Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Bearing Witness in Covenant Keeping

(Jordan, Deceit, and the Apocrypha)

I didn’t quite get it in Jordan at first, and right about the time I thought I had it the issue weaseled it’s way into our Apocrypha reading to force me a go at Moral Philosophy’s practical application requirements. Deceit. Is it right or wrong? Why?

Jordan said on page 86 of Primeval Saints, “our practice of deception, where necessary, must be in order to further good and peace and never be a means of destroying our neighbor, for the ninth commandment forbids bearing false witness against our neighbor.”

I understand that 1) man’s mind is limited in making sense of the divine, 2) there is no inherent evil so therefore 3) the devil has no stories and thus 4) deception can in fact be used for the glory of God, the protection of His sovereignty and His people, and for the advancement of the Kingdom. I think maybe the part I’m hung up on is the bearing false witness against your neighbor part. I think if I can think through that it will clear up all the other peripheral ponderings.

In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus used an example of a member from a despised people group over and above a wealthy and talented politician and a pious clergyman to show the Israelites who their true neighbor was. My question is, was the point of the story that your neighbor is someone who embodies the truth and faith Christians say they believe in? Was the point to show the prominent leaders as shallow and hypocritical? Was is a combination of the above to show that the least likely is more often than not your neighbor?

Who was it that said something along the lines of “the Bible tells us to love our enemies and to love our neighbors because often they are one and the same”? That’s a true point, isn’t it. But if it is a true point then isn’t everyone our neighbor? And if that is true then, according to the ninth commandment, we can never bear false witness against anyone. And if we can never bear false witness against anyone, where does deceit play a role in the Christian’s defense of God and covenant?

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