Should a Christian Serve on a Jury


My primary citizenship makes me (or should, anyway) a model citizen in my secondary citizenship. But my first loyalty is to Christ and His kingdom. By His grace, I will not violate that loyalty and citizenship in the living out of my American citizenship.

It is my conviction that my heavenly citizenship bans me from jury duty. I believe jury duty crosses a divinely established line between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdoms of this world, between church and state. So in matters of civil law, I cannot in good conscience participate in the judicial process. I believe passing such judgment on the guilt or innocence of another falls outside of what God would have me do.

The Bible teaches that Christians should not involve themselves in judging others.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and  with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

(Matthew 7:1)

God’s people ought to decide matters within the church (I Corinthians 6:1-5),

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?  Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?  Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!  So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?  I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers…

but they should not sit in judgment of those outside the church.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

(I Corinthians 5:12-13)

Notice that on one occasion even Jesus refused to make a judgment when asked to settle a dispute over an inheritance.

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  But he said to him,  “Man,  who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

(Luke 12:13-14)

Those who are converted to God’s way of life are called ambassadors for Christ.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

(II Corinthians 5:20)

Paul writes that our “citizenship is in heaven”

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

(Philippians 3:20-21)

As ambassadors and citizens of the Kingdom of God, true Christians must not be a part of the affairs of this world.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,  “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;

(Revelation 18:4)

Man’s judgments are mainly concerned with the letter of the law and usually do not take into account repentance and other spiritual factors. In contrast, God looks on one’s heart and is concerned with the spirit and intent of the law. Jesus taught that Christians must be willing to forgive others.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

(Matthew 6:14-15)

The Constitution of the United States establishes and protects each person’s rights to his religious beliefs. Those whose deeply held religious convictions do not allow them to serve on a jury will usually be excused once they make their belief known to the proper officials. Sometimes, simply writing “My religious convictions prevent me from service, and, therefore, I request to be excused” on the jury duty notice is all that is necessary. Also attaching a short statement giving the biblical reasons for one’s convictions is a good idea. Of course, the form should be returned within the specified time.

At other times, one must answer the summons and appear at the courthouse. If one is called to serve on a jury, questions from the judge and the respective lawyers will usually serve to remove a Christian from the jury pool, as the lawyers often see Christian values as harmful to their cases’ ultimate success. Once a judge sees that a Christian will not be persuaded from his refusal to sit in judgment, he will often excuse the Christian himself to avoid later problems, such as a hung jury.

The key to refusing jury duty is standing by one’s convictions (Psalm 16:8; 55:22; 62:6; Proverbs 12:3; I Corinthians 16:13: II Thessalonians 2:15; etc.).