Not a Radical Political Agenda

From a Puritan Board discussion on why the Apostle Paul didn’t command Philemon to immediately release Onesimus as a slave:

Bill the Baptist (Comment 2):

People have often criticized Paul for not explicitly insisting on the release of Onesimus, but if you read carefully, you will see that what Paul suggests is far more radical. Paul asks Philemon to receive Onesimus as a true brother in Christ, which if he were to actually do, would very naturally make it impossible to continue to enslave him. Paul understands that the hearts of men cannot be changed by law, but only through the gospel.

Alan D. Strange (Comment 3):

While it is true that Christ and the apostles did not abolish slavery, it is also the case that the consequences of the gospel would tend to ameliorate if not eliminate such (seen in Paul’s letter to Philemon).[1]

Had Christ or Paul ordered the end of all slavery, it would have rendered the gospel revolutionary and made its central concern social, political and economic equity. If Paul, for instance, had simply commanded Philemon to free Onesimus and not suggested that he be emancipated as a consequence of the new relationship that they sustained in the gospel, Christians would have viewed such an apostolic command as binding, necessitating the abolition of slavery immediately everywhere. This would have obscured the true spiritual message of the gospel—salvation in Christ to all that believe on Him—and have rendered the Christian faith another competing, indeed radical political agenda, especially in the Greco-Roman world, with so much of the population in slavery. The New Testament contains no explicit commands to abolish slavery—though it prohibits man-stealing (I Timothy 1:10) and thus proscribes American slavery—leaving it to the outworking of the gospel to address such in the Greco-Roman world of its day.[2]

[1] As seen in the practices of Christians in the early church, in A. J. Harrill The Manumission of Slaves in Early Christianity. (Tubingen: J. C. B. Mohr/Siebeck, 1995). Though opposition to slavery itself, as opposed merely to slavery’s abuses, was long in coming, as seen in Trevor Dennis, “Man Beyond Price: Gregory of Nyssa and Slavery,” in Heaven and Earth: Essex Essays in Theology and Ethics, ed. Andrew Linzey and Peter J. Wexler (Worthing, West Sussex: Churchman Publishing Limited, 1986), it was Christianity, or Christendom, at least in part, that brought slavery to an effective end between the fourth and tenth centuries, with serfdom developing in seignorialism and feudalism subsequent to slavery’s diminution.

[2] Though Kyle Harper, in Slavery in the Late Roman World, AD 275-425 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), showed that slavery lasted deep into the Christian era, in his most recent book, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013), he shows that Christianity’s strict moral code was particularly sympathetic to the sexual exploitation of the slave. So Christianity played an important role in reforming and ultimately ending ancient slavery.


You’re Just Blindly Repeating Things

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He Opened His Side, That We Might See His Heart

Thomas Manton on John 19:34-37:

As an act of Christ’s love and condescension, that he would expose his body to the malice and violence of wicked men. He might have withered and dried up the soldier’s arm, as he did Jeroboam’s when he stretched it out to reach the prophet; but by this stroke Christ would have his heart and bowels opened to us, to show how full of love he was to sinners. Look, as at the beginning Adam’s side was opened, and Eve was taken out of Adam’s side, so is the church out of Christ’s side. He suffered his side to be opened that he might open to us the gate of life. Some of the ancients compared this wound in Christ’s side to the door in the side of the ark, by which all the creatures that were not to perish in the flood found entrance. By this door we have entrance into the heart of Christ, and by Christ presented to God the Father. Patet arca cordis per foramina corporis, saith Bernard. ‘By the hole of his side we may espy the secret of his heart.’ He opened his side, that we might see his heart. He would have sinners know that he had not a drop of blood which he accounted too good for us. He would now let out the residue, that he might not keep a drop. His heart was first pierced with love, and then with a spear. It had never been pierced with a spear if it had not been first pierced with love. Christ saith, Canticles 4:9, ‘Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse.’ First wounded with love to the church, and that brought him to the cross, and there he was wounded and pierced with the malice of men. Other members were wounded before, and now his heart. His hands and feet were pierced with nails, and his life-blood dropped out by degrees; but now his side is pierced, and through his side his heart, which caused the flux of water and blood.​

Humble Enough to Recognize His own Plight?

