If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:15-21)

Jesus is foretelling a day when this love affair between God and man, infused with Spirit, Truth and Life, will become evident. There are those who long to see a wholesale expression of this love affair play out in culture. They ask; “How is it Lord that with your Spirit on the earth, we still do not see scalable evidence of this passage?” It is fair to ask; when loves spills over, what does it look like?

One of my precious son in laws sent me something yesterday that answered this question. I would like to share it with you. This is from Todd Glass.


I want to share an excerpt from “Amazing Grace” by Eric Metals which speaks specifically to William Wilberforce’s book entitled: “A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity.”

The principal problem was the Anglican clerics themselves, who mostly didn’t believe the basic tenets of orthodox Christian faith but didn’t want to declare themselves for fear of losing their salaries and positions. Wilberforce did not want to scold or badger his readers; he wanted to expose these ministers for what they were: dishonest members of a caste that refused to be thrown out because they had, as it were, a good thing going and seemed to think they knew better than the people in the pews anyway. Wilberforce wanted to speak directly to the people in those pews and tell them what many of them already suspected, that the emperor had no theological clothes, and was hiding behind silly fig leaves of mere propriety. Wilberforce wanted to point out the logical disconnect, to show the vast gulf separating “real Christianity,” as he called it, from the ersatz “religious system” that prevailed in its place. The book’s long title, “A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity,” made it difficult to miss the point.

The book’s style, being similar to Wilberforce’s style of speaking, was atypical of the time. Like his speeches in the House of Commons, the book was conversational and sometimes rambled every which way, as distinguished from the much more polished and organized oratory of Pitt and Burke and other masters of the form. It simply describes what Christianity is and then shows what the reality of religious belief was in British society. Wilberforce’s point was that this difference between theory and practice was vast and needed to be noted.
Wilberforce explained that real Christianity had evaporated from England principally because it was woven into the social fabric and therefore was easier to ignore and take for granted. “Christianity especially,” he wrote, “has always thrived under persecution. For then it has no lukewarm professors.” Wilberforce was exactly right. Not only was there no persecution of Christianity in England at that time, but the entire nation was officially Christian—in name only. England’s pulpits were filled with just such “lukewarm professors” lukewarmly professing a lukewarm faith that thrilled no one and challenged no one, lacking, as it did, the indispensable tang of otherness that is at the heart of Christian belief.
Wilberforce’s main charge against the faux Christianity of his day was that it pretended to be the real thing but wasn’t—yet few dared to rock the boat and say as much. Wilberforce couldn’t stand this tepid version of the real thing and labored to show that this practice that everyone thought was Christianity was in fact not Christianity at all. It was an uphill battle.
Wilberforce knew that if Britain took its faith seriously, if it actually believed the doctrines it claimed to believe, it could never have countenanced the slave trade or the institution of slavery itself. He knew that if Britain began to see what real Christianity was, it would begin to take an interest in the sufferings of the poor and feel an obligation toward them, as well as toward prisoners and others who suffered. That sort of concern was always the mark of real Christianity, but it was utterly absent from Britain in the last years of the eighteenth century.

In his book Wilberforce was essentially calling Britain to repent, to turn back to its true faith, the faith it had abandoned on the far side of the seventeenth century. Real Christianity, which they purported to believe, was wonderful and bracing and beautiful, but they had been getting the lukewarm version. It was a winsome and unprecedented appeal to a nation, specifically to its middle and upper classes, and ultimately it had a very great effect.

Wilberforce knew that many people didn’t know what real Christianity was; though they attended church, they’d never seen it and though they’d heard hundreds of sermons they had never heard it preached. Now, using the bully pulpit of his national celebrity, he would tell them that he believed it and had given his life to it. He was issuing, as it were, a warm invitation to join him.

Many would take Wilberforce at his word, both at the time the book was published and for decades afterward. It was a great comfort to many readers to learn that even if their own clergy did not understand what Christianity was—or perhaps they understood it and didn’t much like it—at least this one man, this Wilberforce, understood it and recommended it.

Father, have mercy on the United States. We do not see ourselves as You see us. Raise up the prophetic catalysts. Inject brilliant, winsome, Spirit inspired voices into our culture. With their visibility and credibility may they drown the bland and lukewarm voices that have shaped and are sustaining our demise. So be it.










Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap