Does the Bible teach equal rights?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by IfbReformer, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    I have an idea of what I think, but I want to hear what all you wise persons think.

    Does the Bible teach the concept that men and woman should have completely equal rights within society?

    Does the Bible teach against caste systems(like nobility) and peasants?

    Does the Bible support our American ideal that all men(and woman) are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights?(If so what are these rights?)

    IFBReformer
     
  2. guitarpreacher

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    My short answere, without taking time to dig out any Scripture for support, is that God is far more interested in your character than your comfort and He's more interested in your righteousness than your rights.
     
  3. Helen

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    the Bible teaches equal WORTH of each person, as we are told God is no respecter of persons.

    But the idea of any rights at all is purely man-made. From what I can recall, the Bible does not teach or or against any social structure, as Christ is far more concerned with what we do within those structures as His people.

    This is NOT to say that we should not help people where and when we can -- for the second law is to love our neighbors as ourselves, and there is quite a bit of responsibility for others in that command.
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    lots of thinkin' there...;)

    yes

    no...in society...but we are all equal in Church

    yes...life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness
     
  5. IfbReformer

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    Please provide scriptural support for your answers(I am not saying there is not any support, but would like to see what you think there is)

    IFBReformer
     
  6. Rufus_1611

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    No. The roles of men and women are distinctly different. There is one head in the family, which is the man.

    "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." - 1 Corinthians 11:3

    Yes and no. These systems exist but the Bible tells servants to obey these masters as unto God.

    "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;" - Colossians 3:22

    However, the Bible does not speak positively of the nobility/rich types that oppress the poor peasant types.

    "He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want." - Proverbs 22:16

    "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?" - James 2:5-6

    The Bible supports our American ideal that men are created equal for all are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26). These self-evident rights in America, are listed in the Declaration of Independence and include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Certainly, life is a right endowed by our creator and the taking of life is an affront to the Creator. Liberty is something men should allow to each other though it is Jesus Christ that has brought (or will bring depending on perspective) true liberty to the captives. Additional rights are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and I suspect a Biblical argument can be made for most all of them.
     
  7. Pipedude

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    A "right" is what is yours according to law. The idea of "natural law" says that, if you look at things and think about it, certain things are natural. Back in the 1700s, they figured that man, by nature, had rights to life, liberty, and property (but they massaged the last one into "pursuit of happiness").

    Upon examination, natural rights prove to be a nebulous concept. Who's to decide? And in an atheist framework, how can one even justify the idea of "right"? It's like being in outer space and speaking about "up." Does a june bug have a right not to be eaten by a mockingbird?

    God's law gives a framework for the concept of rights. What is yours according to his law? It is popular today to take the law of "love others" and then use it to justify any and all measures that seem desirable, but that just puts one back in the natural law quagmire. Who's to decide what love demands? On a personal level, you are. But when making laws that others have to obey, it gets messy. Socialism usually ensues, even though that's the ancient form of pagan social organization that America was founded to escape.
     
  8. Lagardo

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    This is a great response.

    I want to add, that as we read portions of the Bible that speak to the caste system of the times, we should not read in to it a more modern worldview. For example, just because we read "slave" and "master" does not mean we should assume that God was in favor of humans as property in the 1800's of US. Slavery of the the first century was a different concept than slavery in the early part of the US. It can tell us, however, that God is more interested in spiritual reformation than social reformation. I personally feel that the latter is a natural byproduct of the former to an extent.

    Rights and Class are man-made and will vary by culture. Love is the greatest command (for God and then for others) and will be the solution to problems involving both.
     
  9. gb93433

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    God in His wisdom did not make anyone alike.

    Every brain and body is different. All of us are dumb it just depends on the subject.
     
  10. amity

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    On the other hand, those who do missionary work overseas could remember that the Bible does not teach against slavery, polygamy, etc.
     
  11. gb93433

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    The Bible does teach against polygamy. It does teach against stealing (people).

    1 Cor. 7:2, "But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband."

    Eph. 5:31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

    1 Tim 3:2 "An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,"
     
  12. amity

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    I will agree that ministers and deacons must have one wife, because that passage is specific. Don't see the other passages ruling out polygamy generally, though.

    And what of slavery? Bought and paid for, of course.
     
  13. gb93433

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    The context of Eph. 5:31 is directed toward married people. How can someone become one flesh with two or more people?

    None of the following verses are aimed at leaders only.

    Gen 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

    Mt. 19:4, 5 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?

    Mk. 10:7,8 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh."
     
  14. amity

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    Then why at one place does God say to David, which dealing with him over the Bathsheba business, "I would have given thee many wives." I don't have time to find this, but someone else will know.

    Look how specific God was about divorce, and in how many places. No such prohibition against polygamy.

    Not I am not saying that God blesses polygamy! Just that polygamy is not scriptural grounds for barring someone from church membership. Definitely one wife is preferable, as it is a picture of Christ and the church, and believers are to be encouraged to marry only one woman. That is the New Testament pattern. But if a man was polygamous and became a believer, would you force them to divorce all but one of his wives? Even knowing that the divorced women were going to be outcasts in their society, and forced into prostitution? Apparently this has been done by some misguided missionary somewhere. The Biblical injunction that polygamy was not allowed of ministers points to the fact that it was allowed of ordinary church members.

    Now, how about slavery?
     
  15. gb93433

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    The church was never instituted until Jesus came.

    You cannot support a practice on the basis of something that makes one wonder and ignore the direct statements in scripture. The OT statements must be taken in their context.

    Moses required a bill of divorcement for the erason that men were forcing their wives out and then keeping them from remarrying. That kind of practice held a woman hostage. So the bill of divorcement was required to prevent such things.

    Polygamy is illegal in most civilized countries. Membership can be a church and legal matter.

    Generally when a man becomes a Christian in another country which accepts polygamy the person is told to take care of his wives. God's plan has always been for one man to one woman.

    In most cases slavery is stealing people. Stealing is wrong. Slavery is illegal in most countries. Therefore it is no longer an issue.
     
  16. amity

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    Don't be too sure that polygamy and slavery are some obscure and almost-never-heard-of practice. Both are still fairly common, polygamy especially, and frequently become an issue for overseas missionaries.

    I am with you on the divorce issue. The Bible is very specific about divorce, but not so on these other issues.
     
    #16 amity, Mar 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2007
  17. gb93433

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    I am very aware of the issue in other countries. They are not nations ruled by Christian principles.

    When Jesus addressed the issue of marriage and divorce he was very clear when pointing them back to what God wanted from the beginning. More than one woman for one man or more than one man for one woman was not God's plan from the beginning.

    Just because a nation has a practice does not make it right.

    Bribery is very common in Mexico and its practice is somewhat accepted it is still wrong.
     
  18. amity

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    When did Christ address the issue of polygamy?

    So, as a missionary, if you can put yourself in that place, what would you do if proselytizing in a country where polygamy was a common practice?
     
  19. gb93433

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    The real issue is what God wants not what we want.

    Jesus always pointed people to what God wanted. He pointed the people back to Genesis 1 what God wanted from the beginning.

    I stated that earlier. Sometimes you have to make the best of a situation that is less than best. The best is what God wants.
     
  20. Aaron

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    When He corrected the Jewish ideas of divorce and remarriage. Though Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, they were responsible to know that from the beginning it was not so.
    God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve and Sarah and Betty and Connie and Sue and . . .
     

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