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Christianity

Ethics in Religion

Messiah College

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Shrewd As A Snake, Innocent As A Dove: The Ethics Of Missionary Dissimulation And Subterfuge, Larry Poston Oct 2010

Shrewd As A Snake, Innocent As A Dove: The Ethics Of Missionary Dissimulation And Subterfuge, Larry Poston

Bible & Religion Educator Scholarship

Whenever I quote the above passage to my students as an illustration of the Bible’s ambiguity with respect to ethics, reactions always seem to be directed toward the phrase: “do not be overwicked…” The question is raised, usually with a timid smile: “Does this mean I can be a little bit wicked, then?”

Many Christians would have no trouble answering such a query: it would never be permissible to be “a little bit wicked.” More thoughtful Christians will ask the question, “What did Solomon mean by this statement? Why would he seemingly indicate that one can be ‘overly righteous ...