Scriptures You Will Not Hear at the 23-07-06 Church Sermon

by scout575 20 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • scout575

    "Then that SLAVE that understood the will of his MASTER but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes. But the one that did not understand and so did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few." ( Luke 12:47,48 )

    "Who of you is there that has a SLAVE plowing or minding the flock who will say to him when he gets in from the field, 'Come here at once and recline at the table'? Rather will he not say to him, 'Get something ready for me to have my evening meal, and put on an apron and minister to me until I am through eating and drinking, and afterwards you can eat and drink'? He will not feel gratitude to the SLAVE because he did the things, will he?" ( Luke 17:7-9 )

    "You see I was in fear of you, because you are a harsh man; you take up what you did not deposit and you reap what you did not sow. He said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I judge you, wicked SLAVE.' ( Luke 19:21,22 )

    Although the NT condemns and prohibits many things, nowhere does it condemn or prohibit the buying, owning and selling of slaves. What a shame.

  • Gordy

    The following scripture shows that "slave traders" are classed with murderers, adulterers, liars.

    We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. 1 Tim 1:9-11

  • scout575

    Gordy: That rendering of, 'Slavetraders' is not to be found in the translations that I have. Their renderings are, 'Menstealers' or, 'Kidnappers'.

    Does the NT prohibit Christians from buying, owning and selling slaves? Absolutely not. It does provide instruction to Christian masters about how to treat their slaves ( Ephesians 6:9 ), but does not instruct Christian slave owners to give their slaves their freedom. It is little wonder that Christians continued to own slaves up until a few hundred years ago when slavery was abolished. It took legislators to prohibit slavery, not the 'cuddly' NT.

  • A Paduan
    A Paduan
    Although the NT condemns and prohibits many things, nowhere does it condemn or prohibit the buying, owning and selling of slaves. What a shame.

    "nor covet anything else that is your neighbours"

    If you would enter life, keep the commandments................And Jesus said, "......., You shall not steal,....."


    For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! For you bear it if a man makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or takes advantage of you........

    Bearing with fools is a christian virtue.

  • Perry

    There are actually 4 interesting scriptures in the NT were Paul mention's slavery:


    Paul regarding his slave friend Onesimous:

    14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good? 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

    Paul's request was to free this slave and to no longer treat him as a slave but as a dear brother. He also told the Galatians that from a Christian perspective there was neither slave nor free... for you are all one in Christ Jesus. In Corithians he lumped everybody together in "one body" .... slave or free - 12:13.

    In colossians 3: 11 -

    11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

    To put how radical these statements might have seemed at the time. Greece ended up with about a 75% slave population and Rome had a more than 50% slave population. So, it was probably in the minds of citizens an absolute pre-requisite for civilization.

    As a poor analogy, it might be like trying to tell someone today that we should abolish all trucks. We'll just need to get along with cars only. Think of the commercial losses that would cause. One could easily imagine the financial collapse of a system.

    Aristotle called the institution of slavery , "natural" and "expedient" and "just". He said, "a slave is a living tool, just as a tool is a living slave, therefore there can be no friendship with a slave as slave".- Nichomachean Ethics 8:11 So, the practice was deeply engrained culturally, ethically, and financially and had been so for a very, very long time.

    How many early Christians took Paul's seeds of abolition that he planted and grew them? We'll probably never know exactly. There were many though that understood Paul's words as being that slavery was incompatible with Christianity. Historian W. E. H Lecky says,

    "St Melania was said to have emancipated 8000 slaves; St Ovidius a rich martyr of Gaul, 5000; Cromatius a Roman Prefect under Diocletian, 1400; Hermes a Prefect under Trajan 1200, [And] many of the Christian clergy at Hippo under the rule of St. Augistine, as well as great numbers of private individuals, freed their slaves as an act of piety". I'm sure they thought they were just being obedient.

    I think it took courage for early Christians to free slaves because as Alvin Schmidt notes, "Roman edicts did not favor freeing slaves". This is understandable because there were some pretty big slave revolts at times in Roman history, Spartacus being my favorite. Nice movie renter.

    In 315 Constantine imposed the death penalty on those that stole children to bring them up as slaves. Justinian, 527 - 565 AD abolished all laws that prevented the freeing of slaves to officialize what his fellow Christians had already been doing for a long time. Lactantius (the Christian Cicero) in his Divine Institutes said that in God's eyes there were no slaves. St. Augustine saw slavery as the product of sin and as contrary to God's divine plan - The City of God 19:15. St. Chrysostom in the 300's preached that when Christ came he annulled slavery. "Buy them, and after you have taught them some skill by which they can maintain themselves, set them free" . For five centuries the Trinitarian monks redeemed Christian slaves from servitude in Muslim occupied Spain. Lecky says that "in the thirteenth century there were no slaves to emancipate in France" and that in previous times there were "multitudes of them [slaves] embracing Christianity.

