Dr. Brown speaks with author and research Josh Charles, who has a brand new book out with amazing source material from the Founding Fathers of our nation, then Dr. Brown speaks with educator Trace Embry on innovative, life-changing educational models and more. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.
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I found today’s program to be quite disheartening in which the guest appeared to justify the institutionalization of American slavery by those Founding Fathers who engaged in such practices. One justification cited came from the position that they grew up in a society that regarded it as accepted. If this be deemed credible shall we then call the next generation of homosexuals, Christians and Godly men and women, who practice such lifestyles simply because they will have grown up in such a society? Shall we declare the drunkard a Godly man simply because alcohol is legalized? What of the doctor who performs abortions and declares that he is a Christian, shall we stand with him in agreement simply because it is accepted by the establishment?
The guest, in presenting the idea that Jefferson did a service to the slaves in keeping them bound is asinine through insinuating that they were better off in his care. To make it clear, there was nothing good about the institution of slavery, and the idea that one would attempt to justify such practices is quite sad. The fact of the matter is Jefferson kept his slaves because it was a very prosperous intuition for him, wherein he benefited greatly. In citing slave narratives we find nothing good about this practice to those forced in such a position.
“It’s bad to belong to folks that own you soul and body. I could tell you about it all day but even then you could not guess the awfulness of it.” – Dicha Garth, former slave
“There was no such thing as being good to slaves. Many white people were better than others, but a slave belonged to his master, and there was no way to get out of that.” – Thomas Lewis, former South Carolina slave
It must be understood that the Founding Fathers who owned slaves set the precedence for its justification in light of the Declaration of Independence, thus stating that all men are created equal. Sadly, the slave owning Founding Fathers lifestyles were the catalyst in the passing of the 1857 Dred Scott ruling -which declared that a negro, enslaved or free, has no rights to American citizenship or representation. The Chief Justice, Roger B. Taney, cited the the Constitution’s reference to “All men being created equal” not to refer to the negro “as understood by the Founding Fathers as they interpreted it.”
The constitution is indeed a glorious document from which its words ultimately led to the liberation of the slaves. However, I think it best stated that this nation was founded on tradition (from England) that had a form of God in it – but make no mistake slavery of the African and the genocide of the Native American had nothing to do with God at all. Many of the Founding Fathers were indeed Godly men, but I think it a bit unwise to justify and group those who participated in slavery to be included to that group, as we then introduce a precedence leading to a slippery slope in which all forms of sinful practices will find their justification to the Christian community.
“The guest, in presenting the idea that Jefferson did a service to the slaves in keeping them bound is asinine through insinuating that they were better off in his care.”
Your prejudice has blinded you. Is this why it is so easy for you to call others “asinine,” (and you quite often do)? Given the lack of opportunity for black people during Jefferson’s time because of the cultural biases, it most definitely was better for many if not most black people in the America’s to be slaves in the Biblical sense. I am not talking about beatings and starvation and rape like is practiced in Islam and other non-biblical cultures. Jefferson could have set them free to poverty and homelessness that would have likely driven many to crime. Is that what you want?
Col 3:22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Col 4:1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
If you would start with the facts instead of emotion, you would do much better. Even the apostle Paul did not advocate for releasing slaves. He told the Christian slave owners to treat their slaves kindly and Biblically and he told the Christian slaves to submit to their masters even if they were evil. He sent a slave back to his master. The culture of Jefferson was not much different than that of the first century in regards to slaves and freed black slaves would have had a very difficult time in early America.
What was a righteous man to do in early America? Refuse to buy slaves so that evil men could acquire them more cheaply and mistreat them? Turn them all back to the slave ship owners to starve and die? It is easy to sit in an ivory tower and impute guilt upon those that did the best they could to help.
Why don’t you start being thankful and grateful that you live in a place that offers you freedom instead of bemoaning the past? Why don’t you start living on half or a quarter of your income and send the rest of your money to help current slaves? Maybe you do…?
How much of your money do you send to free all the poor sweat shop workers in India and China? Are you willing to take on the responsibility to feed and house those in our current world that are oppressed by task masters? Or do you make a rich man’s wage and complain that your ancestors were treated badly and take advantage of every government handout you can to get back at white men that were never a part of the slave trade? And yes, virtually everyone in America makes a rich man’s wage compared to the vast majority of the people of the world. If you are going to be an advocate, put your money where your mouth is.
Your two quotes by former slaves does not tell the whole story. Bad is still better than worse than bad or death by starvation most of the time.
The slave traders should have been executed according the Bible, but leaving all those black people brought here by them to fend for themselves in early America would not have solved the problem for them. Taking them back to Africa to be sold to Islamists and competing tribes would have been worse for them. If we have to chose between amputation of a hand or dying of gangrene we chose the lesser of two evils. The same goes for slavery.
