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Featured Reparations

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by agedman, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    I place thread in this forum rather than the political forum so that biblical principles may be explored rather than the debate over the politics.

    Member of the Gospel Coalition author Thabiti Anyabwile, popular author and pastor wrote:
    How might we define “reparations” in principle? I would define reparations as “material and social repayment made as acknowledgement and restitution by an offending party to an aggrieved party for wrong(s) done in order to repair the injuries, losses and/or disadvantages caused by the wrong.” Though these are my own words, I have in mind the work of William “Sandy” Darity at Duke University, who argues that reparations should have three aims: (a) acknowledgement of the wrongs done, (b) payment for the wrongs done, and (c) closure for both parties. (Reparations Are Biblical)
    He gives these agreements:
    1. Restitution is biblical. There’s disagreement about whether to emphasize the individual or groups, and whether repayment for the estimated cost in today’s dollars is feasible, but no one I know rejects restitution in principle (Exod. 21-22; Lev. 5; Luke 19:1-10).
    2. A grievous wrong was done in the American practice of slavery. There are some fringe perspectives that deny slavery was “all that bad” or attempt to argue slavery was “for the African’s good.” But in general, most people think slavery was wrong and a grievous wrong done to African Americans.
    3. Reparations was owed at some point. Even many of the opponents of reparations in today’s context will allow that reparations should have been paid to that generation of freed persons following the Civil War. Some would even cite Special Field Order 15and argue that had it been followed then we would not be in the predicament we are in today. However, after that generation of African American freedmen, agreement on reparations breaks down. (Reparations Are Biblical)

    The purpose of this thread is to explore Scripture to validate or not Anyabwile's claims and to discern what practical participation or not the local assembly should take.

    Again, this is NOT a political debate based upon opinion and agenda, but one in which the Scriptures are to be the deciding factors. This is also not a discussion of the biography of the author.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. Shoostie

    Shoostie Active Member

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    We don't owe reparations for slavery. No one day owns or has been a slave. There is no legacy of harm from slavery from generations ago. The subject of slavery today exists only to cause harm, creating the damage falsely blamed on slavery.

    There's also no practical way to tax the ancestors of slave holders and pay the ancestors children of slaves. Any "reparations" would be taken from the ancestors of people who fought against slavery and given to Nigerian immigrants.

    If we owed reparations, the several generations, and into perpetuity, of racial preferences and tremendous amount of welfare given to blacks is their reparations.

    If we paid reparations, we'd make the black community *-rich and they'd burn through the money and then the racist demagogues would demand more reparations payments. There will never been enough to pay those with the entitlement attitude.
     
  3. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    According to scripture reparations are owed to individuals not groups. They are owed to the person who has suffered a wrong not their ancestors centuries later.


    Thabiti is an extreme left winger who finds racism under every rock.
     
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  4. MartyF

    MartyF Active Member

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    Quoting Exodus 21 to demand slavery reparations from the innocent is highly inappropriate. You should look at Deuteronomy 19:16-19. It applies to you.

    Leviticus 5 is about sin offerings - not reparations.

    Luke 19:1-10 is about voluntary reparations to those Zacchaeus wronged - not his father or mother or grand aunt's 3rd cousin. Oh wait, I'm sorry. You're a Calvinist. So you believe Zacchaeus was forced to make reparations because you believe God forces everyone to do everything.

    You and Thabiti Anyabwile might want to read Matthew 6:15 or Matthew 18:23-35. You also might want to read Philemon.

    It would be appropriate for those who practiced slavery and felt guilty to pay restitution. However, you have to go to Muslim countries or China to find slavery nowadays. I expect you on the next plane to Mecca tomorrow.

    You've got no Biblical basis. In fact, this is the opposite of what the Bible instructs.
     
  5. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    That's it in a nutshell, for me. Even if we had perfect ancestry data, which we don't, what scheme could we come up with to equitably assess debt?

