PMT 2013-016b by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
See below for part 2 of a study on the ethics of justifiable lies.
In my last study I opened the question whether the Christian can ever justify lying. I posed several situations in which it appeared we would almost certainly lie. In this installment I will provide biblical evidence for justifiable lying.
The classic case involves Rahab in the OT. In Joshua 2:1-6 Rahab took two Jewish spies into her home and hid them. When asked by city authorities, she claimed not to know who they were; she even intentionally sent the authorities chasing off in the wrong direction so that the spies could safely escape.
Was she sinning in these actions? According to Scripture, she was not.
Joshua 6:25 informs us that God blessed Rahab for that lie. There we read that she was spared by Joshua: “FOR she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent.” The very act of hiding the spies was the very reason which led Joshua to spare her life and accept her into Israelite society.
The NT commends her for this action as that which gave evidence of her faith in God. This act allows her to be placed in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace” (Heb 11:31). This act is used by James as a demonstration of her faith: “And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” (Jms 2:25).
Sending them out “by another way” is a different way from which she sent the city officials. It was a lie.
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The Egyptian Midwives
The Egyptian midwives are even earlier samples of justifiable lying. In Exodus 1:15-21 we read:
“Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah, and the other was named Puah; and he said, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said to them, ‘Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?’ And the midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous, and they give birth before the midwife can get to them.’ So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. And it came about because the midwives feared God, that He established households for them.”
Notice the facts: (1) The king of Egypt spoke directly to the Hebrew midwives and ordered them to kill the Jewish sons when they were delivered. (2) The passage informs us: “But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king had commanded them.” (3) And when the king asked why they allowed the sons to live, the midwives lied about the Jewish women being vigorous and having the children too quickly.
Then we read in the very next verse: “SO God was good to the midwives.” Instead of taking their punishment from the king by confessing the truth, we read that they planned in advance to disobey him, and then intentionally lied when they were discovered. There is no word of condemnation of them. There is even an explanation that “SO God was good” to them.
In Judges 4 and 5 we read of Jael’s lie to Sisera. Sisera was fleeing from Barak after a battle. When he stumbled onto the tent of Jael, Jael went out to meet him and said: “Turn aside, my master, and do not be afraid” and then covered him with a rug (Jdg. 4:18). After winning his confidence by her urging him not to be afraid, she drove a peg through his head while he slept.
Then Judges 5:24-27 records a song of praise for her in God’s Word. She is called “most blessed of women” because when Sisera asked for water, she drove a peg through his head. She is praised for that very fearsome act, after she had assured him he need not fear.
In 1 Samuel 16:1 God directs Samuel to go find David and anoint him as king. But Samuel fears King Saul will kill him if he arrives for that purpose (v. 2). So God himself directs Samuel to tell Saul that he has come to sacrifice (v. 2b-3). God, the very one who could miraculously deliver Samuel, told him to deceive Saul. God was sending him for the express purpose of anointing David; Samuel knew that Saul would kill him if he found out; God told him if Saul asked why he came (which in that context was for the purpose of anointing David), then he should misdirect him regarding the real reason. It is certainly true that he did offer a sacrifice (v. 5), but this was not the reason he came.
Consequently, we find in these Scriptures that certain, limited serious circumstances allow us to lie and deceive. In fact, we are not obliged to tell the truth to those who would kill and maim, when they themselves are going to use the truth to destroy.
Indefensible: 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America (book)
by Sam Kastensmidt
Learn more about the ACLU’s evil agenda and what you can do to stop it. Indefensible, written by the Center’s very own news analyst, discusses ten ways the ACLU is destroying America-from sexualization of children and the promotion of abortion to their relentless campaigns to banish Christianity from the public realm and undermine homeland security. Indefensible is an easy-to-share resource from the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ.
Dismissing America’s Christian Heritage
Attacking Religious Liberties
Silencing the Church
Advancing Sexual Anarchy
Redefining Marriage and Family
Promoting the Culture of Death
Impeding America’s War on Terror
Looting the American Taxpayers
Ten Ways to Combat the ACLU