Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Although he has been labeled a theological conservative and a social liberal, in On Christian Theology Williams emphasizes his belief that Christian faith and practice must always be open to discussion and even to modification. Despite his own commitment to Anglicanism, he does not define the Church denominationally. Instead, he sees it as a community of people with the same hope, a closer relationship with God, and the same vocation, to reflect that relationship in their dealings with other human beings.

The Christian community is also united by their belief in the identity of Jesus Christ, revealed in the Gospels as the Incarnate Son of God. They see the three major events in the Gospels as the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. The sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are both essential in the life of a Christian. Baptism represents an individual commitment to Christ; the Eucharist is a reliving of the events of the Gospel, a deliverance from sin, and a reminder that by making a commitment to Christ, one has become a member of the Christian family.

Like Christ, Christians are expected to surrender to God in prayer and in action. Like Christ, they must remain open to others, thus witnessing to the fact that every human being is one of God’s creatures. This is the basis of Williams’s pacifism. Williams also applies the biblical strictures against judging others not only to racial injustices and the mistreatment of women in the past but also to present-day judgments about the appropriate place in society and in the Church of women and of homosexuals. Again, Williams would have the Christian community be inclusive rather than exclusive. He would have Christians direct their efforts toward developing their own holiness, so that they can reflect the love of a perfect God in an imperfect world.