John the Baptist’s Yard Sign

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Introduction

A few days ago, I replied to Thabiti’s initial post about how he felt constrained to support Hillary as the lesser of two evils. He was kind enough to issue a rejoinder here, and now with the tennis ball over here in front of me again, I suppose it is my turn. Before getting into it, I do want to say that I consider it an honor to be talking about this with Thabiti, and I really appreciate how he works at courteous and intelligent debate. I am most grateful, and very much want to do the same.

I also posted a follow up response to Wayne Grudem’s proposal that we could support Trump as a moral option. That response contains some additional information that will perhaps serve as a response to Thabiti’s request that I write more on the options that are open to us.Thabiti 2

Ends and Odds

There was one point about Chicago that I think was a simple misunderstanding. I had argued that the number of black children who would lose their lives in the course of just one Hillary administration was 2.7 million. For purposes of numerical illustration only, I then went online to find a city with a population of that approximate size, which Chicago is. My only point about Chicago was quantitative. I was making no point whatever about the quality of life in Chicago, and still less was I displaying any lack of empathy for the good and godly people who are laboring there.

Another possible place where we are talking past one another is that Thabiti seems to think I was urging him into some form of quietism.

“I don’t think Jesus will be very impressed with any of the ways His people stand by while identifiable wrong advances.”

“Doug wants us to pretend we can live in this condemned building unstained and inactive while the mold grows up on everything sitting still.”

But I do not believe that #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary means that we should do nothing. Far from it. I do believe that we can remain unstained (Jas. 1:27, ESV), but I do not believe that we can do this while remaining inactive. But activity need not to be measured by voting alone. Someone could be very much an activist while refusing to vote for either Trump or Hillary. He could do this by voting for a third party candidate, or by not voting at all. Now if someone refuses to vote because he cannot be torn away from playing X-Box, or from the prayer meeting for that matter, then the charge sticks. But the choice is not between “voting from the two main options or nothing.”

John the Baptist was not a quietist—his ministry transformed Judea, whether or not he had a yard sign from the Herodians in front of his hut, which I suspect he did not.

Estimated Futures

Thabiti took one of my points as arguing that we should not think about the future at all when we vote, which he demonstrates is impossible. In this he is quite right, and I should have made my point with greater clarity, which I will try to fix in the next paragraphs. Wish me luck.

I was talking about gaming the future when trying to figure out whether to vote for one of two candidates when I acknowledge both to be wicked. In that scenario, we ought not to bank anything on what might happen in the future. Too much is running against us. Now we could elect either Trump or Hillary, and God could still have mercy on us. That is possible. But it is such a long shot (given the fact that both candidates are Ex. 18:21 disqualified) that I ought not to count on it.

Because we live in a fallen world, I might vote for King David with great hopes for Israel, and yet still be let down when he disgraces us all with his behavior with Bathsheba and Uriah. That kind of thing can certainly happen, and often has. I still ought to vote for David, despite the fact that drunkards are singing about him in the taverns. So we vote, hoping to affect the future positively, knowing that we could be wrong. But there comes a point where we are not doing that anymore, but are rather testing God. I believe we are well past that point with both Hillary and Trump. We are at that point when we trust our calculations about the future over the express teaching of Scripture.

As I argued in my response to Grudem, I believe that this state of affairs is very much the judgment of God upon us. I do not believe that we have the luxury of trying to “manage” a judgment. Our response to judgment ought to be the kind of response that God calls for in Scripture. Preachers ought to stop apologizing for the Bible, and take the law of God the way we take our whiskey, which is straight, and having done so, we need to preach a hot gospel. There is no other way out for us. There is no Savior but Jesus. There will be no cultural restoration without a massive reformation.

But it has to be said that much of the theological distrust of such a reformation is within our own ranks. Judgment must therefore begin with the household of God.

Gradualism

Thabiti has this to say about my incrementalism.

“I know that’s gradualist thinking, but Doug is a gradualist with slavery so he ought to be one with abortion, too.”

Now it is true that I am a gradualist. And I am a gradualist/incrementalist with abortion as well. So my objection is not that Thabiti’s tactic is moving too slowly in the right direction, but rather that it will result in a full-tilt gallop in the wrong direction. Hillary is as avid a supporter of unrestricted abortion rights as a candidate can be.

And Yes, Slavery Again

I said earlier we need to stop apologizing for the Bible. I am a biblical absolutist, and that is the only reason this subject ever comes up at all. For example, if a Christian says that he opposes same sex mirage, one of the first questions that will arise is “what about slavery? How can you trust a Bible on sexual matters when it was so wrong about slavery?” That is not the time to play “that was then, this is now” because homosexual-friendly Christians have been playing that game for decades already. If you want to challenge this generation’s love affair with decadence, you will be taunted with the relevant texts. So what will you say about the texts? What do you say about them?

On this subject, nonbelievers know what the Bible actually says far more clearly than believers do. This is because believers are always stuck with the results of their exegesis, while unbelievers can say that “the apostle Paul said some awful things.” This means that they can accurate represent what he actually said, while evangelicals have to “pretty it up” first. So we live in a time when believers know the Lord, but not their Bibles, and unbelievers know their Bibles, but not the Lord.

Slavery has been a very large and unbroken and tragic part of the history of pagan mankind, and the time of the New Testament was no exception. Slavery in the Roman Empire was terrible. Slaves had no legal protections. They were often allowed to pair off, but not to marry. Slave-owners had the simple authority to execute them. Slave owners had unquestioned sexual privileges with any of their slaves, and nobody thought of it as immoral. If a slave murdered his master, the law required that all his slaves be executed. Now I do not applaud any of this. Why would I? It is beyond appalling. I do not defend any atrocity, and have never done so. And I am not sorry that such slavery is gone, or that the race-based chattel slavery in our nation is gone. Good riddance to all of it, say I.

