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A Better Freedom
Author: Michael Card
IVP Books
168 pp.

Singer, songwriter, and author Michael Card addresses the Biblical concepts of slavery and freedom in his latest book, _A Better Freedom_. His thesis is based on the idea that the Greek word translated as “Lord,” kyrios, is better translated as “Master,” and often refers to a slave/master relationship.  Based on that, he concludes that almost half of Jesus’ parables deal with slaves or slavery.

He draws the distinction of what slavery meant in the New Testament setting as opposed to the dark period of slavery in America’s history.  He also shows several parallels between both periods, and suggests that we have a lot to learn from our African-American brethren
regarding the idea of being a “slave to Christ.”

He then reminds us of the paradoxical nature of the Gospel ­ citing the examples of giving to receive, of dying to live, of being last in order to be first.  By doing so, he demonstrates the freedom that arrives for those who are willing to enslave themselves to Christ.

Here’s the question: Is his premise the correct interpretation? Relying on alternate translations as the basis for a concept can lead to questionable results.  It should be noted that I’m not claiming that Card is wrong by any means.  He challenges the traditional
emphasis given certain words, and that in itself expresses a courage to rethink the accepted teachings of the church.  He also proposes at one point that the Apostle Luke was a former slave, but does little to support that supposition.  Card may well have a case for his thoughts, but I would have liked to have seen more foundation behind his premise.

Brian A. Smith
20 February 2010



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