrase put together by Dr. Bob Beltz, so do not expect to read Wilberforce’s original work. However, Beltz does an excellent job at bringing the older English into the modern and grabbing the main ideas that Wilberforce expresses. One should not be discouraged from reading this, but perhaps supplementing this with the original.
Rod Innis
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. The author was a British politician that labored all his political life for the abolition of the slave trade and then for the abolition of slavery itself. He was greatly used by God in that endeavor.
This book is not about the slave trade at all but about the decline in the true practice of their faith that he was observing in the lives of those claiming to be Christian. He knew well the teachings of God's word about the evidence of genuine faith in the life of a Christian.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
While hard to follow at times and archaic in style, Wilberforce addresses the issue of nominal Christianity from an evangelical standpoint. He marshals many deep insights on the gospel and humanity, drawing on a thoughtful reading of many Puritan authors and preachers. Chapter six pivots from addressing nominal Christianity to the affect of Christianity on the public square (the lessening of which comes from the rise of nominal Christianity). Finally, chapter seven provides a number of clear, pr ...more
Carl  Palmateer
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modernized version with footnotes and bibliography it is amazing how little has changed. Written as Britain was going through the libertine years of the Regency as a call to a better life and a better society. Wilberforce castigated, not the non Christians, but those who claimed to be by adopting certain outward practices, (civil behavior, church attendance, public piety) while lacking any substance or true belief. Calling for a reform of society by the Christians he did not fall into the erro ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
There were some amazing parts in this book as well as pieces that were incredibly timely for our world now. However, it wasn’t easy reading and felt like reading essays meant to compel an audience from a different time (which is just what it was). Yes, there was a section on why society should give up duels. I was hoping for the inspirational high of the movie, but that wasn’t what this was.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though first published almost two-and-a-quarter centuries ago, William Wilberforce's (of British abolitionist fame) words are as pertinent as ever. His Practical View... of Christianity is, well, ever-practical, and chock full of scripture-based exhortations and cultural observations and concerns--many of which, if it weren't for the noticeable difference from how we write now, you'd think were written directly in response to our own contemporary culture. (Truly, there is "nothing new under the ...more
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
William Wilbeforce is known for his relentless pursuit to end slavery in the British Kingdom during the late 1700's and into the 1800's; the renowed movie called "Amazing Grace" depicts the story of his passion. And it is the great draw to read this book which would be a major catylist to end the even greater evil that had been perpetrated against a race of people. I found, however, that this work did not address slavery but spoke to demise of the human condition, that is, the decline of Authent ...more
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Serious Christians with the patience for long sentences, long paragraphs, and complex logic.
Shelves: discipleship
The fact that this was written by William Wilberforce ( 1759 – 1833) enticed me to give it a read. I admire him greatly in that he became a real Christian in his late 20's and lived out his faith in very public ways, influencing his nation towards Godliness.

He contrasts at length the system of nominal Christianity in his day with the Biblical description of the Christian life. He calls on nominal Christians to repent and to be reborn by the Spirit of God. He also calls on real Christians to live
Rebecca Lewitt
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow--this book may have been written over 200 years ago, but it could have been meant for the Church today. I have to say this book was so revelatory and life-impacting that I will probably be re-reading it periodically throughout my life. This should be a devotional classic right up there with Practice of the Presence and My Utmost for His Highest, etc. The updating of the language is really well done (and well explained) and the ideas Wilberforce expresses are revolutionary and life-altering. ...more
Tim Newcomb
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A striking primary source understanding of what went haywire in Protestantism's theology that allowed both the high and low church of the 18th and early 19th century to call themselves Christians while supporting slavery. A critical read for westerners who want to understand what happened in this period from a primary source document.

The writing is sloppy as for as theology and sociology goes. His theological vocabulary is limited, and he has to explain concepts long-hand, so the read is a bit s
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I agree with John Piper, read this book before you read the autobiography. It gives a glimpse of what made this man tick. Read the insight first(this book), then read the biography.

