Slavery in the New Testament

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    Oct 05, 2011 7:27 AM GMT
    I'm reposting this here because I put it in the wrong sub-forum before. Anyway...

    So in this recent thread (http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/1855721) there was a lot of debate over how the bible views slavery. Some posters were arguing that slavery is condoned only in the Old Testament and that since Christians are supposed to follow the New Testament, the Old Testament doesn't apply.

    But here are some versus taken straight from the New Testament that make it pretty clear (at least to me) that no matter what testament you look at, God has no problem with slavery.

    "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Ephesians 6:5

    "Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them." 1 Timothy 6:1-2

    "The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." Luke 12:47-48

    Just some food for thought.

  • twilight2010

    Posts: 307

    Oct 05, 2011 12:53 PM GMT
    1 Cor. 7:20-23: Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ's slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”

    Know that whether they were a slave or master when they were saved, God id master over both, he is the one they are to serve

    When coming to an understanding about the biblical view of slavery, it is first of all necessary to remember that it is not part of God’s plan to bring perfect conditions to this present earth. God intends to destroy the earth (2 Peter 3:10). His one and only purpose for the world as we now know it, is to call out a people for Himself. Toward that end, He has been able to use even evil that humans have devised, for His glory and our good. The most notable example, of course, is the death of our Lord Jesus. Betrayal, denial, false accusation, injustice and ultimately murder were among the instruments used by the heavenly Father to bring about our salvation.

    It is important that we do not confuse God’s use of an institution (or of evil) with His approval of it. One can reach the conclusion that the Bible approves of slavery only by ignoring the heart of the Gospel message which unequivocally proclaims liberty to the captive. The first of the holy festivals given to the Israelites is the Feast of the Passover, which is to commemorate their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. God heard the cries of people and brought His wrath against the nation that had enslaved them. In the celebration of a lasting memorial, the Lord painted for us a picture of our ultimate deliverance from the bondage of sin. Every spring to this very day, the Jewish people remember that they were released from slavery by the hand of God. Year after year, Passover reminds the world that God does not approve of slavery.

    It should be worthwhile to note that Yahshua Jesus the Christ actually healed a Roman Centurions Gay lover, this is absolutely true but a great threat to the Sodom and Gom of today which is the church.

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    Oct 07, 2011 4:08 AM GMT
    Thanks for your reply, but I don't necessarily believe this passage "disproves" that the New Testament approves of slavery. All the passage says is that if a slave is granted the opportunity to be free, then he should take advantage of it and that in heaven men are not slaves to one another as they are on earth. At the end of the day though, God is telling these slaves to be complacent as slaves. The passages I showed above already demonstrate that God does not permit slaves to try to break free or disobey their masters in anyway. Freedom for a slave can only come if they are "made free"-they can't make themselves free.

    I don't accept your argument that God uses and maintains evil human institutions to later serve the divine good. What possible service could slavery be serving? Sure you can say that God works in mysterious ways...but it's a stretch. But if you continue with that logic, why condemn any sin at all? Why condemn adultery or treating lepers poorly or gambling but then turn 180 degrees and tell slaves to stay where they are until the afterlife. Makes no sense.

    Finally, in my opinion, I think that this passage just shows that God only cares about slavery if it affects "his people"-there's no mention in the bible anywhere condemning slavery on any one in general. The passage you provided also only talks about Christians who are slaves...not just anyone who's a slave. It's why in the old testament God freed the Hebrew slaves from Egypt but didn't care at all that the Hebrews were buying and selling their own slaves (the Old Testament even gives them instructions on how to do it!. It was a complete double standard.
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    Oct 10, 2011 4:36 AM GMT
    In my view, it's important to keep in mind Biblical culture, particularly culture in and around the Roman Empire, where slavery was VERY common and WIDELY accepted as a face of life for a significant portion of the population. Slavery in and of itself, in my thinking, violates the second most important commandment: To love our neighbor as ourselves. With this in mind, ask yourself: Would you want to be a slave to someone and do there bidding and risk getting beaten for no reason at all? Is that showing love to your neighbor? There are certainly people who serve as a part of their job, i.e. a butler or maid or personal valet, but they, for the most part, are not treated as worthless pieces of trash.

