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Slavery Abolished by the Gospel’s Restoration

Abraham Kuyper in Pro Rege 2, on the abolition of slavery by the impulse of the gospel:

‘We owe the abolition of slavery exclusively to Christ’s dominion in the family. Neither Christ nor his apostles ever demanded that every converted slaveholder immediately release all his slaves. We find no command in Scripture by which the rights applying in those times were either attacked or overturned. The slavery that already existed was allowed to continue under the gospel. But the gospel did penetrate the master-servant relationship; from this position, it went on to sanctify this relationship spiritually and to elevate it by appealing to masters to honor their slaves not only as their fellow human beings but also as their brothers in Christ. With this, the gospel created a situation in which the slave-master relationship gradually came to an end, out of an impulse that the gospel carried within itself.’

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