ethics question

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by dfi, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. dfi

    dfi
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    perhaps this will be a little clearer and easier to answer than my last question:

    I have a question to pose that perhaps someone more learned than I might shed some light on. I am just beginning to work on the 9th section of our discipleship book this section is on Christian Ethics and Character. I believe one of the foundations of this is honesty and meaning and doing what we say. As I explore this I would be interested in any input you might be able to shed.

    Please don't get me wrong, I am not interested in passing judgment, or stirring the pot, nor am I saying what is happening should not happen. there are two statements I am trying to justify:

    1) As a Christian we should be honest, we should tell the truth and live by the truth, we should strive to be truth exemplified

    2) As I understand it, it is fairly common practice for missionaries who are entering closed countries (where they couldn't list missionary or church planter on their visa application and expect to get into the country) to be less than honest on their visa application

    I believe we are to carry the gospel to the whole world, I also believe that we are only bound by the laws of man until they cross the Bible, then our obligation is to the Bible so I understand and have come to grips with that but does that explain the whole issue.

    Interested in your thoughts
     
  2. bapmom

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    As I see it, being honest and truthful does not mean that you have to speak every honest and truthful fact out loud to every person you meet. For example, it might be true that the new baby in the nursery is not the prettiest baby in the world.......so you don't say he is. But you also don't tell the parents you think he's ugly. Ya know, have tact. [​IMG]

    But then, in regards to missionaries, there's nothing in the Bible that mandates the title "missionary" on someone's VISA in order for them to work on a foreign field. They should not lie....as in calling themselves an electrician when they are not and have no intention of working as one. But many countries allow teachers, where they do not allow people to start a church. Missionaries are teaching, aren't they? And I know many who go in as teachers, and start schools...the gov't knows thats what they are doing, and thats really what they are doing.

    Is that deception to call themselves a teacher instead of writing down "gospel-bringing, soulwinning Missionary"? I don't think it is. I think its using your particular talents to be able to go where God wants you to go, and to be able to spread God's Word.
     
  3. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I don't think "less than honest" is ever justifiable, even in the Lord's work. If one is truly going to teach English, and then can share the gospel that is one thing, but to knowingly lie is quite another.
     
  4. dfi

    dfi
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    c4k, that is the heart of the question, never really pondered it before today as far as the delima, am interested in seeing the responses
     
  5. ccrobinson

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    The ends don't justify the means. If the means of entering the closed country are dishonest, then God is not glorified. If a missionary doesn't have a skill that will allow them into the country, then I would question whether they are truly called to go to said country.
     
  6. Helen

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    We know a young man who is studying for a particular degree in computer science so he can get a job in China and thereby use that as a base from which he can share the Gospel.

    Is he being dishonest?
     
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    A missionary is not a "teacher" in the understood sense of the word unless he is going to be a teacher in a school, not his own Bible institute or church.

    I don't believe God ever honours lying, deception, or half truths.
     
  8. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Don't see how Helen - he is getting his degree in computer science, doing that for his job, then doing what we all should do wherever we live - sharing our faith.
     
  9. Helen

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    That's our opinion, too. Paul was a tentmaker...

    But where, exactly, is the line? I understand the question in the opening post; I think it is a good one.
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    The OP seemed to imply that a missionary call himself a "teacher" instead of a preacher in order to get past regualtions, knowing that he would not actually be "teaching" in the normal understanding. Perhaps I misread the intention.

    We have a tentmaker from the Phillipines who just joined with our team - he has a job as an occupational therapist to pay the bills.
     
  11. dfi

    dfi
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    thanks helen, glad someone else thinks it is a good question
     
  12. Psalm 100

    Psalm 100
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    Our church is sponsoring a family in China. They are officialy teachers. They just happen to also lead an underground church cell.

    I don't think there's any ethical lapses when you identify your vocation (not calling) on a visa to enter a closed country. You have to have a legitimate (according to the target country) reason for entry and residence.
     
  13. dfi

    dfi
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    Psalm 100-as I said in my opening post-I agree with the concept call and need, but does this not open the door to situational ethics?
     
  14. Psalm 100

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    I don't see it. You can't enter a closed country unless you have a legitimate reason for being there, ie teaching, technical, consulting, etc. You are obeying their laws because you are entering as whatever your vocation is, as long as you go with full intention of engaging in it. IOW, if you go as a computer salesman, you need to sell computers, as well as share the gospel.

    You're not being dishonest, because you are providing the services you advertised. You get the additional bonus of sharing your faith to those who are seeking God.

    The only way it would be a problem to me is if the country asked on it's visa application, "I promise to not engage in religious conversions while a resident of XXXXX". I couldn't sign off on that, because that would be dishonest in my eyes.
     
  15. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Again, perhaps I misunderstood the OP. If someone knows they are going into a country knowing that the only teaching they will do is in their church or in their Bible institute, that is being deceptive.
     
  16. dfi

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    let me phrase it another way, assume I raise support to go to Cuba, I tell my churches that I am going to plant churches, disciple believers and train pastors. When I get my support I then tell the Cuban Government on my Visa aplicaiton that my primary reason to enter Cuba is to teach english, or computer science or something other than what my real primary thrust is. is that not a prime example of situational ethics? telling some folks one thing and other folks something else?
     
  17. pinoybaptist

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    The OP said:
     
  18. dfi

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    There. I understand this to mean one is entering a restricted country as a missionary and he can't declare himself that, so what does he do,
    or say at his visa interview, or write down on his visa application ?

    that is the question....any thoughts?
     
  19. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    It comes down to the heart of the missionary. If he knows he is using a false label as a "cover" to get in he is wrong.

    If he is going in to work at a job, or truly teach, then he well within his rights to claim that.
     
  20. Psalm 100

    Psalm 100
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    Are you telling these churches that they will be supporting you as well as your mission, or are you telling them that you will be supporting yourself by teaching, and you need the money for evangelism efforts? Will you actually perform the trade you list on your VISA?

    By definition, a closed country is resistant to conversion efforts, and won't allow anyone in with the primary reason of evangelism. So, you can either perform the work you've listed as your trade, and be honest, or not, and lie, or don't go.
     

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