CHRISTIANS – JURY DUTY
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Should consecrated Christians serve jury duty?
Answer: Consecrated Christians are to seek to separate themselves from the world from the standpoint of the present order of affairs. Because of this, some may be inclined to think that serving on a jury is taking part in political affairs. But a jury has nothing to do with politics. As far as judging is concerned, the Apostle Paul remarked that since we are to be judges in the weighty affairs of the Millennial Age, we ought to be able to judge in the small matters of the present (1 Corinthians 6: 2, 3).
The law governing juries is very simple. The judge instructs the jury on the points of law involved in the case, and each juror is required to reach a decision in his own mind with reference to the facts brought out by the evidence. In serving as a juror he has nothing whatever to do with the law, whether it be good or bad, right or wrong. He merely decides what the verdict shall be, according to the law stated by the judge. When called upon to serve as a juror it becomes a duty to respond, and one should ask to be excused only in a case of necessity.
The above would apply even in murder cases, although in such instances we would prefer to be excused. But if it is necessary to serve, and if the verdict is murder in the first degree, it does not imply that the jury either gives the sentence or executes it. The law provides what shall constitute murder in the various degrees, and the jury merely finds to which of these degrees the facts and circumstances point. It remains for the judge, as the representative of the law, to sentence the accused, and for the authorities to execute the law’s commands.
Some may object to being required to be sworn in as a juror, but there is nothing in this to conflict with our Lord’s words, “Swear not at all” (Matthew 5: 34). In this Scripture Jesus was speaking out against what was the current custom of adding an oath to almost every statement in ordinary conversation, and not believing any statement without the oath added. But Jesus showed that it is not wrong to be sworn in before officials. When the high priest said to Him, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God,” He replied, “Thou hast said” (Matthew 26: 63, 64).