Slavery - is it Biblical or not?

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by LadyEagle, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b> <img src =/israel.gif>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    22,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    On the thread about moral decline in America, it was posed:



    I fail to see how slavery has anything to do with the moral decline in America - especially since slavery has been abolished for decades and decades. So, to me, the argument saying the moral decline in America is due to slavery, seems to be a red herring.

    So, I'm curious: Can anyone show me where slavery is condemned in the NT? Okay, how about the OT? Where does the Bible say thou shalt not own slaves? (Calling me names and making personal attacks doesn't count. I want to see Biblical proof against slavery)

    ....I have often wondered about the Biblical basis (not cultural basis) for not owning slaves. The one instance I can think of off hand in the NT, Paul doesn't condemn it, but sends Onesimus back to his owner.

    Thoughts?

    PS: And it is not my intention for this topic to turn into some racist thread - It would be refreshing to have a debate as intelligent adults without namecalling, and people getting offended, etc. If it degenerates into that, then I implore the mods of this forum to close this thread.
     
  2. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    Depends on what kind of slavery they were referring to- slavery to sin? Like you i am confused as to what 'slavery' in the common sense of the term has to do with America's problerms today.
     
  3. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b> <img src =/israel.gif>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    22,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks, Mexdeaf - okay, I'll quantify it - slavery meaning owning human slaves.
     
  4. MrJim

    MrJim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2007
    Messages:
    354
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know much about him, but there was a civil war era American theologian named RL Dabney that the Presybterian/Reformed folks still consider a valid theologian apart from his racial/slavery views. It might be interesting to get his take on it.

    In my reformed baptist days I recall looking through a catalog of books and came across on by him. The catalog folks sorta made an apology for his slavery views but considered everything else by him to be orthodox.
     
  5. go2church

    go2church
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    6
    OK, I'll bite

    Slavery is contrary to a couple of principles clearly laid out in scripture. The first is "Love your neighbor as yourself". It is hard to imagine loving yourself so much that you would want to be held, against your will, not being paid for your work and then sold to the highest bidder should one come along.

    There is also the idea of mutual submission in Ephesians 5:21, how can you submit yourself to someone you own? Which is interesting because later on in that passage slaves are told to be obedient and masters are told to be nice.

    It is clear to me that Paul is addressing a group of people in unique situation, slavery existed and Paul was trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

    Let's not forget the progressive nature of revelation, God gave as humanity was able to absorb, building on the previous revelation

    So no it doesn't say don't own people, but neither does it say don't jump off a 10 story building, doesn't mean it is a good idea just because it is not precisely spelled out as such. We where given a brain and expected to use it as well as a heart that is supposed to be compassionate toward one another.
     
  6. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b> <img src =/israel.gif>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    22,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for your answers. Anyone else?
     
  7. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,831
    Likes Received:
    114
    I am in agreement with go2church.

    When Paul admonished Christian servants (slaves) to be obedient to their masters, it was not for the sake of the institution of slavery. It was for the sake of their masters being able to see Jesus in their behavior and hopefully leading to their masters' conversion.

    And isn't there something in the Old Testament law about every 7th year or so, setting servants free and releasing anyone from indebtness to you? They could remain with the family is they so chose, but they also leave.

    Anyway, I don't think that the Apostle Paul was talking about the same kind of slavery as was found in the USA in the 19th century.
     
  8. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b> <img src =/israel.gif>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    22,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks, Scarlett, for your answer. In the OT law, there were two classes of slaves - Hebrew slaves and Gentile slaves. Hebrew slaves were freed after 6 years - the same did not apply to Gentile slaves. The year of Jubilee (every 50 years), Hebrew slaves were freed no matter how long they had been enslaved.

    BTW, slavery has been a practice since early in the OT, for thousands of years. And it continues to this day.

    But still, the question remains, where is slavery condemned in the NT? Jesus had opportunities to condemn the practice of slavery and rose to every occasion to speak truth. Yet, I do not find anywhere in the NT where Jesus condemned the practice of slavery.
     
    #8 LadyEagle, Jun 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2007
  9. Alcott

    Alcott
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2002
    Messages:
    7,453
    Likes Received:
    93
    With our modern concepts of freedom and human dignity, there is no way we don't slant the Bible in that direction. And when culture slants scripture, it may or may not be closer to its (scripture's) ideals. In the case of slavery and its condemnation in most of the world, I think it is closer to the scriptural ideals of all believers being brothers and sisters in Christ, being fair and paying the worker his wages [fair return], and showing no favoritism. It's obviously more expedient to meet these ideals with no slavery. Another problem, though, can come from thinking that if we no longer have slavery, in an affluent society we can enjoy inventions, buildings, fast transport and communication, et al, and we are not oppressors who keep people in a poor and miserable existence [i.e., "sweatshops;" undocumented workers doing the jobs the 'we' wont'] to satisfy our bottomless cravings for these things.
     
