Today, I reached the section on the slavery controversy of the mid- late 1800’s. In many ways, its saddening to read the opinions of the well respected men of the past and how wrong they were. They were dealing with a society about to undergo a major shift, and with that, the definition of what was sinful or not.
For some, it appeared an annoyance, they didnt see it as having soteriological implications, but more so, a dispute over the third use of the law. Others did take a stance on it in regards to the third use of the law on both sides. Others, saw it as impacting the first use of the law and that it had soteriological implications bordering on the second, and for others, there was nothing wrong with it. The thing is, depending on how one interpreted scripture, or picked and chose, it was possible to take nearly any position, and Biblically back it up.
There was also a strong focus on not wanting to divide the church or even polarize their congregation. Many pastors did not want to give an opinion, and a few that did, came up with wishy washy answers, or they chose to redirect their response by referring to the laws of the land. A few others with strong views, saw this as something to fall on their sword over, and aligned their views appropriately. Some pastors went forth with scathing remarks as concerning those who held opposing views.
In many ways, reading through the history this is like digging up dirt of the past that should likely be long since forgotten. Certainly, the info is not published in current church literature, and few will go to the lengths of reading antique church history books. On the other hand, I think we best be aware of our history, such that we can avoid the errors of the past. A few things I read seem just way too close to home even today, albeit the topics are different. May the reader have much wisdom.