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#57754 Tue May 17, 2022 11:11 PM
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Tom Online Content OP
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Some here may know that in Canada, those unvaccinated are not allowed to fly. However, other Christians in the USA told me that can be solved by driving across the border and catching a flight.

The problem I have with that, is all Canadians going into the USA are required to provide proof of vaccination.
I told them that I can not in good conscience lie to a border guard. The response I received back were either people laughing (via emoji) or saying chances are I would not get asked anyway.

Am I wrong to think this way? Or even more so, to be concerned that Christians would tell others to possibly lie to a border guard?

Tom

Tom #57755 Wed May 18, 2022 5:07 AM
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Can you say "Situation Ethics" very fast 3 times? It always hurts to hear of 'professing Christians' speak in this manner about such things which are clearly and incontrovertibly taught in Scripture. The state of the visible church in our day is abysmal and worse, acceptable too. Are vaccination cards required to travel by train and/or bus? Surely, they are not required to drive your car, eh? wink


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Tom #57758 Wed May 18, 2022 8:05 AM
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To be certain, "because I probably won't get caught" is not a sufficient reason to justify anything that is wrong. As C.S. Lewis noted, "integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching."

I'd tend not to do it myself, nor to recommend it, for fear of not only being caught, but potentially bringing disrepute and shame to the God whom I, however imperfectly, serve.

Here is how the news story might read:

"This racist, right-wing, anti-choice, homophobic, so-called 'Christian' not only lied about being vaccinated, but knowingly spread a deadly disease among our population. One more reason why 'religious liberty' must take a back seat to whatever governments need to do to contain disease, not to mention racism, homophobia, and other forms of religious bigotry."

Obviously, almost none of this is true, but we can't expect lost people to have any higher regard for Truth than we ourselves possess.

Now, a possible counter-argument.

I am not sure I could condemn lying in order to obtain a "privilege" that is in fact a right.

If someone did feel it genuinely necessary to lie in this situation, perhaps, say, to visit a dying relative? Honestly, given only bad choices, I would struggle to condemn a person for choosing what he or she believed to be the least bad one.

A vaguely analogous situation: you've just arrived at an ATM and an armed robber approaches, and demands your PIN, and threatens to kill you if you don't provide it. You have to tell him something or you die, but you can't tell him your PIN, or else your family doesn't get eat this month. So you tell him a wrong PIN, and while he's trying to enter it, you flee for your life. Was it wrong to give this armed robber the wrong PIN? You are not bearing false witness. You are trying to avoid being robbed or worse.

That could be called "situational ethics," but in situations like this where the choice is not between good and evil, but between differing degrees of evil, I'm not sure I know of a better or more biblical approach.

Please feel free to correct me from Scripture if my moral compass, or perhaps lack of one, is off. I do struggle with this topic.


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Annie Oakley
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If you do not tell the truth, regardless of the consequences, you are lying and therefore sinning against God. One does not have to divulge information such as his "pin number" in this situation. Yes, the gunman might shoot you. Or you could wait for your chance to draw your own firearm and stop the threat. No one can force a person to do anything. It comes down to a matter of choice.


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Tom #57760 Wed May 18, 2022 9:03 AM
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I like something that Gerstner wrote regarding Irresistible Grace in his article TULIP
It is impossible to force the human will. The will by definition is a personal choice. Now if God made me personally choose something which I, John Gerstner, would not choose, it simply would not be my choice. And as certain that God cannot compel my will, my will by definition is my choice. What seems good to me, what I elect, what I prefer. And if God made it something other than what it was, it simply wouldn’t be my choice, that is all there is to it. Like something I said, in what I was writing once, if somebody stood with a pistol to my head said, “Stop writing!” that wouldn’t force me to stop writing. That would just create before me a crisis in which I would have to make a choice between two options: I have to go on writing or, I have to cease living. That was all. And if you saw me go on writing you could judge correctly that for some reason or other, it seemed more important to me to go on writing than to go on living. And if on the other hand you saw me drop my pen because this man had a pistol to my brain you’d be absolutely incorrect in saying that person forced me to stop writing. Not at all. My will would simply have been to go on living, rather than writing and it seemed more important in one case to live than in another case to write. But that’s my choice. Nobody can with a pistol, nor God with His almighty decrees can, nor does He try to force the will.


