Quick Shot: “The Bible condones slavery”

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Our “Quick Shot” series offers brief answers to common objections to the Christian worldview. Each response is limited to one paragraph. These responses are designed to (1) answer the objection as concisely as possible, (2) challenge the objector to think more deeply about his or her claim, and (3) facilitate a “gospel” conversation. In this article, we’re offering “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “The Bible condones slavery.”

Response #1:
“What do you mean by ‘slavery’? Are you referring to the kind of ‘new world’ slavery that is part of our history as Americans? That form of slavery was very different than the ‘ancient near-eastern’ servitude described in the Bible. Slaves in America were taken so that their masters would benefit economically, but biblical ‘slavery’ was often focused on the economic relief of the servant. American slaves were taken into captivity against their will, but in biblical times, the path into ‘slavery’ was varied and, in many cases, voluntary. American slaves were often treated as property, but biblical ‘slaves’ were treated as humans and protected by biblical law. American slaves had little recourse if they wanted to be free of their master, but biblical ‘slaves’ were offered several paths to freedom. Have you considered the fact that the servitude described in the Bible is nothing like the slavery you might have in mind?”

The servitude described in the Bible is nothing like the slavery you might have in mind. Click To Tweet

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Response #2:
“The slavery described in the Bible is nothing like the kind of slavery known to the modern world. In most cases it was far closer to ‘indentured servitude,’ and involved people who were either accused of a crime or were working to pay off a debt. Despite this reality, many modern-era Christians misinterpreted biblical descriptions of ‘slavery’ to advance their own selfish subjugation of American and European slaves. This doesn’t mean they were properly interpreting what the Bible says about slaves, however. In fact, the abolition movement in America and abroad was formed (and eventually implemented) by Christians like William Wilberforce, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley and the entire Quaker movement. They cited the authority of the Bible when arguing against American and European slavery. How could such a movement refer to the Bible to make its case if the Bible condones slavery?”

The abolition movement in America and abroad was formed (and eventually implemented) by Christians. How could such a movement refer to the Bible to make its case if the Bible condones slavery? Click To Tweet

Our “Quick Shot” series was written specifically for the Cold-Case Christianity App (you can download it on Apple and Android platforms – be sure to register once you download the App). When confronted with an objection in casual conversation, App users can quickly find an answer without having to scroll beyond the first screen in the category. Use the App “Quick Shots” along with the “Rapid Responses” and Case Making “Cheat Sheets” to become a better Christian Case Maker.

For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

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