A Voice in the
Wilderness

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September 19, 2005

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Q/A's
Q/A Topics:
Lying missionaries?

READER QUESTION:
I have a few acquaintances involved in short term and long term missionary work in countries where evangelism is not allowed. Therefore, they would not have been allowed to enter the countries had they stated their true mission, so they lie (All short term outreaches that I know of lie about their reason for visiting a country even in Europe). Those who have entered for more permanent residence, do have secular work, but then do evangelism in secret. Even their prayer requests are confidential. Is it acceptable to lie under these circumstances? It bothers me terribly, but then maybe I am na´ve in thinking that speaking the truth is an absolute. Maybe I believe (naively) that if the Lord God wants someone to enter a closed country, He is able to open a door. Maybe times and circumstances are such that we have to lie. Your advice would be appreciated.

VW ANSWER:
Yes, I know what you are speaking about. I've been out of the 'loop' for some years, so had forgotten about this. Back during my naive years I would hear missionaries and mission board representatives at church services speak of entering countries by stealth, pretending to gain entrance visas for the purpose because they 'liked' the country so much, or would do so under the guise of being teachers, doctors and other technical/service people. They would seek to figure out what sort of 'services' any particular country was in need of, and then gain entrance as "professionals"....while calling themselves "missionaries" to the home churches.

At the time I thought that was 'cool' how they would sneak in that way. But as those memories come back, as your question has stirred them up, I now realize that that was NOT right. How does one purport to bring God's "Truth" to people, when their residence in that land is based on a lie? Paul does "rejoice" that the gospel is preached, even if done so "in pretense or in truth" (Php1:18), but he is speaking of others' less-than-pure motives, and also specifically about the persecution some were seeking to send Paul's way. But, regarding himself he says that he did not come to the Thessalonians "in pretense of covetousness" (1Th2:5)

What if a country is 'closed' to the Gospel? Well, Paul faced this, too. They were "forbidden" to go into a few places. (Ac16:6-7) And when they were forbidden, they did not forge on ahead anyway, or sneak around...but waited till the Lord opened the door into Macedonia. (vs9) Yes, there may be a lot of closed countries. We live in the days, as prophesied, of the "famine of hearing the Word of God" (Am8:11) But there are also many that are still 'open', where there are not enough missionaries, where missionaries -can- go legitimately/truthfully.

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Husband's jealousy

READER QUESTION:
My husband and I have been having a discussion (fight) concerning jealousy. He is a very jealous man and says that because "God is a jealous God" that it is alright.

VW ANSWER:
First you must ask yourself: WHAT is God jealous about? About not having any other gods, nor making idols, nor bowing down to them; because He declares, "I am Jehovah your God" (Ex20:2-5)

In the same way: WHAT would a husband be jealous about? That his wife might be giving herself to other men. God did command, "You shall not commit adultery" (Ex20:14) And the "rage of a man" regarding his wife is indicated in Scripture. Please look up Pr6:32-35

The wife might object: But I'm not sleeping with other men. But what if the wife is 'flirtatious'? What is flirting? If two single people were flirting with one another, they then develop an interest in each other, which then often leads to courting and ultimately the bedroom. Flirtation is the first step down that path, getting the 'attention' of the opposite sex.

So then the wife might object: But I'm only being "friendly". However... where is that fine line between friendliness and flirting? And how do many men view friendliness? The woman might be genuinely (in her own mind) -only- "friendly", but the man, seeing her attractiveness, sees in the friendliness the combined sense of "desireability". And the husband, being a man, 'understands' this about other men, and sees this attractive friendliness of his wife towards other men, and he knows it's the "first (potential) step" to infidelity. Or at least, he knows the thoughts of those men -towards- 'his' wife in that regard.

I really believe God has given men a sense of jealously, being made "in the image of God" (Gen1:27), as a 'guardianship' of the wife, since the woman is made with weaker (more easily manipulated by unscrupulous men) emotions.

