Archive by terms
Some of the theological forums I read recently adopted a list of rules created by a seminary president. At first blush, the rules seem to be good -- at least "good" at keeping peace. But then I started thinking, why do these forums need and want these rules in place? The forums in question claim to be "Christian" forums, yet the rules were triggered in part by the very people who remain at those forums (I purposely have no desire to join these forums because, rules or no rules most of the people there behave unChristian, due in part to their heretical hyperpreteristi theology). I want to post the rules here and then break each of them down, especially since these rules are being called Scripture-based.
The example list of "demeaning" words are not equal; it is one thing to call someone "ignorant", "dumb", or "stupid" (blind guides -- Matt 23:16-17) and quite another to call someone "crazy" or even "whore". The background for the author noting these words is interesting, since indeed one group has used the a fore mentioned words whereas another group has used the latter words yet the author lumps them all together. Ultimately, since Jesus, the apostles and others have used such descriptive words, this first rule is NOT biblical. I'm afraid Jesus and the apostles couldn't be members of these forums by the way this rule is penned and enforced.
Again, while this rule is good at keeping peace, it is also good at denying reality. Sometimes not so nice things are said that should be addressed. And once again, what is considered "demeaning" in this rule is subjective and outside the scope of what the Bible says is demeaning. This rule too is NOT biblical.
Another subjective term, "smart remarks". Example phrases were given, which interestingly enough were used by the very people on those forums who thought so highly of themselves. How do we make a rule for someone not to be full of themselves and have massive egos? At any rate, Jesus said things like people didn't get it because they are children of their father -- the devil. (John 8:44). Sometimes the ISSUE that needs to be addressed IS EXACTLY why the person/people have those issues -- pride, arrogance, ego but this rule takes that off the table. It is like trying to address the issues with a drug addict but never addressing what causes him to turn to drugs in the first place. This rule too is NOT biblical.
I always find it interesting that any "personal" remark is automatically considered an "ad hominem" with no relevance to the issues. Ethics, credibility, practice, behavior has EVERYTHING to do with witness. Whether in the court of law or the court of public opinion, the witness is only credible by his or her presentation of self. Using a known liar and cheat as a witness is usually not a good idea. So, yes we NEED to discuss the character of the witness. This is especially important in the theological realm. There is a reason beyond what Jesus taught that we Christians believe Him. What if His personal testimony was counter to what He taught? For example, we are often told that Islam is a "peaceful religion" yet from its founder and its early practices to its present practices NOTHING shows that to be the truth. Would the author have us ignore such a witness all for the sake of "peace"? The Bible constantly says that what comes out of a mans mouth reveals the heart and so as a man thinks in his heart is he. If a person has a questionable witness, this should be addressed, not ignored. This rule too is NOT biblical.
This rule of all of them reveals the true motivation of the rules. It isn't about "walking worthy" but rather about stifling the real issue. Here it is called an "ongoing clash of personalities" when in reality it is an ongoing clash of ethics, character, and doctrine. The author thinks to remedy the conflict by ignoring the real matter. He then backhandedly condemns those whom he claims there is a "clash of personalities" by instructing his group to not "act in kind". What? What "actions" are he talking about? If evil has actually been done, the Bible calls for us to call it evil (Is 5:20-23) and to note it/expose it BY NAME (Eph 5:11, Romans 16:17-18). But yet this author wants his group to live in a delusion, like people with their heads stuck in the sand. This rule too is NOT biblical.
There is nothing wrong with administration and mediation. There is nothing wrong with rules; even the Bible calls the Law "righteous" and "good" (Romans 7:12-13, 16, 1 Tim 1:8). The problems I have with these rules are 1) they are NOT Scriptural-based as we've seen thus far. 2) they are very subjective and poorly outlined 3) they were created by a man who admits he is new to the Internet world and blogging. What is considered "out of control"?
Wait, what about rule #6? What happened to mediation? How does the mediation even work? How does a person appeal mediation? This reminds me of the Plato philosophy contained in the book, "The Republic". Plato envisioned a society government by elites called "Guardians". The Guardians were raised specifically to lead/rule but only by the will of the people. The problem is, it seems Plato never considered what happens when/if the people's will is corrupt? In this same way, the author of these rules supposes the mediators will always be honest and ethical, reasonable, fair, rational, and logical. Only a fool would put himself under such vague terms.
This rule is antithetical to Internet freedom. Of course the author could say that blogging on the site is a privilege not a right; and I would agree but then again I would never agree to these vague and UN-Scriptural rules in the first place. This is the reason I wouldn't "blog" at such a place.
Once again, this assumes there has been a transgression. Who decided it? A three person anonymous board of mediators operating under their own subjective inklings? And to think, the man who wrote up these rules adheres to Christian Confessions such as the Westminster Confession of Faith. Rather, this man is adopting and proposing more of a modern day individual pastorate mentality where one individual or a small group decides things without much of a common basis. This rule too is NOT biblical or even Christian.
More arbitrary banning based on subjective violations that aren't even biblical to begin with.
So, if these rules are meant to keep real discussions and real topics, and real history from being discussed and instead simply "keep peace", then these rules are perfectly crafted. But eventually the sites that adopt such unrealistic and sterile rules will eventually see unanimity instead of unity. These rules will cause the members to become robots of the "three mediators". Is that what we really want to foster, especially on the Internet? Have at it, but I want no part of that.
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