Thank you so much brother for bringing light, reason, and Truth to this very disturbing thread. It is astoundingly sad that some people attempt to divorce issues of human rights from theology, and just as sad that others actually try to assert that the Holy Scriptures condone the brutal sin and injustice of chattel slavery. I'm shocked and saddened by some of the comments made on this thread, and I'm really too tired now to respond. But you have done a wonderful job of refuting some of these misguided notions, and for that I applaud you.
This thread reveals a depth of sin and ignorance, and I know that I am not immune from such depravity myself. May Our Lady the Virgin St. Mariyam intercede for all of us!
"Lord have mercy."
Thanks for your kind words, brother. I agree that we cannot divorce such matters from theology. The Fathers who inform our Holy Tradition did not. In fact, I think it’s very Western to try to do so. I’ll never forget what an old, wise Albanian Orthodox priest once told me. It’s burned into my heart. He said the Westerner tries to put his religion in a box and divorce it from the rest of his life, but that for the Orthodox Christian, the Faith informs everything he does, every decision he makes. Every moral decision is also a theological decision. We can’t divorce the Church from our everyday lives.
Very well. For the sake of clarity, which forms of slavery do you think we should advocate today?
Absolutely none, brother, just as I would not condone polygamy today. Both of these things are unnatural and were not a part of the Lord’s original plan for man, but He allowed them in that time for a purpose. It is well documented that people in the ancient Near East sometimes sold themselves into slavery to avoid starvation and that polygamy was also acceptable at the same time for the same reason – because a woman on her own would likely starve or become a whore – still, this wouldn’t justify polygamy today or any form of slavery today.
Thank you so much brother for bringing light, reason, and Truth to this very disturbing thread. It is astoundingly sad that some people attempt to divorce issues of human rights from theology, and just as sad that others actually try to assert that the Holy Scriptures condone the brutal sin and injustice of chattel slavery.
I’m afraid I must disagree, brother, as Gebre clearly said, “and just as sad that others actually try to assert that the Holy Scriptures condone the brutal sin and injustice of chattel slavery
No where does the Scripture condone chattel
slavery. Chattel slavery is typically racially-based, and under this system a slave is considered in the same class as a farm animal, a piece of property. This was not the slavery practiced by the Hebrews. In fact, because of their history as slaves in Egypt, the Hebrews took great care to avoid this form of slavery, and put stipulations in place to insure that this did not occur in their community.
See Exodus 21:2-6 and Deut. 15:12 (limiting the period of slavery to six years), Exodus 21:20 (restricting the power of the master over the slave, which is not the case at all with chattel slavery), Deut. 23:16-17 (forbidding the extradition of slaves and granting them asylum), Deut. 15:14 (declaring that when a slave was freed, it was the duty of the master to provide him with certain endowments that would allow him to survive independently in the world).
So chattel slavery is not condoned here at all.
Applaud to "slaves, obey your masters." Very honorable thing to do.
The full quote:
“Servants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
This isn’t advocating the pagan, Roman system of slavery of St. Paul’s time, but merely instructing us to be humble and Christ-like in all we do, in whatever circumstances we might find ourselves as individuals.
When the Lord says, “render unto Caesar” and “obey earthly authorities and governments” should we take this to mean that He approved of the brutal, pagan, idolatrous Roman Empire of His day? That His followers, the early Christians, should have obeyed all of that Empire’s laws? Including Emperor worship? Or, by extension, that America should never have declared its independence from Great Britain? Or that Christian citizens of Germany should not have defended the Jews or otherwise resisted the Nazis? Or that Christian Americans should have gone along with slavery or segregation? Or that the Irish should have accepted the Na Péindlíthe
with a smile? Or that no Christian should have resisted or fled from the Communist regimes of the last century? Or that the Copts and other Christians in countries where the Muslims persecute them should renounce Christ and just 'go along to get along' with their earthly masters?
Or rather, is the Lord simply extolling the Christian virtues of meekness, humility, and inoffensiveness and not endorsing the sinful, blasphemous institutions of this world? I think it is the latter, and also that it can be dangerous to pluck verses from the Scripture in isolation and consider them out of context.
I agree that bibliolatry is a form of idolatry, and closely related to sola scriptura
, but I also believe that the distortions of those who would pervert the Scriptures to advance ideas that are contrary to Christianity must not be allowed to stand unchallenged in the public forum. I know that no one here is an apologist for slavery in the American context, or in the world in general, but we must not leave such blasphemers a leg to stand on or in any way hedge or be unclear with them. St. Gregory did not. May his blessing be with us all.