All of It
As it turns out, at least one (although it’s more than likely there are more) of the people involved in crusading against Atlas School claims to be a Christian. This person brought this to my attention perhaps thinking that this would alleviate some of the concerns I might have about the situation. But the fact of being a Christian doesn’t actually make things better; it actually makes this tangle far worse.
Christians already have a bad enough name in the world. People avoid the fish signs in the yellow pages because they know it stands for ‘shoddy work’. There have been more than enough televangelist scandals, not to mention the fact that we are so painfully adept at mimicking everything the world does with our own cheesy lyrics and smarmy innuendoes.
But the Bible is very clear about how Christians are to solve disputes. Jesus said in Matthew 18:15, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” The passage goes on to explain the steps to follow if your brother does not hear you, bringing others to help persuade leading eventually to bringing the matter before the Church.
Obviously there are some matters that need immediate civil intervention. Paul says in Romans that the civil magistrate bears the sword for the defense of the innocent and the punishment of evil doers. I’m not saying that you ought to confront the burglar one on one first. “Now, ahem, do you reallythink you should be doing this?” Nevertheless, the vast majority of problems that arise in the world are not of this caliber. And Jesus tells us exactly how to deal with them. Go to the one who has sinned, confront them with humility and seek to bring about repentance. Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 6, Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking disputes to the civil magistrates that could have been solved by the elders of the Church.
The fact that at least one of our accusers claims to be a Christian does not make things better; it actually makes it worse. This is not said because I do not want to talk with this person; actually quite the opposite. I’m actually trying to point out how necessary it is that we meet, how necessary it is for us to come to peace. But in order for this to be fruitful everyone has to agree at the outset that Scripture is our ultimate rule. If Jesus says it, we’ll do it. And that means all of it.