Q&A: What are the Dangers of Christian Discussion Forums?

by | May 10, 2021

Dear C.,
I would like to share something with you for your prayer and consideration before the Father. I know the desire of your heart is to be found pleasing to the Father, and you have demonstrated a patient attitude in examining various issues. I would like to invite you to do so with what I am speaking here as well.
I would like to speak to you about discussion lists, and the dynamics of them. You know that the words that we speak are very important to the Father (whether they are typed does not matter). The following scriptures reveal the importance of this matter:
Matthew 12:36-37
36 “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
37 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We are cautioned against careless words. Such careless words will bring condemnation upon the one speaking them. Discussion lists have a tendency to encourage careless words. People are isolated from the ones to whom they speak, and the immature and fleshly are quick to speak words lacking in grace. It is a phenomenon similar to people who get in a car and who then act careless and rude. They will drive on someone’s bumper if they feel like the person slowed them down. They will honk at people and shout and make rude gestures. I have known Christians that were embarrassed to have a “Christian” bumper sticker because their driving habits were rude and uncaring. These same people would be ashamed to be found acting this way if they were face to face with the drivers of the other cars, but somehow they feel isolated and apart when they get in their vehicle and shut the door.
People experience this same thing on discussion groups. They will speak careless and ungracious words that they would not think of speaking if they were sitting face to face with the person in a home setting. In this, many are bringing condemnation on themselves.
John 12:49
“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.”
John 14:10
“The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”
We note here that it was our Savior’s manner to refrain from words that arose from the soul, that were of His own initiative. It is the Father’s will that we be conformed to Christ’s image where we come to the place where our words do not arise out of our own soul, but that they are Spirit and life. Yet discussion groups invite people to offer “personal opinions,” and such opinions arise from the soul of man. We should have the same attitude that was in Christ Yahshua and seek to speak nothing of our own initiative, but only that which the Father commands us to speak.
John 16:13
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak…”
We see here that even the Spirit does not speak a word of His own initiative. If Yahweh’s Son, and His Spirit exercise such humility and restraint in their speech, then how much more should man be “slow to speak” (James 1:19)? Yet discussion forums, unless great effort is made to prevent it, encourage people to be loose and careless in their speech. The majority of those who write to forums do not practice, or even understand, that they should only speak such a word as the Father has given to them by the Spirit. They view such forums as an opportunity to speak “their mind”, when they should die to their own thoughts and speak only what the Father commands them.
Ephesians 4:29-31
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Even when a forum is dedicated to discussion of “Christian topics,” the Holy Spirit can be grieved by what goes on in these forums. It is very easy for people to vent their anger and speak a slanderous word against a brother or sister. In the past few weeks since I have become aware of the —– Forum, I have read many words that were angry and even slanderous. Some of these words have been propagated further by sending them to other sites for posting. In this way the Holy Spirit has been grieved and numerous saints are unwittingly bringing condemnation upon themselves.  I regularly ask God to be merciful to those who stand in opposition to His call, and who speak slanderous things against His servants. Truly, they know not what they do.
James 3:1-12
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well…
6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell…
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
This passage begins by stating “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” Discussion forums encourage even the immature and fleshly to give instruction to others. Much of this teaching is in error, being the product of saints who have not “rightly divided the word of God” and who do not discern the difference between soul and spirit. Much of it is soulish and carnal, and it will be a grief to them in the day when they must give an account of every idle word. Because they set themselves to instruct and teach others, they will be held to a stricter judgment.
Notice that James speaks these words to “my brethren.” It was forbidden that women should stand in a place of teaching men, yet discussion forums take no thought to this. We read many things in scripture and accept them and conform ourselves to them, but when we touch this matter of government we falter and stumble. Note the plain language of the following scriptures:
I Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
I Corinthians 14:34-38
34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.
35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.
36 Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?
37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.
38 But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
I Timothy 2:11-14
11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.
12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Most discussion forums encourage the overthrow of these very plain instructions. They encourage women to be teachers to men, which practice God forbid in the strongest language. Paul states, “Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.”
I have written much on the topic of government and authority, for the Father has led me to dwell upon these matters for many years. I have walked through many experiences that shed light on this matter, and I have seen the great good that comes when Yahweh’s governmental order is respected and honored. I have also seen the destruction that comes to homes that disregard this same government and who adopt the ways and thinking of the world that would say that men and women are equal in all matters and that homes should be completely democratic in nature. This is no small matter, and I would encourage you to look into it further.
It is not just the women that err in their speech, but a disproportionate amount of that which is written in discussion forums comes from women, and much of it is the product of deception. I have written an entire book on God’s calling for women (Sarah’s Children), and it is a blessing to see a remnant of women in this hour returning to the calling that Yahweh has for them. There is a remnant that is seeking to not ascend to something higher (to be as man), nor to fall lower, but to be what Yahweh created them to be. These are truly coming out of Babylon.
I Timothy 5:13
At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.
