15 May, 2008

Early Presbyterians Amongst the First Abolitionists

Coming from one of the oldest denominations in the United States, the question "what was your church's position on slavery?" has come up on a small number of occasions (let's be honest though... not too often.).

I am currently reading a lengthy article called "Vermont Reformed Presbyterian Abolitionists" which shows that the RPCNA, the ARP Church, and the old Associate Church, were the only Calvinistic denominations that would not allow their members to own slaves and remain in good standing (until 1819, when others came on board).

"The political singularity of both groups also manifested itself in their early and outspoken opposition to slavery. Whereas almost every other denomination in America sidestepped the issue and tolerated slave-holding by members, the Covenanters and Seceders denounced slavery as a breach of Christ's law of love and directed their members to free their slaves immediately (the Covenanters in 1800, the Seceders in 1811)."

The article, which is from a secular publication, argues that without these three churches, and especially the RPCNA in Vermont, the abolitionist movement would not have gained the ground that it needed in those early years.

1 comment:

Droll Flood said...

We distinguish between a racially driven slavery and one that is of payback necessity. We've done ourselves a grave disservice by not allowing criminals to payback their debts. Paul said that if you can get out of it, not slavery is wrong. And for those who would say where ever Christianity had been embraced, slavery soon left, founding a detrimental principle on that saying, you get to foot the bill and are paying for it now. You do foolish things, you pay for it.

I stole lots of things, and as a result of grace, I paid them back presenting myself to those from whom I stole stuff and left it to them to determine the payback.

Nix slavery you're only shooting yourself in the foot. Look at the amount of theft that goes on now. Especially the amount of no-payback cases. And we the blessed populus get to pay for their room and board.