History of the Puritan Board

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ewenlin

Puritan Board Junior
Anyone who's been around for long enough knows how PB got started? Did brother Matt just wake up one day with the idea of creating a forum called The Puritan Board? I was searching the old archives (Phew, plenty of controversial threads there) and am curious to know. Many of the people then are no longer here now, some still are.

:bueller:
 

Jon Peters

Puritan Board Sophomore
:popcorn:

Also just as an aside the Puritan Board seems to have "relaxed" a bit in the last 4 years or so.

That may very well be the greatest understatement in the history of the PB. And, as one of the dinosaurs around here I know all too well. . .
Being fairly new, can you guys elaborate on this?

As an aside, long before I was on the PB, I heard a former pastor of mine (who shall remain nameless) speak in less than flattering tones about PB.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
:popcorn:

Also just as an aside the Puritan Board seems to have "relaxed" a bit in the last 4 years or so.

That may very well be the greatest understatement in the history of the PB. And, as one of the dinosaurs around here I know all too well. . .
I think I get what you guys mean, from trolling the archives. :)
No need for any more trolls than we already have on this board. Move along now. :lol:
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
:popcorn:

Also just as an aside the Puritan Board seems to have "relaxed" a bit in the last 4 years or so.

That may very well be the greatest understatement in the history of the PB. And, as one of the dinosaurs around here I know all too well. . .
Being fairly new, can you guys elaborate on this?

As an aside, long before I was on the PB, I heard a former pastor of mine (who shall remain nameless) speak in less than flattering tones about PB.

Some things are better left in the dark. If you really want to dig it all back up then get a shovel, a bucket, and some lime and search the archives.

BTW, I accidentally hit 'thanks' rather than quote on your post above.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
Jon Peters;


As an aside, long before I was on the PB, I heard a former pastor of mine (who shall remain nameless) speak in less than flattering tones about PB.
I can't say for certain how the forum started, but I am thankful God put it on their heart to start it..

However, I believe it was because there were so many other Christian forums out there, but none from a "reformed" view of Christianity, where a lot of friction took place when they shared their views..and they wanted some where they could come and share their walk with like minded reformed Christians, who held to the confessions of the faith..which is why there are certain questions on the application to join this forum, that to this day, they will call a person out on..if they say something that goes against those confessions..which is wonderful, because it causes us all to grow and really look at what 'we say' we believe--and hold us accountable to that, or to realize we take exception to certain aspects in the confessions..

And yes, over the years there have been many things said to the negative about this forum and some of the people who post here, but I believe some of the folks involved during that time have since reconciled relationships, while others have agreed to disagree.

but it's a shame that anyone when they left these forums for whatever reason, started backbiting others, in other public forums..that was one of the things they were very strident about trying to control here--they did not like it and would address you if you came here and began talking about others (basically) behind there backs when they could not confront you about the charges against them..because they were not members. I"m sure they still do this, I just haven't seen many of those type threads for a long time Praise God!!!

But we should always be mindful of what we say about others, especially on a public forum..

And I'm thankful for the moderators here, where they take their confession of faith seriously, and address issues when they come up..I've seen far to many forums on the web where the moderators would not say anything when others began tearing each other to shreds--and then folks would take their 'fighting' to other forums they belonged to spreading mayhem and discontent all over the various 'Christian' forums..but that is not so here..here they address those things when they come up..even if it means they remove someone's membership because of it..

So maybe instead of pondering on the past and why people spoke ill of the PB, and it's members, we should Thank God that we do have such a place to come and share and grow with each other..

Please forgive me if I sound disrespectful, that's certainly not my intent, and I realize you didn't start the thread..your just asking a question re: something that came up..
 

ewenlin

Puritan Board Junior
What I actually asked was why Dr. McMahon decide to create a forum in the first place. All the raunchy stuff that came later, well I know in part and am definitely disinterested.

Maybe it is as BJClark said, there were just no reformed forums around whilst other christian forums were not up to standard.
 

Berean

Puritanboard Commissioner
And I'm thankful for the moderators here, where they take their confession of faith seriously, and address issues when they come up..I've seen far to many forums on the web where the moderators would not say anything when others began tearing each other to shreds--and then folks would take their 'fighting' to other forums they belonged to spreading mayhem and discontent all over the various 'Christian' forums..but that is not so here..here they address those things when they come up..even if it means they remove someone's membership because of it..
Amen, Bobbi
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
It was early in the summer of 1961. I was sitting on the porch sipping a root beer float and I had an epiphany....


Just kidding.


Here is what happened -

The internet emerged, and Christ could be glorified by the internet – and I wanted to work that being a techno guru at the time.

I thought about it in terms of reach - take the Gospel around the world.
Well, the internet is an instantaneous global network that brings people together. So I started A Puritan’s Mind to reach out to people in Italy, Hungry, Georgia, and all those foreign countries around the globe so they would have a REFORMED rope to hang on if they didn't have something good in their own area. (Yes Georgia is a foreign country. I lived there for a time. They have an accent and everything.)

That turned into a monster of a site rapidly and I had over a couple million hits in two years. Now it is so off the chart I can't keep that straight.

Being a geeky computer technician through my days and years, I played with the site behind the scenes to see what I could do extra for APM. In the CPANEL of the APM site there was a "message board". I didn't know what that was, and was not part of anything already on the net as a posting board. I actually avoided it thinking that it was like a "CHAT ROOM" - and there was also a feature in the CPANEL of the site to create a chat room (I think we've improved on that here in having an area where two people can talk together). However, I avoided the idea of the chat room altogether because I associated it with dating places, and predators that were looking to talk to children, things like that. I didn’t want to be involved with something that could be bad in that way or perceived wrongly.

