Christian Dispute Resolution

Discussion on creating and maintaining Conflicts of Law
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Christian Dispute Resolution

Post by editor » Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:32 am

Christian Dispute Resolution

If you've poked around in our Reading Room you may have had a chance to explore the Christ county Vault (http://lawfulpath.com/ref/ccvault/index.shtml). This is an archive of some of the work and related documents generated by a (now defunct) Christian jural Society which went by the name Christ county, kingdom of God.

I was involved with that project. When Christ county was abandoned, roughly sixteen years ago, I established the Vault in hopes others might pick up the work where we left off. I've gotten feedback over the years showing this is a topic of interest for many readers but, so far, if anyone has really used the info much they haven't told me about it.

One of the issues of Christ county with which I was heavily involved, and the one which I thought might hold the most promise, was the creation of the Court Rules (http://www.lawfulpath.com/ref/ccvault/crtruls.htm).

More people than ever before, no longer think it is an extreme position to believe that the United States government, and its corporate subsidiaries, have become a criminal syndicate rather than a legitimate government.

The Court Rules were created to give Christians an alternative to going into the courts of the unbelievers (1Cor:6).

True, it is not always possible to stay out of their courts, particularly if one is dragged into them in chains. But what of the myriad civil lawsuits brought by brother against brother? Many of these are avoidable.

For a short time Christ county had a functioning court system, complete with rules, a Clerk, and at least four judges (which provided a tribunal for oversight). The Court allowed members who had signed the Christ county Compact (http://lawfulpath.com/ref/ccvault/compact.htm) to claim conflict of law in regard to both civil and criminal matters brought against them in foreign (U.S.) courts.

Christ county collapsed before most of these principles could be tested to their full extent. However, the Court did facilitate both mediation and arbitration for its members. I believe this is a valuable and much needed service for which most Christians have nowhere to turn.

I have no intention of establishing another original-jurisdiction-court. This would require starting up another jural society, and I'm not up to it. It's a lot of work; it's dangerous, and I'm not in a position to put forth the level of in your face required to make a go of it. I make no apologies.

However, I have begun to consider the possibility of offering the service of private Christian Dispute Resolution through The Lawful Path.

What are the Basics?

I've been teaching these principles for years. Our foundation for the Court Rules began with the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17:
15. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Thus the steps for proper dispute resolution are laid out in four successive steps, with the honest hope that each step will resolve the problem without having to resort to the next step:
  1. Private. Go privately, man to man, and try to settle.
  2. Mediation. Meet in the company of one or two mutual friends and talk it out. Try for a voluntary settlement.
  3. Arbitration. Take the matter before a mutually agreeable third party (the church). Each party to the dispute presents his case. The arbitrator makes a binding decision to which all parties must abide.
  4. Excommunication. Any man (or woman) who refuses or fails to comply with a judgment in arbitration is to be publicly shunned.
Who Can be a Mediator/Arbitrator?

Literally anyone can be a mediator or arbitrator. Given that by some counts there are now more than seven billion people on the planet, it should be pretty easy to find a judge, right?

The catch is that whoever is chosen must be agreeable to all parties in dispute. Obviously you will look for qualities such as honesty, impartiality, and reasonable intelligence. If you are Christian you will (or ought to) look for someone who will offer you resolutions which are consistent with Christian doctrine and principles.

In the past this used to be a regular function for a pastor, or the deacons of a church. However I can testify that my attempts at persuading pastors and deacons of various churches to step up and fulfill this function have been deeply disappointing. An offended member might move to another church, which affects their bottom line. Besides, they might risk losing their 501(C)(3) exemptions.

So who do you ask? A mutual friend? He risks offending one or the other party, and will likely refuse. Your bartender? Your barber? They'll refuse for the same reason. Between actual blood siblings? Dad, or Mom, if they're still living. Otherwise, all of us are probably out of luck. Which is why the secular courts have risen to such prominence.