If Joseph, son of Jacob, was here today, I think that he would say that being sold into slavery was bad. He would also see that the evil that was perpetrated upon slaves has turned out that YHWH meant it for good…if those that hold the grudge from previous generations can learn to forgive and make the most of whatever situation they are in. If they can be righteous like Joseph instead of wallowing in self pity and seeking revenge. What percentage of those that are great, great grand children of American slaves would be better off spiritually or physically if there ancestors would have been sent back to Africa and they would have grown up there instead? Could it have been a mercy from YHWH to save many alive like in Joseph’s time?
Brian, get off of the bandwagon and teach gratefulness instead of grudge. Teach forgiveness instead of revenge. Teach making the best of what we have instead of dwelling on what our ancestors had taken away from them.
If you keep on the path you are on, you will soon begin to say that children have been enslaved unbiblically and that we should make reparations and give them minority status and government subsidies to make up for it…for Paul says that children differ nothing from a slave.
Ga 4:1 I mean this: As long as the heir is under age he is not a whit better off than a slave…
1. I am a brown person. I think I am better off not being a slave. I do not dream of our son and daughter growing up to be slaves. It is not a good future for them.
2. There were at that time free black people in the US and the UK. They did not starve or live on the streets. That is to imply that black people lack entrepeneurial skills or intelligence to support themselves. Benjamin Banneker was free in an age of slavery, and he ended up designing the street plan of Washington, the capital.
As an aside, not all white people at that time agreed with slavery. Some freed their slaves — yes, and by doing so caused a rift with slave-owning friends and relatives.
3. Of course, it would be neglectful of me to omit the fact that the abolitionist movement was growing in Britain — as a result of Christian revival — during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Copious amounts of literature were available on both sides of the Atlantic to show that slavery as it was practised in those times (nothing like OT) was not universally accepted.
4. It is possible to see a leader as politically astute and yet also see him as morally flawed. We can do that with King David, but not with Washington or Jefferson or Lloyd George or Churchill?
It it quite obvious that you have missed the substance of my post and have chosen the rout of trolling once again. To be clear, it is Mike who has chosen to address this subject, I’m only responding. So let’s deal with the substance of my post and go from there.
American slavery was sin. The guest’s justifications, as previously cited, don’t stand are an excuse to soften this institutionalized sinful practice. I said, “One justification cited came from the position that they grew up in a society that regarded it as accepted. If this be deemed credible shall we then call the next generation of homosexuals, Christians and Godly men and women, who practice such lifestyles simply because they will have grown up in such a society? Shall we declare the drunkard a Godly man simply because alcohol is legalized? What of the doctor who performs abortions and declares that he is a Christian, shall we stand with him in agreement simply because it is accepted by the establishment?”
Bo, please address this above point?
Bo, you did attempt to justify being a slave was better than not being one. However, who said anything about just letting them go without anything? How about paying them for their work performed and having treating them as equals, has that crossed your mind?
The fact of the matter, African slaves were not treated as equals, and Jefferson had sex with his slaves, not being married them at all. In point of fact, rape was a common practice with the slaves. Would you say that that this is the practice of a Godly man?
I said, “It must be understood that the Founding Fathers who owned slaves set the precedence for its justification in light of the Declaration of Independence, thus stating that all men are created equal. Sadly, the slave owning Founding Fathers lifestyles were the catalyst in the passing of the 1857 Dred Scott ruling -which declared that a negro, enslaved or free, has no rights to American citizenship or representation. The Chief Justice, Roger B. Taney, cited the the Constitution’s reference to “All men being created equal” not to refer to the negro “as understood by the Founding Fathers as they interpreted it.”
To clarify, the guest quoted Fredrick Douglas as a point of justification, wherein I also presented history (that no one speaks of, as Mike Brown stated) that demonstrates the influences of the slave holding Founding Fathers.
Do you disagree?
Bo, you said, “Brian, get off of the bandwagon and teach gratefulness instead of grudge. Teach forgiveness instead of revenge. Teach making the best of what we have instead of dwelling on what our ancestors had taken away from them.”
You appear to be a bit confused and delusional. To be clear, your statement is asinine. Where have I taught revenge? Your statement lacks common sense. Again, Mike is the one who brought this program to the air; hence, I’ve addressed this accordingly. Again, if you think that the American Slave Trade was of God, then I think that you are completely off track. There is no bandwagon,I simply brought my opinion backed with historical evidence as well.