I know. I think I will go back and put all of that in bold so that some people might be able to see it better.

Now given the nature of that wicked system, how did the teaching of the Bible subvert it? My central point has been that it was possible for slave owners in the American context to obey the explicit instructions that the New Testament gave to slave owners in the Roman context, and that some of them did in fact obey those instructions. Those who sought to obey ought not to be charged with the wickedness of those who would not obey, and who brought the judgment of God down upon them all.

It is not very easy to dismiss me on this. The issue will not go away. As long as the people of God have Bibles, they will be confronted with this historical and exegetical reality. Philemon, receive Onesimus back as a brother, and not simply as returned goods (Philemon 11-12). Slaves, obey your masters (Eph. 6:5-6; Col. 3:22). Slaves, honor your masters (1 Tim. 6:1). If your master happens to be a fellow believer, do not despise him because of this but rather rejoice that a brother benefits from your labors (1 Tim. 6:2). Masters, remember that you have a master in heaven (Col. 4:1; Eph. 6:9). Slaves, make sure you don’t talk back to your masters (Tit. 2:9). And if you have an opportunity for freedom, be sure to take it (1 Cor. 7:21). Now none of this was my idea. I am just a simple Christian way downstream. But I want to be enough of a Christian that I can read and follow what has been revealed to us by God on this subject. Just as I am not going to lie about Trump for the sake of keeping Hillary out of office, I am also not going to lie about the text to make sure people think I am a nice fellow.

Last point. One of the reasons why I so appreciate Thabiti’s willingness to interact with me is that I know he is aware of the weight of such verses, and others like them. Many of my critics have wanted to substitute calling me a hater for interaction on the exegesis. I know that Thabiti sees this point because of our previous exchanges on race and slavery, and because he is actually willing to interact with me. Lots of others, who won’t even attempt answers, find it simpler just to maintain their embargo on me and my little thinks.

For that, and much more, Thabiti has my respect and profound gratitude.

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jigawatt
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jigawatt

Now I do not applaud any of this. Why would I? It is beyond appalling. I do not defend any atrocity, and have never done so. And I am not sorry that such slavery is gone, or that the race-based chattel slavery in our nation is gone. Good riddance to all of it, say I. Let me go ahead and give Ryan Sather’s interpretation: “You see! You see! Doug Wilson thinks slavery was great! He says we should bring back all the evils of Roman and southern slavery! He LOVES it! He wishes that all whites were slave owners and… Read more »

Ryan Sather
Guest
Ryan Sather

You are as poor a handler of the truth as Doug is when it comes to reality in this issue. I’d love to see the quotes where I have said any such thing…I’d wait…but it’d be pointless.

drewnchick
Member

You are as poor a discerner of satire as you are in your ability to read the facts. I’d love to see you step back and reassess all the drivel you’ve been spouting for the past few weeks…we’ll all wait…and hopefully it’s not pointless.

adad0
Member

“Ryan Sather “A” dad • 6 days ago
“Read Thabiti’s debate. As Doug said, no one thought Doug won the day with Thabiti. Thabiti dismantled his confederate/God hating propaganda.”

Ryan, jigy was giving the “drama queen” version of YOUR POINT that Wilson is allegedly a purveyor of “confederate/God hating propaganda”.

Ryan, is it true or not true that you have said Wilson espouses “confederate/God hating propaganda”?

Are not these types of statements typically your “yard sign” on blog and mablog?

Ryan, try not to be “pointless” on this issue.

Bonhoeffer1945
Guest
Bonhoeffer1945

Jigawatt, I don’t know where you studied the art of persuasion, but I (only speaking for myself) find your chirping very ineffective. Douglas doesn’t need your help and Ryan doesn’t want it. What exactly are you doing except attempting to start a fire in the middle of the forest? I’m was reminded by a friend who recently read “The Serrated Edge” that DW wrote that while satire is a legit tool in the arsenal of a Christian, only some are skilled in using it. Please consider if you’ve been gifted in this way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Ryan… Read more »

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

That’s a fair criticism. I’m not, in that comment, trying to be persuasive – I’m trying to preemptively deflect a conversation that I’m tired of seeing taking up so much space here on Doug’s blog. Sather has not begun that conversation here, so I consider my tactic to be somewhat successful, at least for now. And yes, I’m not especially skilled in debate or in satire, but these are blog comments – the peanut gallery of conversation. And let me emphasize that I would absolutely NOT post such a comment toward someone who disagreed with Doug in a mature and… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Personally, I thought your preemptive strike amusing in an over-the-top, obvious sort of way. I’m slightly surprised that some have taken issue with you. If they were familiar with the volume, content, and tone of everything Ryan has said vs. everything you have said, I believe they would, like me, give you considerable latitude to poke some fun.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Not to put too fine a point upon it, everyone here would like to see Ryan drop his vendetta against Doug. If slavery isn’t the issue, Ryan has others, and unfortunately he does not always fight fair. In fairness to Jigawatt, it should be noted that people have tried to engage with Ryan in kind and thoughtful ways until their patience has been exhausted. I often disagree with Doug’s positions and with his use of the serrated edge. I disagree with him theologically, politically, and stylistically at least half the time (though I like him). Yet even I have been… Read more »

adad0
Member

Proverbs 26 Just as snow should not fall in summer, nor rain at harvest time, so people should not honor a fool. 2 Don’t worry when someone curses you for no reason. Nothing bad will happen. Such words are like birds that fly past and never stop. 3 You have to whip a horse, you have to put a bridle on a mule, and you have to beat a fool. 4-5 There is no good way to answer fools when they say something stupid. If you answer them, then you, too, will look like a fool. If you don’t answer… Read more »

jigawatt
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jigawatt

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Ryan come to see the truth as Doug paints it (which I believe is the most excellent way) and not feel like he’s simply been mocked and dismissed. Has Ryan been insolent before? Perhaps. But let’s not repay him his human due but seek the higher things and treat him as we’d hope to be treated. I doubt you’d find satiric mockery very convincing. Peace. Peace to you also, brother. And may I make a small request? I don’t know if you’ve engaged Ryan here before, but let’s get you in the game –… Read more »

constitutional Tim
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constitutional Tim

