Friday, March 23, 2007

Wilberforce and the Christian Mind

Tomorrow will mark the anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery Act, the ending of that aweful practice whereby human beings, bearing the image of God, were treated as mere objects - commodoties to be sold and traded. The great social critic William Wilberforce will be remembered as the man who very lonesomely took on his colleagues in the British parliament, his deep devotion to Christian ethical principles spurred him on to fight the good fight, that so many would be thankful for today. Go here for a good article on the Wilberforce fight for the end of slavery.

But although he was a man of deep devotion to his faith and also had a zeal for practical ministry, the Christian church, now more than ever, needs to heed another kind of advice he gave, "In an age in which infidelity abounds, do we observe carefully instructing their children in the principles of faith they profess? Or do they furnish their children with arguments for the defense of that faith?"

This is pretty amazing stuff, Wilberforce is recommending that believers teach apologetics (the reasoned defense of the faith) to their children. Oh that the church of Australia and around the world would listen to his words (as the British parliament did with his slavery message) and once again value the life of the mind and apologetics. Instead of floundering in anti-intellectualism and emotionalism that is only all too common these days.