Friday, July 22, 2005

Colson on Wilberforce

Chuck Colson has a good word for those of us concerned about engaging the culture for Christ and preserving the moral law written on our hearts: we must, like William Wilberforce, take a long-term perspective.

Someone who viewed his battles from a long-term perspective was the great Christian abolitionist and parliamentarian William Wilberforce. This perspective enabled him to take setbacks—and there were plenty—in stride. If he lost one skirmish over the abolition of the slave trade, he would learn from it and return better prepared.

And Wilberforce never lost sight of the need to persuade those outside the seat of power. That's why he distributed literature all through England. So, by the time Parliament banned the slave trade, the people of England were in agreement with him. And Wilberforce would never have allowed the excesses of the twenty-four-hour news cycle to get to him, even if the reported setbacks were real. Neither should we.

or an excellent biographical sketch of Wilberforce, see John Piper's Peculiar Doctrines, Public Morals, and the Political Welfare: Reflections on the Life and Labor of William Wilberforce.