Historical Look At Spirit of Bondage Operating Within Christian Circles
Wherever humans stand firmly in agreement with unjust laws or injustice we will be in the clutches of the evil Spirit of Bondage. Although, unseen by most, this evil spiritual being will be dictating and reinforcing with cunning precision its position behind the scene of the physical universe. Throughout history many atrocities were committed by those claiming to represent Jesus Christ. Acts 20:29-30 "For I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them." This passage assures us that perpetrators are often well groomed in religion when justifying the evil ground they stand on. For example, many professed Christians would have you believe that since Jesus didn`t speak out against slavery nor address social reform that he actually accepted the institution of slavery along with the other institutions and superstitions which surrounded him when he walked the earth.
They further justify their stance by pointing to Jesus teaching on passive obedience and non-resistance. However to agree with their stance would mean that you believe that Jesus would agree to the entrapment of the poor into involuntary labor. One must first gain a better understanding of Jesus earthly assignment which reveals that he did not come to fix the evil-filled godless worldly system. This was why, in part, he said in John 18:36 "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom was of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence."
It is significant to be mindful of how the interpreter of the bible will be influenced by the time and place in which he/she lives, even as they attempt to explain or expand on the particular passage that`s being interpreted. Oh yes, in real time, the interpreter`s world be it explicit or implicit will show up in one way or another. Often the very choice of one biblical verse over another or the absence thereof is employed to support ones persuasiveness, be it good or evil. The influence of time and place always holds great significance because, in this case, as it relates to slavery, it strongly suggests that God agreed to Africa being the most exploited continent in the history of humanity; more human victims have been procured from Africa than all the continents of the world combined. Over 10 million Africans died during the Atlantic Slave Trade, from the Guinea Trade of 1480 to well into the 1800`s, the complete story of bloodshed and cruelty, and plundering murders progressively armed with invincible weapons of oppression will never be know, but by God. Know this: Just because God permits atrocities, doe not mean he sanctions them.
Its important to note that although slavery did occur in the bible, in no way was it like slavery in America. For example, Exodus 21:26-27 "If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave,and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth." Scripture also records times when based on continued disobedience and sin, that God chastened his people by allowing them to be taken captive. This is no where conveyed in scripture as being the case with Africans. Furthermore, it`s important to note that God dealt with humanity in different ways at different periods of times, whereby revealing his character and plan for humankind. These different periods of time are called the 7 Dispensations.
Moreover, the manifestations of such purely evil collaboration between professed Christians and the evil one are well documented. Perhaps you struggle accepting the evil unseen presence operating within Christian circles. However evil does exist in every system upon the earth.To put it another way, since Satan`s (unseen presence to all, but Jesus) was in the upper room when Jesus was conveying some of his most profound spiritual truths to the twelve disciples, believe me he continues operating within Christian circles.
The photo at the top of this page was taken from U.S. History.org. " 27F The southern Argument For Slavery. Those who defended slavery rose to the challenge set forth by the abolitionists. The defenders of slavery included economics, history, religion, legality, social good, and even humanitarianism, to further their argument.
"Reviewing the work of white churches, Frederick Douglass had this to say: " Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference-so wide that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity..."
In W.E.B. Du Bois book The World And Africa chapter 3 "The Rape of Africa" p.g. 53-54 the following is recorded. "In 1660 the upheaval of civil war in England was at an end, and England was ready to embark on the slave trade for the benefit of her sugar, and tobacco colonies. The British increased the import of slaves to America, raised sugar, indigo, and cotton, and began to bring those goods to England for processing. They then exported some of these processed foods to Africa too buy more slaves. Trade began to change from a gambler`s search for treasure to investment for permanent income; and this income consisted of goods for sale which were in practice more valuable than treasure for hoarding. To perfect this arrangement slaves and more slaves must be had."
You see, the idea of "permanent income" as recorded above, seals the connection linking the evil Spirit of Bondage with professed Christians who took the following passage and clearly forced a diabolical reinterpretation of it`s meaning. Observe: Genesis 9:24-25 "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him, and he said, cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." The wicked reinterpretation argued that this curse which Noah pronounced against his son Ham, supposedly represented a curse of eternal servitude against Ham and his descendants. Although, no where in this bible passage, or any other relative source does it actually state outright that Ham and his descendants are cursed both to be black and in slavery. These Talmudic statements, translated and interpreted later by medieval European and Middle Eastern commentators were obviously strongly influenced by the need to justify enslaving blacks.
