shutting down arguments

Online discussion is very predictable. There’s a meme out there about how such discussions go and the odds that Hitler will be mentioned as the discussion lengthens (It’s even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, apparently).

In Christian discussion boards odds are that as soon as someone is losing an argument, one of two strategems will come up:

  1. Have you spoken to X about this? (The Matthew 18 card)
  2. You can’t judge motives

What is the purpose of these strategems?

To shut you up, that’s what. It does get a little tiresome, but I encourage you to either take no notice of those who attempt to use them, or push back against them.

This does not mean that I advocate impolitic speech, or uncharitable communication. However, I think that we must insist that topics be discussed on their merits and refuse to be drawn into a side-tracking rabbit trail by allowing these tactics put us on the defensive.

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new blog

An old-timey friend of mine, Monty McCoy, has joined the blogosphere at leadinghorsestowater.net. I love the title, reminds me of a favorite quote from Murphy’s Law and Other Reasons Things Go Wrong, “You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back, you’ve got something!” I can’t remember who said that originally, but I think it is particularly applicable to most leadership situations.

Monty and I used to team teach a Sunday school class in our church’s bus ministry. With him, I used to visit some of the poorer sections of our town where most of our children came from. These homes were so broken, it was hard to see how they could be helped – only the grace of God could make a difference.

We had some professions of faith in our class – it was first grade. I don’t know how serious these little ones were, but I know that little children can make serious spiritual decisions. Regardless, I think the ministry to little ones (and all ages in that community) was a worthwhile effort. It was costly, eventually our church gave up that ministry (after I had moved away). It certainly isn’t the “in thing” among Christians these days, but what could be more important than teaching the Bible and the life changing message of the gospel to anyone who will listen?

Well, Monty and I reconnected last year after spending about thirty years incommunicado (hurrah for the internet!). Monty is a godly servant in a local church somewhere in Iowa (he really lives out in the sticks, a real country gentleman). I appreciate his faithfulness and ministry a great deal and recommend his blog to you. Hope you enjoy it.

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clever spam

What do you think of this one?

Was given a copy of a Book & Bible from a group of people who comes from the Mormon church and days later we decided to start reading it. Hope we are not going to be misled and are been led into error that will send us to hell forever ?
Please are the teaching from the Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ Latter Days Saint) in line with the Bible and the Word of God?
PLEASE HELP ME & MY FAMILY OUT!

Brother Mike Okiji & family
Room 2b No 4 Okiba village Road,
% P.O.Box 982
B/City, Edo State, Nigeria

This showed up in my inbox today, totally missed Google’s filters. The addressee is the same Yahoo address as the sender. My address is presumably in a BCC.

If you get something like this, and are tempted to reply… don’t! You are just confirming your address as “live” to some despicable human beings.

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uncertainty

One of the plagues of our day is the softening of orthodoxy among Bible-believers. I wonder how we came to this.

Kevin Bauder posted an essay recently where he discusses Bob Jones Jr, among other things. He has this to say about Dr. Bob:

Whatever else Bob Jones may have been, he was never timid. He had a tender side alright, but (and I mean none of this to be derogatory) he was a vigorous, robust, confident, assertive, tenacious, resilient, square-jawed, straight-backed, tough-as-nails, heavy-duty, industrial strength, hardnosed, bull moose, larger-than-life, uncompromising fundamentalist leader who most definitely did not suffer fools gladly. He was the captain of his team, the general of his armies, the chieftain of his tribe, the commander of his troops, the admiral of his fleet, and the master of his domain.

Having known and loved Dr. Bob, I would say that this description is pretty well accurate. Dr. Bob was not shy about his convictions. He was also as warm-hearted as a man could be, at least in my experience. [Read more…]

how do you like your spam?

Got an interesting comment tonight on a post from a couple of years ago:

When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now
each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same
comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

Many thanks!

