Why doesn’t the Bible condemn slavery? (Ephesians 6:5-9)

Why does the New Testament accept slavery, when treating another person as property is inhuman?

Ephesians 6 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. (NIV)

Why require slaves to live in a way that falls far short of the kingdom of God, a society where everyone treats each other the way God treats us in Christ? Ultimately, injustice must yield to Christ’s reign, so why doesn’t the New Testament call us to speak out against institutionalized systemic injustice?

In the big arc of the Bible’s narrative, slavery is wrong. The Bible begins with humans equal under God (Genesis 1:26-27), and the first time slavery appears it’s labelled as a curse (Genesis 9:25). The Bible concludes with the powers of evil falling, when avarice ceases and no longer are “human beings sold as slaves” (Revelation 18:13).

So why doesn’t the New Testament call God’s people to condemn slavery? The tough questions are our friends, friends that challenge and reshape our understanding.

Let’s see if we can make sense of what Paul’s saying by examining what he did. Continue reading “Why doesn’t the Bible condemn slavery? (Ephesians 6:5-9)”

Kingdom lifestyle: submitting to each other (Ephesians 5:21)

The gospel calls us into an alternative world.

Some of my friends struggle with “Submit to each other” (Ephesians 5:21). So many people have been subjected to abuse, humiliation, and injustice that subjecting them to anything further feels like more grief.

Other friends find submission natural. God is the authority, with all authorities under him, so of course Christians must be submissive.

How do you feel about this command? Continue reading “Kingdom lifestyle: submitting to each other (Ephesians 5:21)”