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Sunday Seminar 11
Born Again Arbitration Instead of Litigation

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© 2000 G. Edwin Lint, Th.B., M.A.


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Believers should not sue each other in lawsuits brought by lawyers in front of judges and juries. Abitration should be used.

The Apostle Paul had litigation problems in the Church at Corinth. In Chapter 6 of his first letter to them, he said,

1CO 6:1 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers!

Let's look at what Paul was really saying here within the context of life in the 21st century.

V. 1: It is inevitable that believers will have differences of opinions among themselves. However, these differences should never become formal litigation involving lawyers, courts, and judges where persons that are not believers may become involved, even as spectators.

V.2-4: Following the Rapture, believers with their glorified bodies will be given great authority in the cosmos [Earth and Heaven combined.] Such judgments will be of far greater significance than any differences among believers we will see in this life. On some occasions, we may be called upon to settle disputes among angels.

V. 4: However, Paul doesn't suggest that believers with disputes are just to grin and bear it. Instead he introduces the concept of born-again arbitration. Selected believers are to be assigned the job of settling disputes within the cloister of the church, without resorting to formal and public litigation. While such ad hoc judges are not given the rank of apostles, pastors, or teachers, as seen in Eph. 4:11, their Christian service does serve a useful and valuable purpose.

There is no evidence that Paul is talking about matters that should be handled through the criminal justice system. Paul, himself, took full advantage of the Roman courts when the situation justified it.

For more information see Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 8, ©1968, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Kansas City, MO. Church of the Nazarene.


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