123 thoughts on “Overspiritualization”

  1. Well played, redhot.

    There really is a problem with human trafficking. A serious problem in which young women are lured to a foreign country (such as the USA) and forced into pornography and prostitution. And the church, sadly, usually sits idly by, reinforcing the notion that most churches are irrelevant to the real needs of society.

    1. While human trafficking certainly exists in the sex trade and is a serious problem for society, the great majority of people trafficked and enslaved are being exploited for ordinary labor– agricultural work, domestic work, restaurant work, factory work, and so forth.
      We just hear more about the sex angle because it’s more tittilating and therefore more attractive to news organizations trying to boost ratings or readership.

        1. How does anybody know?

          There’s no census of trafficked humans or anything.

          However, based on my work with victims and my wife’s, I think my statement above is accurate.

        2. There’s also a good deal of overlap.
          There’s not much stopping traffickers from exploiting their victims for sex as well as labor.

        3. Many of the stories I have seen seem to include both types of slavery.

          I think many people think their communities don’t have problems because they can point to Chicago, Detroit, LA, etc and say that’s where all the bad stuff is going down. It certainly is bad, but drugs, prostitution, etc are in every community.

          That number was from a non-profit whose focus is the sex trade, so they very well might have an inflated or cherry picked number to encourage people to donate to them…

        4. “That number was from a non-profit whose focus is the sex trade, so they very well might have an inflated or cherry picked number to encourage people to donate to them…”

          Yes, indeed. If your work is with people enslaved in massage parlors and strip joints and the like, then it’s no exaggeration to say that 78% of THOSE trafficked people were brought in for the sex trade.

      1. BG, my info is not the most current. The last human trafficking law enforcement seminar I attended was in 2005. I remember learning *then* that quantifying human trafficking is a huge challenge to the FBI and other LE. You made a good point.

      2. I agree. Sex trafficking is real and a big problem.

        It’s also common for absolutely absurd claims to be made, like there being thousands of sex slaves brought in for the Super Bowl every year. The numbers of sex slaves often work up to a figure greater than the number of adult male attendees.

        Given the population of the world 26M slaves surprises me a little. It’s well less than 1% of the world’s population. But 26 million too many.

  2. Wow. Talk about missing the point and sticking your finger in the eye of those affected by human trafficking and slavery.

    On the other hand, his website has some nice trumpet music.

  3. Apparently Fundies have edited Micah 6:8 out of their KJV: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

  4. Unfortunately, I suspect that once Mike is made aware of his ignorance (if he will acknowledge that) I’m sure he’ll post something about slaves obeying their earthly masters (Eph 6:5-8) because the bible doesn’t say anything about actually ending slavery.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised, given that some IFB pastors still say slavery was OK and the Confederacy was on the right side in the Recent Unpleasantness, and given their teachings about “submission.”

      1. BG – Lest we not forget, the Union also had four slave-holding states (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri)…although you could rightfully make the point that Maryland was in at gunpoint and that the Confederacy also (due to split state governments) claimed Kentucky and Missouri.

        1. I recall that Chestertown, Maryland, has a Civil War memorial with the names of those townsmen who fought for the Union carved on one side and the names of the Confederate soldiers from the town on the other side. (I don’t know how many other towns have something like that, but I’ve seen the one in Chestertown.)

  5. several of the top U.S. Cities for human trafficking are within a couple hours drive of my house. There are people I know involved in direct action to help girls out of prostitution rings many of whom were trafficked here from the third world, or from rough family situations inside the U.S.

    I would respect Mike Shrock if his post went the other way…like “since we have been freed from the slavery of sin by the actions of our savior, we should be horrified by people being in actual slavery and be motivated to do something about it as ambassadors of the one who sets us free.”

    Ok, who am I kidding, I wouldn’t respect Mike Shrock, he’s a tool of the highest order, but of course since he is he wouldn’t say that anyway either.

    The gospel is the beginning of a journey not the end.

    1. At least for me, the Gospel is the journey.

      My wife is a lawyer who works directly with survivors of human trafficking. It’s actually going on almost everywhere, and perhaps increasing worldwide. In other words, it’s not something to trifle with.

      1. Yeah, I know, I was pretty surprised at how much is going on right in my area. Scary stuff. Every few months we have a news story usually regarding legal immigrants who have illegal immigrants that they are using as domestic slaves, doing housework, gardening, babysitting, etc. But kept locked up, not paid, in some cases sexually abused, etc. Its something many people wish they could ignore, but its happening everywhere.

    2. “Since we have been freed from the slavery of sin by the actions of our savior, we should be horrified by people being in actual slavery and be motivated to do something about it as ambassadors of the one who sets us free.”

      LOVE this statement!

      Fundamentalists separate from everyone and falsely think that everyone else is teaching a flawed Gospel. Thus if everyone else is doing something, whether that be filling shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse or getting involved to end slavery, they think it is suspect. “We don’t like you. You’re doing X. So we’re not going to like X either.” Anything that unites other believers from different denominations together in one cause they dislike, ignoring Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17. And since they think they are the only ones teaching salvation the right way, they should focus on THAT.

      One of the things I love most about being out of fundamentalism is being free to care not just about people’s souls but also about their freedom, their living conditions, their physical needs, etc. It’s not either/or. We can care about both.

      1. Indeed, we show our faith by our works, as James tells us!

        What hungry person will listen to “Jesus saves” if we don’t care that they have something to eat? What jobless person will hear that “Jesus loves you” if we are pushing for a reduction in food stamps and unemployment insurance? What value is there in believing that Jesus is God the Son if neither Jesus nor His people don’t care about your circumstances and will not help you. Does God care about us, or not?

        Fundamentalists have stripped the gospel down to a worthless shell, without meaning and without the power to change lives in the real world.

  6. This is why I block several of my Fundy friends on FB. They don’t contribute anything positive, but they can’t leave well enough alone either. They feel compelled to Jesus juke everything.

  7. I have absolutely no intention of insulting Mike Schrock or belittling his ministry. Still, if a group of people were organizing a relief effort to assist victims of a famine or natural disaster, maybe the best response to their pleas would not be, “Amen, if we’re saved, we’re no longer hungry and thirsty!”

