Thursday, 14 August 2014

Is It Alright For a Christian to Lie?

I was making calls on Alpha churches this morning. At one church was a fellow working on his car in the parking lot. I asked if he was part of this church. He said he used to go there, but he was not the pastor. (I knew that, because I know the pastor.) He said he now has a calling to visit various churches and seek out false teaching. Well... OK...

I told him I was with Alpha. He said he had seen the Alpha course and there were areas of it with which he was uncomfortable. I asked him what one area of concern might be and he said he couldn't think of any right off the bat.  Finally he said he thought that Nicky Gumbel lumped all churches together, including the Catholic church. This fellow was unfortunately one of those who consider the Catholic Church to be evil. All I said to this was that in my travels I had met many wonderful Spirit-filled Catholics in wonderful Spirit-filled parishes. (I am, after all, an Alpha leader and trained not to get into arguments.) He actually agreed magnanimously that there might be true Christians in the Catholic Church.

I don't know how the subject started, but the conversation turned to whether or not it was OK for a Christian to lie. I said I thought that it was sometimes alright for a Christian to do so. The actual commandment (the 9th) that most people take as a prohibition against lying is actually not a blanket prohibition. It says you shall not bear false witness (give false testimony) against your neighbour. In my opinion this is a fairly specific prohibition against exactly what it says, not a general prohibition of not telling the truth in any and every circumstance. He disagreed adamantly, of course.

I didn't have my Bible with me, and my phone (with a Bible app) was in my car, but I did mention that I thought God had told Moses to lie to Pharaoh, and that Rahab was commended for lying to protect the Israelite spies, but I didn't have specific references at hand.

I do now. In Exodus 3: 18, God tells Moses: and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.
When in fact there was no intention of taking a mere 3 day journey. We know that Rahab lied to the authorities about the whereabouts of the Israelite spies (Joshua 2) and was rewarded for it. In Hebrews 11:31 and in James 2:25 she was actually commended and "considered righteous" for it.

I think this gives good Scriptural evidence for my point. Anybody think differently?

Take Care    


Warren said...

I don't claim to have any original eschatological thoughts, but this recent post on Internet Monk (IM) regarding the rapture resonated with me:

Although it hasn't been the same since Michael Spencer's untimely death a few years ago, I still regularly read IM and the posts often give me pause for reflection.

Warren said...

Oops! I posted the above in the wrong place. Sorry.

John K said...

Hi Warren. see my own comment in the proper place, below (smilie).