“What does the Bible really say about Slavery? A Conversation on the Pro-slavery and Anti-slavery argument in the Age of American Slavery”

“What does the Bible really say about Slavery? A Conversation on the Pro-slavery and Anti-slavery argument in the Age of American Slavery”

Tomorrow morning (Sunday, June 17) at Jesus Center Community Church, we will explore the second part of the teaching series entitled “Slavery, the Bible, and God’s Redemption.” We will give special attention to the so-called “Biblical Slavery Texts,” that is some passages in the Bible that seem to approve of the enslavement of individuals, but they do not indicate explicitly and directly that God has sanctioned slavery–as this was a common argument made by pros-slavery Christians and theologians throughout the nineteenth century in America. Secondly, we will discuss certain relevant texts that anti-abolitionists, both Christians and non-Christians, used to campaign against the enslavement of Africans in the United States, to legally abolish slavery as an institution in the United States, and for the American government to legally put a stop at the country’s participation in the transatlantic Slave trade.

Finally, we will do some comparison between biblical slavery and American slavery. This is part of our verse-by-verse exposition on the book of Ephesians (Ephesians 6:5-9).
Consequently, if you desire to learn more about this subject matter and live in Port St Lucie and the surrounding area, it is my pleasure to invite you to join us in worship tomorrow morning at Jesus Center.

The worship service starts at 10:00 Am and ends at noon. Breakfast is served about 15 minutes before the service.

Invitation Card Jesus Center

See you at Jesus Center tomorrow morning!

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“Slavery, the Bible, and God’s Redemption”

“Slavery, the Bible, and God’s Redemption”

Tomorrow (Sunday, June 10) at Jesus Center Community Church, I will begin a new series of sermon on “Slavery and the Bible” to continue our exposition on the Book of Ephesians. It will be a three-part series.

On Sunday, June 10, I will teach on the “Nature of Slavery in the Greco-Roman world.” Thanks to Dr. Craig Keener for providing a detailed background analysis on this topic in his excellent text: “Paul, Women, and Wives” (pp. 197-224).

The following Sunday, June 17, I will talk about “Biblical Slavery and God’s Redemption.” I will make some comparison between biblical slavery and American slavery. Thanks to William J. Webb for writing one of the most engaging and challenging books on this topic: “Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals.”

I will close the last sermon in the series with an emphasis on “Slavery in the Letters of Paul,” with a particular focus on Ephesians 6: 5-9.
Thanks to Jennifer A. Glancy and Cain Hope Felder for providing us with alternative interpretive lenses to make sure of the complex issue of biblical slavery: “Slavery in Early Christianity” (Glancy); “Stony the Road We Trod: African American Bibilical Interpretation” (Felder).

This is going to be both a challenging and exciting teaching series for me. Pray to the God of knowledge and wisdom on my behalf for greater clarity, understanding, and humility as I seek to interpret accurately the institution of slavery as one of the most perplex human practices in human history and one of the most challenging issues in biblical ethics and theological anthropology.

Consequently, I would like to extend my invitation to you to join us tomorrow morning in corporate worship at Jesus Center.

Our worship service starts at 10:00 am.

The Work or Duty of the Church

The work of the Church in doing acts of compassion and service and demonstrating the love of God in Christ through hospitality (that is welcoming the stranger, the unknown, and the immigrant), feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner, and caring for the orphan and widow does not have an end.

The Church’s duty in improving the human condition in society and transforming people’s lives for better through serving, loving, and connecting people in its community is the greatest manifestation of divine hospitality, love, and justice in public.

“A Plea for Greater Inclusion of Other Voices in Gospel and Social Justice Conversations Among American Christians”

“A Plea for Greater Inclusion of Other Voices in Gospel and Social Justice Conversations Among American Christians”

The attached photo represents some of the influential Evangelical leaders and thinkers who will be speaking at an upcoming conference on the interrelated topics of the Christian Gospel, race, and social justice in contemporary American society and American Evangelicalism.

The visual representation and selection of the speakers indicate enormously on how (White and African American) American (Evangelical) Christians understand and frame Gospel and social justice conversations in this contemporary culture. Within the history of American Christianity, race and social justice issues in this country have almost always been a conversation between two groups of people: African American and White American Christians. History will not fail us if we interpret this phenomenon as a “tradition.” In fact, it is indeed a White and African American Christian tradition; one can look back at recent conferences on these matters among these two represented Christian groups to validate this claim.

