The following is the response I wrote to an article posted on Charles DeMastus’ Southern Heritage News & Views newsletter, that slavery is intrinsically sinful.  As you can see, I am convinced that this assertion has no biblical foundation whatsoever.

Dear Chuck,

I must take vigorous exception to the remarks of Mark Vogl, and some of our other
Confederate friends, regarding the sinfulness of the institution of slavery. Mr. Vogl
stated, and apparently many of our pro-Southern friends agree, “Clearly, slavery was
and is a sin.”

I would like to know by what authority Mr. Vogl denounces slavery as a clearly defined
sin. Judging by other remarks made in the same article, I take it Mr. Vogl is a
professing Christian, and I am certainly happy to regard him as such. However, by making
the statement that slavery is clearly a sin, he has fallen into the trap of allowing the
worldly culture to define right and wrong, instead of the Christian’s one and only source
of truth and morality: the holy scriptures. The only “defense” Mr. Vogl made
of his statement that I could find was at the beginning of his article, in which he
stated that since liberty comes from God, then slavery must be a sin. This is not
biblical reasoning, and to my knowledge can be found nowhere in the Bible. It is true,
that without sin there would be no slavery. But at the same time, without sin there
would also be no divorce, and almost certainly would not be money. That does not mean
that divorce or money are intrinsically evil; they have become an unhappy necessity of
living in a fallen world. In light of the biblical evidence, we should view slavery
along the same lines.

It would take far too much space to cover all the biblical data regarding slavery, but I
would simply challenge any skeptic to find any pronouncement in the Bible that defines
slavery as a sin. I already know that they cannot, and therefore I take my turn and
direct their attention to the Decalogue. The fourth and tenth commandments both enshrine
the right of a master in his slaves, first by requiring him to allow his slaves to rest
on the sabbath, and secondly by forbidding us to covet a man’s slaves. I would also
point the interested Christian to Leviticus 25:39-46, in which rules and regulations are
delivered concerning slavery. The Hebrew was compelled to manumit his Hebrew slaves at
the year of jubilee, but could maintain heathen bondmen in servitude perpetually. That
which the law of God condones by definition cannot be sin (Romans 7:7).
Our Lord Jesus Christ commended the faith of a slaveholder (Matthew 8:5-13), and often
used slaves and masters as examples in His parables, without ever once suggesting any
evil in the institution. In Luke 17:7-10, He even mocked at the idea of a master
thanking his slave for bringing him his supper! I would refer also to the constant
teaching of the apostles, who regulated the behavior of masters towards slaves, and
slaves towards masters, without ever once giving so much as a shadow of a hint that the
master was required by the laws of Christ to emancipate his bondmen (Ephesians 6:5-9;
Colossians 3:22-25 & 4:1; I Timothy 6:1-5, in which Paul very aptly describes the
Abolitionist character; Titus 2:9, 10; I Peter 2:18). For a thorough discussion of the
biblical data concerning slavery, I cannot recommend highly enough R.L. Dabney’s book A
Defense of Virginia and the South. Dabney, who was once General Jackson’s chief of
staff, deals very thoroughly with slavery in the Bible and in American history. I also
very highly commend Dabney’s article Anti-biblical Theories of Rights, which may be found
on page 497 of Volume 4 of Dabney’s works. I fear that all too many Southerners have
embraced the very anti-biblical theories of rights which Dabney describes, which has
caused them to come to agree with the bloodthirsty Abolitionists who started the war that
destroyed the Southern nation.

In short, we as Southerners need to cease and desist at once from denouncing slavery as a
sin, at least insofar as we consider ourselves Christians. The fact is that our Southern
forefathers were not only right on issues of the Constitution, state’s rights, economics,
etc., but they were also right on the issue of slavery. When we deny this, we give the
enemy a foothold that he should not have.

Respectfully,

Pastor Samuel Ashwood

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