    1. “Go on your way, be warmed and filled.” – the fundy defense against the social gospel is to ignore people’s physical needs and pretend that their only need is spiritual.

      1. Reminds me of those people who, instead of sending money through a reputable aid group and help with disaster relief that way, decided it was more important that the survivors of the Japan tsunami get gospel tracts instead and collected money towards that end.

        1. Whenever I hear this passage from James, I get the picture of Miracle Max and his wife telling Wesley, “Have fun storming the castle.”

        2. Before Doug Phillips (is a tool) fell off his pedestal, one of the first images in a search on his name was him hugging a Haitian kid who looked utterly skeeved out. If you read the accompanying text–yeah, an unbeliever usually goes to a disaster area to move rubble and feed children; a Real True Christian usually goes to a disaster area to have himself photographed musing over rubble and hugging children.

        3. I know it’s hear to stay, but as a tool-lover, I have a problem with the trend to call such people “tools.” It makes them sound far more useful than they really are.

        4. BG,
          Just personally, I like the word “tool” as a euphemism for a bodily part that we’re too kind to use here on this family site.

          I’d use a smiley face, but the emoticons don’t work any more for my iPad.
          ~BJg

  8. Sadly, it’s, IMO, because so many of them are slaves themselves; mentally, to a MoG and a toxic belief system. Since they can’t be free, they can’t conceive of giving freedom to anyone else.
    Doesn’t make his comment any less repugnant though.

  9. On a not entirely unrelated note, is anyone familiar with the song, “People Need the Lord?” One of the lines says, “Little children begging for a piece of bread, but though they are so hungry, they’d gladly take a little love instead.”
    Instead?!! The importance of the social gospel may be downplayed by many within Fundamentalism, but how could outsiders regard any religion that fails to respond to basic human needs as anything other than hypocrisy?

  10. Sigh. Mike Schrock was the music/youth/singles director of my fundy church way back when. It’s sad to see him have such blinders on when it comes to issues like human trafficking and doing this “drive by” evangelism–which turns people off more often than not. It’s just more hot air, like saying “be warmed and filled” without attending to a person’s physical needs.

  11. This stems from a serious theological problem that I see manifested in fundamentalists of all stripes, not at all limited to Baptist. The problem is this: these speakers for the lord haven’t got his heart. They don’t value what Jesus valued; they don’t do the works he did; they don’t display the fruit of the spirit. They don’t love people.

  12. Why, Mike, the light of God’s Word HAS shined upon this subject! Exodus 21:7-11. Let’s see if I can interpret this difficult passage.

    A dad has the right to sell his daughter as a slave.

    The girl does not have the same right to a seventh-year release that the male Hebrew slaves enjoy (Ex. 21:1-6). She may, however, be redeemed by her dad if she does not please her master. The master does not have the right to sell her to a foreigner. (O Wondrous Mercy!)

    Her master has the sexual rights to the girl. He may betroth her himself, or give her to his son.

    The dad or the son may choose another wife; if so, the dad or son must continue to provide food and clothing. He still retains sexual rights over her.

    If he is unwilling to provide “her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage,” he must release her.

    There, that should cover it.

    1. I’ll quibble a small point while ignoring the larger ones.

      One of the more interesting things I’ve ever read about how the Law worked in practice was that under Judaism, it’s the woman’s right to sex, not the man’s. This, of course, is due to the command to multiply, which all are responsible to fulfill if physically capable.

      So, technically, while the master has the right to decide whether or not to take the girl as his wife or concubine, once he has taken her, she gains the sexual rights over him. Hence, if he won’t provide her “duty of marriage” (sex and children), he has to let her go.

      Yes, in practice, still terrible, but she was not left without any rights at all. There are quite a few regulations regarding the status of her children with the master, iirc.

      Ok, that went nowhere. I hope it was at least interesting…

      1. Well, it was interesting . . . . I appreciate your comment, and I understand your desire to defend the bible. I just can’t bring myself to defend the indefensible.

        Here we have a clear example of a “terrible” (your word) practice, presumably legislated by Moses from the Hand of God, found recorded for posterity in God’s Infallible Holy Word. And if we are inclined to defend passages like this, all we can say is Well, it is an improvement over what was going on in contemporary cultures; or, Well, at least the girl supposedly had some rights (a young slave girl had some power over her master?? Really???) ; or Well, slavery isn’t really evil, since the bible doesn’t condemn it, it’s only the abuses of slavery that are evil; and so on.

        Forgive me, but none of these evasions are satisfactory to me.

        God was at perfect liberty to chisel out any commandment for Moses that He wished. And of commandments, there is no shortage. The Israelites are warned against wearing clothing of mixed fabric. An 8-day-old male is commanded to have a piece of skin cut off of his ding-dong. Pork chops are forbidden. Don’t even dream about working in the garden on Saturday. But the best He can do about slavery is regulate it?

        Something is not quite right here. Perhaps I should say, something doesn’t sit right with me. I guess I just don’t have the faith in God’s Holy Word anymore to see any way to justify some of the terrible things human beings have written about God. I believe He’s better than that.

        1. Good points, nico. However, I would counter that your conclusion hinges on a modernistic, mainly evangelical doctrine of Scripture in which the law is seen as, well, perfect, because it came from God. I see God’s relationship with people – all people – as condescending and participatory, and there is no doubt among scholars that the OT law was significantly more advanced than the other extant laws of the time (so advanced, that most scholars think it was actually written in the post-exilic time). Even Jesus himself saw no problem with “reinterpreting” (generous) or flatly contradicting (probably more accurate) the OT law. And of course, there is the uncomfortable position of sitting in judgment over other cultures. Of course, I disagree with much of the OT culture, from Abraham taking his wife’s maid to sacking the Caananites, just as I disagree with much of what happens in the Islamic world. But I still hesitate to use absolutist ethical language in addressing these disagreements. Different cultures evolve differently under different pressures, and I’m probably not the right person to give them what for over these socio-cultural pressures.

        2. Thanks for a generous and reasoned response, Dr. Fun. Will you humor me as I think about this a little more?

          I agree that the Mosaic Law was an improvement over other contemporary codes, and that any attempt to look back into the past and impose our cultural standards on the Ancients is bound to cause problems. (I would like to point out that the issue of the bible’s silence on condemning slavery crosses over both Testaments.) There are some cases where “absolutist ethical language” is particularly unfair to our forebears, I suppose.

