Sansone's Gifts for Families

Visit our Amazon Associate store. Same prices as Amazon, but you can help us in the process.

Visit Sansone's Gifts for Families

Let Another Man - 2

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My friend and fellow-blogger Chris Anderson made some comments objecting to my last post. I was going to respond to them in the comments section, but I decided to go ahead and address them in a post instead (it is a little too long for the comments section anyway).

Before I begin, I want to place the comments here so that you do not have to go searching for them.

Hi, Frank. I often agree with you. This is not one of those times. If you carry your position to its logical conclusion, anyone who specializes in a certain field is precluded from addressing it. Apply that to your ministry. You can't preach on the importance of the local church because you're a pastor. You can't preach on the need for women to submit to men in the home and church because you're a husband and pastor. Etc.

The only one authorized to address an issue would be the one least qualified to do so. It's absurd. Of course a seminary president has thought more about seminary than the rest of us. Of course missionaries on a foreign field have a perspective on supporting national which we don't. That doesn't make them right, but neither does it disqualify them from speaking to the issue. Again, the alternative is people waxing eloquent about issues which they have no interest in. How can that be a good thing?

How about this: we acknowledge that no one is entirely objective, then way their arguments on the basis of Scripture and logic, not their personal gravitas? I think that's the only sane answer.

My two cents, anyway.

Oh...I also think your use of Proverb 27:2 is a stretch.

And, of course, I consider you a friend. :-)

I will start by saying that I plan on saving the first part of his comment in my archives so that I can someday put together a puff piece of mine own. "Chris Anderson says of Frank Sansone, ‘Frank, I often agree with you.'" It will make a nice "blurb" on the cover of some future book. If I learn to use ellipses as well as Gail Riplinger, I might even be able to grab even more impressive quotes out of the comments.

Now, when I first started to respond to this post, I was prepared for a pretty strong defense of my position. In fact, this is at least the third draft of my response. However, as I have thought about it more, I think that Chris is probably more right on this than I am - although I also think there is at least an element of his understanding of my point where I think I was misunderstood - but that is probably because I failed to communicate clearly what I was trying to say. I do think that there is some validity to what I was trying to get across, however, so I do want to at least attempt again to make that point - but to clarify it a little.

First of all, I would like to clarify that I did not say that the cases made by the men in question were completely invalidated because of their position, but rather I stated, "the effectiveness of their cases were hurt because of who they were. "

Chris also commented that "if you carry your position to its logical conclusion, anyone who specializes in a certain field is precluded from addressing it" and, later on, "the only one authorized to address an issue would be the one least qualified to do so. Its absurd" and "Again, the alternative is people waxing eloquent about issues which they have no interest in."

Since Chris came to this conclusion, I think it would be helpful for me to clarify that this is NOT what I trying to say. I am not calling for the uninformed to pontificate - we already have way too much of that. Instead, I am calling for people to be careful in coming across too strongly as an advocate for a position that can clearly been seen to benefit themselves personally.

My last two paragraphs in my first post attempted to make this point and I think that since this is the heart of what I was trying to get across they bear repeating (with a small caveat to be included afterwards).

In both cases, a better scenario for addressing the issues at hand may have been to let it be handled by someone other than the individuals that handled it. In the case of the missionaries' presentation, a national pastor who had experienced and witnessed some of the same things that the missionaries wrote regarding could have more effectively written the paper - by doing so he would not have come across as self-serving since the position taken would not be benefitting him and he would have been less likely to reach so greatly in his justification of his positions. In the case of the seminary article, a more effective presentation may have been made by a seminary graduate who highlighted the value that going to seminary has added to his ministry - perhaps someone who was in ministry pre-seminary and went back to seminary for more education. This would have again brought more credibility to the article and helped to avoid some of the interaction that came across as elitist and "out of touch."

In both cases, a practicing of the principle espoused in Proverbs 27:2 could have avoided some of the problems in the presentation. Likewise, Pastors would be wise to have others be their advocates rather than seeking to be their own advocates. Even if you have a good point, it can be easy to come across as self-serving when you are pushing for things that can be seen as directly benefitting you and it can also blind you to other perspectives.

If you will notice, in this first paragraph, I gave two specific examples of the types of people who could make the cases better (IMO) than the ones who made the case. In neither case was I calling for someone uninformed to make the case, but rather for someone who was indeed informed, but not directly involved.

