Lessons from Clapham

Nathan Finn writes at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Canon and Culture:

The Clapham Sect was a close-knit group of mostly upper class Anglican evangelicals who were active between 1790 and 1830. They were named for the London neighborhood in which most of them lived and worshiped. The best-known member of the Clapham Sect is William Wilberforce (1759–1833), the famous Parliamentary moral reformer who played a key role in bringing about the end of the transatlantic slave trade and, ultimately, slavery itself within the British Empire. …

Clapham Spirituality was not only committed to what we might today call matters of social justice; it was also zealous for the spread the gospel to all people. The Clapham Sect started the British and Foreign Bible Society to make the Bible available to those who had little access to the Scriptures. The Church Missionary Society, also a Clapham initiative, was intended to train laymen to be evangelists in foreign nations under British control. Though it took a few years for the CMS to become viable, within a generation it was a vibrant evangelical mission society within the Church of England.

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Image: William Wilberforce


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