This is a Reformed Board and not a Schismatic Board

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I thought I'd write a provocative title to get people's attention.

I joined this board in Oct 2005 and, within a year or so, was running the board by some interesting form of Providence. I've owned and admin'd the board now for over 16 years. I've borne the technical and hosting responsibilities and have interacted much in the past (not so much lately). I've been very blessed to make friends around the world and to learn a great deal in my interactions.

When I started participating in 2005, it was before the advent of Facebook and I think we had over 700 regular members from a fairly diverse background. I was also still my 30's back then and had a lot of deeply formed convictions that were not balanced by a requisite amount of maturity and godliness. The board helped me form both as I aged and the Lord sanctified me over the years - especially as I became an Elder in the PCA and faced the challenges of ministry.

One thing I appreciated for the first ten years is sort of the "friction" that occurred as people worked out their theology together. By that I especially mean my interactions with Baptists because I was able to really dig in to why I was Presbyterian and learn both from Baptists and their convictions as well as read the responses from men like Bruce Buchanan or Matthew Winzer and many others. I irritated many Baptists with my arguments that were not often mixed with love, but (retrospectively) I miss the number of people from across the Reformed spectrum who used to participate regularly here.

There were also very hard seasons where I (along with the Admins and Mods) were under attack because we moderated certain behavior. Whole boards were created in the past where we were accused of liberalizing and such. We had a policy not to respond in kind but to focus on our discussions. I know for a fact that I drove some people away with my own behavior over the years and (occasionally) see folks who might still be angry with me over those years. Time and reflection have caused me to think more poorly of myself in those days than any I might have been frustrated or impatient with as we had to moderate behavior online.

I started to lose my central vision around 2007 and, within the last few years, have lost all of it. By God's grace, I can still see with my peripheral vision so I type this with massive magnification. But, because of that, this board was not as easy to interact with as my vision deteriorated. Add to that, it started to feel to me a bit like groundhog day and I needed a break from things even as some of the Admins and Mods have been so faithful to keep the doors open since all I do mostly now is pay the hosting bill and keep the server and software running. I would like to return again and contribute.

But, I will also say that what I've noticed not only in my own reading of late, but also reports from long time contributors is how caustic certain elements are of a very strict sort. A very godly OPC minister ran into me in Birmingham and pointed out how "life and death" some of the conversations around EP or translations are to the point of lacking almost all value.

I've never had a problem with deep conviction. If anything, one of the Admins is a stalwart. Winzer was as well. They are my friends. Yet they have godliness and moderation that attends their style as opposed to those who weary and angry others with a style that drives others away. Since they are self-apologetically not apologetic for their own tone, I refuse to offer any apologies for my assessment that I could care less if they are offended by my assessment.

I am 54 now and this past week I was thinking about the age of some of my Admins and how this board will inevitably continue. I thought what a shame it would be to not forever have millions of posts that are sometimes the top level results for people searching the internet for some issue of Reformed theology.

I can tell you this much, I'm not going to continue to host a board that is marked by a schismatic and sectarian spirit that paints a circle of orthodoxy so small in tone that no other Reformed believers can stand to be around it.

I love this article on naphtali.com: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/schism-separatism/the-sin-of-schism/

I actually send it out to progressive PCA men. Why? Because very often progressives in my denomination are always trying to move us away from our Confession on the idea that the way to achieve unity is to make our denomination the hallway in Mere Christianity. Where they want to argue that the PCA needs to be as broad as the Apostle's Creed to prove our catholicity, I remind them that a commitment to the Westminster Standards is a commitment to catholic Christianity.

That said, however one has to have the spirit evidenced by Presbyterians in the past. Read it. Mark it. Let it digest. Compare the liberality of spirit toward other branches of the Christian faith that our heroes of the Reformed faith have. It's the reason why Presbyterians have historically accepted Roman Catholic baptism as crazy as that would sound to someone who would write that instruments in a Church entails that the Church denies the finished work of Christ.

So I've got to figure out the future for this board and I will be plain that it will not include those with a caustic spirit toward those who are in the Christian faith. We have drawn a boundary around who may participate. You don't get to decide that the circle needs to be as tight as your own convictions. If you can't abide then leave. I'd rather lose you as contributors than lose long time contributors who are making the place edifying.

Just to be clear, I'm not asking anyone to abandon their convictions but I am requiring that their convictions be exercised with a catholic spirit. If you are either not inclined to do so in charity toward those who disagree then you can leave or I will show you the door. I have a board to maintain and I'm not going to waste my time as a father, elder, Church man, and executive worrying about your irritation because you don't worry about those you irritate. Pleas that your arguments are self-evident or that others are just emotional will be as useless on me as the pleas of your betters are on you regarding your tone.

You have been warned. I pray that the Spirt of Christ will unite us and this will be an opportunity not to lose people but that we may all consider how we can interact well with one another and attract new members who want to learn as well as encourage those who have left to return.
 
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