          That being said, are we justified in using the absolutist ethical category of “Evil” to describe slavery? If so, on what grounds? If not, on what grounds? The bible refrains from categorizing it as such. Does our reluctance to just say, “Dude, the Bible got it wrong on this one!” have anything to do with the doctrines of the sufficiency, inerrancy, verbal inspiration of the Bible? Are we justified in rethinking these doctrines?

          What if some of the writers of the Bible got it wrong? What if Moses or Paul were mistaken in their view of women? homosexuals? slavery? Christians are not usually very comfortable challenging the teaching of the Bible on these social/ethical issues–why not? Should we feel a certain freedom, as bearers of the same Holy Spirit that indwelt the Apostles, to correct, adjust, reinterpret, the teaching of the bible as we find it falling short of our cultural/social understandings?

          Wow. That’s a bunch of questions, and it looks like I’m grilling you for answers. That’s not my intention, Dr. Fun., not in the least. I’m sincerely trying to work through these things, and my way of doing so obviously involves a LOT of questions!

        3. (sad smile)

          I have to agree. It isn’t nice and it isn’t easy. But I have to agree.

          I would have expected a lot more from God than strictures against cloth made of two kinds of thread, or declaring that bearing a girl made the mother twice as unclean as when she bore a boy. Many of the regulations seem to boil down to a cultural religion, not a religion promoting right relationships.

        4. Hey, nico, great questions, and sorry for the delayed response. I am currently job-hunting, and pretty busy. Plus my dad came over to see his new (and only) grand-baby, so there’s that 🙂

          I think those are complex questions, but ones worth thinking about. For starters, I think some of these problems stem from the philosophical pillars undergirding a lot of western thought, including “inerrancy” as defined by the Chicago Statement. The (in?)famous father of evangelicalism, Carl Henry, once said that if all the doctrines of the Bible couldn’t be shaped into a systematic and logically coherent package, we should be fully justified in scrapping the whole project of Christianity. Notice that this presumes a rational-empirical epistemology. But it is impossible to justify this with Jesus’ words, “I am the truth”. So, I think that working through our philosophical presuppositions is a good and necessary start.

          I would also point out that the Hebrew tradition sees theology and theological history as man and God coming into relationship; man is seen as partnering with God to subdue chaos and create order, peace, and prosperity. This perspective was alive and thriving in the 2TJ community, and it almost certainly formed some kind of basis for NT theology. This perspective changes the telos of God’s law relative to common evangelical assumptions.

          This can be seen in Paul’s writing; when writing on marriage relationships between believers and unbelievers, he says “I’m telling everyone else (the Lord didn’t say this specifically)…” in 1st Cor. 7:12. In other words, Paul was perfectly comfortable making wise assessments based on the telos of God’s commands, but going beyond them (and not based on any previous text). So I think there is plenty of room for common sense. Bill Webb calls this the “redemptive movement hermeneutic”, which you might be interested to google.

          Sorry for the long note, and I really haven’t presented a good dialogue here. Maybe we can connect in the forums.

  13. to interject a little KJV into the discussion here is Exodus 21:16

    And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

    The Bible is more explicit about human trafficking than it is about britches on women, CCM or King James Onlyism.

  14. While I think slavery is an abominable practice, the real Hell is a terrible place, and if Jesus’ words are anything to go by, more people are going to Hell than to heaven. I don’t know anything about this Mike Shrock, but if he is truly getting people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (instead of getting them to pray a magic prayer to get a ticket to heaven, and have no interest in His claims upon them), that’s great.

    His comment to the poster about ending human slavery seems to me to take the problem of human slavery lightly. At the same time, some of the previous comments seem to me to be taking Hell very lightly.

    Saved from Hell and glad of it.
    GR

    1. How are you getting from his post on this end slavery graphic that he may be leading people to Christ (not the magic prayer that gets people out of Hell)?
      It is admirable to hope the best of the guy, but to me anyone who would answer this graphic about ending slavery by quoting the scripture that we are no longer slaves to sin has either in the very least not realized the graphic is talking about a real social justice issue in our world right now or he has taken the road that it is more important to save the soul from Hell more than anything else.
      If it is the first I hope he learns what the graphic is about and does something to aid it. But if it is because he really believes saving souls is more important than anything else, I guess I would ask where does Jesus talk about saving people from Hell? It seems in my reading of Scripture, Jesus was busy bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth–freeing the captive, healing the lame, proclaiming good news to the poor. Ending slavery in our world is doing the work of the Kingdom of God. And when God’s Kingdom is brought lives are changed and eternity is taken care of.

      1. I don’t think that was Guilt Ridden’s point, though.

        He’s trying to be fair to Mike and attempt to view him as more than a clueless commenter. Apparently Mike doesn’t “get” real life slavery, but he also seems be trying to present Jesus to people, and that is commendable. Yes, we have a duty to help the helpless, but also have a duty to point people to Jesus.

        Now he might be the stereotypical 1-2-3-repeat-after-me fundie. Or he just might be ignorant of a problem he doesn’t have much personal experience with. Yes it’s a bad comment. But he isn’t necessarily a bad person.

        1. Yep, that is the point I attempted to make (poorly, it seems).

          I had never seen the graphic before I saw it here, so others may not be aware of what it means.

  15. I’m just going to throw an unpopular opinion out there by saying, if I knew nothing about Shrock or the End It campaign, I would not find this particular comment to be bad. The face value of which I would read it would be, “Slavery is sin and we need shine the light of the Word on all sin, including slavery.” But I will defer to those who may understand his stance better.

    1. Larry, you might be right about Mike’s motivations here. However, it seems to me that according to the bible’s unbroken teaching from Old to New, slavery is not a sin. It is merely an established fact of social relations that needs to be regulated.

    2. I don’t know anything about Mike Schrock. I am turned off by his statement since when I was growing up I was always told the soul is more important than the physical needs of the person you are ministering to. I find that at odds with Christ’s actions and the disciples’ actions.

