Amazing Grace

The Life story of William Wilberforce

Over the last couple of weeks, tadalafil remedy my wife and I watched a few Oscar-nominated movies.  Each year around Oscar time I make an attempt to check out some of the films Hollywood touts as their best movies.  I attempt to write a general review for the purpose of making recommendations, viagra canada cialis or applying a spiritual point or two.  To my dismay this year I watched some of the most disappointing movies I have ever seen.   I am almost embarrassed to say I even watched some of the movies I am going to mention. Normally I don’t watch “R” rated movies as they are usually laced with varying degrees of foul language, nudity, or violence and over the years I have only found a few “R”rated movies acceptable.

I watched four movies for this review. The first three, Little Miss Sunshine, Babel, and The Departed, were nominated for Oscars.  The last movie was Amazing Grace. How could I lose with a cute sounding movie like Little Miss Sunshine? It was a travesty, a joke at best, and I can’t believe it was even nominated for an Oscar.   Don’t even think about taking your children to see this movie.   Its themes and sub-themes were raunchy.  Babelwas just that, pure Babel.  It intertwined three stories that loosely fit together.  Some of the scenes were so revealing it should have been rated “X”.   Then there was The Departed, the eventual Oscar winner.  When I started watching this movie on DVD I wanted to stop the whole review because it was filled with so much foul language.  I endured to the end just to see why Hollywood made it the big winner.   And for the life of me, I don’t know why. The movie was at best depressing and pointless.

After the movie ended I told Myrna, “What a waste of my time.”  But amidst Hollywood’s consistent failure to provide movies of real worth, every once in a while they do produce a movie worth watching.  When Hollywood does this, then we as Christians need to go and see it, so they will keep making movies like it.    As history has  shown (Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, The Passion, The Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe,  ect.)  Hollywood will make good movies as long as it is profitable for them to do so.  They will even put aside their own quest for self-glory for the sake of the dollar.

They recently produced another good movie called Amazing Grace.   It is the true story of William Wilberforce, a great man, great scholar, great politician (that’s rare) and an outstanding Christian of his day.   Hollywood does not include all of Wilberforce’s extraordinary accomplishments in this movie; his spiritual life alone could be made into a sequel.  So in respect to what they missed or only lightly treated, here are some extraordinary highlights about William Wilberforce that were written by Lon Fendall in his book “William Wilberforce, Abolitionist, Politician, and Writer” (Pages 155-158).

On the statue of William Wilberforce in Westminster Abbey, where he was buried, are these words:

In an age and country fertile in great and good men, he was among the foremost of those who fixed the character of their times because to big and various talents, to warm benevolence, and to universal candor, he added the abiding eloquence of a Christian life.

The word suggested by this epitaph and by William Wilberforce’s entire life is extraordinary.  In no way does it exaggerate the significance of his life to connect this word with the high points of who he was and what he accomplished.

EXTRAORDINARY SPIRITUAL REBIRTH – Wilberforce was an undisciplined, spoiled rich child who did only enough during his years in school and at Cambridge University to get by and graduate.  He reached his goals of having a good time and making friends.  Within a few years, he found his way out of the emptiness of his life into a transforming experience with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  He never stopped being witty and personable, but his life took on a seriousness and dedication he had never experienced before.  He was a very different man, and his spiritual life became the single most important part of who he was from that time forward.

EXTRAORDINARY FOCUS – Wilberforce entered politics for lack of anything better to do.  He had no goals, no passion, and no issues.  After he committed his life to Christ, he sought a purpose in politics and found it in his goals of transforming British moral conduct and bringing an end to the single greatest human evil of the day, slavery.  He became involved with many issues and projects in his career, but from beginning to end he remained focused on moral reform and emancipation.

EXTRAORDINARY ELECTORAL SUCCESS – When Wilberforce made the giant leap from representing Hull to winning the most prestigious seat in the Commons, representing Yorkshire, he did so with very little apparent forethought or plan.  But he had charisma, great oratorical skill, and superb timing.  His success in winning the seat and holding throughout his battle against slavery was extremely important in providing him political longevity and power.

EXTRAORDINARY IMPACT ON HUMAN BEHAVIOR – Wilberforce never intended to limit his efforts to the slavery problem.  His very early conviction was that God had also called him to work in the private sector through such channels as the Proclamation Societies to turn people toward more honest and upright living.  He and his fellow believers in the Parliament and other leadership positions continued to set a strong example of integrity and godly living.

EXTRAORDINARY DETERMINATION TO ELIMINATE SLAVERY – Twenty years is a very long time to work on one issue, especially when it was apparent to most abolitionists that their real goal was emancipation.  The number of defeats in Parliament toward the goal reached in 1807 are almost too many to count.  For Wilberforce to achieve the abolition victory and then begin immediately to work on emancipation is most amazing.  He had no way of knowing the second goal would take another twenty-six years, but in a way it didn’t matter to Wilberforce.  He was convinced it was essential to reach the goal and had no thought of giving up.

EXTRAORDINARY IMPACT OF HIS BOOK – Politicians and other activists don’t often have time to write books, much less to write good and successful books.  Wilberforce’s book on Christian living had a huge impact on his contemporaries and still is a useful guide to Christian conduct.  He applied the same determination in getting the book done that he did in pursuing political goals.  He had very little time to write, but he got it done, and a whole generation was influenced by it.

EXTRAORDINARY SURVIVAL PHYSICALLY – Wilberforce’s illnesses as a young man made it appear that he would not live long, especially since doctors had only a vague notion of the source of his pain.  The doctors prescribed opium, and with God’s help and his own self-discipline, he was able to avoid becoming addicted to the drug and continued its daily use to control his digestive ailments.  He outlived many of his contemporaries in spite of the stressful life he lived.  He was a walking example of God’s grace and healing.

EXTRAORDINARY DIVERSITY OF INTERESTS – Wilberforce is primarily remember for his work against slavery, but his involvement in other causes was almost limitless, inside and outside the government.  He sought to help the victims of society, the orphans, single mothers, and chimney sweeps.  He was active in a long list of Christian groups, including the Society for Bettering the Cause of the Poor, the Church Missionary Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the African Institute, and the Anti-Slavery Society.  Someone attempted to count the charitable groups he assisted with his efforts and his philanthropy and came up with a list of sixty-nine groups.

EXTRAORDINARY DEATH – To be lucid and personable two days before he died was an amazing gift for a person who endured many physical problems.  God honored Wilberforce’s faithfulness and determination by allowing him to live until Parliament had voted on the emancipation bill and it was certain to pass.  His work of fifty years was accomplished, and he could go meet Jesus with a keen sense of “the abiding eloquence of a Christian life.”