The more I read it, the more i felt like that he was writting to 2008. If you are interested in Postmodernism and Christianity and how to ministry in a Post Moderist society, READ THIS BOOK AND CHRISTIANITY OF LIBERALISM!!
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any who seek Christian clarity in their lives.
What grand and yet personally applicable insights into the way to live a Christian life William Wilberforce wrote for us. Reading his book, you feel that he sees us today; his writings are prescriptive to our current society. This is a book not to be neglected by any who desire to understand how to apply the teachings of Jesus in their lives. I look forward to reading it again.
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglo-catholic
Wilberforce's piece is pretty good. It's part "Imitation of Christ" and a Systematic Theology. For a statesman who was heaviliy influenced by the church he takes a less righteous approach say, a Pope Benedict XVI or Mother Angelica book. Definately puts things into perspective for the average Christian to embrace the faith more intentionally.
Laura Eaton
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was originally written hundreds of years ago, but is still very relevant to the culture we find ourselves in.
Amber Schamel
This book is a literary treasure that all Christians should read more than once. So many wonderful quotes and thoughts in here from William Wilberforce.
Andrew Micah
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all-time favorites. What's remarkable about Wilberforce as a Christian leader is his intelligent and unflinching passion for the Biblical Gospel, especially as it comes from such an oustanding example of "public religion," of faith lived out in the public square. "Real Christianity" is not about social causes. The advocates of the so-called "Social Gospel" would do well to take a rebuke from his life and witness. He was a man on fire for the praise and glory of Jesus Christ, and in thi ...more
Jasmine Shadows
William Wilberforce definitely does not soften the message of how a true follower of Christ should live and walk before God. I so appreciate that. The movie Amazing Grace spoke the truth of Wilberforce's strong fight in the political arena against the slave trade. However, I was disappointed that they neglected his very deep Christian faith and his strong following of truth. Many people know him as the man who devoted his life to abolishing the slave trade, but few are aware of his deep devotion ...more
Catherine Lowe
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written by the man who believed God's call for his life was to abolish the British slave trade and to foster moral and cultural renewal. After decades of fighting, he accomplished the former, and the fruit of his revival efforts was the Victorian Age. "I find it necessary to affirm that the problems we face nationally and internationally are a direct result of the decline of faith and morality in our nation. My only hope of a prosperous future for this country rests not on the size and firepower ...more
While I agreed with virtually all statements made by Wilberforce, at the end I found myself realizing that most of the book seemed to say the same thing from slightly different angles: cultural Christianity does not have the true heart of Christianity.

At the dawn of mercantilism in England (and slavery) in Wilberforce's writing, surely these observations would be quite revelatory. Though in the 21st century, most of my reading seems to innately carry the lenses of a postmodern and--in some ways-
Matt Schumake
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
A critique of the religious community in 18th-century England that's still powerfully relevant. Wilberforce challenges those who claim faith to test themselves to see whether they are actually in the faith, and to start actually living it out--not by trying to earn God's grace, but by living in total surrender to God and realizing that Jesus paid it all.

The book addresses many misconceptions that still exist today--so much, that I often stopped to ask, "How much of this is Wilberforce, and how
Benjamin Messina
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I recommend skipping this and reading the actual non-revised version - “A practical view of the prevailing system of professed Christians...contrasted with real Christianity”. But if you dislike the prose of 18th century literature, and still would like to understand some of the theology of Wilberforce that directed his life, it’s a decent substitute. I do think it’s a little too contextualized for today’s audience and loses some of the rigor and vitality with which Wilberforce wrote. But the po ...more
Stella Budrikis
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
The version I read was updated into modern (but not overly colloquial) English by Bob Beltz. Wilberforce contrasts "real christianity", based on a heartfelt commitment to Christ as a result of grasping the gospel, with "cultural Christianity". He points out all sorts of subtle ways that we can drift into becoming "cultural Christians", but always provides an antidote and encouragement. Thought provoking and helpful.
Katie Winkler
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I would have given the original version a five. This paraphrase feels as if it takes some liberties at times, but that said, it is a highly relevant book to be reading during the summer of 2020, especially in its expression of how wealth and power can so easily water down a person’s faith. Quite convicting I must say and more than an eye-opener at times. At other times Wilberforce, or the paraphraser, sounds a bit too self-righteous.
M. Aznoe
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
In the words of King Solomon: "There is nothing new under the sun." Wilberforce's book is just as applicable today in America as it was back in England in his time. The principles of Christianity and how to live out our faith have not changed and much of what England was struggling with then, we struggle with today.
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William Wilberforce was an MP, a committed Christian and a vanguard in the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. He campaigned all his life, despite opposition and ill health and championed reform in many areas of society. He was founder of the Church Mission Society and what would later come to be known as the RSPCA.

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