Waves Not Made of Water

Waves Not Made of Waterby Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker MinistriesThe entire world grieves to see the destruction that has swept over Southeast Asia in the wake of the December 26 tsunami. Yet in the midst of this tragedy, a light of hope has already emerged. By God’s grace, people around the world are joining together across every boundary in a wave of compassion. Here the Good Samaritan principle is being lived out on a global scale! Although immediate needs are being addressed, greater problems loom ahead. Homelessness… Monsoons… Lack of jobs, roads, and bridges… Orphans… Cholera and hundreds of other diseases… These undoubtedly will be much discussed in the days to come. But there is another disease that will inevitably break out in families, villages, and cities throughout the region—one that government programs cannot prevent or heal, one that the news media is slow to report. It is the disease of sin and conflict. Disaster breeds conflict—conflict for limited supplies of food, water, medicine, and housing. Conflict for construction equipment, building supplies, and foreign aid. Conflict between religions over who deserves to be helped—and who does not. Even government agencies and relief organizations will struggle with conflict (all humans do) as they find themselves bumping into one another even while attempting to do good. As Food For The Hungry’s president said to me at the time of another disaster relief effort, “We have the food, the food is there; the problem is that conflict prevents us from getting it to the people who need it.” Conflict slows not only the rebuilding of villages and roads, but also of...

War and Peace

War and Peaceby Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries Resolving Everyday Conflict Small group Bible study that’s perfect for use in the church or workplace. Ideal for Sunday school classes, membership classes, mission teams, or neighborhood Bible studies—any group that wants to learn, discuss, and apply the principles of biblical peacemaking together. Church Price: $199.00 more info War has once again gripped the attention of the world. Regardless of our nationality, something deep inside each of us says, “This is not how it was meant to be!”Indeed, this is not how God intended people to relate to one another. We were created in his image and designed to love one another as God loves us. But sin corrupted God’s wonderful design, opening the way for selfishness, greed, hatred, conflict, and violence (see Gen. 4:10-11; Rom. 1:28-32; James 4:1-2). Recognizing the reality of sin and the need to restrain violence, the Christian church historically has interpreted the Bible as approving the use of appropriate force to protect innocent people from harm. This may involve a policeman stopping an assault, or an army protecting its country or an ally from attack. Sadly, such actions often involve the taking of human life. Although this goes against God’s original design for human relations and therefore grieves every reasonable person, God himself has decreed that such actions are necessary and just when done to protect the innocent and restrain evil (see Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:1-6; Eccl. 3:8). Since conflict between nations can lead to horrific bloodshed, the church long ago sought to limit war by establishing principled guidelines for when and how to wage...

Tell It to the Church

Tell It to the Church  The Biblical Basis for Leader-Led Disciplineby David V. Edling, Senior Ministry Consultant, Peacemaker Ministries Jesus said, “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church…” (Mt.18:17). Throughout history, telling the church that a brother or sister in Christ has become hardened in sin and refuses to repent has proven a difficult task. Today, in our culture of acceptance, obeying Christ and utilizing the authority of the church to deter and turn our friends from a path of sin to a path of repentance continues to be both difficult and rare. The challenge presented by Matthew 18:17 has become almost intolerable to those who have defined the church as a loose association of those “experiencing Jesus” together by enjoying the warmth of fellowship, rich contemporary music, and entertaining speakers.  Adding the element of personal accountability for sin to such a “fun” community ruins the appeal. This is especially true in those churches that historically have practiced Congregational polity where “tell it to the church” has been interpreted as “tell it to the congregation.” Telling the congregation just isn’t something feasible in a “fun” church that is on the move! Furthermore, telling the often-sensitive matters of discipline to a congregation composed of spiritual babies (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-2) as well as mature saints is an open invitation for polarization and church conflict. (Those who do not understand the biblical reasons and necessity for discipline frequently interpret such practices as “judgmental” and “intolerant”.) Polity practices are not the only barriers to the faithful practice of Matthew 18:17. Fear of man, even for biblical church...

Spreading the Gospel of Peace

Spreading the Gospel of Peace  by Chip Zimmer, Director of International MinistriesAt first glance, it might seem that Croatia and Peru have little in common.  Croatia is in southeast Europe and its borders include the Adriatic Sea and the Danube River.  Peru is in northwest South America and it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and several adjacent states.  Yet, having visited these countries recently, I was struck by something similar to both:  each country has struggled with violence. Croatia’s violence has been more dramatic, the result of the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.  In Osijek, where I participated in a conference, there are still signs of the fighting.  A Croatian friend told me that the Serb advance was halted just a few hundred yards from the seminary where we stayed and that during the war tens of thousands of shells were dropped on the city.  Further east and south, in Vukovar, I visited a heavily damaged Catholic church still under reconstruction.  A priest showing us around spoke of casualties and loss, adding that he and other Croats had decided that the only way to move forward was to forgive those who had caused them damage.  But, as he said this, missing from his voice was the hope and optimism we have in Christ, replaced, so it seemed to me, by a kind of resignation, as though forgiveness was the least desirable option available. In Peru, the violence I encountered was less obvious, but no less harmful.  In a meeting Ken Sande and I attended with church leaders from one of Lima’s poorer sections, the gathered men and women...

Putting Professionals in their Place

Putting Professionals in their PlaceThis article originally appeared in the November 1993 issue of Covenanter Witness.by Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries Resolving Everyday Conflict Small group Bible study that’s perfect for use in the church or workplace. Ideal for Sunday school classes, membership classes, mission teams, or neighborhood Bible studies—any group that wants to learn, discuss, and apply the principles of biblical peacemaking together. Church Price: $199.00 more info Americans are infatuated with professionals. Every year we seem to turn more and more of our lives over to people who are perceived to be experts because they have obtained special education, certification, or recognition in their fields.Obviously, professionals are a blessing in many ways. They have taken the time to study and master principles of science, medicine, law, finances, and other fields that the rest of us do not have the time or inclination to fathom. Whether they care for our bodies, businesses, homes, or cars, the professionals’ expertise often allows them to discern problems and implement solutions more quickly and effectively than could the average layman. Our dependence on professionals has created some significant problems, however. The more we depend on others to manage certain aspects of our lives, the easier it is for us to delegate to them responsibilities that we could and should handle on our own. This is particularly true when it comes to conflict resolution. This point was vividly illustrated in a video I watched that promotes “peer mediation” training in public schools. Recognizing the serious problems our schools are having with violent conflict, the organization that produced this tape has developed a...