How the Bible endorses slavery, straight from the horse’s mouth (well, a horse’s mouth):
I was at a pastor’s conference in N.C. recently, and heard someone say it’s hard to refer to slavery, we have such history, how do I deal with that? I told him that the Bible doesn’t commend slavery, nor condemn it. It simply borrows the metaphor. The Bible doesn’t damn the institution of slavery, but it says masters should treat the slaves right. For some it was good especially with a benevolent master. Jesus didn’t come to abolish slavery, because if He did, He failed. He simply borrowed the metaphor because it’s so perfect! In fact, when the gospel began to move out into the world, the apostles understood it. In Acts 2:18, God is referring to His people as slaves. In Acts 4:29, when persecuted, they said, “Grant that your slaves.” They lived in a world of slaves, and understood it very well. That pastor was concerned about 5 generations ago, but these folks in the NT understood about it in the immediate generation. A slave was like a tool, you could kill your slave if you wanted to! To say that this crucified man is asking you to become his slave is beyond absurdity. Everyone who is free wanted to stay free; most slaves wanted to be free.
From a sermon by Reformed Evangelical minister John MacArthur, via the modestly-titled Christian blog The Objective Truth. MacArthur takes issue with the notion of a “personal relationship” with Jesus, arguing that the dynamic should be interpreted as that between a master and slave. Paging Dr. Dennett: