On February 23 the world will have the chance to see one of the best movies in recent times.
I attended a private screening of "Amazing Grace" tonight, a movie about the life of William Wilberforce. Wilberforce was a man endowed with enormous talent, great political influence, a heart of compassion, and devotion to Jesus Christ. Wilberforce was used by God, along with a team of faithful laborers, to bring an end to the scourge of human slave trade in England. His interactions with Thomas Jefferson on the matter of abolition certainly had influence in bringing human slave trade and slavery to an end in the United States also. Wilberforce's story needed to be told in a fresh, relevant way. This movie does just that. Wilberforce was a man who lived out his Christianity in many visible, transformational ways. The matter of bringing an end to the sins of man stealing, oppression, and cruelty to human beings was Wilberforce's driving passion for most of his adult life. Christ was honored by his righteous indignation against slavery and his courage to act when so many others would not. Wilberforce's legacy continues to bless the whole world and should be a particular example to those who are Christians.
I commend Bristol Bay Production company for taking on this project. The script is absolutely brilliant, the dialogue engaging, and the acting is splendid. Both my wife and I commented to each other concerning the lack of even one poor scene. While the film is heavy on dialogue, it is all very meaningful and gripping. The only negative I would site has to do with the lack of focus on the particulars of Wilberforce's theology (you might expect me to say that!). Wilberforce was mentored by former slave trader turned Puritan pastor, John Newton (the author of Amazing Grace, the hymn). This fact was clearly shown in wonderful scenes between the two men, however, there could have been more explanation regarding Wilberforce's particular theological convictions and how they served to propel his mission to see an end to slavery (I contend he was living out a reformed world and life view). Having said that, I can't think of another negative thing about the movie. I hope everybody sees this movie and cannot recommend it more highly. Check out the Amazing Grace movie website for an overview of the film and go see it when it comes out February 23 (200 years, to the day, after the British Parliament voted to abolish slave trade in England and her colonies).
William Wilberforce is a man who was owned by Christ. His particular area of giftedness was in the arena of politics. He struggled with deciding over a career in politics or entering the pastoral ministry. John Newton, among other people, told him to do what he was gifted to do, but do it for Christ. He is an example of how Christians can be used of God to transform their culture for Christ.