Why Did so Many Christians Support American Slavery?

Throughout the church’s existence, there have been times when it was on the right side of history. Other times, it has been on the wrong side of history. And in other cases, it was on both sides, simultaneously. This was certainly the case in America when it came to the institution of chattel slavery.

Prior to and all throughout the American Civil War, devout Christians stood on either side of the abolition movement. They were all reading the same Bible, but somehow they were coming to drastically different conclusions when it came to the American system of slavery. As a result, America was one of the last western nations to abolish it, decades after much of Europe—and even British colonies around the world.

In this episode, we explore the history of the abolitionist movement through a theological lens. What biblical arguments were preachers and theologians making for (and against) abolition at the time? And why did it take America’s bloodiest war to settle the question once and for all?

RELATED RESOURCES

READ: Colorblindness and the Persistence of White Supremacist Theology
READ: 4 Ways Colorblind Theology Falls Short

REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE

The Civil War as a Theological Crisis” by Mark Noll

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