Doesn’t Christianity condone slavery? Why doesn’t the Bible explicitly condemn slavery and forbid it?
Guest preacher, Rev. Dr. Raymond F. Cannata of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New Orleans, Louisiana takes on this question and more.
Though many Christians have themselves become agents of terror, and left slavery in their wake, the standards by which they stand condemned for this are themselves Christian. — (Atheist) Tom Holland, Dominion (2019).
“Pastor, that is not the Gospel at all.” — slave to Rev. Charles Colcock Jones, Liberty, GA (1853)
The church must face its moral failures: many Christians have sinned with respect to slavery, and many white Christians have sinned against black victims of that oppressive and dehumanizing institution. But we must also ask, how many generations of faithful black believers do there need to be in America before we stop associating Christianity with white slave-owners and start listening to the voices of black believers that echo down to us through the blood-stained centuries? — Dr. Rebecca McLaughlin, Confronting Christianity
The whole concept of the imago dei is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected… It gives him a worth. It gives him dignity. And we must never forget this as a nation, that there are no gradations in the image of God. Every human being from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God’s keyboard precisely because every human being is made in the image of God. This is why we must fight segregation with all of our non-violent might. — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
True Christians consider themselves not as satisfying some rigorous creditor, but as discharging a debt of gratitude. — William Wilberforce (1807)
If a man makes that which truly belongs to God into his own private property… and thinks himself the master of men and women, what could follow but an arrogance exceeding all nature. — Bishop Gregory of Nyssa (CE 370)
The local pulpit taught us that God approved of slavery, that it was a holy thing and that the doubter need only look in the Bible. — Mark Twain
Sermon Text: Philemon
Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. 8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you– I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus– 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother– especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it– to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
This is part six of a new sermon series at New Life Presbyterian Church called, Hard Questions, Real Answers. Here is the schedule of our sermon series with the topics we will cover:
|How can we say that Christianity is the one true religion?
|How can we say that the Bible is the only true religious text?
|How can we take the Bible literally?
|How can a loving God allow suffering?
|Doesn’t science disprove religion?
|Doesn’t Christianity allow slavery?
|How can you believe in hell?
|How can I be in the Church when it has hurt me and so many others?
|Isn’t Christianity anti-women?
|Isn’t Christianity homophobic?
|How can we adhere to a religion with so many problems?
“Doesn’t Christianity Condone Slavery?” a sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Raymond F. Cannata on Sunday, October 15, 2023 at New Life Presbyterian Church, 950 Danby Rd., Ithaca, NY. Join us for worship every Sunday at 10:00AM. Visit us at our website at www.newlifeithaca.org.
The intro and outro music is from “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” provided by Sandra McCracken and with her permission. Please visit her website at www.sandramccracken.com.