EMISSARY^7 (G²)

COMMISIONED by CHRIST 4 SHARING HIS LIFE/KEEPING IT REAL ADMIST THE LIES (II Cor. 5:17-21))

NOT PARTNERING WITH UNBELIEVERS: Where to DRAW THE LINE???

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on January 26, 2008

Curious,

Does anyone have any thoughts  concerning working with people not of the faith (i.e. a Muslim or Buddist, or a Jehova’s Witness for example).

Specifically, what to make of situations where one’s job doesn’t require him or her to work alongside someone but yet they are still willing to do community service things like feeding the homeless or rasiing money/starting a fundraiser to helping abused children or even being active in a social/moral issue that the Lord is big on (i.e. the evil of abortion, standing against the push of accepted homosexuality and any other unatural sexual orientation while seeking to provide resources/help for those who struggle with it, etc, domestic violence, applying godly/practical/wise principles for living a healthy lifestlye like manageing finances correctly or couseling troubled youths or watching one’s health and other wise points that can help individuals in everyday life) where both of you agree on something in line with the heart/Word of the Lord while differing on every other point of belief on how to handle it?

Being a Human Services Major in at my college, this is an issue that seems to come up continually and I have wrestled with for some time, and it may be one for others seeking to join the field.

I see where many others are coming from, with  instances in Scripture which say to avoid a person claiming the name/fame of Christ but denying conforming to His nature (1 Corinthians 5),……but what to make of someone who doesn’t even claim allegaiance to the Lord but still seeks to do moral things and genuinely is conerned with helping those in need?

Furthermore, what to make of the various situations throughout Scripture that seem to indicate that those who followed the Lord were often required to work in environments that were not to their liking or, even though they were’nt explicitly evil, often involved things that were contrary to what glorified the Lord fully?

For example, what to make of Namam’s situation and how he was required to hold the arm of hismaster while his master bowed to a pagan idol, even though the Word seems to indicate that he apparently became a believer in the Lord at one point…II Kings 5:1-27 …or individuals like Nehemiah being a cupbearer to a pagan king or Daniel having to study/be immersed in all of the knowledge/magic arts of the Babylonians…Nehemiah 1:1-11 and Daniel 1:1-20…or even the Roman Centurion who had faith in Jesus but still had to work in the Roman Army, which at many various times did cruel things like oppressing people and did/believed many things contrary to what a Christaisn should act like…Matthew 8:5-13, etc…if it comes off as if I’m trying to take things out of context, I greatly apologize and ask for people to please point out anything I may’ve missed cause I really am trying to rightly divide this Word like we should…II Timothy 2:14-17).

Again, Should we avoid working with unbelievers at all levels altogether like the Word seems to advocate that we do to others who rebel against the Lord openly like Jakes and others?

Even if doing so gave one the opportunity to truly show some form of love/compassion and to witness and let their light shine (Matthew 5:14-16) and so that others could see that Christians were actively involved in/genuinely concerned with the community around them, would it be acceptable?

Even in light of how as Christians we’re called to love our enemies (which unbelievers can be considered, since they are not submitted to the Lord and, as Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, those that are not for Him are against Him) and not merely those who love us in return or are of our fellowship (Luke 6:27-36), what to make of it? Again, do ya’ll think that it’s right or wrong, and whatever side you choose, why do think so?

I already went to the Word and , from what I’ve read, have a great deal of what my thoughts on the issue, but I really wanted to see what you or others thought as well…that, and I really wanted a discussion on the topic so I could get sharpened up a bit and have more clarity on the issue. What do you think?

         In asking this question elsewhere, this is what was said to me:

nothing wrong at all with working with someone of a different faith, unless doing so puts you in a position where you have to compromise Christ.

But working WITH someone not of the Faith and PARTNERING with someone not of the Faith are two different things.

Then the Scriptures against being unequally yoked together with unbelievers comes into play.

I can work at a food bank or homeless shelter with a Mormon…………I cannot PARTNER with a Mormon to start a ministry doing so.

The image the Lord was trying to convey with the yoke is the inability for either oxen to follow his own path. By necessity, one cannot turn without the other. If your path is to ultimately present Christ, the Mormon isn’t going to allow you to turn that way, and vice versa. It’s an irreconcilable internal struggle that renders each powerless to follow thier own path. The result must be compromise.

To that, I think seems reasonable…….but nonetheless, there are still more questions that come to my mind.

where does one draw the line with the statement made? Can one even clearly do so at all? Regarding the statement, would  anyone else mind expounding on the subject for that matter as to what the difference is between working with someone to produce something and parterning with someone is to produce something?
It would seem that in both, regardless of the form, that I’m producing the same work regardless and having to set aside/compromise some values of to work together under the same label.