Notwithstanding, it is the love that I have that compels me to help the poor, as was instructed by the Apostles. Grateful. Bo, I express gratefulness every single day of my life, and there is absolutely no grudge that I hold regarding slavery. I am only stating facts and opinion just as you, Mike and the guest has. Because I don’t seek to justify slavery and racism (which is EXACTLY what it is), I am now, by you, being labeled as the one with a grudge. Hmmm…. isn’t this what the homosexual community is doing with those who stand for righteousness in the same manner?
I said, “The constitution is indeed a glorious document from which its words ultimately led to the liberation of the slaves. However, I think it best stated that this nation was founded on tradition (from England) that had a form of God in it – but make no mistake slavery of the African and the genocide of the Native American had nothing to do with God at all. Many of the Founding Fathers were indeed Godly men, but I think it a bit unwise to justify and group those who participated in slavery to be included to that group, as we then introduce a precedence leading to a slippery slope in which all forms of sinful practices will find their justification to the Christian community.”
Do you disagree?
I’d like to gently correct one of your points,Brian,without quarrelling with its conclusion.
DNA testing has only proven that a Jefferson male fathered those children by Sally Hemmings. It might have been a relative of Thomas Jefferson’s. I am nitpicking before someone else does it!
However, that scenario isn’t much better: the famous Jefferson turning a blind eye while a slave is repeatedly made pregnant by fornication, children born out of wedlock with no consistent father figure around.
(The fascinating plot of the film ‘Belle’ portrays a very different outcome — a true story of how the mixed race illegitimate child of an aristocrat and a Jamaican was fostered by a landed gentry lawyer and raised alongside another white fostered girl. Get this: in later years that judge made a decision in a court case which was one of the first nails in the coffin of the British slave trade. So apparently not everyone was gung-ho about kidnapping and owning people.)
Interesting that you can continue to call people asinine and accuse of trolling, but fail to deal with the scripture I posted. Did you want to give it a try?
“Col 3:22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Col 4:1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
If you would start with the facts instead of emotion, you would do much better. Even the apostle Paul did not advocate for releasing slaves. He told the Christian slave owners to treat their slaves kindly and Biblically and he told the Christian slaves to submit to their masters even if they were evil. He sent a slave back to his master.”
What do you think about this also:
“If Joseph, son of Jacob, was here today, I think that he would say that being sold into slavery was bad. He would also see that the evil that was perpetrated upon slaves has turned out that YHWH meant it for good…if those that hold the grudge from previous generations can learn to forgive and make the most of whatever situation they are in. If they can be righteous like Joseph instead of wallowing in self pity and seeking revenge. What percentage of those that are great, great grand children of American slaves would be better off spiritually or physically if there ancestors would have been sent back to Africa and they would have grown up there instead? Could it have been a mercy from YHWH to save many alive like in Joseph’s time?”
How many Africans became believers in Messiah in America compared to those that remained in Africa. How many in Africa are now Muslims or oppressed by them? Can you bring yourself to acquiesce a little?
“Bo, you did attempt to justify being a slave was better than not being one. However, who said anything about just letting them go without anything? How about paying them for their work performed and having treating them as equals, has that crossed your mind?”
Yes it has crossed my mind, but there is more to it than that.
Throughout most of world history most people have struggled for mere existence. Slavery has and sometimes still is the best way for those in dire circumstances. The sweat shops of India are worse than slavery most times. There is no promise of food and shelter for those so employed. Do you really think that giving someone a job in one of these places is better than slavery?
Yes treating them as equals and paying them would have been better, but My point is that they would have most likely not have been treated as equals or that there would be little chance of them getting a job…or at least of getting a job much better than the sweat shops.
I abhor stealing people and selling them as slaves. I am not saying that we should go down any slippery slope of getting used to whatever is in our culture and then justifying its existence later on. I am probably one of the most counter cultural people you will ever meet. I am even counter Church culture precisely because it is a slippery slope happening…getting steeper and slipperier every day. The Bible does not condemn slavery but it does condemn remarriage as adultery…the church is full of it. A slave and a master may both inherit the kingdom. An adulterer will not.
I do not think that Jefferson was “godly.”
I would never want to be a slave nor want to have one. But I would chose those options for the sake of providing for my family or of helping someone else survive if it was necessitated by extreme circumstances…and they would have to be quite extreme circumstances.
My children differ nothing from a slave, as Paul says, but they are very happy to live under my roof most of the time. Of course I would treat a slave as one of my own family to every degree possible.
Paul made himself a slave to YHWH and suffered horribly for it. He said:
1Ti 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Something to ponder…maybe freedom is our real deity these days.
Thank you for your posts! You’re right. I had the same reaction about slavery when I heard the interview. Your response to Bo is excellent. It’s nice to see someone with spiritual insight posting in the comment section here.
