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Eugene Prewitt–The Bible, slavery and women's ordination

Eugene Prewitt, a member of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee, discusses the Bible, slavery, and women’s ordination.

5 replies on “Eugene Prewitt–The Bible, slavery and women's ordination”

Another clueless idiot that mistakes his cultural bias with God’s intent to ordain anyone He choses to lead.

Felix, you are not helping your own cause with the kind of foolish and rude comments you are posting here, but I’ve noticed recently this kind of reaction seems to be a norm from the pro-ordination side. So I am not surprised.

Justin, that is hardly a reasoned response. it does nothing to dismiss ‘cultural bias’ which as Felix reflects is at the centre of Prewitt’s argument. Surely the Gospel does not discriminate – not by race, colour, ‘culture’ or gender. God is not respecter of persons, and the Spirit gifts each as He chooses, not as culture expects. Read more church history – it is clear evidence!

Where and how often was slavery condemned in Scriptures?
I can find nothing to support the claim of Mr. Prewitt. In pre-Roman times slavery was such a normal part of life that it was regulated. Not condemned. Regulated. The regulations were set up in such a way that ensured that only male Hebrews ever had a realistic chance of getting out of slavery and starting their lives afresh – the freedom with fair pay in the seventh year rule applied exclusively to Hebrew men!
On more than one occasion, God got the people of Israel to commit a genocide, the conclusion of which was taking the surviving women and children as slaves. Non-Hebrews in Old Testament times were called heathens. The rules and regulations explicitly permitted taking heathens as slaves. Heathens and women, once enslaved, would remain slaves for as long as their masters wanted to own them.
Let’s look at whites in the 16th century. Christians consider themselves to be God’s people, just as in Old Testament times Hebrews were God’s people. It would have made perfect sense to a white Christian in the 16th century to enslave non-Christians! They got the game plan for slavery from the Old Testament. The Old Testament game plan also included rules for the physical abuse of a slave. The masters were permitted to whip their slaves literally to within an inch of their lives. If the slave managed to survive the injuries for a day, they had nothing to fear, because the slaves were their property.
So claiming that it’s because of the Bible slavery was abolished is completely false. It was humans who managed to convince politicians to change the law. Many of these humans could and did use certain passages from the Bible to support their arguments, but the one passage they could never use was the one where Jesus or a disciple declared slavery to be a sin or a crime against humanity or evil or something that needed to be stopped. Because unlike the passage stating that taking heathens as slaves is permitted, that passage cannot be found in Scripture. The abolitionists did not get a convenient game plan from the Bible.
So if God had any part in the abolition of slavery, His part was creating humans. Humans who are capable of compassion, reason, integrity and courage. Humans who sometimes are able to distinguish between good and evil, fair and unfair and are willing to risk their lives and livelihoods for what they know to be right. Not all the humans who fought slavery in the 17th – 19th century were Christians. In fact one of the more prominent abolitionists was an anarchist. And not all humans who continue to fight slavery in all its forms today are Christians.
Here are some passages of Scripture I found regarding regulations for the slave / master relationship as well as what behaviour in the slave / master relationship was tolerated by God, as detailed in the Old Testament: Genesis 16, 17 and 30, Exodus 21, Leviticus 19 and 25, Deuteronomy 20:14, Deuteronomy 21:10-14. Slavery was not condemned in the New Testament, but the expectations on the slave / master relationship seems to have shifted somewhat: Ephesians 6:5-9 and Galatians 3:28.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Please provide the passages of Scripture that can not be interpreted in any way other than thus: the purchase or sale of another human being or otherwise denying another human being freedom is wrong. The passages with this message ought to be easy to understand as referring to slavery. There are after all a very clear precedent set and very clear rules detailed in the Old Testament showing that for God’s people, enslaving people from other belief systems was permitted.
Thank you for your response.

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