Thursday, April 21, 2022

Does the Bible Endorse Slavery? by John Mark Reynolds


 Taken from the Apologetics Study Bible for Students.

Two common historic types of slavery are slavery based on economy and slavery based on race.  The Old Testament acknowledged the existence of economic slavery in ancient times and attempted to regulate it, making it more humane.  The New Testament undermines the viability of all slavery by calling for slaves to be treated as "brothers," but does not call for immediate abolition.  Indeed, when Paul sent the slave Onesimus back to his master Philemon, he wrote that Onesimus (who had become a Christian) was returning "no longer as a slave, but more than a slave - as a dearly loved brother" (Phm 16).  This essay offers several explanations for why there was no call for immediate abolition of slavery.  

Priority of the Soul.  Our fallen world is full of social evils and news ones are invented every day.  Scripture provides principles that, when applied to specific social injustices, can foster liberty and justice over time.  The Bible attacks slavery and other social injustices only indirectly, because its main focus is not human culture, but the relationship between God and humankind.  Healing for the dying soul is prioritized over overturning corrupt social systems.  

Principles of Change.  Since God is most interested in changed hearts and eternal salvation, the Bible does not consist of rules regulating every aspect of social life.  Instead, God forbids some harmful behaviors and begins the long process of revealing his nature and will to free beings.  The simple lesson of monotheism was difficult enough for ancient peoples to understand.  Once embraced, monotheism undermines slavery, because it demands allegiance to God and the divine will, placing all individuals on equal footing before God.  All forms of slavery are incompatible with this truth.  The Bible treats the slave as a human being capable of a relationship with God.  While the Old Testament demanded the slaves be treated humanely, the apostle Paul went farther and asked Philemon to treat his slave as a brother.  This ethic ensured that slavery could not forever survive amongst biblically consistent Christians.

Pace of Change.  Slavery in the ancient world was based on economic and military factors, not skin color.  Defeated soldiers and bankrupt citizens often became slaves.  Civilization and the hope of progress depended on highly structured, rigid social hierarchies.  Greeks and Romans lacked the moral training, technological development, and economic sophistication to handle a fully free civilization.  Mining, agriculture, construction, and many other basic activities depended on the labor force provided by slavery.  Economic slavery is evil, but immediate abolition could have been a worse evil, possibly leading to violence, starvation, and total societal collapse.  Overnight revolutionary change in such human institutions often produces more violence than lasting peace.  God understands such things.  He is a good educator, and he teaches his lessons as quickly as is feasible.  

Racial Equality.  Racial slavery finds no justification in Scripture and is much worse than economic slavery.  Race-based slavery calls into question the basic worth of people due to their skin color.  Since this is plainly unbiblical, there was a much stronger argument for immediate abolition of race-based slavery, regardless of the social cost.  Slavery in the United States occurred in an era when Christian principles were widespread, making slavery an obvious affront to moral justice.  Slavery was not necessary for sustaining nineteenth century social order, indeed, race-based slavery undermined the health of the nation.1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Footnote:
1. The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, "Does the Bible Endorse Slavery?," p. 1528.

Related Posts

Ten Ways Servant-Slavery in Israel Differed from Chattel Slavery

Article: Does God Condone Slavery? by Amy Hall

Investigating Slavery in the Bible

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Book Preview - Hollywood Heroes by Frank Turek and Zach Turek

About the Authors

Frank Turek is an award-winning author/co-author of several books, including I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist and Stealing From God. As founder and president of CrossExamined.org, Frank hosts weekly radio and TV shows and speaks over 100 times per year, often on college campuses.

Zach Turek is a career intelligence officer in the U.S. Military. He has a master’s degree in philosophy from the Southern Evangelical Seminary and is co-author of Hollywood Heroes with his father, Frank Turek (releases from NavPress in May 2022).

About the Book

Seven fictional stories—Captain America, Iron Man, Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Batman, and Wonder Woman—point us to the ultimate hero, Jesus Christ.

Think about it. What if Batman knew your name and wanted to be friends with you? What if you were the one that Tony Stark died to save? What if it was you that Luke Skywalker would stop at nothing to redeem? Hollywood Heroes will awaken you to these questions and help you to see a God who stops at nothing to redeem you. And it will strengthen you to invite others into conversations of faith and life in Jesus.

Fictional stories about heroes help us realize that there is evil to fight, souls to be won, and growth to be achieved. It helps us recognize—regardless of religious or cultural beliefs—that sacrificing your life for another’s is a powerful and beautiful display of love.

Fictional heroes help us to reconsider what is tangibly in front of us through the lens of story rather than simply as just another day in our ordinary lives. Appealing straight to the heart, the stories bypass artificial barriers that we would normally block them with because our worldview has been threatened.

When we examine out-of-this-world qualities like idealism, genius, a willingness to sacrifice, discipline, loyalty, humility, courage, wisdom, focus, power, and love, we discover that Jesus practices them perfectly.

Book Recommendations

Hollywood Heroes is the book I wish I had written! It’s fun, insightful, and timely. Frank and Zach convincingly show that the story lines of some of the biggest superheroes today―such as Iron Man and Batman―point to our desire for an ultimate hero, which is best exemplified in the Christian worldview. If you want to think more deeply about the intersection of culture and faith (or if you just want an interesting read!), this book is for you.

- Sean McDowell, PhD, apologetics professor at Biola University; author or coauthor of more than eighteen books, including Chasing Love

Here’s a unique, creative, and compelling treatment of a phenomenon that is especially relevant in our culture today. You’ll be both entertained and enlightened by the provocative insights in these pages. Enjoy the journey―and apply the lessons to your life!

- Lee Strobel, New York Times bestselling author; founder of the Center for Evangelism and Applied Apologetics at Colorado Christian University

Nearly half of the world’s top-grossing movies of all time involve superheroes of one kind or another. Think about that for a moment. What’s behind our international, universal obsession with these fictional characters, and what does this fascination tell us about our shared longings and expectations? In Hollywood Heroes, Frank and Zach Turek open your eyes to what’s been hidden in plain sight. Don’t watch another superhero movie until you’ve read this book. Hollywood Heroes will help you leverage pop culture for the glory of God and turn Hollywood storytelling into an opportunity to share the gospel.

- J. Warner Wallace, Dateline-featured cold-case detective; author of Person of Interest and Cold-Case Christianity

You can learn more about Hollywood Heroes here.

You can pre-order your copy of Hollywood Heroes here and receive a free Audio Version!

You can also listen to Dr. Turek discuss Hollywood Heroes with Paulogia on Unbelievable? here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Building A Solid Christian Worldview- Greg Koukl

 Greg Koukl, author of the the book "The Story of Reality," recently appeared on a Focus on the Family broadcast to discuss building a solid Christian worldview.  

During the broadcast, Koukl shares an overview of his book and its intent to present a straightforward narrative of the world from a Christian's perspective.

The book consists of five parts:

  1. God
  2. Man
  3. Jesus
  4. Cross
  5. Resurrection
I've found this book especially helpful in my own journey and benefited from its content when speaking at my dad's funeral in 2019.  I believe it helped me present a clear message of the Gospel that day to both believers and non-believers.  




God Bless,