If GOD enslaved HIS own children many times, for many years, who in the HELL do you think you are ? Is GOD evil for doing this ? Is GOD a mass murderer for causing the flood ? You best put your “uppity” stuff aside. GOD cannot save a proud man. He must be humbled, FIRST ! Humanism being brought into the “church” is dangerous. Fools fear not GOD. Yet fear mortal man. That is bacwards thinking.

drewnchick
Member

For your info, Tim, your choice of all-caps forces the normal reader to emphasize certain words, which creates the effect of painting jigawatt in a very disparaging light…which is entirely unjust. You either don’t know jigawatt or don’t care–in the former case you are guilty of presumption and lack of due diligence, and in the latter case you are cruel.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t realize that he’s replying to a satirical comment. Or what he’s even saying himself.

I wonder what he thinks of the time cube guy.
https://web.archive.org/web/20160112193916/http://timecube.com/

drewnchick
Member

Dang…

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Yeah, I mentioned the Time Cube to my brother a few days ago and he asked what it was. I said, “well, it’s a web site by a guy that, … um, well he … tries .. to … um ….hmmm. — just go see it for yourself.”

drewnchick
Member

I’m reminded of a quote from “Finding Nemo” in which Marlin, having listened to Crush’s little sea turtle son, says, “It’s like he’s trying to say something. I know he is. I hear the words coming out of his mouth, but I just can’t tell what he’s saying.”

adad0
Member

Did that site just say what I didn’t think it said?
????????????????

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Did that site just say what I didn’t think it said?

It both said it and didn’t say it simultaneously within the four corner time god bible bellybutton quadrant.

Tim
Guest
Tim

really profitable…jiggaboo. Most mature

wtrsims
Member

Can we say “jiggaboo”?

The wheels are coming off this thing and quick

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

No, we can’t say it. At least not with any pretense of being Christian ladies and gentlemen. You know, the first time my half-Jewish daughter was called a kike, I died a little inside. And I don’t consider myself even slightly sensitive.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

I’ve had my nickname for almost 20 years and I’ve heard a lot of riffs off it. jigadude, jigglebutt, jigasquat, jigamutt, and others that I shan’t mention here.

Can’t say I’ve ever heard that one though.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I thought it was a riff on gigawatt like gigabyte.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

It’s from Back to the Future, especially the scene where Doc Brown goes nuts over the time machine needing 1.21 jigawatts! I was given the nickname jigawatt at a camp I worked at and I kept it for internet purposes.

And, interestingly, I’ve read that Doc Brown’s using the soft “g” is actually a valid pronounciation.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You know, it’s not that unusual to run into unrepentant racists who hate blacks. It is, however, a little unusual on a Christian site like this.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

hahaha – you mean, other than the guy who literally posted on this site more than anyone else last year? There’s been at least two others – one of whom made the mistake of having his posting history public and had been posting far nastier stuff on the openly racist sites.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Somebody is off his meds?

Tim
Guest
Tim

I capitalize GOD because HE is and you ain’t. Why not respond to the facts I stated. Who are “we” to tell GOD he is wrong on slavery, death penalty or anything else ? Was Jesus a socialist ? Should we not complain about our taxes being used to murder in the womb and sell body parts in the market place ? Really ? IF we are not to fear men, as stated many times, why do we embrace our cowardice with such pride ? WE DON’T TRUST HIM ! can you read that in caps ? enjoy your eternity… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

You also capitalized HELL and FIRST. Would you please explain how FIRST is and I ain’t? I’m confused. Also, in your reply, you capitalized NOT, which on the surface, seems to be saying, by your reasoning (or lack thereof) that NOT is, but I am not…so therefore…I is? I know your level of intelligence is supreme and all, but please try to dumb down your statements–if that’s possible–so the rest of us can understand.

Thank you.

Drew
Guest
Drew

Doug, I am appalled by abortion, and I don’t believe I could bring myself to vote for a pro-abortion candidate. But I do have sympathy for progressives like Cornell West who has called Hillary a ‘neo-liberal disaster’. See http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/cornel-west-trump-will-be-neofascist-catastrophe-and-clinton-neoliberal-disaster. Cornell West has endorsed Jill Stein of the Green Party. Do you think there is a Biblical gradualism that could justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate (like Stein, or Gary Johnson for that matter) because she/he would be better than Trump/Hillary on war and peace (assuming you agree that the third party candidates would be better than Trump/Hillary on war and… Read more »

Nathan Smith
Member

Johnson’s stance on abortion is more “nuanced” than many, including Hillary. He is against late term abortion (after the age of viability), thinks Roe v Wade was extra-constitutional and should be overturned, is in favor of parental notification and counseling for minors, and is against federal funding of Planned Parenthood. He is in favor of a woman’s right to have a abortion before the age of viability.