    3. The response seems trivial, in my opinion.

      The graphic is saying, listen up people, there is a big problem here!

      Mike is implying: sure there’s millions of people in slavery, but we’re free through Christ! Too bad you’re still in physical slavery!

  16. In Mike’s defense, there are mixed signals in the bible about the relationship between body and spirit. Many verses speak of the importance of the spirit over the body. Many other verses give the body a dignity and importance that is, to me, inspiring. Gnostic dualism has been rejected by orthodox Christian teaching; however, gnosticism has proven to be surprisingly tenacious. My opinion is that this tendency toward gnosticism comes from a weak understanding of the Incarnation. But what do I know?

  17. Unfortunately most fundies I know would probably say the girls sold into prostitution were “asking for it”. Or that it was somehow her fault because of how she dressed/talked.

    1. Definitely not taking prostitution lightly, but I was sexually assaulted last week by the father of one of my tutoring students. My IFB dad’s first two responses were 1) The man should not have been in my apartment and I should know better, and 2) While I can’t help my “shape”, I should be a bit more careful about how I dress so that I don’t draw any more attention than I already do. (I have red hair and blue eyes and live in Guatemala.) Admittedly, that draws attention, but apparently my professional school clothes caused him to lust, and therefore, it’s my fault.
      Which only reinforces the idea that all sexual assault is the female’s fault 🙁

      1. I’m sorry that happened to you, and I’m doubly sorry that anyone (especially your father, of all people) thought that it was partly or mostly your fault.

        I hope you’re safe now.

      2. redhot, I am so sorry. Please report this to the police. I don’t know how law enforcement works in your part of the world, but please report it if you’ve not done so already. What happened to you was NOT your fault. Please know that.
        BJg

      3. Not your fault. Not at all. But men accuse women, criminalize women and excuse themselves.

        I wish you safety. My understanding of the justice system in your part of the world is that it is a male-dominated and women often find it hard to get justice. Your attacker is likely quite rich, since he was paying for a tutor for his son. Again, the poor have trouble getting justice for wrongs done by the rich.

        One of the things that set the background for my rejection of fundamentalism was the way they excuse the sins of rich men and heaped shame on the poor, the women, and those who truly wanted to do right.

      4. I’m sorry to hear that happened, and hope you escaped alright.

        Other thoughts:
        Good grief! If anything is clear from Jesus’ teaching, it is that the man who lusts is at fault, NOT (not!, not!, not!) the woman. A woman could be wearing 5 layers and a parka and still have some man lusting after her. It’s HIS issue, fault, and sin.

        Having said that, there ARE some women who deliberately dress to entice or seduce men.

        Your father may have one piece of good advice; it may be better not to meet with the father of a someone you are tutoring in your apartment; perhaps a public spot may be safer.

    1. it has been the leech on the backside of Christianity since the 2nd-3rd century AD.

      American Fundamentalism is just lousy with it. Especially when combined with platonic dualism. (BTW there are no new heresies any more, most of them can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle and have resurrected at various times throughout church history)

    2. I’m not sure I’m correct, but it gives me nice feelings to see that you think so!

      There is a constant, nagging tension in Christianity between body and soul. I see it in every Christian tradition, in spite of the clear decisions of various Ecumenical Synods and other specific dogmatic statements. At any rate, I think Uncle Walt (Whitman, that is) has it right:

      I will make the poems of materials, for I think they are to be the most spiritual poems, / And I will make the poems of my body and of mortality, / For I think I shall then supply myself with the poems of my soul and of immortality.

      Uncle Walt understood something important here, it seems to me. But again, what do I know?

      1. Dear nico:

        You ARE correct and I’m sure of it. captain_solo is also correct. We’ve NEVER been any good at recognizing this heresy. And as Scripture does speak of ‘spirit’ and the ‘spiritual,’ Gnosticism has plenty of texts to co-opt for its use. We Christians have been LOUSY at seeing it.

        Whenever you hear that ‘take Jesus’ to ‘save your soul,’ ask what role the body has in all this. If the proffered ‘salvation’ stands apart from the body, ask why there was an incarnation. Then run like hell.

        Christian Socialist

  18. “…So slavery, a topic that makes a lot of us squirm. Especially since critics of the Bible and Christianity use it to defend their sin. Do you know what I’m talking about here? They say, “Hey, if the Bible allows something as immoral as slavery, are you going to condemn me for the immorality I’m in? And there’s a certain crowd that brings this up every time. What crowd am I talking about? It’s the homosexual crowd.

    They will use this to say, “see, the Bible condemns immorality. The Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, so don’t use it to condemn, to condemn, condemn sodomy.” “The Bible’s not credible.” How many of you have ever heard that kind of accusation? Have you not, oh my, I, I see that. Maybe it’s because I’ve studied into this topic and have seen these arguments floatin’ around out there.

    Most American’s view of slavery, by the way, is influenced by our nation’s history. And whatever mistreatment of slaves took place, and was their mistreatment? There was lots of mistreatment. Was it right? It was not right. Were slaves in America mistreated? Yes. Was that mistreatment as widespread as generally taught? [long pause] What do you typically hear about? You hear about the extreme cases even today. Give you an example; Guns kill people. So, what do you hear about? You hear about anytime a gun is used in a crime. But you don’t hear about when guns are used to defend somebody, or how many thousands of lives are saved as a result! You don’t hear about that! What do you hear about?! You hear about the distortions. Who’s distorting? It’s the press, it’s the media. Do they have an agenda? They have an agenda.”

    And so says my former fundy CEO when recently preaching on Exodus 21:2-11. What an angry, little man.

    B.R.O.

      1. BJg: what’s really sick about this is that this crap is “preached” from pulpits as if it’s God’s word. A sick man proclaims this as if everyone within earshot should listen and take heed. The Gospel is Americanized and packaged for the ignorant consumer and told to say, “amen!” Then, add guns to the argument and the logic is air tight.

        This is a perversion of Scripture, I believe, and I’m sickened by it.

        B.R.O.

    1. I’m gonna muse for a minute (or two). Don’t shoot me too hard.

      Is the sin slavery, or mistreatment of slaves? It’s clear the Bible does not condemn slavery, but does condemn mistreatment, either of slaves or employees or any random person you come across. Slavery was once a social and economic reality. Now, it is considered a great evil. Great evil was certainly done, I’m not questioning that, but was slavery at fault or incidental?

