Slavery can be justified in the Bible when…

I’m reblogging here an excellent post by Brian Rickett over at MetaTaPhysika. He’s a stud in the biblical languages (his study habits have made it into a prior post), and he quotes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (free on Kindle!) to make a critical observation regarding the importance of original language study of the Bible.

uncle toms cabin

I’m pasting the quote and his comments below (bold-face is mine), or you can visit his blog at the link above:

Harriet Beecher Stowe on the Biblical Languages

 Need another reason to study the biblical languages?  Consider how they are a factor in Uncle Tom’s Cabin from the pen of Harriet Beecher Stowe.   She puts the following words into the mouth of John, the farmer. To the Senator, he states, “I tell yer what, stranger, it was years and years before I’d jine the church, ’cause the ministers round in our parts used to preach that the Bible went in for these ere cuttings up,–and I couldn’t be up to ’em with their Greek and Hebrew, and so I took up agin ’em, Bible and all. I never jined the church till I found a minister that was up to ’em all in Greek and all that, and he said right the contrary; and then I took right hold, and jined the church,–I did now, fact….”

People have always manipulated Scripture to support their political agendas.  Sometimes they twist it.  Sometimes they dismiss it.  Sometimes they attempt to undermine it through faux scholarship—this is a popular approach today, but it is not new.  In this section fromUncle Tom’s Cabin, a simple farmer named “John” is explaining to the Senator how ministers employed biblical languages to support “these ere cuttings up,” i.e. the shameful practice of slavery.  However, it wasn’t until he found a minister who could stand up to the apostates on their own terms employing the languages in a manner superior to that of the apostates that he could “jine the church.”  In our day, ministers are manipulating Scripture to support a different sort of “cuttings up,” but we must be able to withstand with superior scholarship in addition to superior character so as to honor the Lord and further His Kingdom purposes.

His post makes me wonder what types of things this current generation of pastors and theologians have justified biblically simply due to laziness in regard to the languages. What immediately comes to mind is the idea of a “just war.” I won’t say more at this point on that topic, but refer you instead to Preston Sprinkle‘s new book, Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence. He gave me a review copy this past Tuesday, of which I will be sure to write about here on AHS soon. He’s one of the “young guns” of evangelical theology who actually knowns the original languages and isn’t afraid to challenge some of the mainstays of conservative evangelicalism.
Stay tuned for that, and in the meantime, god bless Merica…

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