Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gangra - Canon 3

If any one shall teach a slave, under pretext of piety, to despise his master and to run away from his service, and not to serve his own master with good-will and all honor, let him be anathema.

Slavery had been a known social construct for centuries.  The Mosaic law gave rules for who could be enslaved and under what criteria.  Also provisions for the proper conduct of both slaves and masters were given.  In a nutshell, slaves and bondservants were to be treated with respect.  New Testament documents seem to go further in that the practice was acknowledged with due respect given between slave and master as the Law had done.  Colossians 3:22-25 and 1 Peter 2:18-25 are clear in how the slave/servant was to act toward the master.  The obligation was to be fulfilled, but freedom should be welcomed when given.  Onesimus is the only slave for whom freedom is sought and that by Paul.

For a person or group to promote slaves running away as an act of piety, perhaps mirroring Onesimus, was wrong.  Though freedom would certainly allow ministry opportunity, it would be under false pretenses.  The better act was to endure the service to the master in hopes of gaining future freedom.  That is the better course of action and one with the potential of bearing more fruit.

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