Once a month I travel up to Richmond, VA. to teach on apologetics at No Ceilings Bible Study. This is a clip from the end of Part 1 of a series I taught on what philosophers call “The Problem of Evil (and Suffering)”. As I say all the time, one of my ministry goals is to draw from the range of apologetics resources that we as Christians have at our disposal and contextualize them such that the specific questions about and objections to Christianity that have been gaining traction in the African American community and among people of African descent in the Western World. At the end of this session a question was asked that really captures how the specific concerns we face in doing “urban apologetics” intersects with the fundamental issues that one would find in any other context. As I tackled the question, “Will God Bring Judgment on America for Slavery?”, I cited quotations from David Walker’s Appeal, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson. I have provided the sources for those quotes.
Also, to listen to the full version of this session on the Problem of Evil, click on this link to check out the audio version on my Tru-ID Podcast!
Episode: “No Ceilings: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? Part 1”
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Youtube version of episode: https://youtu.be/s95qbezyBE0
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www.truidpodcast.com (Podcast also on iTunes)
“In fact, they are so happy to keep in ignorance and degradation, and to receive the homage and the labour of the slaves, they forget that God rules in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, having his ears continually open to the cries, tears and groans of his oppressed people; and being a just and holy Being will at one day appear fully in behalf of the oppressed, and arrest the progress of the avaricious oppressors; for although the destruction of the oppressors God may not effect by the oppressed, yet the Lord our God will bring other destructions upon them–for not unfrequently will he cause them to rise up one against another, to be split and divided, and to oppress each other, and sometimes to open hostilities with sword in hand. Some may ask, what is the matter with this united and happy people?–Some say it is the cause of political usurpers, tyrants, oppressors, &c. But has not the Lord an oppressed and suffering people among them? Does the Lord condescend to hear their cries and see their tears in consequence of oppression? Will he let the oppressors rest comfortably and happy always? Will he not cause the very children of the oppressors to rise up against them, and oftimes put them to death? “God works in many ways his wonders to perform.”
David Walker’s Appeal (2nd. Ed. 1830)
“The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
Second Inaugural Address March 4 1865
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.”
Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII: Manners (1781)