Now, in light of re-thinking some of this, I think a couple of clarifications are in order.

1. I think Chris' point about a pastor preaching regarding the local church and a man preaching about a woman submitting could be viewed as a violation of this thought, is an important point and one that makes me want to clarify that I am mainly speaking of opinion or distant application, not direct Biblical teaching. I would say that a Pastor who preaches something clearly in the Bible is not arguing for his own cause, but proclaiming God's cause. Perhaps I making a distinction without a difference in this, however, and to many it may indeed come across as a Pastor proclaiming the truth of the importance of the local church or the headship of the man, etc. is teaching something to benefit himself. So, in this case, it would seem that what I have said here is off.

2. I wonder if I was so put off in the way these things were done that rather than just indicate that the particular people involved came across as self-serving, I sought to make a principle rather than just deal with the particular problems presented by the particular articles/authors.

3. I am still pretty sure that a pastor having an advocate is a wise move. While a church should be concerned about paying their pastor properly, I don't think the wise pastor parks on that in his preaching. I am not saying that you ignore it when you are preaching on a book and the topic comes up, but don't be pushing it all the time or you will find it backfiring. Paul could make the argument in behalf of others, in part, because they knew he was not personally benefitting and that he had been willing to be a tent-maker.

4. I still think it is a good idea if you do find it necessary to address something that could come across as directly benefitting you and you cannot find an advocate in your behalf that you get others to read/listen to your point before presenting it so that you are not blind to your own bias' on the matter.

5. I still think that even though the Pastor could make a strong declaration of truth regarding submission of the wife, he would be unwise to attempt to be the one counseling his own wife in this area if there were a problem - but maybe I am just a wimp.

6. I can agree that Proverbs 27:2 may not have been the best verse for this. I was thinking of "praise you" to include the idea of talking about how worthy you were or arguing in your behalf, but I will admit that it was probably a stretch and I am sorry for making that stretch.

Just my (adjusted and hopefully clarified) thoughts,



Peter said...

Not to take this in another direct, but one quick comment on point 5.

BTW, I'm not married, so depending on your position regarding the "Let another man" posts, I may or may not be qualified to make this statement ;)

I would argue that as the head of his wife, it IS the husband's responsibility to disciple her in the biblical role of submission.

Mark Perry said...

Frank, wouldn't it follow then that you shouldn't be arguing your own point? Shouldn't you let someone else argue it for you?

Frank Sansone said...


Maybe you have pointed out a distinction that I have not made clear. I am not saying that you can't argue for something you feel strongly for (not that I feel that strongly about this), but that you should be careful of doing this when the thing you are arguing for directly benefits you. As far as I know, nothing in this discussion directly benefits me, unlike the examples that led to my original post.

It just seems that when someone is pushing for something that directly benefits themselves, it comes across as self-serving no matter how correct their point may be.

For instance, a pastor arguing that his church must first take care of their responsibility to fully support him before giving money to missions. The pastor may be right on the issue, but I think another Pastor or one of the deacons or someone else should try to make that point for him, instead of the pastor trying to make that point.

Maybe I am washed up on this. I am getting that impression - since I have had two of the YoBF boyz call me on it :). Maybe that is why a friend with a church half the size of ours makes twice the salary and I took a job at Wal-Mart:).

Maybe I need to pull these posts and go back to the drawing board.


Mark Perry said...

I don't think you're off your rocker, Frank. I think what Chris said pretty much hits the nail on the head: everybody has biases and comes to the table with experiences and different thinking.

Our experiences can make us more qualified to speak to an issue, but they can also color how we view things. When we read someone, we need to take into consideration the perspective of the author and then judge the content by Scripture.

I think by emphasizing that sometimes people speaking to issues they are close to can appear self-serving, you seemed to exclude the possibility that those who have experience in an area can actually be more qualified to speak to it. Ultimately, we have to judge the content on its own truthfulness.

Andy Efting said...

FWIW, my impression is that your second point hits closest to the mark, at least for me. That was certainly my reaction.

Maybe the way to say what you are trying to say is that when you are commenting on an area that involves direct self-interest, then you need to do so in a very tactful and wise way, otherwise you run a stong risk of alienating those who may most need your counsel.