    I can see the government now, "Alright, so your 7th great grandfather on your mom's side owned slaves, but you get a discount because your 8th great grandfather on your dad's side died fighting for the Union..."
     
  6. Shoostie

    Shoostie Active Member

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    Here's an idea:

    When someone commits a crime, for a lean on their family line until restitution is paid. For example, if you murder someone, then you owe that person's family a million dollars. If you don't have a million dollars, we'll take it from your children, and then your children's children, and so on.
     
  7. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Again, this is NOT the topic.

    Reread the OP, please.

    We are not discussing politics, it is the Scripture principles and the application to the local assembly.
     
  8. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Can you give passages and explanations supporting your thinking and how the local assembly would engage.
     
  9. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    If reparations are to be handed out, we as native americans get all the land back. That will solve the problem. All europeans back to Europe. All blacks back to Africa. Problem solved.
     
  10. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    All the passages in the op. I explained how the local assembly would engage. That was the crux of my post.
     
  11. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Try next time to not make the OP a personal statement, but presenting that published by a well known author.

    You make some of excellent points.

    Didn’t Paul let the owner know that if there were some charge to put it on his account?
     
  12. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Ok I’ll go back and look.
     
  13. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Guys,

    Go back to the OP, please.

    I am not looking for political rhetoric.

    I would like Scriptures that refute or support the author’s view and how this can be imparted to the assembly.
     
  14. Ziggy

    Ziggy Active Member
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    If my ancestors came here from Europe in the early 20th century and had never owned slaves nor engaged in the slave trade, should they have to pay reparations for acts they were not involved in? (asking that from either a biblical or political social justice view).
     
  15. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    First, I apologize in advance for the length of this post. It is helpful to have all the passages laid out in front of us. Let us look at the passages Thabiti Anyabwile cites in the Gospel Coalition article:

    Exodus 21:12-35 12 “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13 But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14 If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die. 15 “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. 16 “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death. 17 “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. 18 “If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but remains in bed, 19 if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed. 20 “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. 21 If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property. 22 “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. 23 But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. 27 And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth. 28 “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. 29 If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30 If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him. 31 Whether it gores a son or a daughter, it shall be done to him according to the same rule. 32 If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. 33 “If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his. 35 “If one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead ox. 36 Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his.

    Exodus 22:1-15 1“If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. 2 “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. 3 But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 4 If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double. 5 “If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard. 6 “If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution. 7 “If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. 8 If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor’s property. 9 For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. 10 “If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, 11 an oath before the LORD shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor’s property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution. 12 But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner. 13 If it is all torn to pieces, let him bring it as evidence; he shall not make restitution for what has been torn to pieces. 14 “If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution. 15 If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution; if it is hired, it came for its hire.

    Here are the problems with Thabiti Anyabwile's argument:

    1. These passages relate to individuals only.

    2. There is no sound exegetical argument that reparations are owed by nations; i.e. no positive command in scripture to authorize such reparations.

    3. Reparations were always meant to be made by the offending party. So many generations have passed since the end of slavery that the demographic and ethnic makeup of the nation is completely different than it was in 1865.

    4. It can be argued that God's justice and a form of reparations have already been made.

    a) The Civil War was a judgment upon the United States in which nearly 620,000 American soldiers and 50,000 civilians died. President Abraham Lincoln referenced this tragic loss of life in his second inaugural address when he said, "If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

    b) The South, the principal proponent of slavery in America, suffered for decades under reconstruction.

    c) While it was patently imperfect, and not done for the purpose of godly justice, President Johnson's Great Society was meant to redistribute wealth to benefit those in poverty, which coincidentaly included millions of Americans of Africian descent.
    Sometimes there is no way to make amends for a wrong. The Civil War ended 154 years ago. God has already meted out punishment on this nation because of slavery. It is my opinion that Thabiti Anyabwile's plan to make amends for it, while sincere (on his part), is just part of the current social justice narrative. In fact, it is a subtle form of racism, even if Anyabwile does not mean it that way.
     
