Amazing grace the movie was a must see film that came out in theaters February 2007 and is now available on DVD. It's about William Wilberforce and his valiant effort to abolish slavery in Britain in the early 1800's. There is also an important link to Amazingchange.com where you can find info on how you can help abolishes modern day slavery.
A great song in mp3 you can play in window's media player, entitled, "Colored People," by DC Talk . Just click on the link below. (If you have dial-up it may take awhile to load)
play "Colored People"
play "Amazing Grace"
by the Scottish Bagpipes
This website is in response to a booklet written by authors Pastor Douglas Wilson and Steven Wilkins, entitled, "Southern Slavery, as it was"
As a Christian, after reading this booklet, I was appalled at what I read. Therefore, I did some of my own research into the subject and came to a very different conclusion.
I believe they have some serious problems with their argument for what they call, "biblical slavery" In my opinion, that's an oxymoron and contrary to sound biblical teaching.
You too can read this booklet for yourself, at the link
Southern Slavery, as it was
The following is a letter written to Pastor Wilson, whom I met and casually knew while I was a student at WSU back in the early 80's. I may not be a gifted writer, but I think I make my points very clear.
Pastor Douglas Wilson,
Iím sure you donít remember me. I went to WSU during the early 80ís. I attended Pastor Doug Busbyís church in Pullman. However, I spent one year part time at S.P.C. as it was known back then, in Moscow. I knew your father, (Pastor Jim Wilson), pretty well, did some late night evangelism outside the local bars, handing out tracks.
I look back and say that my learning experience at Doug Busby's church, The Evangelical Free Church of Pullman, grounded me in the Word and was very good. On the whole, my wife Lori says she feels the same regarding Doug Busby's church.
As of late, Iíve been hearing some things that come from you, Doug Wilson, that have disturbed my wife and I. We read your booklet, "Southern Slavery, as it was" and was shocked and dismayed by some of your statements. As a brother in Christ I know we need to agree on the basics of Christianity, i.e., the Nicene Creed, but I wholeheartedly disagree with your teaching on Southern Slavery as you say it was.
After reading your booklet on Southern Slavery, I became more intrigued with the subject and began to do some serious study. The more I read, the more I found what you wrote as appalling and rather harsh. Iíve come to the conclusion that we as Christians need to come together on issues of civil liberties. Unfortunately, I really canít say we agree on much of anything when it comes to the issue of slavery. I suppose it becomes a matter of interpretation. That is what is perplexing to me. How can we as Christians say anything positive about slavery, or even give the impression that somehow itís a positive institution that is at all endorsed by the God of the Universe, through His Holy Word? Can a person be a pro-slaver theologian and imitate the heart and character of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was ever so gentle, loving, forgiving, holy, righteous, and JUST?
Unfortunately, you have communicated that slavery is a positive institution and you canít blame people for misunderstanding you, when itís plainly written for all to see.
I do know we canít all agree on everything, in fact Paul said it well in I Corinthians 13. Yeah, we all know that the Corinthians didnít have much of anything right in the way of doctrine and practice. So Paul gave them the rebuke they needed. Tucked away in his message, (of course, Godís message through Paul), was the message of charity or love. That love being sacrificial, unselfish and servant oriented. It is also interesting to note that, "know in part," is mentioned twice there, I believe for added emphasis.
Since we only know in part, no one will have the complete corner on the truth. Hence, all the different views and opinions amongst Christians related to doctrine. (Have you noticed how many different Protestant denominations there are these days, disgusting in my opinion.) So much for being one! (See:1 Corinth. 1:10) That, of course, is a whole other subject. However, there are fundamental beliefs basic to biblical Christianity of coarse, that relate to who God is and our salvation. We must all agree that God is a triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, based on Scripture alone, if we are to call ourselves Christians. We as Christians must also agree on the Scripture regarding salvation based on the finished work of Christ, apart from our works; refer to Galatians and Ephesians. Outside these fundamental beliefs, we can debate all we want about this, that and the other. However, as Paul notes, Christian love should dictate our attitudes and influence our understanding of His Word and how it applies to life. For example, our attitude towards slavery must be consistent with the attributes of God as expressed in the Bible.
