Close Down the Puritanboard?

Discussion in 'Suggestion Box' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Oct 23, 2005.

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  1. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    May I suggest something? What about a forum in which we can discuss and analyze the dynamic of a discussion board? It seems to me that some may benefit from something like that.

    This is not a normal discussion venue, because there is so much that can be done that normal conversation does not allow, or that takes a great deal too much time when talking person to person. It can be narrowed to one or two threads, it can be as wide as the whole array of discussions, all in the wink of an eye or click of the mouse. There can be discussions we have no interest in; there can discussions we have a great deal of interest in; and many in between. We have a host of resources available at a click of the mouse.

    We can erase and edit certain parts of what we say before we click the "Post Reply"button, something we only wish we could do in our everyday conversations, so that we wouldn't have to apologize so much for those unintened and unguarded slips. What gets printed here, and appears on your screen, is a lot more impactful because of it, and so can be taken more seriously as intended and guarded slips or slurs.

    There is so much about this venue that makes it different, calling for disciplines that we may not be used to.

    I should add that this venue also makes a great place, more than any other, to ask ourselves why we are getting upset over certain things. I find that I get upset because I am being stricken exactly where I should get stricken, and I'm bucking it. When I settle down again, I find that instead of being angry I ought to be thankful.

    [Edited on 10-24-2005 by JohnV]
  2. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

    Fred has made an excellent point about those who read the board but do not participate. I want to expand on that if I can.

    I will start by admitting that I did vote to close the board, but if I could change my vote I would. However, there is not an option for how I feel about the PB. At the time I voted, close was the closest choice to what I think needs to happen.

    I really do not want to close it. I do think though that it needs a cooling off period and it needs to be reformed a bit. The board is valuable as a resource for getting massive amounts of information in short time. It is valuable for discussion and even for debate when that debate is engaged in by people who act, think, and talk like Christians.

    In saying we need a cooling off period though I really think that the owners need to decide the purpose(s) for this board's existence. We have no clear direction or vision other than that we are here to discuss reformed theology. And therein lies part of the problem, because to be blunt, there is disagreement even among the owners, admins, and mods as to what it means to be "reformed." So if we are answering questions and helping people discover truths about reformed theology then we need to come to a consensus as to what it means to be reformed, since we are a "reformed discussion group."

    The truth is that there are areas of disagreement between people who are all equally reformed! We tend to act like a disagreement at all with (insert theologians name here) is to prove oneself NOT really reformed! Even the so called "divines" were not unified on many points and that is precisely why the confession leaves so much territory uncovered!

    Are Baptists reformed/reforming? Are Calvinistic charismatics reformed/reforming? Are Anglicans, Lutherans, Non-denoms reformed/reforming? You see, the definitions have become so narrow that the majority view (or at least the LOUDEST view) on the board appears to be that only Presbyterians (and even then only certain groups within the Presbyterian world) are really and truly reformed.

    It is true that the confessions we hold to in order to particpate here disagree at points. But the issues of discussion of late have often been so narrow that we are even arguing over what the writers of the confessions meant. It is no longer about interpreting Scripture, but about interpreting an interpretation of Scripture! And whoever knows the mind of the divines wins the argument. (roll eyes)

    I am not asking for ecumenism. But since the theology of the board's owners has narrowed significantly over the last year, and since that theology is prevelant now on A Puritan's Mind too, there is an overflow where people on the outside looking in are believing that the theology of Matt and Scott is the theology of The Puritan Board. When I was an admin, I was asked almost on a weekly basis if I agreed with new things posted on A Puritan's Mind or why I supported the PB since the prevailing views that are being heard by many who "listen" but would never post or even join the board is a message of (as has been said to me many times) "unless you agree with Matt McMahon then you cannot claim the title reformed."

    I would suggest that if the Purtian Board continues, and I am sure that it will and that it can be useful if it does, then the owners need to be clear about what the purpose(s) and direction of the board will be, who is to be included and excluded in the discussions and debates, and that the board leadership work to keep a balance of views instead of a monopoly view on key issues of debate.

    This is not at present the "Presbyterian Board." But it seems that that is exactly what it is becoming. When people who are not Presbyterian, or who are not considered to be "really reformed" by others, voice their views and even work to back them up from Scripture they are either shouted down, attacked, ignored, locked out, kicked out, buried by cut and paste jobs, or told to go read a massive amount of books and previous threads.

    There are much fewer non-Presbyterians participating than there was a year ago. Why is it so lopsided? If we really want to discuss these things then we need to be a bit more inclusive when it comes to who is allowed to speak to these topics. If we are going to debate then we need to be sure that all sides to an argument (within the reformed community) are considered and given an opportunity to be stated!

    One final note, it is so true that one HUGE downfall on the forums has been that when people disagree with someone they attack them personally. "Well if that is what you believe then your worship is an abomination to God", etc. There is a difference between debating ideas and judging, and we are told explicitly in the Scripture that we are not to judge the servant of another. We can disagree. We can debate. But we must not judge!

    My :2cents::2cents::2cents:
  3. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Well said, Fred and Phillip. I really have nothing to add except that I'd hate to see the board close, but it must be reformed. More later. Gott run.
  4. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    :ditto: To Phil.

