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I was out of town for a couple of days during the posts about Warren and Piper, and shut down the comments as soon as I could get back to my computer.

Oh yeah and to all of you out there comparing John Piper and Warren to Whitefield and Wesley, shut up already. . . . This is a joke.

Or:

Dr. Piper, have you become “too big to fail”?

What blessing has God withheld from you, your ministry and your reputation that you find it necessary to clasp hands with a Gospel-betraying, Bible-hating evildoer?

Or:

If had just endorsed Rick Warren and brought him to my conference, I’d take a sabbatical, too. Permanently.

I don’t want to suggest that everyone who was critical was also unbiblically harsh and hyerbolic and mean-spirited like the commenters above, but at the same time I don’t want this blog to become a platform for anyone and everyone to say whatever comes into his or her mind, however rash and unedifying it might be.

(Interlude: Please don’t take this as over-sensitivity about criticism of John Piper. He is not above criticism. Obviously Rick Warren isn’t either. Please also don’t take this as saying that strong conclusions against a minister of the gospel are de facto impossible. For example, readers should be aware of this piece by Mike Horton. Horton demonstrates how one can register strong reservations without being sarcastic, hyperbolic, or tone deaf. Further, he shows that one can find things to admire even in those with whom one disagrees.)

Back to the comments: I’ve long wrestled with how best to handle them. To date, I’ve basically let them be a free for all, banning only the very worst of the offenders. I don’t think this is probably the wisest course of action.

As an experiment, I’m going to turn off comments for the rest of the week to see how it goes.

And below I’ll reprint the makeshift “comments policy” for the blog—because they apply to life, not just blog commenting.

I hope this can be a place where we “seek understanding” before critiquing, where we are quick to listen and slow to speak, where we judge others charitably not critically, where we encourage and build up each other rather than tearing down and destroying each other.

I would encourage commenters to consider carefully the following commands and principles regarding our speech:

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).

“By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10).

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).

Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15, 25).

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26).

I’d also encourage you to read a piece by Tim Keller and David Powlison on whether or not you should pass on bad reports, along with Powlison’s follow-up response to criticism of the piece.


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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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