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       Christianity
 
 
 The Relation of Mercy Ministry to the Doctrines of the Bible.


We read about God in the Bible.  God is….

           “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy
           mountain.  God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the
           prisoners to prosperity,  But the rebellious live in a parched land.” 
                                                                         Psalm 68: 5-6.

           “For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people
           who are prisoners.”                                   Psalm 69: 33.

           “The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.” 

                                                                          Psalm 103: 6.

           “I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted,

           And will execute justice for the needy.”       Psalm 140: 12.   

 

How do these ideas about God relate to the great doctrines of the Bible?  Is there a connection or are these just random statements and without any important guidance for the Christian?  [1]
 

Christians must be careful to base their actions on Biblical principles that come from God and not on sentimentality.  Sentimentality finds a verse here and there and latches onto these without understanding how these relate to the whole of the Bible.  This is why systematic and expositional study of the Bible is so important.
 

William Wilberforce:

“Christianity calls on us, as we value our immortal souls, not merely in general to be religious and moral, but specially to believe the doctrines, and imbibe the principles and practice the precepts of Christ.” [2]

 

What does the Bible say about ministries of mercy? 

Providing mercy is vital to the credibility of the Gospel.

Mercy ministry is the necessary consequences and result of the doctrines of the Bible; in particular the gospel recovered by Protestant Reformation.

Theology – the doctrines of God, sin, salvation – furthers the work of mercy. 

 

Historical examples.  Many such examples can be found in history.  The history of the early Christians is filled with examples of them taking in the needy to care for them.  They transformed the Roman Empire in the treatment of women, children and others who had no advocate.  [3]
 

The church in the Middle Ages took upon itself the role of ministering to the poor and sick when the government institutions were falling apart.  These efforts were mixed with unbiblical practices, but the Christian church appeared as the only institution that cared for the poor.  [4]

 

Historical example.  Pastor Philip Ryken uses the historical example of John Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland.  Prior to the Protestant Reformation and the reforms under Calvin, the city was known for its vice and immorality; drunkenness, disorderly conduct, gambling, prostitution, unfair business practices, etc., etc. 
 

The city council of Geneva passed laws against such practices, but people did not obey the laws.  What was needed was a transformation of hearts.  So the city Council (Counsel of Two Hundred) hired John Calvin to preach and teach the Bible.
 

This is how Geneva was reformed.  Calvin taught the doctrines of the Bible; he taught verse by verse through the Bible.  He preached 5-7 times each week.  His teaching came to be called Calvinism which emphasizes the sovereignty of God in all things, including salvation. 
 

People came to Christ and began to live as Christians.  As a result the entire urban environment was changed.  A ministry of mercy was prominent in the city as practical Christian faith took root. 

Taverns were closed and alcoholism was reduced.

Sewers were cleaned, reducing illness.

Refugees from all over Europe were coming to Geneva and these were given Christian hospitality.

Deacons were organized to care for the poor.

Schools were opened for boys and for girls. 

 

Historical example: The evangelical awakening of the 18th century.  It was these great doctrines of the Bible that motivated the reformer, William Wilberforce. 
 

Eric Metaxas in his book, Amazing Grace and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, comments, “…in Wilberforce’s day, it was devout Christians almost exclusively who were concerned with helping the poor, bringing them education and acting as their advocates, and who labored to end the slave trade, and other evils. ” [5]Metaxas goes on to comment:

“The acutely Christian character of the abolition movement is undeniable, for its leaders were all consciously acting out of the principles of their deeply held faith.” [6]
 

It was the Methodists (in the Church of England) and dissenters (Quakers, Moravians) who made the connection between Christian faith and opposition to slavery.  [7]
 

The work of Metaxas tells only a small part of what was happening in the 18th century among Christian evangelicals.  All manner of reform movements were inspired by the awakening of 1740s and even more so in the 19th century. 
 

