William Wilberforce: Anti-Hero of Conservative Christians?

I just recently rewatched Amazing Grace and (among many other more profound and emotional thoughts) was struck by the fact that the life of William Wilberforce is a stark antithesis to the model held up by the Conservative Church.*

Okay, so it is, admittedly, a bit more nuanced than the above statement, but true none-the-less...

Here is the nuance:

Conservative Christians have been enthralled by the movie depicting Wilberforce's crusade against the slave-trade in the British Empire, and have been precisely because Wilberforce explicitly expresses that crusade as emanating from his conversion to a personal faith in Christ.

However, whenever contemporary Christians proclaim that our faith in Christ should, as a matter of course, result in similar crusading for justice on the earth, they are responded to by our Conservative brethren with the bitter refrain, "social gospel, it's the social gospel!" It frustrates me...

...especially when the life of Christ Himself seems to be such a commanding anthem for justice on the earth!


It seems to me that the emphasis on personal faith should naturally and easily result in justice, moreover, it seems these two should never be held as somehow antithetical to each other, but rather to flow in seemless unity out of the Gospel proclamation of the Kingdom of God; "Jesus is Lord." If our faith is in the One who Rules the earth, then we will be doing our King's bidding here in His kingdom.

Or am I missing something?


Okay, more nuance...

I know that Conservative Christians will be the first to teach and preach morality in their Churches, however, it is always with the caveat that "you can separate morality from salvation." We hear talk of justice,** but it seems completely severed from the salvation-life we receive from Jesus.


*I, in many ways, consider myself to be a 'Conservative Christian.' (Although not in all ways, obviously...) And hope that my words are seen as critique, yes; but, critique from within, not attack from without...

**I must also point out that Conservative Christians tend to be Conservative politically as well, and so, tend to see 'justice' in terms of maintaining personal morality, admonishing personal responsibility, and advocating for private property rights of the citizens of democratic nations; but rarely if ever in terms of reversing systematic oppression, setting free those in captivity, or undoing the global trend towards building market economies on the overwhelming debt of third-world countries.

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