After a few months, at the time, Scott Bushey said to me "You should make an APM message board." At the time I fought that. I didn't think people would care about it. Really. I didn’t. I liked Reformed Theology but I didn’t care about a message board. I wasn’t part of one.

Scott continued to press me to create one knowing APM was growing and he thought people would LOVE to be part of it. So I launched it to prove him wrong. People won’t care about it. But hey, let’s give it a shot.

Then, being the marketer that I am, I marketed the board using volatile subjects. Yes, you age old members, it was on purpose. I can remember one brother who said to me (about 5 topics into the life of the board in a private PM) "Matt, you are a fantastic marketer." People were coming in droves, and serious Reformed Christians were constantly signing up. Topics especially those infant baptism threads where I switched views really got the board moving. The Puritanboard was also helpful in making that switch as well. But there were a lot of angry Baptists out there once that switch was made because the board started as a REFORMED BAPTIST board and not Presbyterian. Fred was around at the time, but the other 3 Admins were Baptists. We kept him aboard to keep the Presbyterians happy (just kidding Fred). At the time, the board had that flavor around it - Baptist. Until……the dreaded recantation. (Organ music is cued and plays.) Sorry – I mean, when I actually took to heart what the Bible taught on Covenant Theology. (OOOOOO. Stick and jab.) I know, I know, I just can’t help myself. But it was that which riled up people and got them TALKING, DEBATING and CONVERSING. Some people left after a time. Maybe 10? But otherwise the board grew.

20 controversies later the board picked up steam with people, whether good or bad, TALKING ABOUT IT IN LOCAL CHURCHES. And even in places where they did not have a church but could come to the board and talk.

THEN – a big change occurred for me. There was one poll that changed my marketing strategy about 2 years into it. We had a poll on "Why is the Puritanboard so important to you?" The answer that struck me was that most people who took the poll said that the forum most important to them was the PRAYER forum. Hmmmm. Lots of Reformed Christians, all gathering together, all willing to pray for others. Hmmmm. Strategy needs to change. The feel of the board needs to change. That didn’t mean we give up debates. It just means we move those debates over as not simply the heart of the board.

So, I changed gears at that point to make the board less marketable just as a debating forum for theological ideas, and more of a place where different REFORMED CHRISTIANS could come together, who hold the Bible and their Standards as important, and could talk about anything. Personally I thought some of the newly fabricated forums were kinda stupid. I won’t mention them now. But the board has grown so much that most of the forums have been used, are being used and are posted in with lots of threads. So we keep building!

Then Rich came into the picture and gave us a facelift, upgrade and tons of features which have turned this into “the place to be” for Reformed Conversation on the internet. There is no other better forum to be in or on. Even when we had the Federal Vision exodus (which was a good thing), they started a board that had flopped. Most other board have some momentum but they are not policed well and “anything goes”. This is the only place I know of that keep to the Confessions and the Bible together no matter what.

Add to that responsible moderators and Admins who keep the peace based on the Bible and the Standards, and you have a wonderful place to join, and a proud place to be part of.

There is more to the story, but that is the basic gist. We wanted a place where people could come and "thrash out" theological ideas - especially since people could tap into the resources of smart men and women here who knew their stuff and wanted to help others. Then it slowly emerged into a huge Reformed Hangout unlike anything on the web.

I know that many of you much prefer to have the board less volatile. (I can tell by some of your posts.) But, seriously think through where the board came from and how many people were attracted not only to the theological forums, but the debates that were going on. It attracted a lot of attention, and in circles where people take theology seriously the Puritanboard because viral. (HUGE ATTENTION)

So, though some people might like LESS confrontation, the beginnings of the board were Polemic in nature. Not Polemics simply sit as part of the board instead of the whole idea.

Given 5 minutes, that’s the basics.
 

ewenlin

Puritan Board Junior
Wow!! And here I am, just glad to be in on it. Definitely thanks for sharing, and of course, for the Puritan Board.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Summary of Matt's 5 minute history . . .

Great commission - take the Gospel to the world
Great idea - INTERNET chat on Reformed topics
Great push - Scott Bushey
Great debates - lots of spilled ink over little water (baptism)
Great change - Matt left the true faith over some silly covenant stuff
Great facelift - enlisted one gung ho man, the Col., who reduced everything to order and military efficiency
Great domestication - mods and admins keep testosterone driven debates civil

:rofl::rofl::rofl:

[BTW - just kidding about the leaving the true faith]
 
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Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
:popcorn:

Also just as an aside the Puritan Board seems to have "relaxed" a bit in the last 4 years or so.
I would say we have matured. :D I notice it's only the baptists that seem to think there was something sinister in the past of the PB. :p

Matt your conversion (maybe that's not the exact word I am looking for :p ) from anti-paedobaptism to paedobaptism was actually very helpful in bringing me to the light. :candle:
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
Matt, that's a good recap. (And a gracious one at that :) )

As one of the early day Baptist members, and a moderator for a while I watched this board go through several metamorphoses. It has been interesting to watch. Yes, I stepped away for a while and observed, but when I saw that the changes that had taken place where real and lasting (changes in tone and the manner of debate) I began to post again. The PB is not perfect, but it is the best board out there that allows both credo and paedo baptists of reformed bent to interact.
 
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