God's Politician: William Wilberforce's Struggle
by Garth Lean
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Whenever I see the bumper sticker that says, “The last time we mixed religion and politics, we burned witches at the stake,” I want to scream. Then I want to write a much longer bumper sticker, that would probably cover the whole back window of my Jeep, that says, “Actually, one of the last times we successfully mixed Christianity and politics, William Wilberforce abolished the slave trade and eventually emancipated all the slaves in the British Empire! And while he was fighting against slavery, he was being hampered by people like you, who told him to keep his religion to himself. Imagine if he had! The real intrusion of real faith on politics resulted in alleviating the suffering of untold millions of slaves. So stop putting that ridiculous bumper sticker on your VW bus and start reading some history.”
I suppose that’s why there are no bumper stickers on my Jeep: the real story can seldom be contained in one pithy sentence. Fortunately, students can hear the real story of William Wilberforce and the men who fought alongside him by reading God’s Politician by Garth Lean. God’s Politician isn’t a great book, and it isn’t even the best biography of William Wilberforce (that honor goes to a much more difficult biography, Wilberforce by John Pollock)—but it is an accessible introduction to the life of a Christian who understood his faith as a total worldview. Your students will be delighted to see that Christians can be used by God to powerfully impact history, even in so-called “secular” spheres like law and government.
by Jeff Baldwin