I don’t agree with him completely but I think he could move things in the right direction. I have more confidence that he would do so than I do for the Donald.

soylentg
Member

Well, I read Thabiti’s answering post before this one from Doug to be as unbiased as possible. When I read his “Chicago” comments, it was clear to me that he had completely misunderstood Doug’s point. In fact, I am not sure that the explanation given above will be enough to get the point across. The point was, if the Democrat approved trajectory is maintained, during a 4 year Hillary admin the number of black babies murdered in the womb will equal the population of Chicago! To read anything else into it says something… Thabiti’s analogy of getting your roof fixed… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Even if the balance of the Supreme Court was tilted to the right, I am not sure how this would reduce the number of abortions in cities like LA, New York, and Chicago. Wouldn’t the action of the court be limited to tossing the matter back to the states as it was prior to Roe? I simply don’t see California, New York, or Illinois voting to ban first trimester abortions.

drewnchick
Member

If we were being Constitutional about it, yes…overturning Roe v. Wade would throw the matter back to the States where it belongs. However, we have a truly horrendous track record of the three branches being very Constitutional, so I would expect that IF Roe were overturned — and I pray it is!! — its practical result would probably look more like an outright ban on the practice. That’s the way things seem to work…the SCOTUS says Wisconsin can’t force voters to have photo IDs, for instance, and viola! — 35 States are instantaneously stripped of their liberties as free and… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I am not very hopeful that would work. I have been told by people who ought to know (better than I do, which isn’t hard) that all the states which have legalized marijuana are violating federal law. Yet nothing has happened to them. Wouldn’t it have to be something like a constitutional amendment? I wish I understood these things better. I am in favor of banning abortion except to save the life of the mother. (And I mean her physical life.) But I am sadly foreseeing a time when surgical abortions (which are much more preventable in practical terms) will… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Ah, but there’s the rub. Those who claim to know about MaryJane are, in fact, wrong. The Constitution forbids the Federal government to make any laws regarding the legalization of marijuana. Precisely and in the exact same way that the Federal gov’t could not LEGALLY ban the production and sale of alcohol without a Con-Amend–which the acknowledged and then, stupidly, did–they cannot legally ban the production and sale of drugs. It is absolutely a matter left up to the States…per the Constitution. Likewise, banning abortions (or not) is a matter left up the States, as is smoking bans, healthcare insurance,… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Very good point. At some point, American Christians will have to decide whether they value American political principles or public obedience to the gospel more.

Tim
Guest
Tim

supreme court ruled in 2003 that minorities were 4/5ths a person in Michigan case. Minorities are to ignorant to be offended. Should they really be in college ? More waste & fraud of good taxes. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, good money on”. Drink not the liberal’s kool-aid. Worship not the negro. Support not equal > special > perverted rights. GOD is watching !

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree that God is watching, and I am not sure that He is on board with your views about minorities. There are many whites who should not be in college, and many members of minority groups who should be. There is no “right” I currently enjoy that should not be enjoyed by every other person under our law. Dred Scott having been reversed, I am puzzled by your assertion that Michigan was allowed to revive it.

John F. Kennedy
Guest
John F. Kennedy

“So my objection is not that Thabiti’s tactic [voting for Clinton] is moving too slowly in the right direction, but rather that it will result in a full-tilt gallop in the wrong direction.”

So let’s make sure she wins by voting third party? There is an idiom for this; something about noses and faces.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

Meanwhile the dems think you voting third party will ensure Trump wins.

Bugs
Guest
Bugs

And Ross Perot was such a help to the first President Bush…and I admit I voted for Perot, more fool me.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t want to muddy the waters, but I really struggle with this. No one can say that scripture forbids slavery, but I did think scripture-sanctioned slavery was limited to (1) a time-limited repayment for debt, or (2) being the unlucky loser of a just war where slavery is the alternative to being killed out right. I did not think it covered being stolen away from your home to work for others or being sold by your own people for profit. So why should St. Paul’s comments on how slaves and slave masters ought to behave apply when the slavery… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

As you know, I don’t believe either of those things. ;-) But you do raise a good point — if it’s a simple case of Jones hauling Smith off from the other side of town and chaining him in the basement to work for him, then the just response is to restore him to his home. But when dealing with third or fourth generation descendants of imported African slaves, the question is far less clear. Even the original Africans brought over might not have a home to return to. Let’s stipulate that there were some that could indeed have been… Read more »

ArwenB
Guest
ArwenB

Let’s stipulate that there were some that could indeed have been returned to their homes in Africa.

Stipulating historical fact is definitely a good start.

This is after all where the African nation of Liberia came from. From what I’ve read, even those early Americans who owned slaves were in favor of returning any freedmen of African descent to Africa.

ashv
Guest
ashv

I don’t think you know what actually happened in Liberia.

Liberia was a country founded by American colonists who excluded the natives from citizenship and generally oppressed them for several decades, claiming they were going to assimilate them via education. This lasted until the 1980 coup when native ethnic groups overthrew the Americans and threw the nation into civil war.

There’s a big difference between returning to one’s home and founding a new colony.

JamesBradshaw
Guest

“I certainly don’t think emancipation was good for them, on the whole.”

Good based on what criteria?

There are scores of non-African people in American society who can’t seem to function and build a life for themselves: the lazy, the stupid, the addicted. Perhaps it would be good for them if they were forced into involuntary servitude, yes?

ashv
Guest
ashv

Good based on what criteria?

Well, a quarter of the freed slaves died immediately following emancipation. So, I’d call that bad.

There are whole scores of non-African people in American society who can’t seem to function and build a life for themselves: the lazy, the stupid, the addicted. Perhaps it would be good for them if they were forced into involuntary servitude, yes?