I don't know if this is -your- issue....but if the question is being asked to compare a husband's jealousy with God's, these are the thoughts that come to mind, from Scripture.

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Man vs Woman

READER QUESTION:
You are the only Bible scholar of sincere heart of whom I would seek an answer regarding a question [somebody] presented to me. I didn't have an answer for [them] and told [them they] would get differing answers, depending on whom [they] asked. I am somewhat surprised I've never heard this question before, considering all of the gender issues raised these days. I believe and accept distinctly differing gender roles, as I know you do. This question has simply never occurred to me.

[They] asked, "Is there Scripture to support the idea that God made woman complete, but He created woman for man because man needed a helpmate?"

VW ANSWER:
Not sure if I totally understand the question.....

First of all, I don't know of any Scripture to suggest that woman was NOT "complete". Nor does it say that Adam was not "complete". However, if man-KIND was to "be fruitful", Adam obviously could not do that by himself. Thus Gen2:20 speaks of the helper to "complement" him; in which, the woman would not be able by herself, either, without the man. Like Paul says, "Nevertheless, neither is man without the woman, nor woman without the man, in the Lord. For as woman is out of man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God." (1Co11:11-12)

If this question originates from the concept that man was created, somehow, 'inadequate' or 'inferior'...and thus, woman (in all her feminist glory) was created to come along and 'rescue' man and lift him up, giving of her 'completeness' as the "mother of all living" (Gen3:20) to make him complete....well, that flies in the face of the Almighty who created Adam in His own image and "glory of God", and created the woman to be the "glory of the man" (1Co11:7)

If such were true, then God (in whose image Adam was created) is also 'incomplete'; which blasphemy, come to think of it, some also do teach. But God is "everything in all things" (1Co15:28), He "fills all things" (Eph1:23), "by Him all things were created...and in Him all things consist" (Col1:16-17), in Him we "live and move and exist" (Ac17:28)

God's hierarchy is: Father, Son, man, woman. (1Co11:3) But that does not make the woman 'inferior'. In God's sight, as far as sinfulness and salvation are concerned, there is no difference between male and female. (Ga3:28) They are both equally lost, and both saved equally the same way by the blood of Jesus Christ.

There is the clever little saying that some have put forth: God did not create Eve from Adam's skull, thus making her his 'head', nor did God take her from his foot, to be trampled; but from his side, to be in co-fellowship with God...and that they might be co-supportive of each other. But as Paul explains, from the results of the fall, the eating of the fruit, etc, woman lost part of that co-mutuality and the hierarchy does not allow her to be in headship over man. (1Tim2:11-15) Adam was created "first", and 'then' the woman. And it was the woman who 'led' mankind into sin.

As a result of that, mankind is cursed. Man has to sweat to work for his food. Woman suffers in childbirth. (Gen3:16-19) And it says the woman's "desire" is for her husband, and the man will "rule" over her. Some interprete the word "desire" to mean that the woman has the innate desire to be with/under the man...that she is not truly fulfilled without a husband, which many women admit/confess to. Others suggest that the desire "for" means that she is always seeking to usurp the man's position of dominance; which we certainly see in the feminist movement. Some men/societies justify their treatment of women (as slaves) from how it says the man "rules" over the woman.

But Paul teaches husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, as his own body. (Eph5) But also, the husband is the 'head' over the wife. Not 'better', but 'head'. He's the -leader-.

But also, Paul teaches the blessings in being single, in that the person (man or woman) can be more fully devoted to God, without the distractions of the cares for a spouse. (1Co7:32-34) Thus, it is not essential for a woman to have a man, nor for a man to have a woman, for either one to be complete.

I realize my answer touches on several topics. Is the answer to your question found somewhere in the mix? If not...perhaps you can specify a little more focused 'what' the question is...and perhaps, its background? Perhaps you asked about "apples" and I answered about "oranges"? ...even though they are both 'fruit'?

