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Gospel Endurance – Lesson 1: William Wilberforce, A Coronary Christian

March 4, 2008

The Christian life is a race. It is a battle. And daily we run this race with a certain mindset. There is a difference between Christian Sprinters and Christian Marathon Runners:

  • Christian Sprinters are those who have bursts of energy and zeal at the get-go, but it soon fizzles out because they are not pacing themselves for the long haul and when they fall from rocks, holes, traps, and evil competitors, they stay knocked down.
  • Christian Marathon Runners, therefore by way of contrast, are those who have bursts of energy and zeal which may come and go, but endure to the end because they are in it for the long haul so that when they come upon blockades and stumbling blocks they too get knocked down, but get back up again stronger than before.

So it was with the famous British missionary, member to Parliament, and life-long abolitionist William Wilberforce. Wilberforce was a Marathon Runner, a Coronary Christian.

John Piper on Coronary Christians:

“Coronary Christians are like the heart in the causes they serve. Adrenal Christians are like adrenaline – a spurt of energy and then fatigue…Marathoners, not just sprinters. People who find the pace to finish the (life-long) race. O, for coronary Christians! Christians committed to great Causes, not great comforts…My blood was boiling on this issue of rugged, never-say-die, Christian commitment to great causes because I’ve been brimming these days with the life of William Wilberforce…The coronary Christian, William Wilberforce, never gave up…He saw that adrenal spurts would never prevail: “I daily become more sensible that my work must be affected by constant and regular exertions rather than by sudden and violent ones”… (Pollock, 116). He had learned the secret of being strengthened, not stopped, by opposition. One of his adversaries said, “He is blessed with a very sufficient quantity of that Enthusiastic spirit, which is so far from yielding that it grows more vigorous from blows” (Pollock, p. 105). Most of all, the secret of his coronary commitment to the great Cause was his radical allegiance to Jesus Christ.”

(excerpted from “A Call for Coronary Christians”, Desiring God January 23, 2002. Bold and italic emphasis mine.

Sermon Jam

Title: Wilberforce – Audio below in Player – Track #3

Preacher: John Piper

Transcript: wilberforce.doc

Key Quote: “In other words, knock him [Wilberforce] down, and he gets up stronger. There are not many people like that in America. You knock a typical American down, what does he do: Number one, he feels self-pity and he wines; number two, he says ‘Where was God?’; and number three, he sues somebody…”.

Artist & Compiler – 1031 Sermon Jams

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