Even if you find someone willing to do it, can all parties agree that he's the right one for the job? When people are getting along, there are plenty of things upon which they agree. By the time they are in dispute, it's often harder to reach agreement on even the simplest matters.

I've been trying to solve this issue for myself, since Christ county dissolved sixteen years ago, and I haven't had any luck. I figure if it's a problem for me, then I'm not alone.

How to Make it Official

Let me stress again that the court I envision creating will be strictly voluntary. This means that in order to access the services of the court, whether they be mediation or arbitration, all parties must agree.

If I decide to do this, I'll start with the aforementioned Court Rules as a base, and re-work them a bit to convert them from a court of original jurisdiction to a private service. Otherwise their character will be preserved.

A man or woman who comes with a dispute will grant jurisdiction (give the court the right to hear the case) when he makes application. There will be a form.

As to the other party in dispute, there are two possibilities:
  1. If he has signed a prior contract agreeing to use The Lawful Path's services then he must participate.
  2. If there is no prior contract, then The Lawful Path will invite him to participate. In this case, if he refuses there can be no prejudice brought against him.
The prior contract is the preferred method of granting jurisdiction. It can be easily done as a clause within a contract between the parties. For example, let's say Andy rents a donkey to Bob for one year. They draw up a contract that includes the expiration date, how much money Bob will pay Andy, what Bob should feed the donkey, etc. Each of those statements is a clause. They also include a clause which says something like this:
The parties hereby agree that in the event of a dispute arising from this contract, they may not submit the dispute to any court other than The Lawful Path (lawfulpath.com), which shall have full authority for mediation and final arbitration of all matters related to this contract.
That's the short version, just so you get the idea. The clause should include a link to the Court Rules, which would be published online. The clause could allow for mediation, but not arbitration. Or arbitration, but not mediation (if you preferred mediation be done by someone else, for example). But that's the gist of it. I would publish several example clauses to make it easy for folks.

You should also note that the service will not be free. The Christ county Court had a fee schedule, and this one will too, if I do it. The fees will not be excessive, but they will cover costs, and justly compensate the people involved for their time. A cost is also beneficial to all parties as it serves as a minor barrier to filing frivolous claims.

Ultimately I would like to get enough people involved that I can use the service myself. For that I'd need other judges to avoid conflict of interest.

Day to Day Operation

Since I'm in Tennessee and you're probably not, most of the day to day operation will be done using encrypted technology. That means sending evidence by encrypted email; giving testimony over encrypted audio/video channels, etc.

I'll work this out if the plan goes any further. Yes, I expect I'll have to help some of you with the technical details from time to time.

Membership and Excommunication

There's one more part to this I need to work out, and it deals with the enforcement of judgments.

Obviously if the court issues a judgment and you refuse to honor it, I'm not going to send a big hairy Christian over to your house to beat you up. There are two methods of peacefully enforcing judgments issued from a private court.
  1. Government courts have rules which allow foreign judgments to be brought before them and enforced. The rules usually afford very little leway for the government court to alter the judgment.
  2. My preference for enforcement would be for The Lawful Path to publish a list of any members who have not honored judgments. This would be in accordance with Matthew 18:17:
    ...but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.


I've done considerable reading on this subject, and I'm contemplating maybe having a membership with small yearly dues to support the system. If I go this route there would be a list of membership, accessible only to other members, showing the member to be in good standing ordinarily, or not in good standing if the member had failed or refused to comply with a judgment. This would enable Christians to advertise, for example:

Member, in good standing, of Lawful Path Dispute Resolutions

or whatever I decide to call it.

When Would I Use This?

Ideally it would become common for you to invoke this private jurisdiction in all your dealings with others, whenever possible, both private and business. There's an old saying that goes,
The palest ink is more powerful than the sharpest memory.
What this is saying is that in your dealings with people, whether they be friends, family, or just business acquaintances, your best practice is to put your dealings in writing. This minimizes disputes before they even begin.

