My latest post for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies is titled “Francis Wayland and Richard Fuller: Debating Slavery with Christian Civility.” The post speaks to the famous Wayland-Fuller epistolary debate over slavery, which was published in the 1845 book Domestic Slavery Considered as a Scriptural Institution. My colleague Keith Harper and I co-edited a new edition of Domestic Slavery for Mercer University Press in 2008.
Here’s my concluding paragraph from the post:
Their respective arguments notwithstanding, Domestic Slavery is a model of Christian civility. Wayland and Fuller continually refer to each other as “my dear friend,” and in this case, they really meant it. Neither engages in ad hominem attacks of the other. Both men are quick to affirm anything they see as right and truthful in the other’s argument. Though Wayland really does believe Fuller is misreading Scripture, and though Fuller really is convinced Wayland is ignoring Scripture, the two men are always cordial and dignified; they never paint the other as sub-Christian or impugn each other’s motives. These two esteemed antebellum Baptists remind us that it is possible to debate even the most controversial issues in a Christ-like manner.
You can go to the Fuller Center’s website to read the whole essay.