Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Amazing Grace - the movie

William Wilberforce is perhaps one of my most favorite people in history. For those who have never heard of him, Wilberforce was a Member of Parliament (English version of a Congressman or Senator) back in the 18th century who was passionate about social reform, particularly as it affected Christians. Perhaps most notable was his life-long drive to end the slave trade in the British Empire. After about 20 years and having his bills repeatedly defeated, he (along with others) won their fight to abolish slavery in England. One of his friends and mentors was someone who most people are familiar with, at least his name – John Newton. This is the same Newton who, himself once part of the slave trade, later penned the words to the much beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

Wilberforce struggled with whether or not to continue in politics or whether, as a Christian, he should be doing something else, like Newton who was an evangelical pastor. He felt that he should be serving God and wasn’t sure if politics was the way to do it. Wilberforce came to realize, through the advice of Newton and others, that serving God and working in politics were not mutually exclusive and so remained in his political career. (As an aside, Wilberforce is a great example of how Christians are used by God in their everyday lives and work to further his kingdom. For a great book on the topic of “vocation,” check out Gene Edward Veith’s “God at Work.”)

What brought all this to my mind was that I just found out today that there is a movie based on the life of William Wilberforce coming out on Friday, Feb. 23 entitled, “Amazing Grace.” You can watch the trailers and a couple of video clips at www.amazinggracemovie.com. Unfortunately it’s not playing in Roanoke, but it will be playing in Greensboro. I’m still undecided whether to drive down to see it or wait till video – but one way or the other, I am eager to see this movie. Check out the web site.

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