Monday, 2 April 2007

What can we learn from William Wilberforce?

After hearing a great talk on Wilberforce (Christian MP who stopped slavery in 19th century) last night I was inspired to note down a few things I got thinking about.

1. He wasn't a church minister! We need to empower every person ministry in our churches.

2. His ministry was multi-faceted - he both did great political/social good and he supported the work of the gospel. We must be integrated in our ministry.

3. He did his work as an avowed and obvious evangelical Christian - and so he enhanced the reputation of the gospel through his work.

4. He found his vocation ("the abolition of slavery and the reformation of manners") and followed it. Newton didn't tell him to go to theological college but actively supported the vocation God had given him. How can we 'release' people into their vocation?

5. We need social ethics (see my post on Jonathan Edwards below)! It's impossible to be a Christian apart from a social context. People don't need to just 'get converted' to live rightly in every area but they need to work out their salvation in specific areas. Where do we need to fight today?

6. He didn't just fight negatively, as I'm so afraid we do (i.e. trying to stop legislation when it contravenes specific Christian ethics). He fought for positive issues (i.e. human dignity, justice).

7. He didn't give up because He believed God was providentially reigning over his cause. His believed his cause was the cause of God. Who can stop us if God is for us?

Here is one talk. Here is a biography.