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What the Bible says about slavery…and liberation

Submitted by on June 23, 2011 – 7:40 pm6 Comments

Is the Bible for or against slavery? Biblical scholar Greg Carey isn’t sure. But it seems he forgot about the movie that made Charlton Heston famous.

Continued here:
What the Bible says about slavery…and liberation


  • Damian Snyder says:

    I understand the slavery from which Christ came to set us free as slavery to sin. While The Exodus was certainly a release of the Israelites from their slave-masters, I fail to see how one can equate that event with the idea that “the Bible is against all slavery”, or (in light of the Civil War anniversary that Travis mentioned) “Jesus was for the North!”
    It seems to me that the ultimate delivery from slavery (both physical and spiritual) will not be fully enjoyed by the Saints of God until the resurrection of the dead. After all, given that, according to Paul, even we Christians can become slaves to sin again in this life, to search for complete freedom this side of the Parousia is pointless.

  • Travis Scholl says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful response, Damian. I fully agree with you that the slavery from which Christ sets us free is sin. I would even extend that further to say that sin has physical and sociological dimensions that are just as much sin-ful as personal and individual sin.

    What I was hoping to convey in the post was not necessarily that “the Bible is against all slavery,” but rather that the overall trajectory of the biblical narrative almost always moves from slavery to liberation. Which, I guess, would put it in a sort of eschatological perspective, which you rightly point to. Just as it might be hard to say “the Bible is against all slavery,” I would find it just as hard to say “God is FOR it.”

    As to who Jesus was “for” in the Civil War, Lincoln’s second inaugural speaks to that situation far more eloquently than I ever could. 😉

  • Damian Snyder says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your assertion that sin has physical and sociological dimensions. If it does not then we risk becoming neoplantonists who seek to “go to Heaven” forever as a spirit…I don’t even want to imply that lest I bear the Gibbsian wrath!
    I forgot to say it in the last post, but thanks for your articles. They are a great joy (and sometimes, which is good) challenge to read.

  • Norman Teigen says:

    Interesting post. The anniversary of the Civil War is bringing new insights and new information to the general public. There was, of course, a theological crisis that came about with the war itself. The theological discussion ended, as Professor Mark Noll has pointed out, by those two eminent theologians, Ulysses Simpson Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. Slavery was abolished and the country was brought together.

    What did result was the continuation of a literal Reformed hermeneutic among certain Lutherans (hint: I am a Norwegian) that has perpetuated itself into the 21st century.

    I would hope that informed Lutheran Christians would continue to study this issue and discuss it with other interested Lutherans. This study can be done without denigrating I wish that it were possible for me to engage in this discussion.

  • Norman Teigen says:

    My last sentence was not properly self-edited: “This study can be done without denigrating any of the historic fathers of the faith. I wish that it were possible for me to engage in this discussion.”

  • Hudson Bartley says:

    There are indeed different forms,kinds, typres,of slavery. But this has to often and still is being used to justify and confuse the issue. The slavery that the bible is agains t is commercial slavery,kidnap human/people trafficking and the like.

    Jesus was and made it quite, completely and utterly clear what his ministry, mission and purpose was for and about.

    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenheated,to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised
    (Luke 4:18).
    This could not be any more clear and ovbious. Jesus’ ministry and mission and purpose was not just spiritual, “to save us from sin” Too many christians and denominations have made light of this and have just spoken, preached and tauhgt on/about the spiritual side of people. But the bible,jesus and apostles/disciples, taught the wholistic liberation gospel of Jesus of nazareth.

    Peace and blessings


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