Of course. This was indeed the traditional English practice — look up the treatment of “sturdy beggars” and so forth. He who does not work should not eat.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

This opens up a whole new can of worms. Throughout centuries of Christendom, there seems to have been some understanding that not everyone is fit to lead a life of total independence and freedom from supervision. We (and I include myself in this) take for granted that freedom is every person’s natural birthright no matter how badly they screw up their lives. But is this a genuine Christian understanding? When I was young, society exercised much greater supervision of at-risk people. The mentally ill who could not care for themselves lived in institutions; people who were intellectually disabled were not… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

The basic perspective I’m starting from is that there are people capable of running their own lives and people that aren’t, and the latter group are (in practice) slaves, in one fashion or another. Telling them to be free is like telling short people to be tall. And as we can see, the various government assistance programs with money, social workers, etc., provide most of the recognisable features of slavery except for requiring people to work. Caring for people who can’t fend for themselves is certainly a Christian duty — but so is requiring them to work, to the best… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Who knows what would have been possible if the war had not happened. I think a gradual emancipation would have probably been wiser, even if it had begun with small wages and with teaching people to read. I don’t think it would have been possible to compel people to remain for very long, but I imagine that would have been a much more stable transition. When I think of my English ancestors who worked for the local squire, I cannot really say that they were free men. But they saw themselves as free men, and that made all the difference.… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Sadly, there was intransigence in the South during and after the Civil War. There were laws passed to prevent slaves from reading, and from being educated, in order to suppress them and keep them from organizing, for example. These wicked laws were even used to keep blacks from reading or being taught from the Bible. However, Wilson has given the statistic that, prior to the Civil War, 5/7ths of the anti-slavery societies were in the South, indicating that the South well understood that it had a problem. These societies were more like the pro-life organizations today, in that they did… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Katecho, I have read this brief pamphlet several times now, and what I notice is that Wilson does not seem to be starting from the assumptions that we have discussed–i.e., the conditions that make slavery biblically acceptable. I find his position much more troubling than I had previously supposed. (All quotations I have used are from http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/slavery/southern_slavery_as_it_was.htmI . I am not going to cover the material on whether the slaves were in general kindly treated, or on whether abuses were exaggerated by opponents, because that seems to me to be irrelevant to the main issue. I accept that if a… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

The pamphlet was written to combat the idea that because the civil war ended slavery we should have another one to end abortion. What I see Wilson doing is drawing a line from abortion back to slavery and then argueing that the stomping on southern tates rights by the north set us up for roe v. wade and all the abortion carnage we are currently dealing with. On condemning slavery: God allowed the isrealites to own slaves and Paul didn’t command christans to not participate in greek/roman slave owning which didn’t follow biblical guidelines. Condemning slave ownership (and slave owners)… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: He appears to assume that because St. Paul did not condemn the owning of slaves in the Roman Empire, the Bible teaches that holding the descendants of kidnapped people in captivity for centuries is acceptable as long as they receive fair treatment. I find this deeply problematic. Having established some corner posts; that racism is sinful, that kidnapping is wicked, and that restitution-based slavery is biblical, jillybean is getting into the deepest waters of this subject regarding how to behave toward boatloads of kidnapped people. Before going into that, it’s important to point out that Wilson did not… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I would indeed see such a motive as compassionate. I have great respect for Southerners who did manage to free their slaves, often incurring huge financial losses, and for Southerners who broke the law by teaching their slaves to read and write. I do believe that many slave holders did their best for their slaves, and I believe that, furthermore, many were born to a mess they had no hand in making, And while I am making these concessions, I will also add that the person who condemns the system of southern slavery should also condemn the respectable British merchants… Read more »

T.A.L.L
Guest
T.A.L.L

The problem when dealing with the Atlantic Slave Trade is that it is only one type of slavery. Slavery based on community raids and kidnapping. This type of slavery was and is expressly forbidden in a number of spots in the Bible. However, because of its horrific results and it prominent place in our cultural conscience the word slave evokes images from pictures and movies we have seen on the Atlantic Slave Trade. The predominant form of slavery found in Israel was economic. It was form of social security (or at least was meant to be a form). That form… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I do think I understand that. I think it was miraculous that there was apparently so little resentment. However, if you take the silly example I gave earlier about kidnapping blond Canadians and holding them as slaves, would we really be advising patience and submission as a virtue? I am not American by birth, but it seems to me, from everything I have learned about the American spirit, that people would respect resistance much more than they respect submission. Think about “Better dead than red.” I think Paul’s advice is intended for situations of lawful servitude. When my father was… Read more »

John
Member

Yes, I find myself picking things up bit by bit but I still have questions especially since slavery is so often used to attack those who believe the Bible. It would be nice to have a thorough examination that addresses Biblical slavery and the race based slavery we have seen in this country. I too struggle with this idea that slaves here were happy after a hard day in the fields. Stockholm syndrome also came to mind. Yikes Jilly! What’s next? I start taking home stray cats?

Katecho
Member

Just keep in mind that Stockholm syndrome can be a convenient way to dismiss a really great testimony. Take Onesimus, for example. Would we be content to see him dismissed as a victim of Stockholm, and see history robbed of his testimony? If not, why permit it with regard to faithful and loyal blacks in the South?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I don’t think it should be tossed out as a catchphrase every time a person survives extreme injustice and captivity without bitterness of heart. But I do think it is real–even though its application should probably left to people who know more about psychiatry than I do. But would there be usefulness in distinguishing the person who survives because he does not give way to bitterness, and the person who survives by totally identifying with his captors? One seems holy, and the other seems pathological. I suppose I would have hoped a black slave would have thought: what is happening… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

I find that people who know more about psychiatry than I do generally know less about the real world than I do.

John
Member

I think was referring to the slaves that Doug likes to characterize as having a loving and loyal relationship with their “masters.” Could it not be that the glowing reports of slaves are often the result of a “Stockholm” like syndrome as opposed to a true loving relationship between individuals who are equal in the site of the Lord?

