Biblical Slavery Postscript: Where Were the Apologists?

If you’ve been with me since the initial post of my series on biblical slavery, you may remember that I planned to invite some Christian apologists to respond. You might wonder what happened with that.

Coincident with the start of the series, I did invite three full-time Christian professionals to comment on it: the author of the AIIA article that served as the springboard for the series, a man I’m acquainted with who runs an apologetics ministry and who has written about biblical slavery, and a former pastor who now works full-time to combat modern-day slavery and sex trafficking.

One of them was kind enough to spend an hour on the phone with me midway through this series. I wrote a summary of our conversation and emailed it to him so he could verify that I had represented him accurately. I told him that I would post the summary if he would approve it. He promised to send me some minor revisions, but so far I have not heard from him. It has been over 2 months, so I think he has moved on to other things.

I had a short correspondence with another one of the men by email. Since he chose email instead of public comments on this blog, I don’t feel at liberty to post our exchange. Suffice it to say that he did not say anything I had not heard before.

I have not heard anything from the third man. I should note that he never promised even to visit the series, let alone comment on it.

So, there was some dialog, but nothing for the record.

You may also be interested to know that long before the series started I sought the input of three pastors besides my own. One of them I knew personally. The other two were recommended by close acquaintances as intelligent and thoughtful, able to answer questions like mine. I wrote each one a letter explaining why I was troubled by the Bible’s teachings on slavery and pointing out some of the key verses. Each one promised to reply. None of them did, even after multiple requests from me.

I finally canceled my questions. I sensed that they didn’t have an adequate response to my arguments, and they knew it. I thought we would all be more comfortable if I just let them off the hook.

I think evangelical Christians know deep-down that it would be wrong to defend the acts and commands of God that we have seen in this series, but they can’t bring themselves to admit it — even to themselves. They are too heavily invested in the inerrancy of the Bible. I have compassion for the bind they’re in because I’ve been there myself.

Incidentally, the series started out as an “invitation to a dialog.” I really did hope that there might be some back-and-forth. As the series progressed and none of the professional apologists were willing to comment for the record, I sort of gave up on the dialog and settled for a diatribe. I hope you enjoyed it.

6 responses to “Biblical Slavery Postscript: Where Were the Apologists?

  1. So what would constitute an adaquate response?
    If you are saying that you would like to argue a point in the Bible, but are not willing to hear from someone who believes that the Bible is true, then you will never find an adaquate response?
    If you are open to a discussion from those who believe in what they are argueing about or for, then I would love to have this discussion, and invite others to do so.
    Let me know.

  2. Thanks for your comment, tobeforgiven.

    An adequate response would be one that could convince an open-minded person of good will that the Bible’s teachings on slavery could have come from the sort of God that evangelicals themselves believe in, namely a God who is both loving and just.

    So far, the responses I’ve gotten (not just to this series but when I sought pastoral counsel on the issue long before I had a blog) have been along the lines I mentioned in the introductory post, http://pathofthebeagle.com/2011/09/10/invitation-to-a-dialog-on-biblical-slavery/ The subsequent posts show why I think those responses are inadequate. I invite you to read the entire series (there’s an index at the end of the introductory post) and leave comments wherever you wish.

    Yes, I am absolutely DO want to hear from someone who believes the Bible is true — you and anyone you can invite. I will respond to all comments. I look forward to hearing from you again!

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