Many individuals moved to the New World with the incentive of religious freedom. Over the years, regardless of the denomination, religious tolerance has been a fairly well-fulfilled objective. Most people in the American colonies could practice the religion they wanted to pursue. Toleration even extended to those who were enslaved. Slaves brought non-Christian beliefs with them and those beliefs were generally tolerated by the colonists. Despite this limited freedom, large numbers of slaves chose to convert from African beliefs to western beliefs. Their conversion was not immediate and it was not advertised; the process was slow and somewhat quiet. As a result, there is little conversation today about the conversion of slaves to Christianity, the purposes of the conversion, and their impact on the nation are a quiet thread in the fabric of our country’s complex history.
The Apostle Paul’s letter to to the people of Corinth includes one of his most resilient messages. It was written to followers at a new church who faced many conflicts as they tried to survive in a new, spiritual world. Followers in Corinth were, in some notable ways, similar to those who were living in the American colonies. They faced physical threats from outsiders, dissention and in-fighting internally, and a sense of loneliness. They wanted something better, they wanted a land of promise, but the path was not as easy as they had hoped. Similarly, slaves in the colonies also faced physical threats, a fractured environment, and a sense of loneliness. Paul wrote his words of encouragement to deliver spiritual resilience and motivation. His letter to the Corinthians delivers instructions, much like the military leader to scared and unsettled troops, to stay strong and hold the lines. Each section of the quote above gives a specific, heartening instruction.
Be on Your Guard.
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