Here is a little more from W.E.B. Du Bois`s book. "At the same time, the conscience of the world began to writhe. Modern slavery was created by Christians, it was continued by Christians, it was in some respects more barbarous than anything the world had yet seen, and its worst features were to be witnessed in countries that were most ostentatious in their parade of Christianity. It is this that provides the final and unanswerable indictment of the Christian church. There was the splendor of the Catholic Church under Alexander Vl and Leo X, and then the revolt by Luther, the Reformation. Thus was the growing consciousness of dignity of the human soul brought face to face with slavery and a new slave trade. Gradually it was rationalized widely as a method of rescuing the heathen from perdition and saving his soul. However, this rationalization meant nothing when it conflicted with the profits of trade; and planters particularly, stoutly refused to release converts, and innumerable Christians often would not allow conversion. The profits of this new aspect of trade meant investment and capitalist system."
In Jesus name, I pray that spiritual eyes are opened. Since no one can serve two masters, the question, then, becomes; which master were the professing Christians serving when they decided to force a diabolical reinterpretation of Genesis 9:24-25? When digging a little deeper this particular historical setting the undeniable truth reveals (as shared above) how the bible was reinterpreted whereby fitting the desires of the ruling class. When examining historically the "when" this occurred the "why" (conveying the wicked influential strength) of the interpreters become glaringly obvious. It was done as a means to justify enslaving Africans. Think about it. Really think about the "timing" and "shifting views", opinions and attitudes which collectively shaped how Black Africans were to be perceived during the 1600`s in Europe. History is clear; racist ideology was birthed in Europe. Prior to this specific time in history there were no anti-Black sentiments in the world. Although history documents how the ancient world recognized ethnocentric "otherness" it was not racist. This is true in the bible as well. No where in scripture will you find a hierarchy of dominance based on skin color. The professed Christians above who would not allow conversion or stoutly refused to release converts were clearly in open rebellion against God.
Think about the "Jim Crow era" where when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Homer Plessy V. John H. Ferguson 163 US.537 (1896) sanctioned racial segregation and discrimination by implementing the doctrine of "Separate but Equal" arguing the following about the fourteenth Amendment; "could not have intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either." Therefore the Jim Crow Laws articulated ideologies of black inferiority while simultaneously promoting white supremacy. Here are some examples of Jim Crow Laws:
- A black male could not shake hands with a white male because it implied social equality.
- Blacks and whites could not eat together.
- White motorists had the right of way at all times.
- A black person could not even suggest that a white person was lying.
- Schools were separate, as were restaurants, water fountains, restrooms, and even parks.
- Cruel justice, such as lynching, was "NECESSARY" because blacks were thought to be prone to violence
Thinking of CRUEL JUSTICE please carefully consider how the evil Spirit of Bondage and the Spirit of Murder were operating behind the scene. Perhaps activist Lillian Smith said it best; "Something was wrong with a world that tells you that love is good and people are important and then forces you to deny love and to humiliate people. I knew, though I would not for years confess it aloud, that in trying to shut the Negro race away from us, we have shut ourselves away from so many good, creative, honest, deeply human things in life. I began to understand slowly at first, but more clearly as the years passed, that the warped, distorted frame we have put around every Negro child from birth is around every white child also. Each is on a different side of the frame but each is pinioned there. And I knew that what cruelly shapes and cripples the personality of one is as cruelly shaping and crippling the personality of the other."
Scripture informs us that the evil one comes to steal, kill, and destroy. These historical examples reveal how Satan steals. I mean he and his cohorts were establishing policies and rules; operating as undetected thieves. Again, Revelations 12:9 " And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world...."
Consider the racist terror in Alabama which led up to why Dr. M.L. King wrote the famous "Letter From A Birmingham Jail". Johathan Rieder`s book Gospel of Freedom records the following, "...To stage a successful spectacle required national outrage and media focus, which required florid sacraments of suffering, which required the collusion of the racist order. Birmingham would supply the savagery and the sacraments. That savagery was notable even by the standards of the Deep South. Birmingham was widely viewed as the most segregated city in the United States. Racial terrorism was commonplace. The bombing of ordinary black homeowners was so prolific that it yielded nicknames for a neighborhood (Dynamite Hill) and the city(Bombingham)." Reader keep in mind, the unseen reality of the presence of the Spirit of Bondage and the Spirit of Poverty working in collaboration with humankind.
