17 May 2014

The Bible Makes Man Stealing A Capital Offense

I recently read a historian claim that "there were no biblical sanctions" against slavery. While that is correct technically speaking, I believe the truth is a bit more complicated in regards to how American slavery would fare in God's judgment - as well as slavery's ultimate compatibility with Christianity - due to how slavery in America came into being. At least that's the case examining American slavery in light of Scripture. As I pointed out in my book about Stonewall Jackson's black Sunday school class:
While many nineteenth-century Southern theologians went to great lengths to propound a biblical basis for slavery, and though neither Christ nor Paul ever directly condemned slavery, one cannot reconcile the broader themes of the gospel— liberty, peace, freedom from bondage, reconciliation, and brotherly love—with the institution of slavery. . . . To argue that slavery and Christianity could peacefully coexist denies the obvious. Since man-stealing and slave-trading was specifically condemned and punishable by death in the Old Testament (see Exodus 21:16: “He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death”), American slavery was destined for God’s judgment from the beginning. Slavery is inherently accompanied by evils and mistrust. And race-based slavery is particularly evil and sinful. Man-stealing, coupled with the haughty, prideful spirit of superiority by nineteenth-century white Americans—North as well as South— invited the judgment of God. God visited the nation with a war that took more lives than all other American wars combined—decimating a generation of white Americans within four terrible years.


ropelight said...

Slavery is an abomination unto the Lord and a repudiation of the most sacred tenants of Christian brotherhood. Whosoever subjugates another man, deprives him of his freedom, also thereby binds himself to the servitude of evil and condemns himself to the contempt of both heaven and earth.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...