So when you loan or borrow money, buy or rent a car, house, or donkey, offer your services for a price, or any number of day to day transactions, it is best to have a written contract. The contract should include these parts, not necessarily in any particular order:
  • Name and contact information of all people involved (the parties).
  • The effective date, and the duration or expiration date.
  • The purpose of the contract.
  • The consideration given (money paid).
  • Clearly set forth everything each person agrees to do or not do.
  • Set out the penalty for each party if he doesn't do what he promises (breach of contract)
  • Name the method for dispute resolution (the subject of this article).
Another prime example of the need for private dispute resolution is marriage. In my article Coverture and the Courts (http://lawfulpath.com/ref/news/v03n01.shtml) I write about the importance of a couple signing a marriage compact prior to joining together in marriage. They should contemplate in advance how they should resolve their disputes, and how property, children, and other matters should be decided in the event of divorce. Better to decide these things in advance, when you are in love and agreeable, than after things (hopefully never) become bitter.

If you don't name the method for dispute resolution, then the government courts conclude you have abandoned your right to make the choice. This is called escheat. For more information on the fine points of jurisdiction, see my article A Radical Perspective on Jurisdiction (http://lawfulpath.com/ref/jurisdic.shtml)

Feedback!!

Okay, now here's the part where you come in. If I do this it's going to be a bit of work putting it together. I need to know if there's enough interest from readers to make the effort worthwhile.

How about it? Feedback anyone?
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Re: Christian Dispute Resolution

Post by notmartha » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:17 pm

You have obviously put a lot of time and thought into this project, and I believe it to be a mostly sound idea. I have a couple of thoughts…
editor wrote:I believe this is a valuable and much needed service for which most Christians have nowhere to turn.
I agree. It could be a real blessing to those who find themselves with no alternative.
editor wrote:Thus the steps for proper dispute resolution are laid out in four successive steps, with the honest hope that each step will resolve the problem without having to resort to the next step:
1. Private. Go privately, man to man, and try to settle.
2. Mediation. Meet in the company of one or two mutual friends and talk it out. Try for a voluntary settlement.
3. Arbitration. Take the matter before a mutually agreeable third party (the church). Each party to the dispute presents his case. The arbitrator makes a binding decision to which all parties must abide.
4. Excommunication. Any man (or woman) who refuses or fails to comply with a judgment in arbitration is to be publicly shunned.
I believe these steps are reasonable and biblically sound.
editor wrote:Who Can be a Mediator/Arbitrator?
Will the mediators/arbitrators need to be members? Will they need to acknowledge some sort of statement of faith?
editor wrote:How to Make it Official
You said:

“If he has signed a prior contract agreeing to use The Lawful Path's services then he must participate.”

What teeth does this “must” have? What if he simply refuses to participate? What if he refuses to honor his contract?
editor wrote:Since I'm in Tennessee and you're probably not, most of the day to day operation will be done using encrypted technology. That means sending evidence by encrypted email; giving testimony over encrypted audio/video channels, etc.
This will leave some out. Some people (raising hand) have no choice but dial-up, and encrypted audio/video channels are an impossibility. I'd just make sure that people are fully aware they'll need high speed internet before becoming members to avoid any miscommunication.
editor wrote:Membership and Excommunication
There's one more part to this I need to work out, and it deals with the enforcement of judgments.
Obviously if the court issues a judgment and you refuse to honor it, I'm not going to send a big hairy Christian over to your house to beat you up. There are two methods of peacefully enforcing judgments issued from a private court.
1. Government courts have rules which allow foreign judgments to be brought before them and enforced. The rules usually afford very little leway for the government court to alter the judgment.
2. My preference for enforcement would be for The Lawful Path to publish a list of any members who have not honored judgments. This would be in accordance with Matthew 18:17:
I can see where there’d also be a problem giving the judgments any teeth. I agree with your second method. Yes, definitely enumerate the people who won’t comply. That, in my humble opinion, is biblically sound. But I question the first method

1 Corinthians 6:1-8 says:
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
We've discussed in the past the technical problems of bringing a foreign matter into a STATE court in this thread. But turning the matter over to a heathen court should not even be an option among brethren. It will tell the anti-Christs that we can’t handle our own affairs, that we, in our limited capacities, need them, and that we are divided as a People. Is it not better to “suffer yourselves to be defrauded” than give the heathens any say in our affairs? God will be the final judge on the matter.

