It could be good for brethren to re-read the community guidelines that we have writtern and that all new members on the forums are encouraged to read. I know recently a brother read them and had to make confession of some wrong ways of posting. It is a serious matter when our words are being read publically to multitudes of saved and unsaved all around the world. Also dear brethren in persecuted countries could be reading our conversations, what are they thinking in their minds?
Most importantly of all our Lord Himself sees all that we write and how we treat His Body which is the Church.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. - Matthew 12:36
Here are the guidelines below:
We are excited for your participation in this online community focused on walking with the Lord in authentic discipleship and in the spirit filled life. The word revival is used much on the site and though it speaks of a larger work of God's Spirit in the earth which we pray and covet for it also conveys the simple surrendering of our lives to Jesus Christ fully and allowing Him to have His way through us. Such personal revival is something we can walk in because its biblical discipleship and the call of God for us. "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." (1 John 2:6). This is not something we do in our strength but as we are more and more dependent on our Heavenly Father he works this change in us (Galatians 2:20).
Here are some clear guiding principles for us all to agree with and have unity on as we endeavour to keep the unity of the faith in this discussion forum. "...striving together as one for the faith of the gospel." (Philippians 1:27).
1. JESUS CHRIST THE HEAD - There are many over-arching themes discussed on the forums but we would put one above them all and that is the focusing on the person of Jesus Christ. If we all could just keep our Lord in the centre of our thoughts, actions, re-actions and endeavours then we would surely glorify His Name by our participation in the forums. He should be spoken of much for all things are from Him and relate to Him (Romans 11:36). And He is the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18). "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2).
2. BEING TEACHABLE - Being teachable is another guiding principle that we ask would be something we would all desire to cultivate. To have this humility with the apostle paul who in a humble attitude was seeking for maturity in the Christian walk yet would not judge his brothers for other opinions and teachings (Philippians 3:15). We can learn from even the weakest amongst us for each one of us has some truth, some practice that they understand or have a better revelation then we do. Therefore we must continually humble ourselves to learn from even the babes in Christ. This glorifies God and brings unity to the body (1 Corinthians 12:21-23).
3. HAVING A PERSONAL AGENDA - We look down on people who come with personal agenda's or are trying to justify themselves on a particular doctrine or emphasis. We believe it is not healthy to try and impose a truth that you have on many other brothers or sisters. This type of believer feels that a truth they have is more important then the rest and feels a godliness for holding to that truth. Such a godliness is false and will not bring about the fruits of the Spirit in the life of that believer (Galatians 5:22-23).
4. SERVANTHOOD - Another guiding principle is to come to the forums as a servant of all. This is following the example of our Lord who came to serve and not be served. Paul the Apostle furthers this teaching by extending it to all men that we should prefer others before ourselves (Philippians 2:1-7). This teaching is important to grasp and practice especially in our speech and writing on a public venue such as these forums. God will give us opportunities everyday to walk in these truths to serve others and not ourselves with such attitudes and a lifestyle God is glorified.
5. SPEAKING WITH GENTLENESS - Having mercy, gentleness, and meekness in our posts on the forums is not only good it is needful. Especially when there is not a face to face conversation one cannot understand a person's tone well so be extra careful to show forth your tone to people in the posts and try to ensure you are not accusing, or speaking angrily against another but adding positive affirmations and kindness into your posts. This will help to not give the devil any opportunity to bring division (Ephesians 4:27). For division, backbiting and sectarianism is carnality and we are not walking in the Spirit when doing so (Jude 1:19).
6. SELF-PROMOTION - Self-Promoting your own teachings or articles, sermons and videos is not encouraged in the forums. We have hand-selected over 50,000 audio, video and text resources on sermon index and we ask that the majority of the discussions centre around those materials provided. You can post another article or sermon from another source also long as its not contrary to the tenor of the materials on SermonIndex. But we ask that you do not promote your own audio sermon materials. 'Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth' (Proverbs 27:2).
7. SLANDERING OTHERS - We have a zero tolerance on slander, evil-speaking and speaking against a person's character without warrant. 'Slander no one.' / 'to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.' NASB (Titus 3:2). This is a very important biblical principle and we ask that you would especially respect the biblical method of approaching a brother privately (Matthew 18:15). Also there are hundreds of websites in the internet that exclusively post wrong teachings, errors and question the character of Christians, we do not want SermonIndex to be seen as such a ministry and ask that all forum members do not participate in posting in what is wrong. We believe simply that truth dispels errors and to focus on the truth will shine a light into all the darkness.
8. DIVISIONS AND QUARRELLING - Having a healthy discussion on a topic, doctrine or important issue is allowed on SermonIndex. But if the subject discussion becomes heated and there is quarrelling it would be better to agree with your brother publicly in what you can and and hold to what you believe against him privately. This calls for great maturity and wisdom in speaking in humility. It is better to agree with a brother that you are Christians and not divide over non-essentials. Let us go forward with meekness towards each other and having in mind the larger picture of the entire body of Christ. "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought." (1 Corinthians 1:10). We have found that discussions pertaining to politics, conspiracy theories, calvinism/arminianism and others just produce strife and not the fruits of the Spirit so we ask saints not to start these discussion threads on SermonIndex.
9. RESPECTING AUTHORITY - Another guiding principle is submission to authority in the body of Christ. God has and continues to anoint men over areas of the church and ministries in the kingdom of God (Hebrews 13:17 ). Christian freedom is not being free from submission but rather freedom is experienced when we submit. We ask the forum users to submit to the servant leaders (moderators) on the forum here. We ask for prayers for these moderators also that they can make wise decisions as we endeavour to keep the unity of the saints. The great bible teacher Watchman Nee himself said in the local church he always sought to find someone to submit to. Therefore even leaders in the body of Christ need to submit to others. We advocate servant-leadership and those who lead the body of Christ with humility and brokenness (1 Peter 5:1-14).
10. POSTING AND EDITING - The issue is one of order rather than control. We allow as much patience as possible for corrections and apologies. Please make your corrections with a follow up reply, rather than by use of the edit function. There has been a misuse of this in the past where whole sections have been removed from an ongoing thread, making it now disconnected, like removing pages from a book. Please use the edit function for spelling corrections and if needed within the body of a post, please add a footnote to that which has been changed and why.
11. PRAYING BEFORE YOU POST - Please, pray. Pray before you post. Pray as you write in response. Pray, and ask the question of the Lord; "Should I?" Listen, give yourself a minute. Pray one last time and pause before you submit. Try and think of the ramifications of your thoughts and comments. Some things need not to be said. Some things can wait. Some things just as well do need to be addressed, but the manner may add more of a problem than be a help towards correction. The site moderators ask you before you post that you consider praying and ask the Lord if you have the right spirit to serve others in the body of Christ before posting and pressing the submit button. Please also look at these scriptures: Matthew 12:36, James 1:26, Colossians 4:6.
12. CONFESSION - Yes! We welcome it and desire it. It is not embarrassment to admit when we have faulted or sinned, caused a disturbance, been mean-spirited, proud, but an extreme blessing to the community and before the Lord. No one will be shamed into anything here nor manipulated, but forgiven without equivocation upon repentance. Our sins against others are also against the Lord and we must confess to both, but sometimes a public fault is good to be confessed publicly.
We will add to these principle as time goes on. Thank you for your continued prayers for this ministry and the moderators this is greatly needed. Our desire for almost the last 10 years is that this website forum would be different then others in the internet and would be 'salt and light' (Matthew 5:16).
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon