We help, encourage and inspire Christian lawyers, and anyone else interested in law, to deeply and authentically integrate their faith and work. At Theology of Law we curate and produce relevant and rigorous resources that explore God’s heart for justice, his purposes for law, and what it means to follow Jesus in modern day legal thought and practice.
As Christian lawyers, judges, politicians, civil servants and students of law, many of us experience a sacred-secular divide in our lives. The relevance of the faith we profess on Sundays to our working lives the rest of the week often seems unclear, resulting in a palpable tension we have to live with. This, in the long term, can lead to one of three outcomes: some abandon the law in favour of another career (often becoming pastors), others eventually give up their faith, and still others live lives which are frustrated, unfulfilled and secretly despairing.
Day to day life as a lawyer can be unrelenting. Whether the financial rewards are large or small, practising law can be demanding, time-consuming and exhausting. It is easy to be haunted by the questions: is it worth it?, what’s the point of it all?, and how does what I spend my time and my self doing connect to my Christian faith?
I’ve been asking myself these questions for over thirty years, ever since I was a law student at Cambridge University and the Université de Toulouse. Since then, I have practised law as a barrister and taught law as a professor. A desire to explore and understand how the law deeply connects with the Christian faith lead me eventually to a Ph.D in Theology looking at the difference the doctrine of the Trinity makes to how Christians think about law. I return to these questions again and again as I continue to study the Bible and investigate what great Christian thinkers of the past have said about law and about being a lawyer.
So the good news is that you are not alone in asking these questions about your vocation in law and your faith in Christ. In this website, I have sought to pull together the wisdom of the Bible about God’s heart for justice and God’s purposes for law, the best of two thousand years of Christian thinking on law, and my own contemporary reflections on what it means to serve God faithfully in the law today.
If you are looking to understand why God has called you to be a lawyer and what the point of law is supposed to be, then Theology of Law is precisely for you. Here you will find available the books I have published on Christianity and law, as well as articles, audio and video presentations, and regularly updated blog posts and series. There is also a curated repository of recommended resources produced by other individuals and organisations that helpfully engage with the intersection of the law we practise and faith we profess.
As a Christian lawyer you shouldn’t have to live a life frustrated by what seems like an insurmountable chasm between your faith and your vocation. My aim and hope is that you will discover on this website resources that will inspire you, affirm the calling that God has for lawyers, and which encourage you that your service of the cause of justice, of your clients and of your colleagues can be counted as service to Him.
Make sure you never miss an opportunity to be equipped and encouraged by subscribing to our monthly newsletter where we deliver to you a brief curated list of the most important updated resources, news, and information on events that you will not want to miss. Like you, we hate spam and take your privacy extremely seriously, so you can be sure that you will only receive pertinent content meant to help you fulfil your calling as a Christian and a lawyer.
The relationship between law and justice is a major question in the Bible, in Christian theology and in the philosophy of law. The books available here look at this issue from all different angles, considering law both at its best and its unjust worst, in order to help Christian lawyers more deeply understand both the law and their faith, and how they are inseparably connected.
Images connected to money are found frequently in the Bible and in the hymns and songs Christians sing. The ideas of ransom, redemption, and forgiveness are a key part of how the work of Jesus on the cross is described. But what do the pictures of ransom, redemption, and forgiveness actually mean? How would they have been understood by the first hearers of the gospel? How do they link to kidnapping, slavery, and debt?
Using practical examples from his experience as a banking lawyer and from history, David McIlroy shows how power, money, and sin combine to trap us, leaving us in desperate need of a redeemer to rescue us.
This book will deepen your understanding of Jesus’s death, enrich your worship, and inspire you to share and demonstrate the transformative power of the salvation achieved through the cross and resurrection.
This book seeks to show how Augustine’s thinking about law, properly understood as theology, has continuing relevance to the questions raised by legal philosophies today.
A Biblical View of Law and Justice seeks to wrestle with the biblical message of justice, giving Christian lawyers a renewed vision and understanding of the potential of their work in the post-Christendom world.
This book seeks to show how thinking about law in the light of the Trinity enables us to understand its role, its purpose and its limits.
Are you considering further study in the areas of law and theology?
Spurgeon’s College offers a Master’s level unit on The Mission of Justice and the Theology of Law, taught by David McIlroy and by Jon Hyde.
The unit aims to introduce students to
The unit looks at the biblical material relating to law and justice, at natural law theories, at historical answers to the questions of law and justice from Augustine, to Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and the Anabaptists, as well as resources from systematic theology such as the Trinity and the Incarnation for formulating a theology of law. Contemporary questions addressed include reflections on human rights, the purpose of government and its relation to the Church, the role of Christian organisations in using law as a tool to bring about justice, and current theories of law in both philosophy and theology.
The unit can be taken on its own or, following completion of other units, as part of a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology or a MTh. degree.
The Mission of Justice and the Theology of Law course will be conducted online over 9-10 February 2023 and 16-17 March 2023. If you are interested in the course please indicate so via the form below, along with any questions and David McIlroy will be in touch.
Named in honour of Sir Norman Anderson, this award seeks to support the doctoral research of a young or early career Christian legal scholar with significant promise of exercising academic or professional leadership in the field in the future and for whom financial assistance would make a real difference to their chances of pursuing such research to successful completion.
The subject of the research is ‘Law and Christian Ethics’, understood broadly to include a wide range of topics, for example: theology of law; law and morality; legal philosophy; law and (religious) liberty; human rights law; law, toleration and pluralism; comparative religious law (including Christianity); ethical issues underlying specific areas of law such as contract, corporate, international, administrative or constitutional law; law and bio-medical ethics; law and family/sexual ethics.
We offer books, articles, video and audio presentations, and other recommended resources that explore our legal vocation vitally integrated with our Christian faith. We examine the theoretical foundations for law as well as the application of Christian principles to questions about how legal systems operate. We look at the big questions such as: isn’t law just a means of oppression?, can a good lawyer really be a faithful Christian?, and what does justice require us to do?.
Be sure to subscribe to Theology of Law to not miss out on our regularly updated resources and news.
Our blog offers short, accessible, reflections on important and urgent issues for Christian lawyers, and anyone else involved in law. Here you’ll find quick, stimulating reads created to help and encourage you practise your vocation – and, indeed, to live all of life – as a follower of Christ.
The day-to-day practice of law can feel like a further weight of brokenness, selfishness, disingenuousness and compromise. Cases revolving around people’s abject failure to love each other even vaguely like Jesus commanded… Yet, in a sense even our discouragement can be an encouragement to us.
Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer to show us how our prayers should be concerned about God’s glory, our needs and our relationships with others.
In reality we are all pretty dispensable at the end of the day. Legal workplaces keep going when lawyers leave, and clients can always find another lawyer fairly easily in the competitive legal market. This might make us feel discouraged. No matter how talented or successful we might be, the legal world will likely barely register a shudder when we leave. If we are so dispensable, what is the point of all of the hard work that we put in, and all of the stress and pressure that we endure?
I’d like to suggest that being dispensable should not discourage us, but actually help us to enjoy our work.
What does success look like for a lawyer? If you’re a solicitor like me, there are a number of ways to measure it. We could consider promotion, financial earnings, successful networking, among other elements. The question is, how should we as Christian lawyers measure success?
More than information alone, lawyers need judgement in order to know what to do with it all. It is no small feat to assimilate a lot of information, and then advise a client how best to use that information in their case… All of these complexities point to the need for something deeper than knowledge, and which finesses judgement. The Bible calls this “wisdom” – knowing how to respond well to the people and situations we face.
If you want to know anything more about the materials on this website, to book David McIlroy to speak, or you’ve got any other question, please fill out the form here and we shall get back to you speedily.