So, what about anonymous comments...

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Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. (Mark 12:4)

A reader personally unknown to me and my brother David wrote of his appreciation for Baylyblog, and then asked this question:

Having seen some of the comments you have made (on Baylyblog about anonymity), I wanted to ask if you believe it is wrong if I post a comment only using my first name? The reason I do so is that I am an engineering student and will be graduating ...and it would probably make it quite difficult for me to get a job since employers google names and mine is a rare one... Is that a bad reason?

To which I responded:

Dear John Doe,

I have mixed feelings about this, dear brother...

and don't now what to say. My inclination is that if you don't engage in personal criticism of others here, it's OK not to identify yourself. When the conversation gets personal about sin and error, I think we need to give people the freedom to know who we are—first and last names—particularly if we know who they are.

There was a man who remained anonymous and made many, many fine contributions to our blog (as he does to many other blogs, also). After years of contributions, he engaged in personal criticism of others, here, so we told him he'd need to post his first and last name if he wanted to continue to comment. (We explained this privately.) He declined to do so and thus he no longer has commenting privileges here. It's difficult because he is a friend of God's Truth. Nevertheless he needed to face his opponents like a man, identifying himself, and so we lost his comments on Baylyblog.

I believe there is a place for anonymity. Church fathers of past centuries have sometimes used it well. But the internet is awash in it and it's almost always wrong and bad—particularly for believers.

We have so many truths God has given us that we want to keep private just now, and the list grows with each passing month. We are ashamed of Christ and His Words. Not being confessed publicly, truth dies. Or maybe it would be better to say that not confessing it publicly, we die. Or the Church refusing to be salt and light, the world dies.

But you might point out that Baylyblog confesses the truth. Yet we can count on a few fingers the blogs that work at publicly confessing the Scriptural truths most hated today. Why?

Not because such truths won't get readers; we have a good number of readers. Men are hungry for God's Truth. So it's not for lack of hungry sheep that Reformed pastors and elders are anonymous or silent concerning the truths of Scripture hated today. Rather pastors don't want to admit to these precious truths out there in public.

Why not?

Because it will get them into trouble with their wives, their daughters, and their elders; because it will get them fired and then will keep them from ever getting another pastoral call—not to mention a call to a rich and large tall-steeple church.

Those who admit to the truths commonly confessed here on this blog know they are sacrificing their future ability to move to another pastoral call and they fear it just as you do, dear brother. All of us want to get and keep a job. 

Saying what Scripture says at the crunch points is to give up the perks too many of us Reformed shepherds live for and this has been true across the centuries.

So pray about it and cultivate a love for God's precious Truth that leads you concerning where and when you should be willing to suffer or die for Him keeping in mind that our Lord promotes the man who is faithful in little things.


Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!