Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Far We've Strayed...

... in our Wesleyan hermeneutic. How many Wesleyan churches today would feel completely comfortable with this logic from Charles Hodge, anti-abolitionist/pro-slavery inerrantist, Princeton Calvinist, writing here in the early 1850s in support of the Fugitive Slave Act, which required Northerners to return to the south any runaway slaves they might encounter:

"The obedience which slaves owe their masters, children their parents, wives their husbands, people their rulers, is always made to rest on the divine will as its ultimate foundation... All that the Scriptures, for example, teach of the subordination of children to their parents, wives to their husbands, has not its foundation, but its confirmation, in the very nature of the relation of the parties... We have no more right to refuse obedience to an actually existing government because it is not to our taste, than a child has a right to refuse to recognize a wayward parent; or a wife a capricious husband."

Charles Hodge, "The Fugitive Slave Act," in Cotton is King, and Pro-Slavery Arguments: Comprising the Writings of Hammond, Harper, Christy, Stringfellow, Hodge, Bledsoe, and Cartwright on this Important Subject, ed. by E. N. Elliott (Augusta, GA: 1860), 819-21.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Is this not a consequence of insisting upon inerrancy? Thus, have we not caused our own problems by requiring potential members to affirm it in order to join the church? I say this as someone for whom the doctrine is a considerable stumbling block. Judging from what I've read on your blog, there are diverse opinions on what inerrancy means within the church such that I'm not sure the word is even appropriate to use in our context. Nonetheless, use it we do. It is posing problems for my continuing membership in the church. How can we even be good students of the Bible if we are constrained by inerrancy?