Another biographer of Wilberforce commented on his influence,

“There is little doubt that Wilberforce changed the moral outlook of Great Britain….The reformation of manners [morals] grew into Victorian virtues and Wilberforce touched the world when he made goodness fashionable….Contrast the late eighteenth century….with its loose morals and corrupt public life, with the mid-nineteenth century.  Whatever its faults, nineteenth century British public life became famous for its emphasis on character, morals, and justice and the British business world famous for integrity.”  [8]
 

Ministries and reforms to which Wilberforce contributed:

·         British Foreign Bible Society.

·         Church Missionary Society.

·         Society for the Manufacturing Poor.

·         Society for the Better Observance of Sunday.

·         Relief of child labor conditions (using small boys as chimney sweeps).

·         Agricultural reform (affordable food for the poor).

·         Prison reform.

·         Restrictions on capital punishment.

·         Prevention of cruelty to animals. 
 

            Wilberforce wrote that Christianity “assumes her true character…when she takes under her protection those poor degraded being on whom philosophy looks down with disdain or perhaps with contemptuous condescension…It was declared by its great Author as ‘Glad tiding to the poor,’ and sill delights to scour the needy, to comfort the sorrowful, to visit the forsaken.”  [9]

 

What do the doctrines of the Bible teach about mercy ministry?  (What does Reformation theology say about mercy ministry?) 

 

1.  Incarnational.  In the incarnation Jesus Christ becomes man.  He submits Himself to the weaknesses of humanity, sin excepted.  He knows what it is like to live as a man in this world.  He was tempted and suffered. 
 

God is love, compassionate and merciful.  This is good, sound doctrine.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh is the fullest expression of this doctrine. 
 

Mercy ministry meets people where they are.  This is what Jesus Christ did.  He took on human flesh and came to us.  He lived among people and ministered to all kinds of people.
 

Example:  The Samaritan women who cannot find a satisfying, lasting relationship with a man.  John 4: 10-14. 
 

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and he would have given you living water.  She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?  You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?’  Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” [10]

     

We simply reflect and pattern what the Lord of glory did for us.  He became one of us and had mercy on us. 
 

Implication.  We must get close to those in need.  Think of how the Lord ministered to people who needed healing from diseases and demon possession. 
 

We must be willing to befriend those who are needy.  We must be willing to get close to people.  Jesus Christ made the doctrines of the Bible real and clothed in flesh and blood.  He demonstrated what God was like. 

 

Historical example: 
 

William Wilberforce was living out the practical doctrines of the Christian faith as he engaged in reform.  In 1797, he explained this in his book, A Practical View of Christianity. [11]  The title of his original edition was “A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity.”  These were the people among whom Wilberforce lived and worked, but he did not confine his works of mercy to only these people.  He sought to minister to all classes of people. 
 

Wilberforce argued that these “peculiar doctrines” of the Christian religion produced great changes in people:

·         True affection for spiritual things.

·         Breaking the power of sin; pride, greed and fear.

·         Transformed lives that lead to political and moral transformation of the nation.  [12]
 

Among the nominal Christians of his day, the doctrines of Christianity were ignored and neglected.  Consequently, these people were not changed by the Christian faith.
 

John Piper in his excellent little book, Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce observes,
 

“This is what made Wilberforce tick.  He was not a political pragmatist.  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.”  [13]

 

Wilberforce, a lover of people. 
 

Some people are great law-makers and teachers, but they do not really like people and they do not interact or get close to people.  William Wilberforce loved people.  It is true that he enjoyed social interaction before he was a Christian, but this was all aimed at his own self-centered goals.  Christianity sanctified and redirected this sociability. 
 

God transformed his naturally gregarious personality to advance His kingdom.  The Wilberforce home was a welcoming place.  He brought the needy into his own home.  He was not just a politician dealing with the needy from a distance.  Guests to his home were constantly coming and going.  The children (he and Barbara had six children) and pets were found all over the house. 
 