Katecho
Member

Sure, we could suppose that loyal blacks were all too stupid to know whether their feelings were genuine or not. We can tell them what they really thought, in spite of what they said. It’s easy to do, and makes for a very tidy view of history. However, I think Wilson is trying to get at something more closely resembling the truth. My point was that, as in the case of Onesimus and Philemon, the loyal relationship between some masters and slaves, in spite of the wickedness of Southern slavery, makes a really great testimony. It also prepares a natural… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

One of the things that troubles me is that we can only accept the idea of happy slaves kicking back and playing the banjo after a day picking cotton if we believe that the slaves were essentially simple, childlike people. And that is a racist belief. My own tendency, when confronted by people who use slavery as a weapon nowadays, is to explain that US slavery was not justified in biblical terms and that it was therefore sinful. As I understand it, the kind of slavery the Bible tolerated was either like being in a modern prisoner of war camp… Read more »

John
Member

I have always found that people who care for stray animals have a special heart. Bless you. And that was my understanding of Biblical slavery

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: Is it not possible to accept the Bible’s teachings on slavery without attempting to justify the chattel, race-based slavery of the United States? Not only is it possible, but that’s what Wilson has been doing. If I can be so bold, those who can’t see it have reading comprehension problems, or are relying on slander and disinformation about Wilson. Wilson does not mention cases of genuine love, loyalty and affection between slaves and masters in the South as a justification of the institution, or to excuse whites, or to blindly apply Paul’s instruction given under a different slavery… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I could not agree with you more that the history of slavery in the US shows an amazing, almost a miraculous, nobility and generosity of spirit on the part of the slaves. I also believe that Wilson does not, in the controversial book, claim that racial slavery was lawful. But I don’t think it is simply a lack of comprehension, or a spirit of malice, that motivates a belief that he does not make his meaning entirely clear. But, first, I want to be very clear that I am understanding what you wrote. –You believe–I think–that though the slaves were… Read more »

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: I think what some good-hearted, fairminded people might be reacting to in Wilson’s essay is what seems to be a prescription for submission under circumstances in which most red-blooded, freedom-loving Americans would counsel resistance. Jillybean presents an interesting hypothetical, unfortunately, my experience has been with some bad-hearted, unfair-minded people who have overreacted to Wilson by reading him in the most uncharitable way possible, while ignoring very clear qualifications from him. I think jillybean is trying to be fair-minded, but she may also be attempting to cut the baby in half without realizing it. If Wilson is open to… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

I have to admit, I’ve been one of the Doug Wilson naysayers in the past. And a Thabiti Anyabwile supporter, especially on “racial issues”. But Mr. Wilson’s two columns interacting with Mr. Anyabwile’s writing are quite clearly reasonable. I would’ve expected to pounce on various passages like others have, but there was nothing to pounce on really. All good points. As for chattel slavery: Slavery in the U.S. wasn’t instituted because of the Bible or in spite of the Bible. It was an economic windfall. It wasn’t even brought here due to “white supremacy”. There was social interaction of the… Read more »

Jane
Member

It was not an inherent conviction at the start, at least, but knowing human nature, it’s likely that after a generation or two of telling themselves this, they believed it and may have made it into a conviction, as it were. I’ve certainly witnessed people doing this in other areas — advocating a principle out of expediency, and then coming to believe it with fervor.

JamesBradshaw
Guest

But then there’s this passage: Exodus 21:20-21 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.” To paraphrase: so long as one doesn’t actually kill one’s slave, one may go ahead and beat the living tar out of them. See, it’s passages like the above that led me to the conclusion that either a) the Bible is not the word of God or b) the… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Or that you don’t understand the text

wisdumb
Guest
wisdumb

Solution: Stop being led by your reasoning – until your reasoning has been redeemed/informed by the rest of scripture.

JamesBradshaw
Guest

Ah … I lack the secret decoder ring, it seems.

I have, in the past, asked others for what they thought was the “right” interpretation, but then others inevitably tell me I’m asking the wrong people. Quite a pickle, isn’t it?

bethyada
Member

A couple of questions.

What happened to the master who beat his slave to death?

What could a slave do if his master was cruel?

wisdumb
Guest
wisdumb

Stop asking people and ask God.

These case laws are showing how we are to apply wisdom to the commandments and come up with practical and fair solutions. They may seam strange to us ‘moderns’ but their existence at the time would have been gloriously welcomed.

timbushong
Member

You are failing to grant the reason behinf the command: God was regulating an institution that was utterly bereft of any regulation at all. Slavery was a way of feeding one’s family, which is far better than having the entire family perish.

timbushong
Member

*behind*

ashv
Guest
ashv

If you’ve never met someone who would be improved by a beating, your experience of humanity is pretty narrow.

insanitybytes22
Member

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but generally when ashv tries to point fingers at others, he’s got 3 pointing right back at him.

ashv
Guest
ashv

I may not have been spanked enough as a child, but there’s definitely people worse off than me.

insanitybytes22
Member

Ahh, well now, perhaps that explains everything.

JamesBradshaw
Guest

You’re awfully grumpy for a Christian. I’d try Buddhism if I were you. Or Lithium.

To answer your question, sure … some folks could use a could slap. But I wouldn’t say that it’s ethical to beat someone merely because you have authority and power over them (as Exodus implies).

insanitybytes22
Member

Exodus is actually setting limits on how you may treat slaves. In the modern Western world, it can be hard for us to see the context there.

ashv
Guest
ashv

The passage quoted does not imply that at all — any more than because parents have the responsibility to discipline their children, that they spank them merely because they can. You seem to have no concept of righteous authority.

jonmnoel
Member

It’s not that hard, James. If one doesn’t beat a rebellious slave, how does one persuade them to work? And it is encouragement to a slave not be rebellious and to not desire slavery. Slavery is not to be seen as a desirable thing , in general. You were in slavery due to your debts, or your crimes, in general.

Matt
Guest
Matt

I would go with c) The Bible is as much a product of its time and place as anything else.

bethyada
Member

While I disagree with both of Thabiti’s posts I believe he made his position clearer in the second one.

Though I would say that he is mistaken on the equivalence between Trump and Clinton on abortion and your supreme court.

