New Guidelines for the Baptism Forum

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I've been interacting on this board for a couple of years now and the hottest threads, in terms of popularity and offense, have consistently been in this forum and the Politics and Government forum. The latter is less core to a theological understanding so it remains a member's only forum. This forum, however, is where the core pre-suppostions between the LBCF and the WCF/3FU come into regular collision.

I have, at times, been the chief of sinners in giving offense to Baptist brethren. I call you brethren because I believe that Christ died for you and how could I not lavish love upon a man or woman for whom Christ died? How can I despise the man or woman that Christ cherishes and calls one of His own?

Some have repeatedly suggested that the forum be completely shut down because the division brings reproach upon this very idea. If I thought that would solve the problem, I would close the Baptism forum.

Yet, think of this beloved, the very things that are being said to each other in the Baptism Forum are being said behind each other's backs. In other words, the reasons why facile arguments are introduced on the Puritanboard is that they have a home in other forums and in the rarified air of our own communities. It is one thing to speak ill of our brothers and sisters for their Sacramentology when we're talking to our own crowd but then it comes into the Baptism forum and it is revealed for what it is.

I, for one, love the Baptism forum - not for its rancor - but because Credo- and Paedo- Baptists have to deal with the Biblical arguments that lie at the strength of the opposing position and not the straw men that are regularly burned in effigy in pulpits and Bible studies all over.

It is my hope that the discussions not only strengthen your understanding of your own position regarding Baptism but that they allow you to speak up and correct a brother who has ignorantly maligned a position. You may not agree with a position but, as joint heirs in Christ, we all deserve to have what we state accurately represented and not throw around the standard buzz phrases and jokes that "play to our crowd."

Thus, the following guidelines are implemented:

1. Remember that the person at the other end of the Internet is someone who God redeemed. You both deserved Hell but now you are both God's friends and so he is your friend.

2. Treat your friend's position on the Scriptures with the same kind of care and concern that you want your own convictions treated.

3. We allow the Confession of both Credo- and Paedo- Confessions of Faith. There will be no calls for repentance on this board for people who are confessing with their Church what the Scriptures teach.

4. If you are not well studied in the opposing Confession then it's probably worth reading for a bit before chiming in.

5. If something another brother states confuses you then ask. Don't read into every statement that you cannot understand some monstrous denial of the Gospel.

6. If you do believe that a Brother is in error then labor patiently with them. Labor with them as if you love them and are not disgusted. If forthright language is needed then use it but with the motivation to help and not merely to score points.

7. Even though we are "debating" the subject here, this is not the place for "tactics". Don't defend a half-truth simply because it doesn't help your case. The Truth doesn't need tactics.

8. If something you just read offended you then make sure it was really aimed at you personally. Try to cover it with love but, if not, try to reconcile via Private Message in lieu of returning the slight in kind. If someone is offended by you unintentionally then seek to clarify.

9. Be slow to anger and quick to reconcile but then come back and sharpen iron again.

10. Don't demean the memory of great Saints by attributing outright stupidity or cowardice to them.

11. Never be too proud to be able to admit that you may need to study an issue more closely. It is not always a "tactic" when a Brother or Sister suggests that a person is confused or misrepresenting a position. If a facile argument is made (see Point 2) then expect some concern that ignorance may be the charitable reason ascribed.

12. Persuasion does not always consist of proof. You can't merely prove your way into someone's conscience. This is not an argument for irrational argumentation or holding to fallacies because "... it makes me feel good...." It is a simple reminder that our goal is to persuade because we desire our brother to see a more excellent way to please God.




Amen, Rich, Amen and Amen!!!

This post makes me happy to be a member of the Puritan Board.

Thank you, Rich.


Staff member
(Pro 19:11) The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

(Rom 12:3) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Two verses that keep me in line.


Puritan Board Junior
I eat the Baptism threads right up! These are great rules. I also apologize for what is probably deemed as an offense of rule 10. It was not my intention to present old saints as cowards or stupid.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate

Just saw this. I like what you say, but weren't they the rules already?

