A “biblical guide to resolving personal conflict”, this, in a nutshell is what “The Peace Maker” is all about. In this critical book review I will be taking topics from the book and giving the reader my personal views on how I either reacted or related to the topics covered. My goal for this paper is to give the reader a non-biased opinion of “The Peace Maker”, which was published by Baker Books in June of 2004. To first critique a book you must have some background information on the author himself and why he is qualified to write a book on conflict management through a biblical perspective.
Ken Sande is the author of the book as well as being the president of Peacemaker Ministries, which is a company designed to offer Christians conflict training by using the bible and its scriptures. Mr. Sande who is an engineer and lawyer by trade has been using his peacemaking skills since 1982 to solve conflicts in business, in the church and in family disputes. Ken is a Certified Christian Conciliator and has served on such committees as the Christian Legal Society and the Dispute Resolution Committee of the State Bar of Montana, which is where he earned his qualifications to write this book.
The Peace Maker”, is what I would describe as a self-help book that can be read by anyone that wants to have a solid understanding of conflict resolution and it does not matter if you are a Christian or not this book makes good points on how to solve conflict. If you are a non-Christian this is a bit harder of a read because of the constant reference to the bible and its scriptures but there are a lot of valid points that are made even without the references to the bible.
The purpose of this book is to inform the reader of the best course of action to take when trying to resolve conflict while at the same time preserving God’s good grace, which can be difficult even at the best of times. In order to do this the reader must stick to the four G’s of biblical conflict management which are to Glorify God, Get the log out of your own eye, Gently restore and Go and be reconciled. By following these four G’s you will bring praise to God and hopefully open up others to his glorious ways.
At times in the book the author’s point of view goes from being an informer of ways to deal with conflict into being more of a preacher of the ways of Christianity. In my own mind everyone is entitled to their own opinion on religion but in this book there seems to be some reference to going out and persuading others to believe in the ways of Christianity. To try and persuade someone to believe in religion, if they are not willing listen, is a sure fire way to start a conflict, which is why I feel this book contradicts itself in some ways. An example of this is where Sande wrote in chapter 7on page 145: The apostle Paul could be similarly indirect.
Instead of hitting the Athenians head-on with their idolatry, he first engaged them on a point of common interest and moved gradually into the good news of the one true God. ” To me this states that the apostle Paul was trying to convert the Athenians to Christianity because they believed in a different God, which is in direct contrast with a point made on page 154: “While it is true that we have no right to force out personal opinions on others, we do have a responsibility to encourage fellow believers to be faithful to God’s truths, which are presented in Scripture.
To understand my point of view on this book you should understand that I am not a religious person and I am at a point in my life where I am trying to find my own spirituality whether it is Christianity or some other form of religion. While reading this book I found myself making notes on how I disagree with certain topics but I didn’t realize until I was about half way through that there were many good points made. Some of the good points I did notice can be found in every chapter such as the 40/60 rule that is discussed in chapter 6.
The 40/60 rule is something that all of us have done at one point in our life or another, an example of this is when you say, “I know I’m to blame for the fire but Jon is the one who started it. ” This is just one of many points made in this book that I agree with because everyone is guilty of blame shifting and confessing that you are wrong. Another good point brought up in this book is that of wants and needs that is discussed in chapter5 where Sande says the cause of many conflicts is that the more we want something the more we feel we deserve it and are entitled to it and this is the basis for many conflicts which involve tangible goods.
With the many good and strong points I found in this book I had a hard time wrapping my mind around some of the subjects. My biggest problem with this book was the fact that there are a lot of references where it states that you should obey God and do what he commands. To find out, “What God commands”, you have to refer to the bible, which is a book that was written in a time where woman had no rights and most of the population was illiterate.
This disturbing because the one thing that you can always count on in your lifetime is that things will change but in the hundreds of years that the bible has been around there has been no changes made to it. Maybe because I am not a religious person this is why I am questioning something that so many people hold in the highest regard. Without people asking these types of questions then people would still think that the earth is the center of the universe or that the earth is flat, what I am trying to say is that maybe the bible is not thoroughly correct because times have changed.
While reading this book I found it difficult to understand why the author would throw pointless information about a character into certain stories. An example of this is where Sande refers to his father on his deathbed and how he hadn’t put his trust in Christ until a few hours before his death and on the next page where Sande interjects in a story with the fact that one of the characters wasn’t a Christian.
This bothers me because in both of the examples there is no need to tell us that the characters are not Christian because it has no relevance to the topic of the chapter or the example Sande was trying to make by telling these particular stories. Another thing that bothered me in this book is the fact that the author seems to plug’ his other books that he has written or that are part of his Peacemaker courses that he offers.
An example of this is in chapter 9 where he states that you can read one of his other books to get more information on being a reconciler but a reconciler does the same thing a mediator does but not to the same extent. In conclusion, this book has showed me some good techniques to solving conflict and has showed me that the bible can have an influence on people even if you are not a Christian, like myself. I do admit that this book is not for everyone but if you can look past the downfalls that I have pointed out and find the relevant information this book can be an essential tool to any mediator or negotiator.
I think this would be an excellent book for any person who is involved with the church who plans on taking on mediator roles because “The Peace Maker” offers great tips on how to bring estranged siblings back together as well as reuniting failed marriages. I would suggest this book to anyone that is taking a conflict management course that has not had the opportunity to see how to solve conflict from a biblical perspective because to be an effective mediator or negotiator you should be able to use all the resources available to solve any conflict that might be presented to you.