Overall, I think it is an excellent idea. I will pray for your wisdom and direction as you roll out the plan.

Here are some various commentaries in regards to 1 Corinthians 6:

Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary, Matthew Henry, c. 1704
Cautions Against Going to Law in Heathen Courts (6:1-8)
Christians should not contend with one another, for they are brethren. This, if duly attended to, would prevent many law-suits, and end many quarrels and disputes. In matters of great damage to ourselves or families, we may use lawful means to right ourselves, but Christians should be of a forgiving temper. Refer the matters in dispute, rather than go to law about them. They are trifles, and may easily be settled, if you first conquer your own spirits. Bear and forbear, and the men of least skill among you may end your quarrels. It is a shame that little quarrels should grow to such a head among Christians, that they cannot be determined by the brethren. The peace of a man's own mind, and the calm of his neighbourhood, are worth more than victory. Lawsuits could not take place among brethren, unless there were faults among them.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, 1871
1Co 6:1-11. LITIGATION OF CHRISTIANS IN HEATHEN COURTS CENSURED
LITIGATION OF CHRISTIANS IN HEATHEN COURTS CENSURED: ITS VERY EXISTENCE BETRAYS A WRONG SPIRIT: BETTER TO BEAR WRONG NOW, AND HEREAFTER THE DOERS OF WRONG SHALL BE SHUT OUT OF HEAVEN.

Notes for Verse 1

Dare -- This word implies treason against Christian brotherhood [BENGEL].

before the unjust -- The Gentile judges are here so termed by an epithet appropriate to the subject in question, namely, one concerning justice. Though all Gentiles were not altogether unjust, yet in the highest view of justice which has regard to God as the Supreme Judge, they are so: Christians, on the other hand, as regarding God as the only Fountain of justice, should not expect justice from them.

before . . . saints -- The Jews abroad were permitted to refer their disputes to Jewish arbitrators [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 14.10,17]. So the Christians were allowed to have Christian arbitrators.

Notes for Verse 2

Do ye not know -- as a truth universally recognized by Christians. Notwithstanding all your glorying in your "knowledge," ye are acting contrary to it (1Co 1:4, 5 1Co 8:1). The oldest manuscripts have "Or" before "know ye not"; that is, "What! (expressing surprise) know ye not," &c.

saints . . . judge -- that is, "rule," including judgment: as assessors of Christ. Mt 19:28, "judging," that is, "ruling over." (Compare Ps 49:14 Da 7:22, 27 Rev. 2:26 Rev. 3:21 Rev. 20:4). There is a distinction drawn by able expositors between the saints who judge or rule, and the world which is ruled by them: as there is between the elected (Mt 20:23) twelve apostles who sit on thrones judging, and the twelve tribes of Israel that are judged by them. To reign, and to be saved, are not necessarily synonymous. As Jehovah employed angels to carry the law into effect when He descended on Sinai to establish His throne in Israel, so at His coming the saints shall administer the kingdom for, and under, Him. The nations of the earth, and Israel the foremost, in the flesh, shall, in this view, be the subjects of the rule of the Lord and His saints in glorified bodies. The mistake of the Chiliasts was that they took the merely carnal view, restricting the kingdom to the terrestrial part. This part shall have place with the accession of spiritual and temporal blessings such as Christ's presence must produce. Besides this earthly glory, there shall be the heavenly glory of the saints reigning in transfigured bodies, and holding such blessed intercourse with mortal men, as angels had with men of old, and as Christ, Moses, and Elias, in glory had with Peter, James, and John, in the flesh at the transfiguration (2Ti 2:12 2Pe 1:16-18). But here the "world" seems to be the unbelieving world that is to be "condemned" (1Co 11:22), rather than the whole world, including the subject nations which are to be brought under Christ's sway; however, it may include both those to be condemned, with the bad angels, and those about to be brought into obedience to the sway of Christ with His saints. Compare Mt 25:32, 40, "all nations," "these my brethren" on the thrones with Him. The event will decide the truth of this view.

judged by you -- or, before you (compare 1Co 3:22).

smallest matters -- The weightiest of earthly questions at issue are infinitely small compared with those to be decided on the judgment-day.

