Many of you probably remember about a month ago when LOL Much, (pictured above) member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, made his controversial quote on slavery and Christianity. There was a near-ominous condemnation of his remarks by people from all over the political and religious spectrum. I was reminded of this when today I was reading through Yoder and on page 166 we have Yoder saying, “It (Christianity) chose not to challenge the subjugation of woman or the institution of slavery. Despite Yoder being published 40 years before LOL Mach’s infamous quote, what Yoder says only reinforces Mach’s statement. Ouch. It’s more than unfortunate that scripture’s silence on the evils of slavery and the subjugation of women is in many ways an unofficial endorsement. These are horrible legacies that Christians have to struggle with to this day, in particular progressive Christians who are always faced with outside criticism from secular progressives who want to dismiss the Bible as being pro-slavery, anti-women, and presenting a narrow-minded and backwards perversion of Justice.
I went back to the beginning of the chapter 9 of Yoder and read through all the roles presented In the scripture quotes, of wives submitting to their husbands, slaves obeying their masters, children obeying their parents in everything, and so on. Clearly the world presented by these passages In scripture Is a very rigid, hierarchical world, and this is obsolete for 21 SST century people who have moved beyond these roles.
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I go back to what Yoder said with how Christianity chose not to condemn slavery or the subjugation of women, and the more I think of it and dig deeper, I am left less with Yoder echoing LOL Much and more with wanting to challenge Yoder. I would say that scripture hose not to condemn slavery and the subjugation of women, but as we’ve learned in class there are many other sources of Christian ethics than Just scripture. Our experience as a culture rooted in slavery has taught us that this is an immoral practice and has devastating effects on both the people being enslaved and the enslavers.
We see today the hate, the racism. The Inequality, that still persists today as a legacy of slavery. As somebody who is comfortable with the label postmodernism, I have a hard time accepting there is a universal force of reason that people can appeal to. I’d prefer to think what we call reason does exist, but the way we interpret it is always changing. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that when we see the Age of Enlightenment roll in there are large-scale abolition movements in the western world and the Americas.
People’s collective consciousnesses told them that slavery was wrong, and they responded to it. While Christian tradition as far as slavery goes is given a bad reputation, it really is more of a mixed-bag than what one might think. The church during the American Civil War was Just as divided over the sue of slavery as the states were. Because of the abolition of slavery, Christian tradition in America was re-defined to be opposed to slavery, which is why we saw so the Wesleyan Quadrilateral seem to be opposed to slavery, so does that mean that what it says in scripture is to be overruled?
I’d say yes, but I will take it one step further and say that scripture itself does not fully endorse slavery. While yes, it’s true that there are parts of scripture that support slavery, but it’s also been the source for so many moral arguments against slavery and other forms of injustice. I ask the question: If the Bible supposedly is in favor of slavery, the subjugation of women, discriminates LIGHT people, then why is it that countless individuals have looked at the Bible, studied it, and gone on to fight against these same injustices, citing that they are motivated by their Christian faith to do so?
How can a book that supposedly endorses the racism found in southern whites pre-civil rights era also be the source of inspiration for Martin Luther King Jar. And his crusade for equality? To close, I’ll go back to the quote form Yoder. I’d have to say that no, Christianity has not chosen to ignore the issue of slavery. On the contrary, through the centuries Christianity has evolved too point where it almost universally condemns slavery. As for the subjugation of women, this is an issue the church has been working through for many years and will probably continue to work through in the years to come.
Can you explain to me the following passages and their application to church life today? I have been given various interpretations and end up more confused. The passages are the following: 1 Corinthians 14:34 & 35; 1 Timothy 2:11 & 12. Answer: These two passages deal with women in the church. In Corinthians 14, women are to pep silent in church, and if they want to learn anything, they ask their husbands at home. In 1 Timothy, it says much the same thing and includes women not teaching or exercising any authority over men.
This is most important: These two passages cannot be read out of their historical context. One must understand the times in which they were written. 1. These passages are written against a Jewish background. Officially, in the eyes of the Jews, women held a very low position. In Jewish law, women were not considered a person; she was a thing, something to possess like property which is owned. She was entirely at the disposal of her father or her husband. She was not allowed to learn the law as this was casting pearls before swine.
They took no part in the work of the synagogue; they would have to sit in the balcony where they could not be seen. Women couldn’t even teach in the school; she didn’t teach the younger children. A woman was also exempt from the demands of the law; she did not have to attend the sacred feasts as did her father or husband. Women, slaves, and children were classed together. According to Barclay, in the Jewish morning prayer, a man thanks God that God had not made him “a Gentile, a slave, or a women. A strict Rabbi would never greet a woman on the street including his wife or daughter.
Again, Barclay writes: “Her work is to send her children to the Synagogue; to attend to domestic concerns; to leave her husband free to study in the schools; to keep house for him until he returns. ” It is against a Jewish background that the church was founded. 2. These passages are also written against a Greek background. The place of women in Greek religion was also very low. In many of the Greek temples, women served as sacred prostitutes who plied their trade on the city streets. The respectable Greek woman led a very sheltered life.
She lived in her own quarters that only her husband would enter and never came to meals; she never was took an active part in speaking or teaching in one of the Christians churches, the church would have the reputation of being the resort of loose and immoral women. These passages must be understood in their historical context. Fortunately, there is much that can be said on the other side of the coin from a Biblical perspective. In the New Testament, women were elevated to a position of honor. Mary of Nazareth was chosen as the mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene was the first to see the Risen
Lord; Priscilla, with her husband Quail, was a valued teacher in the early church and led Apollo to the truth about Christ (Acts 18:26); Philip, the evangelist, had four daughters who were prophetesses (Acts 21 :9) ; older women were to teach the younger women (Titus 2:3); Phoebe served as a deaconess in the church (Romans 16:1). The central message of the New Testament regarding women’s role in the church can be summed up in Pall’s letter to the Galatians (3:28): “There is neither Jew not Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male not female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
We must not read these passages as barriers to all women’s work and service in the church, but must understand them in the light of their Jewish background in a Greek city. My personal opinion, for what it’s worth: The church would never have survived through the ages without the support and encouragement of dedicated, Christian women! This should challenge us, as men, to rise up and once again be the spiritual leaders that God has called us to be. Christian views on slavery are varied both regionally and historically.
In the early years of Christianity, slavery was a normal feature of the economy and society in the Roman Empire, and well into the Middle Ages and beyond. [l] Most Christian figures in that early period, such as Saint Augustine, supported continuing slavery whereas several figures such as Saint Patrick were opposed. Centuries later, as the abolition movement took shape across the globe, groups who advocated slavery’s abolition used Christian teachings in support of their positions, using the ‘spirit of Christianity’, biblical verses against slavery, and textual argumentation. 2] The issue of Christianity and slavery is one that has seen intense conflict. While Christian abolitionists were a ironical force in the abolition of slavery, the Bible sanctioned the use of regulated slavery in the Old Testament and whether or not the New Testament condemned or sanctioned slavery has been disputed. Passages in the Bible have historically been used by both The Bible uses the Hebrew term bed to refer to slavery; however, bed has a much wider meaning than the English term slavery, and in several circumstances it is more accurately translated into English as servant or hired worker. 3] Old Testament Historically, slavery was not Just an Old Testament phenomenon. Slavery was practiced in every ancient culture: Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman and Israelite.