Question about slavery


Some people have asked me how the Church sees and faced slavery in colonial times. Surely this is one of the questions which I have less knowledge to answer. I know that slavery is present in some parts of the bible which Iam not able to mention here. I’ve read several sources on this subject but none gave me an answer that seemed very certain and satisfactory.
Slavery, after all, is accepted in some form by the Church? How does it sees this social relation? What the Church thought about slavery in colonial times? How to respond to those people who have that kind of questions?


If I find something on the Church and slavery I’ll post it later. At this point here is a link on slavery in the Old Testament and how Paul dealt with slavery in the New Testament. Hopefully this will be helpful to you.


The Church views slavery as wrong. That is slavery as the ownership of persons who work without benefits (aside from the essentials: food, water, etc.).

There are two kinds of slavery in the bible, one is what we think of when we say slavery (as the slaves in Egypt), but also what we would rather call Indentured Servitude, where one has a debt and then puts themselves into servitude to work off the debt. This is the kind that is tolerable, because it has limitations and the dignity of the human person is maintained. With indentured servitude (IS), a person is not owned, but rather a person merely works off their debt however the ‘boss’ sees fit. There is also a limitation on how long one can remain in IS (I think it was like 10 years), after which all debt must be considered forgiven.

IS is tolerable (though, maybe not ideal), but slavery is not. The Church’s view of colonial time slavery would be that it was wrong, but people are sinful and may have disregarded these views in favor of societal views at times. Colonial America was primarily protestant or reformed Christians, so their view may have been different at that time.

That’s all that I can give at the moment.


**Colonial slavery and the slavery of the African Americans was and is considered wrong by the Church. Anytime where human rights and dignity are stripped from a person, the Church sees it as a wrong.

However, Ancient times are different. One must remember that the historical context of the word “Slavery” was a little bit different in the Greek and Roman ages. In Greece and Rome, Slavery was considered a social class. Slaves were not completely stripped of their rights (in fact the average Roman slave had FAR more rights than did the African American slaves contrary to popular belief) but were slaves because most of the time, something was purchased or aquired and there were two ways to honor the debt. Either A) Pay it off with physical currency, trade or barter or B) For those who were more destitute, working off the debt was considered the alternative. It is from this that the idea of slavery originated, but in the classical ages, contrary to popular belief, most slaves were not beaten, whipped or killed (In the beginning of the empire it was common to kill, torture or execute slaves, but ideas gradually evolved to where slaves were granted a number of rights). This was also the system used for a while in the Middle East. If one examines Church history, three of Our Popes were slaves. Pope Clement I, Pope Pius I, Pope Callixtus I were all slaves before they were Popes. So one needs to examine what social context slavery is meant in.

Colonial slavery is wrong

In my humble opinion, ALL slavery is wrong. **

closed #5

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