Digest Amazing Grace
Don't just watch it. Watch it and learn a little history so that you know that there was a time when someone, on the basis of Christian conviction, stood against the overwhelming tide of a Christian nation in order to bring the social implications of the gospel to bear on society. Here was a person who understood the gospel's implications on:
1. the slave trade - that the dignity of each human is more valuable than the economic advantages of a few, gained by oppression.
2. the rush to war - that the lives of soldiers are vital enough, valuable enough, that all means of diplomacy should be fully exhausted before attempting war.
3. politics - that Christ and His kingdom reign, which invites justice for all, and the end of oppression for all people, must be a vision which spills out beyond the walls of our private lives and into the world we live, through art, literature, politic, music, education, health care reform, and more.
4. patience - because the real emancipation came 22 years after the first introduction of the issue in the House of Parliment. Between start and finish there were setbacks, opposition, discouragement, challenge. But William and others "ran with patience" the race that was set before them. So should we.
Each of the four elements above have very real application in the present, and so it seems to me that this a movie for our day. There's a scene in a worship service, where the pastor begins to speak about the necessity to end the slave trade and people walk out. "Give us salve for our spirits. Tell us we're forgiven. Keep it on a spiritual plane. But don't speak to us about the implications of the gospel on our pocketbooks, or our energy consumption, or the dangers of nationalism." Such mindsets among the faithful too often keep the salt and light of the gospel from becoming visible.
But Wilberforce kept going, holding forth the torch of truth in the midst of hostility. It's an encouraging example to me.
Wilberforce said: "I have two concerns: The suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of society"