There are a number of Scriptures that outright condemn slavery, including slaveholding, slave-trading, and kidnapping:
Exodus 21:16 says:
"Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death."
Deuteronomy 24:7 says:
"If a man is caught kidnapping one of his brother Israelites and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you."
1 Tim. 1:9,10 says:
"We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers ó and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine."
Does the bible contradict itself? Never! If the bible says how one ought to behave in a certain undesirable situation, i.e., slavery, and also puts slave traders on par with murders, the ungodly, sinful, unholy, etc., then we can conclude that the practice of slavery is wrong and contrary to sound doctrine. An institution made by man, not God, for his selfish gain. Slave trading is intrinsically tided to slavery, (the ownership of people). I do not believe that the Bible teaches slavery is a good thing, rather evil. Even godly men back at the time just prior to the Civil War believed such. For example, see the book: An Anti-Slavery Manual, or, The Wrongs of American Slavery Exposed By the Light of the Bible and of Facts, with A Remedy for the Evil (1851), by Rev. John G. Fee. Note the following quote from his book."Christ did forbid slavery, in the most effective manner, by proclaiming the precepts, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" [Matt. 19:19, 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Rom. 13:9] and, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets." [Matt. 7:12]."
So who do we listen to? Those in the North camp who for the most part were opposed to slavery, "the evil abolition propagandists" as you call them, or do we listen to those in the South camp who were for the most part saying it was a good institution that is supported by the Bible? I believe what those in the North were right about slavery, i.e., John G Fee, based on what the bible says in context! Refer to the above Scriptures.
It is interesting to note that Webster defines slavery as:
There is not one positive aspect I can think of being in slavery. Notice in the above definition, the words like; bound, property, controlled, being owned and harsh. All inherent in the practice of slavery, nothing positive about it, as you mentioned in your booklet:
"Slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since."
"Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence. There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world."
To be honest with you, those are some of the most outrageous statements Iíve ever read in the history of the world. So where did you get your information? From what I gathered from reading your pamphlet on Southern Slavery, you based it primarily on the "Slave Narratives!" (Collected and written in the 1930ís, some 70 years post the Civil War). I guess it depends on whose view and/or opinion you want to hear, and how one interprets what one reads.
Have you ever asked any brothers or sisters in Christ that have a different culture and skin tone than you, if this was a positive experience for their grandparents and great grandparents? I bet you canít find too many, if any at all, that fit this description and agree with some of the outrageous statements you made in your pamphlet. I sure havenít!
Referring back to I Corinth. 13, slavery is not about a mutual loving relationship that was promoted by Christ. Everything about Christís character and way of treating people were just the opposite. Itís all about being a servant! Serving others! Not how one can exploit and take advantage of someone, as in the case of slavery. This is basic Christianity! He came to set the captives free! I know that refers to sin, yet it can apply to those in human bondage as well, the sin of slavery.
We obviously disagree with each other. I just want you to know I see this as something that is harmful to both the Christian community and those outside. Unity wonít be found in trying to convince everyone in the Christian community that Southern Slavery was somehow a good thing, as long as itís done according to the Bible, as you put it. Just division! And certainly, the world wonít see it in a positive light, rather as a selfish practice, practiced by selfish people for selfish gain! Thank God Southern Slavery is history, by what ever means! Just because the bible teaches one how to behave in an undesirable living situation, doesnít mean that it endorses it.
Take for example, Deut. 24:1-4. God says he hates divorce, yet here is a provision for divorce in the bible. How can this be? Does that mean that God endorses divorce? Of course not! Why then was this provision made by God? Well the Pharisees of Jesus day posed the same question with him. Jesusí answer, "because menís hearts were hardened" see Matt. 19:3-9. Hence, the same can be said of Ephesians 6:5-9. The God of the Bible doesnít endorse the institution of slavery, just states how one is to behave if found in this most godless/selfish institution of man. Why? Plain and simple, menís hearts are hard! Iím sure in being consistent with His attributes, He hates the practice of slavery, in all of its forms, including slaveholding, slave-trading, and kidnapping.
