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Housekeeping: A Peek Behind the Curtain

Friday, March 12, 2010 | Comments (11)

This post may seem just a little overdue, considering we started the blog a few months ago. We sort of jumped in with both feet, so to speak, hitting the ground running with posts that John MacArthur was passionate about.

Your response has been tremendous—your encouraging comments, thoughtful questions, and an overall affinity for this ministry are indicative of genuine fellowship in the truth. We’re overjoyed at how many of you are partners with us in the proclamation of a cross-centered, Christ-exalting gospel for the salvation of sinners, to the glory of God.

At this early stage in the game, there are a couple of things I’d like to make clear.

First—and I think most of you understand this—John MacArthur can’t post articles every day, or even weekly. The many demands on his time and attention require him to do a few things well—studying the Word and preaching it to Grace Community Church. John’s pulpit ministry drives everything we do at Grace to You, and his biblical ministry philosophy governs how we do it. All of us appreciate John’s faithfulness to his pastoral calling, but it means his posts won’t be as frequent as we’d like.

Second, this blog, along with the entire website, is an extension of the Grace to You Purpose Statement. We seek to edify the body of Christ at large, helping Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. To accomplish that, you can see how we create series of posts from John’s sermons and books to examine particular points of doctrine, contemporary errors, and issues of general spiritual growth. We want to help Christians think more deeply about the faith.

Though you’ll probably never find John MacArthur himself responding to your profound and insightful comments (wink!) in the comment thread, he does take an interest in gty.org participants (click here) and truly appreciates what the Lord is doing through GTY’s Internet ministry (click here). So, you won’t often see posts from John exclusively for the blog (but sometimes you will), and he’ll never show up in the comment thread. You will, however, enjoy content that communicates John’s zeal for the truth and pastoral desire to see people transformed. That’s why we do what we do.

That brings me to a third point. You may not believe it (or, maybe you would), but we have only a handful of people responsible for GTY’s Internet ministry (only three full-timers). Since the blog began, we’ve allowed comments to post immediately—we tried to be as open and allow as much freedom as possible. But that meant we had to be extremely vigilant to read every single comment so nothing unseemly remained up for long. As you might imagine, scrutinizing every comment has strained our limited resources and compromised our wider stewardship.

Though we here at GTY are fully qualified and authorized to respond, we just don’t have the time to follow every commenter’s train of thought, respond to every question, confront every error, and correct every well-intentioned yet unrefined comment. Without constant attention and oversight, the comment neighborhood starts to look unkempt—broken windows, graffiti, and shady characters lurking in the shadows.

So, to ensure (1) Grace to You remains consistent with its name, (2) John MacArthur has the best platform for gospel proclamation, and (3) this website and blog reflect the glory and grace of our great God and Savior, we’re going to change how we handle comments. Effective immediately, we will moderate all comments. There will be a delay between the submission and the posting of comments, and we’ll post only the best, most relevant comments that drive the discussion in a respectful, helpful, and responsible way (per our guidelines).

We’ll see how that goes for now, and if my “comment cops/judges” tell me it’s not working, we may have to pull the plug on comments altogether. We all want to redeem the time, be fruitful for Christ, and live for the glory of God. We’ll continue the hard work of planning, preparing, and posting John’s content, as well as maintaining the platform and developing content to get as much of John MacArthur’s Bible teaching into your thinking as possible.


Thanks for your grace and understanding, and your continued participation in this ministry!

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry


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#1  Posted by Mary Saragosa  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 11:24 AM

Thank you, Mr. Allen, for the update! I greatly appreciate your oversight of the blog to make sure it is edifying to the reader and glorifying to our Lord.

Sincerely,

Mary Saragosa

#2  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 12:13 PM

I appreciate your intent, but I for one learn a lot from people that don't completely agree with me...For example the Catholic woman (Cathy I think) on an earlier blog. I learned a lot about the RCC perspective from her...now, I would miss that view. Just a thought.

#3  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 12:15 PM

My thought is if your review of posts isn't pretty fast, like say 5 minutes or less, then simply turn off comments. It is pointless to comment then other than to say "I agree", etc...

