Question about Professional Skills for missionaries:
"What are the ethical implications of going into a closed country as a professional but with the ultimate goal of doing something that may be illegal, like preaching the gospel?"
I think we often tend to compartmentalize our faith too much. This results in frustration when we serve in closed countries. If you asked the Apostle Peter what he did, he would have told you he was a fisherman. God has an ultimate goal for you to be salt and light, no matter where you are or what your visa says. If you are in prayer and keeping your heart and eyes open for opportunities, he will move heaven and earth to make sure people are drawn to him.
As for the ethical implications, also weigh the eternal implications of not going to these closed countries.
It's also true that you are very likely to meet people with whom you can share the gospel through your official work. If that work is done competently and ethically, you are likely to win a hearing for the gospel, too ... especially if you are working in a field in which corruption is widespread.
If you go in with the kind of attitude described above, that might solve the other ethical problem for you (the one of dishonesty or at least lack of openness). You will then not be an undercover missionary masquerading as a teacher, builder or whatever; you will instead be an honest-to-goodness builder, teacher, etc. and a very good one! The fact that you are a contagious Christian as well is an added, if less prominently mentioned, benefit to your adopted culture. It is not really necessary to choose between "secular work" and "missionary work." Most normal Christian people do both, either at home or abroad, even though they habitually identify themselves by the name of their secular work ("What do you do?" "Oh, I'm an architect," etc.) But they are not dishonest in identifying themselves so.
For more resources on the worker's duty to God (through the work he performs), see Dorothy L. Sayers (one anthology is called "Creed or Chaos?" and is still in print now, I believe). She has some excellent ethics essays which bear on this point.
In contrast, his method of teaching shrouded the gospel, pushing people to think until illumination came. As he developed his key leaders, he began to speak more and more openly, until the inevitable occurred: he was killed. He had, however, completed his objective (John 17:3).
Entering certain contexts and immediately and publicly proclaiming the gospel would be suicide. This does not mean that one has to lie. If you go in as a teacher, you must genuinely teach, fulfill your contract, and have the training and capacity to do it well. May your light shine out in the midst of your work (Matthew 5:16).
I was in Colombia in the early 1970's, in the very hostile Marxist environment of the National University of Colombia. As a genuine professor of English I taught effectively, had the respect of colleagues and supervisors, and made many friends. I invited them to my home, shared with them over coffee in the cafes, and entered into their world honestly and genuinely. As I gained their confidence I was able to introduce them to Jesus.
I don't see this as deception. There is no lying, just exercising discernment by not saying everything at once. I think this is what Jesus did. In some Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist contexts today it is the only viable option we have.
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