Post by Mike Miller on Jun 2, 2014 13:00:53 GMT -5
This is a subject that requires something much more substantive than a forum like this will allow. Nevertheless, let me try to get to the heart of what I think the issue is here.
To begin with, in the ancient world, terrible and inhumane slavery was practiced on a wide scale. However, all slavery was not so. In fact, in the Mosaic law, God laid down laws for how well people should treat their slaves. Slavery as an institution was not condemned in Scripture, because it could be practiced in very humane and helpful ways. For example, if a man fell on hard times and could not provide for his family, he could sell himself into servanthood. Unlike just regular employment, this afforded him protection and frequently even living accommodations,becoming part of the master's household. He could also save money to buy his freedom when he was able to strike out on his own again. Now, I'm not suggesting this was the ideal situation, but when masters were benevolent and just, they treated their servants very well. Then, in Exodus 21:5-6, we see that a bondservant who loved his master could give himself to his master for life. He would then have his ear punctured fir a mark as the master's possession. This was done frequently because of the provision and care masters provided for their servants. In New Testament times, these bondservants could own property and achieve social advancement.
In the New Testament, we see that we are called to be servants of Christ. The term used by the apostles when they describe themselves as servants/slaves of Christ has the meaning of a bondservant. In other words, we willingly give ourselves to Christ to be His property to be used for His purposes. And we find that He is a benevolent Master who loves and cares for His servants. Therefore, yes we are slaves/servants to God, and we have chosen to be such willingly.
Post by Mike Miller on Jun 5, 2014 13:16:39 GMT -5
I can recommend a couple of resources:
Slave: The Hidden Truth about Your Identity in Christ by John MacArthur.
Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis by William Webb.
Daily Life in Ancient Rome by Florence Dupont has a chapter titled "Slaves and Freedmen."
The Jesus Movement: A Social History of Its First Century by Ekkehard and Wolfgang Stegemann, especially the chapter titled "Stratification and the Social Situation in Ancient Mediterranean Societies."