Month: December 2014

Oppression and Slavery in the Ancient Near East and the Bible

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To read entire presentation click here: Oppression and Slavery in the Ancient Near East and the Bible by Stephen Hague

At our recent Fall Seminar (see resources at FTS website[coming soon]) on oppression and slavery at the Seminary, I presented the introductory thoughts on the subject of slavery in the ancient world and the Bible.

Slavery and oppression have been a ubiquitous part of the human experience practically since the beginning. The question I ask is simple: how does the biblical gospel address this? It is my thesis that if the Bible is used as a source for the justification of human enslavement and oppression, then if we honestly and carefully examine this it rather actually contains the seeds of its own undoing. That is, in contrast to those who claim that the Bible justifies human enslavement (and the forms we had in Europe and America), I suggest that the Bible and its laws contain the very ideas that eventually brought about the outlawing of slavery in most parts of the world today.

BC_sex-trafficking-portraitAt the seminar, we covered the three major historical periods of human slavery that have logical connections between them: in Part I, I discussed briefly some of the A.N.E. and biblical context as background for considering the modern Atlantic slave trade (that only became illegal only in the nineteenth century). In Part II, other presenters addressed  the Christian role in fighting to outlaw that trade and human enslavement in England and America. Both subjects set the stage to consider in Part III the grim realities of human oppression, trafficking, and slavery today that continue relentlessly in our own back-yards.

THE SPLENDOR OF HIS MAJESTY: Evidences, presuppositions, and faith and Cornelius Van Til’s Confusion

The world is framed by an excellent art, and therefore, made by some skillful artist.
(Stephen Charnock, Attributes and Existence of God, p. 52)

Click here to read the essay: Evidences, Presuppositions, & Faith by Stephen T. Hague

Here is a tentative essay on Apologetics that addresses the confusing ideas of Cornelius Van Til, the well-known Dutch philosopher/theologian who is usually praised for his undoubted “brilliance”(read “incoherence”).

Admittedly, this needs some more work, and his followers will undoubtedly rebut it with the usual, “You do not understand him.” That may well be, but in being so it supports my thesis about his philosophical inconsistencies and incoherence.

I also consider some of the biblical evidence for a rational model, and as especially found in the teaching of Christ, the most brilliant, rational, and coherent person who has ever lived.

“What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” Rom 1:19

cropped-misty.jpg“There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity. This we take to be beyond controversy. To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretense of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty. Ever renewing its memory, he repeatedly sheds fresh drops. Since, therefore, men one and all perceive that there is a God and that he is their Maker, they are condemned by their own testimony because they have failed to honor him and to consecrate their lives to his will. If ignorance of God is to be looked for anywhere, surely one is most likely to find an example of it among the more backward folk and those more remote from civilization. Yet there is, as the eminent pagan says, no nation so barbarous, no people so savage, that they have not a deep-seated conviction that there is a God. And they who in other aspects of life seem least to differ from brutes still continue to retain some seed of religion. So deeply does the common conception occupy the minds of all, so tenaciously does it inhere in the hearts of all! Therefore, since from the beginning of the world there has been no religion, no city, in short, no household, that could do without religion, there lies in this a tacit confession of a sense of deity inscribed in the hearts of all.” Calvin, Institutes, vol. 1, I.III.1, p. 43.

Christmas Canon

Aangels-26 host of feet marches
in our living-room gallantly
through marble archways past
a roaring fire the shelves
of books and china there
are among them songs
Oh how they sing it makes one awe
there is a heavenly throng
inside our piano dancing on
the gold and silver strings.

Oh Christ the fire in the sky
what child is this who lays
under its fierce trembling
cannons rumble a message of war
and the holly on our ivy burns
what child is this
Oh incommensurable
in his kingdom under siege?