Bringing the Text to Life
Exactly 220 years ago, an Englishman named William Wilberforce became an evangelical Christian.
Then, 20 years later, in the year 1807, the British slave trade was abolished.
An awakening of the spirit, followed by the abolition of slavery.
There’s a connection between the two.
According to The Economist magazine (February 24, 2007), William Wilberforce was a front-line fighter in the British campaign to end slavery. He was also a passionate Christian who stressed the importance of sin and atonement. Today, political progressives see him as a pioneer of campaigns for social justice, while conservatives see him as a faith-based leader of compassionate conservatism.
He is truly a man for all seasons.
So what can Wilberforce teach us today, exactly two centuries — 1807 to 2007 — after his greatest triumph?
For starters, he did not see his faith as a private and personal matter, nor did he make a distinction between social justice and Christian morality. He professed two...