Piper, John. The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce. The Swans are not Silent. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002. 174pp. $17.99.

Introducing the Series

For an introduction to the series and Book One please click here and for book two click here.


This volume, as well as the other books in this series, is divided into an introduction, three chapters on the lives and theology of these individuals, and a conclusion.

The first chapter delves into the life of John Newton whom we all know as the writer of “Amazing Grace.” His life has many twists and turns that would take too long to tell of here. The theme of this chapter is Newton’s perseverance in tenderness a seeming paradox which finds beautiful harmony in the life of Newton.

Charles Simeon is the subject of the second chapter. Simeon was a man of profound patience. When he became the pastor of Trinity Church in 1782 the congregation refused to let him preach the Sunday afternoon sermon for twelve years. For at least ten years the pewholders refused to unlock their personal pews and would not allow others to sit there so those wanting to hear his preaching were forced to gather in the aisles as he allowed the faithful preaching of the word to overcome the opposition.

William Wilberforce fought to end slavery in the British Empire and succeeded despite countless setbacks and constant opposition. His focus upon the glory of God and compassion towards others deserves our attention.


I think we often think of endurance in reference to ourselves rather than the glory of God. Most of our theological talk concerning endurance, or perseverance, is in reference to our personal salvation. Piper turns that focus on its head by allowing us to see the humble perseverance of Jesus Christ through these flawed men and challenging us to “do justice, pursue world missions, love our neighbors, care for the poor, seek the lost, and finish well” (166).