The word ‘ergon‘ appears 169 times in the Bible.
ERGON. Strong’s Number: 2041 ~ἔργον~ from a primary (but obsolete) ergo (to work)
- business, employment, that which any one is occupied
- that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking
- any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind
- an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opposition to that which is less than work
Of those 169 instances, ‘ergon’ is translated ‘works’ or ‘work’ 96 times, and ‘deeds’ or ‘deed’ 65 times. Because Abolitionism is a natural outworking of Biblical values, it is necessary to calculate this word in a Scriptural context. From the book of James: ‘For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’
In addition to endeavoring to maintain a consistent orthodoxy and doctrinal stance towards understanding Scripture, Abolitionists also rely heavily on applying that scripture in their daily lives through a principled orthopraxy (works) towards Abolition which is properly defined and repeated by abolitionists of human bondage: the liberation of man from the dominion of man…
“…from the thraldom of self, from the government of brute force, from the bondage of sin—and bringing [people] under the dominion of God, the control of an inward spirit, the government of the law of love, and into the obedience and liberty of Christ.” (William Lloyd Garrison. The Liberator. 1837.)
“Henry C. Wright stated the ruling principle even more clearly: ‘God, and God alone, has a right of dominion over man; and he has never delegated this right to another… Men, women or children never should be subjected, in any kind or degree, to the will of man… A desire to hold dominion over man is rebellion against God… The moment a man claims a right to control the will of a fellow human being by physical force, he is at heart a slaveholder.'” (American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea. Ira Chernus.
These principles and ideas are included in the core message of the Bible because, as John Wycliffe so accurately stated, the ‘Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.‘ Because the message of Scripture repeatedly expresses the moral opinion that man’s dominion over man is a sinful and deleterious concept, and that mankind was created to be free souls under God, then it is necessary that Scripture also conveys a practical approach and ideological framework in order to propagate and enact this moral opinion. It is the beacon of Abolitionism that professes to possess this ideology, and this is so that abolitionists can remain morally upright as we confront a lost and dying culture in bondage and endeavor to secure lost sheep to the Kingdom of Heaven so that they may become those free souls under God. In other words, Abolitionists recognize five principles from Scripture that guide their works, or ERGON:
Abolitionists are Evangelical. This is not to say that Abolitionists subscribe to the movement of evangelicalism, but rather are evangelists, relying on a Biblical worldview and by the power of God’s Spirit in order to make their remonstrance towards a lost and sinful people. Their apologetic is not one of humanism or secularism. Their attempts at moral suasion are decidedly Christian, like the early apostles who preached to the public in the synagogues and marketplaces that the Kingdom of God is at hand. They preach repentance from sin, recognizing that sin is what leads us to bondage.
Abolitionists are Reliant on Providence. Because the Creator of the Universe blesses a virtuous people who endeavor to be ruled by God’s spirit, our actions must reflect stark obedience, wholly rejecting the morally-suspended pragmatism of those who believe that the ends justify the means, or that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Abolitionists must operate righteously, having graceful speech seasoned with salt, walking by faith and not by their own understanding. Duty is ours. The results belong to God. (Psalm 20:7, Psalm 33:16-22, Isaiah 33:1)
Abolitionists are Gospel-Centered. Men cannot rescue themselves from bondage, but must be delivered by a Redeemer who chose to purchase them by laying down his life for those who denied him. This is the good news for all of those who choose to repent and believe on Jesus the Christ, claiming no king or master but him. Without the Gospel, there would be no foundation on which to untangle the machinations of men against their own liberty, nor would there be a means to forsake the rudiments of the world in favor of the Bread of Life.
Abolition is the Obligation of every professing Christian. Every soul that recognizes God as his creator and giver of laws has a duty to make manifest his ordination to be salt and light, preaching repentance among every civil institution of man to the ends of the earth, baptizing the repentant unto the Kingdom of God, and discipling them to hate evil and to love good, expose the unfruitful works of darkness, and to demolish arguments raised up against the knowledge of the truth. Every believer has a role to play and a work to do. Loving your neighbor as yourself means holding them back as they stumble towards the slaughter.
Hyperbolically, abolition must happen Now. The immediatism of repentance is diametrically opposed to the incremental slippery slope characterized by the gradual nature of increasing sin and bondage. Mere belief in the salvific teachings of Christ while remaining apathetic and lukewarm about your obligation to seek His Kingdom and live out those teachings is the essence of having faith without works. It is the essence of death, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness in the Valley of Dry Bones. Additionally, the Biblical injunction towards immediatism is contradicted by the compromising, deal-making, approaches of the worldly-minded characterized by ‘incrementalism’. Incrementalism looks for ways to ‘take what we can get’ in regards to liberty. It may look like Constitutionalism, and endeavor to hold magistrates to the standard of some interpretation of the Constitution, regarding some perceived infraction or policy as ‘unconstitutional’ and seeking to restore our quality of life to the intentions pursued by the framers of a piece of paper. Incrementalism may also look like enthusiasm for ‘States’ Rights’, where political power is to be shifted from the central authority of the United States Government to the individual states, creating not just one Benefactor who exercises authority, but fifty. Of course, the abolition of human archism cannot be applied by incrementalist schemes of men that rely on compromising with the idea of ruling over each other in order that a little perceived liberty can be obtained. Abolitionists recognize this compromise as short-sighted faithlessness that competes directly with the plan of salvation that Christ the King established for his faithful followers. Incrementalism can only ever further entrench bondage in a culture of bondage, while having a deceitful illusion of progress. Much like hitting rubber with a hammer, or running on a treadmill. Incrementalism mistakes motion for action, which results in death for someone struggling against the quagmire and quicksand of human civil government.
In applying these five principles, Abolitionists further their ideology and the cause of Christ by using two modes:
Agitation is the destruction of speculations, the undermining of misinformation, the awakening of the apathetic, and the unsettling of the indifferent. The tepid, putrid waters of a lethargic culture must be agitated in order to stir up the comfortable indiscretions and expose the filthy idolatry in the hearts and minds of men. The unfruitful works of darkness must be brought to the surface, so that new life can be introduced by way of the Gospel of God.
Assistance is the provision of an alternative Kingdom to the bureaucracies of man. Abolitionists seek to love their neighbor as themselves and lay down their lives for their friends. In providing a daily ministration to care for the least of these, adopting fatherless, cursed children into the family of God, and ministering to the widows in true and undefiled religion, Abolitionists seek to take back their responsibilities towards social virtues in order to build a networked adhocracy that lasts from generation to generation.
“…wherever it took shape, abolitionism was both a meditation and a movement: a meditation on “big ideas” about freedom and equality and a complex movement of people, organizations, and events designed to bring those ideas to fruition. Abolitionism was a social movement—an activist struggle akin to the twentieth-century civil rights movement—that focused on political and social agitation.” (Abolitionism: A Very Short Introduction. Richard S. Newman)