Monday, March 20, 2006

Guidelines for Commenting


I have been engaged in several exchanges lately with friends about the comments that are occasionally left on this blog. Some of the most insightful observations to be found here have come from those who have offered comments. I think it is very healthy and informative to allow for wide-ranging ideas to be exchanged in this forum. Because of that, I allow a great deal of latitude to those who wish to post comments here. I don't allow profanity or comments that are too personal. I am the determiner of what constitutes "too personal." It is subjective, I know, but in order to allow as much leeway as I can, this is the course I am following.

This approach allows for rambunctious debate. It even allows for heated and offensive comments to be posted. I choose to leave such comments up because I think that by doing so a more accurate picture is portrayed about current thoughts on an issue than would otherwise be the case. One thing a blog does is provide opportunity for almost immediate feedback. Within the parameters stated above, I want that feedback to be an honest assessment of what readers of this blog are thinking--even when I may disagree strongly with the content, perspective or tone of those thoughts. What this necessitates, then, is allowing certain things to be said or to be said in ways that I personally do not condone.

Therefore, though I do not recommend it, unkindness and stupidity are not automatically censored. Neither are harshness or mean-spiritedness. Neither is ignorance. You can read back in the archives and find numerous examples from each category. There they stand, for good or ill, as a testimony to what some people think and feel.

I do not try to address every comment that I find offensive. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that the folks who read this blog do an excellent job of calling each other to account on matters of biblical understanding, historical accuracy and Christian demeanor. There tends to be a healthy dose of self-policing that takes place when things start getting out of hand.

Though most seem to have no difficulty distinguishing between what I write and what others write in the comments section, let me reiterate that the mere fact that a comment is allowed to be posted on this blog does not mean that I personally endorse it. I must, of course, take full responsibility for whatever I write. But I do not take responsibility for what others write.

So, if you want to join the conversation at any time, jump right in. If you stay on task and avoid getting personal or profane, your comment will be allowed no matter how much I may disagree with it.

19 comments:

Puritan Fan said...

Tom,

Thank you for posting your blog guidelines. I have always found your posts to be well reasoned and posted in a spirit of Christian charity. Your battles seem always with the doctrine and never with the person.

Unfortunately, the tone of some of the replies that are posted on your site do not always appear well reasoned or in the spirit of love.

I have found myself recently defending your weblog and Founder Ministries in general because of posts that were less than charitable.

Please admonish everyone who posts to your site to do so in a well reasoned and charitable fashion so that their personal views do not present an distorted picture of Founders Ministries.

Aaron L. Turner said...

Tom,

I don't comment a lot on your blog, but I do read every entry that you write.

I find your posts to be insightful, and thought provoking.

I am sure that much of the quality of your writing is because it is done on a MAC :).

Chris Bonts said...
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joethorn.net said...

Tom,

The fact that you run a real blog - one that allows comments - says a lot. Thanks for letting people have real conversations that aren't always pretty/polite.

That you value dialogue and aren't afriad to put things out there that will get feedback is something I would like to see other leaders copy. I have had a number of people tell me that your words, tone and attitude on this blog has encouraged them to view Founders in a better light than they have in the past. Like you often tell us, "Press on."

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. Ascol,

Blogs in general, and this one in particular, are an amazing blessing to the Christian who uses them. It's like having a whole crowd of Christians, most able to teach and hungry to learn, all over to my house for coffee every day. I've learn SO MUCH on this blog and others over the past three months that I don't ever want to go back.

Thanks for what you and your contributors are providing here!

Love in Christ,

Jeff

ajlin said...

somehow, i believe that no amount of clarity on this issue is going to change the way that baptistfire.com chooses to misrepresent the conversations here.

Timmy said...

As you have stated, blogs have provided a first-hand introspection on the pulse of what the readers are thinking and allows for interaction with both those with whom you agree and with those you disagree.

There is a level of transparency and rawness that I truly appreciate. It says that there is nothing to hide, and truth, although it is not sexy and often controversial, is not afraid of being spoken - and spoken unashamedly. In a day where spiritual anemia is fostered by a fear of robust dialogue and theological discussion, I am grateful there is a place where I can be challenged, corrected, and confirmed at all that same time.

Thanks Tom, and I look forward to participating in the continued growth and appeal to this blog which continues to be a sort of education and encouragement on a daily basis.

Gordon Cloud said...

Good night, Tom! I hope when I grow up I can be half as gracious and eloquent as you are. I seriously mean that (about you anyway, I am already grown larger than I care to admit.)

Mild-mannered Reformed said...

Unfortunately, the tone of some of the replies that are posted on your site do not always appear well reasoned or in the spirit of love.

I totally agree. This is why, unless things change, I will continue my support with Founders Ministries, but not be associated with "most" of the Founders members.

Garvis Campbell said...

Thanks, Tom. Well said, as always.

Garvis

FBCW said...

Please allow me some grace in saying I am deeply saddened by the blog found here.

It is not because I do not stand with you in the belief of conservative Biblical doctrine a.k.a Doctrines of Grace -

It is because (I feel) the blog violates the "spirit" of the web site. The web site is a place people can go and get nourishment of historical and conservative information about Christ. It is a watering hole in a dry desert of mediocrity.

The blog (I feel) has soured the sweet waters and it reminds me EXACTLY of the same flavor one can find at "baptist fire" web site.

Please understand - Just as it is in salvation - We cannot reason or "logic" someone into our camp. It must be the Spirit Who teaches that person.

We have the Bible and history on our side.... What need of bickering do we have? Honestly?

