John J. Mauck, JD
Moody Publishers, 2017. 149pp.
Christian Living/Practical Life/Contemporary Issues
Our legal system can be confusing and even intimidating. Jesus in the Courtroom explains why and how Christians should fulfill our Biblical mandate to meet society’s need for justice and mercy using the law as Jesus did. Written by a lawyer for non-lawyers, it presents a compelling call to action for all believers. Obvious hot button legal issues like abortion and poverty are discussed along with less talked about topics, such as how restrictive zoning restrictions can hurt churches and the importance of having a well written facility use policy. Examples from both ancient Biblical and modern civil law are used to contextualize the author’s call to action.
Some Christians believe that the work of ministry is to be done by those trained in vocational ministry – the “professionals”. Mauck believes that this same erroneous belief keeps lay people from getting involved in legal issues, preferring again to leave it to the “professionals”. Short vignettes give both inspiration and suggestions for practical ways for people of all ages and levels of education and experience to get involved.
Regrettably, the law that was given to mankind for its benefit often allows evil to prevail. “We need a spiritual solution, not a legal one…” to society’s ills. Yet when the sin that inevitably stains a fallen world “…begins to affect others, particularly children, we must take legal action.” (P. 125) When you finish reading this book, you will be ready to help do that in any way you can.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
If you feel that Christian beliefs are facing increasingly intense secular attacks, this book is for you. Don’t despair if you have a limited understanding of the workings of the legal system. Mauck spends the first third of the book using scripture to lay out his case that all Christians are called to understand the law, and use it for maximum kingdom influence and to benefit of those who are marginalized by modern society. He lays out the basic structure of the legal system and shows how Jesus used it to tremendous advantage. If Christ was, after all, a teacher of the Law, how can we claim that we need to stay unengaged?
Every pastor faces congregants struggling with life issues that involve legal issues. Using short inspirational stories on topics from adoption to divorce to incarceration, you will find hope to share with the suffering and practical tips to share with those called to serve them. The book concludes with several appendices that list helpful resources for pastors, and anyone else ready to follow the greatest teach of the law, Jesus, in providing justice and mercy to the people, ministries, and churches in your midst.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
This review was written by LifeWay Employee and paralegal Lori Morrison.