Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Amazing Grace...

is a movie about William Wilberforce and his work in England to outlaw the slave trade. I ran across an article, a movie review by Eric Rauch, in the American Vision Biblical Worldview magazine (Vol 23, #4, April 2007) that has really intrigued me to actually view the movie.

I tend to be skeptical about these "Christian" movies that are made because so often they are trite Hollywood endeavors to increase their audience base. I usually wait for a review from a friend who has seen the movie. If you've seen it, please let me know in comments what you thought of it.

But here is the quote by William Wilberforce that has me so interested. He is responding to the then "blatant disregard for Scripture within the churches and the hypocrisy that only served to weaken the world-transforming power of the Gospel." (Eric Rauch)

When religion is handed down among us by hereditary succession, it is not surprising to find youth of sense and spirit beginning to question the truth of the system in which they were brought up. And it is not surprising to see them abandon a position that they are unable to defend. Knowing Christianity chiefly by its difficulties and the impossibilities falsely imputed to it, they fall perhaps into the company of unbelievers...

Their standard of right and wrong is not the standard of the Gospel. They approve and condemn by a different rule. They advance principles and maintain opinions altogether opposite to the genius and character of Christianity. If we would know the truth, their opinions on the subject of religion are not formed from the perusal of the Word of God. The Bible lies on a shelf unopened. And they would be wholly ignorant of its contents, except for what they hear occasionally in church. Or perhaps they retain vague traces in their memories from the lessons of childhood.

How different, then, and indeed how contradictory are these two systems. One forms itself out of the commonly received maxims of Christendom, and the other forms itself from the study of the Holy Scriptures! It would be curious to observe (in anyone who had hitherto satisfied himself with the first system) the astonishment a person would show on his first introduction to the system based on Scripture!

How criminal, then, must this voluntary ignorance of Christianity and the Word of God appear in the sight of God. When God in His goodness has granted us such abundant means of instruction, how great must be the guilt, and how awful must be the punishment, of voluntary ignorance!
(William Wilberforce, Real Christianity Colorado Springs, CO:Victor Classics, 2005, 38, 39-40)

This quote was written prior to 1800! So why does it sound just like today? Nothing new under the sun, those unwilling to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, the fallen nature of man like dogs returning to their own vomit? Yes, yes, and eww gross but yes.

That men and women today would rise up and answer the call of "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!" and actually read the Bible!

Now that would be amazing grace!


  1. I haven't seen the movie, and I share your skepticism of "Christian" movies, though I have heard this one is good, and I want to see it.

    This quote could have been written today. Amen to your final sentiment!

  2. I have not seen this either and share your views about "Christian" movies along with fiction and music.
    However, I have heard nothing but good things about this one from well-respected Christian friends and am eagerly anticipating it's release on DVD. On that note have you seen Luther? That is another excellent movie which we really enjoyed.

  3. That sure does sound like today.

    I haven't seen the film but have heard great things about it. I am eager to watch it when it comes out on DVD.

  4. In reading a book about Wilberforce and his writings I was struck with every chapter seeming that he was writing this in our generation. He has an amazing story. Blessings...

  5. We saw it on opening weekend. It is a good movie, although my memory isn't fresh now.

    I will be working at the Southeast Homeschool Expo (with 2 of my sons) at the Math-U-See booth. Will you be able to attend?

  6. Excellent, marvelous, superb film. Absolutely see it. Albert Finney's performance will take your breath away.