      Consider the current economic realities. We no longer allow someone to own another person, but when a corporation or person pays someone a poverty wage, does nothing to train or advance them, and ties their welfare (health insurance, for example) to remaining employed, could that not be considered a form of slavery? I would propose that “slavery” now means something different, no longer the economic reality of total dependence on an employer and an inability to change employers at will, but now it is changed to mean mistreatment of a person in your employ. For example, someone more knowledgeable can correct me, but the illegal immigrant house-helpers are not usually owned. They are certainly captive, but there has been no selling of oneself or title transfer. What there is, is a complete dependence and lack of freedom WHICH IS ABUSIVE. Hence, it is called slavery.

      To be clear(er), I do not support slavery. Owning another human being has far too much opportunity for abuse and should never be allowed. Poverty wages, same, and I come from a family with a struggling business, so I know the business side of paying a living wage vs how many employees can be maintained.

      Ok, I’m done. I shouldn’t try to make fancy points this late at night. I hope I’ve been at least clear enough to be understood 🙂

      1. “Is the sin slavery, or mistreatment of slaves? It’s clear the Bible does not condemn slavery, but does condemn mistreatment, either of slaves or employees or any random person you come across.”

        No, Janet, no one here will shoot you! You are spot on here. I suppose we must take the reality of the biblical context into consideration…if we’re going to be honest.

      2. I think it safe to say that slavery, was both an economic reality AND sinful at the same time.

        Even if the Mosaic Law allowed it. The Mosaic Law also allowed a master to beat his slave to death as long as the slave didn’t die from the beating immediately. If the slave died after a couple of days, Mosaic Law said that was okay. The slave was just the master’s “money” after all.

        Even under the Law, slaves were dehumanized. Under ANY situation, slaves are dehumanized. Make a person to be property, take away their rights, and all that is left is a lump of flesh to amuse you and be abused by you.

        In wartime a man could capture a female virgin and rape her. Oh, there were certain constraints. He had to “marry” her to do it. But then he could just let her go, used and abused. It was still rape. That was the Mosaic Law.

        And yes, the economic slavery run by corporations and billionaires today is not much better. People are not “free,” nor are they able to make the “wise” choices because those are deliberate withheld from them.

        The poor pay the highest interest rates — because they are poor. The poor pay the most taxes, as a percentage of their income. The poor do not get justice, nor representation. The poor are marginalized. People object if you want to give health care to the poor. The rich object to paying a living wage. Workers are afraid to unionize to fight for better wages and working conditions by politicians and companies threatening to make their lives even more hellish and unstable.

        Oh, we have real slavery here in America. Any situation in which an individual’s ability to choose his or her own path without manipulation is a kind of slavery. And even though Paul told slaves to obey their masters (thus condoning slavery), I believe slavery is evil to its very core.

        1. I’m gonna switch sides and say Paul wasn’t condoning slavery 🙂

          Something I’ve been pondering a bit is the difference between the ideal world that we long and fight for, and the real world we live in. Sin is in this world; it will not be ideal until that is no longer true. That was the reason for some of the Mosaic Law – Jesus said the divorce clause was not ideal, but was allowed because their “hearts were hard”. As you have capably pointed out, the Mosaic Law, followed perfectly, would not result in the ideal world. It was, after all, designed to point out sin and our inability to be perfect. But it was an improvement on the world as it was, extending humanity and rights where they had not been allowed before.

          So, while the ideal is perhaps easier to picture, I’m left wondering what do we do with the world we’ve got in the meantime? It’s somewhat related to the inability to legislate morality. You can (at least try to) make people show good behaviour, but you cannot make them BE good at heart.

          So Paul may not have been condoning slavery so much as acknowledging the reality of it and instructing people how best to live with the world they had while working towards a better one. Of course, Philemon’s a whole other story…

        2. I agree with your comment, Janet. I myself was thinking about referring to the “hardness of your hearts” verse.

          The goal of the Law was to point out our sinfulness. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law; He was the embodiment of God. He said we were to treat others as we want ourselves to be treated. This immediately condemns slavery for no one would want to live under slavery himself.

      3. Huh. Never exactly thought of it like that.

        The ancient system of slavery found in the Bible was sometimes, but not always, similar to what we had in the American South and the European colonial empires. Yeah, people were slaves and literally owned by another person. But a really rich landlord could have a slave who was a very well educated philosopher teaching his children; and several well educated, even affluent slaves managing his farms.

        Then you can get into European feudalism where over 90% of the population in some countries were serfs legally bound to the land they worked. If the noble who ruled the land changed, they didn’t follow the noble, but stayed with the land under its new ruler. They were basically part of the land just as trees or crops would be. That’s worse than a lot of the slavery that was in earlier Roman world.

        Jesus and the New Testament authors would broadly attack “mammon” and the world system, but didn’t go into great detail as to what was being condemned. There was always a recognition that the world was evil, but it was balanced by the reality of living in it. I guess another example would be that soldiers weren’t encouraged to revolt but to live honestly and not rob people. The focus was always on how individuals lived within their social context.

        And in our context, one that doesn’t have actual slavery, the principle of treating one’s employees with respect and dignity still holds. That includes paying them fairly.

  19. I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed this. There are a few people really close to me who posted similar things on their facebook pages. Here is one example:

    “I’ve been seeing pictures all day for the movement to end human trafficking. These have been posted everywhere, and they usually have a picture of a hand with a red ‘X’ with the post. My problem with this is that it’s a movement, basically, to try to end sin, which humans will never accomplish. Instead of marking your hand with an ‘X,’ you should think about marking your hand with a cross and not posting a picture on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or whatever you use, but going outside your house, outside your comfort area, and telling people about Jesus. That can effect the biggest change in someone. The good thing about this mark on your hand is that you don’t even need the mark on your hand. You can just tell people about Him. This is the best cause you could be an activist for.”

    Sometimes people just miss the point.

    1. “That is the best cause you can be an activist for.”

      Because Jesus had nothing to say about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, setting the prisoners free . . .

