Occassionally I get asked about who gets to moderate, so here are the main things (in no particular order) the Administrators consider: ]peacemakers/] ]gracious/] ]not easily angered/] ]have some time/] ]good comprehension skills/] ]good communicators/] ]can work as part of a team/] ]have been around for at least a few months/] ]have contributed at least a few hundred posts (see top posters)/] ]are Christian Universalists/] ]aren’t anti-Trinitarian*/*]
** because the God is complex, we don’t expect people to be super confident/articulate about explaining the ins & outs of Modalism vs Trinitarianism, etc. However to avoid visitors confusing us with Unitarian Universalists, we only have Moderators who aren’t anti-Trinitarian.
All the Administrators are Trinitarian, Evangelical, Christian Universalists.
There’s no requirement for normal members to hold any view about anything, so long as they are willing to discuss things politely (& not spam/sell things)
What has being anti-trinitarian have anything to do with ianything? That’s a bit silly and a little precious, especially as the belief in the trinity will die a slow death just like ECT, free-will, rapture and other doctrines brought about by mistranslations and exposed by other historical contextual revelations.
Alex, perhaps it might be useful if you could just clarify what you mean by “*anti-*trinitarian”. Are you referring to someone who is actively hostile towards trinitarianism (somewhat like our friend, watchman) and against trinitarians, or do you include someone who simply does not subscribe to trinitarianism. I would think there are (or, will be) non-trinitarians who, although in disagreement with the tenets of trinitarianism, are not actively against trinitarianism and would otherwise make great moderators. I realise you might wish to exclude nontrinitarians generally from all forum offices, and well, that’s the admins prerogative too. I’m just curious, only because I tend to make a distinction between the nons and the antis (as I think we should; as we also should between nontheists, atheists and antitheists, I think). Personally (and irrelevantly as a non-evangelical), I think that an ecumenical and eirenic disposition should always trump the particulars of Christian doctrine.
And it’s my understanding that the meaning of “not anti-Trinitarian” is just what it says – not necessarily Trinitarian or necessarily settled in a belief one way or the other, but just not ANTI-Trinitarian.
“Anti” primarily as in: antagonistic, strongly opposed, “Trinitarianism can’t possibly be right”, “Trinitarians aren’t even Christians”, etc.
As the poll on members views showed, most are Trinitarian, a some are agnostic about it, some definitely aren’t Trinitarian. We’ve had, & still have, some very valued members who aren’t Trinitarian, and I know all of the Administrators really appreciate their input. If someone is Trinitarian, or agnostic about it, they can still be a Moderator.
And about the Trinitarian thing, I’m one of those agnostic people, but I have to agree that hardcore anti-Trinitarianism can scare off evangelicals who are curious about UR. I know this from experience.
My first exposure to UR years ago was with L. Ray Smith, and his Bible-Truths site, which a friend, who was then looking into UR, had recommended to me.
Problem was though that Smith had reams and reams of pages about how bad the doctrine of the Trinity was, which I admit at the time I wasn’t as open to questioning as the doctrine of eternal torment, and he was so heavy-handed in his approach in general that it kind of disillusioned me and scared me away from looking any further into UR.
If I had read something along the lines of The Inescapable Love Of God by Thomas Talbott, it may have been a different story, but c’est la via…
(Just to balance out what I said about Smith, I have a friend who thought of him as a mentor, and said he was a good guy, even though he was intense… I say was because Smith passed away a year or two ago, from cancer I think )
Anyways, I’m questioning a lot of things myself at this point, questioning hell and the image of an angry, wrathful God was just the beginning, which is true of many universalists, but it is possible to believe in UR and still be considered evangelical, and that’s part of what this forum is here for, I think, it’s meant to be a place where evangelicals who are curious about UR and open to questioning eternal torment and/or annihilation, can come and ask questions and maybe find some answers, while still keeping a pretty much ‘evangelical’ mindset.
Now, granted, I don’t really consider myself an evangelical, or at least not as I understand that term (I tend to think of it as being someone who is both socially and theologically conservative *, though I’m sure others would define it in other ways, some definitions of which I might fit into better), but I can respect that.
I think the general impression of universalism by ‘orthodox’ outsiders is of a bunch of sentimental wishy washy liberals who base what they believe on their feelings and their subjective experiences rather than on reason and scripture.
Now that’s a stereotype I myself might sort of fit into, and I’m not ashamed of that, but not everyone does, and I think that’s partly why this forum was started, to show that you can believe in universal reconciliation and still be an evangelical, you can believe that everyone is gonna be okay in the end, but still use your head and support your position biblically.
