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—martyrdom.
He has warned us of the consequences of being ashamed of Him; of, for instance, not 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 that are under the most intense attack today and 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. Let us 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 and His words.
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 continuing to allow 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 using his real first and last names, and in a way we can verify. Men don't shoot from the shadows.
Sadly, we have commenters who refuse to live by this rule. Resisting it, they 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 written. 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, and that evidence is in the comments right above their own comment.
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 even then, 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, so 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 rude commenters to check out the legitimacy of their e-mail address), 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 encouragement, and even gifts of money to the ministries that support us; but only as you have fulfilled your duty to give your tithes and offerings to your church family and the poor in your community, and still are able.