Ethical Dilemmas of a Missionary

Ethical Dilemmas of a missionary

Over the past few years, these lists have slowly emerged from our personal experience. At the least, these questions remind us to pray for pastors in general and missionaries in particular that they would have wisdom.

2011

  1. Should I give people a lift if I know they are going to a false church?
  2. Should I evangelize a woman if she is the only adult home?
  3. Should I give a generous offering of my salary to our churchplant?
  4. Should I baptize a young person (child) who has given a testimony of salvation, but has not shown Christian maturity?
  5. May I spend money on my family and personal standard of living even if it is above those in my village? What if it is very above? How much do I let them see?
  6. How harshly should I handle believers who fall into sin?
  7. Should I address cultural issues that are not clearly sin, but may not be consistent with a Christian worldview?
  8. Should I give jobs to church members?
  9. Should I keep doing Bible studies at a person’s home if they have shown very little initiative?
  10. Should I use expensive books, computers, and handouts to make my sermons as good as possible if I know that the next national pastor will not be able to keep the same standard?

2012

  1. Should Christians tithe regardless of their financial circumstances?
  2. Should you teach new converts how to vote?
  3. Should you pray for unconverted people in their presence?
  4. Should you church discipline or otherwise dismiss church members who are nearly permanently absent because of work?
  5. Should you give Bibles to people who can’t afford them?
  6. Should you use slang in formal settings if that is what communicates?
  7. Should you sing nominally Christian songs at a funeral?
  8. Should I take parental oversight of believers who do not have parents or at least do not have Christian parents?
  9. Should you give new Christians jobs in church right away or wait until they prove faithful?
  10. Should missionaries restrain the size of their family so that missions dollars can be used to send more families with less children?

2014

  1. Should I show frustration with incompetence?
  2. Should I sit with my wife and children in church even though many churches separate the men and women?
  3. Should I spank village children?
  4. Should I allow children to return to our yard if they have not been punished?
  5. Should I use loud speakers if that is what the culture wants?
  6. Should I ever encourage someone to pay a bribe?
  7. Should I use a literal translation that is difficult to understand or a thought-for-thought translation that sometimes oversimplifies theological discourses?
  8. Should I rebuke unconverted people for sinful behavior?
  9. Should I open civil functions in prayer if the society is nominally Christian?
  10. Should I feel obligated to stay in a place because of the investment of time and money?

2015

  1. Should I accept living together as marriage?
  2. How long should those who fall to fornication sit out?
  3. Should I ask neighbors to turn their music down?
  4. Should I rebuke prosperity preachers the first time I see them?
  5. Should I strive to use English with the people?
  6. Should I send my children to a public school for the sake of the ministry?
  7. Should I encourage my children to marry Africans?
  8. Should I start a second church before we leave the first one?
  9. Should I offer aid to a poor polygamist?
  10. Should I use expensive evangelistic tools that do not create dependency, but which the nationals could not reproduce without US funds?

2016

  1. Should I pray for my children to become missionaries?
  2. Should I congratulate unmarried couples on the birth of a child?
  3. Should I tell a polygamist before he is saved what he must do with his wives?
  4. Should I offer classes on life skills?
  5. Should a middle-aged woman be counted as married if the man does not pay the bride price?
  6. Should mothers be instructed to nurse their babies privately?
  7. Should a man be allowed to seek employment away from his family for extended periods of time?
  8. Should I pay a policeman if I am convinced that his request is unjust?
  9. Should I ask men with slimmer gifts to speak in public settings to give them more experience?
  10. Should I expect African pastors to live on a fraction of an American missionary’s salary?

 

 

 

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