Jack Bradley
Guest
Jack Bradley

Douglas, when it comes to slavery, I appreciate your words in bold, as well as your many published words weighing in against Southern chattel slavery. But the simple truth is that until you boldly retract certain past published statements, they really don’t carry as much weight as you would like: “Slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since. . . There has never been a multi-racial society that has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Would you characterise the results of emancipation in America as “racially harmonious”?

insanitybytes22
Member

I’m confused. You are quoting Wilson here? “Slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since. . . There has never been a multi-racial society that has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.” And yet you than say, “If we don’t recognize a clear lesser of two evils when it presents itself, we may, as we now in fact are, left with two plain evils?” It seems to me that much of Wilson’s discussion… Read more »

Jack Bradley
Guest
Jack Bradley

Does God bring good out of gross evil? Of course. But the issue is characterizing southern chattel slavery, on the whole, as a racially harmonious institution.

insanitybytes22
Member

A “racially harmonious institution,” in what context though? Because in many parts of the world right now people are just being beheaded or chopped up with machetes and other assorted atrocities. The nature of human beings is to be quite ugly to one another. Slavery in the US, the end result, did evolve into some recognition of human rights. Some of that must have been sparked by “genuine affection between the races.” I’m not trying to change the subject here, but today there are probably more slaves worldwide than there ever were in America, many of them children forced into… Read more »

ashv
Guest
ashv

Additionally, most discussions ignore the fact that America only ~4% of the slave trade landed in North America — the difference was that in America they weren’t worked to death and were able to form families.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I am often amazed that the British get such a pass on how they treated their slaves. In looking up the Jamaican slave revolt, I found a quotation from Governer Eyre on how he put down an insurrection: ‘I adopted a plan which struck immense terror into these wretched men far more than death, I caused them to hang each other. They entreated to be shot to avoid this.’ Without justifying American slavery in the least, I doubt there was such calculated brutality at the highest levels of government.

Katecho
Member

Well said. We need more perspective like this. Kidnap-based slavery is oppression, but abortion is murder.

12.5 million African slaves were shipped to the Americas during the centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. There have been 59 million abortions, just since 1973. About a third of those were black children. This death toll dwarfs the oppression during the days of African slavery.

Where is the abolitionist-style outrage over this actual genocide that is happening *today*?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

There is no meaningful harmony where there is no possibility for conflict. If I dare not speak back to you, my appearing to agree with what you say is meaningless.

Katecho
Member

No. Wilson was not attempting to justify or rationalize Southern slavery as a viable “lesser of two evils” choice, at all. What he is doing is pointing out that the Christian character of the South mitigated some of the wicked traits of that sinful system, certainly not overwhelmingly, but to a larger degree than many want to admit. Wilson also makes the case that the violent bloodbath of the Civil War was a cure nearly as bad as the disease. We are still paying the consequences of that war in terms of federal overreach and broken race relations. While Scripture… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I actually agree with you about this. I would certainly never have counseled an oppressed people to take action that would surely have resulted in greater suffering for them. I also do believe in the power of nonviolence to change minds and hearts as long as the oppressor is dealing with people who have some modicum of residual virtue. It has been pointed out many times that what succeeded in India would have resulted in a bloodbath if the colonials had not been dealing with the British. Gandhi’s tactics would have failed against the Third Reich. I have been irritated… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jillybean’s point about Gandhi, the Third Reich, and the need for moral conscience in the oppressor’s culture is well made. There are times and places where submission to one’s captors just makes for a more efficient trip to the gas chamber. That is not prudent at all.

I am curious, though, why jillybean doesn’t read Black and Tan instead of Southern Slavery? At one point, Black and Tan was freely available as a full pdf download from Canon Press. I could only find the truncated version online now, but I may have the it squirreled away somewhere.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Thank you, Katecho, I was puzzled by Bethyada’s reference to Black and Tan. I had no idea there was any difference. I will look into it.

bethyada
Member

Email me Jill. I have a copy of Black and Tan

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Marriage doesn’t require approval by a slave owner.

Ilíon
Member

And when the slave “owner” sells your husband to the silver mines two provinces over, you’re just as married as you were.

insanitybytes22
Member

“So my objection is not that Thabiti’s tactic is moving too slowly in the right direction, but rather that it will result in a full-tilt gallop in the wrong direction. Hillary is as avid a supporter of unrestricted abortion rights as a candidate can be.”

I really must disagree with this premise. I suspect that the way to resolve the abortion issue is forward, full speed ahead. We need to win over hearts and minds, not enforce legalistic mandates. A Trump presidency could really cause a backlash, a reinvigoration of both feminism and abortion rights.

John F. Kennedy
Guest
John F. Kennedy

Yes, and while we’re at it, let’s get rid of those pesky legalistic mandates against things like rape and theft and murder of already born people. That will fix things.

insanitybytes22
Member

Do you refrain from rape and murder simply because you don’t wish to be bothered with the legal inconveniences?

John F. Kennedy
Guest
John F. Kennedy

Do you think that getting rid of those laws, and the enforcement of those laws, would reduce rape and murder?

insanitybytes22
Member

I’m not sure. Has gun control reduced gun violence in Chicago?

Jane
Member

Not quite the same parallel. Gun control is an attempt to make a tool of crime illegal, and is ineffective for a whole host of reasons.

That not quite the same as making it legally without consequence to shoot the guy who cut in on your territory.

insanitybytes22
Member

Well, I suggest that gun control has actually increased crime in places like Chicago. I suspect “abortion control” would have a similar impact. Again,I think the solution is to be found in changing people’s hearts, not in writing more laws and trying to create external controls.

drewnchick
Member

Perhaps you are right, but the argument about “gun control” in these United States is not whether it would work to mitigate crime or create an environment in which only the criminals have guns. The argument is whether it is actually legal at the most foundational level to control the ownership and possession of guns.
According to the 2nd Amendment, it’s not. So…until we have another Amendment striking that one–God forbid!–we find ourselves in the place where pondering the benefits of gun control is a little similar to wondering what life would be like in the ring-world of Sigil.

