At last, and reluctantly, some guidelines for this blog

I have always wanted to avoid laying down some guidelines about this blog because, after all, it’s mine and I can do with it what I please.  However, to save some people time and frustration, I’ll reveal some rules of thumb I use in deciding whose comments to post.  I haven’t enforced all of these consistently, but I am going to try to from now on:

1) This blog is for constructive dialogue, civil conversation.  When people come here they are entering my living room or office, so to speak.  It is not a public forum where everyone has a right to say whatever they want to and I have to allow it.  There is no “right” to be heard here.

2) While I do post many critical comments to this blog, I will henceforth not post those that reveal a sole purpose to argue or attack.

3) If a person comes here to attack or criticize my views on a subject but have not read what I have written on that subject, I am much less likely to post their comments or questions (until they have read what I have written).

4) I will no longer enter into debates with persons who want to talk about Against Calvinism who have not read it or are not reading it.  I will answer questions about what is or is not in it, but I will not engage in debates about issues I address there with persons who have not read the book or are not reading it.

5) Of course, I will not post comments or questions that are uncivil, disrespectful (and just opening an attack with “Sir” does not make a comment respectful), or that engage in ad hominem argumentation.

  • http://synestheticsymphony.wordpress.com Jacob Johnson

    I personally find this to be an excellent way to handle things. If your comment feed is fostering an environment of discouragement and bitterness, it reflects very poorly on your blog and your ideals, even if you aren’t the one posting the comments. This is a very good move on your part.

    I must ask, what about people who post “First!”? That bugs me more than anything else, especially when their comment ends up being second or third. :)

    • rogereolson

      It depends on what comes “Second!” :) But you’re right. What annoys me (just a pet peeve of mine) is people who address me as “Sir!” and then go on to bash me.

  • http://judahslion.blogspot.com/ Rick Frueh

    Sir, I disagree with your guidelines. :)

    (Is humor allowed?)

    • rogereolson

      By all means! (Well, almost….:)

  • Matthew

    Well, with that thought in mind, I submit this statement. I am in my 40′s and I have been a Christian for two decades. I have been in some type of church all of my life (Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Wesleyan). I have been through a four year degree in Christian ministry and two years of seminary.

    The problem is that even after all of that I didn’t realize that what I have come to believe about God, Christ, and the church actually has a name; Arminianism. I had never realized what this meant. Now that I do I want to take it all in.

    I read the Bible daily and thank God for his life-changing word. In addition to that I would like to supplement what I am coming to understand in Arminianism.

    Could you recommend some good audio/video, podcasts, etc that I can listen to on-the-go? Most of what I have found is Calvinist and I do enjoy a lot of it that deals with general issues. I like knowing what my brothers on the other side of the fence think. Of course, I do find myself frustrated and shaking my head at times due to some of the conclusions many Calvinists come to in light of the same scriptures that I am reading.

    I am currently watching videos of you and Michael Horton that brought tears to my eyes. You two can come to a table and disagree in Christian love in a way that glorifies Christ. I wish there were more of that going around, even in my own heart sometimes.

    Thank you for any help you can give me.

    • rogereolson

      You might find some of what you’re looking for at the web site of the Society of Evangelical Arminians: http://www.evangelicalarminians.org.

      • Matthew

        Thank you!

      • Matthew

        You refer to the church fathers in the video on the AGTV website. Where can I read what those church fathers had to say?

        • rogereolson

          InterVarsity Press is publishing a series of volumes on what the church fathers said about many subjects. Go to their web site (www.ivpress.com) and look for it. I think it is being edited by Thomas Oden. (Don’t confuse it with another series of commentaries based on the church fathers.) Thomas Oden’s Systematic Theology is largely based on the church fathers (in addition to scripture and John Wesley, of course!) and he quotes them extensively on virtually every subject of theology.

          • Matthew

            Wow, it looks like a great resource. While I’m saving up for it (I’m a public school teacher), are there certain early church fathers I could be reading at CCEL or other online places?

          • rogereolson

            I always suggest people begin with Irenaeus (Against Heresies)–the first real at least semi-systematic theologian of Christianity. I once had a professor of historical theology (who happened to be Eastern Orthodox) who said of Against Heresies “it’s all there”–meaning everything one really needs to know to be Christian.

