This guest post is by Rev. Donald Ehrke. He is a Libertarian, a former GOP campaign manager, and ordained minister living in Alexandria, Virginia. Many thanks to Donald for his excellent work! For guest post opportunities, please use the LCC Contact Page.
In “Lincoln’s Battle with God” author Stephen Mansfield reveals private notes that Abraham Lincoln penned regarding the issue of slavery and the Bible. Lincoln, responding to Dr. Frederick Ross’ book “Slavery Ordained by God” wrote, “Slavery is strikingly peculiar in this, that it is the only good thing which no man ever seeks the good of, for himself.” Lincoln accurately identified the hypocrisy of those who employed Scripture to support slavery; if slavery was a blessing ordained by God then why hadn’t everyone sought to become a slave?
Slavery in the Bible is a complicated subject. People could sell themselves into slavery as the Egyptians did in time of famine (Genesis 47: 19), Hebrews could be purchased as servants and released in their seventh year of servitude (Exodus 21: 2), and prisoners of war could become slaves (Deuteronomy 20: 10-11). People could also elect to become servants for life (Exodus 21: 6). Although much could be added to the discussion of slavery in the Bible, only two more points will be made here – the Bible does not endorse slavery and slavery is not a blessing. Slavery is portrayed negatively in the Bible; to answer Abraham Lincoln, this is why people do not wish to become slaves – slavery is a detestable manner of living.