Christ didn’t die to sanctify just part of you.
As we learn to measure ourselves by Christ alone instead of the “Reasonable Christian Lawyer” standard and set free God’s creative power to direct us, we see him changing us in our personal and professional lives until I am his in both, forming one integrated whole.
Many times, I see Christian lawyers stewing on the procedural or process-oriented side of their work, wrapped up in how to integrate vocation and faith.
As an example: a lawyer visited my Christian group during law school to tell us about his practice. He shared about how he views the Bible as a supplement to the hallowed Model Rules of Professional Conduct, meaning that the Christian lawyer has elevated standards.
This appears sound, a basic but helpful reminder that the profession condones all sorts of lousy conduct. Take Rule 1.8(j) for example, permitting sleeping with a current client only if there’s a relationship prior to the representation. It reminded me of 1 Corinthians 10:23: “’Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.’” Continue reading
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
For too long we’ve measured ourselves against the standard of the reasonable Christian Lawyer.
This is used much like the “reasonable person” standard. For those readers who may be unfamiliar with first-year torts or contracts classes, the reasonable person is a legal fiction employed to assess the reasonableness of a person’s conduct under a set of circumstances. There is no flesh and blood “reasonable person”; it’s an average, imagined vision of a faceless, ageless, genderless blob at the heart of judging things like a person’s negligence.
Here’s an example:
Hypo: Would a reasonable person down a beer while operating a fork lift on an interstate?
Answer: No. To do so would be a breach of his duty of care to those around him.
And there you have it.
Now, I’ve seen similar use of the reasonable Christian lawyer standard:
Hypo: Would the reasonable Christian lawyer lie in court, rip off a client, or get someone off the hook that they know is guilty?
Answer: Easy. No. To do so would not comport with the conduct to which Christ calls us.
And that’s where the standard is usually used. It helps us rule out heinous (or mildly unsavory) professional conduct that chafes against our sense of Christian propriety. While it can help our moral reasoning, it has some serious failings. Continue reading