Should Christians file lawsuits against other Christians? The Apostle Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 6, obviously didn’t think so: “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”
A group of 17 Dave Ramsey listeners apparently disagree — although, to be fair, their identity as Christians is far from clear.
The group, which Religion News Service described as “former followers of Dave Ramsey,” is seeking more than $150 million in damages from the Christian finance expert and syndicated radio host.
The suit arose out of Ramsey’s endorsement of Timeshare Exit Team, a Washington-based company that settled a lawsuit with the state attorney general’s office in 2021 over alleged deceptive business practices.
According to the suit, Ramsey received “as much as $30 million” over seven years to plug the company’s services through 2021.
“The lawsuit alleges that Ramsey, Timeshare Exit Team and Happy Hour Media Group, a marketing firm with ties to Brandon Reed, one of the founders of Timeshare Exit Team, violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act by defrauding customers, committed ‘negligent malpresentation’ and were guilty of ‘unjust enrichment’ and conspiracy,” RNS reported Thursday.
Ramsey stuck by Reed Hein & Associates LLC — the company that did business as Timeshare Exit Team — even as allegations of fraud began to surface, even going so far as to accuse “government officials, reporters and the timeshare industry” of conspiring against the company, according to the outlet.
“During the period Dave Ramsey was promoting Reed Hein’s scheme, customers referred to Reed Hein by Defendants paid Reed Hein in excess of $70 million in fees for timeshare ‘exit,’” according to the complaint, RNS reported. “Ramsey never returned any of the tens of millions of dollars Reed Hein and Happy Hour Media Group paid him from his own listeners’ hard-earned money.
“Instead, Ramsey has chosen to profit from his listeners’ money.”
Ramsey eventually dropped Timeshare Exit Team as an advertiser, but continued to argue that he was not responsible for its actions.
“Bring it,” he said in 2021 of the complaints regarding his support for the company. “You have done poked the wrong bear. You done pissed off the wrong hillbilly.”
“‘If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone,'” Christ told his disciples. “‘If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.'”
Whether the 17 plaintiffs in this lawsuit undertook previous attempts to resolved their dispute with Ramsey was not reported. The complaint alleges that Timeshare Exit Team offered bad advice, created “fake property deeds” to mislead its clients, and eventually just stopped communicating with clients altogether.
One could certainly argue that, if a believer failed to acknowledge his wrongdoing after being approached in this manner, there would be some realistic reason, as Jesus seems to imply, to think that person not actually a believer at all. And if that is the case, treating that individual as a “Gentile and a tax collector” would appear to allow for lawsuits, since Paul in 1 Corinthians restricts legal action only between believers.
On the other hand, we should ask how believers are supposed to treat Gentiles and tax collectors.
Paul, in Colossians, exhorted Christians to win them over in life, as opposed to winning over them in court: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.