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Religion and slavery

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Many people know the Bible condoned slavery, but even in modern history, the Bible was used to justify owning of other people as sevants.

During the Civil War, churches in the South even argued for slavery based on Biblical sources. The Church of God in Texas in 1860 came up with the following resolution[1]:

WHEREAS, A part of the members of the Church of God in the North have become ultra upon the present political issues between the North and the South, and have declared the systems of servitude as laid down in the Bible as evil, and incompatible with the interest of the American people,

AND WHEREAS, they have by so doing, violated our Book of discipline, the New Testament, which is our only rule of faith and practice, and recognized by the church, as sufficient, without any human legislation upon it whatever,

AND WHEREAS, the course pursued by a few, in publishing antislavery resolutions, and other articles of similar character, in the Church Advocate, which have embarrassed and brought us into serious and great difficulties, owing to the fact that the mass of the people do not understand our system of church cooperation,

AND WHEREAS, Their course has subjected us to an unnecessary persecution, and greatly militated against the work of reformation of the South,

AND WHEREAS, they have, by so doing, seceded from the early practice of the church, and do not, (as they once did) stand upon our creed, (the Bible), but have virtually joined issue with that portion of the Bible, which exhorts servants to be obedient to their masters, which course of theirs is contrary to the letter, spirit, and design of the Gospel. And in as much as we are taught in the Bible, "to be subject to the powers that be, and obey them which rule over us," which most emphatically implies obedience to the laws of our land,

AND WHEREAS, we in fact are pro-slavery men, and intend to be governed by the laws of the land, in which we live, as we ever have been. THEREFORE,

RESOLVED, that the Eldership in Texas, stand upon the Bible and that she does not deviate from it, but cleave to, and defend it, as being sufficient for our faith and practice in every particular.

RESOLVED, that we will, as we ever have been, and call upon all to be subject to, and assist in carrying out and enforce the laws of our country, and further,

RESOLVED, that we claim no fellowship in Church with abolition members, North, East, West, or South, or wherever they may be found; and have neither voice or part, either directly or indirectly, in making, forming or even winking at abolition resolutions, and declare them unscriptural, unbrotherly, and unconstitutional, and destructive to the interest of Church and State.

RESOLVED, that we tender our warmest thanks to all the brethren, who are with us on this question, for defending us against the attacks of abolitionists in the North; and have namefully defended the doctrine and early practice of the church.

What's also worth noting is that during these times, the Northern versions of the Church of God were split with the pro-slavery sects in the South. However, neither church recognized nor publicized the schism. Even in times of critical ideological conflict, the church sects continued to support one-another by not appearing to have any substantive disagreements that would affect their public identity.


  1. . Slavery and the Civil War as Viewed by the Churches of God (1970) , Don Corbin

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