Re: Mark Vogl
I must take vigorous exception to the remarks of Mark Vogl, and some of our other Confederate friends, regarding the sinfulness of the institution of slavery. Mr. Vogl stated, and apparently many of our pro-Southern friends agree, "Clearly, slavery was and is a sin."
I would like to know by what authority Mr. Vogl denounces slavery as a clearly defined sin. Judging by other remarks made in the same article, I take it Mr. Vogl is a professing Christian, and I am certainly happy to regard him as such. However, by making the statement that slavery is clearly a sin, he has fallen into the trap of allowing the worldly culture to define right and wrong, instead of the Christian's one and only source of truth and morality: the holy scriptures. The only "defense" Mr. Vogl made of his statement that I could find was at the beginning of his article, in which he stated that since liberty comes from God, then slavery must be a sin. This is not biblical reasoning, and to my knowledge can be found nowhere in the Bible. It is true, that without sin there would be no slavery. But at the same time, without sin there would also be no divorce, and almost certainly would not be money. That does not mean that divorce or money are intrinsically evil; they have become an unhappy necessity of living in a fallen world. In light of the biblical evidence, we should view slavery along the same lines.
It would take far too much space to cover all the biblical data regarding slavery, but I would simply challenge any skeptic to find any pronouncement in the Bible that defines slavery as a sin. I already know that they cannot, and therefore I take my turn and direct their attention to the Decalogue. The fourth and tenth commandments both enshrine the right of a master in his slaves, first by requiring him to allow his slaves to rest on the sabbath, and secondly by forbidding us to covet a man's slaves. I would also point the interested Christian to Leviticus 25:39-46, in which rules and regulations are delivered concerning slavery. The Hebrew was compelled to manumit his Hebrew slaves at the year of jubilee, but could maintain heathen bondmen in servitude perpetually. That which the law of God condones by definition cannot be sin (Romans 7:7).
Our Lord Jesus Christ commended the faith of a slaveholder (Matthew 8:5-13), and often used slaves and masters as examples in His parables, without ever once suggesting any evil in the institution. In Luke 17:7-10, He even mocked at the idea of a master thanking his slave for bringing him his supper! I would refer also to the constant teaching of the apostles, who regulated the behavior of masters towards slaves, and slaves towards masters, without ever once giving so much as a shadow of a hint that the master was required by the laws of Christ to emancipate his bondmen (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25 & 4:1; I Timothy 6:1-5, in which Paul very aptly describes the Abolitionist character; Titus 2:9, 10; I Peter 2:18). For a thorough discussion of the biblical data concerning slavery, I cannot recommend highly enough R.L. Dabney's book A Defense of Virginia and the South. Dabney, who was once General Jackson's chief of staff, deals very thoroughly with slavery in the Bible and in American history. I also very highly commend Dabney's article Anti-biblical Theories of Rights, which may be found on page 497 of Volume 4 of Dabney's works. I fear that all too many Southerners have embraced the very anti-biblical theories of rights which Dabney describes, which has caused them to come to agree with the bloodthirsty Abolitionists who started the war that destroyed the Southern nation.
In short, we as Southerners need to cease and desist at once from denouncing slavery as a sin, at least insofar as we consider ourselves Christians. The fact is that our Southern forefathers were not only right on issues of the Constitution, state's rights, economics, etc., but they were also right on the issue of slavery. When we deny this, we give the enemy a foothold that he should not have.
Pastor Samuel Ashwood
Pastor Samuel Ashwood and all Southerners;
I am a practicing Catholic, a saved Christian ( as a child when Billy Graham was at Shea Stadium) and I admit to no pastoral training. However, I do read both history and Bible extensively and have taught Catechism to Catholic children.
I condemn slavery as a sin for the following reason;
Our nation is founded on the Christian belief, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, that all men have inalienable rights given to us by our Creator, among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe these inalienable rights are evidenced in Genesis when God places Adam and Eve on earth as free people. He did not place them in slavery. God gave them the gift of liberty.
When anyone takes a gift given by God it is stealing and a sin. Simple. And if you participate in continuing a sin...you are sinning.
So much of the discussion of the cause of the secession revolves around the Cause. I believe the Cause was about staying faithful to the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The arguments about slavery at the drafting of the Declaration, and around the creation of the Constitution are well known. It is interesting that a slave owner was the one to write and argue about the evils of slavery.
But let's continue with why I cite slavery as a sin.
While on the earth the Gospel cites several references to Jesus' command to love one another. Now, again, I am no pastor, but for me, love means the highest place I can hold another. I could never place a loved one in slavery. I could never accept someone I loved in slavery. So therefore, since Christ commanded me to love all, it would be wrong to hold them in slavery.
Also while on earth Christ told us to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Since I would not accept slavery for myself, I cannot place someone else in slavery. I cannot accept them in slavery, anymore than I can accept someone committing any other sin, abortion, drug use, etc.
Now to the inevitable question...why didn't Christ condemn slavery. I can think of two responses. First, Christ said divorce is wrong...but some Christian faiths allow it, despite Christ's clear statement that it is wrong. So condemning a human practice did not seem to have the desired impact even on people who can read the Bible and say they live by it. (PS I am divorced and accept that I live sin.)
Second, Christ came to the earth to save us, to provide us with a means to salvation. He did not come to restate the laws or condemn individual practices, though clearly in the Gospels he does do that.
Now lastly, my article was written as someone who loves the South and believes that we can learn from history. I do not love history to re-enact, I love history to help govern today. I love history because it is earlier human experience in problems we face today. There is much to take from the Confederate Constitution, but to talk about that, you have to clear the decks of the single issue which has prevented a real discussion of the changes made to the US Constitution.
This argument about slavery is eternal and will not stop.. I express my point of view so that those who have not yet made up their mind can consider well considered points of logic and history. I do wonder how anyone can promote the South without condemning slavery... but, each of us carry crosses and I accept that.
I respect the Pastor's comments as both friendly and an attempt to express his point of view. But I have to wonder how many Christian Pastors are ready to walk into their church and say Christianity accepts slavery. I can tell you no Priest I have had in my 59 years of life would. And all the pastors I speak to that I have met do not accept slavery as condoned by the Bible.
I was thrown out of the SCV, in part, because of my belief that slavery was and is a sin. Won't change on that... so I guess as with my faith, I am also fallen in being a Southerner.
I repeat that there is a great deal of good in the South, but no people is without sin or error. This one is the big log in the eye that should be easy to remove, but isn't.
This is my response, with respect,