Read the Bible and Do What It Says

I’ve been hanging out with Koulandiso Tendeng this week (you know him as Dave Miller) in Africa. We’ve spent the week together sharing the gospel and trying to plant churches. I’ve got to die someday: I really hope I die someday doing something like this rather than playing Bejeweled Blitz. It scares me sometimes to […]

Wake Up, O Sleeper!

Second only to baptisms in frequency and hilarity, funny church stories often concern people who fell asleep in church. A man I knew from little Bethabara Baptist Church of my childhood went to church one winter morning. More than the real estate market, wintertime seating in that church building was all about location, location, and […]

Slave Christmas

Among the great Christmas passages in the New Testament: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness […]

Why the Slavery Question Is Important

I’ve been blogging for a long time, and slavery was never something on my radar when it came to topics to discuss. I’m not the Civil War’s equivalent of a “Holocaust denier.” The aspects of our regional past and our denominational history that touch upon slavery are the least flattering portions of our story, and […]

The Dawning of Emancipation

Our modern world economy offers options to us that were not previously available (or widely available). Some of these developments make slavery less desirable than it once was (which is why passages like Exodus 21:5 are inscrutable to us). We quite naturally take these things for granted, but they make our present wage-labor system possible: […]

I’d Rather Be Abraham’s Slave Eliezer Than…

Eliezer of Damascus was the trusted slave of Abraham. He managed all of Abraham’s worldly affairs. He was, until Ishmael and Isaac arrived, Abraham’s heir-apparent. We have no reason to believe that he ever tasted the business end of a whip. We have no reason to believe that he was malnourished or ill-clothed or mistreated […]

The Bible and Slavery

Few things in the Bible are more countercultural than what we read there about slavery. It runs contrary to ancient Greco-Roman slave culture. It runs contrary to nineteenth-century American slave culture. It runs contrary to twenty-first-century libertarian culture. There’s something here to afflict everyone. First, the data: Jesus nowhere advocated the abolition of slavery. Search […]

Why We Find It Difficult to Talk about Slavery

Today I launch a series of posts on the subject of slavery. The thinking that lies behind this series has been brewing over the course of years. Only rarely do I wait so long before putting thoughts into writing. What is the cause here? This subject is fraught with difficulties that impede our discussion of […]