In your booklet you quote former slaves as saying positive things about their owners. You refer to slaves as having, "affection for former masters and mistressesÖexpressed in terms of unmistakable devotion," or "a wistful desire to be back at the plantation." Based on the Narratives by George Rawick, ed. The American Slave: A composite Autobiography, interviews with ex-slaves in the 1930ís. In context, most of the time, they said it in light of having been threatened by a whip. Also in context, which is vital to this subject matter, "good" doesnít necessarily mean the same if you were to apply it to you and I. These people had been humiliated, threatened and abused in most cases. People over time, subjected to this type of treatment, day in and day out, are just grateful to have food and shelter. That doesnít mean it was a good thing, or that they liked it. The Narratives are full of examples of people either having been whipped or under the threat of the whip. Itís amazing to me how you can make it sound like all was well under slavery. There are also other accounts of people under slavery that you might want to check out, Theodore Dwight Weld, 1803-1895 American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses, New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839.
Iím sorry, but I totally disagree with your assessment that cruelty using whips and so forth were an exception to the rule. Unfortunately, they were more prevalent. Again, it depends on where you get your information and how that information is interpreted. You are going to have a hard time convincing the world, let alone the Christian community otherwise. Besides, whatís the point? In order to go back to enjoying the "greatest multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world," as you put it? Why the investment in rewriting history, after itís all said and done. I don't understand it.
In my research on the Civil War, I found that there are obviously differing opinions. Like I said before, no one has the complete corner on the truth according to Godís Word. But whatever you want to say is the cause for that bloody war, there are certain facts that are blatantly obvious to everyone, and you donít need a degree to see them plainly.
The fact is, the South had 2.7 billion dollars thatís, $2,700,000,000 capital value invested in slaves in 1860. Nearly 3 times as much as was invested in manufacturing in all of America at that time. Do you think that they wanted to loose this humongous amount in property value, or value of their property, as slavery is? Oh yeah, these are not people created in the image of God, these are pieces of property. Right? Iím afraid not! These are people like you and me, with the same value in the sight of God our Creator.
It appears like money, not principle was the driving force in the South to secede. They obviously couldnít survive without slave labor. Then, as we all know, the South lost the war, and was therefore justly judged by God, as you put it. At least there is something we can agree on. They could have surrendered earlier and spared a lot of bloodshed. However, pride always comes before a fall, as Godís Word clearly states.
I believe that a few slave owners where not totally abusive to their slaves, but as the definition of slavery points out, the very essence of slavery (in this case, Southern Slavery based on a personís skin tone), is abusive and therefore in my opinion sinful! I know you condemn racism in your booklet on Southern Slavery in one breath, and then in the next, praise the institution of Southern Slavery. In my opinion, you canít have it both ways. Southern Slavery was a form of racism, because it was strictly based on the tone of oneís skin!
I also find it very intriguing that after the slaves were freed from the bondage of slavery, that things didnít remain the same in the South. Surprisingly, people didnít want to be mistreated any longer and work for nothing. They had more dignity than that. You would think that if they were in a multi-relationship that was so mutual and intimate in the history of the world, that even after the South lost, they would have yearned for and flocked to this so called, wonderful relationship. The fact is, they didnít. Doesnít that tell you something about the truth of that god-awful institution of Southern Slavery? It does to most people.
Furthermore, that supposedly great evangelical, Christian South post the Civil War didnít represent any semblance of repentance, rather the opposite was found. You have the beginning of 100 years of segregation based on the tone of a personís skin and one of the greatest groups of hateful people in the history of the world, the Klu Klux Klan. This says to me a mouthful when it comes to what was in the hearts of the majority of the South, more than just mere words.
Iíve heard it said, "Since the Bible condones slavery but condemns kidnapping, it was not sinful for people to own Africans that they themselves did not ship from Africa." Thatís like a minister saying that itís ok for the church to take stolen money from a crook, as long as they werenít involved in actually stealing the money. Conclusion: Both absurd!