Notes for Verse 3

judge angels -- namely, bad angels. We who are now "a spectacle to angels" shall then "judge angels." The saints shall join in approving the final sentence of the Judge on them (Jude 1:6). Believers shall, as administrators of the kingdom under Jesus, put down all rule that is hostile to God. Perhaps, too, good angels shall then receive from the Judge, with the approval of the saints, higher honors.

Notes for Verse 4

judgments -- that is, cases for judgment.

least esteemed -- literally, "those of no esteem." Any, however low in the Church, rather than the heathen (1Co 1:28). Questions of earthly property are of secondary consequence in the eyes of true Christians, and are therefore delegated to those in a secondary position in the Church.

Notes for Verse 5

your shame -- Thus he checks their puffed-up spirit (1Co 5:2; compare 1Co 15:34). To shame you out of your present unworthy course of litigation before the heathen, I have said (1Co 6:4), "Set the least esteemed in the Church to judge." Better even this, than your present course.

Is it so? -- Are you in such a helpless state that, &c.?

not a wise man -- though ye admire "wisdom" so much on other occasions (1Co 1:5, 22). Paul alludes probably to the title, "cachain," or wise man, applied to each Rabbi in Jewish councils.

no, not one -- not even one, amidst so many reputed among you for wisdom (1Co 3:18 1Co 4:6).

shall be able -- when applied to.

brethren -- literally, "brother"; that is, judge between brother and brother. As each case should arise, the arbitrator was to be chosen from the body of the church, such a wise person as had the charism, or gift, of church government.

Notes for Verse 6

But -- emphatically answering the question in the end of 1Co 6:5 in the negative. Translate, "Nay," &c.

Notes for Verse 7

utterly a fault -- literally, "a shortcoming" (not so strong as sin). Your going to law at all is a falling short of your high privileges, not to say your doing so before unbelievers, which aggravates it.

rather take wrong -- (Pr 20:22 Mt 5:39, 40); that is, "suffer yourselves to be wronged."

Notes for Verse 8

ye -- emphatic. Ye, whom your Lord commanded to return good for evil, on the contrary, "do wrong (by taking away) and defraud" (by retaining what is entrusted to you; or "defraud" marks the effect of the "wrong" done, namely, the loss inflicted). Not only do ye not bear, but ye inflict wrongs.
A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Charles Hodge, 1857
On going to law before the heathen (verses 1–11).

Paul expresses surprise that any Christian should prosecute a fellow Christian before a heathen judge (1 Corinthians 6:1). If Christians are destined to judge the world, and even angels, they may surely settle among themselves their worldly affairs (verses 2–3). If they had such lawsuits, must they appoint those whom the church could not esteem to decide them? Was there not one man among themselves able to act as a judge? (verses 4–6). It was a great evil that they had such lawsuits. It would be better to submit to injustice (1 Corinthians 6:7). However, instead of submitting to wrong, they committed it (1 Corinthians 6:8). He solemnly assures them that the unjust, or rapacious, or corrupt would not inherit the kingdom of God (verses 9–10). They had been like that, but as Christians they were washed from these defilements, and justified through Christ and by his Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11).

6:1. The third evil in the Corinthian church which the apostle endeavours to correct was taking lawsuits to heathen judges. There was no need for this. The Roman laws allowed the Jews to settle their disputes about property by arbitration among themselves. And the early Christians, who were not distinguished as a distinct class from the Jews, doubtless had the same privilege. It is not necessary, however, to assume that the apostle is referring to that privilege here. It was enough that these civil suits might be arranged without the disgraceful spectacle of Christian suing Christian before heathen magistrates. The Rabbis say, 'It is a statute which binds all Israelites, that if one Israelite has a case against another, it must not be brought before the Gentiles.'

