nuance

I’m looking for topics on which the Bible requires a nuanced application. Here are two examples:

1) lying: Christians have a tendency to believe they should follow the absolute rule “Don’t lie”. After all, Exodus 20:16 says “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” But Hebrews 11:31 says “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” This isn’t quite a link to lying yet, but in Joshua 2 we see that she hid the spies and lied to the King of Jericho. In Joshua 6 Joshua states “Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.” Sometimes lying is sin, but at other times it’s acting in faith.

2) killing: Many modern Christians (especially those with a liberal inclination), believe that taking the life of another person is always wrong. That’s also one of the ten commandments, right, Exodus 20:13? But in Hebrews 11:17 Abraham is commended for intending to kill his son. Not only was he taking a life, it was an innocent life! I think most people today would rationalize this as being confused, deranged, or something else. How often have we thought that about a serial killer who claimed God had told him to kill people?

Those examples aren’t really fleshed out yet, but you get the idea. A quick glance at the rest of Hebrews 11 suggests other possibilities that I’ll explore. Where else should I look?

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4 thoughts on “nuance

  1. Notice that murder is muder. Abraham was tested for obedience and in some ways a precursor to God’s on sacrifice.
    I feel even capital punishment is murder. I dont believe we have the right to take anyone’s life

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  2. We discussed the lying issue in one small group last year. Since then I’ve been trying to work around the issues.

    The two biggest biblical example seem to be Rahab and the Hebrew midwives.

    We talked about Rahab’s faith one SG, and found the Brownfield building made a great application point. :)

    Then we talked about the Fruit of the Spirit.

    And then we moved to the midwives. Here’s there story, in Exodus 1:17-21:

    —–
    17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

    19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”

    20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
    —–

    So the key justification for lying here is “fearing God”. We talked about that once and we’ll be covering it in more depth for one of more weeks. Then I hope to go back to faith, and then we’ll revisit lying itself, once a more significant foundation has been laid. At least, that’s the plan.

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