Does St. Paul Condone Slavery?

St. Paul writes to his friend Philemon to say that he is returning his slave, Onesimus, to him. Some have read this as a tacit acceptance by the Apostle of the institution of slavery, which we naturally have trouble reconciling with brutal and inhumane treatment of African slaves in the American past. How could any Christian, let alone a saint, an Apostle, and the author of most of the New Testament condone such a thing?

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