[CS-FSLUG] OT: The Hidden Dangers of Peacemakers

Timothy Butler tbutler at ofb.biz
Sat Jan 9 13:20:09 CST 2010

Jason, my life became a living hell for more than six months last year  
because of this program. I plan to write about it over time in a more  
organized fashion, but it essentially boiled down to this: I became  
aware of problems managerially and legally with the pastor of my  
former church, I followed the basic, Biblical peacemaking steps to  
deal with it (yes, even the ones Peacemaker would advocate), and the  
pastor used the materials of Peacemaker Ministries to justify  
character assassination, telephone harassment and more. Not only to  
me, but, since it was the family church for generations, he and other  
leaders in the church did the same to my mother as well.

It culminated in a systematic attempt to get me thrown out of seminary  
on trumped up charges as well as hugely slanderous charges against my  

I agree these things are not consistent with Peacemakers' principles,  
but the simple matter is that by mixing legally binding documents with  
prooftexted Scripture, elders and pastors are given a massive upper  
hand. I never signed informed consent documents, though I was under  
massive pressure to do so. To their credit, Peacemakers themselves  
told me to get a lawyer to advise me. I did. I found out that the  
boilerplate documents from the organization can be used to legally  
compel people into Peacemaker approved mediation and/or legally  
binding arbitration.

I find no justification in Scripture for giving elders and pastors  
legally binding authority over people. Just imagine if it had been  
that way in early NT times. Peter could not have boldly declared he  
would follow God rather than men in Acts 5. The basic principles are  
OK, though I think they are oversimplified.

But mixing the law and Scripture is a dangerous attempt at pseudo- 
theocracy. If the elders are not slandering, they ought not fear the  
law. But when broad and unnecessary legal protections are given, broad  
abuses can happen. I've heard others' stories in recent times too. The  
program has such potential for abuse, I can't justify supporting it  
even if 95% of the time it does great things. For in those other  
times, it destroys lives.

Oh, and the pastor and leaders that aren't following the spirit of the  
program? The pastor is a founder of a major regional Peacemaker  
endorsed mediation/counseling organization and the Peacemakers  
"Certified Christian Conciliators" at that organization were the ones  
advising him on what he did. The church even hosts major, directly  
endorsed Peacemaker Ministries events.


On Jan 9, 2010, at 12:37 PM, Jason P. Franklin wrote:

> That's an interesting article.  While we are in unity on most  
> topics, Tim, I stand in disagreement with your description and  
> conclusion.  I commented on the OFB site itself, so I won't rehash  
> that here.   Suffice it to say that I think you've painted an  
> incomplete picture.
> I'm wondering, though,  what your experience has been with program  
> that would leave such a bad taste.  From my experience with the  
> model (I've helped several churches adopt some form a peacemaking  
> model/system) I would say that if something as you described  
> happened from a so-called "Peacemaking Church" then they were not  
> staying true to the model but had perverted it for their own ends.   
> The covenants, if properly administered, hold the leadership as  
> accountable, if not more so, than the average member.
> As for the PDC thing... the two have nothing to do with each other.   
> That accusation (if there is anything to accuse of) is something of  
> a non-sequitor.

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