There are numerous women in this hour that are doing what Paul condemned here, but rather than leaving their home, they are performing their work of idleness, of being gossips and busybodies by going from one discussion forum to another and speaking things that are not proper. They slander Yahweh’s servants and speak proud words about their high calling to teach men and usurp authority that was not given to them. They refuse to submit to anyone and they spread false teaching and raise their voices in clamor wherever they go. Yahweh is not pleased with their activity and they are bringing condemnation upon themselves.
C., this is a danger of forums. They present the immature, the carnal and the deceived with a platform to spread things that stand in opposition to the word of God. They are a breeding ground for careless speech and false teaching and man’s opinions. Ministers are called to proclaim truth, not to provide a platform for democratic speech where all can speak as they will. Look at Paul’s admonition to Timothy:
I Timothy 1:3-7
3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,
4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,
7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
II Timothy 4:1-4
1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Yahshua the Messiah, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
As ministers, we are to lead the body into truth and guard against error. There are savage wolves today, even as there were in the early church. There are false apostles and false teachers and many carnal and worldly saints that are teaching things that are not right. It is not responsible to give them a forum to share whatever they desire without discernment or correction being present.
On many forums accusations and slander are freely spread about God’s ministers. Paul also gave Timothy these words of instruction:
I Timothy 5:19, 22
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses…
22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.
Discussion forums take no heed to such instructions. Even the most carnal saint can make an accusation against an elder or minister in the church. These accusations are then made public, whether they have been substantiated or not. These things are not pleasing to the Father.
Discussion forums also encourage the saints to answer a matter flippantly before they have thoroughly investigated a matter. People form condemning judgments freely without even the most cursory investigation into a teaching or accusation.
Proverbs 18:13
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
Discussion forums encourage such quick responses. Few who enter discussions on these forums hear a matter and investigate it patiently before they respond.  I am concerned about the effect all of this careless speech is having upon the body.
If no one is present to teach doctrine correctly, if no one is present to refute, correct, reprove, etc., then the overall impact of Christian discussion forums is confusion and it leads to much disorder and careless speech. In the end, truth is arrived at with great difficulty due to all the deception and error that is given an airing without any correction.
What is the result of these things? A forum is provided where the following admonitions are ignored:
Ephesians 4:29-31
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
James 3:1
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren…
I Timothy 2:11-14
11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.
12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Instead we have women instructing, correcting and refuting men, which is an unseemly thing in the eyes of God. Authority must ever be corrected from above, not from those under authority, for to do so is to border on rebellion. Strange doctrines are also taught without refutation. Accusations are brought against elders without support or proof. Matters are answered before they are properly investigated, and the overall environment becomes one of confusion and careless speech, which the scriptures fervently warn against.
When a forum is made available that does not correct and reprove that which is fleshly and that which is deceptive, then those who are fleshly and walking in deception are attracted to it.
Consider this matter from this viewpoint: God gave very clear instructions about how the church was to function. He set elders in the church to safeguard it. He gave instructions pertaining to how meetings were to be conducted so that they would not be chaotic and fleshly, but spiritual and edifying. The Corinthians were not following the traditions that the apostles had entrusted to them, and consequently they were suffering. Some had died and many were sickly due to their disobedience, and maturity was lacking.
Many discussion forums are presenting to the world a meeting place very much like unto a church meeting, only they are lacking all of the things God put in place to safeguard the church and to aid its building up. There are many immature and carnal teachers. There is an absence of correction and refuting and sound teaching that should be found in godly leadership. People are given the freedom to be careless in their speech and to answer matters casually without diligence and patience. Will not the result be similar to the state of the Corinthian church?
This is a problem I see in many who are coming out of Babylon. In casting off Babylon they also cast off all restraint and seek independence from all authority. Yet God has not called us to cast off all authority, He has called us to come out from under Babylonian authority and to embrace godly authority. Yahweh will not lead us to be more rebellious, but to be more humble and submissive. He will not teach us to violate authorities, but to honor them. Just as our homes need godly men to lead and to guide them and to build them up, so does the church need elders and ministers to provide leadership, instruction, correction, and safety. If a forum is to also be an instrument of God then it needs the same things.
As ministers we are called to “instruct, correct, refute, and reprove,” but in a rebellious society there are few who are willing to receive these things. I have not abandoned these things, however, for I hear the command to walk in them. What the world and the church need in this hour is not forums where anybody can speak “their” mind without censure, but where godly men who have sat in the presence of God can lead others in the ways of truth and godliness. Women’s forums need mature spiritual women to act as godly counselors to those who are younger and less spiritually mature.
Titus 2:3-5
The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things —  that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 
In sharing these things I am not condemning the usage of discussion groups. I am merely desirous of pointing out some of the inherent problems associated with them. These things have the potential to bring condemnation upon many and much diligence must be exercised to safeguard against abuse of such groups.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Joseph Herrin


Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws  

 

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com  

 

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