Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Bend It Like Wilberforce

Posted by Adam Graham on March 1, 2007

Chuck Colson had a pretty interesting piece in Christianity Today:

For me, the spine-tingling moment came when Wilberforce (played by Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd) announced, “Almighty God has set before me two great objectives: The abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of society.” Striving to achieve both objectives simultaneously was the secret of Wilberforce’s amazing success (and of the resulting revivals)…

They will learn that when Wilberforce began battling slavery, the prospects could not have been worse: The slave trade was a boon to England’s economy, hundreds of parliamentarians were in the pockets of slavers, and the public was indifferent to suffering slaves in the distant Caribbean.

The prospect of reforming society’s morals was equally daunting. Public drunkenness and crime were rampant, clergymen routinely took mistresses, and the elites of Wilberforce’s day (like those of our own) were contemptuous of morality and serious religion.

Every year, Wilberforce introduced bills against the slave trade, and for 20 years, Parliament voted down all but the mildest reforms. Yet Wilberforce refused to allow political setbacks (or chronic ill health) to discourage him. He persevered, and in 1807, Parliament finally abolished the slave trade by an overwhelming vote. In 1833, as Wilberforce lay dying, slavery was abolished throughout the empire—46 years after the battle was joined.

Wilberforce ultimately prevailed because he understood the futility of attempting to end a systemic evil without also changing citizens’ values and dispositions. He knew he not only had to work for justice; he also had to convince people of the need for the moral consensus that flowed from a biblical worldview.

We got to change society and it’s going to take time and effort. Good words for today’s generation of McReformers who expect everything solved immediately or else it’s not God’s will.

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2 Responses to “Bend It Like Wilberforce”

  1. Thank you for saying that. Everyday my feelings against abortion get stronger and stronger and this movie was very touching to me because I can only hope that someday soon, this story will become a story of today’s persistance against abortion.
    I can only pray that the bills and courage of those against abortion are steadfast and stubborn in their attempts to help our country.
    There is a silence around abortion, the silence of voices silenced before they could cry out and the silence of those who will never care.
    It is my hope that we can and will pierce that silence and banish it!

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    Thank you and God bless you.

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