Christians are commanded to be hospitable to all kinds of people.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to stranger….” [14]
 

Metaxas called the household, “cultivated chaos.” Part of the problem was that Wilberforce loved life and he had many varied interests.  His friend, James Stephens, helped him to prioritize his interests which greatly increased his efficiency.  Wilberforce was humble and took such criticisms to heart.
 

This kind of humility came from his understanding of the doctrines of the Bible. He matured in the Christian faith by balancing doctrine and practice.             

2.  The doctrine of God and mercy ministry.  Consider the divine attributes.

God is rich in mercy.  Ephesians 2: 4-7.  “But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ --- by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
 

Notice that God’s mercy found us when we spiritually dead and alienated from Him.  Mercy is for those who have nothing to offer to God.

Attributes of God closely related to mercy:  compassion, kindness, love, patience, longsuffering, justice.
 

These are characteristic which point to how God treats us and this is how we should treat others. 

Justice.  Showing mercy often requires maintaining the righteousness of their cause.  God required the leaders of the nation of Israel to uphold the cause of those who were treated unjustly.

 

            Psalm. 82: 2-4.  God speaks to rulers about how they should act and condemns rulers who do not act justly.
 

“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked. Give justice to the weak and the fatherless, maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.  Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 

 

William Wilberforce as a member of the British Parliament and a Christian had the duty to seek justice for those mistreated.  This is what motivated during years of struggle to end the African slave trade. 
 

Wilberforce:  a “cordial unreserved devotedness to the glory and service of God [is] indispensable to the character of the true Christian.” [15]

Principle above pragmatism. 
 

Wilberforce:  “Policy, Sir, is not my principle, and I am not ashamed to say it.  There is a principle above everything that is political.  And when I reflect on the command that says, “Thou shalt do no murder,” believing the authority to be divine, how can I dare set up any reasonings of my own against it?” [16]

 

Conclusion:  All of these characteristics arise from the character of God.  Mercy ministry is a reflection of the being and nature of the Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

 

3.  The Doctrine of Creation and mercy ministry.  God made the universe out of nothing; He spoke the universe into existence (Psalm 148:5).  . 

            The creation teaches us about the goodness of God.  Psalm 104. 
            God cares for His creature. 

            “You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the
            hills,

            They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench
            their thirst.

            Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the             branches.

            From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied             with the fruit of your work.”                                 vs.10-13

 

            “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to             cultivate,

            That he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the
            heart of man,

            Oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”

                                                                                    vs.14-15

            “The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon             that he planted.

            In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir
            trees.

            The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the             rock badgers.”                                                   vs.16-18.

 

            “O LORD, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom have you made             them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

            Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creature
            innumerable, living things both small and great.

            There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.

            These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.

            When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand,              they are filled with good things.

            When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you  take away
            their breath, they die and return to their dust.

            When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the
            face of the ground”
                                            vs. 24-30

                                                    

 

People are made in the image of God and so it matters how they are treated. James tells us the tongue is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”  James 3: 9-10.
 

“From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life man.  Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”  Genesis 9: 5a-6.
 

This is God’s covenant with Noah.  Authorization for capital punishment is based upon the high regard for human life because humans are made in God’s image.  An attack on any man is an attack upon God. 

 

We have a tendency to divide people into groups and separate them, but the doctrine of Creation presents us with a fundamental connection between all human beings.  We are to recognize the image of God in other people and treat them with kindness and justice. 
 

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”  Acts 17: 26.

            This is Paul addressing the pagan philosophers at the Aereopagus in
            Athens, Greece.  All humans have a common origin; God’s creation
            of man. 

 

John Calvin (Protestant Reformed in Geneva, Switzerland).  Neglecting the poor is a kind of sacrilege.  Caring for the poor was as sacred as worshipping God.  And so the city of Geneva under Protestant Reformers developed extensive programs to care for the poor and raise them to productive citizens. 