John Hendryx, “Quick Response to the Arminian “Drowning Man” Analogy:”

If you liken the sinner to a drowning man reaching out his hand to God and claim that this needs no merit from which to boast, consider this: You appear to assume from this analogy that the drowning man (the sinner) believes he is drowning (believes he is a sinner) and is actually humble enough to recognize his own plight. But we must ask, are there any sinners who are naturally willing to receive the humbling terms of the gospel?…

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Genesis 2 from an Agriculturalist’s View

TimV on the Puritan Board:

Gen. 2 Septuagint

4 This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth, when they were made, in the day in which the Lord God made the heaven and the earth, 5 and every herb of the field before it was on the earth, and all the grass of the field before it sprang up, for God had not rained on the earth, and there was not a man to cultivate it. 6 But there rose a fountain out of the earth, and watered the whole face of the earth. 7 And God formed the man of dust of the earth, and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.

I guess it is my agricultural background, but after the sermon where the pastor who is a big Klein fan said there was a contradiction between the two accounts therefore it had to be metaphor I re-read everything from all the translations and still didn’t see where the contradiction was, until a guy from Bible study explained it to me.

It threw me, because to me it was obvious, like what I think you see, that if you throw some corn or wheat seed out on the ground it won’t grow.

The older commentators did point out SEEMING contradictions, like the sun being made after light, but none of them I checked saw an apparent contradiction in the plant sequence because (I think) 80% of people were involved in agriculture as opposed to the 2% today.

Reading the account from the Septuagint takes away any possible ambiguity a person with a modern, urban, no agricultural roots mindset could READ INTO the Hebrew. I think we have to assume those people are looking for contradictions so that they can hold what they thing are sophisticated views on evolution.

Anyway, wild plants can come up in many ways, like when animals bury them, seeds fall under “nurse plants”, rain droplets pushing up a bit of soil to cover their new cotelydons etc… but agricultural plants need to be sowed on soil disturbed with implements.

So to me the natural reading is that God made plants as adults, but those useful for men (otherwise why the explanation “there was not yet anyone to work the ground”?) weren’t there as young seedlings yet.

As an aside, notice that many agriculturally useful plants are annuals. They die in one year and if the seeds aren’t planted in two to five years or so the seed loses viability. And what does that do to a theory that say for example that each “day” in Genesis was a thousand years?

Source:, comment 12

Where Sin Dines, Judgment Will Sup

Thomas Boston, Works, 3:196:Whoever then will have the sweet of sin, must lay their accounts with the sour of it. They that drink of the brim of that cup must drink of the dregs of it too. God has fixed shame, sorrow and torment of heart to sin, with such strong bands that none shall be able to break. Where sin dines, judgment will sup. Wrath follows it, as the shadow does the body. The stinging serpent lies on the other side of the hedge of God’s law, which they who break over will find.

Do Genesis 1 and 2 Contradict Each Other?

Green Baggins on why Genesis 2 is talking about the institution of agriculture:

Going back all the way to Keil and Delitzsch’s commentary, the “bush of the field” and “the plant of the field” in verse 5a are not descriptive, then, of all kinds of plants. Rather, they are limited to cultivated crops (the designation “of the field” points this way). This is absolutely proven by the second of the two reasons given for why these plants were not present. …“no man to work the ground” in verse 5b cannot possibly be a reason for why wild plants were not present. Wild plants do not need humans to work the ground in order to thrive. Therefore, to interpret the “bush of the field” and “plant of the field” in verse 5a to refer to all plants of whatever kind is irresponsible exegesis.

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