This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Slavery not blessed

I strongly reject the contention of Mark Noll in The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (as echoed by John Longhurst in his Feb. 26 column, “Lessons from a Long-Ago Conflict”), that “Christian” white Southerners were on to something in declaring slavery was blessed by New Testament writers. Those writers did not speak out as clearly in opposition to slavery as we would like, but they stopped far short of saying it was God’s plan or will for those held as slaves. Consider, for instance, 1 Cor. 7:21, as well as the following several verses. The issue that led to the Southern rebellion was slavery, but the dynamic was primarily economic, not theological. But what was (and is) theological was (and is) white supremacy, the belief that God made some humans inherently inferior. It appears Noll and Long­hurst have an ax to grind. I recommend they find a more appropriate stone on which to try to hone their point.

D.R. Yoder
Decatur, Ga.

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