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The slave trade in the early 19th century presented a monumental ethical challenge and an apparently insurmountable obstacle to missionary outreaches in Africa. The abolition of the slave trade helped prepare the way for the 19th century to become the greatest century for missionary advance.
As we battle against great social evils such as abortion, pornography and persecution and work for Reformation, the overwhelming opposition and pressure can drive one to exhaustion and a temptation to give up the fight. William Wilberforce – the Reformer who led the campaign to abolish the slave trade and to set those in bondage free – was persistently slandered in the media, threatened, physically assaulted and even the target of attempted murder. Yet he persevered and, after a lifetime crusade, his steadfastness was rewarded with the liberation of all slaves in the British Empire.
At this critical stage in history Christians need to learn from one of the greatest Christian statesmen how, in the face of constant division and opposition, he succeeded in abolishing the slave trade.