Can a Christian take an organization to court for infringing upon his personal rights? I am not talking about a Christian organization, but a secular one. I understand that believers cannot take each other to court.
I assume that you ask this question based on Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthian church, specifically the following passage:
1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints ? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world ? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts ? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels ? How much more matters of this life ? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church ? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers ? 7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged ? Why not rather be defrauded ? 8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. (I Corinthians 6)
This text refers to Christians having misunderstandings among themselves and not resolving the problems within the church. Instead, they were taking each other to court under the Roman legal system. Paul reminds the Christians that it is a shame that they are taking each other to court and people under the New Covenant do not act in such a manner. Believers do not take their problems to the pagan judges of the government.
This passage does not refer to Christians and nonbelievers or organizations or even the government. The government exists to resolve such problems, specifically when nonbelievers are involved. There is nothing wrong in a Christian standing up for his infringed rights and going to the local courts to resolve the problem when the opposing party is a nonbeliever or organization.
Having made the above statement, it is also important for all believers to realize that we are a chosen nation, a holy people, a nation of priests whom God called out of the darkness to proclaim His wonderful power and might. Our main purpose on this earth is to proclaim the glorious Gospel of Christ to every person. If we do take someone to court, we need to think about what this action will do to our witness and ministry. Will this help in spreading the Gospel or will it raise an obstacle? We must constantly ask ourselves this question.
There was a time in Paul’s life when he made an appeal to stand before Caesar and be judged. As a Roman citizen, he could have used this opportunity to promote and defend himself. Instead, he used this opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. Paul’s goal was not to be released from prison because Festus and Agrippa both admitted that they could not find any wrong in Paul. He could have been set free then and he knew that yet he still chose to appeal to Rome so that he could preach the Gospel there. While in Rome, he wrote to the church in Philippi.
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. (Philippians 1)
As you make a decision to go to court or not to go, you need to be sure that this action will open up more opportunities for you to share the Gospel. Make sure that this action will not give you a bad name or a bad name to the other Christians in your area.
Translation by: Erik Brewer