I'd like to suggest one thing, if I may. Persuasion does not always consist of proof. Let me say that better: you can't merely prove your way into someone's conscience.

I'm not denigrating the idea or impact of proofs. It's just that there's so much more to it. You can't just throw out a few texts or a few "solid" arguments and expect anyone to bow down before them. There's a whole lot of background that goes with every conviction, not just proofs. That background is important too, every bit as much a proofs. If we fell for every "proof" that came along just because we had no defense against it, where would we be? Our defense is not in our own sense of proof. Our convictions go deeper than that. It is these convictions that we are addressing, not merely proofs. The love and respect one has for the things he's given his heart to in obedience to God should not be easily displaced. We need to respect each other's inner strengths.

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Thanks John.

In principle the rules were in place but if you read the specific guidelines for this forum there was a bit more license being exercised on the basis of it being a debate forum.

I think it bore some specific repetition because this is where clashes occur most and one usually places warning signs where the hazard occurs. We all know to go slowly around curves but it's nice to have a speed limit sign to remind us when we're in a hurry.

I also agree with you on the nature of proof. I like that and am going to add it to the list.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks, Rich. I'm honoured.

I wasn't questioning the need to write them out. I support it. Certainly it wouldn't be adding anything if it was only stating or restating what was already there.


Puritan Board Doctor
Just wanted to add to this that there are also plenty of PB members who are just looking on and not participating. I learn a bunch from this particular forum (especially the last thread, I must admit) and consider myself blessed to be in the company of you folks.

Just so you know that there are plenty more learning from these discussions than the combatants themselves!


Great list of rules Rich and excellent addendum John V. I however remain jaded and don't think your excellent words will affect the human heart, being what it is.... desperately wicked. Here is a picture of your average baptismal mosh pit combatant ---->


Read the list to him and see if it helps.

As for me, I have already used a half a bottle of White Out to blot out the word 'Baptism' on my monitor. It's helping already. :smug:

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Great list of rules Rich and excellent addendum John V. I however remain jaded and don't think your excellent words will affect the human heart, being what it is....

It's not my words that I have hope in but I do have hope in the same Spirit that is perfecting us all and conforming us to the image of Christ.


Puritan Board Senior
This is certainly true. ;) There are so many forums and threads that I just take in, gleen from. It seems I tend to view baptism threads like those threads on escatology. I know and understand their importance, but I understand that a certain amount of latitude should be given to brothers and sisters in Christ as they try to work through the strengths and weaknessess on all the positions. I want my doctrine to be as close to the truth as possible. This should be our constant prayer. This is what I work for and why I diligently study. I know, however, that I will not fully realize that goal in this flesh.

I'm just glad that He has enabled me with the desire to fight the good fight!

Just wanted to add to this that there are also plenty of PB members who are just looking on and not participating. I learn a bunch from this particular forum (especially the last thread, I must admit) and consider myself blessed to be in the company of you folks.

Just so you know that there are plenty more learning from these discussions than the combatants themselves!


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I've got a rule here in my home that might interest the Board. When one of my children turns 16 he right away thinks about getting his drivers licence. That's fine, but once he gets his learners permit I tell him that before he can drive my car I require him to have three years experience driving my car. I'm not serious, but I get the point across that I really would like them to get a driver's certificate from a driving school. It's for two reasons: one, the guy who gives the lessons has regular heart checks anyways; and two, it's cheaper for me when I have to add them to my insurance; and third, (did I mention there's always a third when you say there's only two?) driving school seems to grind off some of that youthful indestructable arrogance that seems to go hand-in-hand with getting a licence, the ability to drive alone without Mom or Dad there too.

Anyways, the rule of two or three years experience of discussing baptism on this Board before you're allowed to enter the discussions here seems like a good idea at times.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The "after" puppy looks ready and eager to discuss baptism. Any further questions, Steven?

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
I repent. I think I'm guilty of using tactics and facile arguments and well, really, a lot of sins.
I'm sorry.
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