 

William Wilberforce.  Did you notice in the life of Wilberforce how he cared for all living creatures.  He loved animals at the same time that he fought for the human rights of slaves. 

            Proverbs 12: 10.  “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his
            beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” 

            Wilberforce literally gave his wealth away as he invited the poor into his
            home to feed them. 

 

Ministries of mercy begin where we are; where God has placed us.  It begins in the family and it especially focuses on God’s people, but it extends to anyone in need.

  

Conclusion:  In serving people we serve God. 

            “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to
            one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” 
            Matthew 25: 41. 

  

4.  Doctrine of Sin and the Fall.  A fallen world makes mercy ministry necessary. 
 

The cause of the misery all around us is sin.  Human sin; total depravity is the cause of this world’s injustice.  Every part of man is affected by sin; mind, emotions, affections.  The very center and soul of man, the heart, is corrupted by sin. 
 

Our own unwillingness to show mercy is an indicator of the problem of sin.  We are part of the problem. 
 

This doctrine of sin teaches that there is evil in the world and it resides in the hearts of all people. 
 

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught that out of the heart of man proceeds all the evils.  Matthew 15: 18-20. 

This doctrine explains all the evil that we see around us.  It explains the breakdown of the family and all the subsequent problems.  It explains homelessness, drug addictions, pornography, abortion, child slavery, prostitution, and all the other evils in this world.   

 

William Wilberforce.  He devotes an entire chapter in his book, A Practical View of Christianity, to “Corruption of Human Nature” and observes that this doctrine is, “at the very root of all true Religion.” [17]

            The Christian doctrine of sin is humbling to human pride.  Vice and evil
            are natural and easy for man.  Virtue is difficult.  Sin taints him to the
            very core. 

 

The true Christian (“watchful, diligent self-denying”) testifies to the depravity of the human heart, his own heart.  What does he see in himself?

·         Intentions that are complex and corrupted.

·         Weakness in his purpose to do good.

·         Selfishness.

·         Unbiblical desires.

·         Slowness to do his duty.

·         Spiritual coldness in the performance of duty.

 

5.  The doctrine of salvation.  The doctrine of salvation explains why mercy is possible. 

God is at work in the world to bring redemption through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According of his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through Jesus Christ.”                                                                                 1 Peter 1: 3.

                 

Jesus sends His disciples into the world (John 20: 21).  We are to follow this pattern of Jesus in extending mercy. 

            Word.  Jesus showed mercy in the words He spoke. 

            Action.  Jesus showed mercy in what He did for people; healing,
            feeding, resting, protection from Pharisaical authority.
 

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9: 35-37). 

 

William Wilberforce believed that people needed a change of heart and that this was basic to the reform of society.  He wrote his book, A Practical View of Christianity, to address people whose attachment to the faith was only superficial and nominal.  He wanted them to become genuine Christians who trusted themselves to Christ alone.  He explained,
 

“…It is the true duty of every man to promote the happiness of his fellow creatures to the utmost of his power; and that he who thinks he sees many around him, whom he esteems and loves, laboring under a fatal error, must have a cold heart, or a confined notion of benevolence, if he could refrain from endeavoring to set them right…” [18]
 

            Christians must testify of God’s grace. 

 

Resurrection.  Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope that the hard work of extending
mercy is not in vain. 

            The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is now at work in us. 

            The needs are so desperate, only such power can meet these needs. 

            Jesus is the ascended Christ.  Jesus now sits at the right hand of God
            the Father interceding for us.  He presently reigns.  He sent His mighty
            Holy Spirit to live in His people and empower His church. 
 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in me Son.  If you ask me anyting in my name, I will do it” (John 14: 12-14). 

 

Philip Ryken:  “God intends for the whole saving work of Christ to find
            expression in our own servant ministry.”  [19]

            We are to follow the example of the Lord. 

            “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the
            interests of others” (Philippians 2: 4). 

