Is It Right For A Christian To Go To Court Against The Government?

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Related Messages

Is It Right For A Christian To Go To Court Against The Government?

To hear more and grow in your understanding of the things addressed in this episode of the Straight Truth Podcast, please consider listening to the following sermons, by Dr. Richard Caldwell from the Word of God:

The Discipline of The Church

Believers Before The Worlds Court

The Beautiful Life & Civil Authority

Blind Opposition

A Glimpse Of First Century Worship

Smyrna - The Church With Proper Values

A Christian Vision for Engaging The World - Part 1 & Part 2


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Is It Right For A Christian To Go To Court Against The Government?

This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, a listener asks if it is right for a Christian to go to court? 1 Corinthian 6:1-8 seems to say that Christians ought not to go court to work out their grievances. The listener writes and asks specifically about John MacArthur (MacArthur) and Grace Community Church (GCC), going to court and suing L.A. County. They want to know if this sort of thing conflicts with the directions given by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. Or does it not apply because the grievance is not against another believer?

Dr. Josh Philpot begins this week’s discussion reminding listeners of the time and context that this episode takes place. We are in September of 2020, COVID 19 is still around, and we are still dealing with the ongoing issues that the pandemic has brought. These include mask-wearing, social distancing ourselves, and more. Many of these mandates and other restrictions have been issued, placed upon, and applied very differently in cities, counties, and states across the U.S. The question addressed today is a result of these orders and the difficulties that have impacted churches in California and other states as well. Dr. Philpot asks Dr. Caldwell to answer the question and also maybe speak a little about what is taking place between MacArthur, GCC, and L.A. County.

Disagreements Among Believers

Dr. Caldwell tells us that what 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 deals with is that disagreements among believers are to handled and reconciled within the context of the local church. Believers are not to take their grievances with fellow believers into the court system; they’re to work that out amongst themselves. As Christians, we have this capacity, the ability to do this in Christ. However, if you find that you are unable to resolve these differences, then take the matter to your church. The church discipline process can apply here if you need help. These are the ways believers ought to work things out. It is dishonoring to Christ and the gospel when believers go fighting out their disagreements with one another in the courts. Dr. Caldwell tells us this is not what MacArthur and GCC are doing. What they are doing is something entirely different than this.

Dr. Caldwell explains that what MacArthur and GCC are doing is simply what they must do to be able to meet as a church in California. He explains that from his vantage point, MacArthur and GCC are exemplary when it comes to how the church is to relate to the state. They’ve had a wonderful reputation for years and years in Los Angeles and L.A. County. They have been the recipients of awards from government officials, and they have been celebrated and appreciated. When the pandemic-COVID 19 began, GCC, like churches all over the U.S. and elsewhere, voluntarily decided not to meet together in person to protect people. When it became apparent that this was going to extend perhaps into next year, or yet further, MacArthur and GCC determined that they could no longer go on in this manner.

Obey Our Savior

They said we have to obey our Savior regarding how we are to meet together. They have determined that they can do that in a way that is most reasonable and in a way that protects the people in the greatest degree. But, what they cannot do is indefinitely set aside the clear teaching of the New Testament regarding how the Church is to function. So, this is what MacArthur and GCC are doing; they are merely obeying the Scriptures, the Word of God. They are making it clear that Christ is the Lord of the Church, not Caesar, and not the government. By going to court, this is what they are striving to do.

Dr. Caldwell does not leave us scratching our heads about this. He wants us to know that even in these types of situations and circumstances, God has provided instructions for us. Dr. Caldwell tells us that the attitude we are to have about these sorts of things is found in Romans 13. He reads and exposits verses 1-4 then further explains God’s design for government. Its responsibilities are to affirm the good and to punish evil. When a government is functioning as God has ordained, it will reward good behavior and punish evil behavior. So then, as long as that is what the government represents, the Church takes the posture of complete submission.

We Are To Be The Best Of Citizens

We are to be the best of citizens, most cooperative, and most submissive of citizens; this is what the Bible teaches. But, when anyone in authority over us asks us to violate the Word of God - when in fact what they would applaud and affirm is evil, and what they would punish is good - we must choose the higher authority. This higher authority is God Himself. He is the One, in fact, who gives any government its authority.

Therefore, when the government would ask us to obey them, but that obedience would require us not obeying God, we are to submit to and obey God. That is what MacArthur and GCC are doing right now. They are choosing to obey God in the matter of worship and to disobey the government. Because what the government is asking them to do would mean disobedience to God.

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 12 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Makeup Artist
Samantha Claveria

Graphic Design
David Navejas


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El Centro Network

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Motion Graphics
Szymon Masiak

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