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Does the bible condone slavery? This is certainly an important topic, especially in regards to apologetics and those looking for reasons for faith; for who would want to put their faith in a God whom they could not trust is good, loving, and just? As I was reading in Titus 2 today, I thought about this issue again and thought it might be good to offer some thoughts. I do not believe the bible condones slavery, at least not in the sense of slavery as injustice, abuse, and inferiority. But there is the truth of slavery existing all throughout the bible, in both testaments, even a cursory reading of the bible will reveal that it does not outright condemn slavery as a practice. And as difficult as this all may be, it is important to understand the fundamental differences of slavery then and now (for an introductory treatment of this click here). “It’s really important for us not to confuse God’s USE of an institution to accomplish something good, with God’s APPROVAL of an institution as something inherently good.” Not to mention slaves comprised 65-90% of the Roman empire up until the first century A.D. So does God condone slavery? No. So does Jesus (or other N.T. writers) condemn slavery as a practice? No. So where does this leave us? I believe it leaves us right where God wants us, stuck in the middle of the gospel; inward, of the heart, and not merely the outward (Mat 23, etc.). Let me offer this quote: “Herein lies the point at stake: Is the N.T. about social change first or is it about change of the heart? As much as I believe that Christians should become involved in several aspects of society (we are, after all, "the salt of the world"), when we exchange the gospel for a merely social agenda we contaminate our mission. I believe there are social implications of the gospel that are quite extensive, but let us never forget that our primary task in relation to the world is not to change political structures, but to offer forgiveness of sin in the name of Jesus Christ.” (reference) So whether we are engaged with our friends, co-workers, family members, and classmates in an apologetic conversation concerning the nature of God, or simply wrestling through it ourselves; let us continue to work on the inner man, a heart truly submitted to the authority of God, allowing that to determine our relation to other human beings in love no matter what societal or cultural circumstance we find ourselves in. For someone is truly only a slave to what has mastered them (2 Pet 2:19).


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