Hence, if this is the only expression of the Gospel in white and black, American (Evangelical) Christians have indeed undermined the universal quality and value, and correspondingly the cross-cultural, cross-ethnic, and transnational force and intent of the Gospel. It is important that we do not allow the American historical narrative and the conflict between White and African Americans, as well as the struggle for shalom and wholeness between White and African American Christians to be the only lens to assess the relevance of the Gospel for these urgent issues and its implications for the project of social justice, peace, racial reconciliation, unity, and harmony.

When White American and African American Christians discuss the issues named above among themselves only, both directly and indirectly, they shut off the voice, agency, and the concerns of other brothers and sisters in Christ including those of Hispanic, Asian, and black Christians who are not African Americans. When other brothers and sisters are not included in these Christian dialogues, both intentionally and unintentionally, this particular form of ethnic and racial exclusion will not fully unite the body of Christ nor will it foster adequate conversations across the various ethnic, racial, and cultural lines in American Christianity in these urgent moments–which could also help heal our collective wound and restore our fragmented soul.

Moreover, the American history of racial trauma and fear, and the triumph of injustice and dehumanization of certain groups of people in our society should not dictate the meaning of the Gospel nor should the trajectories of American history be the cultural hermeneutical paradigm to strive toward human flourishing and the common good. We must first begin with the inclusive message of the Gospel followed by our careful analysis and criticism of the complexity of the human experience and life in America and the interplays and actions that define us as a people.

The hegemony of these two represented Christian groups, pertaining to the subject matter, also indicates their insensitivity to the pain, suffering, and alienation of Brown, Asian, Hispanic, and non-African American Christians in American Christian history, and the Gospel project (and Christ’s promise) of universal reconciliation and global justice through the cross and power of Christ.

May God lead us to reject tribal christianity to embrace a better and more promising vision of the Gospel and the glory of the cross of Christ!

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Postcript:

Whether this above photo is accurate or not, I’m using this picture as a symbol and metaphor of a bigger problem and more pressing issue on Gospel-centered social justice and race conversations in American (Evangelical) christianity and the (monolithic) narrative associated with it.

(Summer  Language Classes, July 2018): Basic (Free) English and Creole Classes for the People of Fort Pierce and its Surrounding!

Announcement (Summer Language Classes, July 2018): Basic (Free) English and Creole Classes for the People of Fort Pierce and its Surrounding!

Starting in the first week of July 2018, Jesus Center Community Church will offer two language classes: a free intensive class on Basic (reading, writing, speaking) English for individuals who just immigrated to the United States, and a basic course on Creole (Kreyòl) (reading, writing, speaking) for English speakers.

Would you encourage friends, parents, or anyone (in need) you believe will be interested to sign up?

By intensive, we mean each class (English or Creole) will meet once a week, for 2 hrs.The individual course will last eight weeks.

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In order for us to launch the course, at least 10 individuals must enroll.

The free intensive English and Creole classes are open to the people of Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, and Vero.

For any questions or concerns, contact us at jesuscentercc@gmail.com or 772 302-3118

(Medical) Mission Trip to Haiti: July 17-26, 2018

(Medical) Mission Trip to Haiti: July 17-26, 2018

A team of  individuals from Hope for Today Outreach and New Beginning International Ministries, and a team of nurses from the Treasure Coast (Florida) will be going to Haiti in July 17-26, 2018 for a mission trip.

Through collaboration with our active partners, we will provide the following resources to the Haitian people: medical clinics; distribution of school supplies and backpacks; distribution of food, clothing, and literacy materials; leadership and educational conferences; ministerial training; community evangelism and prayer walk, etc.

We will provide free medical consultation to families and children and be distributing first medical aids/over-the-counter medications. We will also provide hot meals, food, clothing, and shoes to Haitian families, and school supplies to Haitian students for the academic year, 2018-2019.

school

If you are unable to join us this year, we hope you will consider donating supplies and resources toward this mission trip; here are the list of the items we are collecting:

1. Backpacks

2. Notebooks & Binders/Composition notebooks

3. Pencils, pens, color crayons, erasers, glue sticks, rulers, pencil sharpeners, etc.

4. Socks–any size for elementary to high school students.

*Our goal this year is to provide school supplies to 400 Haitian families. The deadline to provide any of the items listed above is May 31, 2018. We will ship the items in the first week of June to get there on time.

You can contact me directly at celucienjoseph@gmail.com (Dr. Lou). We would love to hear from you. We can be reached in a number of ways:

• By Mail

Hope for Today Outreach (HTO)
P.O. Box 7353
Port Saint Lucie, FL 34985

• By Phone

772-985-0696

• By Email

hopefortodayoutreach@gmail.com

Have an Awesome day!

Pastor Joseph