Right… the alleged person making this comment has never had any comments approved on oxgoad, the post in question has only ever had a total of five comments, again some time ago. There are no new comments coming in… and if anyone cares to notice, oxgoad is a little inactive lately.

I point this out for fellow bloggers who may get similar spam. Some spammers are getting a little more sophisticated it seems and posting what seems like more and more legit comments. So be careful.

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following blogs

Google Reader is dead. I guess it is old news, but it is scheduled to happen on July 1, apparently. I thought I was safe, since I was using FeedDemon. Alas, I discovered that since FD depends on on GR, it, too, will die on July 1.

Mad search ensues… the winner, for me, is RSSOwl, a nifty feed reader that has some neat features FD did not (and a few minor ones that FD had are missing…). If you scan a lot of blogs, as I do, RSSOwl might be for you.

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interesting hit on P&D today

I noticed a link from DailyKos to Proclaim & Defend in our stats today. I thought… what in the world? How would anyone come to P&D from DailyKos?

Click here for the DailyKos article.

Click here to see where we were linked in a comment.

Not a surprise, but the attitude of many towards Christians is on display.

John 15:19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

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Announcing Proclaim & Defend

Today the FBFI launches a new ministry, a blog (yes, indeed, a blog) called Proclaim & Defend. The blog is going to be the online voice of the FBFI point of view. We expect to publish articles from our print magazine, FrontLine (I encourage you to subscribe!), as well as regular blog posts from various FBF pastors and other sympathizers. We will also publish as much audio from our various fellowship meetings as possible. We currently have published audio from four fellowship meetings in 2011. Subscribe to our podcast and look for more to come soon (just two weeks to the Northwest Fellowship meeting).

Proclaim & Defend is a little bare just now. We plan to fill it up right away with articles designed to edify the saints, proclaim God’s truth, and take a stand for the purity of the church, as fundamentalists have always done. We begin by publishing a serialization of articles from the recently published Jan/Feb 2012 edition of FrontLine. The subject of this edition is “Protecting Our Children.” We launch P&D with an excellent article by Dave Shumate entitled “What We Are Learning”. Be sure to read it as it comes out over the next three days.

It is my privilege to serve as chairman of the Communications Committee which is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the Proclaim & Defend blog effort. I am glad for the opportunity and trust that these efforts might minister to needs around the world.

when is a link not a link?

A friend of mine posted an article to which I objected. I objected privately, so I’m not going to post a link. We had a brief and I think courteous exchange of views. But the whole discussion gets me thinking about the whole paradigm shift that the new media is. That is, I think we are still getting used to the internet (or, as one of my hockey bloggers calls it, “the AlGore”).

It is common practice in the blogosphere to link to other blogs or articles online. This is part of the ‘netiquette’ of blogging, especially when you are writing a contrary opinion. The link provides context, your readers can go to your online ‘opponent’ to see what they said in context in order to decide whether they will agree with you or him or neither.

It is also common practice to link to news items of interest with a brief comment suggesting why the link was interesting to you.

I have occasionally linked to Christianity Today when I see articles of interest there, or when I wish to take issue with something said there. Some of my fellow fundamentalists have commented when I have done that without much of a disclaimer. I guess I don’t think a disclaimer is all that necessary when I am critiquing an article. It is pretty clear that I am not agreeing!  (Does anyone think I am ambiguous when I disagree?) And I don’t think a disclaimer is always necessary when I am just passing along a link to say: look at this, it’s interesting.

But what if I was writing an article listing a whole host of sites as “good resources for church planting” or “good resources for spiritual growth” or “good resources for theology”?

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commending a new blog

I’d like to introduce a new blog to you. It is written by an on-line friend who is known as “JG” on Sharper Iron. I have long appreciated JG’s contributions in the SI forum and have had some correspondence privately with him over the years that has been a blessing.

JG recently started writing at Mind Renewers. He is not a ranter and raver like me! I think you will find his writing challenging and uplifting.

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