Imagine going to church on Sunday and singing songs of faith, then beating your slaves on Monday.
Is it too far of a reach, to suggest that very thing is happening today, only the slaves are those being marginalized and vilified by a political ideology that a sub-set of white evangelicals have aligned themselves with – a deal with the devil, if you will.
The slaveholder gospel is a false gospel of nationalism and white supremacy that subverts one’s understanding of what true biblical orthodoxy is.
It is a truncated gospel that cuts out or misinterprets the fundamental truths found in the unchanging and inerrant Word of God, and is as insidious as sea waves [slaveholder gospel] crashing against the shore [our hearts],and eroding the sand [truth in Christ] over time, until part or all of the shore has been eroded and assimilated back into the sea.
Devoid of reason, it preaches exclusivity and exceptionalism, where instead of acknowledging their worth as God’s beloved, the “least of these” are dehumanized and excluded – essentially picking winners and losers by denying the multi-racial, multi-ethnic characterization of the Kingdom of God found in Revelations 7:9 .
Many heresies throughout history have been wrapped in the mantle of exclusivity, such as one conceived and promulgated by a 2nd century theologian by the name of Valentinus, who was a papal candidate before being excommunicated for heresy.
Valentinus’s reinterpretation and reconstruction of the Bible gave birth to Christian Gnosticism – which teaches that Gnosis (which means knowledge in Greek) from God on how to find salvation, can only be obtained by a select few.
It is believed that the apostles were speaking to budding Gnostic ideas in their writings, such as Paul in Ephesians 2:19, when he wrote,
“Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God’s own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God’s [own] household.”
Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians is diametric to the slaveholder gospel, that resembles a caste system, where people are divided into classes depending on race and ethnicity – an orthodoxy that defines our image instead of conforming to God’s, whose renewed image was brought to mankind by Jesus as God incarnate (Logos), so that we could be re-created in that image, and come to know him once more.
In his very first sermon, Jesus said,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see,that the oppressed will be set free for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” – Luke 4:18
The Greek word for “Good News” here is euangelion, which is the root of evangelical. To be in keeping with words spoken by Jesus, those claiming the title of evangelical should be advocating for the poor – and by extension I would assert, any part of humanity marginalized by the slaveholder gospel. Opposite of that, is to undermine the authenticity of biblical Christianity to those seeking to know Christ, and casts a pall on Christendom.
“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” – Mahatma Gandi
Samuel Brooke, an abolitionist in 1846 wrote that, “[slavery was] the violation of every principle of human brotherhood, of natural right, of justice, of humanity, of Christianity, of love of God and to man.”
The distortion of truth found in the slaveholder gospel, has been assimilated by those who cite a reconstructed, misrepresentation of Romans 13:1, as their reason for sanctifying a godless president, believing him to be an anointed instrument of God.
How do they reason their newly anointed one going against the laws of God with his treatment of humanity?
Doesn’t it seem strange and a bit hypocritical that they didn’t confer this same misrepresented verse on the previous president, who, being the moral antithesis of the current, was denied the same legitimacy in their eyes?
In Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion, author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove asserts that those who follow this gospel, are bound to an ideology that distorts the Christian faith by reconstructing the true Gospel.
This same misrepresentation of Romans 13:1, is now being used to justify the punitive and cruel separation of immigrant children from their families at the border, the core of which are refugees fleeing oppression (legally or not) – pitting the exercise of man’s law against spiritual law.
In the name of religious freedom, their gospel deceptively seeks to create a white, straight, pre-civil rights society.
“With the help of politicians like Jeff Session, religious leaders are trying to redefine religious liberty as a tool of discrimination.” – Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
As I see those falling prey to the slaveholder gospel, I’m reminded of the words of Jesus, when he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear hear.”
To those who have shown indifference to the least of these, by passively or actively embracing this false gospel, my hope is that your ears will once again hear the truth, and when it’s time for the sheep to be separated from the goats at judgment,
you’ll be with those on the right side of the King and not the left.