When it comes to biblical authority, slavery is the progressive’s favorite wedge issue. It’s not hard to imagine a conversation with a non-Christian or with a progressive Christian going something like this:
PROGRESSIVE: You hold to the traditional view of marriage?
CONSERVATIVE: Yes. Scripture is clear on that.
PROGRESSIVE: And you also hold to ordination of men only?
CONSERVATIVE: Yes. Scripture is also clear on that issue.
PROGRESSIVE: Well, why don’t you follow the Bible’s teaching on slavery then? It’s special pleading to ignore all of that material and claim that you are “biblical.” In reality, you are only selectively “biblical.”
A conservative who is unprepared for that argument and who holds to a surface level apprehension of the issues at stake might find himself taken in by the logic, ultimately leading to a shaking of his confidence in Scripture’s authority. With the image of African slaves being kidnapped, sold, and abused hovering in the background, the conservative may find himself at a loss to defend the authority of Scripture under the assumption that it clearly endorses such moral atrocities. And from there, the whole fabric of biblical authority might begin to unravel.