 

 

God is sovereign in salvation.  But nominal Christians, Wilberforce points out, mistakenly consider salvation a contract in which they have a part to do and God has a part to do.  Such people tend to emphasize the moral life of the Christian and de-emphasize the redemptive work of Christ.  They mostly trust in their own merits. 

            This is why they do not have deep love for Jesus Christ. 

            Wilberforce:  “They tend to prevent that sense which we ought to
            entertain of our own natural misery and helplessness, and that deep
            feeling of gratitude for the merits and intercession of Christ, to
            which we are wholly indebted for our reconciliation to God
,
            and for the will and the power, from first to last, to work out our own
            salvation.” [20]

 

 

 

Conclusion and applications. 

 

1.  God calls each Christian to a serious and searching evaluation of how he
or she can express God’s mercy in word and deed. 

            Ask yourself, “How am I communicating God’s mercy to those around
            me?” 

            “What am I saying to people?”  “What am I doing for people?”

 

            The apostle Paul pressed these issues upon the believers.  He tells
            Timothy to warn the rich:

            Don’t place your hope in riches.

            Do good, be rich in good works, generous and ready to share.

            Store up treasure in heaven.  Focus on future rest and not present
            satisfaction. 

                                                                                                            1 Timothy 6: 17-19.

            James also makes a similar point:

            “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does
            not have works?  Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is
            poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them,
            ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things
            needed for the body, what good is that?”  James 2: 14-16. 

  

2.  Christians need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ again and again.  This is the only thing that will warm our hearts to engage in such ministries of mercy.

            We are sinners and alienated from God who is eternal and infinite. 
            We are His enemies who hate Him who is love. 

            We have gone our way, not considering what God wants from us.

            We have not been thankful to Him for all His kindness and mercy to us.

            We have fallen short of obeying His holy law; we are law-breakers. 
            As such we are under condemnation and wrath.  What we deserve is
            to be forever separated from Him. 

            We can only be reconciled to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
 

His death is a substitute for what we deserved.  His blood covers our sin; He receives God’s punishment in our place.
 

His perfect life of obedience is credited to us.  We receive His righteousness in the place of our sins.  We are clothed with His righteousness.
 

Someone illustrated this in the following way.  There was a time when a deadly forest fire was approaching fire-fighters who could not escape.  So they back-burned a circle of ground and covered themselves in the middle of that burned-out area.  The fire passed by the area that was already burned.  Likewise, those in Christ will not be touched by the wrath of God that is coming. 

 

We must trust in Christ.  We must turn from ourselves and turn to God through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Repent.  When we repent we turn from our sin.  We turn from our self-absorbed, ‘me-first’ attitude, and we turn away from our neglect of God.  We turn from all the things that displease God.    

Believe.  We turn to God through Christ by entrusting ourselves to Him, casting our soul upon Him. 

 

God’s promise.  Trust in My Son, and Him alone, and you will be saved.  God says,

I will save you from the penalty of your sin.

I will save you from the sin that entangles, snares and captures you.

But even more, I will restore you to Me.  You will be my child in My house forever!

 

 

 

3.  What about me?  Wilberforce wrote his book to the professing Christians of his day.  He observed that the great defect in professing Christians of the day was that these doctrines did not transform them. 

·         Their understanding was not affected.

·         Their affections were not moved.

·         They did not sense the grievous nature of their sins.

·         They were not humbled.

·         They did not possess heavenly joy.

·         They did not have fervent love.

·         They were not filled with gratitude. 

 

            Am I living by this principle?       

            Is my life driven by showing mercy to others, or is it driven by my own
            pleasures and interests? 

                        Think about these things: 

 

            God’s mercy to you.  Remind yourself of the mercy God has shown
            you.  Think about the servant life of Jesus Christ.

                        “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”
                                                                            (Matthew 5: 7). 

            “They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun smite
            them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the
            springs of water shall he guide them.”  Isaiah 49: 11.

