Wilberforce's mistakes

We're pretty big on William Wilberforce around here . . . but the fact that he was a great man doesn't mean he was perfect. It's a good thing to be reminded now and then that none of us, not even our greatest heroes, has ever been perfect (with one exception). Otherwise we might start thinking that we can do without God's grace.


"I wish I had time to go into particulars respecting the difficulties which forced us into acquiescing in the system of apprenticing." [Wilberforce in his reply to Thompson] Don't we all.

What I found more disturbing were some of the comments...'shame on him' or 'shame on you for putting dirt on him.'

In our own day we can look at comments of respected evangelical leaders supporting the war in Iraq and hyping it as opening up a new mission field. All this in the present light of the now dessimated Christian community there.

What this article immediately brought to my mind was a quote from C.S. Lewis that we must be thankful for the leaders who have helped us. But, he wrote, "there are a lot of nice things you can do with sand, but don't try building a house on it."
I just read a couple books from the Ring of Fire series. A small town named Grantsville in West Virginia is mysteriously transported to another dimension and the place where it lands is the middle of Germany...in 1632. Of course that particular time was not particularly comfortable for small towns in the middle of Germany and Grantsville has to deal with that through the use of their technology and redneck orneriness thus proving, one supposes that there are some contexts in which clinging to guns and religion can be advantageous.

Now in one incident an envoy of Grantsville, now the New United States(which it has become because of strenuous application of guns and religion, at least the guns), is shut up in the Tower of London with Oliver Cromwell. One of the escorts is a young irish-american who was raised on ballads and naturally doesn't want to be near him. He is therefore reminded that, aside from the fact that this oliver cromwell is in a different universe, even the other one was not totally without virtues, that some great heroes had flaws, and some villains had virtues and we are all human.

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