The Dangers of “Good” Advocacy

The Dangers of “Good” Advocacy  This article originally appeared in the Spring 1990 issue of the Christian Legal Society’s Quarterly publication.by Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries When can doing a good job actually hurt your client? A call to conscientious representation and reconciliation.A few months ago, I was asked to arbitrate a sizable contract dispute. Although the facts and the law were clearly in the defendant’s favor, the plaintiff’s attorney did a masterful job advocating his client’s position. A few hours’ testimony stretched into three long days, and for a while even I was beginning to wonder whether the plaintiff had been treated unfairly. By the time both sides rested their cases, however, it was clear to me that the plaintiff had breached the contract and that the defendant’s subsequent actions were justified, both legally and morally. I knew that my decision would probably destroy the plaintiff’s last hope of salvaging his business, and I felt badly when I denied his claim. What disturbed me even more, however, was the realization that this young man had been deluded by his own attorney. No, the attorney did nothing that should be reported to a commission on practice. In fact, his performance was superb by worldly standards. From a biblical view, however, it left much to be desired. A Decade of Blindfold Advocacy The trouble with this attorney, from my perspective, was that he was too effective when it came to advocating his client’s case. Hour after hour, he drew attention to every fact that appeared to justify his client’s conduct or condemn the defendant’s actions. At the same time,...

The Cross and Criticism

The Cross and CriticismThis article originally appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of The Journal of Biblical Counseling, (Vol. 17, No. 3) and is reprinted by permission. It is also available in booklet form.by Dr. Alfred J. Poirier, former Chairman of the Board of Directors for Peacemaker Ministries Culture of Peace Booklets Short and easy-to-read booklets provide “bite-sized morsels” on topics related to biblical peacemaking—perfect for giving away to friends and family members! $1.75/ea more info On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger and its crew embarked on a mission to broaden educational horizons and promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. The most outstanding objective of the Challenger 51-L mission was the delivery of educational lessons from space by teacher Christa McAuliffe. A lesson was, indeed, delivered, but not one which anyone expected.Just 75 seconds after liftoff, tragedy struck. Before a watching world the shuttle suddenly erupted overhead, disintegrating the cabin along with its crew. The debris of metal, blood and bones plummeted to earth, along with our nation’s glory. What had gone wrong? That was the pressing question everyone asked. As teams of researchers examined the wreckage, the specific cause was soon found. The problem was with the O-rings (circular rubber seals), which had been designed to fit snugly into the joints of the booster engine sections. Evidently, the O-rings had become defective under adverse conditions, and the resulting mechanical failure led to the tragedy. Was that the whole story? The truth eventually got out. The New York Times put it frankly: the ultimate cause of the space shuttle disaster was pride. A group of top managers failed to...

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...

Portrait of a Peacemaker

Portrait of a Peacemakerby Jim Soft, Board Member for Peacemaker Ministries The Peacemaker In this foundational peacemaking resource, Ken Sande describes the powerful biblical principles you can use to resolve conflict. Download Chapter 1 for FREE! $13.95 more info One of the most profound and rare eulogies in all the Bible is ascribed to Barnabas: “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24). That passage continues, “And a great number of people were brought to the Lord …,” no doubt in part because of Barnabas’ encouragement and peacemaking mission. Romans 5:1 clearly teaches that when a man has been justified by faith, he will have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the primary goal of the Christian peacemaker is to point men who are in conflict to the Savior.Barnabas successfully resolved tensions and conflicts on four different levels: (1) between an individual and a group (Acts 9:20-31), (2) between two “races” of people (Acts 11:19-26), (3) between two churches, Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts 15:1-35), and (4) between two individuals, Paul and John Mark (Acts 13:13, 15:36-40; 2 Tim. 4:11). Any man used by God to resolve conflicts between groups, nations, churches, and individuals is obviously a man whose character is worth emulating. F. F. Bruce says of this unique and good man who was full of the Holy Spirit and faith, “According to Luke, it was Barnabas whose good offices (character) brought Paul and the leaders of Jerusalem together. Although Paul says nothing of this it is antecedently probable that someone acted as mediator, and all that we know of Barnabas...

Polemic Theology – How to Deal with Those who Differ from Us

Polemic Theology – How to Deal with Those who Differ from Usby Dr. Roger R. Nicole, Visiting Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary Part 1: What Do I Owe to the Person Who Differs from Me? Culture of Peace Booklets Short and easy-to-read booklets provide “bite-sized morsels” on topics related to biblical peacemaking—perfect for giving away to friends and family members! $1.75/ea more info We are called upon by the Lord to contend earnestly for the faith. (Jude 3) That does not necessarily involve being contentious; but it involves avoiding compromise, standing forth for what we believe, standing forth for the truth of God-without welching at any particular moment. Thus, we are bound to meet, at various points and various levels, people with whom we disagree. We disagree in some areas of Christian doctrine. We disagree as to some details of church administration. We disagree as to the way in which certain tasks of the church should be pursued. And, in fact, if we are careful to observe the principles that I would like to expound for you, I would suggest that they may be valuable also in disagreements that are not in the religious field. They also would apply to disagreements in politics or difficulties with people in your job or friction within the family or contentions between husband and wife or between parents and children. Who does not encounter from time to time people who are not in complete agreement; therefore it is good to seek to discover certain basic principles whereby we may relate to those who differ from us.It seems strange that one should desire to...