House rules on comments...

Dear Readers,

Again recently we've asked for identification information from those submitting comments that are personal in their criticism of the author of the post (usually David or me), a publicly known leader, or another commenter on Baylyblog. This has long been our policy: if a reader criticizes the character of someone, if he gets personal, he needs to identify himself by name—first and last, and verifiable.

We've also long said that men should identify themselves when engaging in public teaching and discussions of Scripture's doctrines. It's not good to be a closet Christian, to have a secret commitment to doctrines that are hated, and therefore a clear confession of Christ in this evil day. Unashamed acknowledgment and proclamation of everything Jesus commanded is integral to our fulfillment of our Lord's Great Commission. If we're not faithful in these small things, our Lord may well not find us worthy of the larger stewardship of the baptism of blood.

He has warned us of the consequences of being ashamed of Him, of publicly declaring His word that sodomy is an abomination against God, His word that greed is idolatry and greedy men will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, His word that woman is not to teach or exercise authority over man because He created Adam first, then Eve.

Take those Biblical doctrines under the most intense attack today: it's precisely those places where our shame or zeal is best measured...

And although it's true that discretion is the better part of valor, each of us must realize what a privilege it is to be a witness to our Lord. We must ask ourselves where we are ashamed of Him and His words so we may repent and turn and show our love for Him by publicly identifying with Him where He is being crucified today.

For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. - Mark 8:38

So we encourage all those who write about the Triune God and the doctrines of His Word to name themselves. There may be cases where it's unwise for a reader to do so, and we leave it to our readers to make that judgment—hence our allowing anonymous comments, here.

Comments critical of someone in particular, though, come under a different rule. We require the person making the criticism to identify himself in a way that we can verify, using his real first and last names. Men don't shoot from the shadows.

Sadly, we have commenters who refuse to live by this rule and, resisting it, accuse us of stifling debate; or worse, of not allowing people to disagree with us. If this charge is levelled by a newcomer, we may not accuse them of dishonesty because it's possible they simply don't know how many, many of Baylyblog's comments have been personal attacks on David and me and what we've writtten. I say it's possible they aren't being dishonest because almost always those who level the charge have the evidence they need to disabuse themselves of the charge in the comments right above their own comment.

But regardless of the person making this charge, we reiterate now that we do not reject comments or commenters who disagree with us.

If we remove someone's commenting privileges, it's almost always for one of two reasons: first, the man is spreading heresy and we must silence him because of our duty as shepherds to guard God's sheep. But the heresy must be serious and our usual policy is to warn the commenter that he's stepping close to the edge and we'd like him to stop his promotion of the heresy and move on to other subjects. If he submits (notice how much we all hate that word in our rebel age), he may keep commenting on other subjects.

Then the second reason we may remove a comment is that the man is a liar. We do not allow men who lie to comment here. Such men destroy community and love among Christians and unbelievers alike and we won't tolerate them. This includes men who lie about their name, about their e-mail address (fatal errors are common when we try to e-mail commenters), about their church or pastor, and about the nature of their opponents' arguments (although this last one needs to be demonstrated as a habit before we act).

Well, all that as an update on rules of engagement here on Baylyblog. We love you and trust you will pray for us as we do this work. And if you have learned God's Word and been sanctified by these two shepherds, please do support our work with your prayers, words of encouragment; and even gifts of money to the ministries that support us, but only as you're able and have fulfilled your duty to give your tithes and offerings to your church family and the poor in your community. Thank you.

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Comments

Very well said dear friend.
May you and your families enjoy the day of special thankfulness.

Anonymity on the Internet is almost always a license for depravity.

My name is Sean Bloomer... no comment yet, just want you to get the background check out of the way. Is there a waiting period? Just kidding. Thanks and I enjoy your passion.

Just as you wouldn't recommend your church members get brazen tattoos, why would you strongly urge them to receive a permanent digital tattoo (baylyblog.com) for all the world to see? Anyone with a name more unique than say, John Smith, who gets laid off would then be digitally-screaming "Over here! I blog about Jesus." Any HR rep worth her salt who receives his resume would immediately discover he's a devout Christian. Thus, it certainly wouldn't help him get another job in industry to support his wife and eight hungry children.

Sometimes folks use pseudonyms for legitimate and godly reasons. To presume otherwise is to not believe the best in them.

