What we need is to make more of an effort to be united in passion and vision like that of the Clapham Sect. When the group was formed and named after a village, south of the Thames, the commonality began with its geographic location; many of the members were already living there. There, they met and worked together with what one writer calls “easy informality, solidarity and unity of purpose.”

These men were politicians. They understood the process, by which social reform took place–pulling together their resources, both money and energy, bringing to bear the Evangelical spirit. They went after many radical social issues such as the abolition of slavery and the many listed above. But the abolition of slavery did not come about until the second generation the Clapham Sect.

First things first: the Evangelical Strategy. John Thornton was a wealthy member of the Sect, who laid the foundations of the evangelical identity, and also the strategy to enact social reform. He was one of the “robust Christians,” who early on confronted the plight of the Church of England. It was Thornton’s house that served as the headquarter, and there, the Sect formed their community, moving and building their houses around the Clapham Common. As their intentions were clear and deliberate so were their places of residence.

The Clapham Sect met together, planning and laboring. Included amongst this group were many gifted individuals like William Wilberforce (brilliant eloquence), Granville Sharp (legal acuity/research), Zachary Macaulay (industrious recordkeeping), James Stephen (legal acumen/ablest pamphleteer), Thomas Clarkson (patience in laborious investigation), amongst many others.

Having said all that, we are still left with the question: Can there be a Clapham Sect amongst us in this day and age?

Absolutely. But we first we need clear objectives from the vantage point of Evangelicals, defining ourselves to the clearest extent of our identity. The Clapham Sect was able to do that in unity, by “believing in the depravity of humankind, and their concern was with sin and redemption.” The bliblical framework was properly structured amongst themselves. From these biblicals dispositions, we must be aligned with a set of objectives. What issues do we need to address?

Then, we commit ourselves to a course of action in collaboration, pulling together our resources and putting our gifts into good use. The Sect members invested their lives for their cause. They lived together. They breathed in the same ideals together. But can we commit ourselves to even a single cause? I see a few impediments that we must overcome:

1) Worldview turned reality. We need to ensure our reality is fully in line with our biblical worldview and our value system fully entrenched in the economy of God’s grace, so that there is a daily dying of ourselves, so that we can be in the world and not of the world.

2) From individualism to true community. We live, not for our own sake, but for the community. In the Book of Acts, we have a picture of the early church, which we should learn to imitate: “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”

3) A relentless, non-compromising pursuit. To be industrious like the Clapham Sect for the the long haul. Change takes time.

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