It is important to first note the differences in the slavery of the Greco-Roman period and that of 19th century America, something that Christians in the American South neglected. In the Greco-Roman period slavery was not determined “by race, religion, kinds of work, clothing, ownership of property, or formal schooling.” In many cases slaves were treated fairly and were valued. The institution of slavery in the 19th century was vastly different, usually always depraving “the slave of dignity and the slave owner of humanity.” It was “a model…for the most extreme forms of exploitation, otherness, and even social death.” Aside from the oppression of early American slavery, this form of the institution was based on race. In contrast, the slavery of the Greco-Roman period was based in large part on class or social status. This difference high...
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...tionships and not the institutions themselves, the reader understands that the author of Ephesians would never justify the type of slavery that was present in the early American society. While this scripture may imply different roles in society, it does not justify them based on race. Throughout the Bible, the authors never assign different levels of society to people, based on their race. As the Southern Baptist Association found in 1995, racism only serves to divide the body of believers in Christ, with is the opposite of what the scripture requires. While we have moved past the institution of slavery in our society, racism is still ever present, and the Christian must be diligent to remove racism from their thinking and actions. The Ephesians author calls us to join together in unity, and we must avoid all things that would keep us from doing so, including racism.
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