For example, even if I decided not to go into ministry with a Mormon and compromise in order to go the same direction since our directions are contrary to what we believe, it would seem that, even in being silent and stating that I was not in aggreement with the Mormon but was willing to work in the same store as him, I’d be doing a disservice to the Lord. To the average passer-by or someone who didn’t know any better, it would seem that my silence would serve to give credibility to the actions of the Mormon since we’re still working together to produce the same of work (feeding homeless people) that would’ve been accomplished had I simply joined into a ministry with Him.

If that analogy does not make sense, then what to make of a Human Service Worker having to work in a counseling department where he or she is able to preach Christ (with limitations/permission, nowadays seeing how that’s how it is in many sectors) and how he can deliever people from sexual sin and yet has to work alongside a person who opelnly condones homosexuality, counsels people with deceptive counsel and denies that Jesus is the “Way, Truth, and Life” to their clients?

To all who see the company it would seem that, even though the Christian doesn’t agree with others of differing faiths, people would still be getting the impression that the Christian was in league with that company since the company name is recieving credit for everything that takes place? It be like being in an army that was known for opressing people and doing deeds of injustice, as it was for many soldiers in the Roman Empire were Christian and did not agree with many of the ways the other soldiers of and even Rome went about doing things.

 For them to say, “I not in agreement with the way this army/nation goes about handling things, but since I’m a citizen and and have to work here, I’ll do it anyway.” To all those around, those soldiers would still be indirectly considered as part of entire Roman Army and in some way or another, because they would still choose to pay taxes to it and support it by working alongside those who were for it, would not be effectivelly standing against it or giving the impression that they were doing so.

Going back to the analogy of working in a store alongside a Mormon, even if that store wasn’t explicity taking a stand against Christianity, it would be making a stand agaist it by not takinig one, giving offf the impression that Jesus is merely one faith among many and no different/consequential that all others, and in a sense that could be considered a compromise seeing how Christianity requires us to take a stand as the only way to go and to make it known to those who see. I hope I’m making sense in what I’m trying to convey…

Perhaps my logic is a bit off or I may be missing something, but I’d love for somone to please consider expounding more from the Word on what it means to work with someone and partner with someone and what it means practically in everyday life? Any further thoughts on the subject that could help a brotha out?

And for that matter, seeing that the topic connects to wider range of subjects other than this, any thoughts on what to make of smaller differing issues such as paying taxes and patrotism/loyalty to one’s country? Contrary to many folks in the U.S.A who refuse to pay their bills and still claim a “breakthough” of some sort, Jeus Himself paid His taxes and He/The Bible exhorted us to do so as well…highlighting the importance that we have legitimate obligations to both God and the governnment , even though our obligations to God must excede them all and we must choose God first when they conflict (Luke 20:20-26).

 I understand that, apart from situations doing so would put us in a situation where we would have to compromise Christ like denying Jesus Christ as Lord or denying the convictions of the Word, we’re called to submit to governing authorities since the Lord established them and we benefit from many of their services like protection/shelter, etc (Romans 13:1-7).

However, what to make of the fact that many of the taxes we’re required to pay seem to go to support many things that the Lord hates (abortion, for one, and sex-education programs that promote safe sex rather than sexual purity/abstinece, etc). Even though a Christian may not directly support these things and much of the funds given to the government support good things, the fact remains that many by paying regardless continue to support something indirectly that offends the heart of God. Would we not be guilty nonetheless of compromising Christ?Would it be right or wrong for Christians to stop paying taxes/take a stand on things that are contrary to what the Lord loves, or shoud we continue to pay taxes and support our nation at all times while we indirectly encourage immoralty with out resources (i.e. the mentality that because I don’t like doing something, that makes it okay to continue to do it or the mentality that it’s better to choose the lesser of two evils, even though the lesser one is still evil/counter-productive.)?

What is it okay to take a stand on and when? Is seeking to be spotless of supporting evil/wrongdoing innocent in all ways, be it directly or indirectly, being an effective Christian or an ineffective one? How does one go about effectively being in the world but not of it while carrying out Christ’s command to spread His message and make disciples( Matthew 28:16-20 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-10)?

Going along with that,  What would your comments be concerning chaplains? For example, whether they be at a hospital or in the army, they will be required to “serve” those of differing faiths, in addition to working with colleagues of differing faith.

 Can we do so in a way in which the standards are not negotiated on, or are we destined to have compromise regardless of what our best effort not to may be? Is there really any way around it?

Again, going back to what I was wondering about earlier in my prevoius topic, where does one practically draw the line?

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7 Responses to “NOT PARTNERING WITH UNBELIEVERS: Where to DRAW THE LINE???”