And I think that’s important to show.
Though people like me, who are a little more ‘off the beaten path’, so to speak, are welcome here, of which I’m grateful, still this forum I think is mostly meant for evangelicals who are trying to find an alternative to the all too common ‘turn or burn’ message, find a more approachable and trustworthy God, but without throwing everything else out.
And I think it’s good that people like that can have a place like this where they can go.
I mean, I was able to come here just after reading Love Wins and as I was hesitantly beginning to search for another way of looking at things, and you guys were there for me, answering questions and encouraging me and helping me along the way, of which I’m grateful. And though I’ve gone through a lot of changes and am still changing after about two years here, I’m still happy to be here.
And there are many others I am sure who are grateful for this forum, and other places like TentMaker and the like, places where they can go and connect with others who are on the same kind of journey. It’s a beautiful thing, I think.
Sorry, looks like I got sidetracked
Anyways, yeah… oh, nevermind, I’ll just leave it at that, it’s a good note to end on
At the top of the page it says that this is “a forum dedicated to Evangelical Universalists.” I’m shocked to read that you can be a moderator of a forum dedicated to “evangelical universalism” and not believe in the Trinity!
Surely “evangelical”, in the most generous sense of the word, means orthodox Christianity, which includes at minimum belief in the Trinity! The doctrine of ‘who God is and how He saves’ (aka the Trinity) is the foundation of Christian theology.
Well Matt hasn’t said he doesn’t believe in the Trinity actually Luke. He said he’s agnostic about it – he finds the doctrine mysterious and unfathomable. Now the Trinity in Eastern Orthodox Christianity is indeed a mystery that discloses itself to a believer gradually over the period of a lifetime. I being old have found this to be so too.
Anyway a good moderator is not a gate keeper of orthodoxy. A moderator has to be a person who can be fair in keeping discussions on topic (in as hands off a way as possible), and also have the sweetness of spirit to defuse arguments - and of course have the ready respect of the community in the first place. Our good friend Matt has all of these qualities in abundance. If having a fully thought through conception of Trinitarian Orthodoxy were the only criteria for being a moderator many very unsuitable people would be appointed.
Matt’s appointment has a lot of goodwill here. He’ll be great – someone can be young in the faith in terms of fully thought through belief systems, but very mature in the faith when it comes to right motive and a heart that accords to the spirit of love.
interesting you showing up just now, Luke…why here of all topics?
nice to have a non/post/ex/ish evangelical having some input.
before Luke has an epi, i believe in the Trinity…but i’m FAR removed from much evangelicalism.
but i’m not a mod, so maybe that doesn’t matter to you, Luke
I am most definitely a work in progress, and though others may say such kind and generous things about me, like you do, and which I do appreciate, the fact is much of the time I feel like a mess, I struggle a lot, I feel like there is more that I don’t know than what I do know, and I have much to learn, and I have a lot of room to grow…
So if I have anything to offer anyone, if I have anything to give, it is only by grace… but I try to take some encouragement in the fact that God works through broken people.
After all, what other kind of people are there? We all need help and healing in one way or another, if not in many ways.
We’re all a work in progress.
So if I can moderate in any way here it’s just by trying to speak from my heart, trying to be honest and real and to be myself, or at least as much as I can be (I think we all have different personas that we wear like clothes, depending on the situation, but underneath are our true selves… or something deep like that anyway ) and encouraging others to do the same, and to remind others that we’re all human, rather than just a bunch of talking heads debating about and/or defending our various theological/philosophical positions.
Of course even in doing this I won’t be perfect.
Like many of you guys I’ve got other things going on that take my focus from here, as I do after all have something of a life outside the internet (gasp! ), and I am not some spiritual guru or anything, I’m just a guy, just a flawed and fallible human being, and the same applies to all of the Admins and other Moderators and everyone else here.
We’re all in the same boat. We all need God’s grace and love in our day to day going here and going there. I know I do.
So I think what we’re here for is to hopefully learn and grow together, to encourage eachother and challenge eachother in mutual love and respect, to find a little help and a little healing, being channels for God’s grace and love to one another, and even in spite of our human messiness.
But I believe God is at work even in the mess, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to be a part of it for these last couple years.
And Luke, just to say, like Sobe was saying, it’s not that I don’t believe in the Trinity, it’s just I’m not sure about it, which means that I am still open to it, at least as a concept.
I believe in the Father, I believe in Jesus, I believe in the Spirit, but I just don’t understand how the Father relates to Jesus relates to the Spirit. It’s all a mystery to me, always has been, and personally I believe that it’s not something any of us are ever going to be able to pin down into neat little doctrinal statements, no matter how hard we try.
