It has grieved us, as we are sure it has many of you, that in this Rapture Forums fellowship too often we find words of anger and of disrespect—unloving words that proceed from the flesh, and not the Spirit (despite how much some may try to argue for the latter). Lack of love—GODLY love, which is the preeminent mark of the Spirit of Christ living within—is easily discerned by others who read here. It destroys our witness and it destroys our fellowship.
Ideally, we are all mature in Christ and all of us, indeed, are IN Christ. But we know that some are not… some not Christians ... others Christians, yet still fleshly. This is to be expected. And thus fleshly responses are to be assumed. Assumed they may be, but accepted they are not. We here have a witness before the world. A witness for which, one terrible day, we will be held to account.
Those who teach must do so with the evidence of the Spirit of God guiding them ... not in the knowledge manifested but in the gentleness displayed. Indeed, ALL of the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—is to be expected of those who claim God’s unction to teach and to lead. As God revealed to us through the great apostle: If we have all knowledge … and all faith … but do not have love, we are nothing. You see, the absence of love—Godly love, which is the seed stock from which all the other fruit grow—reflects an absence of either the Spirit of God within ... OR the absence of the reign of the Spirit of God within. Truly, without the love that is not jealous, that is not arrogant, that is not provoked, that does not take into account a wrong suffered, that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, we have nothing to offer … despite having all knowledge. That is God’s Word. Literally.
And teacher or not, ALL of us who name the name of Christ should be daily measuring ourselves against that description in First Corinthians. Otherwise, how do we differ from the world? You say you have faith? Your faith is how you differ? James says, show me your faith by your works. If we do not manifest to some degree or another (and it will vary from person to person as we grow in grace by allowing the Holy Spirit to change us from grace to grace) if we do not manifest to some degree the nature of Jesus Christ, then we have no witness to the world. If we are not different from them then surely we are salt without savor ... fit only to be thrown away.
Now, your walk is between you and God. To Him you stand … or fall. Not to us. Or to any other man or woman. And if you are truly His, then He will bring you to the point of indeed standing in Him. However, the lesson taught in the New Testament is that the leaders of an assembly are responsible to keep order in the assembly, to zealously guard the witness God calls us to display.
Man could not live successfully under the old law; we have no intention of creating a new one. But we do have to maintain a witness for Christ on this board. Therefore, from this point on, ANY post that contains disrespectful comments to or about another person—Christian or not, member or not—will either be edited by the mods or removed. And if a person continually forces us to have to edit their posts, then maybe they are not suited to this fellowship.
Our duty is to serve God first of all, and then to serve you by ensuring your fellowship is sweet, that you receive good food and drink here, and are protected as much as possible from the wolves. We take that responsibility seriously. Very seriously. Hence our move to ensure order in this assembly.
Will we be perfect at this? Likely not. We are fallible human beings, growing in the grace of God as are, we pray, all of you. But we vow to you that we will do our best.
Having instituted this new policy, we hope not to have to apply it. We highly recommend you go to the Word and read again the admonitions as to behavior in Christ, examining yourselves as the Word calls you to do, asking the Holy Spirit to show you yourself in the light of Jesus Christ, remembering that the great God of all Creation has told us that it is better to allow ourselves to suffer wrong, trusting our being into His care, than to retaliate in any way. Is permitting yourself to suffer wrong unreasonable? Yes. To someone in the flesh. But to those who have the Spirit of Christ reigning within and who thus desire to please God before themselves, it is the mark of maturity in Christ.
May God richly bless all who are His, may He perfect you according to His Word, may our fellowship here be encouraging and instructive, and may this board be a witness to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.