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Tom #57761 Wed May 18, 2022 9:37 AM
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This is nothing new... making a subjective justification of what is clearly a sin by grading it on a curve, e.g., white lies vs. obvious blatant lies. The bottom line is that it makes what we as a fallen person the judge of what is most important to us vs what God has revealed as good and evil. John Warwick Montgomery openly debated Joseph Fletcher, who made "Situation Ethics" popular, back in the 60s, I think at San Diego State University. Fletcher used a now very common theoretical situation to challenge Montgomery's absolute truth and morals; specifically, Is it categorically wrong to lie under any circumstance? The situation was, to the best of my recollection, was... IF the Gestapo was ordered to kill all female children and you had a young daughter who you hid in a closet and the Gestapo came to your house and demanded that you turn over your daughter, would you obey the order or would you lie to save her life? Montgomery was very wise and stood firmly upon his Christian profession and his belief that the Bible is the sole authority in all matters of doctrine and life. 1) I have no idea what I would say in that situation until it actually happened. I hope that the Spirit of God would give me the wisdom and strength to do what is allowed by God, for in every situation where believers are tempted, the promise: "...but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1Cor 10:13). 2) I could simply refuse to answer. 3) However, if I did lie about my daughter's whereabouts then I would confess that sin and petition God to forgive me. (Ps 5:6; Acts 5:3; Rom 1:29; Col 3:9; Jam 3:14; 1Jh 1:21)


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Pilgrim #57762 Wed May 18, 2022 3:56 PM
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Can you offer some relevant Scripture to help me change my mind?

Is lying always the same as bearing false witness? I think that is an assumption that you are making, but again I would like to see more Scripture. Especially since there are a handful of cases (most notably Rahab the harlot who lied to save the Israeli spies, and the Egyptian midwives who lied to save Hebrew babies) in which lying to save lives seems to be recounted favorably. Rahab is commended in Hebrews 11, and God made it go well with the midwives because they saved innocent lives.

What am I missing or not seeing correctly here? I want my thinking to be fully informed by Scripture, and fully admit to the possibility that on this topic it might not be. And I'm not trying to argue. I really want to know. Especially since we are rapidly approaching a time in which telling the full truth to people who have no right to that truth might very well result in suffering and death to innocents.

Thank you.


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jta #57763 Wed May 18, 2022 4:08 PM
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Annie Oakley
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You mention Rahab the harlot who lied and while her actions did save the jewish spies, she was not commended for lying. Hebrews 11:31 "By faith the harlot Rhab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace."


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Tom #57764 Wed May 18, 2022 4:16 PM
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I tend (currently - subject to correction from Scripture) to think along lines similar to those in the following article. It basically argues that context matters, especially in unusual situations.

https://www.theparkwaychurch.com/blog/p61hzv34j45ft10vfc4aeeu5jo4hmn

From the article: "Every time the Bible gives us commands it gives them in a particular context. When Jesus says that you are to give to everyone who asks of you, that does not include someone who asks you for money to buy cocaine or hire a hitman. Jesus is not trying to address the very rare, sinful exceptions. He means that, normally, if someone needs something from you, you should give it to them."

Another example: we are told to obey the higher powers (Rom. 13:1) but also to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). Since the context of the latter passage is being asked to sin by those higher powers, and since Scripture interprets Scripture, it seems to me the context of Romans 13 is when higher powers command *other* than that which violate His command.

Perhaps, in a similar way, "thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" must be understood in light of "thou shalt not kill," which would have been the direct result of either Rahab, or the midwives, doing other than exactly what they did. Also note that strictly speaking, while they did lie, they did not bear false witness against their neighbor. Those are not the same things, though there are other Scriptures that speak specifically to lying, and which I'd think also need to be understood in light of "thou shalt not kill" and all other relevant Scriptures.

Again, and I must stress this, I am very open to correction via Scripture, on this or any other point. It is not my desire to persuade others to my opinion, but, rather, to allow iron to sharpen iron, that we might all come to the most biblical positions on this or any other subject we discuss that we can.


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jta #57765 Wed May 18, 2022 6:40 PM
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1. Yes, context is extremely important and must always be considered in determining the meaning of a word or passage.
2. Hermeneutical principle which Scripture itself teaches is that the clear always interprets the unclear.
3. Hermeneutical principle, again contained in Scripture is that the universal interprets the local.

