I have been working on reading fifteen books this year that I called theology books, but in truth not all of them are “theology” books. Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas is a great example of what I mean. It is not a theology book, but a biography of a normal man (William Wilberforce) who did extraordinary things because of the radical transformation that was made in him when He started to have a relationship with Jesus.
This book was a nice break from reading about how to change my life to fit more closely to the way God intended. It’s not that I don’t need to hear those things, but reading about a man, his struggles and triumphs inspired me a lot. For those of you who don’t know who William Wilberforce is he was the driving force behind ending the slave trade in England and eventually freeing the slaves in all of the provinces under English control. Wilberforce did many other things to which I cannot address because I would have to literally rewrite Metaxas’ book and he did a great job so I’ll just touch on what was most encouraging to me.
With the elections coming soon it is easy to get frustrated by those that are constantly running for office with suspect character, but even though Wilberforce was from a different country and time, he was a politician and that gives me hope that someone here could rise up in the ranks like Wilberforce did and greatly influence our country for God and not for themselves.
One of the best statements in the whole book came in the introduction. In Wilberforce’s time slavery was viewed as a good thing that helped all parties. Metaxas said, “Wilberforce murdered that old way of seeing things, and so the idea that slavery was good died along with it. Even though slavery continues to exist here and there, the idea that it is good is dead.” Wilberforce helped people see slavery for what it really was, a horrible and disgusting institution. Could you imagine changing people’s belief about something. I am not talking just a friend or two, but imagine everyone in the world for a long time to come adapting your viewpoint and then doing something about it that led to a ridiculous amount of lives saved. Yeah, that is incredible!
I will leave you all with a quote from one of Wilberforce’s speeches in Parliament and hope that this will inspire all of us to stand up for doing what is Biblical no matter what popular opinions dictate.
“Policy, Sir, is not my principle, and I am not ashamed to say it. There is a principle above everything that is political. And when I reflect on the command that says, ‘Thou shalt do no murder,’ believing the authority to be divine, how can I dare set up any reasonings of my own against it? And, Sir, when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is here in this life which should make any man contradict the principles of his own conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?”
Thank you Mr. Metaxas for writing this book and reminding us about someone who did not live for himself, but for God and all of God’s creation. That is a lesson we can learn and apply to our lives no matter who and where we are.