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USA v. Timothy David Miller

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What’s the deal with Timothy David Miller’s alleged involvement in Lisa Miller‘s alleged international parental kidnapping of her own biological daughter (a minor of whom she had legal custody)?

I don’t know, even though I’ve read plenty of news accounts and other online commentary.

Is Tim guilty as accused?

I don’t know that either. After reading a document purporting to be the official criminal complaint, it certainly appears he did as accused. Even so, I begin with the assumption that Tim acted out of godliness, not rebellion against God-ordained civil authority.

Assuming his involvement, here are more questions I have:

  • How did this far-off, non-Mennonite case culminate with Tim’s involvement?
  • On what Scripture(s) did Tim establish his course of action, generally as well as specifically?
  • Whose counsel did Tim seek prior to and in the process of being involved?
  • Which counsel did he choose to go against? And on what basis?
  • What is Tim’s track record in matters of submission to civil authority?

These questions are important to me, not so much because I need to know his answers, but because I need to know what my answers would be…if this were about Mark Roth.

And what about the certainty some (many?) have that the following verses describe Tim’s developing ordeal:

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you…

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God…” (1 Peter 4:14,16).

So far, I have seen no indication that Tim’s reproach or suffering is “for the name of Christ.” By that I mean that I don’t see any evidence that he is being targeted for being a Christian. At this point, I simply do not see him as a victim of anti-Christian persecution, targeted primarily because he bears “the name of Christ.”

That said, I’m not ready to state unequivocally that he erred or sinned in getting involved. Just too many unknowns exist for me to be certain enough to express so strong an opinion.

If Tim (or anyone else involved) needs to repent of anything associated with this whole deal, I hope they come to the place of seeing that and acting upon it to God’s glory.

On the other hand, if he has done as charged and if he did so for godly reasons and Christian convictions (“as a Christian”), may he have the strength and grace to give an humble witness for the Lord.

May righteousness prevail, may the name of Christ be exalted, and may God’s kingdom be advanced.

Now for some important-though-tangential side notes:

It is virtually impossible to make personal decisions that have no impact others. In this particular case, I’m sorry to see Christian Aid Ministries, Lamp & Light Publishers, The Gingerich Home for the Elderly, the Sierra Madre Mission, and Golden Rule Travel brought into the story (along with the name of Christ and the Mennonite “brand”).

Keep in mind that the media is not friendly to Christianity, especially the conservative “flavor.” They almost certainly will slant and filter their reporting accordingly.

Beware of trusting the privacy and security of any online (and other) digital communications. Be very circumspect with such communication, be it via email, online forum, cellphone messaging, fax, or a simple telephone. (See this and this and this, at least.)

I don’t know Tim Miller, whom I consider a brother in the faith. To my recollection, I’ve never met him nor had any communication with him. And, no, I’ve never been to Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, Canada, or Nicaragua. 🙂

7 thoughts on “USA v. Timothy David Miller

  1. One further question, Mark – how is this much different than the mother that took her children to Guatemala (with the help of CMFM or MAM missionairies) to escape her in-laws attempts to share custody after the death of her husband? (as described in the CLP book “A Song for His Honor”)

    From the facts given in the news stories in this account, I would have to conclude that Tim did the right thing, and is being unfairly targeted by the increasingly evildoers in our country, and especially the judicial branch of the government. Hopefully, it will turn out the same as the previous incident mentioned, to God’s glory.

    • Thanks for commenting, Joe. I don’t know how this is much different from that. I actually know more about this case than that (which isn’t saying much, really).

  2. This kind of issue always raises questions. We are taught to be law abiding wherever and whenever possible. I really do appreciate your thoughtful questions – I had a number of questions that I did not know how to put into words. Thanks again, Mark.

  3. 41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
    42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
    (Mark 9:41-42)

    9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
    10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
    (Galatians 6:9-10)

  4. I just stumbled onto this blog and know next to nothing about the controversy. Is this a matter of helping a Christian child to escape from the ‘lawful’ custody of a lesbian mother or other godless guardian? If so, this presents a type of contemporary controversy that may never have existed in NT times– at least not with respect to our society’s new ‘gay rights’ laws, right? I can see the tension between needing to obey civil authority and wanting to protect and nurture a precious young Christian soul. On the former side, we have Ro. 13:1-7 and I Tim. 3:7, and on the latter side Mt. 18:6, right? This controversy may be best illustrated by Christ’s formula in Mk. 12:17. But that only begs the question: what are God’s things, and what are Caesar’s things? Does the child belong, in the first instance, to God or to Caesar? There is little question as how the State would answer that question, but how would God answer it? And when, if ever, is it Christianly permissible to violate a law of man in order to enforce a law of God? Some point to I Pet. 2:13a as the answer, but that may also only beg the question; some say that the true translation of that scripture should be: ‘Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man THAT IS for the Lord’s sake.’ And in I Pet. 2:14, who are the “evildoers” who deserve to be punished? Finally, in I Pet. 2:15, who are the “foolish men” who deserve to be “silenced?” If anyone has answers to these questions as it pertains to this case, some of us believers would be ALL EARS!
    David

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