Monday, February 19, 2007

Discovering William Wilberforce

Until recently, I knew very little about William Wilberforce, the British member of Parliament who led the campaign to abolish the slave trade in the British Isles. Now, his story has been made into a new movie, Amazing Grace, that looks like it's going to be fantastic. We're planning on taking our daughters and going to see it this weekend (it opens Friday).

As preparation for the movie, we took the time to read John Piper's book Amazing Grace In the Life of William Wilberforce (free- Adobe Acrobat Reader required) together. It's a great overview of Wilberforce's life and provides tremendous insight into the passion that drove his campaign to end slavery.

I'm also planning on reading two other related books. The first is Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas. This is the companion biography to the film.

The second (which is heavily excerpted in Piper's book) is William Wilberforce's A Practical View of Christianity. Wilberforce wrote the book to speak out against what he saw as nominal Christianity of his day. Sadly, many of the problems he cites in his book (which was first published in 1797) are still true today.

Take the time to go and see this important movie. It is a story that needs to be told not only because of what Wilberforce accomplished but about what his life teaches us about what it means to truly serve Christ.

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