Reider goes on to write, "On a whim, members of one of its Ku Klux Klan affiliates kidnapped a black pedestrian, Edward Aaron, out for a walk with his girlfriend. After they forced him to crawl and choose between death or castration, they emasculated him and doused his bleeding wound with turpentine. But first one of them told him, "Well I want you to carry a message to Shuttlesworth. I want you to tell him to stop sending nigger children and white children to school together or we`re gonna do him like we`re fixing to do you." For daring to defy white supremacy, Rev. Charles Billups, a key Shuttlesworth ally in the ACMHR, was kidnapped and blindfolded, beaten with chains, tied to a tree, and branded on the stomach with the letters KKK."
Above we have a glimpse of the conditions and background from which Dr M. L. King was led to Birmingham, Alabama. He actually penned the "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" on 16 April 1963, in response to a article in a news paper entitled, "A Call for Unity" which was a statement made by 8 white Alabama clergymen. The clergymen called Dr. King`s activities "unwise" and "untimely." Dr. King paints a picture wherein he is viewed as writing a prophetic prison letter somewhat like Apostle Paul. It`s significant to note that in the beginning of the letter that Dr. King writes, " Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms."
Let`s consider the above conditions and background as a system, even though there is a difference between the actual system and those within it. As stated elsewhere, similarly here in Birmingham Alabama there was a unity which pointed to the dynamic relationship between the system and the positions occupied or roles played by those who participated within it. What I mean is that, this unity speaks of how the system affected how occupants thought, felt, and behaved as participants.
The significance I point to relates to how Dr. King writes of what he felt was the sincerity of the clergymen`s criticisms. Others have rightly noted that Dr. King`s intent here, was not just to focus on the clergymen, but the letter was intended to be a statement for universal justice, not just a particular response to the on going racist terror in Alabama during the 1960`s. However, as I`ve stated elsewhere, the influence of time and place always holds great importance. In this particular case, Dr King actually penned his letter in response to the mindset of not just the 8 clergymen, but of all the religious leaders for supporting or turning a blind eye to the racist white power structure. Dr. King writes, "I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
When I was suddenly catapulted into leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests, and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders. All to many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows."
Observe, here we have a little bit of a summary and analysis of Dr. King`s book by GradeSaver . " Acknowledging the words like "tension" and "crisis" are frightening to moderates, Dr. King nevertheless insists that he embraces such concepts providing they are "constructive and non-violent". In fact, he believes that tension is necessary for growth. He alludes to Socrates, who believed there must a "tension in the mind" so that individuals could transcend superstition and embrace truth, and insists that men like himself must force external tension so that men can "rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."
Earlier in the same summary records, "Dr. King gently chides the clergymen, for criticizing the demonstrations without simultaneously criticizing "the conditions of racial discrimination that brought about the demonstrations. Knowing that they would not suggest a "social analysis" that only studies effects and not causes, he suggests they must not realize the extent to which Birmingham`s "White power structure" has left the Black community no option but to demonstrate." When Dr. King says "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"...This is obviously not a challenge that a professed Christian man would wish to disagree with." The summary goes further, "Dr. King in effect, he is asking; How can these moral clergyman refuse to recognize the chance to practice their faith" How can they celebrate those early missionaries while now attacking a missionary who preaches an extension of such Christian justice?" Mind you Dr. King wrote these things while he was locked in solitary confinement on scraps of paper smuggled to him. Oh yes, in real time, the influence of time and place always holds great significance . If you were to outline the distinctions between the positions and actions taken by those the 8 clergymen supported and the black protesters they said who "threatened law and order" perhaps you too will discern the Spirit of Bondage working behind the scene.
One need only to peek, for another example, at the 2,000 Natzi anti-Jewish decrees passed between 1933-1945. Doing this with a spiritual eye will clarify how civil disobedience reveals a spiritual battle against unjust laws that originate from the Kingdom of Darkness. Everything that Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" , conversely, it was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler`s Germany. The Nuremberg Laws denied Jews many basic civil rights.
In conclusion, its only fair that I share as stated elsewhere how I am fully aware of how we humans project our social beliefs into biblical doctrines or other religious texts. We do this as a means for supporting whatever belief each one of us brings to the table. Obviously on this page I`ve taken the position whereby I believe God has created humankind equal. Could this be mere presumption? My brother, my sister, how do you observe, interpret and digest the above? God bless.