Monday, March 18, 2013

Question: Should A Church Pay For Someone's Child Support or Child Custody Attorney Fees?

 Should a church pay the attorney’s fees for someone seeking child support or child custody?

Profile: Male Over 60 North America

Many questions must be answered about this question.
Was this a marriage or just a sexual relationship?
Did both, either or none of the two biological parents claim to be Christians?

If both claimed to be Christians then they have bypassed this scripture.
1 Corinthians 6:1 (New King James Version)
“6 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”

Dealing with people is messy - always.
I have to assume that neither of the biological parents are Christians or one or both are very weak Christians.

The church has to deal in truth and not a "he said she said" speculation.

Discernment has to be prayed for.
 Colossians 2:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Proverbs 15:21
Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.

We are to always seek the best for all people.
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
― John Wesley

Discern your situation.  In truth is one party 100% wrong and they threaten the child by neglect, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and abuse drugs or fear not the Lord?
It does not sound like you have a saint on either side.
Do you know you have the 100% truth before you put the Lord’s character, the Lord’s money and the Lord’s reputation and the repudiation of the church on the line?
Will the church leadership and members be in full agreement and believe that support in any way is not of the Lord?
Will this hurt the fellowship and Christ’s witness if the church as a whole takes this step of official support of one side of this unholy dispute?

Church members can help either party as individuals.  To endorse either side as a church is a very serious matter.

Again, dealing with people is messy especially with the unsaved.
There is no clear cut answer.
Do not proceed unless your church can move forward in Christian unity with clear scriptural and Holy Spirit sent conviction.  

1 comment:

  1. To answer this question biblically, the specifics would have to be generalized. Child support and related attorney fees are specific to our culture and also hotly debatable. Scripture does not speak specifically to the settlement of a divorce, yet it does too many of the dynamics around a divorce. If someone was unemployed and needed money to obtain employment, i.e., tools, clothing, transportation, should the church pay for this? By the same line of thought, should a church pay for someone to be retrained in a new vocational field? Should the church provide for unwed mothers? Should the church provide for elderly medical needs? Just as annual mission trips to foreign countries require vast resources that are given without much thought and consideration, these situations also require resources. People will fly half way around the world to witness, yet they will not walk across the yard to share with a neighbor. To all of the above scenarios, the Church has a responsibility and the responsibility is more than just providing money without accountability. That’s what our government does. Does the church have a benevolence fund? A building fund? A benevolence committee? A building committee?
    This situation as all the others mentioned are ministry opportunities to shine light in a dark place. The churches failure to properly distribute benevolence in the communities of our great nation have provided the fertile ground for our government to do so. Whoever provides for these needs, this is who society will revolve around and turn to.
    The church should be familiar with social norms, needs and processes. Do you need child support? You don’t have to have an attorney, someone needs to help this person get in touch with The Department of Family and Children Services. They can do more than an attorney and be fair about it. Surely there is someone within the membership that has faced these same problems and can come along side and help.
    In asking a question like this concern should go out for the ministry or person asking. Judas kept the money bag for the Lords ministry here on earth. In a sense he was the treasurer. When an expensive alabaster of perfume was used by a believer on the Lord’s feet (value was a year’s wages), Judas grumbled in his heart and shortly betrayed Jesus. His statement was in regards to how many poor people that the money could have helped. It’s a good question but never the less from an evil unbelieving heart. There are many passages in the NT treating the subject of giving. Maybe a topical study on this by the one asking.
    The next place we can look for guidance with similar principles would be in the pastoral epistle Timothy. The rules for providing for a widow should stimulate a lot of good thought. More important than the original question and its need is the need for wisdom from the one asking. What would Jesus do?
    Churches today struggle with broken families, they shouldn’t. Maybe in Wisdom we should start with what we do know and work with that prayerfully before becoming discouraged with what we don't know.