Too bad Brian didn’t respond to the scripture. How can a response be excellent when the the most important part was not addressed?
You spoke out of both sides of your mouth, by saying you abhor stealing people and selling them into slavery, and then by defending it.
You said, “The Bible does not condemn slavery.”
Yes, it does. Scripture does not support the African slave trade as practiced in our nation’s past. It’s against everything Jesus taught.
Have you studied the abolitionist movement? It doesn’t sound like you have. Read the famous sermons of abolitionist pastors. Have you read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”? It’s written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Read it. Her father was the famous abolitionist and Presbyterian minister, Lyman Beecher, who said:
“That the slave trade must cease is certain. Feeble as the moral sense of nations is; and slow as is their movement in a work of justice end mercy, the conscience of nations is beginning to act, and the arm of power to be extended, in earnest, to blot out this long standing shame on humanity. That the slave trade must cease soon, is manifest from the movements of Providence….That slavery is wrong, and a great national sin and national calamity, and that as soon as possible it is to be brought to an end….O Africa, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not plead thy cause, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”
The abolitionist movement was based on the Word of God. They got it right.
I have never defended the African slave trade. All men stealing and then selling of humans is not Biblical. The death penalty is prescribed for such as do this. Maybe you can answer this.
“Col 3:22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Col 4:1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
…[T]he apostle Paul did not advocate for releasing slaves. He told the Christian slave owners to treat their slaves kindly and Biblically and he told the Christian slaves to submit to their masters even if they were evil. He sent a slave back to his master.”
Tit 2:9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Co 3:22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
4:1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,
6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,
8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
1Ti 6:1 ¶ Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.
2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.
Teach and urge these things.
3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,
4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,
5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
6 ¶ Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,
7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
The above is the New Testament teaching concerning slaves and masters and it in no way contradicts what the Law and the Prophets teach about it. What do you say Amy?
I missed one.
1Pe 2:19 For it /brings/ favor if, because of conscience toward God, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly.
20 For what credit is there if you endure when you sin and are beaten? But when you do good and suffer, if you endure, it brings favor with God.
21 For you were called to this,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example,
so that you should follow in His steps.
22 He did not commit sin,
and no deceit was found in His mouth;
23 when reviled, He did not revile in return;
when suffering, He did not threaten,
but committed Himself to the One who judges justly.
Bo, you make some excellent points (in post no. 6 )about what has been the outcome for (West) Africans who were taken away, compared with the history of those left in their homelands. It *is* a complicated story. Some received the Lord in the plantations of the West Indies or North America, and so were rich in salvation even as they were enslaved. The situation is very grim in N Africa and W Africa with the Muslim persecution and superstition.
Today, the irony is that across Africa there is often more holiness and fervour in the churches than we see in the West, especially where I am in the UK. We had a TV show a couple of years ago about Africans coming to Britain to share their faith with people. Some of the African Christians were heartbroken; I particularly remember the pastor who visited David Livingstone’s hometown and was so upset at the hard-hearted spiritual apathy. These “reverse missionaries” wanted to give back to the British Empire the faith that they had received.
In many of our towns and cities, immigrants from the former British Empire have energised the churches. 60% of the churchgoers in London are Black and Ethnic Minority (BME). It is sad that lots of native Brits are not very open to the Gospel. How ironic that the white British are enslaved by sin, atheism and complacency, while the formerly enslaved ones are free in Christ! As a British-born Black person, I am pleased to see that God is using these immigrants to bless our nation. We sorely need some Spirit revival fire!
To be fair to Bo, he is quoting the Bible correctly. Christians are asked to honour the Lord by their obedience. However, the book of Philemon is a fascinating summary of the what the Bible teaches, and it only takes about 20 minutes to read. He send Onesimus back to his master as a brother in Christ, a co-heir with Christ. He tells Philemon to love him in that vein. This is approaching the issue of liberation from a different angle. When Christ changes us from within, the outer concerns will be addressed. Paul was wise to focus on the inner man, rather than to mount a political change.
It is a complicated situation for those who are under the yoke. Many of the Philipinos working in the Middle East today are virtually indentured servants, but since they have Christ, they are free!
Bo aka alias brown; the same Paul said there is no slave or Jew.
Like I said, the abolitionist movement got it right.
You can quote machine gun verses all day long but none of them support the African slave trade. The slavery Paul was referring to was not based on stealing human beings from another continent, selling them and separating families.
Again, have you ever studied the abolitionist movement? Those Christians rightly divided the Word on slavery.
I think it’s interesting that we’ve had this discussion about blacks before but in another context. It makes me wonder about you. Did you grow up in the deep South? Just curious.
