John Newton has always been a hero of mine. Right now we are reading Newton’s autobiography of his early life and conversion in our family, and we are almost finished. He started as a blaspheming sailor, but was converted in a direct act of God upon his heart during a storm at sea. Afterward he was captain of a slave ship until he found a more certain employment on land. As his understanding grew, he became an enemy of the slave trade and wrote against his former occupation.
I could go on and on about Newton, how he became an evangelical leader, knew many of the preachers of the Great Awakening and was one himself, how he cooperated among all evangelicals despite his conviction that the Church of England was his calling, and how he wrote some of the greatest hymns of all time, including “Amazing Grace.”
But one thing about Newton was that he was influential among the evangelicals in London in his old age, and was a mentor to young William Wilberforce, member of parliament, friend of the rich and famous, and evangelical. Wilberforce became the driving force in parliament for the abolishing of the British slave trade, and eventually of slavery itself. He is a man I want to know more about.
And now there will be a new opportunity to learn about him, because a new movie from Walden Media (makers of The Chronicles of Narnia) is to feature the life of Wilberforce. It is called Amazing Grace (nice) and it is supposed to come out early in 2007. It actually premieres this week in Toronto, but supposedly it will be officially released in February. This is really exciting!
While we are waiting for this great event, there are some books we can read. I am ordering the following books from Cumberland Valley: Hero For Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce, by Kevin Belmonte; Travel With Wilberforce, by the same; and Footsteps Of The Past: William Wilberforce, a children’s workbook.
Meet me at the movie theater in Spring 2007!