Case in point... I've provided a small sample of passages which clearly state that lying is a sin and one which God hates. Some synonyms for lying are deceit, guile, devious,and falsehood. The context where many, if not most, where these words appear are propositional, i.e., they are axiomatic in nature and not up for debate. When God states, "Thou shalt not kill", which properly rendered is, "Thou shalt not murder, i.e., it is forbidden to take the life of an individual in order to satisfy one's hatred, vengeance, or perceived justice. There are no exceptions. The same is true for lying. There are no exceptions. Since lying is a sin and which God Himself is the ultimate offended One (cf. Acts 5:1-5) an intention no matter how altruistic it might appear.

4. In the case of Rahab, the perceived dilemma is that she lied for a "greater good" and thus the lie can be construed as virtuous, even though God forbids lying. The problem does not rest on the Holy Spirit's ambiguity Who authored the Scriptures, but on the reader's inability to accept God's judgment against lying... without exception. Rahab is never said to be praised nor followed as an example in her lying but rather in separating herself from the corruption of the people among whom she lived and thus choosing to align herself with the one true God. The end was praise worthy, but the means was not.

Does that help in some way? shrug


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Pilgrim #57767 Wed May 18, 2022 10:15 PM
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Pilgrim

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Are vaccination cards required to travel by train and/or bus? Surely, they are not required to drive your car, eh? wink

In Canada, you can not travel by plane, or train. Crossing into the USA by a Canadian via car without proof of vaccine is also not allowed. However, I am told that many border guards look the other way, because they think it is a silly rule. Therefore many unvaccinated Canadian Christians take the chance.

I agree that it is a silly rule, but I believe that if I took the chance it would be a sin on my part, regardless if I was asked for a vaccine card.

Tom

jta #57768 Wed May 18, 2022 10:29 PM
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jta

The news story you proposed is not far fetched, because it is the way some are painting unvaccinated Christians.

The dying relative is exactly what a Christian work collegue fairly recently went through. He was told that his dad was dying and if he wanted to see him he should come soon.
He was not vaccinated, so that was not really an option, especially since his mom and dad live on opposite sides of the country.
His dad ended up passing away.

He really wants to see his mom, but in order to do so needs to get the required amounts of vaccines.

He really does not want to do this; but is being pressured by the family. He is seriously thinking of getting vaccinated, but has yet to do so.

By the way, both Chestnutmare and Pilgrim gave great answers to what you said.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Wed May 18, 2022 11:02 PM.
Tom #57769 Thu May 19, 2022 8:58 AM
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Sorry. Still a little confused.

This isn't the first time I've had trouble thinking and even studying and praying through this kind of issue. I'm fairly sure the problem is with me. It's one more bit of evidence that I lack the indwelling Holy Spirit, and can therefore understand Scripture on a surface level only.

The upside, if there is one, is that in recent times God has rarely put me into any situation of this nature. I am only rarely around others, outside of work, and hence rarely in a position to make choices or decisions that affect others. There is still plenty of sin in my life regardless (e.g., complete failure to love God with even a fraction of my entire heart, mind, soul, and strength). But I've not yet faced the choice of whether to lie to stormtroopers to protect Jewish people in my attic. And hoping I never will.


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Tom #57770 Thu May 19, 2022 10:00 AM
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2 Peter 3:15-18 (ASV) 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; 16 as also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, knowing [these things] beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] the glory both now and for ever. Amen.

To quickly jump to the conclusion that you have not the indwelling Spirit because at this time you aren't able to come to a satisfactory resolution about Rahab and lying is rather unwarranted. Do you REALLY believe that all true believers throughout history have been able to grasp everything they have read in Scripture? scratchchin What I am hoping is that you will at least hold fast that lying is a sin and thus regardless of the circumstances it is something a believer would be moved by guilt having lied and petition God for forgiveness and restore any broken relationship experienced with Him. (1Jh 1:9,10). And, having established that indisputable fact, you can ponder the Rahab incident from a solid foundation and resolve the issue in your own mind and heart. But, should you not be able to do so, my advice is to put it aside and focus upon those things which you do assuredly know. wink


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Tom #57771 Thu May 19, 2022 11:41 AM
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I appreciate the encouragement. This is far from the only evidence of my being, at best, spiritually deficient. Usually the problem is being a doer of the Word, not a hearer only, but on this issue, I'm not sure I'm even hearing or understanding correctly.

I just hope and pray that if ever confronted with this kind of choice, I make the one that most glorifies God, and/or that least dishonors Him.


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