Who would you follow into hell and back? Here’s my short list (in no particular order):
- William Wilberforce
- Corrie ten Boom
- Trey Gowdy
- William Wallace
- Gladys Aylward
- Sir Thomas More
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Separated by centuries, continents and calling, all of the above were/are sterling examples of intrepidity. They looked evil and oppression squarely in the face, and Didn’t. Give. An. Inch. They had character. Honor. Integrity. By the boatload. (Think U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and theologian, was one of very, very few who openly opposed Hitler and the Third Reich. Bonhoeffer often stood alone in his vociferous opposition to the evil that gripped his nation. It cost him his life.
Outnumbered 300 to one, British M.P. William Wilberforce sacrificed just about everything in his quest to abolish the British slave trade. Holding his ground against seemingly insurmountable odds, Wilberforce and a handful of allies refused to back down – and changed history.
William Wallace united the Scottish clans against the tyrannical King Edward ‘Longshanks’ Plantagenet of England when all others had given up.
When told the Japanese were coming to invade her adopted Chinese village of Yangcheng and that she had a price on her head, British missionary Gladys Aylward walked over a hundred orphans over the mountains to safety.
A watchmaker and member of the Dutch Underground, Corrie ten Boom and her family saved hundreds of Jews from Nazi death camps during WWII. She survived Ravensbruck concentration camp after being turned in to the Gestapo by a quisling.
Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England, was beheaded for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England – because it was against the law. His story is memorialized in Robert Bolt’s classic, A Man for All Seasons.
Where are the Williams, the Gladyses, the Corries, the Thomases, Treys and Dietrichs of today?
– Continued in Part 2 –