How should Christians view the legal system? Can we make a difference as it relates to social justice issues in our society today? Attorney John Mauck helps us to answer these questions by reflecting on the way that previous generations of Christians have viewed and engaged the law.
“Traditionally, we understood that the law came from God, that we were under God, and we should model our laws after scripture and after God’s justice and mercy. There was a consciousness of that in the drafters of the Constitution; Abraham Lincoln certainly felt that way.”
“Faith was so strong in the U.S. that it covered a lot of areas and it helped to change things, like the Civil War and the changing of slavery. People were looking at scripture and saying, ‘This is wrong and we need to change it!’ But it didn’t happen easily.”
Although our ancestors laid a foundation of faith for us, John believes that today we have drifted away.
“In part because there are fewer believers, and in part we have lost sight of the fact that God’s over the constitution.”
“Francis Schaffer sounded this message thirty years ago. He said, ‘We need to understand that everything’s under God.’ Otherwise, the alternative is that the law is man-made. Then if it’s man-made then it could be changed by man. Man is the judge of what’s right and wrong; abortion, euthanasia, changing the definition of marriage, sexual conduct, etc., and these are things that bother us.”
As believers, we need to understand what God says about these issues and contend on His behalf. John points out that if we have good justice and good law, it helps people to see Jesus. He refers to the book of Romans 7.
“Paul said this when he was talking about the law, ‘The law showed me my need; it showed me that I was sinful. I tried to follow the law but I realized that I was covetous and I was utterly helpless.’ (Romans 7:7).
“Where God’s mercy came in for Paul was when he said, ‘I now know why I needed the Savior.’ This is one of the functions of good law and justice that we need to pursue.”
John wants to remind Christians that we can be involved and find our place as we engage with the legal system. We can help to redeem the law for the benefit of our society and to the glory of God.
John W. Mauck is an attorney, speaker and biblical scholar who partners with men and women to discover God’s powerful solutions amidst the pain of church splits, litigation and reconciliation counseling. John is a senior partner at Mauck & Baker, LLC , was a board member of Christian Legal Society for 9 years, and is currently an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. He is author of several books including Jesus in the Courtroom: How Believers Can Engage the Legal System for the Good of His World.Christianity and the law