I am very excited about Todd Wilson’s excellent new book, Real Christian: Bearing the Marks of Authentic Faith.
Todd and I go way back, having studied together under John Piper at The Bethlehem Institute back in our early days of seminary. Todd has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and is now senior pastor at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, IL.
Real Christian is written in response to a major problem in the church today: there are many who claim to follow Christ but show little evidence of a transformed life. Drawing on Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections, Todd shows us the meaning of authentic faith in Christ. He shows us that real Christianity is something you can see. That is, if we are truly following Christ there will be actual evidence in our lives and behavior. Further, this evidence consists not of the avoidance ethic or adherence to external regulations that put on a “show” of super-spirituality, but rather in Christ-like character.
Specifically, the evidence of real, authentic faith lies in five key qualities: “broken-hearted joy, a humble disposition, a readiness to acknowledge sin, an ability to live balanced and avoid legalism, and a deep spiritual hunger that drives growth.” Further, “all of these qualities culminate in the single defining mark of a real Christian — love.”
This is a very important message for the church today. Here’s what I say in my endorsement:
Todd Wilson’s Real Christian is exactly the book we need at this moment. It shows us that real faith in Christ truly changes us. It isn’t enough to say you’re real. Real Christianity has effects in your life that are visible, and Todd shows what those are. What we see is radically biblical, and yet not what we often think–which is exactly why this book is so important. Todd writes with a humility and clarity that is convicting and yet hopeful. Instead of throwing us back on ourselves, he points us to Christ in a way that few books today do. This book can help the church recapture its mission by helping it recover its authentic witness. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I mean it when I say Real Christian can help the church recapture its mission and have the impact God wants it to have. I see Real Christian, in part, as a continuation of a book like Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life or even David Platt’s Radical. Both of those books call us to live out our faith on mission with God by radically pursuing the good of others, especially in global missions. But there is something that needs to be even prior to that in our Christian lives — namely, the cultivation of godly, Christ-like character. Todd’s book shows us what that character looks like. This is a message that is urgently needed, and is the foundation for everything else we do.
Todd’s book is also super well written and a joy to read. I highly recommend picking it up.