I never said that Paul could be used to support the African save trade. I think that the traders deserve the death penalty. But you still have not addressed what Paul did say. He did not abolish slavery. Please address what Paul said.
I live in Colorado and Dr. Brown lives in North Carolina. Neither of us are aliases for the other. We disagree on many issues. It is time for you to grow up and actually deal with what the scripture says instead of sowing discord and misinformation through rhetoric and insults.
Brian R., Comparing Homosexuals, drunkards, and abortion doctors in our culture to slave owners in that culture isn’t a fair comparison. Many people (like Washington and Jefferson) inherited slaves and laws made it very hard to give them freedom. Just because they owned slaves doesn’t mean they treated them anything like the images that come to our minds when we think of U.S. slavery.
Thanks for the kind words. I agree that for believers, slavery becomes more a matter of family. It is a shame that the black culture in America is heading more and more toward Islam. It is a shame that what man intended for evil in the way of slavery that YHWH used for good for centuries is not being lost because the Church has fallen down on the job.
Listen up. One more time. Paul was not referring to the slavery of Africans. So what Paul said about slavery does not apply to the topic at hand. Apples to oranges. Do you understand that, Bo?
Thank you for the encouraging words. Much appreciated.
You said, “DNA testing has only proven that a Jefferson male fathered those children by Sally Hemmings. It might have been a relative of Thomas Jefferson’s. I am nitpicking before someone else does it!”
Thank you for your response, and no quarreling here, however I’d like to shed more light on the matter.
James Oliver Horton, Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University, one of the top scholars in the world regarding slavery in America and wrote extensively on the subject did major research in this area regarding Thomas Jefferson and the accusations of him fathering children by his slave, Sally Hemings. In his book, Slavery and Public History, he noted:
“In 1998, science stepped into the Jefferson-Hemings controversy via DNA testing of Jefferson and Hemings descendants. In carefully controlled laboratory studies scientists at three independent laboratories in the United states, the Netherlands, and Britain compared Y-chromosome DNA haplotypes from the Jefferson line with those from Hemings’s descendants… Testing supported Jefferson’s paternity for Eston Hemings Jefferson with a certainty of 99 percent, a particularly strong finding when combined with historical evidence… The results of the testing were reported in the journal Nature in November 1998, setting off an enormous wave of media attention and requiring many historians to rethink their positions.”
Let’s see how this works. You responded to my post with (supposed) contention with what I’ve stated. Yet, you turn and agree that slavery is wrong. Your argument is quite backwards, as was well noted by another poster. This thread is about justifying the slave holding Founding Fathers as Godly men. I ask you again, what did I write that you disagree with? I’ve candidly asked you to respond to my posts (Re: 4) but you have intentionally ignored them.
You spawned into a declaration insinuating that it was better to be a slave then to be free, and you even dismissed the two narratives of former slaves testifying how unfit it was. Can you please produce narratives from slaves celebrating that they preferred slavery over freedom? I have volumes of narratives in my library and would be more than willing to cite many more if I actually thought that it would make a difference to you.
I thought to refer you to Uncle Tom’s Cabin for your edification, but Amy had already addressed it for you. Notwithstanding, the Underground Railroad was established to help slaves escape their bondage in helping to lead them to freedom. Harriet Tubman made 19 trips in leading 300 slaves to freedom from MD to Canada. She risked her life for the cause because she knew the horror. The Fugitive Slave Act passed by the Government was passed because too many slaves were being helped by God-fearing Christians and abolitionists to the road to freedom. This law was established charging people to send the slaves back into that ungodly institution, but they refused. They knew the horrors of slavery therefore they did all they knew to liberate the slaves.
The idea that it was better to be a slave then a free man is a sad way of thinking. In 1785, Joseph Mayo of Powhatan, VA, freed over 150 of his slaves. Robert Carter freed over 500 of his slaves and also gave them land and housing as well. Thomas Jefferson had over 150 slaves and freed only 3 in his lifetime. Again, he kept them because he was immoral and profited off of the free labor. Nothing to rejoice about. In point of fact, Thomas Jefferson had slaves to escape. If it was so comfy and better for them, why would they have done so? I’m appealing to your logic.
Of the various verses you mentioned regarding slavery, what about them? That isn’t not the topic of the thread, and the American slave institution is over, so I see no point to your citations. As Paul wrote for slaves to obey their masters , he also wrote on how masters are to treat their slaves. What of the common practice of rape, beatings, separation of the families, being kept from learning to read, living in inhumane conditions? Paul also told us to obey the governing authorities, so are you in agreement for pastors to marry homosexuals?
You cited Joseph and his slavery ordeal. This comes in a basic principle of which he stated, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Gen 50:20). The principle is this, the devil seeks to destroy, but because God is a deliverer, He comes to heal and redeem. God can be glorified from a bad situation and thus many can be blessed. Hence, this is a great understanding that we all can rejoice over.