    I don't believe being credo unqualifies me from being reformed. I hold to the five sola's which were the beginning of the reformation and the most important elements of it. Many others would agree with me concerning this point. Well, maybe I agree with them. I don't believe I am schismatic either. I try to promote unity more than most of the Presbyterians. But according to some I am schismatic because I am credo in my conviction. Well, I believe that Reformed Baptist Ministers are as much ordained for ministry as a Presbyterian also. Non of us stands on our own. We all have a tie that binds.
  5. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    The board has been a great encouragement to me, having come from churches where doctrinal discussion was supressed in order to retain the unbiblically supportable status quo within a mega-church setting. There are certainly things that we should find more worrisome than sinful outbursts of the flesh in conversation (which should be gently rebuked and corrected, by all means); one of those is the corruption of the Truth. The more heterodox writings that I must read for critique in my studies, and the more subtle the error that tries to gain a foothold in the church, the more I realize that theological error is truly damning, and that not only for oneself, but also for the upcoming generations in the Body of Christ. Why else do you think that Paul told Timothy that in taking heed to himself and to the doctrine that he would save both himself and his hearers (1 Tim. 4: 16)?

    I just had a conversation with an old friend from that former church this weekend, and I continued to hear about the teaching that is slowly destroying families and causing the more discerning among them to leave the church. Much of the problem is found in the corrupted doctrine that comes into that church from the seminary that I left to attend WSC. That seminary provides many of the "ministers" and "counselors" to that body. Some of their new hires had been classmates with me, classmates who I would not allow to teach VBS, mush less hold an ordained position. Much of the reason that such corruption has occurred in that seminary is due to nobody speaking out about the doctrinal defection among the faculty. I would prefer false teachers to cry and lose their life's career than to see the bride of Christ corrupted by their worldliness and tolerance. Gentleness among true brothers? Yes. Tolerance for error, even among brothers? Be very careful.

    BTW, for those of you thinking about attending a serious seminary to prepare for the Ministry of the Word, get used to it. Much of the arguments on this board don't hold a candle to what you'll occassionally receive from professors and fellow students in doctrinal debates, both in and outside of class; nor will it get any easier on the floor of presbytery. Nobody cares a whit about your feelings there, if they see that you're in error, they want to see if you're going to become a wolf in sheep's clothing to the church.

    So while I can sympathize with those who have been unecessarily trodden upon (I've been there too, outside of this forum), thinking of shutting down the board is a concession to faintheartedness. I do, however, like JohnV's idea of a discussion forum for evaluation of the board's direction; a step in the right direction.
  6. Rich Barcellos

    Rich Barcellos Puritan Board Freshman

    If we vote to close it down, does that mean we should exit the board if it does not?

    PS: I voted to keep it, in case you are wondering. :)
  7. alwaysreforming

    alwaysreforming Puritan Board Sophomore

    The only possible reason I could see for closing the Board is if its causing the owners too much work, too much distraction, and too much grief to offset it benefits.

    It seems that the majority opinion is clear: keep the Board open.

    The fact that debates get out of hand, that feelings get hurt, that topics get too narrow, etc. are not big enough reasons to cancel the huge advantages this Board offers. They are reasons to be sorrowful, but not to close the Board.

    I enjoy the fellowship here, I learn a lot, I am GREATLY more aware of just how ignorant and unlearned I am, and am more humbled because of my participation here.

    This is where I first discovered my current church, because one of the members who posted here drew me to it.

    One suggestion is that perhaps we could ease up on the banning and the constant worrying that someone is going to "introduce error" and "lead people astray". Sure, if someone is simply argumentative, then that is counterproductive. But if someone holds to a certain view and does their best to back it up with Scripture, then we don't need to be as "narrow" as perhaps our history has been. Let the dialogue continue; we don't mind seeing a well-reasoned argumentation given from the opposing side. I miss several of the people who have been banned, and I thought they contributed a lot to the Board.

    There was a girl in our "Bible study" who one night handed everyone this "written prophetic word" and said it was from God and she "proved" it be backing it up with a "miracle" (she couldn't talk <supposedly> and talked that night to prove it had God's blessing). I went home and read it over and found it to be severly lacking. At any rate, I thought the whole group was going to be thrown into a bad state and that error would quickly overtake us all and the group would be ruined. What happened was that after a week went by, no one even mentioned the supposed "prophecy", the girl never showed back up, and everything has been smooth sailing. The moral of the story is: sometimes opposition to error lends more publicity than the error itself could earn on its own, and if we can learn to let certain things slide, time will show who really is "from among us."

    <disclaimer> the above is not a hard and fast rule how I think error should be dealt with, its only to point out that we don't ALWAYS have to jump to fix a problem; a lot of them go away by themselves.


    I love the PB; if the owners can accommodate us, then lets forge ahead!
  8. matt01

    matt01 Puritan Board Senior

    I voted to keep it open.
  9. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    You know what the real kicker is? Those who voted to close the PB, had to log onto the board to read the thread If they really wanted it closed, maybe they should just individually resign...quiet and peaceably.
  10. gwine

    gwine Puritan Board Sophomore

    Maybe the key word is 'really'. I am no psychologist but perhaps those that voted in favor of closing are crying for help in a lost world, and the PB, at some level, meets one of their needs in an imperfect manner.

    As I said earlier, the PB is like a radio station - some of us keep listening (reading), hoping the next song (thread) will be better than the last one, and when it isn't we continue to listen (read) and say to ourselves 'if the next one is not good I'm turning it off.' But we keep coming back because we know in our hearts that there is some good.

    I hope this thread will help the PB to get better.
  11. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    We will not be closing the board.

    More later.
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