The 2006 film Amazing Grace details the life of William Wilberforce. Wilberforce was an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to stop the Atlantic slave trade. Despite battling health issues, Wilberforce persisted through initial failed attempts to persuade fellow politicians. Before his death in 1833, Wilberforce was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament.
“The Bible is my ultimate appeal… slavery is contrary to the example and precepts of our body and merciful Redeemer, and of his apostles… Slavery then is a national sin,” Angelina Grimke.
Fourteen years before the Civil War began, a woman from the south felt compelled to make an appeal to Christian women who also lived in the south. Using the Bible as her main point of reference, Angelina Grimke wrote letters to persuade other believers. One of these letters is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. Excerpts from the quote above can be found within a display on the Bible’s impact on ending slavery.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery, Galatians 5:1.
The apostle Paul makes a similar appeal during the first century. However, the context of the passage above refers to spiritual slavery. Some churches, denominations and leaders used fear, legalism and peer pressure to make followers conform to their demands. A group known as the Judaizers began to infiltrate the church at Galatia. This sect held on to Jewish rituals, adding circumcision to salvation by forcing members to comply. This practice goes against free will as God doesn’t force individuals to do anything. Rather, God gives people the choice to accept or reject Jesus. Any teaching that strays from this is a form of slavery according to Paul. Just as Angelina Grimke makes her ultimate appeal, God longs for souls who hunger and thirst for the Bible to avoid falling prey to ungodly beliefs.
by Jay Mankus