Again, the subject matter is the idea of the slave holding Founding Fathers being labeled as Godly. Hence, now’s your opportunity to answer my questions as they are found in post #4, that actually deal with radio topic.
Thanks for all the comments here. My only comment was that in no way did Joshua justify slavery. In fact, we took a lot of time to discuss something fairly and honestly, and his goal was to put things in historical context without justifying. I highly recommend that everyone here take the time to read his whole book, especially the chapter on slavery. And, as with all posts, we appreciate your attempts to remain civil in your discussions.
While I appreicate Joshua’s take on the Founding Fathers, he did appear to justify as to why Jefferson and Washington did own slaves. I sought, just like Joshua, to shed more light on the subject based upon the comments that he did make. I am reminded of John Adams who prophetically saw a Civil War one day coming. He said,
“I shudder when I think of the calamities which slavery is likely to produce in this country. You would think me mad if I were to describe my anticipations. If the gangrene is not stopped I can see nothing but insurrection of the blacks against the whites.”
It is of my opinion that those F.F. who owned and sold slaves on the account that they were black were racist and should not be included with the rest who would be called “Godly.”
I’m afraid to say that I do not believe you are representing my comments fairly, and are very much twisting them (I was the one interviewed by Dr. Brown).
I am not going to get dragged into a long drawn-out debate. This probably isn’t the best forum for it. However, I in NO WAY said slavery was “good” or in any way tried to avoid the evil of it. I even said it exemplified the idea that we need to ultimately keep our focus on God, not men, because men, amazing as they may be in certain areas, are always very flawed, the Founders included.
Second, former slaves, such as Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, praised the Founders. They knew, as I explain in great detail in the book, that they left the world not perfect, but vastly IMPROVED as a result o what they did. Let us justly criticize them for their failings, but let’s also be fair with one another. Slavery as an institution was absolutely wrong, no questions asked. But there were day-to-day realities that presented very difficult moral questions. Does that mean the Founders who owned slaves got it right? No, not necessarily. But we must view everything in context. Oskar Schindler bought and sold Jews, and had them work at his factory, and yet we praise him. Are Schindler and Jefferson the same? No. But similar moral questions are raised: how does one respond in the midst of a profoundly evil system where few of the options realistically available are good?
As I said at the beginning, virtually everything you said I said I either did not say, or is an immense twisting of what I said. I would request that you listen with more charity in the future, and recognize that on a short interview, one can only cover such huge and important topics in only a superficial way. The chapter in my book on slavery is entitled “Slavery: Liberty’s Hypocrisy,” and for a reason; and in the Introduction to my book, I call Jefferson a racist (I called him “a philandering racist” to be precise). If you read it and gave it a fair hearing, I think you would find much more we could agree on then not.
Let us as a society have discussion and dialogue, and not present mis-truths about what others believe. Slavery was a moral catastrophe. But usually in the midst of moral catastrophes, whether it be in Nazi Germany, the Jim Crow South, etc. we find the great heroes we all admire (Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr., Wilberforce, etc.) finding a lot of gray in their situation, and trying to respond as best they could and advance the ball down the field. The Founders were far from perfect, but as far as human history, flourishing, and well-being is concerned, they advanced the ball down the field a great deal. The touchdown, so to speak, will never come from a mere man, but from Christ Himself when He returns. In the mean-time, we can rightly praise those who got us closer, despite their own failings (I would note that many of the great Biblical heroes had IMMENSE failings, and yet we still rightly admire them).
Thank you, and God Bless.
Thank you for responding, as I actually looked you up in hope that I could dialogue with you. I appreciate your comments and clarification, and it wasn’t my intent to misrepresent you in any way whatsoever, as I only responded to your short interview with Dr. Brown. You stated, ” Does that mean the Founders who owned slaves got it right? No, not necessarily. But we must view everything in context.” What does the context have to do with the practice of sin?
Let me clarify, you wrote, just as you stated on the program “former slaves, such as Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, praised the Founders.” That comment came in the backdrop discussion of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who were slave owners. In response to that, I said ” It must be understood that the Founding Fathers who owned slaves set the precedence for its justification in light of the Declaration of Independence, thus stating that all men are created equal. Sadly, the slave owning Founding Fathers lifestyles were the justifying catalyst in the passing of the 1857 Dred Scott ruling -which declared that a negro, enslaved or free, has no rights to American citizenship or representation. The Chief Justice, Roger B. Taney, cited the of the Constitution’s reference to “All men being created equal” not to refer to the negro “as understood by the Founding Fathers as they interpreted it.” Can you see the contradictory influence that they had on such a major decision?