And if you're blessed to be named John Smith, you can blog everyday and no HR rep would ever be the wiser.

Anon,

Are you saying that God doesn't provide for the children of those that are unashamed to speak of their love for Jesus Christ publicly?

Are you saying that the faithful Christian must live a life where he carefully guards his tongue so that words that honor God cannot be traced back to Him?

Jobs and money don't come from appearing appropriately bland to the HR reps of the world, but from our heavenly father, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

If you live in such fear of having your name attached to Jesus in cyberspace, I can't imagine that you would ever have the courage to proclaim His love, mercy, and judgment to your lost co-workers. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong on this point.

Anon,

For context, I should mention that I'm the father of five young children, and since I began publicly commenting on Baylyblog.com, I have obtained jobs at:

1) A Jesus-hating liberal arts university.
2) A Bayly-hating Christian college.
3) A small tech startup.
4) A mid-sized tech consulting firm.
5) An extremely large insurance company.

So it is not idle theory that I'm talking about. God has provided, with googlable comments, and (in some cases) in the absence of qualifications.

I look at the arguments made ever and anon by those who don't reveal their identities, and there's a logic to it, there's some persuasiveness there - maybe their path is just one of wisdom and discretion, not a faithless shrinking back.

Then I look at a comment like Jonathan Cousar's comment #11 on the "So what about anonymous comments" post from a couple of months ago ( http://www.baylyblog.com/2011/09/a-reader-unknown-to-me-and-my-brother-personally-wrote-of-his-appreciation-for-baylyblog-and-then-asked-this-question-h.html#comment-6a00d83451d09d69e2014e8b9cb803970d ), and the unashamedness-suffering-faith connection is unmistakeable.

>>why would you strongly urge them to receive a permanent digital tattoo (baylyblog.com) for all the world to see?

We have never argued for anyone to get a Baylyblog tattoo. Read what I wrote. What we're pushing for is that those of us who claim to follow our Lord and to love and obey His Word would stop hiding our Christian faith and witness from the world. That we would stop being ashamed of Jesus and His Words. It's anonymity in general we oppose--not anonymity on Baylyblog. But Baylyblog is the place where we write and exhort, and the place where we see readers ashamed of Jesus and His Words.

>>Sometimes folks use pseudonyms for legitimate and godly reasons. To presume otherwise is to not believe the best in them.

Sure, and that's why this is not an absolute rule on Baylyblog. But it's clear most anonymity is simply the very old sin of being ashamed of Jesus and His words out of fear of not being able to provide for a wife and eight children. Think about it: a martyr has a hard time providing for his wife and eight children.

>>Any HR rep worth her salt who receives his resume would immediately discover he's a devout Christian.

Yes, that's the point.

* * *

Now, something else. Here are a number of the names you've used to post to Baylyblog: "Anon," "JPO," "HSY," "Oxon," "Ex-PCA," and "ICD." The problem here is not simply anonymity, but multiple personality disorder. I think it's time for you to "get centered," brother (if you know what I mean?).

Love,

"Any HR rep worth her salt who receives his resume would immediately discover he's a devout Christian. Thus, it certainly wouldn't help him get another job in industry to support his wife and eight hungry children."

Besides the worthy things others have said, whence the idea that all HR reps are Christian-hating banshees who would automatically downgrade the chances of someone who appears to be a devout Christian? I know there's a certain amount of that, but I really do not think it's so widespread as to permit the flat statement that such "certainly wouldn't help him get another job in industry." If by "industry" you mean specifically manufacturing, it's even more puzzling, as that's probably a sector less ideologically driven in hiring, than most. It might even help, if the HR rep is a Christian or has had good experiences with Christian hires.

I struggle with using my employer's time and internet access for personal use. Perhaps the HR rep would be more concerned that his employee is using company internet for personal use than he would be with the Christian nature of said usage.

Lest anyone think that the moderators of this site are unreasonable in their policy of forbidding those who would promote outright heresy on this blog from doing so, know that they have consistent support from 2000 years of Church practice. What we know about the ancient heretics' false doctrine comes almost entirely from quotations of them in the writings of the orthodox fathers, who (along with councils of the Church) wisely destroyed wherever possible the original writings of heretics. Would that pastors today were nearly as protective of their flocks as were their forefathers....

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