          • Matthew

            Is this the commentary series?
            http://www.ivpress.com/series/accs/

          • rogereolson

            Yes.

    • http://www.jonrising.blogspot.com Jon Rising

      Regent College, an evangelical graduate school in Canada, posts a new lecture daily on its site, http://www.regentradio.com. Most of the lectures come from actual classes (in Regent’s spring and summer schools). Notable lecturers include: Bruce Waltke, Gordon Fee, N. T. Wright, and many others.

      • Matthew

        Thanks. I really appreciate it.

  • Mikael Stenhammar

    Well put – but so sad that it is even needed on a Christian blog where most claim to be disciples of Jesus ! I cannot but think that there is some truth to Nietzsche’s words “I might believe in the Redeemer if His followers looked more Redeemed”

  • http://relevancy22.blogspot.com/ Russ

    Well said.

  • Casey

    Roger,

    This post was a good idea. Thanks for doing this. I hope it makes for a better and more edifying blog and comments section.

    This may not be the post to ask this question, nevertheless, I would appreciate you pointing me to what you consider to be the best exegetical resources and arguments for understanding your Arminian understanding.

    Thanks!

    • rogereolson

      Go to the web site of the Society of Evangelical Arminians where you will find an embarrassment of riches with regard to exegetical resources and arguments for understanding Arminianism: http://www.evangelicalarminians.org.

  • Mikael Stenhammar

    On a different note: Dr. Witherington’s blog post on grace – Reformed vs. Wesleyan – was interesting, especially as it comes from an exegete’s perspective

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2011/11/18/the-reformed-view-of-regeneration-vs-the-wesleyan-theology-of-prevenient-grace/

  • http://www.jaredmccaleb.com Jared McCaleb

    Dr. Olsen,

    I am a student at Truett and a Student Pastor at FBC in The Woodlands, north of Houston. I was talking to my dear friend Ross Chandler and he was telling me that you are on sabbatical. I hope that is an incredible time for you. I am so excited to take your classes when you return. Blessings to you!

    Jared

    • rogereolson

      I will be on sabbatical this Spring, but I’ll teach in summer session. I look forward to having you in class sometime in the future.

  • Ivan A. Rogers

    Sir! I just want to say how much I appreciate your very fine blog and your expertise on “most” issues. Keep up the good work.

    • rogereolson

      Strange as it may seem, even a positive post can begin with “Sir!” Thanks, Ivan!

  • Brandon

    Excellent! The problem is some people have the hardest time differentiating between constructive criticism and ad hominem and they end up spewing hatred. Love your blog Roger!

  • http://www.northalabamaumc.org/blogs/detail/455 Jeremy Crowder

    Your very wise to post rules upfront. I’ve spent lots of time debating people over the same issues and it never gets us anywhere. This happens mainly because people won’t even read your side. Also thanks as an Arminian for being active in promoting views we need intelligent voices across the spectrum on the doctrine of salvation. People need to know more about these doctrines which sadly aren’t mentioned often in the Christian world.

  • http://thinklaughweepworship.blogspot.com Emily Hunter McGowin

    These guidelines are more than reasonable and certainly not stifling for those who behave properly. I have not been called “Sir,” of course, but I find the most offensive comments on my blog (or Facebook page) to come after the commenter has addressed me as “Ms. McGowin” or, if they’re really being cheeky, “Ms. Hunter” (my maiden name, which I continue to use in my professional work). It’s like being told, “I will address you respectfully as a ‘lady,’ but I will treat you like an ignorant underling who needs to be put in her place.” Thankfully, these things have begun to roll of my back. Best wishes for a more harmonious and grace-filled blog environment!

  • http://www.jonrising.blogspot.com Jon Rising

    Good guidelines, Roger. BTW, I believe your blog to be my favorite. Thanks for offering this site.

    • rogereolson

      Thanks and you’re welcome!

  • http://barrybiblicalnotes.com Barry Applewhite

    Sounds thoroughly fair to me! And I think it must be done.

    -Barry


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