Apr 01 2012

Clamping Down: Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood by Ken Sande

Ken Sande wrote a book, Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem and Dennis Rainey (Crossway Publishing, 2003). A reader posted the link on another thread. I originally just glanced at it, but that glance was enough to keep me coming back to read further and deeper. What follows are my mental reflections. (Thanks so much, Dave Harvey. Hugs and kisses)

The excerpts that follow are from the book’s second chapter circulated in PDF form by the Peace Makers organization (click here). I haven’t read the whole book. But since the PDF is being circulated as a self-contained document, I am going to focus my comments on the ominous undercurrents of this chapter.

It is my understanding that Ken Sande is a lawyer. And in light of what follows, I’m curious how good a legal beagle he actually is. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve watched enough Law & Order to get the gist of a good legal argument. Here is Sande’s first paragraph: 

“Redemptive church discipline is one of the most sorely needed yet grievously neglected ministries in the church today. As a result, thousands of marriages that might have been preserved are instead ending in divorce.”

Here is my Sam Waterston imitation:

Objection, your Honor, counsel is offering facts not in evidence. What objective study has linked “church discipline” with “saved marriages?”  He cites “thousands”? It is incumbent on him to produce these marriages and demonstrate that the only factor preventing their demise is in fact the absence of this “ministry” called “church discipline.”  

Sande goes on to say:  

“The marriage-saving potential of discipline is well illustrated by a story related to me by a young pastor.”

Objection, your Honor, hearsay. Anecdotes are not proof. But the most egregious failing is that the anecdote is not on point. The story is about John. The subject of “church discipline” is directed at Max. John was having an affair. The pastor admits John was never subject to church discipline. And had John’s wife chosen to seek divorce, she would have had “biblical” grounds for divorce. John’s repentance or his advocacy is irrelevant to the church discipline. And this is the point, your Honor, this anecdote does not validate the assertion of the efficacy of “church discipline.” In this story there was no such process enforced.

Further, your Honor, Mr. Sande is seeking to defend “potential.” This is the logical fallacy, Appeal to Probability. Just because something could happen, does not mean it is inevitable that it would happen. 

“This pastor had been under attack for calling his church to discipline a man who was divorcing his wife without biblical grounds.

Just a note, your Honor, in case it escaped the Court’s attention, but Mr. Sande is openly referring to a group of people enforcing “discipline” against something that is in fact not a crime. We would like the Court to look into the use of social force against private citizens of the United States that have legal sanction.    

“The man had hardened his heart, left the church, and proceeded with the divorce. To make matters even worse, since the church’s previous pastor had avoided discipline, the congregation was immature in this area and viewed church discipline as being judgmental and unloving.”

Objection, your Honor. The subsequent divorce is immaterial to the congregational response. To grant that the divorce is in any way related to collective action is by logical extension the same argument that makes all men responsible for the murder of every man.

Mr. Sande’s argument is petitio principii. His statement assumes the initial point. He is presuming that the definition of maturity equals intellectual conformity. Mr. Sande is openly advocating uncritical intellectual subordination as the measure of some “higher” Christian development. Beyond the stunning conceit of a man believing that HIS ideological conclusions are in fact the defining measure of maturity, an alternate theory of the event can be reasonably explained thus: The fact that the congregation resisted pastoral edict could also mean they were sufficiently adult and self-appointed in their rational faculties to resist a blatant overreach of civil force.

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    1. 41

      I have always understood 2 Tim. 2:15 to mean that we should dissect the Bible.
      My mother once made the statement that she trusts that God has preserved the translation process so she trusts the Bible that is laying in her lap. So next time I saw her I laid two very well known trusted translations in her lap opened to a scripture where the translators contradicted each other.
      Since she couldn’t tell me which one she thought was the preserved one she saw my point.
      I don’t believe it is that difficult to do a little theological studying on our own to make intelligent decisions regarding our beliefs. It’s the tyrants who make it difficult by limiting education.

    2. 42
      2+2=4 again

      Yes, every time a new “translation” comes out, in order to get copyrights, in order to receive royalties, they have to tweak what’s there.  I have several good translations for that reason, but also have an interlinear Bible, and am taking Hebrew again, after many years.  I could be talked circles around, theologically and philosophically, but I don’t go there.  Am learning, and yet know what I know.  I try to be respectful, even with folks I consider arrogant and bigoted.  That usually entails me listening to them with little response if any, but God knows.  He’s been very patient with me, so should I.
      Like Paul says, “now, we see through a glass, dimly”.  We’re still promised by Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit will guide believers into all truth, that His word is truth, that He is the way, the truth and the life.  I agree with you, Patti, and if we’re doing our best to be open to His leading, use logic and critical thinking as best we can, look at Scripture as a whole and reading for context, cross referencing, etc., we shouldn’t worry.  Like King David said, he didn’t concern himself with things that were “too high” for him.  Sometimes, (been a Christian 38 years and in several different types of denominations, before and after believing, for which I’m grateful) God has revealed something that I wouldn’t have been mature enough to accept before, yet, isn’t there a place in the OT where God says His word can be understood by a child?  (^:  “We’ll understand it better, by and by”.
      I think the canon was closed before the Catholic church was established, but I could certainly be wrong.  Not responding to your last post, FWIW, not out of offense or rudeness, but simply because I saw John’s response. 

    3. 43

      Oh I understand your concern Patti- No, I just love the Word of God and do not like to see the dissection of it. I just get a little testy, but I am a small petite woman that gets a tad fired up. :) Jesus gave us the Word so that we could understand not be confused by it, that is why I get incensed by all these books trying to make it more complicated then it is.  If Jesus hung out with the women and children and loved the lowly – He would definitely not make it hard for us to understand.  He was simple, yet in depth that astounded the Pharisees; I just think if we just stop and let the truth be spoken through His Word it will be spoken in His timing.  Satan is the author of confusion, not God.
      Enjoyed the discussion FWIW.

    4. 44

      By the way to expand on what 2+2=4 said about translations is that many of the todays translations are done by  more secular “Christian” publishing companies and do not have the best motives for it.  I won’t go into what I found out that many are doing to place their own touch to Gods Word. We now see the Green Bible, the Hunters Bible, the teenage Bible, the NEWEST NIV which has gender changes and so on. So I just use the older versions myself- before the sixties and seventies. Still I know that He will keep His Word and that I can trust in Him.

    5. 45

      2+2=4 again,
      That is not a problem at all. It was right for you to honor John’s request.
      Here is an interesting piece of info I found concerning Luther’s view of certain books:
      “Luther made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (notably, he perceived them to go against certain Protestant doctrines such as sola gratia and sola fide), but this was not generally accepted among his followers. However, these books are ordered last in the German-language Luther Bible to this day.[4]
      If Luther’s negative view of these books were based only upon the fact that their canonicity was disputed in early times, 2 Peter might have been included among them, because this epistle was doubted more than any other in ancient times. However, the prefaces that Luther affixed to these four books makes it evident that his low view of them was more due to his theological reservations than with any historical investigation of the canon.”

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