15 May, 12 | by Iain Brassington
Steve Fouch has, on the Christian Medical Fellowship’s blog, offered advice on how to vote in the BMA ballot on industrial action. Now, Fouch isn’t the same as the CMF, and I don’t suppose what he writes indicates the CMF’s position any more than what I write here represents the BMJ’s. Even so, what he suggests is pretty remarkable; and, in keeping with a lot of stuff from the CMF, the general advice is that the solutions to all modern problems can be found in a set of writings edited and selected – highly selected – around 1900 years ago by men with beards.
I would lay out the following biblical framework for thinking through the way we approach this dispute:
Firstly, industrial relations:
Col 3:22 ‘Slaves obey your earthly masters in everything’
1 Peter 2:18 ‘Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.’
1 Timothy 6:1 ‘Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honour, so that the name of God and the teachings may not be reviled’.
Philippians 2:14-16 also encourages us to not be grumblers and moaners in the workplace, but to be a positive influence.
It is clear that Paul and Peter, in writing these messages were urging slaves not just to do their jobs, but to be exemplary, going over and above the call of duty, and to have a positive attitude and spirit in so doing. While this is referring to the institution of slavery, the principles apply equally to modern employment.
Do they apply equally to modern employment? There’s no obvious reason to suppose that they do – not least because modern employment practices don’t generally rely on slavery. more…