Revised Commenting Policy

I’ve posted something like this before but have had to add the final bullet point today. (And have today decided not to allow any further comments from the offender who caused me to add this last point. It seems to me that he has been warned enough).

The following types of comments will be deleted without question.

  • Comments which appear to be legitimate but whose posters’ details point to porn sites.
  • Comments which contain homophobic epithets. I’m open to intelligent discussion but I’m not running a site which allows people to get away with silly name calling.
  • Comments which claim to prove something by quoting a single verse taken out of context from the Bible. Scripture is too precious to me to allow that. This is a place where the Bible is loved and honoured and treasured. Comments which use it as a weapon are unwelcome.
  • Comments promoting one Bible translation because all the rest are flawed. Like quite a few people who comment here, my Greek and Hebrew are a bit rusty. However, it was worth learning them as I can now make up my own mind about such matters. Go thou and study likewise.
  • Comments promoting or trying to raise money for particular missionary societies.
  • Comments disparaging women and in particular comments which undermine my female colleagues. I learn about God from them.
  • Comments trying to explain Penal Substution as a theory of Atonement. I know what it means. I know how it works. We’ve already established that like most Christian people I don’t believe in it. It gets boring if you try to explain it to me again.
  • Comments in which those of us who are gay are likened to murderers either in the eyes of the commenter or in the eyes of God. To be honest, when it becomes that offensive, I don’t think we are talking enough of the same language for me to want to bother carrying on listening. I’m also not in the business of providing space for that kind of rhetoric. Those who want to make such comments can do so on their own blogs but not on mine.

As I’ve repeatedly said before, I like an intelligent argument and tend to adopt this policy as much for the sake of those others who like a sane corner of the web as for myself.

[Most] Comments welcome.


  1. Darren Moore says

    I try to stick to the policy, whilst commenting on it.

    Most of it pretty understandable/standard. But,
    1.using Scripture as a weapon/quoting isolated verses. To a point I agree, but surely as well as the whole has to be understood as part of the whole, the whole is made us by parts. People misuse the Bible by taking a verse out of context, but they can easily be shown up. Otherwise we can’t use the Bible at all, other than saying – read all of it – there’s something that relates to what I’m saying.

    2. How does the disclaimer square with not being able to comment on PSA? Is that a given (i.e. that it’s nonsense)? Are other opinions banned? Like Roman Catholic views. Even if (highly unlikely) it’s a minority view, are other historically minority views banned (charismatics, baptists) and non-Christians and all liberals – as there views are pretty minority.

    3. Likening gay people to murderers. Unpleasant I agree. Although if (if I may quote a verse – but not to prove a point), this a reference to the 2nd 1/2 of Romans 1, the list includes people who disobey parents and the greedy. Presumably they’re still fair game?

    Just not sure this quite stacks. It’s why people ask, “What are you afraid of?” when it comes to PSA?

    • Darren – thank you for your interest. However. the question is not whether you think this commenting policy quite stacks but whether I do.

  2. John Sandeman says

    When reading about theories of the atonement, there is a real risk of continually reading things that have been said many times over – as you point out. But can I credit you with something reasonably original? “We’ve already established that like most Christian people I don’t believe in it.” I have never worked out how to determine the proportions of Christians who believe the various atonement theories. Is there some research out there?

    • Thanks John – I’m not aware of any research though I’d be interested in any there was. When I wrote that, I was thinking not simply of who believes what now but also of Christians through time. The history of these various ways of understanding the (or an) atonement is fairly well attested and it is clear that some have risen and fallen through time.

      My presumption is that most of the people in the great blocks of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches (both now and through history) don’t believe in penal substitution – or at least, don’t believe it in the same way that a classical evangelical might believe in it as doctrine which must be personally accepted in order to lead to individual salvation. However, as you rightly point out, who believes what may not be so simple.

  3. Darren Moore says

    There are a few bits of research on this, but mostly from the context of PSA
    E.g. Chapter 5 of “Pierced for our Transgressions”, by Jeffery, Ovey & Sach (IVP), which is a quite survey of theologians, east & west, a dozen of which are pre-reformation, starting with Justin Martyr.

    Henri Blocher, “Biblical Metaphors of the atonement”, in the journal of the evangelical theological society, 47 (2004), pp629-645
    “The divine substitution: The atonement in the Bible and history” by Shaw & Edwards (Day One).

    I get the your blog, your rules. Just doesn’t sound like decent is welcome.

    • Darren Moore says

      Bit of a PS,
      Robert Letham’s, “Through Western eyes”
      Looks at the differences & common ground with E-orthodoxy on lots of things, including salvation. Letham (Reformed), thinks there’s lots to get from the East re:-Trinity in worship, incarnational stuff, divination (rightly understood), but still holds that his “Reformed”

    • Well, Darren, I’ve found that there are quite a number of people who do want to meet and chat without the Atonement Thought Police stepping in to correct them all the time. In fact, though I expect you’ll be surprised to hear it, to those who don’t believe that particular doctrine, comments rather like your own can appear to be quite aggressive and verging on bullying.

      So, you may not feel welcome to behave exactly as you like here. You are not. And there’s a comminity of folk who like it that way.

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