Notwithstanding, I never declared that you said slavery was good, however your comment insinuating that slaves (according to your quote from Jefferson) would be better off bound then free is an unjustified excuse for that practice. I actually presented evidence of other slaveholders freeing slaves in the state of VA and during Jefferson’s time, noting “In 1785, Joseph Mayo of Powhatan, VA, freed over 150 of his slaves. Robert Carter freed over 500 of his slaves and also gave them land and housing as well. Thomas Jefferson had over 150 slaves and freed only 3 in his lifetime.”
Secondly, and more importantly, no one wanted to be enslaved. I have volumes of narratives that speak these truths. Both Jefferson and Washington had laves who escaped. Are we to believe that they were actually doing them a favor in keeping them bound? Hence, Jefferson’s citation must be rejected, and even though he inherited the slaves, this gives him (or Washington) no justification of keeping them and profiting off of them, from which I’m sure that you agree.
I respect the tone and care in your presentation, and am not looking to contend with you and welcome civil dialogue on this. It was evident that you were presenting a position of understanding as to why they held slaves of which Mike, himself questioned, “Why don’t we hear about this?” Thus I wanted to be clear that there is also much more to this beyond what you discussed in the short time that you had that does offer more to the story.
Just to reiterate, as I previously stated, the constitution is indeed a glorious document from which its words ultimately led to the liberation of the slaves. I do agree that many of our Founding Fathers were godly and laid a wonderful foundation for the generations to come. You were clear in identifying how this nation would be deemed to be founded as Christian, but the paradox of slavery and the genocide of the Native American would testify otherwise to that claim, and is worth the discussion to be considered.
Thank you again for responding, and I wish many blessings to you.
Brian, I don’t think Joshua will be interacting beyond his one post here, but THANKS for taking the time to explain further, and with such a gracious spirit. I’ll be sure Joshua sees this. God bless!
Thank you, Dr. Brown. I appreicate the opportunity to share and dialogue. Many blessings to you and the work that you do.
Thank you very much for your response. It was very gracious.
I still don’t think you are fully understanding where I am coming from. Several times, when I was reading your response, and shuttered (metaphorically) because what you were saying was not my view at all.
I understand where you are coming from, and this is obviously a difficult issue. Suffice it to say that I in no way excuse slavery. But there ARE moral ambiguities at various points, there just are. There always have been at moral crossroads. Wilberforce himself was sometimes accused of compromising the cause of abolition…Wilberforce! Haha. So I think if we want to understand this rightly, as with all things, we must be exceptionally mindful of context.
But as I said, I very much appreciate the gracious tone of your comment. Be well, my brother.
From what I understand, the “Founding Fathers” of the United States (i.e., the Revolutionaries) were not Christians (though George Washington was baptized into the RCC right before dying); they believed in the Freemasonic god (“GAOTU” or “Great Architect Of The Universe”)–a god all men (including Muslims, Jews, etc.,) had equal access to. They were deists. Children of the Enlightenment, even their architecture was pagan, and features pagan gods (including “Columbia, the no-goddess of liberty”–the “District of Columbia” is supposedly “her” district).
The fact that not all of them were serious Christians (if any of them were) is how you explain all of their anti-Christian activities (e.g., breaking treaties with and murdering natives to rob them of their lands, their ownership of slaves [who were not necessarily willingly enslaved, or prisoners of war, but many of whom were victims of kidnapping]).
I haven’t studied that much about this, and I won’t spend time debating it. I’m satisfied with my rough sketch. I just thought I’d give you another perspective to consider, and you could go do the research if you were interested in doing it.
The main thing we should affirm is that no human being, even a presumed Christian, who breaks with Scripture (in this case, the Founding Fathers) is to be emulated; Scripture is the Truth, and anyone who deviates from Scripture is erring and is not to be emulated. We should not say to ourselves that we are Revolutionaries in the spirit of those men, and assuage our consciences by saying “well they did it”. Their activities may have been American but they weren’t Christian.
