Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce
"John Piper's succinct and superbly perceptive study of William Wilberforce deserves to become an acclaimed bestseller. It not only tells the story of a great man's life-it also tells us how to understand the ultimate source of his greatness and...
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"John Piper's succinct and superbly perceptive study of William Wilberforce deserves to become an acclaimed bestseller. It not only tells the story of a great man's life-it also tells us how to understand the ultimate source of his greatness and happiness. Moreover, that understanding goes far deeper than the abolitionist achievements for which Wilberforce is honored, astounding though they were. William Wilberforce's secret, as revealed in this book, was that he made the journey from self-centeredness, achievement-centeredness, and political-centeredness to God-centeredness. And he made it with Christlike joy."
Against great obstacles William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian and a member of Parliament, fought for the abolition of the African slave trade and against slavery itself until they were both illegal in the British Empire.
Many are aware of Wilberforce's role in bringing an end to slavery in Great Britain, but few have taken the time to examine the beliefs and motivations that spurred him on for decades. In this concise volume, John Piper tells the story of how Wilberforce was transformed from an unbelieving, young politician into a radically God-centered Christian, and how his deep spirituality helped to change the moral outlook of a nation.
As world leaders debate over how to deal with a host of social justice and humanitarian crises, a closer look at Wilberforce's life and faith serves as an encouragement and example to all believers.
John Stephen Piper was born 11 January 1946 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Bill and Ruth Piper. The Pipers soon moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where John spent his growing-up years. His father was an itinerant evangelist who also ministered through international radio and Bible courses. John has written a tribute to his mother, who died in 1974, in the booklet, What's the Difference (Crossway Books, 1990) which is also chapter one of the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway Books, 1991).
At Wheaton College (1964-68), John majored in Literature and minored in Philosophy. Studying Romantic Literature with Clyde Kilby stimulated the poetic side of his nature and today he regularly writes poems to celebrate special family occasions and rich, biblical truths. At Wheaton John also met Noel Henry whom he married in 1968.
Following college, John completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1968-71). While at Fuller, John discovered the writings of Jonathan Edwards.
John did his doctoral work in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich, Munich, West Germany (1971-74). His dissertation, Love Your Enemies, was published by Cambridge University Press and Baker Book House (and is now available through Crossway). Upon completion of his doctorate, he went on to teach Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota for six years (1974-80).
In 1980, sensing an irresistible call to preach, John became the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he ministered for 33 years, until 2013. Together with his people, John was dedicated to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ - a mission he continues now for the wider church through the ministry of desiringGod.org. John says of his ministry:
"The ministry of preaching is the central labor of my life. My prayer is that through that ministry and everything else I do the great glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ would be magnified as more and more people come to live out the obedience of faith more and more deeply."
John is the author of over 50 books and now frequently travels to speak, and writes regularly, through Desiring God.
John and Noel have four sons, a daughter, and twelve grandchildren.