Levitical Law Condemns American Slavery

by Jesse Johnson

This week I am making the case that the Bible clearly and forcefully condemns the institution of American Slavery. The most common counter argument I’ve heard on this is that the Bible actually allows for Africans to be kidnapped, trafficked, and perpetually enslaved because of the Old Testament regulations concerning slavery. So I want to begin with that.

Before I make my case, understand the importance of getting this issue right. Gay rights advocates use this issue to justify gay marriage. Egalitarians use this issue to justify female pastors. And, primary in our interests here, in the United States people such as George Whitfield appealed to Levitical Law to justify their opposition to abolition.

I quickly grant the obvious: Levitical Law has much to say about the Ancient Near East institution of slavery, and does indeed have many ordinances that regulate it. But understand that ANE slavery, particularly slavery as prescribed and regulated in Israel, was fundamentally different than slavery in the NT and the Americas.

Here are a few key ways slavery in the OT was different than the African slave trade in the Americas…

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Levitical Law Condemns American Slavery