      Apparently the modern Gospel is that people who believe in the divinity of Jesus should go convince others to believe in the divinity of Jesus, who will then convince others to believe, etc. It sure sounds pretty, but it’s so heavenly-minded that it’s no earthly good!

      1. I came to the conclusion that if God couldn’t or wouldn’t make a change in people’s lives or circumstances here on earth, then there is no assurance that He can or will do so in heaven.

        After all, He is supposed to be God.

        When I saw so many fundy leaders living such ungodly lives and doing such ungodly things, I began to doubt that the “salvation” they talked about really existed. Nor could I just believe their messages any more.

  20. I’ve looke at Schrock’s website, the EndSlavery link and haven’t found what is being referred to here. What does Schrock have to do with this issue of slavery except for his comment, Amen! We are no longer slaves to sin…”

    Is it the reference to sin vs the mention of actual physical slavery? I’m not following.

    B.R.O.

  21. Well, that was enough to make me feel sick.

    I have friends who work for an organization fighting sexual slavery both in the US and overseas. They are doing a good work.

    Mike Schrock trivializes the issue.

    Has anyone considered that “being a slave to sin” is not always the “sinner’s” fault? Young women abused at home run away because they can’t stand the abuse — only to find that the “friends” they found abuse them even more and enslave them. Often these women are literally locked up. Those who try to run away die. Even when the police intervene, they treat the girls as criminals instead of victims. Sin enslaves, alright. But it is often the sin of one person enslaving another person, forcing them into things they don’t want to do.

    In my opinion, Solomon was full of bunk when he wrote the Proverbs and warned about the treacherous woman. The women should have been told to guard against the treacherous men!

    If our social policy in the US was geared to providing a safety net for these young people instead of looking for ways to criminalize them, we could eliminate much of the problem. If we jailed the pimps AND found shelter and livable work for the girls and women, prostitution would be shattered.

    But we don’t, because “conservatives” and fundamentalists don’t believe in helping the poor on a large scale. They want to tie all “help” to recruiting more church members. They want to control people, not set them free.

    1. The OT concept of “doing justice” involved relieving the oppression of those who are oppressed; defending and providing for the poor, the orphans, and the widows. I believe that doing justice is the core concept of the righteous king. Further, that “the reign of God” is the theme of the OT; and that God, the Righteous King, is supremely interested in our care for His oppressed children. This concept is what keeps me clinging (however tenuously) to Christianity.

      If I were to look at the right-wing American expressions of Christianity (as expressed in the proposed legislation in various States to allow for discrimination based on ‘seriously held religious beliefs’, i.e., discrimination against homosexuals) I would absolutely renounce the Christian faith. I cling to the concept of the reign of a righteous God, personified in Christ Jesus, who really does care about those enslaved by human trafficking, about those who are poor, hungry, and homeless.

      I joke a lot on this site. It’s probably my own defense mechanism (as a life-long cop) because of those I’ve encountered who have been raped; assaulted; murdered; and victimized by psychopaths. And, as I try to find comfort in the Christian faith, I see the outward expressions of political Christianity. I see arrogance, discrimination, and hatred in its purest forms.

      Sorry to go on with a sermon. Lord knows I don’t like sermons.
      ~BJg

    2. I too struggle with Solomon’s proverbs because in the real world today, I personally see a lot more examples of men preying on young girls than dangerous women laying wait to entrap naive young men.

      However, Solomon was written as wisdom for a young man in training to be a king so the proverbs lean in that direction — the issues that a young, sheltered, privileged young man who would rule some day might face in his life.

      Also, in that society (and for many hundreds of years) women had little freedom and were under the protection of their fathers, thus not always opening them up to the temptations that a young man might face.

      I do believe had Solomon been writing for a different audience, he would have included warnings against male predators.

      1. Ahhh, but there should be *something* in the Bible for the women, shouldn’t there?

        Instead, nearly all there is for women is playing the bad girl. Women in religious imagery in the NT (particularly the book of Revelation) are shown as evil. Women are not allowed to speak in the Church. Better an ignorant man to lead than an intelligent woman. Women are to be submissive, even when the one she submits to is wrong. Women get blamed for original sin and for passing sin along to the next generation. A mother bearing a girl was unclean twice as long as she would be if she bore a male child. A man could divorce his wife, but the wive was not allowed to divorce her husband. A man could have multiple wives, but the wife could not have multiple husbands. A man who became a slave to pay off a debt could be released after seven years. Not the woman.

        In every way in all the Scripture, women are regarded as less than men. Oh, there is the “no more male nor female, bond nor free” talk. But in reality, a saved woman is still considered less worthy, less capable to lead, less knowledgeable. According to Paul, a woman’s place is to please her husband and have babies. According to Paul, a younger widow should get married pretty quickly again or else she becomes a nuisance. According to the OT, if the woman doesn’t scream it isn’t rape, even if a knife was at her throat. According to the OT, an unbetrothed girl was likely to be given to her rapist as a his wife.

        Lots and lots of contempt for women shown in the Scripture, but fundamentalism brainwashes us into thinking it honors women and lifts them up. And even today, as some fundamentalists try to insist that women should only vote the way their husbands or fathers vote (and not have opinions for themselves!), they pretend they, too, are uplifting womanhood.

        Bosh and nonsense.

        1. Let me help you here a little. Consider the context of Scripture.

          When Paul is stating that women cannot speak in church (I Corinthians 14:34-35), he is talking about speaking in tongues. It is true that many ladies are at the forefront of the Charismatic movement and it has been said that if no lady could speak in tongues, the movement would die overnight. Ladies are certainly allowed to speak while at church assemblies.

          It is right that women are to be submissive to their husbands, but the husbands are also supposed to love their wives (Ephesians 5:22-25). If the husband is a true Christian, he will act the role Christ gave him in the home. If the husband is not a believer, then the scriptures give license to depart from the situation, but only if necessary and unbearable (ie. abuse and other things). Divorce is only prohibited for two believers, because of the pictures of Christ and the Church and the Spirit that works within to reconcile the relationship. (I Corinthians 7:10-16).

