Slavery

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Scott J, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. Scott J

    Scott J
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    I have run across some people who are persistent in their attempts to discredit the Bible because allows for slavery in the NT and even establishes it in the OT.

    So what are your thoughts?

    Is slavery evil and sinful? If so, why does God allow it in the NT and even among the Jews in the OT while maybe even justifying it over non-Jews in the OT?

    If it is not evil and the modern notion is wrong then how can that be explained?

    I am less concerned about the NT than OT. The NT acknowledges it without necessarily affirming it. It clearly establishes a love, respect, and brotherhood that mitigates against owning other people or being cruel to them when applied consistently.

    The OT is problematic though. It says that non-Jews can be made slaves and gives them few if any rights.
     
  2. LadyEagle

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    God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery. But He blessed him in spite of it and raised him up to be Pharoah's right hand guy.

    Slavery is all through the OT in most of the cultures, including Hebrew, and it not out of the ordinary. I believe in original transcripts of the Bible the word slave is used instead of the word servant. Abraham had slaves, but they were called menservants and maidservants.

    And in the NT, Onesimus, the runaway slave, was admonished to return to his master, Philemon. Slavery was common during the time of Christ, part of Roman culture.

    Not having slaves would seem to be a Western civilization idea--a rather modern concept--when one looks at the overall history of the world--and how prevalent slavery has been in most cultures, including our own up until a few short years ago--in the grand scheme of things.
     
  3. reformedbeliever

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    The thing we need to see is that biblical slavery in the OT was not like slavery that was practiced among most of America. I say most, because some did treat slaves like the bible described that they be treated. Most slaves would have prefered to stay in slavery if it was done biblically. It was more of a profession. The slaves were to be treated well, and fairly. They were to be taken care of. I am in no way justifying slavery in America! It was wrong. It was not biblical!

    Now that i've said that....... many of us are really slaves in our own way. We are in debt up to our eyeballs.... and many are not being treated in a biblical way. We have become slaves by following the American way...... if you want something, just charge it! Why wait? America runs on debt.
     
  4. drfuss

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    Reformedbeliever writes:
    "The thing we need to see is that biblical slavery in the OT was not like slavery that was practiced among most of America. I say most, because some did treat slaves like the bible described that they be treated. Most slaves would have prefered to stay in slavery if it was done biblically. It was more of a profession. The slaves were to be treated well, and fairly. They were to be taken care of. I am in no way justifying slavery in America! It was wrong. It was not biblical!"

    Well stated. When slavery came to America, it became a racial thing. Before it was a station in life; a part of the economic system. Since there was no national government, slavery became a means or survival and protection during Abraham's time.

    God at least accepted slavery. In Gen. 17: 12, God required slaves that Abraham bought to be circumcised as a part of the covenant.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    Anyone who argues that Christianity or the NT are wrong because they encourages slavery is ignorant of the history of the issue. The reason slavery is outlawed today in Western society is because of the efforts of Christians following Biblical principles. Two who labored tirelessly against slavery were British explorer-missionary to Africa David Livingston (1813-1873) and American missionary to India and Japan Nathan Brown (1807-1886). See my story about Brown on the BB at: http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=33499&page=4
     
  6. canadyjd

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    God did not invent slavery. Sinful, fallen men invented slavery. God gave instructions on the treatment of slaves, even the freeing of slaves; (among many other instructions) in the process we learn very valuable lessons.

    1. The enslavement of the Hebrew people and their subsequent redemption (slave terminology) is a prominent theme in the O.T. and the N.T. It mirrors our own redemption by the blood of Christ. (you were "bought" with a price.) Christians should consider themselves to be "slaves of Christ."

    2. Slavery is used by Jesus to describe the effect of sin in each and every person's life (John 8:34) "He who sins is a slave to sin"

    3. Paul's discourse in Romans 7 is that of a lost person; enslaved to sin (sin is personified as the person's master) and doing the will of "sin". After which, "sin" pays the slave his wages (most Roman slaves recieved small wages) which was death ("the wages of sin (the sin master) is death") (no need to argue this point on chp. 7, please)

    4. God clearly demonstrates that all people are equal in Christ. (there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female). While men make such distinctions, God does not; and God's people should not, specifically as it relates to salvation.

    So, yes, slavery is the evil invention of men. But God, who causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose; has used slavery to instruct believers in matters of attitude and love toward one another, the lost, and toward God.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  7. Dale-c

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    Slavery will always be with us even if we don't call it slavery.
    yes, many are slaves today and the borrower IS servant to the lender.