    Church Historian Herbert Workman has shown that early Christians truly saw slaves as their brothers noting that no grave of a dead slave in the Christian catacombs was ever inscribed with the name "slave" . Callixtus, who was once a slave in the third century, became a priest, and the bishop of Rome and is later listed by the Roman Catholic Church as an early Pope.

    In spite of Paul's words in the four instances in his writings. Many "Christians" all throughout this time owned slaves though... even prominent Church fathers. At times they even spoke approvingly of it. Popes even issued edits making it legal to own slaves for even the clergy. These erring Christians were sinning plain and simple. Either knowingly or not they were imitating the "world" around them and not growing into the type of people Christ was. The point is that Paul started people to feeling guilty about slavery, got them thinking about it, taught that they were equals to freedmen in God's eyes, and never said one word in support of the ancient institution. An honest reading shows that he was against it in my opinion.

    The point is that Christ "came not to condemn the world but to save it". The NT is not a book of Laws but a book that shows the path to overcoming the need for laws by allowing Christ to live His life through you.

    But there is two laws worth mentioning in the NT: Love God with your whole heart..... and your neighbor as yourself. That "law" was determined by Christians to include the practice of slavery.

  • ElderBarry

    Hi Gordy. Yes, it condemns slave traders but not the reality of slavery itself. Like all books Der Bibel is a book of its time.

  • scout575

    Perry: At Ephesians 6:9, Paul addresses Christian slave owners, saying: "Also, you MASTERS, keep doing the same things to them ( their slaves-verses 6-8 ), letting up on the threatening...." What an ideal opportunity this would have been for Paul to condemn and prohibit slavery, and yet he clearly fails to do that, merely telling Christian slave owners not to be too hard on their slaves.

    Had he have prohibited slavery, what a difference it would have made to the course of history within Christendom - how much suffering could have been prevented. How ironic that a book that is no slouch when it comes to condemning and prohibiting things, even prohibiting eating blood and things strangled ( Acts 15:29 ), should fail to condemn and prohibit slavery. What a difference just four words could have made: "Thou shalt not enslave." Sadly, those words are not to be found in the NT - just what you'd expect from a man-inspired work written 2000 years ago.

  • Perry

    Are there any other rules that are not in the NT that you wished were? I can think of dozens of sins and crimes that are not "prohibited". If you are looking for a law book, or a book of government as my father was fond of proclaiming, you won't find it in the life of Jesus or the NT. You willl find a change in people as they put on Christ. As people changed, later on society sometimes itself showed a greater reflection of His personality. As pointed out earlier, some laws had to catch up with what many Christians were already practicing... the freeing of slaves. This was done without bloody slave revolts, civil wars, and obedience to governmental expansion.... but rather due to God "writing his laws on the tablets of people's hearts".

    The seeds of abolition that Paul planted were just that.... seeds. He wasn't some sort of Jimmy Hoffa just as Jesus wasn't starting a women's movement when he repeatedly broke with tradition and allolwed women to "follow him", "touch Him", meet with him, speak with Him, honored them by revealing his true identity for the fist time, meeting with them first after his resurection instead of his apostles.

    If they would have done so, they would have just been trying to rebuild an edifice that they were also trying to tear down. They would have been like the WT.

    Before a person has come to the end of his/her logic and eventually to the end of himself, he cannot understand the freedom of Christ. The flesh desires to encapsulate human behavior by codefying morality. The Spirit desires relationship and freedom.

    The beautiful thing is that we all get to choose how we want to live. And, we get to do this choosing not under duress but under a climate of Grace, undeserved kindness, being pronounced "not guilty" from all our crimes and sins, and having our debt cancelled.

    Many millions of people including myself have found this type of living to be far more productive in acquiring greater morality than by coercion by "Law".

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan
    The beautiful thing is that we all get to choose how we want to live. And, we get to do this choosing not under duress but under a climate of Grace, undeserved kindness, being pronounced "not guilty" from all our crimes and sins, and having our debt cancelled.

    So many are affraid to make their own decisions. Instead they seek to find an answer for every question, that way they can be 'sure' that they did the right thing. Of course, then after they figure out what the 'right' thing is, they have to make sure everybody else does it too.

  • scout575

    Perry: As I pointed out earlier, the NT is quite happy to issue prohibitions when it wants to, ie:

    1 - Meats offered to idols ( Acts 15:29 )

    2 - Blood ( Acts 15:29 )

    3 - Things strangled ( Acts 15:29 )

    4 - Fornication ( Acts 15:29 )

    5 - Divorce ( except on the ground of fornication - Matthew 19:9 )

    6 - Lying ( Ephesians 4:25 )

    7 - Stealing ( Ephesians 4:28 )

    8 - Talking about fornication ( Ephesians 5:3 )

    9 - Talking about uncleanness ( Ephesians 5:3 )

    10 - Foolish talking - ( Ephesians 5:4 )

    11 - Fellowship with darkness - ( Ephesians 5:11 )

    These are just a few of the NT prohibitions that I came across in about 5 minutes of looking - there are lots and lots more. What a shame that there's no prohibition on enslaving.

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