6:2. The saints will judge the world. The context and spirit of the passage require that it should be understood of the future and final judgment. Saints are said to sit in judgment on that great day for two reasons; first, because Christ, who is to be the judge, is the head and representative of his people, in whom they reign and judge. The exaltation and dominion of Christ are their exaltation and dominion. This is what Scripture constantly says (Ephesians 2:6). In Hebrews 2:5–9, the declaration that all things are subject to man is said to be fulfilled in all things being made subject to Christ. Secondly, because his people are to be associated with Christ in his dominion. They are joint heirs with him (Romans 8:17). If we suffer, we shall reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12). In Daniel 7:22 it was predicted that judgment (the right and power to judge) would be given to the saints of the Most High. Compare Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; Revelation 2:26,27.

6:4. Paul laments that there were litigations among them; but if they could not be avoided, Christians should act in reference to them in a manner consistent with their high destiny. Here the word translated ordinary cases seems so naturally to mean 'causes,' 'things tried,' that the sense of the word is almost universally assumed. It may, however, mean 'trials,' 'judicial processes,' which is more in accordance with the established use of the words.

6:5. Between one believer and another. Literally, 'between his brother'; that is, between his complaining brother and the person against whom the complaint was brought.
Disciple's Study Bible, 1988
6:1-8 CHRISTIAN ETHICS, Church and State—Paul was distressed that the Corinthians had so quickly fallen back on the civil courts. Such a development indicated not that problems cannot develop between fellow Christians but that they had been so immature to let conflict resolution get beyond the power of Christian love, forgiveness, and reconciliation to act. Paul had been forced to appeal his case to civil authorities (Ac 25:11), but his was not a dispute among Christians. The church should be able to find people and processes to settle disputes among members without going to civil court.

6:1-6 THE CHURCH, Discipline—God gave Christians guidelines to settle disputes and strengthen the fellowship of believers. See note on Mt 18:15-20. Each member must accept the authority of Christ and desire to overcome differences with little damage to the church. Conflicts will continue unless believers are willing to discuss differences and change hostile attitudes. The Holy Spirit will guide the church concerning differences. To resolve conflict, believers must rely on the Spirit's power and prefer others above self. If mediation is needed, other Christians should provide it. The church should not need secular processes conducted by unbelievers to settle its disputes.

6:2-3 LAST THINGS, Judgment—Believers are in some way to participate in judging the world. Because of spiritual union with Christ, to whom God has committed all judgment, believers share His work with Him. See note on Jn 5:21-24. Furthermore, there is to be participation in judging angels. Most likely the reference is to disobedient angels, such as are mentioned in Jude 6. Compare 2 Pe 2:4. Amillennialists, post-millennialists, and historical premillennialists generally interpret this judging to come about through the power of Christ-like living, which will judge and convict evil. Dispensational premillennialists generally believe the reference applies to the end time in various ways.
"Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:" 2 Kings 17:35
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Re: Christian Dispute Resolution

Post by editor » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:23 am

Will the mediators/arbitrators need to be members? Will they need to acknowledge some sort of statement of faith?
Yes, the mediators/arbitrators will have to acknowledge a statement of faith. This is what we used in Christ county:
"As the Lord Liveth, I, [Full Christian Appellation], do solemnly give My word that I will hear the causes between My brothers, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him, and will hear the small as well as the great; That I will not respect persons in judgment; That I will not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God's; That I will not wrest judgment, neither take a gift; That I will follow that which is altogether just, and faithfully and impartially do all the duties incumbent upon Me to the best of My abilities as [Mediator / Arbitrator] pursuant to the substantial and positive laws as written in the King James Bible, Authorized Version, Anno Domini, sixteen hundred eleven. In the Name of Jesus, the Christ, and Thankful to the Father. Amen"
I haven't worked out the details yet of whether there will be a membership, but the more I think about it, the more reasonable it seems there should be. In this case, then yes. Who would trust a court whose own arbitrators didn't trust it?
You said:
“If he has signed a prior contract agreeing to use The Lawful Path's services then he must participate.”
What teeth does this “must” have? What if he simply refuses to participate? What if he refuses to honor his contract?
The only possible teeth in the enforcement of judgments are these:
  • Force. Constable, sheriff, militia, etc.
  • Excommunication. Public shunning.
  • Enforcement by foreign courts.
Christ county had a constable. However, his jobs were to keep the peace among the bretheren and to offer defence and protection if necessary. We never contemplated forceable execution of judgments and I doubt any of our founders would have thought this a good idea.