    Also, I don't believe that all slavery is wrong biblically though it should be done fairly.
    The owner only should own the LABOR of the slave, not the person or his mind or conscience.
    In return, the owner owes all provision to the slave, even if the owner has to do without.

    If you study slavery in the south before 1863 you will find that MANY Christian american slaveholders DID treat their slaves right. Some did not.
    All history now focuses on the ones that were not treated properly.

    Many people forget how secure a benevolent form of slavery is. It is a lot better than the current form we have now where the impoverished of our land are slaves to welfare.

    I am not saying I wish we still had plantation slavery- I think it would have been gone by 1890 at the latest anyway.
    But slavery to some degree will always be here.
    Today we just don't call it what it is.
     
  8. Dale-c

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    I might add to your statement that the more materialistic we get, the more in bondage we are to debt.
    So yes, slavery is usually the result of sin.
    But it is not always Biblically wrong.
    It is often God's way of dealing with a people though.
     
  9. Bluefalcon

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    Sometimes, the life of a slave was worth but 30 shekels of silver, while the life of another in the same case was worth the death penalty for the offender. In some cases, if you struck your slave just right so that he didn't die immediately, his life wasn't worth a penny. These rules are from the mouth of God himself. Does this not sound a bit problematic to anyone? God could have outlawed slavery for the Israelite nation. He did not. That he did not is paramount to advocating slavery. This is what critics charge. What's a good answer?

    ---------

    "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money" (Ex 21:20-21).

    "But if the ox was wont to gore in time past . . . its owner also shall be put to death" (Ex 21:29).

    "If the ox gore a man-servant or a maid-servant, there shall be given unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned" (Ex 21:32).
     
  10. canadyjd

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  11. Bluefalcon

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    Why is slavery evil? Is it evil to say one person's life is worth less than another's (e.g., 30 shekels of silver vs. the death penalty)?
     
  12. canadyjd

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  13. dwmoeller1

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    First of all, slavery can be considered in somewhat the same light as divorce - that is, something allowed by God because of the hardness of men's hearts. If Israel had truly been seeking after God's will slavery (as well as divorce) would have been non-issues. The difference between slavery and divorce is obviously that the latter was specifically condemned by Christ and the Mosaic law was specifically abrogated. While slavery is never specifically condemned by Christ it is dealt with quite nicely by Christ's teachings. The "Golden Rule" will do very nicely as a general condemnation of slavery. Unless one can argue that they would like slavery done to them, then this command of Christ would become a prohibition of slavery.

    Secondly, as has been pointed out by previous posters, slavery as practiced in the Ancient Near East was nothing like the slavery practiced in the recent past in the West (in fact, the practice we call slavery is specifically condemned in the OT - kidnapping was punishable by death, and illicit sexual activity with slaves has several serious consequences). Of course, this does not fully address the difficulty of explaining why the Bible treats slavery in an apparently approving manner in the OT. So a fuller understanding of slavery as practiced in the ANE is necessary.

    Slavery, for the greatest part in the ANE, was voluntary. It was, if you will, the ancient form of welfare. Under OT law, if one became destitute one could choose to sell oneself into bondage. During that time, one would be cared for and given meaningful employment. At the end of 6 years, one went free and the previous owner was required by law to provide you with a generous material gift. So, under this form of 'slavery' one entered bondage voluntarily (although maybe only tacitily volutarily in the case of not being able to pay off a debt - when one took on debt one new the inevitable result of not being able to pay it off so the bondage was no less voluntary in nature), and one left in a relatively short period of time in a much better position than when one came in.

    So, within the lights of the culture of that time, slavery under OT law was not the evil that was practiced in the West in the recent past. Now, lets be clear - it was *still* something God allowed only because of the hardness of men's hearts. Gods clear ideal even under OT law was that His people would care for the poor without seeking anything in return. If that had been done, then even this form of slavery would have been a moot issue.
     
  14. MB

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  15. dwmoeller1

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    What if one voluntarily chooses to become a slave - is it still evil?
     
  16. canadyjd

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  17. canadyjd

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    Yes. Accept that person as a brother, open your home to him and let him work as a relative. Don't force him to offer himself as a slave.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  18. dwmoeller1

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    So, "Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again."? :)

    Agreed.
     
  19. canadyjd

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    :thumbs:

    peace to you:praying:
     
  20. MB

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    Hi canadyjd;
     

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