I have been thinking about the whole approach of legal advocacy for Christians who are arrested for preaching the gospel or standing up for their faith.
It strikes me that the current approach of using lawyers and barristers is not scriptural and is against the teachings of Christ.
Very soon judges will execute the will of the government and not justice. We can see that now. Judge 1 perverts justice. On appeal Judge 2 applies justice correctly or reinforces the perverted Justice. So the best barrister will not be able to persuade the judge as the judgement is politically determined in advance.
But, that still misses the point. We are to let the Holy Spirit speak through us and to not be anxious and premeditate what we will say.
There are no examples that I can see in the scriptures where a persecuted Christian used an advocate of any sort. They just said what God gave them to say and accepted the consequences. This often had very powerful outcomes, even if resulted in martyrdom or punishment.
“But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” (Matthew 10:19)
“But when they shall lead [you], and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” (Mark 13:11)
“And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and [unto] magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12)
This then raises a very interesting question about some of the work of the Christian Institute and Christian Concern – is it valid, scripturally?
A Christian is thrown out of a job for talking about Jesus Christ to a colleague. Should he use legal services to stand up for his legal rights of unlawful dismissal and use a professional advocate?
Legal rights are used in scripture for and against Christians. Paul used legal rights to stop being scourged, and later by appealing to Caesar.
The trial of Jesus had a theatre of legalities, but the outcome was not justice. There are many other examples of injustice against believers, aka persecution.
A Christian can stand up for himself, sure, but are we meant to use human legislation devised by man as our defence when suffering as a Christian? Freedom of speech? Freedom to Manifest our Religion?
Christian Concern et al can certainly alert Christians to issues, point out inconsistencies in policy, legislations and judgements, lobby, petition, etc., but, ultimately, this is a spiritual battle and not just an ideological one. I sense that Christians are trying to use carnal means like the ones used by homosexuals, socialists, abortionists, Muslims, Marxists, humanists, etc. The aims of Christian Concern et al may be valid, but are the methods scriptural and spiritual?
The impression I am getting is that a Believer in the old and new testament operated independently, above the law of man, following a higher law - the law of God. They viewed the outcome from the court of man as the desired outcome of the will of God as they had been true to God’s commandments in preaching the gospel, giving their testimony, and not arguing about their human or legal rights.
I think this topic is worthy of an article, especially as we may be called to put the principles of the Bible regarding persecution into practice very soon.
(Note from K.B. Napier: What do you think? Should this be expanded? Does the same argument ‘fit all’? Or are there a variety of possibilities? (However, this brief introductory argument is only applied to preaching... what about other Christian situations?)
© April 2016
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