An 1842 book about “The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States” by Rev. Charles Colcock Jones (1804-1863) provides a historical account of Christianity and Slavery in America up to that point. Of course, slavery did not officially end until 1865 when the 13th Amendment was passed. Racial discrimination of course continued even pass 1865 but that is not my focus in this article.
I surveyed the book for its scope and intent. The author goes into a great deal of history concerning slavery in the world in general and particularly in America. The author’s goal is to encourage the reader to carry out the Great Commission as outlined in Matthew 28:18-20.
For me, pages 161-171 provide the core purpose of the book which is to encourage (1) the conversion of “Negroes” to Christianity and (2) a proper master-servant relationship as outlined in the Bible.
Indeed, the Bible condemns the American implementation of the master-servant relationship in the form of what we know as American slavery. Yet, the Bible does not condemn all kinds of master-servant relationships.
The author, a white clergyman, rightly urges conversion of blacks to Christianity and treatment of them according to biblical instruction. In fact, he urges the nation to treat blacks as fully human worthy of equitable treatment and justice just as the bible declares all people to be. He was right since Christianity is the superior faith/religion simply because of Jesus Christ as there is no greater hope for humankind than the biblical Jesus Christ.
Did all (whites and blacks) people conform to biblical instruction? No, not then and not now! That is the spiritual battle in which we (blacks and whites) are engaged.
For interested persons, an online version of the book may be found at University of North Carolina website here.
My article on the Basis for American Slavery may be found here.