Jane
Member

There are a vast number of people who refrain from walking out of stores with everything they want or grabbing purses because it’s illegal. To think that the theft rate is not to any significant degree affected by the illegality of theft is absurd. If it weren’t illegal to burglarize houses, do you really doubt that more people would not do it? If you knew people weren’t going to be home and the worst that could happen is that you’d be yelled at by observant neighbors, wouldn’t it be worth the risk, if you weren’t someone with fixed moral standards?… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

Well, that’s rather interesting Dunsworth. I had no idea the secret desires of your heart involved shop lifting purses and being a cat burglar! :)

Now see, that’s why I speak out against legalism so much. No, such things would not be “worth the risk,” because grace means God is always with me and it’s His favor I seek, regardless of the legal consequences.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I hope I am pretty honest and law-abiding, but I have to confess that when I am seriously tempted to commit a serious sin, God is usually pretty far from my mind. I think that if I were tempted to shop lift a CD, my thoughts would go pretty much like this: Don’t do it, Jill, you have a long track record of not getting away with things; that woman in the next aisle is probably security, and you will be taken into the back office and totally humiliated. Your daughter will find out about it and she will tell… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

LOL! Who knew what lurked in the hearts of the women around here? So, I guess we really do need laws against cat burglars and shop lifters.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Well, I used a hypothetical example, largely because I have no intention of revealing what my actual temptations are! But I will go so far as to confess that when I see people mistreating children, I have often fantasized about stealing them and raising them as my own!

Jane
Member

ME, do you seriously think people who by the grace of God have our minds renewed are the measure by which we should judge what laws society needs? Why do you insist on imputing to me the idea that because many people would not be restrained without civil law, that means I think I would not be? This is either a disingenuous debating tactic or a severe blind spot. I don’t have to think that I would be willing to walk out of a store with my arms full of stuff I like in order to think that there are… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

I believe internal controls, the condition of one’s heart, are far more effective crime prevention tools, than any so called external controls. So knowing Christ, understanding grace and mercy is going to do a whole lot more to create the kind of world we want to see, than writing laws ever will.

Where I live we used to leave our doors unlocked, everyone carried a gun, and yet crime was almost non existent. Those days are gone now. So what changed? Not the laws against theft and murder, but the condition of people’s hearts.

Ilíon
Member

What a fool

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree with you. I think that even people who are trying to lead Christian lives would face a tougher battle against temptation without the safeguards of the criminal law. I think Dorothy Sayers said in one of the novels that murder is so dreadful to us–invoking images of detection, discovery, arrest, trial, and the gallows–that it does not cross our minds as an actual possibility no matter how much we might wish someone out of our way. Even the sound of the word is terrifying.

Ian Miller
Member

Are you saying let them have their way, and be there to catch them when they fall?

insanitybytes22
Member

Yes, that pretty much sums up what Christ did for us all, doesn’t it? I think what needs to happen is changing hearts and minds. We aren’t going to end abortion with laws and restrictions, we have to change the thinking and attitudes around it.

Matt
Guest
Matt

“We aren’t going to end abortion with laws and restrictions”

This is true, precisely because it is currently impossible to pass laws and restrictions due to RvW. The pro-life movement needs to rethink their strategy, but there is a huge amount of resistance to doing so.

drewnchick
Member

There is also a huge amount of ignorance re: what rights the States actually have per the Constitution. Any one of the several member States has the right to completely ignore a patently un-Constitutional ruling from the SCOTUS…better yet, a majority of the States can actually countermand the ruling, rendering it null and void. But because they have been bribed by Federal funding (also un-Constitutional) for so long, they are all too happy to comply.

Ian Miller
Member

Hmm. I see the point, but I don’t tend to agree. However, our church is going through Matthew right now, and we just read about shaking the dust of our sandals. I’ll have to wrestle with that, though I currently lean against saying “A plague on both your houses.”

Nate
Guest
Nate

Being a gradualist regarding slavery does not demand you be one on abortion. The Bible gives directions for doing one faithfully and condemns the other outright.

Matt
Guest
Matt

“Hillary is as avid a supporter of unrestricted abortion rights as a candidate can be.”

OK, but what’s the upshot here? Hillary makes abortion even legaler than it already is? Abortion is, by RvW, pretty much unrestricted and 40 years of voting Republican have produced a Supreme Court no more likely to overturn RvW than the one that decided it in the first place. Hillary could seek something like repeal of the Hyde amendment, but in terms of a legal agenda pro-choice has just about achieved all its goals. Abortion just isn’t a very compelling argument here.

Ian Miller
Member

That’s a very interesting point, but I would say this: Obama has governed fairly moderately, but nonetheless I think he’s been a disaster as a president, not because of all of his policies (though his Iran deal in particular seems like more than a little terrible), but because of the rhetoric that he’s consistently and cleverly used to shape the way we think about ourselves as Americans. Where President Bush and his speechwriters encouraged us to think about a culture of life and compassion (and imperfectly lived it out, I hasten to add – but they said it, which matters),… Read more »

John
Guest
John

“Our response to judgment ought to be the kind of response that God calls for in Scripture. Preachers ought to stop apologizing for the Bible, and take the law of God the way we take our whiskey, which is straight, and having done so, we need to preach a hot gospel. There is no other way out for us. There is no Savior but Jesus. There will be no cultural restoration without a massive reformation” I’m still not seeing you put an actual argument against voting for Trump. We can still do all of this while voting for Trump in… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Hi John. Does this mean that there is no such thing as a “virtuous pagan” who stumbles along in invincible ignorance but does the best he can with the light he has?

John
Guest
John

I mean, the Bible tells us that, without God, we are resisting the truth in unrighteousness, we cannot do good, etc.
So there may be pagans who appear virtuous, but I’m not sure if the Bible allows for a truly virtuous pagan.