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On this episode, Jared and I speak with Drew Hart about the difficult and painful topic of white supremacy and the Christian faith. Hart is assistant professor of theology at Messiah College, activist, and author of Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism.

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Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.

2 Comments

  • Elli Hunt says:

    One of the many things that trouble me about some of the content in the Bible is found in the story of Joseph. His story of being sold by his own brothers into captivity is horrible enough. Yet it grows worse as he falsely accused of attacking his masters wife and ends up in prison.

    Eventually he is delivered from his prison and put into the second highest position in Egypt. And here comes one of the troubling things in this story. In his position it states that he has slaves serving him and his family. Now I understand that there are many ways that could be interpreted, but here’s the main theme in this, he was in a position that could have brought change to this concept of slavery, but he didn’t. It sends a strong message that the bible condones slavery and it promotes the ideology of supremacist mentality. It doesn’t really matter if that is what actually happened , we don’t know about the circumstances of that culture. Yet what we do tend to do today is to project these themes into our present culture to justify ideologies that create hate, prejudices, and fear.

    It is one of many problems I have with the bible that often is used to as a source to justify these harmful ideas in our society. Really, you can create a full theology to justify racist, supremacist ideologies. I think we need to look at the bible more as source of stories about other people and their cultures working out their relationship with God.

    • Huff says:

      One of the beautiful things that the Bible tells is the progressive growth of Israel. It tells the story of a barbaric, nomadic race of people who are transformed in order to prepare them to eventually meet the Messiah. It took time to do this. And we see throughout the pages of the Old Testament transformation.

      I think we have to stop looking for the Bible to give us easy answers. It doesn’t. The Bible doesn’t tell us who the bad guys are in, say, the book of Job. We want a quick answer. The response versus synopsis asking “is this the right things to say?”. But the Bible doesn’t do that. It tells us the stories at forces us to figure things out for ourself.

      Israel was that a much different place when describing the story of Joseph. Similarly, the book of Jonah rejects the nationalism we see in the book of Judges. And even there, it doesn’t call the nationalism of judges bad. It just gives us many things to think and talk about.

      So, I wouldn’t get hung up on the minutia of stories and how they translate to the 21st-century. That wasn’t the purpose of the stories, nor was the context from which they were living.

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