The Christian Broadcasting Network

Spiritual Life

Right Now: Easter Devotions | Steps to Peace with God


William Wilberforce
Spiritual Life

More on William Wilberforce at CBN.com's Amazing Grace Feature

More Church History on Spiritual Life

More Bible Study & Theology on Spiritual Life

More Spiritual Life

 
More on William Wilberforce

Wilberforce's Guiding Principles

The Song of an Unsung Hero

The Beliefs that Guided William Wilberforce

 
More on William Wilberforce from ShopCBN

Real Christianity

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery

A Hero for Humanity

Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce

 
CHURCH HISTORY

How William Wilberforce Changed the World

By Charles Colson
Prison Fellowship

CBN.com This week marks the 250th birthday of William Wilberforce, the Christian statesman who, for 18 arduous years, led the crusade against the abominable British slave trade. And I can think of no better gift I could give than to tell you about some of the traits that made Wilberforce a man who profoundly changed history—and whose legacy so profoundly shaped my life.

To speak of Wilberforce is to speak of biblical worldview in action. When Wilberforce, one of the youngest members of Parliament, came to Christ, he contemplated leaving office and becoming a clergyman.

Thankfully, William Pitt, who went on to be Great Britain’s youngest prime minister, convinced him otherwise. In a letter to his dear friend, Pitt wrote: “Surely the principles as well as the practice of Christianity are simple and lead not to meditation only, but to action.”

And indeed, for Wilberforce, Christian faith meant action. He could not stand idly by and see the imago Dei of each person, the image of God, abused. His fiercely unpopular crusade against the slave trade ravaged his health and cost him politically. He endured verbal assaults and was even challenged to a duel by an angry slave-ship captain.

And when the French Revolution began, what had been merely an unpopular position became a dangerous one. As cries of liberty, equality, and fraternity erupted across the Channel, Wilberforce and his fellow abolitionists who believed so strongly in human equality were suddenly viewed with suspicion by the British people.

Nonetheless, Wilberforce persevered year after year. Writing about whether to give up the fight, Wilberforce notes, “a man who fears God is not at liberty” to do so.

But Wilberforce’s worldview led him to engage in more than just the issue of slavery. He fought for prison reform. He founded or participated in 60 charities. He convinced King George III to issue a proclamation encouraging virtue, and reinstated The Proclamation Society to help see such virtue encouraged. He cared for God’s creation, founding the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. And he championed missionary efforts, like founding the British and Foreign Bible Society.

I believe that as we come to understand the depth of our own Christian worldview, it forces us not into a life merely of contemplation, but to one of action. We cannot know God more without being moved to love others more—and to care passionately about justice, mercy, and truth.

More on William Wilberforce at CBN.com's Amazing Grace Feature

More Church History on Spiritual Life

More Bible Study & Theology on Spiritual Life

More Spiritual Life


From BreakPoint, © Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500." Heard on more than 1000 radio stations nationwide.

  • Translate
  • Print Page


CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

Email iconSign up for E-mail Updates Full List

 E-mail: 
Visit CBN
Do You Know Jesus
Grow In Your Faith

Need Prayer?

Call 1-800-823-6053
Email your prayer request