My mom sent me an early birthday gift, for my iPad, with this note:
Dear Rachel, I know you’ve been studying slavery of a different kind, but I thought you might get something out of this. Love you! Mom and Dad
My attention span for reading electronic books is normally about four pages, but Amazing Grace, by Eric Metaxes, captivated me. For 290 pages, I was hooked….to the point that my birthday is still several days away, and I have finished the book and am disappointed it is over.
Did you know the movie, Amazing Grace, about William Wilberforce, was based on a book? I didn’t…. I enjoyed the movie when I watched it, but I learned SO much about Wilberforce and his walk with the Lord through this biography. I have a new hero now.
Everything Wilberforce did in his career as a Member of Parliament in Great Britain was a reflection of his walk with Jesus. In almost every situation, he championed the unpopular cause, even when it meant opposing his dearest friends or sacrificing his reputation. His pursuit to abolish slavery was not done out of altruism or out of the goodness of his own heart, but out of his desire to follow Christ and make Christ known to others. He saw the evils of society in Great Britain during eighteenth century and sought to improve them. He did not just seek to improve the symptoms but wherever he went, he sought change in people’s hearts, through Jesus Christ. He knew that the abolition of slavery was a mere symptom of the real problem: that people did not truly know Christ.
The horrors of slavery existed then in the transport of African slaves to the British West Indies, just as it exists today in trafficking of Eastern Europeans, Indians, etc. Organizations that fight trafficking, through education and political reform, are good, but ultimately, fixing the symptoms is a temporary solution.
It is only when people meet Jesus Christ that true reform happens. He is the changer of hearts. He releases people from the bondage of sin and He gives the Holy Spirit as a guide and a helper and one who convicts of sin.
I want to be like William Wilberforce. I want to yearn for Jesus the way he did. I want every breath to speak of Jesus and every action to be a reflection of Him.
PS. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is home schooling and studying eighteenth century history. He discusses not only Great Britain and the climate of the day, but also relations with the US and France. Not only that, but Wilberforce was good friends with John Newton and many other key Christian figures. He mentions hymns by Newton and Cowper, the preaching of the Wesley brothers and Isaac Milner. Some of the content (frank discussion about the circumstances of slaves) is mature, so it’s not for younger children.
PPS. Eric Metaxes also wrote a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I haven’t read it yet, but plan to order it soon. Also, he recently gave the speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. I only heard clips of it, but he solidly challenged President Obama and the other key figures in the room. If you have the chance, listen to it. He was both funny and challenging. He specifically addressed abortion.