But I think there should be some specific standards for online dialogue between Messianics:
In no particular order...
- Moderated discussion forums are really terrible. I know the James Pyles of the world think each website owner is an autocratic ruler who can censor whatever he wants, but I don't share that sentiment. I value freedom of speech. I can't stand censorship! I hate it. Now, if someone starts deliberately spamming or something like that--that's different. Spam comments actually destroy everyone's ability to speak freely. But generally it's a really terrible thing to moderate. If someone says something off topic then ignore them--don't delete them. That's just not cool.
- Next, it's okay to hold people accountable and ask hard questions. In some cultures (e.g. Christian), that's considered rude. I hate Christian culture. I absolutely hate it. But in Jewish culture, having heated disagreements isn't considered rude at all because of the value of free speech. In Jewish culture, if someone teaches something wrong and you don't challenge them then you are the only being rude for not challenging them and treating them like a real person.
- Last thing I'll say: if you're having a discussion with a fellow Messianic Believer, don't say anything unfriendly to them. You should show some hospitality and make them feel welcome. Inviting discussion is the polite thing to do. A mature Messianic should never be curt with a fellow Messianic. He must always make him feel welcome. For example, whenever Dan Benzvi calls me a false teacher or whatever, I try to be nice or even give a blessing. I welcome other points of view and I welcome criticism of me personally. I welcome the Dan Benzvis of the world.
- It should go without saying that nothing says "get lost" like censorship. Outright censoring other points of view is just wrong. Again, Pyles loves to do it, Derek Leman loves to do it. I think it's just plain wrong. If your viewpoint is correct then it will survive in the open marketplace of ideas. Justice Potter Stewart said, "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confident in itself." That's true. However you could also say, "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in its ideas."