No Christian should be involved in taking another Christian to court.
A few in the comment section challenged the dogmatism of the comment, but many others agreed. I think this kind of thinking - and writing - illustrates one of the reasons there may be polarization of positions in the SBC. Asolute words such as 'never' or 'always' - or absolute phrases like 'no Christian' or 'every Christian' - leave no room for genuine reflection and dialogue.
Just a short race around the blogosphere gave a much broader and kinder answer to the question: "Should a Christian take another Christian to court?"
From Christianity Today:
"Am I saying that a Christian must never sue? No. There will be situations in which one has no choice but to seek legal recourse to resolve a conflict with another.
From the General Secretary of the Assemblies of God:
If all avenues of adjudicating a matter within the context of believers have been exhausted and the offending party refuses to correct the wrong, then the offended believer must balance Matthew 5:38–48 and 6:14,15 with Romans 13:1–5. The pivotal questions will be:
(1). Is my desire for a redress of injury motivated simply by personal gain, or am I involving the secular power of the court to uphold justice and prevent lawlessness?
(2). If I bring action before a secular court, will such, in the context of American (rather than Corinthian) society, bring the church and the cause of Christ harm?
(3). Am I totally honest with my claim (or defense), or am I seeking through deception to obtain (or avoid) an unjust compensation which is more (or less) than the injury suffered?
(4). Since the Holy Spirit will never counsel a believer contrary to the Word He has inspired, after a thorough season of prayer what course of action "seems good to the Holy Spirit?"
(5). As an additional safeguard, what is the counsel of other believers who are in a position of leadership or eldership in the body of Christ of which I am a member?
From a group of evangelical Christian attorneys in commenting on I Corinthians 6:
Some groups believe that a literal reading of this passage in the original Greek language does not refer to secular court lawsuits at all but refers instead to the improper use of unfit persons within the Corinthian church to render judgments.
An even smaller group of people believe that civil lawsuits are not “smallest matters,” and, therefore, 1 Corinthians 6 does not apply to lawsuits.
(Our belief is) that believers have the necessary resources to skillfully arbitrate the various issues and problems that pertain to life. Going to court, while necessary in some instances, should, in general, be a rarity, and a last resort.
We should seek godly, wise, Spirit-filled and directed counsel within the church to resolve our differences.
From a Christian Think-Tank:
Does Paul specifically command that lawsuits is to be avoided for Christians in 1 Cor 6? Probably not . . . If the cases of a dispute, the believers are supposed to go before the church. If one party WONT, they are to be treated as an outsider (and lawsuits are fine in those settings--under stewardship). If both parties go, but one consistently wont listen to reason, they are to be CONSIDERED AS OUTSIDER and then lawsuits are okay. (See Matt 18:15-17)
From China Missionary Watchman Nee after saying that Christians are not to sue each other over church or personal matters:
As citizens of a state, however, we have the right to enjoy the freedom guaranteed by the constitution. Christians can enjoy the same freedom as others. If a school forces girls to cut their hair (editorial comment: 'or step down from teaching Hebrew'), then parents can sue the school, and we can help the parents in their fight against the schools. It is the freedom of individual citizens to keep their hair. There is no law that says that a person cannot be a citizen of the Republic of China if he or she keeps long hair. A school principal cannot say that a girl can no longer be a student if she has long hair. This is a matter of personal liberty. If someone asks me to intervene in this matter, I will. Nevertheless, we have to be proper in our attitude. We may invite those for a meal, go to the court together, and then drive them home afterward. In such matters we should be free from personal feelings. We are here to fight for the truth only. If the post office writes a letter saying that they will not deliver Bibles (or teach the Bible), we can invite the postmaster to a meal and still sue him. A Christian can fight for his rights under the constitution. Yet we are fighting for the truth . . .
From the Bible expositor Matthew Henry
“If the matter be small, which we may lose without an considerable damage to our families, it is good to submit to it [legal nonresistance] for peace’ sake.”
Anyone who is versed in Matthew Henry's commentaries understand that his method of interpretation is to understate the obvious by stating the opposite (i.e. 'small' matters submit to legal nonresistance vs. 'large' matters submitting to legal resistance).
It would seem to me before anyone assigns evil to Dr. Sheri Klouda, that a few questions ought to be asked:
(1). Were there attempts to reconcile this situation through third-parties prior to the lawsuit being filed?
(2). Was there an unwillingness on one party to either return phone calls or answer emails when a resolution was being sought?
(3). Is it Sheri Klouda's desire to become rich through this lawsuit, or are there other motives for her actions - motives that involves other people besides herself?
(4). From a human perspective, is the cause of gospel hindered more by a bright Hebrew professor being unable to teach the Hebrew language to men who will exegete Scriptures (the job for which she was trained), or is the cause of the gospel hindered more by the courts settling a dispute that one party may have been unwilling to resolve?
(5). Is this a small matter?
I would encourage Mr. Roger's neighborhood to think through the above questions and ask themselves if they themselves have sought the answers - or know someone who has. And, finally, this Klouda issue may be a good lesson for us all. The world is not always a black and white horizon - there are sometimes gray cloud(a)s. And, unfortunately, to entrench within a black and white ditch is one of the reasons resolution may often be hard to obtain.
In His Grace,