Iím also writing this, because you are a teacher and represent Jesus to the Christian and non-Christian communities. In my opinion, itís doing more harm, than good. My wife and I are home-schooling parents that donít want to teach our children or have other home-schooled children taught that Southern Slavery was a somehow a good thing. Taught as ok, as long as it's done biblically, as you put it.
Bottom line, how would you like to be treated like a slave? Itís easy to say, oh it was a positive experience, but would you like to live in another culture and be treated like a slave, even a decent slave as you put it, if there is such a thing. How humiliating! If slavery is such a good thing, then why donít people flock to be in such an intimate and harmonious relationship today? Because in my opinion itís bogus! People want to be treated with respect and equal value, as God values each of us equally, as proven on the cross. If anything, let what Jesus said be our attitude and practice in life:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12).
Note: "in everything"
No, I havenít been brainwashed and Iím not diluted by abolitionistís propaganda, but rather, I am a new creation in Christ, and my mind has been renewed. I live under the authority of Godís Word, (in context, like I was so well taught by Doug Busby and your father). I live by grace and I want to be like Christ. Telling the world that a certain type of slavery is good, is not presenting the gospel as good news, especially to those whose skin tone or culture is different than yours.
Slavery in whatever form you like to call it, entails the ownership of another human being. Iíve always understood that you own things, not people! We use things, not people. I know we are bought a price by a perfect loving God, thatís different. He is unable to mistreat us. However the heart of man is deceitful above all else, (Jeremiah:17:9), and we tend to mistreat others. Therefore, again, the ownership of another person is wrong, period!
Your defense of Southern slavery as biblical slavery is not legitimate in my opinion. First I donít believe that there is such a thing as "biblical slavery," simply put; itís an oxymoron! Second, you canít separate race from Southern Slavery, they were one in the same. Slave laws held that race was the qualifying condition for being a slave. Whoís ever heard of a white Southern slave? Their may have been a few white slaves in the South (i.e. the current novel about "Jonathan Carrick") but by far, they made up the minority of slaves; the vast majority of slaves were African-American slaves. Please, give me a break! It is evil to enslave ANY person of ANY race, culture, or gender!
You say," The most plausible argument against slavery comes from the acknowledged wickedness of the slave trade. For example, Gary DeMar has recently argued that because the Bible prohibits man-stealing (Ex. 21:16; 1 Tim. 1:10), Christians could not consistently participate at any point in a process that resulted from the man-stealing." I totally agree! You quoted from a very wise and learned man, President of American Vision, also a Reformed Theologist like yourself. Itís obvious to most people that if someone takes someone into slavery from a slave trader, knowing that it was wrong, they are in the wrong too. However, you rationalize that they were prevented from abuses by not ending up in Haiti and/or Brazil. I argue, that if the Southern slave-owners were really noble, they should have paid to get them from the slave traders, then freed them from the tyranny of being under the ownership of someone else. Like Christ who bought us at a price, then set us free.
I think I perhaps understand part of the motive behind the writing of "Southern Slavery as it was." Your friend and co-author Mr. Wilkins ambition is to have the Southern States again leave the union and establish a Calvinist utopia as the new Confederate States of America. What better way to lay the ground work for these Confederate Southern states, than to correct the errors of the Southís past through revisionism.
I also believe in defending Godís Word, and I respect men that do. However, I donít believe we should grab one of our pet peeves and find Scripture to support it. Perhaps, you were trying to defend the Southís cause, but at the expense of communicating that Southern Slavery was a great thing and supported by Scripture. I believe it's offensive to a lot of people. It doesnít matter how many times you say you are opposed to slavery and racism, the words you wrote and published in your Southern Slavery booklet ring out clearly in the defense of slavery. If it werenít so, they why all the controversy, even amongst those in the church?
I challenge you check out this website. I am by far, no theologian. They are more eloquent writers and well documented in their rebuttal of your argument for biblical slavery in the South. As a follower of Christ, I have to totally agree with their evaluation.American Slavery: A Symposium - known as the Joshua letter (click on link)
A quote from one of the above articles:
"Steve Wilkins and Douglas Wilson, the former a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, have written a small book entitled, Southern Slavery, As it Was, in which they have made several claims which most modern Christians will find very surprising, and which many nonbelievers are likely to deem to be grounds for rejecting the truth of the Gospel."