I think what Brother Charles is saying is that we were given thee best possible circumstances to live out the tenets of out most holy and blessed faith. And that the gospel could be freely preached without any interference from a Government that was created neutral to the particulars of any religious faith so long as it did not threaten the basic and agreed morality most of which was in accord with the law of God as found in scripture. In a dogmatic sense we were never a Christian nation but we were certainly the predominant religious choice of the people and the Founders definitely for the most part favored the religious sentiments of the Bible which they held in high esteem. So by revisiting the historical development and the undeniable facts surrounding the establishment of this America we can legitimately fight for what we are loosing in this era of progressive-actually regressive post modernist- America that looks less ans less than the original copy even with our documents in order? That is the point that Brother Charles is making in his book. He has given us ample ammunition to use when confronting those who have cleverly distorted our history. I am not being an idealist when I say our true history. I am well aware of our many defects as a nation and even many of the not so pleasant sentiments that some of our founders expressed about the Bible on occasion? Nor am I naive enough to believe that we were this great godly country as some in the traditional fundamentalist camps would have us to believe? Yet this was a haven for public preaching and missionary activity not only here but abroad. That liberty is fast becoming a thing of the past in the light of recent events. So I think a book like this is much needed today and when understood in its proper context allows us to fight more fervently to preserve what is left of our American freedoms. Not for the sole purpose of a pain free and materially prosperous and pleasant life but that the gospel can be proclaimed throughout the land and that we might see a harvest of souls come to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. If God is pleased to give this nation over to more perversity and less freedom for us to openly be true and loyal followers then so be it! God’s will be done! We will have to bear the reproaches of Christ as our Brothers and Sisters have always done through out time? We will not shrink back from our calling and devotion to King Jesus! But while we have the freedom without sacrificing our gospel priorities I rejoice that God has raised up a Brother like this whose work and labor might assuage in some measure the assault on the Christian faith. He has given us an opportunity to relive the past so that we might have restore those landmarks that our Christian Fathers have set in this land providentially prepared by our Father in Heaven to tell the world of His Son in whom all the fullness of the divinity dwells bodily as He became the Lamb of God who takes away thee sin of the world. To Him be glory now and forever Amen. For of Him and through Him are all things.
I repent of my terrible grammar and poorly constructed sentences! I am terrible with a keyboard! Should have reviewed and edited before I submitted. Will do a better job next time.
The worst slave trade and the longest running slave trade in all of human history is the Islamic African slave trade! The only reason we (America) get the tag as the worst and most egregious villain is that we have the Declaration of Independence as a self incriminating witness? Add insult to injury we had the formative influence of the Christian religion that should have prevented this in the first place?
So what went wrong? This is a difficult paradox to solve? On the one hand freedom in Christ from the power and penalty of sin was preached throughout all of the colonies and even to the slaves themselves? On the other hand we published to the world our right to self government and political autonomy on the basis of a freedom that was given us by divine right and tittle? So again what went wrong? How did this state of affairs come to pass?
How did this glaring and blatant contradiction find general acceptance? Ignorance? Indifference? A misunderstanding of the Bible? A deliberate distortion of the Bible? Overt racism? In one sense I would say all of the above. Very tragically and with regret it is something we have to face? The truth is that as others have justly observed, this is our original sin and national birth defect.
It is also true that there is great blame to be imputed to the indigenous people of Africa who also took part in the salve trade? Yet we hear of no scathing criticism against those conspirators? Again we have those two gnawing witnesses against us whereas the native Africans and Muslims do not? Our consciences should have been plagued with torment for allowing this barbaric and inhumane institution to exist in such a nation as ours?
The point I am making is this we cannot change the past but we can certainly see the hand and purpose of our God in it? Through slavery, however horrific, the gospel did come to the Sons and Daughters of Africa. And God raised up a people among the oppressed inhabitants of this land who belonged to Him. In time Mission societies established by these former slaves sent out disciples of Christ and preachers of the gospel who returned to their native homeland to see the marvelous works of God and the salvation of their ancestors. In the providence of the Almighty he brought eternal good out of a temporal evil!
In all of the obvious issues that a subject like American slavery will raise we must not forget to tell this side of the story. That God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Sinners may intend it for evil but God meant it for good! If there is a way of somehow redeeming this insidious practice the gospel is indeed it!
For those African descendants who are our Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus think of what he has done for you under the circumstances of your life and history and see that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose. No Christian’s life is determined by what he or she was but what you have now become in the Lord by His matchless grace!
It’s funny, but it seems to be so important to people to excuse the gross moral failures of the Founding Fathers, who are even accorded the honour of being in capitals.
Politicians are capable of terrible things. If we learn from them, and do not idolise them, then we will be on safer ground. Otherwise, we end up performing all sorts of mental gymnastics to fit the square peg of reality into the round hole of our hagiography.
There were other men of the time, such as Carter –quoted in post no. 24 — who did the right thing, and it was well known at the time. In contrast, George Washington wrote a weird will in which his slaves would be freed upon the death of his widow. So, she was left with the admin nightmare. In fact, she freed them right away, as the Washington’s will made her fear that she would be murdered.
I think we should stand up for Jesus alone, as He alone is worthy.
You know, I am sorry that I posted that, not because it was wrong, but because Michael Falsia at post no 36 deserved to have the last word. That was brilliantly put!
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