February 23, 2007 marked the release of a much-anticipated movie about William Wilberforce’s fight to end slavery in Britain. See the movie trailer for Amazing Grace at www.amazinggracemovie.com. Though some Christians have complained that the movie somewhat downplays the Christian faith that inspired the political protest (I don’t agree), seeing the movie and reading either of the books outlined below, will provide the context to understand and motivate all of us to apply our Christian faith in the fight against abuse, racism, slavery, and all forms of social injustice in our day.
The Amazing Change Campaign
William Wilberforce’s work is far from finished. There are still an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. Modern-day slavery can come in many different forms. Entire families may work long days in rice-mills, brick kilns, or on plantations. Children may be abducted and forced to fight in a rebel’s army. All of the people in these examples are slaves—they cannot come and go as they please and are often beaten or threatened with violence. They have no autonomy in their day-to-day lives and deserve the right to be free.
In conjunction with the release of the film Amazing Grace, the Amazing Change Campaign has been launched to abolish modern day slavery and allow children and adults around the world to live in freedom. This campaign seeks to motivate students and communities to make their mark on history by speaking out against modern day slavery.
At theamazingchange.com, you’ll learn about the “two great objects” that were central to William Wilberforce’s Life: the abolition of slavery and the reformation of society.
Visit www.theamazingchange.com and learn more about what efforts you can take to make these two great objects a part of your life. Educate yourself by reading stories about modern day slavery, learn how to start your own Clapham Circle, and sign the petition to end modern day slavery. Here you will find all the tools you need to take action against social injustice. Here you can also sign the following petition.
We, the undersigned, affirm the inherent dignity and worth of all people and the right of every child and adult to live free from slavery and involuntary servitude. We call upon world leaders to commit themselves to the abolition of slavery around the world. Let our signatures demonstrate our desire to see the emancipation of slaves and accountability for slave masters and others who benefit from the enslavement of people.
Amazing Grace the Movie
Amazing Grace the movie is based on the life of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce, played by Ioan Gruffudd. Gruffudd plays Wilberforce, who, as a Member of Parliament, navigated the world of 18th Century backroom politics to end the slave trade in the British Empire. Albert Finney plays John Newton, a confidante of Wilberforce who inspires him to pursue a life of service to humanity. Benedict Cumberbatch is William Pitt the Younger, England’s youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of 24, who encourages his friend Wilberforce to take up the fight to outlaw slavery and supports him in his struggles in Parliament.
Elected to the House of Commons at the age of 21, and on his way to a successful political career, Wilberforce, over the course of two decades, took on the English establishment and persuaded those in power to end the inhumane trade of slavery. Romola Garai plays Barbara Spooner, a beautiful and headstrong young woman who shares Wilberforce’s passion for reform, and who becomes his wife after a whirlwind courtship.
Youssou N’Dour is Olaudah Equiano. Born in Africa and sent as a slave to the Colonies, Equiano bought his freedom and made his home in London, where he wrote a best-selling account of his life and became a leading figure in the fight to end the slavery of his fellow countrymen.
Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper
Just in time for the debut of the movie by the same title, Amazing Grace is John Piper’s snapshot of the life, faith, and practice of William Wilberforce. Piper, a leading Evangelical pastor and author, succinctly (75 pages) outlines the spiritual forces that motivated Wilberforce’s lifelong battle to end slavery in the British Kingdom.
Unlike the flurry of other books recently released on Wilberforce, here readers will find the theology behind the man. Further, readers will be engaged to ponder how theology should impact practice today, especially in the area of how a lay person relates biblical truth to social action in today’s world.
Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas
Eric Metaxas provides the story behind the movie Amazing Grace. Metaxes’ book clearly hightlights Wilberforce’s faith in Christ as the primary motivator for his campaign to end slavery in Britain.
Metaxas vividly portrays the real and raw experiences that Wilberforce endured including intense opposition. Readers see in Wilberforce, as the subtitle suggests, a heroic and resilient Christian whose faith impacted not only his life, but the lives of millions. It was Wilberforce’s freedom from the slavery of sin that led him to fight for freedom from the sin of slavery. Read Amazing Grace and learn the rest of the story.