  1. Observer said

    Feed the hungry, help the widow and orphan, and heal the sick, Matthew 25:37, James 1:27. Some will do for righteousness sake; some will do for their own motives. Faith without works is dead, James 2:14. Making excuses why you can’t help do as the Bible commands because the others in attendance aren’t Christian enough (or Christian at all) is a lame excuse to keep your hands at your side. Your t-shirt could say, “Too Sanctified to Serve”

  2. No offense sir, but unless you’ve read through the rest of the site, I have a bit of a difficulty seeing why you have issue. I was never saying that I’m unwilling to work alongside those who are not saved. Moreover, it seems as if you’re assuming that I keep my hands at my side and never do the things MATTHEW 25 says about helping the Poor, sick, lame. I do……but not at the expense of not preaching/teaching the TRUTH OF CHRIST/SALVATION ONLY FOUND IN HIM

    God’s Word is clear that should be what determines EVERYTHING we should do-which is why I brought up SIMPLE INQUIRY.

    Again, it was simple inquiry….
    If YOU HAve any questions, I’d love to hear….

  3. sos22 said

    ..

  4. sos22 said

    First post was just a check to see if I could actually post……..wouldn’t let me in the past….and all my eloquence and sheer brilliance was cancelled….lol!

    I read your post on this G2 and these are my thoughts for what it’s worth. To be yoked unequally primarily refers to partners in marriage…. to choose someone to marry who is not Christian. I cannot see it applying to the workplace EXCEPT to conditions where you as a Christian would be expected to behave in a unChristian manner….to lie, cheat, defraud, mislead or oppress people in the course of business. There are some firms whose unwritten codes do indeed ask such things of their employees. In such an instance a Christian has two choices depending on how the Lord leads him: to stay and refuse to conform and to ‘blow the whistle’ on the behaviour [ I call this doing a Serpico!], or to leave.

    It is bad theology to refuse to work with good people who happen not to be Christian, to refuse to interact with people on a daily basis who are ‘not like me’. Christ’s directive was that we go out INTO the world and let His light blaze from us….not withdraw into a holy huddle picking nits of out each other to check if we conform to the current expression of Christianity.

    I don’t just thing it’s wrong, I think it’s very dangerous. At best it results in the stagnancy of being with those ‘just like me’ and of developing a deep suspicion of diversity and difference. At worst it leads to a Jim Jones scenario, or to another Wacko. I am not exaggerating. These churches began as ordinary congregations who became so obssessed with not being contaminated by the world that they laid down their God given right to individuality and difference, and made their pastors God. And we all know how that turned out.

    So long as our personal walk with Christ is not compromised I think it is perfectly correct to work with nonChristians…..for the reasons I have given. We are the light and the salt….how do we serve Christ or bear witness to Him if we hide His light in us in secluded holy ghettos. The answer is we don’t.

    I don’t think Christians should fear the world….’greater is He who is in US, than he who is in the world’ rather we are to go out into it and transform it….and that happens one heart at a time in daily relationship with people who do not know Him. And words will not be our strongest witness…our spirits, our manner, our personal integrity, our joy and our love will.

    Thanks for the email G2…..couldn’t find your posts on AIDS but found this subject thought provoking in the meanwhile.

  5. YES!!!!!! YOU LIVE!!!!! YOU ABSOLUTELY LIVE!!!!!!

    Seriously, IT IS SO COOL TO HEAR FROM YOU ONCE AGAIN AT LAST, SIS SOS22 (and glad to know that you got the email, though I’m saddened to hear that you actually tried to write before and it wouldn’t let you go through….and all this time, I thought you simply bounced……)

    Here by the way is the AIDS post if you wish to check it out:

    https://emissary7.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/aids-is-there-any-way-to-practically-end-the-deficiency-in-dealing-with-the-problem/

    Will write more about your post later, sis…..as it was much appreciated…(though if able, would you happen to know where folks on CARM such as OSITA and others are at? Couldn’t find them or send messages to them any more…..but I’d love to hear from them sometime….)

    To everyone else listening, this is the famous SOS 22 (my friend from Ireland, who I’ve written about in other postings and who I met on CARM—-www.carm.org—– during the Summer and who was an IMMENSE ENCOURAGEMENT to me on many things….)….and godwillingly, she’ll be able to

  6. By the way, might wish to get involved in this discussion…..as it actually deals with the issue (though from a bit of a different perspective):

    #361

    http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/showthread.php?t=88178&page=19

  7. sos22 said

    Will read your article on AIDs very soon….up to my eyes at the moment.

    I also have been concerned about Osita’s absence. I started a thread just to let her know we are all thinking of her. Piers who is in touch with her says she is going ‘through the furnace’, so times must be tough.

    I think the Lord has brought her to all our minds at the same time for a reason…to pray for her. Hopefully she will soon be able to post with us again. I miss her sweet spirit. Take care G2…….

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