Christians sometimes ask me, "Shouldn't Christians, including Christian lawyers, try to avoid conflict, such as litigation in the courts, and spend their time on prayer and Christian fellowship and evangelism?"
In return, I pose some different questions: "What would have happened without Christian litigation in the courts over the last 20 years or so? And if we're ready to turn back the clock on litigation, which legal victories are we willing to surrender?"
These are fair questions.
Are we really willing to give back our victory over partial-birth abortion or victories on speech that have prevented Christian evangelism from being labeled "hate speech" at our universities, for example?
I think the answer is an obvious "no." One shudders to think what our world would look like if the ACLU and their friends won every battle because the Christian lawyers failed to show up.
I am not in any way debating the importance of prayer, Christian fellowship, and evangelism. To the contrary, Christian lawyers do what they do to ensure these things can continue without the oppression of government and activist organizations that use the courts in an attempt to quiet the church. Christian lawyers must do this humbly, but they should do it.
One might even suggest that a gigantic spiritual battle is occurring in which the opposing force is aiming to silence and suppress the church by a thousand small restrictions.
What happens if the church is completely silenced on issues of importance? It seems safe to say that government will be ever less inclined to "promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," as our Constitution states. It will instead promote conduct that is both contrary to the moral laws of Scripture and destructive in people's lives; conduct such as same-sex "marriage," more pornography on the Internet and elsewhere, restrictions on Christian evangelistic expression labeled as "hate speech," and more regulations intended to influence the church or gag it completely from speaking out on the great moral issues of the day.
Our public schools and universities might get away – even more so than they do now – with making Christians seem to be little more than bigoted, narrow minded, and flawed.
And since laws have a "teaching function," what is allowed as legal will increasingly be considered right.
We frequently forget that the freedoms we take for granted did not just "happen." They were won at the cost of thousands of lives, and at the cost of whole generations seeking and paying the ultimate price for freedom from government control and suppression of the church.
Our founders recognized that the freedoms we have in the United States don't come from government, but are derived from our Creator, as gifts to be defended and protected. These freedoms have allowed the church to do a huge amount of good. If we lose them, of course, our ability to do these good things will be increasingly hindered. Thus these freedoms have immense value to God's Kingdom.
God's purpose for government is to restrain evil and promote good in society. We should seek to help it fulfill its God-given function.
If Christians don't do this, then who will inform government officials of what God's intended role for government is?