Understanding the Requirement

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #49

“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?” (1 Cor. 6:1).

Before we delve into the reasons Paul gives for his standards about lawsuits, we need first to take a close look at what the standard actually is. The concern is this: members of the church at Corinth had a “matter” against a fellow member of the church. They were taking their disputes before the unrighteous (adikia), or as he puts it in v. 6, unbelievers.

A lot of confusion has been caused by the quiet changing of this into a prohibition of Christians having something sorted out in civil court. If the civil court is run by unbelievers, and on unbelieving principles, then the Pauline prohibition of course applies. Christians should prefer to have their case adjudicated by the church janitor to airing their dirty laundry in front of unbelievers. But if the civil courts are Christian, and based on biblical law, as they have been at previous periods in our history, there would be no problem with having such cases heard there. That is where they would belong. This is foundational to understanding the argument that follows.

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