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  16. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    So far it seems that individual reparations should be made to individuals within the generation offended. That is a good principle to remember.


    Here is another portion where the author from the OP begins to lay out the case for state reparations made to later generations.

    Again this is taken from "Reparations are Biblical" and this thread is NOT to be a political argument, but one to discern the Scripture principles.
    For review of the actual article look at: (Reparations Are Biblical)

    I might put my brief case in one sentence: If the Lord God himself caused a state head through taxation to require later generations of people who committed no crime to pay monies to their contemporaries who did not suffer the original crime, then it cannot be unjust (quite the opposite!) for state actors to do the same today.​

    Consider the book of Ezra. The action begins “in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezra 1:1). That places us at 539 B.C. when Cyrus the Great came to power. It is 70 years after Babylon captured Israel and took them into captivity. Already we’re talking about roughly two generations. Please note that everything that happens is so “that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled” (Ezra 1:1). What had God spoken through Jeremiah? Essentially that after 70 years the Lord would return Israel from captivity back to the land (Jer. 29:10-14). One hundred years prior, Isaiah also prophesied that the return would happen at the hand of a pagan ruler named Cyrus (Isa. 45:1). Ezra really records the fulfilling of God’s promise.
    A paragraph latter he expresses:

    What do we see relevant to our discussion of reparations? We see exactly what we’re told would be injustices in any modern program of reparations. In Ezra 6:6-12, King Darius—a king who wasn’t even born when Israel was conquered ruling over an empire that wasn’t even in existence when the exile began—passed a law decreeing that taxes be paid by people who did not conquer or abuse Israel in order to restore Israelites who themselves were not alive during the Babylonian conquest of Israel.

    Darius decreed, “The cost [of rebuilding the house of God] is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River” (Ezra 6:8). In fact, those citizens “from Beyond the River” were themselves a people who were at some point conquered and swallowed up by the empire. In other words, Darius, as head of state, compels his citizens through taxes to pay a reparation to Israel even though those citizens did not commit the offense and those Israelites did not directly suffer the offense. What had been stolen was returned and then some as the province was commanded to give “whatever is needed” to restore temple worship and offerings “day by day without fail” (v. 9).

    So it seems to me that the “innocence,” “unharmed” and “generational tax” objections all fail in this historical example. If God, who is just and only does justice, has acted in this way then it cannot be unjust for nation-states to voluntarily repay its own citizens for crimes suffered at its hands—no matter when the crimes occurred.
    I realize this is an extensive "copy paste" however I didn't find a way to remove portions without causing some distortion.

    Two questions;

    1). Does the author make the case for the innocence paying reparations? If not - Why (use Scriptures).
    2) What are your thoughts concerning his use of Ezra, for Biblical support? (is it out of context, making extra-biblical points, ...)​

    I realize it is very difficult not to enter into political statements, but the purpose of the thread to discern whether the use of the Scripture was done appropriately by the referred author, and how the topic may be presented to the assembly in an appropriate manner.

    This thread is important so that pastor/teachers may preplan their own presentations and give an answer from the Scriptures as to the principles and concerns of their own assembly.

    Please present accordingly.
     
  17. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    On both parental sides my ancestors came to America after the Civil War (1900-1920) exempting me.
    However being 25% Prussian Jewish, Germany may owe me reparations.

    This could get complicated.
     
  18. Particular

    Particular Well-Known Member

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    My question is whether we can apply biblical expectations placed on God's children to people who are in utter rebellion against God. Should unrepentant rebels be forced to provide reparation to others by applying guilt and shame and thus justify forcible reparations?

    I am not sure that there is any biblical support for such force. I am open to someone convincing me, however.
     
  19. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    And native Americans give back all their horses?
     
  20. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    But the point is that we have no Scripture that covers multi-generational debt, except returning land at the Jubilee year, and I don't see how that is applicable.
     
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