Friday, August 28, 2009


This article was sent in by a regular reader of CT. Please visit for the original source of this article

by Doug Goins
Peninsula Bible Church

Let me briefly address the issue of when we do legitimately need to get involved in the justice system. I will not try to be at all comprehensive. We are citizens of the nation, and we do have civil obligations. If we're required to answer a charge or to testify, we have to respond, because as Christians we live under the law of the land just as much as anyone else. There are times when we need legal clarification of different kinds of agreements such as contracts, real estate deals, and insurance coverage. There are some things that only a court of law can provide interpretation of. Sometimes, tragically, the quarrels or disagreements between Christians over financial issues and property issues get so tangled that they do have to have a secular court step in to render an expert legal judgment.

My own conviction is that in a criminal matter, a believer may need to sign a complaint against another believer who has broken the law, because sometimes failure to do so would condone the lawlessness. Any time that a Christian is being divorced by his or her spouse, the law requires a secular court to be involved. That may also be the case for child abuse, spousal abuse, financial irresponsibility, or child neglect. In those kinds of situations a parent or spouse may be forced to seek court protection.

But with all those exceptions to the principles of 1 Corinthians 6, going to court should always be seen as the last resort. And our motive must be to glorify God, never to gain selfish advantage. We must be concerned about the cause of Christ in the life of the other party; that must be central. Dr. Gordon Fee, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, talks about this issue of the motivation, the spiritual issues in being involved in litigation: "Litigation will hopefully be the last resort even with non-Christians. If it is out of concern for the one defrauded and for all others who might be taken in, then it is fully justified."

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