Some of our members did considerable research into the rules of State courts, in regard to the enforcement of foreign judgments, which is why I mentioned this. I agree with you that applying to foreign courts for any reason defeats the purpose of the court, and only grants power to the unbelievers.

This leaves Excommunication. I think this can actually be very effective, given the communication now afforded by the Internet. If the Faithful use the court and value it, then they will seek out others who use it (and who are known to be in good standing) with whom to do business. I foresee Christian businesses printing "Member in good standing, Lawful Path" on their business cards and advertisements. Just as eBay users recognize the value of positive feedback, our members would not want to jeopardize their good standing by dishonoring a judgment.

Maintaining an online list of members in good standing (as well as those who have been blacklisted) would be a necessary part of making this work. Privacy advocates might be concerned about putting their names on a list. However, I don't see any reasonable way around it. The list could be public, or it could be available to members only; I'm open to discussion on this. Personally, I'm in favor of a public board where even non-members can verify, since I'm very familiar with agent provocateur infiltration. If "they" want a members-only list, "they" will simply become a member and get it anyway. I think it's high time people stand up and be counted. As I've already written elsewhere if people would agree to post on a website a compiled list of their names, addresses, and the way they voted in national elections, election fraud could be eliminated completely and at-once.
This [the need for high-bandwidth technology] will leave some out. Some people (raising hand) have no choice but dial-up, and encrypted audio/video channels are an impossibility. I'd just make sure that people are fully aware they'll need high speed internet before becoming members to avoid any miscommunication.

As for communication, ordinary conference calls are a viable option (if not as cool :-), so long as absolute privacy is not essential. Agreement between the parties is all that's required. Even with dial-up, you are not precluded from using encryption to send evidence such as scanned documents and photos. Modern encryption can be used to provide two valuable services. Each member would generate a public/private keypair, and give the public key to the court. The member can use their private key to encrypt messages; the court uses the member's public key to decrypt. Now we know two things: It was private, and the sender is who he says he is. It sounds more complicated than it is. It's also low-bandwidth.

Thanks for your input. I appreciate the commentaries too.
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Re: Christian Dispute Resolution

Post by notmartha » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:27 pm

The statement of faith and commitment looks good.

I don't think a constable would work, due to the likely distance between parties involved, and like you said, execution of force is not a great idea among brethren anyway.

Maybe there could be "member in good standing" badges or buttons for people to use in signatures, blogs, etc.

As I recall, Kingdom of Heaven (I think that was what it was called - started by Paul Revere), had a list of members/participants that was accessible to members, and non-members with the permission of a member. This was a long time ago, so I'm fuzzy on details. But I vaguely remember there being maybe a password or something to access the list, so that you couldn't just stumble across the list by accident, but had to be given the password by a member. Make sense?

:? Sorry, I have no idea what you are saying about the encryption, but if the time comes when I need help, I'll know who to come to. :lol:
Last edited by notmartha on Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christian Dispute Resolution

Post by editor » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:06 pm

I wrote a simple article about how encryption works, and posted it here.
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Re: Christian Dispute Resolution

Post by notmartha » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:44 am

editor wrote:I wrote a simple article about how encryption works, and posted it here.
Thanks.
"Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:" 2 Kings 17:35
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