February 10, 2009

Foreword: The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues


The proverbial saying that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure” aptly describes the true value of the “practical counsel” the reader will find from Steve Bloom on every page of this helpful book. Best of all, Mr. Bloom’s experienced counsel is not just practical, it is eternal because it soundly rests on the words of God as set forth in Holy Scripture.


Having practiced law for more than thirty years, I find collected in this book just the sort of sage advice I would give to my dearest friend or closest relative. I imagine that if taken to heart this book might save the reader much heartache, not to mention wasted time and unnecessary legal fees.


It is no secret that Christians in America divorce just as often and are involved in more than 4 million lawsuits annually. Indeed, it can be whimsically stated that where two or more Christians are gathered in Jesus’ name there all too often is conflict. Rather than resolve these conflicts within the church, too many Christians are sent to attorneys and courthouses where they never hear the good advice found these pages.


On the other hand, here at the Christian Legal Society we know from the more than 10,000 legal referrals we provide to the public every year, most people do not know how to find a good attorney they can truly trust or how to properly evaluate the moral value of the advice they are receiving from their legal counsel they do retain. A reading of this book will better prepare anyone to wisely retain and best work with their legal counsel.


Mr. Bloom’s wise and Christ-honoring approach to identifying, understanding and responding to the legal problems most commonly faced by Americans today is a useful drink of water for a thirsty church. Best of all, the book sets forth in general terms just the sort of moral considerations that we all should hear and understand before investing considerable time and money in unnecessary legal proceedings that may only serve to kiss our most important relationships good-bye.


Mr. Bloom’s book not only shows folks facing legal problems how to best respond to those problems. It also serves to provide the Christian lawyer or law student with a good example of how they might better advise their clients.


Of course there is no better example of a Christian lawyer than Jesus. 1 John 2:1 says: “If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” The “we” John refers to in this passage are people he knew to be followers of Christ, those who by their confession of faith had already “retained” Jesus as their advocate or attorney to represent, defend and even stand in their place before the judgment seat of God. No “client” of Jesus has ever or will ever receive ineffective representation. None of Jesus’ clients have ever lost their case for salvation before the throne of Heaven. Even the guilty thief crucified with Jesus, when he asked Jesus to remember him in heaven, found the dying Jesus to be a caring and effective advocate.


According to Scripture, those who are in eternal torment decided or preferred to represent themselves (or sought some advocate, argument or thing other than Jesus) to make their case for righteousness before an all Holy and Righteous God. None of these are Jesus’ clients. Their unfortunate ends are as predictable as that of the guilty criminal defendant who decides to represent himself and has no one to take his punishment for him.


While it is true that Jesus had some harsh criticisms for the lawyers of his day who were always trying to “oppose him fiercely and besiege him with questions waiting to catch him in something he might say” (Luke 11:53-54), a careful reading of Luke 11:42 demonstrates that Jesus cared about right practice of law and was actually providing a job description for a lawyer who follows God, in contradiction to the legalistic, egocentric, hypocritical lawyers of Jesus’ day. Those lawyers were focusing on trivialities and forgetting justice, truth and fair treatment of others - - characteristics often applied to lawyers today. For Jesus, a Christian lawyer would not forget the “weightier matters of the law”- - justice, mercy and faithfulness (Malachi 23:22).


Take and read this useful book. Whether you are seeking Christian legal counsel or trying to provide it, this book will help you bear in mind the “weightier matters of the law” that Jesus encourages all of us to always remember – justice, mercy and faithfulness.


Sam


Samuel B. Casey
Executive Director & CEO
Christian Legal Society



Author's Note: Foreword excerpted from "The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues" (2008, Living Ink Books). Sam Casey concluded his ministry as the Executive Director & CEO of the Christian Legal Society in late 2008, after 14 years of faithful service. He now serves as Executive Vice President & General Counsel at CLS's sister organization, Advocates International.

7 comments:

  1. Interesting subject matter. The law and God together makes sense in so many ways. I would rather see that religion does not play too big of a role when it comes to laws being broken but of course for a lot of people religion is a everything. I am glad I read this post and would be interested in reading the book.
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