Friday, January 12, 2007

Amazing Grace

Last night I attended an advance screening of a new movie to be released February 23. It's called Amazing Grace, and it's the true story of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), the member of Parliament who successfully led the way to the abolition of slavery in Great Britain.

Wow, this is a wonderful movie. You need to see it when it comes out. The acting is incredible, especially by Ioan Gruffudd (Wilberforce) and Albert Finney (John Newton). The scenery, locations, costumes, and supporting actors are all very good too.

As a Christian, I appreciated the fact that it's not a cheesy movie. The characters come off as real people, not caricatures. Yet Biblical themes of social justice, redemption, and friendship permeate the movie and inspire courage and faith. The movie also made me want to read the history of the abolition movement in England.

A key moment in the film is when Wilberforce, recently converted to Christ, thinks he must choose between praising God and changing the world. His good friend William Pitt (later the Prime Minister of England) persuades Wilberforce that he can do both. This is true for all of us who follow Christ. The Christian life is not just lived on Sunday. The dichotomy we sometimes make between "sacred" and "secular" is false. We glorify God as we get involved in the world and bring light into the dark places around us. Work, play, social action, family life, study, and more are holy activities. Our creation mandate is to bring all of life under the Lordship of Christ. Wilberforce did that, and so should we.

The slave trade was one of the dark places that existed in the 18th and 19th centuries. But I learned last night that there are still an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. So we, like William Wilberforce, can choose to do something about this slavery. Go here to learn how you can get informed and involved.

Amazing Grace, like Luther, Chariots of Fire, End of the Spear, and a few other films, proves that people in the faith community can make outstanding movies and communicate Christian truth in a realistic way. To make sure it succeeds, however, please see this movie and invite others to see it. It does not have the usual Hollywood machinery and money behind it. Go here to see the trailer and find out more about Wilberforce and the movie. It's a great website.


Emmie said...

Well i would love to see that movie... just shocked to know that there are 27 million slaves in the world even today .... i will surely check the website u have mentioned.... u can as well drop by My Blog sometimes .... hope u will find it interesting...!!!

Kevin said...

Isn't that a wonderful film! My name is Kevin Bales and that number of 27 million modern slaves comes from my book "Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy". If you would like any materials for your church or any other group about how to fight modern slavery, please visit our website Free the Slaves is the American sister-organization of Anti-Slavery International in the UK, the original organization you see founded in the film by Thomas Clarkson (who wasn't quite the wild man they made him in the film, but still an amazing character). You can watch our new film about Slavery in US today on our website or order copies.

Please feel free to contact us if we can help in any - we are a partner in the Amazing Change Campaign. THANKS!

Mike said...

Wow, Kevin! Thanks for the comment. God bless you & your work. Hopefully the movie will draw renewed attention to your website and the cry for liberty everywhere.