Reformed Theology and the Status Quo (pt. 1)


This is the first part of Thabiti’s two-part lecture series at First Presbyterian (Columbia, SC) and Erskine Seminary. He was delivering the annual John L. Girardeau lectures. Girardeau (1825-1898) pastored a congregation of slaves at the height of the institution and alone opposed segregation in the Southern Presbyterian Church. The lectures have the general title, “Bondage or Freedom? Questions in Early American Theology.” In this lecture, Thabiti considers Jonathan Edwards’ almost complete silence on the greatest social justice issue of his day: slavery.  For more conversations and talks, download and subscribe to The Front Porch Podcast on iTunes.

Make sure to see the second part of this lecture: “Reformed Theology and Social Change

Thabiti Anyabwile
Thabiti Anyabwile serves as a pastor of Anacostia River Church (Washington DC). He is the happy husband of Kristie and the adoring father of two daughters and one son. Holler at him on Twitter: @ThabitiAnyabwil

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4 responses to “Reformed Theology and the Status Quo (pt. 1)”

  1. Peterson Onyeukwu says:

    The reason why Jonathan Edwards can be both a slaveholder and also regarded preeminently in America is because Christianity in America since its inception has been sick. American Christianity has bolstered both American arrogance and American imperialism.

    It still does so today and in my opinion needs to be freed at its roots. The problem is not reformed theology. I think the problem back then and the problem today is the preoccupation with nation.

    I hate it and I think any attempt to redeem America’s history is ridiculous. We ought to forget all of it and get back to the scriptures.

    • Heshimu colar says:

      I agree the kingdom of the USA must fall to the kingdom of Christ, but Jonathan Edwards had as much right to own slaves as our brother Philemon, when Paul sent Onesimus back to him. We must recognize that slavery is not evil; mistreatment of slaves is evil, and there is a difference.

      • BronzeLincolns says:

        the transatlantic slave trade wasn’t really slavery but, rather, mass man-stealing for the purpose of providing free labor. something scripture says is punishable by death.

        • Ahasuerus Christian says:

          Not really. The Mali Empire was the greatest slave trading empire with the wealthiest merchant whose ever loved. They dominated West Africa and later would break into small kingdoms, selling slaves to Europe and USA. These men were sold into slavery like Joseph, or came from captured regions like Daniel. The treatment of the slave revealed who knew God, not the slave holding. Christ has liberates the captive, bit no earthly freedom was promised in his situation. ,

          Slavery is tough issue, but God’s wisdom is just, and he set the Son to serve him, even to the death of the cross, to give an eternal kingdom to those who suffered for a little time to bear record of eternal things in a perishing world.

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