          God never blames women for original sin. Sin originated with Satan who coveted God’s throne. Satan then deceived Eve who gave to Adam (who was not deceived). Scripture states that the sin nature is not passed from the woman to the child, but the man. This is why there needed to be a virgin birth, otherwise sin would have been involved with Christ’s birth. (Romans 5:12-21; I Corinthians 15:21-22; Genesis 3:1-6; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25)

          Regarding divorce and polygamy, women were given less rights in Jesus’ day (especially legal rights), which is why Jesus addressed the men, instead of the women. In today’s culture, both would apply (Matthew 5:32). Also, God never intended for men to have more than one wife. Allow it? Yes. It is according to His design? No. Adam had one wife created for him and God was specific that the principle for marriage was one man for one woman (Genesis 2:21-25). Almost every person that had many wives in Scripture had issues with their relationships (ie. Jacob, Abraham, etc.).

        2. You will find that I am a fine devil’s advocate. So here goes.

          Look up Nathan’s confrontation to David. Within that confrontation, Nathan delivers the Word of the Lord that HE had given to David all his many wives and concubines, and had it not been enough He would have given more.

          God claims the credit for the many women David had to sleep with. Would God do something He did not approve of?

          As one should also note, Adam had no brothers and sisters, so perhaps they were not part of the Original Design? There were no tools either. God did not create trowels or instruments to plant and harvest with. God did not create houses. If God had intended for us to have houses, would he not have created one along with Adam and Eve?

          We have to be careful trying to extrapolate from such a point.

          Similarly, Satan is not mentioned in the entire book of Genesis. Indeed, Satan is not mentioned in all the books of the Law. Satan is not present in the Garden of Eden. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that the serpent was the devil or was possessed by the Devil. Indeed, the serpent told the truth, that they would not die from eating the fruit. No, “spiritual death” is a concept unknown to the Old Testament, period. God, Who had promised them that they would die “in the very day” that they ate of the forbidden tree, lied. He did not kill them, as He had promised. The serpent said they would become as gods, knowing good and evil. God admitted that to (who?). “The man has become as one of Us, knowing good and evil.” Instead of death, God gave them life outside of the Garden, much like a parent who send his children away from home to make their own way when they have grown old enough to make their own decisions without regard for the parent’s desires.

          As for fellowship, I would widen the doors a lot more than you would, though I understand your position. Though not a pastor, I thought much the same as you do, and it took me a good while to learn necessary things that my fundamentalist pastors and masters did not want me to know.

          I could have fellowship with you. You honestly want to know God and to do what is right. We do not see eye to eye on a great many things. I know someone who does not believe that Christ actually was punished to appease God’s wrath. He believes Christ went to the Cross to appease our wrath, to show us that no matter what we throw at God, no matter what our sins or our hurts or sorrows or anguishes are, He will bear them all and love us all the same. To many he would be counted a heretic and denied fellowship. But he sincerely loves God, loves Christ, and lives for them and to help others. In large measure he is more compassionate than any orthodox “Christian” I have ever met. I fellowship with him gladly.

          Quite frankly, I have my doubts about a literal devil any more. I have never needed a devil to place guilt on for my sins. I have never needed a devil to tempt me. I would have beaten Adam and Eve to the Tree of Knowledge had I been there, you betcha, snake or no snake. Knowledge has always been my passion.

          And I am glad you are here. Your eyes have been opened! Wow, what a Garden-style moment! It will take you a while to see what some of us have seen for some time. At this time, we all need to know about good and evil, don’t we? If we don’t know about evil, we will never be able to fight it. We will be fooled into thinking everything is good.

          Thank you for your kind response to my brash questions. You would be a good man to get to know. Regards,

  22. I am an IFB pastor that is greatly concerned and very fed-up with the godless direction of the IFB movement. However, due to the witch-hunt mentality and self-righteousness, many who feel the same way do not speak up. Even if I have to work under a pseudonym, I intend to speak up and out, before giving up. If you are interested in what I have to say to some important IFB preachers, check me out on Twitter @ RogueIFBPastor.

    The most dangerous preachers are the ones opening their mouths to the world on social media day by day. We need to call them out on their false doctrine and unbiblical methods. This is not a self-advertisement, but hopefully an encouragement that someone else is out there speaking out and standing up to the bullies that is a pastor that comes from an IFB background and sees the need for great change back to the Bible. (This was posted on a previous article in hopes of being read)

    1. Roguel, thank you for speaking up here.

      But you mention that you are an IFB pastor. What does the F, the Fundamentalism you espouse mean?

      I think all of us here are sick of the way the IFB movement has gone. I am not at all sure that Twitter or Facebook has anything to do with it. As for “unbiblical methods,” 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that the gifts, ministries, and results produced by the Spirit as he gives to the church indeed do differ. And since riding by automobile is an unbiblical method of getting somewhere, I am less impressed by the phrase than I used to be.

      But I am interested by the Fundamentalism you hold to and what it means. I would like to know what you consider correct doctrine and false doctrine, and where you draw the lines. Who would you fellowship with? Who would you refrain from fellowshipping with, and why?

      Again, thank you for writing. We need to hear from the pastors out there (we have at least two here already).

      Regards,

      1. Wow, those are some great questions that I ask myself.

        Yes, F = Fundamentalist. Honestly, I have not had the time to sit down and consider what it all means. Now, to explain myself, I am a full-time pastor that grew up in this movement and just had his eyes opened a few years ago. In those few years I have taken a church and am busy doing the work of the ministry. I try to write on and study about this topic when not teaching, preaching, visiting, spending time with family, and studying for the teaching and preaching. There are times, especially here of late, where I sit and wonder why our church still carries the Baptist name. We do not have an altar call, believe in quick-prayerism, believe in baptismal instant-membership, or pass an offering plate. I do not follow after Paul Chappell, Clarence Sexton, Jeff Fugate, Jack Hyles, or any of their ilk. I see the damage many are doing to their church families and am tired of sitting on the sidelines. I do not know if I can make a difference in the limited avenues I have, but hope to at least make someone think, instead of blindly drinking the Kool-Aid.