  10. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b> <img src =/israel.gif>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    22,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    Good thoughts, Alcott.
     
  11. WaltRiceJr

    WaltRiceJr
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just one argument from the point of view of enslavement.

    The Bible seems to permit the practice of someone selling himself to pay or work off a debt. But the practice in modern slavery was to kidnap and enslave people. Exodus 21:16 says "He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death." These "man-stealers" are thrown in with murderers in 1 Timothy 1:9-10.
     
  12. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think slavery in biblical times, and slavery we are more familair with are two different things.
     
  13. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2000
    Messages:
    9,621
    Likes Received:
    310
    Yes to the basic question. As it was implemented in these United States, NO. By the late 1600s, slavery in America was racially based. In the Bible, that was not the case. By the 1800s and beyond (Jim Crow Laws ect.) , the reasoning drew on bad science (Darwinism) and bad theology (they're the sons of Ham).
     
  14. Bro. James Reed

    Bro. James Reed
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2002
    Messages:
    2,992
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can't imagine owning one whom I am supposed to consider a brother or sister in Christ.

    Christ left us with many examples of classlessness in the church, which would apply to our brethren outside of the meeting time as well.

    Along with Alcott, I find it difficult to understand how "love thy neighbor" can allow you to own him.

    We oftentimes hear people say, about their children especially, if you love them, you will let them go. It is said of dying people as well. Both of those have to do with freedom. A child is freed from his/her parents to grow into adulthood. A dying person is freed from the bonds of this sinful body at death.

    If anyone is to be a slave to anything, it should be in the bonds of love in Christ.
     
  15. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    2
    Slavery Reponse

    Gentle people:

    Just a view thoughts.

    1. Just b/c it is "legal" does not necessarily mean it is "moral."

    2. In the OT economy of Israel, the slaves were loosed every 7 years to return to their homes, land, etc. and all debts were canceled.

    3. The slave owner was to send them out with some provision to have them be able "to set up house" and lands again.

    4. The OT description was no where that that was used to justify slavery in the USA's "old south."

    5. However, the Bible was used as a justification for that institution.

    6. "Love thy neighbor" is a universal that the believer should follow. And this ain't lovin' thy neighbor.

    And I could go on but you "get my drift" I am sure.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  16. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,603
    Likes Received:
    44
    Deuteronomy 23:15-16
    Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.
     
  17. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is true that American slavery had features that contradicted Old Testament law. One of these, however was not "stealing people," as was alleged on the previous thread that gave rise to this one. If slaveholding equaled stealing people, then the Old Testament patriarchs and New Testament Christians were guilty of capital crime and deserved execution at the hands of God's servants, which is ridiculous.

    I favor penal slavery. Crooks should have to work until they pay their victims back: the replacement cost of the goods they stole or damaged, plus a bonus for the distress they inflicted. This would also turn the illegal alien problem around so that those who create the problem become the solution.

    Anything unbiblical with that?
     
  18. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll see your Deuteronomies and raise you two Leviticuses:

    Lev 25: 44-45
    They shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit [them for] a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

    Now who you gonna believe?
     
  19. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b> <img src =/israel.gif>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    22,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    How about looking at the context surrounding both quoted verses and see where the truth lies? As I stated previously, the Gentile slaves of the Hebrews were not guaranteed freedom after 6 years, only the Hebrew slaves of the Hebrews.

    And in what way was American slavery different or wrong as compared to what is in the OT or the NT, for that matter? Please elaborate, someone, with Biblical text to support your view. Thanks.
     
  20. Pipedude

    Pipedude
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    0
    It was perpetual and hereditary, even for Christian slaves. It was reserved for nonwhites alone. And it contradicted biblical law in both the letter and the spirit in that the slaves were not properly protected by law against abuse. Sometimes laws were on the books, but there was not nearly enough enforcement.

    Abuses occur in every type of relationship: parent-child, husband-wife, cop-noncop, pastor-parishoner, Southron-invader, etc. The fact of abuses does not argue for or against the legitimacy of the relationship itself. But in the case of American slavery, the persistence of a situation where abuses could not or would not be addressed and redressed renders moot any possible defense of the institution "in theory." "In fact" it was indefensible.
     

Share This Page

Loading...