Slavery, The Bible, Southern Baptists & Irony

Double Irony Time:
The Southern Baptist Convention just adopted a resolution condemning the view that the Bible supports slavery, which was the main premise on which the SBC was founded back in 1845. To back up this new view, it cites Bible verses used by 18th Century abolitionists to condemn slavery, which the early SBC long & steadfastly denounced as heretical, subversive, etc. That’s Irony #1.

Irony #2 is that the abolitionists were wrong & the early SBCers were correct: the Bible DOES support slavery, in numerous texts; and Jesus, who spoke of slaves often, never said a negative word about the practice.
This is important (for those who give a hoot) because the abolitionists then had to break with the hoary notion about biblical “inerrancy,” that if something was in & approved by the Bible writers, it HAD to be okay. This break helped force open the door to non-literalist Bible study,  which, tho still contested in many Baptist & other conservative churches, was a pivotal, positive change:

So YES, the Bible approves slavery, like the early SBC said—and the Bible was WRONG to do so, and the abolitionists were RIGHT when they began to say so.

The Bible can be both wrong & right.

Maybe the SBC will get around to admitting THAT one of these years: not holding my breath.

Excerpts from the resolution:

“Resolution 4 – On Renouncing The Doctrine Of The “Curse Of Ham” as A Justification For Racism
[Excerpts]
“WHEREAS, Many churches in the Southern Baptist Convention once openly endorsed the false teaching of the so-called “curse of Ham” narrative which errantly construed Genesis 9:25–27 to say that God ordained the descendants of Ham to be marked with dark skin and be relegated to a subordinated status based on race; and

WHEREAS, This doctrine has been used to enslave and continues to be used by white supremacists as a cloak to invoke God’s holy name in unholy acts of demeaning, dishonoring, and dehumanizing certain people who bear His image; and

WHEREAS, The residue of this doctrine remains today and continues to distort the witness of the church and presents a stumbling block to the gospel we preach; and

WHEREAS, This argument for justifying racist ideologies contradicts the rest of Scripture, especially those passages that teach the image of God in every person regardless of gender or ethnicity (Genesis 1:26–27; Acts 17:26), the unity of people purchased by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:11–22), and the certainty that Jesus’ bride is a multi-ethnic people (Revelation 7:9); and . . .

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, maintain and renew our public renunciation of racism in all its forms, including our disavowal of the “curse of Ham” doctrine and any other attempt to distort or misappropriate the Bible to justify this evil; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we not be satisfied in our hearts with embracing any doctrinal belief that contradicts human dignity expressed in the creation account and beg the Almighty to purge all remaining dross of this false teaching from our hearts to the glory of God; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we remain vigilant to bring about the healing and restoration of individuals affected by this sort of doctrine, not allowing any future version of this wicked teaching to creep into our hearts or our pulpits (Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to proclaim boldly the gospel of Jesus Christ to people from every tribe, tongue, and nation regardless of skin color or genealogical descent (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8); and be it further

Or does it??

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists at every level to withdraw fellowship from churches that insist on excluding from fellowship anyone based on race or ethnicity; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to preach and teach the full equality, dignity, and worth of all people from the Scriptures as it would be appropriate to do so; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to cultivate diligently heartfelt love for people of all tribes, ethnicities, and peoples for the good of the church and the glory of Jesus among the nations (Ephesians 4:3–6).”

Still there, in the Bible . . .

PS: Did you catch that the SBC resolution affirmed (I’m sure inadvertently) LGBTQ folks? Absolutely. Here it is again:

RESOLVED, That we renew our commitment to preach and teach the full equality, dignity, and worth of all people from the Scriptures as it would be appropriate to do so . . . .

As we say ’round here :”ALL means ALL, y’all”!

It’s a free Bonus irony.

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4 thoughts on “Slavery, The Bible, Southern Baptists & Irony”

  1. This should be widely distributed. Jesus said “Love one another.
    Thank you Chuck. Positive action by NYYM….making racism top issue that Friends will address NOW.

  2. Thank you, Chuck, for this post.

    I live in the (Christian) Bible Belt, (as do you) so this is more important to me than to many who live in cities and places where there are not so many Baptists.

    Can you say how the story of the Jews being freed from slavery (Passover) was ignored all these years? Did Christians not notice that it was only after the Jewish people were freed from slavery that God had Moses deliver the 10 commandments? (They are displayed in 2 of my neighbor’s yards. )

  3. Another observation from one not raised Christian… Since the New Testament was written at Constantinople around 450 A.D. at the behest of Caesar why wouldn’t slavery be OK in their eyes? Why would they even think to exclude it? I do not recall anyone saying that the New Testament was written by Rabbi Jesus

    Look at our USA Constitution and you can see how the biases of the writers shows up in the document.

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