If you claim to be persecuted because of your stand on Southern Slavery, I don't see it. When Jesus and Paul were referring to being persecuted, it was for sharing the gospel, not for defending slavery, in your case Southern Slavery, as a harmonious relationship supported by Scripture. I believe that same mentality is what made men feel justified in being involved in slavery on the one hand, then going to church on Sunday.
You also paint the South as this great Christian culture and the North as evil. Excuse the pun, but thatís awfully black and white thinking. We all know that there were good and bad people in both the North and South. One thing for sure, as Jesus said, you can judge a tree by itís fruit, which speaks for itself.
You say, "Like abolitionism, all forms of race hatred or racial vainglory are forms of rebellion against God." That to me is just another oxymoron. Someone who wants to abolish slavery, whether itís in the South of America or South Africa, is a godly cause, based on the authority of the Scripture. Slavery is a selfish manís institution. You might just as well do the Christ like thing and freed the person from bondage, providing them with shelter, and then hiring them to work for an honest wage. Whatís with this having to own them? Blatantly wrong! Is that how we should behave as representative of Christ? He even came to set the captives free, not put them in bondage. Arenít we supposed to be like Christ?
Why didnít the Confederate South, "being the largest body of evangelicals under arms in the history of the world," as you put it, being so godly, provide a way out of slavery? That would have been a great testimony to the love of Christ, and a higher calling. Taking a stand! Having compassion on these displaced people, who were once kidnapped from their homeland, separated from their families in Africa, and sold as though they were pieces of property. The right thing to do would have been to apply the golden rule, abolish this ownership mentality, and provide them with a place to live and hire them to work for a fair wage. They should have followed the lead already taken by the majority of the North and England. Again, just because the bible talks about how slaves should behave if they are in that situation, it doesnít therefore promote an ungodly practice. As God is in the business of freeing people form bondage, so should we. As God places value on us by going to the cross, sacrificing himself, so should we be sacrificial. Slavery is the lazy mans excuse for free labor. Christians are supposed to go the extra mile, like Christ, sacrifice and show true Christian love with all compassion.
Finally, as I stated before, I attended the Evangelical Free Church in
Pullman under the pastor- ship of Pastor Doug Busby. I have a lot of respect
Pastor Doug Busby and was taught to take God's Word in context and to use it for
the building up of others. (The same way I was taught by your Father, Jim
Wilson). Therefore, I have to agree with the Evangelical Free Church in Pullman
under the pastor- ship of Pastor Doug Busby and what he has to say regarding
this subject, according to the sources at this website:
http://www.geocities.com/solemncharges/E-Free.html - click on link
Here are several quotes from the above site:
"Their (Christ Church and Doug Wilson) teaching style is often abrasive, even at times caustic toward both believers and non-believers. We believe this style of teaching is contrary to Christís teaching and to his example, and it is counterproductive to proclaiming the good news of eternal life in Jesus Christ."
"Again, we (Evangelical Free Church of Pullman) have attempted to teach with integrity from the Scriptures, maintaining the unity of the body by focusing on Jesus Christ and him crucified."
end of quotes
That says it all!
Sincerely, in Christ
Note, I realize you have written a new book called, "Black and Tan," because of the plagiarism accusations with regards to, "Southern Slavery as it was." No, I havenít read it. Hopefully you have retracted from some of your positions on Southern Slavery.
End of letter
Here is the only response I received after sending the above letter to Doug Wilson
4/3/2006 9:18:32 AM
Dear Mr. Bunge,
Thank you for your kind letter. It is always nice to see that people care
enough to take the time to write.
Christ Church, Moscow
I hope this sheds light on this important issue. I highly recommend that you go to the website Joshualetter.org They have done a superb job at making it very clear, that what was written by Wilson/Wilkins is in no way an accurate account of history and/or the Bible regarding this subject.
Sincerely in Christ,
Douglas J. Bunge
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