A commenter referred me to this post:
I'll make a few observations:
On the other hand, those that hold to absolute ethics (like me, Moses, and Jesus) say that all commands from God are binding, and it is never ok to set aside any of them. God doesn’t grade on a curve, so we shouldn’t view his commands in some kind of order of importance.
That commits the fallacy of a hasty generalization. The existence of moral absolutes doesn't mean all actions reduce to a choice between what's intrinsically right and what's intrinsically wrong. In some cases, the morality of the action is affected by circumstances or consequences.
Not all obligations are equally obligatory. In case of conflict, a higher obligation overrides a lower obligation.
The simple problem with the graded-ethics approach is that it is not taught by the Bible—verses like Mark 12:31 notwithstanding.
Except that we do see a priority structure in Scripture. For instance, preserving life takes precedence over Sabbath-keeping. Sabbath-keeping is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
But this takes us back to the Jews hiding in the living room. What then? Well, when scheming up hypothetical ethical dilemmas, you have to remember that hypotheticals are literally problematic. They are contrived precisely because they expose a supposed weakness in a person’s argument.
Sheltering Jews from Nazis isn't merely a hypothetical case. During WWII, many Gentiles sheltered Jews. And some of them had to deal with Nazis barging in to question the homeowner, search the premises, &c.
So if you are going to play the hypothetical game, remember that God is sovereign, and with that comes his promise that every instance of temptation he will always provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)… and that escape is NEVER going to involve sinning. God does not open your escape hatch through sin. In fact, in the context of 1 Corinthians 10, sin is the very thing that God gives you an escape from.
Thus, in any hypothetical moral dilemma you need to remember that there is an unstated contingent—namely, God will give you a way out that does not involve sin.
That begs the question. Here's the implicit argument:
i) Lying is always sinful.
ii) God will never put you in a position where sinning is unavoidable.
iii) Therefore, God will never put you in a position where lying is unavoidable.
But premise #1 assumes the very issue in dispute! So his argument is viciously circular.
Well, this decision is really made before you took the Jews in. When you gave them refuge in your house, you did so while taking responsibility for their safety. If you are brave enough to hide them, then you better be brave enough to protect them. How can you hide them but not be willing to physically defend them? If the guards knock on your door, respond by telling them that they have no right to enter your house, and that what they are doing is morally reprehensible—but that Jesus offers forgiveness for their sins, and they need to repent. Then slam the door, and take the hypothetical from there. A person who is brave enough to lie but not brave enough to be a martyr, isn’t brave at all.
This is incoherent. You can't protect the Jews you're hiding by informing the Gestapo that "they have no right to enter your house" and slamming the door in their face.
In fact, Jesse concedes the ineffectuality of that tactic by admitting that it will lead to martyrdom. So he has no workable alternative.