    It's this view, i.e. that God had no problem with slavery, that gave so many people in this country the 'right' to own other human beings, sell them as expandable commodities, and treat them inhumanely all the while not looking at this as sin when it really was considering how they treated them.
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    Oct 10, 2011 1:58 PM GMT
    Slavery is still very common all over the world.. commonly under a different name as well
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    Oct 10, 2011 2:00 PM GMT
    This topic is a classical example of how scripture can be interpreted and read in a thousand and one different ways.... in a way, I find scripture little more than an entertaining story... but the moral message will be decided upon by the reader and his/her cultural/familial/temporal environment
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    Oct 10, 2011 2:09 PM GMT
    The endorsement of slavery is, I think, clear evidence that the bible was written by men that interpreted god's messages. Again, a leap of comprehension that fundamentalists fail to achieve.

    -Doug
  • twilight2010

    Posts: 307

    Oct 12, 2011 2:59 PM GMT
    Lev 25.35-43

    This passage shows slavery was designed so the poor could seek protection. In verse 40 we read the slave is to be treated as a hired worker or even a temporary resident among the people.

    Slavery had a time when after the person was finished his service as a slave they were allowed to go free. We are even told that the family of a slave was not to be broken up.

    The bible teaches that Hebrew slaves were to be released from slavery after 7 years. As Christianity began to spread slavery declined.

    I can see were Dough is coming from. Me as a Christian a follower of Yahshua could never support slavery. To me it is not Christ like. The Bible is very hard to understand and I believe if a person looks hard enough they will find the answers they seek. Yahweh is not the author of confusion but of a sound mind.

    Like i said before the Bible interprets itself, it does not need man to do so for it. Yahweh has left His Holy Spirit to guide us all we need to do is ask. Some people interpret the bible to be against homosexuals, when in fact it is not.

    Yahweh made us Gay He knows us before we were even formed in our mothers womb. The thing is this. People twist the word of Yahweh to justify terrible atrocities that man has committed.




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    Oct 14, 2011 2:55 AM GMT
    Hi Cardinal. I think your question is a red herring, because it presupposes that if the Bible says something, that must mean that God's view is similar.

    For myself, and I think for many others, the Bible is a reflection of divine truth. But like all of our efforts in this space, it's a case of, "through a glass, darkly." Or, in other words, a poor attempt to reflect the divine, highly influenced by the culture of the day.

    For the record, slavery is wrong. Homophobia is wrong. Oppression is wrong. Injustice is wrong. My understanding of God is of infinite love, kindness, and mercy--and no, I don't believe that only Christians are saved. God's love transcends all, reaches all, ecompasses all, And in some sense, we all are made in the image of the divine, whether we are the person on death row, the homeless person on the street, or the affluent suburban American.

    Anyway, my view on the world. icon_smile.gif

    Cardinal724 saidI'm reposting this here because I put it in the wrong sub-forum before. Anyway...

    So in this recent thread (http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/1855721) there was a lot of debate over how the bible views slavery. Some posters were arguing that slavery is condoned only in the Old Testament and that since Christians are supposed to follow the New Testament, the Old Testament doesn't apply.

    But here are some versus taken straight from the New Testament that make it pretty clear (at least to me) that no matter what testament you look at, God has no problem with slavery.

    "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Ephesians 6:5

    "Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them." 1 Timothy 6:1-2

    "The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." Luke 12:47-48

    Just some food for thought.

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    Oct 14, 2011 11:15 AM GMT
    DCTallJock
    I like what you had to say and hope it helps those who don't seem to realize that the Bible must be read with wisdom and thoughfulness. Blessings.