#4  Posted by Debra Schreiner  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 12:28 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#5  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 12:55 PM

Hi Travis! First of all, thanks to everything that you, Gabriel and William (I think I got the names right) do. I know it is a lot of work, more than we can imagine when we consider that you guys have to have some sleep while the blog is still open and people on the other times zones can comment. Moderating comments will help with that aspect.

It will also be good when things get out of hand, and off topic sometimes, which is to be expected, right?, after all, we are only humans and sometimes this humanness gets the best of us, and I personally apologize for that.

I have a question, and it's in regards of comments by women. I know you have told me before, but I thought it would be a good idea to clarify what's the position of gty blog in regards of women commenting here? I know what is Pastor MacArthur's position in regards to that (complementarian in the home and church), but maybe it would be a good idea to clarify that here? thank you!

Grace and Peace, God bless you all,

E.

#9  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 4:35 PM

Mark A Smith:

Your points are well taken; here are some answers. We plan to post comments of people who disagree, but we'll pick and choose. It's wise to engage with some who disagree; others are a waste of everyone's time. Isn't that Solomon's point here? "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes" (Prov. 26:4-5). And Jesus said, "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."

I'll admit there's a fine line to navigate, but the Lord has given us the stewardship of this website and we work for Him ultimately. We're trying to be as faithful as we can. So, we're going to be very careful about giving a platform to doctrinal error, arrogant criticism, and caustic commenting.

As for the time factor, we'll do the best we can to get your comments posted as quickly as possible.

Elaine Cavalheiro, Mary Elizabeth Tyler, and other ladies:

Let me make this perfectly clear (and public): Passages like Eph. 5:22-24, 1 Cor. 14:34-35, and 1 Tim. 2:12 do not apply to this blog or anything on this website. This platform is not a church, nor is it the surrogate husband that requires the submission of any individual woman. Women may comment and interact, and like the men who participate, sometimes their words are instructive to the rest of us.

That said, women who want to participate on this blog should conduct themselves in a godly way, just like men should. People who sound shrill, condescending, SHOUT ALL THE TIME, or immediately go for the jugular vein like a Bull Terrier, without understanding someone's position (Prov. 18:13)--whoever it is, male or female--get discussions going in the wrong direction. Those sins aren't exclusively female, believe me.

Mary Elizabeth, I'm afrade I can't hilp ya with yer speling...I jus dont got no tyme.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry

#10  Posted by Crystal Samples  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 4:51 PM

Sounds fair to me. I've run internet discussion forums for years and without some moderation they quickly descend into useless arguments. I'll be looking forward to more blog discussions in the future :)

#11  Posted by randell danner  |  Friday, March 12, 2010at 5:16 PM

Thanks Travis for this post. It wil help alot in the future and can't imagine how arduous it is to keep up with so many posts coming in on not just one topic as i see there are more than one going all the time. We must all remember that we weren't always as wise as we are now or THINK we are and recognize everyone is at a different point in life. So we do need to show more GRACE to the "Cathy's" that make comments on your blog. I have to say i felt kind of bad for her. But i think she will be all right. Thanks again to GTY and Brother John for all you do.

#13  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Saturday, March 13, 2010at 7:59 AM

Thank you. May God give you wisdom in monitoring so that this blog as well as all of gty's ministries may be for God's glory.

#16  Posted by Nena Jones  |  Wednesday, March 17, 2010at 6:33 PM

Mr. Allen...a big 'Thank You' for your time and that of your colleagues on this blog and gty. I know I speak for scores of others when I tell you this means so much to me. I grow spiritually because of grace to you, and now because of this blog. I pray the coments section will remain a part because I continue to grow spiritually through the postings of others here as well. Surely there are others who feel the same way...no doubt. May God continue to bless this ministry.

#17  Posted by David Emme  |  Saturday, March 20, 2010at 4:42 AM

When seen what many have seen and experianced in online communities, I do not think anyone really has a problem with this as should say thank you for your ministry and allowing us to speak.

As a former Independent Fundamental Baptist, am sure there are more from other faith movements who would love to make this a big ole sloppy mess here. No need to send this through as more of a thank you and keep up the good work for the staff.

God bless

David emme