Archive for August 28, 2009

The End Game of Wilberforce

william-wilberforce

“Men of authority and influence may promote good morals. Let them in their several stations encourage virtue . . . let them favor and take part in any plans which may be formed for the advancement of morality.”

– William Wilberforce

On this week that marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wilberforce, it is fitting to reflect on his legacy. In so doing it is obvious that we would think of his tireless work to end the slave trade and eventually abolish slavery altogether. While those achievements are herculean in their scope and impact, I believe we do Wilberforce a disservice by not putting his legacy into context. Was he just a great emancipator or was there more to this consummate politician?

To answer this question requires a deeper look into Wilberforce’s thoughts and reflections on faith. Wilberforce was not just a devoutly religious man. His devotion was not to a nebulous, transcendent God but to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In his magnum opus, “A Practical View of Christianity,” Wilberforce laid out the Biblical and moral grounds for all of the great social works that marked his political career. He made it clear that these works were not mere benevolence but an act of worship and obedience to a holy God. He also made it clear that these works were in and of themselves not the gospel of Jesus Christ but a natural result of the belief and working out of that gospel. Wilberforce would have been the first to say that doing good works cannot save anyone only faith in Christ can accomplish that. He would also add, however, that it is a mighty poor adherent to Christ who does not show Christ’s compassion to his fellow-man in need. Such was the strength and character of the 19th century reformer.

Another aspect to Wilberforce’s legacy that we should note is that he was a politician at heart. To label someone a politician in modern vernacular is tantamount to an insult. Yet when we examine the style of politics that Wilberforce practiced we see something entirely different. This was of course shaped and molded by his faith but it demonstrates a point that many modern politicians have forgotten and that is that politics is service. Wilberforce saw himself a servant of the people and he did what he did to benefit them and not to consolidate power or enrich himself. The proof of this is in his philanthropy. By the time he retired from political life, he had all but exhausted his personal wealth giving to the needs of the poor at home and abroad. To Wilberforce, politics was not a dirty game but a vocation and a calling to call the moral conscience of the culture to account and to enact the change needed to remedy the ills of society.

Wilberforce will always be remembered for his abolition of slavery and rightfully so. When we think of him, however, lets also remember his commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his tireless service of others. What was Wilberforce’s end game? To answer this question you need only read the gospel of Matthew 22:37-39:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

250th Birthday of William Wilberforce

WilliamWilberforce This week marks the 250th birthday of the great conservative politician William Wilberforce. It was his labors that led to the end of the slave trade in the United Kingdom. His life and faith have inspired many people in the service of God’s kingdom this author not excluded. Please take a few minutes to view the following video about the life of Wilberforce. It will be the best 10 minute investment you have made in a long time.


William Wilberforce Video

Snatching Them From A Fire

fire“And have mercy on those who doubt: save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

– Jude 22-23

No voter in their right mind wants a government run health care system. They may want health care that is affordable, or that covers pre-existing conditions, but they don’t want socialized medicine. About the only class of people who could desire such a system are politicians who could exempt themselves from it. So, when our representatives in Washington share story after story of people begging them to fight for the “public option” who are these people?

Well, I figure that the opinion on government run health care breaks down into four categories based on information and activity level. These four categories are represented in the grid below:

Uninformed

and

Inactive

Informed

and

Inactive

Uninformed

and

Active

Informed

and

Active



The group highlighted in green are the ones being used by those who are perpetrating this great government expansion experiment. They are the ones making up they 30 to 40 % who say in the polls that they want the President’s reforms to pass. They are also the best targets of persuasion by those who know the inherent evils of such legislation.

So how do we reach out to these people? Well, just like a fireman pulling someone out of a fire. We forcefully, but gently explain to them that they are not experiencing euphoria but smoke inhalation and patiently but persistently lead them back to clear air. This is no easy task but if you know the truth it is one that you must fulfill.

This great undertaking also means that those of us armed with the truth should act as rescuers and not brawlers. Shouting at the arsonists may make you feel better, but to the poor soul trapped in the fire it only causes them to back away when you offer them a hand. The goal here is not to change the mind of the politicians but of the vulnerable electorate who could help the rest of us send those same politicians home in 2010.

So when you get that, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” feeling, take a deep breath of smoke free air and think about those poor souls who have been blinded by the socialists smoke. Then put on your nomex and go see if you can snatch someone out of the flames. It will do you both good.

Freedom Of Religion

crosschurch“Certainly no power over religious discipline has been delegated to the general government.”

– Thomas Jefferson

If old Thom and his buddies Ben, George, John, etc. could see how the federal government has limited religious expression, they would be astounded. A cursory reading of the writing and correspondence of the founding fathers demonstrates their resolve that matters of religion were to be decided by the states. It is quite shocking to see how the first amendment has been massaged, battered, twisted, and downright ignored to the point of our current federal encroachment in state related matters. The infringement of the freedom of religion, therefore, is one of many examples how a lack of vigilance precedes subtle abuse.

I for one do not believe that the Constitution is a “living” document. I think that those who do believe that, betray their lack of willingness to abide by anything that is perceived as absolute. Either what was written works for all people at all times or it doesn’t work for anyone at anytime. Why this soggy, milk-toast, middle of “living document”? Where do you draw the line? Where is the firewall to protect communities, families, and individuals from an ever encroaching, faceless, bureaucracy? Freedom of religion that is only as secure as a majority on the supreme court is not true freedom.