A Faithful Witness in Faithless Times
Election 2012 revealed God’s desire for a faithful witness in time of faithlessness in America. The exercise of one’s faith through value voting is a witness to the supremacy of the Lord in one’s life. The free exchange of expressions that occurs during political campaigns transforms voting into an extended conversation about faith. Each era gives Christians an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to tenets of the faith in the stance we take regarding these issues. Increasingly matters of the state require Christians to make known the will of God in the affairs of mankind.
William Wilberforce dedicated to his life to joining Christian precepts to politics, philanthropy, scholarship, and fighting in pressing issues that consumed the British Empire during the late-1700s through early-1800s.
His contributions to the abolitionist movement led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 that ended the institution across the United Kingdom, with the exception of the Isle of Ceylon, and East India Company controlled areas. Wilberforce was a key advocate for the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone, West Africa. A wealthy man, Wilberforce gave a quarter of his wealth to the poor. Blessed with tremendous talented, his Cambridge University fellow student and friend, William Pitt, the future Prime Minister of England said Wilberforce possessed the “greatest natural eloquence of all the men I ever met.”
Those who honor Wilberforce remind us of his great work. But this unwavering faith attracted considerable persecution. Wilberforce was often maligned in the press, within religious circles, and among dignitaries. Lord Nelson, one of England’s most celebrated naval commanders, openly characterized Wilberforce as a hypocrite. Wilberforce’s struggles to end slavery were blamed for inciting insurrection in the West Indies. On one occasion, Wilberforce suffered accusations of beating his wife, despite the fact that at the time of the accusation, Wilberforce was unmarried. In the early 1900s, Wilberforce wrote an exhaustive classic entitled, PRACTICAL VIEW OF THE PREVAILING RELIGIOUS SYSTEM OF PROFESSED CHRISTIANS, IN THE HIGHER AND MIDDLE CLASSES, CONTRASTED WITH REAL CHRISTIANITY, that explored a range of ideas relating to living an authentic Christian life. In it, Wilberforce challenged the hypocrisy so commonly found in Christianity of his times. In it, Wilberforce likewise foretold:
‘The time is fast approaching when Christianity will be almost as openly disavowed
in the language as in fact it is already supposed to have disappeared from the conduct of men:
when infidelity will be held to be the necessary appendage of a man of fashion,
and TO BELIEVE will be deemed the indication of a feeble mind.’
(Continued on the next page)
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