Apologist and Pastor Gavin Ortlund on Whether or Not the Bible Supports Slavery

Gavin Ortlund, author and pastor at First Baptist Church of Ojai in Ojai, California, speaking on the YouTube channel Reasons to Believe in a video posted on October 2019. | YouTube/Reasons to Believe

A theologian and apologist says the Bible does not support slavery, explaining that the specific context of biblical era slavery needs to be considered when discussing the issue.

In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday by the apologetics channel Reasons to Believe, pastor Gavin Ortlund of First Baptist Church of Ojai, California, began by noting that context is important when looking at verses in the Bible that appear to be in favor of slavery.

“I think in those passages,” explained Ortlund, “it is helpful to ask, ‘well, what does the term “slavery” mean? And what does the term “bondservant” mean?’”

“In the Old Testament, slavery was not race-based … all kinds of slavery are wrong, but there are some versions of slavery that are particularly terrible.”

Ortlund contrasted America’s history of race-based “chattel slavery” with Old Testament slavery, which was “often based upon economics” and temporary rather than lifelong.

When asked by Reasons to Believe host Sandra Dimas about how Christians should approach biblical verses about slavery that do not condemn it, Ortlund responded that “you have to look at the whole of scripture to say that there might be something that’s accommodated to in one passage, but the whole of the Bible gives you a different picture.”

“I like to go all the way to the Gospel and say what’s the biggest picture we can get on the whole of Scripture and kind of the trajectory of what God is doing throughout redemptive history,” he continued.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski