Download (right click and choose save as)

The African slave trade that was practiced in the early part of America’s history has cast a long shadow over our national psyche, and the scar of that evil practice has never really healed among the American people. The legacy of slavery in our own country also potentially makes the reading of Philemon uncomfortable because the existence, and apparent acceptance, of both slaves and masters within the early church is a central fact of this short letter. Paul’s counsel to his friend and slave master, Philemon, might have had the effect of tempering slavery, but Paul stopped well-short of denouncing the practice outright. This coming Sunday we’ll explore the implications of that. What do we do with the issue of slavery in Philemon?