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Praying to save others? ..to release Holy Ghost pressure?

READER QUESTION:
A minister wrote how a sinner, thanks to the prayers by his wife & her church for many, many years, made a confession of faith just seconds before he killed over & died, and so the minister says to never, never give up on people ~ b/c if they neglect so great a salvation they burn eternally.

VW ANSWER:
If the person truly was saved -just- before they died, it had nothing to do with their "years" of praying. A person comes to Christ at their response to the "drawing" of the Father. (Jn6:44) Rom10:17 does not say that faith is through the prayers of saints, but "...through the Word of God"

READER CONTINUES:
[the minister also said] But prayer can release a lot of Holy Ghost pressure on a person.

VW ANSWER:
There is -utterly- NO basis in Scripture for this nonesense! The Holy Spirit is not something like 'air' that is 'pressurized' in a tank some place, and you open a 'valve' to release 'it'. The Holy Spirit is a -person- of the God-head. The part the Holy Spirit plays in prayer is as the messenger between the "Head" and the "body". (Rom8:26-27, Col1:18, 2:19,etc) When we pray to God, it is the Holy Spirit that carries that message to Him. And when we hear God's voice, it is the Holy Spirit that resides within us. (Rom8:9, Jn16:13, etc)

READER CONTINUES:
can I just up & CLAIM a particular verse & then expect to start seeing miraculous salvation in my brother's life? Is salvation not by CHOICE??? Will my brother come to savlation because the burden is on me ~ to pray, claim & expect that he will?

VW ANSWER:
There is nothing you can do to save your brother. Yes, salvation is by choice. God pleads with Israel to "choose life" (De30:19). Joshua exhorts Israel, "choose you this day whom you will serve" (Josh24:15) "....turn, turn from your evil ways, for why will you die?" (Ezk33:11)

On the other hand, when God knows that the person/people are beyond hope, He also exhorts, as He did to Jeremiah, "..do not pray for this people" (Jer7:16,11:14,14:11, etc)

READER CONTINUES:
Is it my fault (for giving up praying) that my brother will burn in the Lake of Fire eternally??

VW ANSWER:
No....we each live or die based on our -own- hearts. A person who dies, dies for his 'own' sin. The "soul that sins shall die". (Ezk18:4,20) We each "give account concerning himself to God" (Rom14:12)

The exhortation to the watchman is not to "pray" for the sinner, but to 'warn' them. If they heed the warning, they are delivered. If they don't heed, they die in their own iniquity. And by the fact that you warned them, you also remove their blood from your own hands. (Ezk3:17-21) But even if you should not warn the sinner, the sinner still dies "in his [own] iniquity". (vs18)

If we could save people by our prayers....like you alluded to....we could blanket the whole world with prayer, and save everybody. But -we- do NOT save souls. Jesus Christ did that.... "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." (1Ti1:15)

Jn1:12, 3:16, Ac16:31, Rom6:23, Eph2:8-9, Tit3:5....none of them say anything about "prayers" of saints being involved in salvation. We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. (1Jn1:7, Rev1:5)

To say that prayer helps save the sinner, puts some of the work of salvation into the hands of sinful man. If we were not able to save ourselves (Rom5:6,8), how could we possibly save somebody else? If we were "going astray" like sheep (Is53:6), how can one straying person lead another stray into the right direction? They are both "blind leaders of the blind" who end up in "the ditch" together. (Mt15:14) Yes?

Jesus did not command us to "pray for sinners", but to be His "witnesses". (Lk24:48, Ac1:8)

If you have been a 'witness' to him....don't take on added guilt that Scripture does not place upon you. Don't allow the proclaimers of false doctrine to shake your spirit with their doctrines of demons. Look to Jesus. (Heb12:2) Look to the Scriptures. (Ac17:11, 2Tim3:14-17)

Trust in the Lord, lean on Him....and He will direct your path. (Pr3:5-6)

Q/A -Man efficacious for another's salvation?

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