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Fourth Annual Lanier Lecture Welcomes Dr. Peter J. Williams to Discuss Slavery in the Bible

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the fourth annual LCU & Lanier Theological Library Lecture featured Dr. Peter J. Williams speaking on the topic, “Does the Bible Support Slavery?” in the W.R. Collier Auditorium.

"The issue of slavery is important today because there is so much trafficking going on, and because many Christians are confused about what the Bible teaches on slavery. As a result, they often have doubts about the validity of the Bible in this area,” said Williams.

Williams is Warden and CEO of Tyndale House in Cambridge, a Christian community within the University of Cambridge committed to biblical research and relevant studies. Williams received his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D at Cambridge University studying Hebrew and other languages relevant to studying biblical texts. He engages in numerous lectures on biblical translations and scriptures – including “Does the Bible Support Slavery?” – at venues around the world.

Upon being introduced to the Bible, some individuals have questions regarding how God – who is defined as love – could have allowed slavery, or even how early Christians could own slaves.

Williams addressed the Bible’s relevance in a modern society, the reconciliation of God as love allowing slavery, and other queries in his lecture. “I tend to find that moral objections to the bible merely assume what they need to prove, but that does not mean that answering them is easy. Often an objection comes with rhetorical force gained from the assumptions of the culture, and those assumptions need to be challenged as part of a proper answer."

“In his lecture, Professor Williams demonstrated that the Bible is more nuanced than appears in a superficial reading. While the New Testament does not directly call for the abolition of slavery, for example, it creates a community in which slaves and masters are brothers/sisters who out of love treat each other with dignity and respect,” added Dr. Jesse Long, Dean of the College of Biblical Studies and Behavioral Sciences, who worked to coordinate the lecture on campus.

The Lanier Theological Library has sponsored annual lectures on the LCU campus since 2012, when Dr. James Hoffmeier lectured on “Exodus from Egypt.” Other lectures have covered C.S. Lewis and the Dead Sea Scrolls, by Dr. Alister McGrath and Weston Fields respectively. Mark Lanier, the founder and creator of the Lanier Theological Library who grew up in Lubbock, works closely with LCU to make these events happen.