And I imagine that the truth about all of this, how things really are, is more amazing and wonderful than anything we could ever formulate in our minds anyway.
And also I’d venture to say that the theological concept of the Trinity isn’t really the core of the Christian faith… it’s an idea that was formulated over hundreds of years to explain the mystery of God, and even if it’s a good idea, it’s still just an idea, and one among many.
It may be at the core of certain theological frameworks, but that doesn’t make it, as an idea, the core of the Christian faith.
I would say rather that at the core of the Christian faith isn’t so much an idea about God, but a person who came to reveal God to us, namely Jesus, the Christ. After all, Christianity is named after Jesus.
With that said, as I said to Alex Smith in a private message:
I know this sounds as I am not fully convinced of Jesus’ divinity, and I admit even that is something I am not entirely sure about (to be honest, there are a lot of things I am not sure about) but really I think the argument about whether Jesus was part of a Trinity or not, whether he was God the Son or just the Son of God, eventually just becomes this huge distraction… if we focus more on defending certain theological ideas about Jesus, on either side of the spectrum, more than simply seeking to follow the way of Jesus in our day to day life, to live a little more like he lived, to love a little more like he loved, then we’re off-track I think.
And to be fair, I think this even applies to universalism. As passionate as I am about the hope of universal reconciliation, defending it (or on the flip side, eternal torment or annihilation, even though I obviously disagree with those views) isn’t as important I think as just seeking to relate to God and to others as much as we can, to learn how to live and how to love (and also to be loved, as sometimes receiving can be as hard as giving)…
Though of course if some of our ideas about God or about others or about life or love or whatever are keeping us from that, then we shouldn’t be afraid to question those ideas, I think…
Anyways, we can always agree to disagree, bro, and perhaps we can find some common ground and agree on other things.
And as far as my being a moderator, I think it’ll be my job in part to try to see things from both sides as much as I can, and to be fair, and well, moderate. And in that I’ll try to do my best.
What you’re saying would make sense for a deacon in a trinitarian church (with several people on the ministerial team above the deacons). But this isn’t a church, Luke, so the moderators aren’t deacons. This is a technical discussion board that also tends to have a lot of social interaction. Churches are more than that.
We’ve debated a lot whether moderators should be trinitarians like the administrators. There are pros and cons either way. Obviously one of the cons is that some visitors will be shocked that we allow agnostics to help keep the peace and serve the other members. (Thanks for providing an early example of that so it can be addressed. )
If a moderator starts teaching against the Trinity, they’ll be dismissed, since then they’ll be acting against the purpose of the forum. Agnostic moderators aren’t acting against the purpose of the forum, and are serving in other ways.
the “shock” is that people who clearly don’t want to really engage and just want to poke at things are tolerated…not that people who have questions and admit to not understanding everything are promoted to an admin role.
if Luke actually engaged in discussions and didn’t just “pop up” now and again to poke…i might be less “shocked”.
On tentmakers they stay away from trinity and free-will. In fact they have banned people for discussing free-will. I believe we should not be afraid of the truth of either and I believe their is great revelation to be had in study on trinity that will change everything taught today on the subject and my colleagues and I are studying some wonderful source material by some scholars, some from over 100 years ago with new incites into the language used around trinity.
One tidbit for example is that the original scholarly language used in the time of Moses was Scholarly Egyptian in which Moses as a prince would have been taught in, so it is likely the original books of the Bible were actually written in Egyptian first. As Hebrew did not exist yet. The first 5 books use ‘Elohim’ in a plural sense, because early Egyptian never had a word for a single god, only plural. So Moses used the only word available at the time which was was plural. Later books written in Hebrew did have ‘Elohim’ as singular. We could be attributing all of these disagreements and arguments simply because of language translation limitations.
I have no problem with our new moderator. I certainly don’t have the time for it. I simply don’t like censuring a persons ability to take part simply because their belief is different. Hey, what we believe is different from the masses.
It’s a private board, provided to us for free, by people who desire to reach out to evangelicals in particular. The purpose of the board is to discuss EU, though we do discuss other theological topics. That said, the owners are fully in their moral rights to set any standards they like for moderators. Being a moderator isn’t really that big a deal in any case. You too can help moderate the discussions by advocating peace amongst brothers and sisters. Who needs a badge anyway? Matt was already moderating and that is in large part why he was asked.
But regarding the Trinity discussion, it would work better if you started a separate topic for it or revived one of the many, many extant topics. That way everyone would know you’re discussing it and would feel free to join in and talk about it with you (if they want to).