However - I do believe the information is good - Please link your blog off the homepage and leave the name "founders" out of it's address.

Grace and Peace to all.

Jimmy H said...

I think the idea of linking your blog on Founders home page and changing the blog name is a good one to consider. With all due respect you are not "the institution" but the gracious (personal) leader of the movement. A bit of separation might be a good thing to help you moderate this "spirit of the blog question". The official vs personal identification may be one you think is unimportant though.Congrat's to you and the girls(ladies in waiting)on the good character trophy. I say in the punctiliar aorist-- that is the best consolation prize a team could get.

patrickbarrett said...

Pastor Ascol,

with all of the blogs on the web, I can't remember your position on this question...Do you believe the IMB trustees have violated the autonomy of local SBC churches with their recent decisions?

Thank you for any time you might offer this question!

SelahV said...

Dr.Ascol: I typed Southern Baptist Convention.org into the url and got your site. I was reading how we Southern Baptist began in 1845 and then realized that this was not really the same Southern Baptist Convention I was looking for when I typed in the address. Having read, though not studied the way a person becomes a follower of Christ, I decided to scroll down the links offered. And of course couldn't help but click on "the director's blog". Then I read your guidelines...and the thread on them. Question: JimmyH posted "With all due respect you are not "the institution" but the gracious (personal) leader of the movement."
I don't understand what he's talking about. What "institution" are you not? What movement are you the leader of? Given the fact that JimmyH is a blogger, he may have made a mis-statement. But if not, can you explain those two questions for me. Thank you. Grace and blessings be yours. SelahV

Tom said...

Selah:

I am the executive director of Founders Ministries. I assume that JimmyH is referring to that. Founders is committed to the recovery of the Gospel and reformation of local churches.

Thanks for dropping by!

Tom Fillinger said...

Spiritual Formation & the ACP

This past July I completed a process to accomplish and measure Spiritual Formation in the lives of the people I pastor. We are using this with significant positive results.

I just received a 'reminder' to send in the ACP. We no longer complete that document which fact I communicated to the inquirer.

Two years ago we ceased submitting the data requested in the ACP. Reason - it is a distortion of and a hindrance to NT ministry as informed by sound exegesis and the issues that matter most to Jesus Christ who is head of the body. It substitutes one dimensional issues (how many, how much) for the paramount issue – the fullness of Christ being formed in His people.

In the intervening time period (beginning in April of 2005) I have conducted gracious and civil correspondence with personnel at the SCBC requesting the inclusion of Spiritual Formation on the ACP(Bob Ethridge- his response was "I just collect the data".)(Marshall Fagg - "we count baptisms") with Thom Rainer at LifeWay (his initial response was agreement with my request, however, when I continued to pursue this endeavor he directed me to the Research Staff. Their response was detailed and prompt, but, they concluded that they were not the people to whom this inquiry should be directed. Further, I was told (by Thom Rainer) no such process (for measuring Spiritual Formation existed - - I had already sent him the Power Point of the Process I had created. When I communicated with the Research Staff and they graciously sent me PDF files of a process they had developed, much of it has a copyright date of 1999.This means that a structured and well ordered process to develop and measure Spiritual Formation has existed and is available to the churches just for the asking for the past seven (7) years but it is not utilized.

When I inquired as to the reason for this I was told that 'the churches resist completing the ACP as it is. If we add Spiritual Formation to that profile, almost none would comply with the request for information.'

Jesus’ command is Make Disciples, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded. Seems reasonable that we make a gracious and serious attempt to measure the progress that takes place in the lives of His people, encourage them with objective progress, and offer them constructive resources and exhortation in those areas where there is a deficiency observed. I believe it is identified in the text as "growth in grace" and Pastors are one of God’s primary instruments in that process.

Further, Hebrews 13:17 makes abundantly clear that we as leaders will be required to give an account of this process before Christ. I certainly want to be able to offer accurate and objective response and find incredible joy with those I have shepherded through this process.

Rather than carping about how much or what % of our giving goes to CP, perhaps, just perhaps, if God’s people are truly redeemed, genuinely formed in His image, and given principled affirmation for that glorious progress, the plates will fill up without any prompting from the ‘powers that be.’

I have a Power Point presentation of the process I developed which I will send to anyone who requests it. Send your requests to me @ info@igniteus.net and provide your email, phone # and address.

My prayer is that as God's people apply this process will be shaped in the fullness of His image and bring glory to Him.

J.C.Viger said...

I am certainly delighted that a man of God such as Pastor Johnny Hunt would be considered for the Presidency of SBC. All those negative comments are unfounded and slanderous. I can't beleive that envy and jelousy would tarnish the candidacy of a real man of God! I would think that you would all rejoice in the thought that someone as dedicated to the preaching of the Gospel would consider this position. I was certain that I would have to go to the darkest of abbysses to see these kind of comments. Shame on all of you for trying to stain the reputation of a true man of God. May God have mercy on you 21st century Sadducees

J.C.Viger

Wariner Family said...

I remember what Billy Graham said to me on a flight out of Minneapolis in '69, that involvement in politics would kill his evangelical messages and send him plummeting onto the rocks of regret. Billy often referred to Billy Sunday's downfall, after he that evangelist became a loud voice in the political arena.

One very big turn off for those I've know through the years has been the resurgence of political agendas into the message of Christ. God help you, if you would disagree with the likes of Dobson. It would seem that Jesus has lost his umph and "blessed are the peace makers" stance to those rebellious political outbursts spoken on Sunday mornings.

Duane S. said...
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