Thursday, January 11, 2018

May God deliver us from slave-holding Christianity

Slaves hypakouo [obey] in all things masters according to the flesh not with eyeservice as men-pleasers but in singleness of heart fearing God And whatsoever you do do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ [1]
Colossians 3:22-24

[1] When the apostle admonished slaves to obey earthly masters, from their hearts, serving them as to the Lord, he was not supporting slavery. He was simply being practical and giving the best advice possible, in light of the fact that slaves who disobeyed masters, did so at their own peril. It was also the best counsel possible for peace of mind and spiritual health, given that slaves had no legal recourse in changing their situations or in obtaining legal protection or justice should they have cruel masters. 
   Lives spent with hearts full of resentment and bitterness of heart, would interfere with relationship with God, be detrimental to spiritual growth, and only add to a slave’s misery. Paul’s concern and advice was for the safety and well-being of the slave. His words gave them hope that they too, had a glorious future in eternity and would receive rewards for their willing service, in the only capacity they might ever have to serve God on earth.  
  Though institutionalized slavery was later preached from many pulpits to be a divinely ordained institution, the Bible never declares it to be so, and Paul certainly never did. It is wrong to interpret verses such as Colossians 3:23 as such. 
   It is interesting to note that the same argument [used in Colossians 3:23] to protect and comfort slaves, was wrongly used to shore up pre-civil-war-slavery-theology. It is, currently, still being used to under-gird male-headship-theology, which amounts to nothing less than wife-slavery. Complementarian leaders and writers give wives the same advice about serving husbands, as Paul advised slaves about serving masters. They teach that, for wives, serving God, finds expression, primarily, in serving husbands. For authority to make such statements, they cite scriptures written to slaves
   Author Elizabeth George, did this when she wrote in an article published on the complementarian website, “Your relationship with your husband, your submission to his desires for your marriage and his leadership of the two of you as a couple, and your service to him is to be "as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22) and to be done "heartily, as to the Lord and not to men" (Colossians 3:23).” 
   Colossians 3:23 was written to slaves--not wives
   With God, there is neither male nor female slave nor free...we are all one in Christ Jesus and commanded to support and yield to one another, preferring one another before ourselves. 
   May God deliver us from slave-holding Christianity.

The commentary above is an excerpt from the Hungry Hearts Online Bible Commentary HHBC

Woman this is WAR! Gender Slavery and the Evangelical Caste System examines Bible commentary and translation practices which have historically been androcentric (male centered) and even misogynistic (anti-woman). These have adversely effected understanding of the scriptures, relations between women and men, the happiness of men and women, and, in general, has hindered the work of the gospel. The book chronicles the early history of the women's rights movements, as well as the role of church leadership in aggressively suppressing both women's rights and the historical record of Christian initiatives within the movements. Through the complementarian movement, many of the same arguments used to support the institution of slavery, are still used today in suppressing the rights of Christian women. This book documents identical arguments used by Christian leaders against both movements, and is an unparalleled resource for all who desire an in-depth study of gender equality from a Christian perspective. The history of women’s rights is traced back [much further than usual] to the very first feminists…who were Christians—godly women, who brought the issue of women's rights to the forefront as they struggled to alleviate the suffering of others, and found they were hindered in doing so for no other reason than the fact of their sex. This work, provides valuable historical insight into Christian initiatives in the movements for women’s rights, that are rarely included in Christian literature. Visit this link for more information or to buy the book:  Woman this is WAR! Gender Slavery and the Evangelical Caste System

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