 

            Mere knowledge is not sufficient to motivate us.  Yes, we must know these doctrines but these must capture our hearts.  And the great object of our affections is Jesus Christ.

            In Christ we find all that we need to live a truly Christian life.

            Am I growing more and more to love Christ? 

 

            Beware of compartmentalizing the Christian life, warns Wilberforce.  Compartmentalizing gives religion a certain place in one’s life.  This allows a person to use or not use religion as he sees best.  Religion is confined to a certain place beyond which it cannot go. 
 

With such people the only guide for life choices is self-gratification.  They live in a “shapeless idleness” and fill themselves with endless amusements. 

            Is Christ more and more master of all of my life? 

            Wilberforce:  “when our religion does not have “universal application and command in our lives,” it becomes a “cold compilation of restraints and prohibitions.”  [21]

 

 

4.  Commit yourself to a life-long, serious and in-depth study of the great doctrines of the Bible.  Don’t be fooled by those who want to separate doctrine from Christ or doctrine from experience. 

All these Bible doctrines find their focus and fulfillment in Jesus Christ.  So keep close to Christ.  Like the branches of a vine feed on Him. 
 

This was Wilberforce’s practice.  In his life and book, Practical View of Christianity.  True Christians know and love Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible. 
 

Remember the warnings from Paul to Timothy, Titus and  the other churches.  False teachers will seek to draw people away from Christ.  Defend yourself with the doctrines of the Bible. 

            2 Timothy 3: 14-17.  Hold close to the Word of God.

            Titus 1: 10-2: 1.  Empty talkers contradict sound doctrine. 

 

 

 

5.  Finally, remember that there is unmatched joy and fulfillment in such a life. 

            One of the biographers of Wilberforce wrote this about him,

            “By the tones of his voice and expression of his countenance he
            showed that joy was the prevailing feature of his own mind, joy
            springing from entireness of trust in the Savior’s merits and from love
            to God and man….His joy was quite penetrating.”  [22]

            Wilberforce was a cheerful Christian.  He was not gloomy. 

                  “…his sun appeared to be always shining.” 

                  He was fond of singing hymns both in family prayer and alone.

                  Wilberforce stated, “A Christian should have a joy and peace in
                  believing.” 

 

                _____________________________________________

 

[1] The idea for this material comes from Philip Ryken, “A Reformed Theology of Mercy Ministry.”  www.reformation21.org and The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.   

[2] William Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, p. 6.   

[3] Alvin J. Schmidt, How Christianity Changed the World.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2001, 2004.  His first five chapters deal especially with how Christianity changed the Roman world.  Human life was protected, sexual relations were uplifted, women received dignity and freedom and charitable work was developed.  
[4] Schmidt.  See chapter 6, “Hospitals and Health Care: Their Christian Roots.” 
[5] Eric Metaxas, Amazing Grace and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. (Harper One, 2007),
[6] Metaxas, p. 96.
[7] Metaxas, p. 96. 
[8] Piper, p. 21, citing Pollock, “A Man Who Changed His Times,” in Character Counts
[9] Metaxas, p. 232. 
[10] New American Standard Bible.  The Lockman Foundation, 1971. 
[11] William Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity.  Edited by Kevin Charles Belmonte.  Hendrikson Publishers, 1996.  First British edition, 1797. 
[12] John Piper, Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce.  (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), p. 20.
[13] Piper, p. 25. 
[14] Hebrews 13: 2 (New American Standard Bible, The Lockman Foundation, 1971). 
[15] Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, p. 94). 
[16] Metaxas, Amazing Grace, p. 136. 
[17] Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, p. 13. 
[18] Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, p. xxxiv. 
[19] Philip Ryken, “A Reformed Theology for Mercy Ministry,” Reformation 21 (Online Magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals).  Accessed 3-28-2008, p. 4. 
[20] Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, p. 70. 
[21] Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity, p. 105. 
[22] In John Piper (p. 57), citing Pollock.