        What is false doctrine? It is any doctrine taught that is against the teachings of Scripture. Jesus told the disciples to teach the things that He taught them (Matthew 28:20). There are some grey areas that are neither good nor bad, because they are not clearly explained in Scripture. Jesus gave local churches the ability to govern themselves and make decisions regarding these areas (ie. Having Sunday School, Nursing Home ministries, choirs, offering plates, etc.) (Matthew 16 and 18). The major failure of the IFB movement is their supposition that gain (“souls saved”, members, money, etc.) equals godliness (I Tim. 6:1-6), which has led to pragmatism (the end justifies the means), which has led to promotionalism (bribing others to come to church). There is also the air of self-righteousness and pride in the pulpits, which filters easily to the church family. This has led to the scandels, cover-ups, and other sinful things that have occurred over the years. If the people would keep their pastors accountable, the trouble would be diminished.

        Who would I fellowship with? Anyone that is a proven Bible-believer that will sharpen me to be a better Christian, instead of drawing me closer to the world, flesh, and Devil. Admittedly, this is a small number of people, but the separation is a necessary one. I do not care about denomination, because there are good men that feel stuck in their own group that, while the group as a whole has rejected the scriptures, they have not. Maybe they are just like me and are not yet willing to bear the ire of their parents, friends, and fellow pastors for making the decision to abandon their group. There are IFB pastors I will not fellowship with (because of the reasons stated above), because I do not need the disease spreading through our church family. I have enough to deal with when well-meaning, poorly-taught believers walk through our doors than to invite the pastors that did not teach them to possibly preach to our church family and “teach” me how to build one.

        I could write about this all day, but I hope it helps you. I understand being sick of hearing the term unbiblical methods. The truth is though, much of what we see out there today is not biblical. For the most part, the methods we see are unbiblical, because of what drives them. If we are driven by the filling of the Spirit (Acts 2; 8; etc.) in obedience to Christ’s commands, we cannot go wrong. But, if we are driven by pride and other fleshly desires, we will always fail (even if someone does get saved in the process and our church family does grow). It is never right to invite the world, flesh, and Devil into our lives and churches. We will only avoid doing this if we are close to our Savior, Captain, and Shepherd: the Lord Jesus Christ: and we can always be close through observing to do His Word and communing with Him in prayer. Thanks for the questions.

        1. Roguel, my response to your fine reply got put onto the wrong post! My apologies.

          I am glad you are here. Please, do feel free to challenge our assumptions. We will certainly challenge yours! I wish you courage and strength as you progress in your spiritual journey.

    2. Dear RogueIFBPastor:

      Thank you for making yourself known here. Do check back from time to time, and share some of your insights on Darrell’s many excellent posts. You’ll find healing, hilarity, tears and laughter, stories and insight and occasional trolls — well denounced may I say!

      Life at Stuff Fundies Like just gets better and better. More and more refuse to fall down before their imperious pastors and predicate [or sacrifice] their being to the pastor’s pocket book, personal approval, narcissistic ego or bodily appendage.

      Christian Socialist

  23. Dear Darrell:

    Thank you for this. And BigRedOne – thank YOU my friend, for a provocative post! The mix of fun and gravity makes SFL a ‘one-of-a-kind’ website.

    As noted, slavery was part of the Biblical world. Yet the great, Old Testament event and theological equivalent of the cross was God’s deliverance of Israel FROM slavery, the Exodus. When Israel complained, Pharaoh said people were lazy and needed harder work. Earlier supplied brick-making materials were withheld; productivity was to remain on quota even though Israel had to hunt far and wide for resources. That was oppressive.

    As socialist analysis puts it, two institutions define the legal rights and obligations of economic activity. 1] Private ownership of the means of production [land, resources and capital goods]. Owners have full control over their use, and 2], a market in labor in which workers do not own the tools of their trade, and must relinquish formal control over their labor time in the work day in exchange for pay on any terms offered.

    As a Christian, I make a concerted effort not to impose my political ideology on Scripture. But as a socialist, the Pharaoh/Israel dialogue and today’s narratives are strikingly similar. In a day of serious unemployment, people are called ‘lazy’ and told to work harder. Yet numerous factories have gone abroad, depriving millions of jobs and forcing them to hunt far and wide for means to make a living. The Exodus story seems prophetic.

    In the wilderness years, Israel was tempted to return to Egypt. Under the monarchy, the temptation was to recreate the exploitative/oppressive conditions of Egypt in Israel. So the prophets preached justice insistently. How curious that we do not! Discuss Egypt’s slavery, discuss pre-civil war slavery, but do not discuss how our legal/capital/property structures recreate exploitative/oppressive conditions in our own time!

    Christian Socialist

    1. Christian Socialist writes:

      “As a Christian, I make a concerted effort not to impose my political ideology on Scripture.”

      This is what so many so-called Mog’s are doing with their sermonizing and pulpiteering. The examples flow like raw sewage!

      “In a day of serious unemployment, people are called ‘lazy’ and told to work harder.”

      I find this reality astonishing. The Mog can, with an apparent clear conscience, call the poor “lazy” and that if they don’t work then they shouldn’t eat, yet the Mogs themselves know nothing about servant-leadership and what it means to work by the sweat of their brow. They instead demand payment for their “service” while many times placing a burden on God’s people contrary to the spirit of Paul’s example during his life and ministry.

      Our Lord Himself said that the poor we will always have with us.

      It seems we’re on the same page, CS, when it comes to the imposing of our political and cultural perspectives on Scripture. Prior to leaving my toxic wasteland of an IFB church last September I would tally every single political comment made from the pulpit. It didn’t matter what passage of Scripture was being “expounded,” the CEO would manage to make a political statement, usually a negative rant on the current administration.

      The fact that we “do not discuss how our legal/capital/property structures recreate exploitative/oppressive conditions in our own time” says a lot about our propensity to repeat history.

      B.R.O.

  24. When Jesus was here on Earth, he healed hundreds, maybe thousands of people, fed people, freed them from demonic possession. I would guess that not all of them followed Him. I’d say only a mall proportion did, right to the End. Jesus undoubtably knew that would happen, but he healed them ,fed them and set them free anyway. Nor is there any evidence that he reversed or took away the healing from those who did not follow Him (which is what a lot if Fundies would like him to have done). Not everyone you feed, clothe, free from Slavery or help is going to want to hear the message of the Gospel, or follow Jesus. But do those good things for them anyway

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