One of the things that Mr. Boisvert pointed out was that the definition I offered can very quickly lead you into the slippery slope of relativism. It slides into situational ethics, with right and wrong depending on the circumstance. And Mr. Brewer pointed out that the definition is incomplete, leaving out what a lot of the Bible has to say about the issue. After looking at the many other verses in Scripture that condemn lying, I am firmly convinced now that lying is wrong in all situations. One of the best Scriptures brought to bear on the conversation was Romans 3:7-8:
But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
As Josh said, a lie is a lie. When you're tempted to lie so that good may result, it's still a lie, and it's still sin. One of the things that Mr. Boisvert also brought up, though, was that sometimes it's a question of the lesser of two evils. In a situation like the one with the Nazis, either choice is a sin (either you're betraying someone's trust and possibly participating in their murder or you're lying), and you just might have to choose one of them. But that brings me to the last point: both pastor's pointed out that such hypothetical situations are unhelpful because they completely take God out of the picture. When you're actually in a situation like that, you have a third option: pray, and let God work his will. You never know what God will do when he shows up on the scene.
And finally, Mr. Brewer pointed out that we don't live our lives in these kinds of situations (whether Nazis or surprise parties or whatever). We live our lives in the grey, and in the grey we need an absolute standard. A definition such as my old one is too grey, and it blends in too much and can be manipulated too much. That's why God gave us absolute standards.
So I thank everyone who particpated in that conversation for the biblical perspectives that were brought to the table. That's exactly what this blog is for, to allow for the honest exchange of ideas in a biblical context.
Hopefully our future posts won't be quite so controversial, but hopefully they will all force us to think about what we believe.
[Edit from Josh]: I would like to point out here Sam's humility. Thank you Sam, for being an example of a guy who is willing to admit that you made a mistake. That is a sign of humility in your life, and a sign of true greatness. Thanks for your example. -Josh