Principles and BG-Netiquette

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Thu Oct 02 1997 - 23:01:29 EDT

Fellow Greekers:

I have been pondering Carl's posting about BG-Netiquette, which clearly he
felt it was necessary to say to us in reminder.

I am not questioning his comments about the two particular threads to be
closed down, concerning which he writes. But I want to address the wider
question of principle.

Carl is in effect telling us that we should not discuss on-list those
issues about which we feel strongly, because these will also be issues
where list members differ from one another, and we are incapable of
differing from each other in loving and respectful tones, so that a vicious
flame war is likely to be the outcome.

I find this very sad. VERY sad.

I have been a Christian for 50 years come next February 14, and in that
time I have had many of my early views clarified and confirmed, and many
others challenged and modified. While some of this has happened through my
putting myself under the teaching of others and through my own study and
research, much of it has come about in a context of vigorous discussion -
yes, even debate and argument. Iron sharpens iron, the Scripture says.

I like to hear an opposing view propounded by someone who firmly believes
it and who can put up the strongest case for it. Usually, also, I like the
opportunity to respond in kind, with the goal of explaining my position
clearly to my brother. (Note, I do not say, to my opponent.)

Now, through listening to a different viewpoint I may actually come to
change my own. (This happened to me personally on one issue as recently as
the Australian and New Zealand Society for Theological Studies annual
conference in Brisbane a couple of months ago.) But it is not the primary
goal. The primary goal is that we should each end up with a better
understanding of a viewpoint which we do not hold - and thus a better
understanding of each other.

Surely on b-greek we are mature enough to be able to handle the vigorous
discussion of different strongly-held views without interpreting this as a
personal attack or a flame war!?!

If some areas are out of bounds on b-greek because they are not really a
discussion of Greek, that is one thing, and fair enough too. But if some
things are out of bounds because of the fact that people on the list have
firmly-held opinions on both sides, then indeed and truly, I find that sad.

Let me say this emphatically: if you see a post on b-greek over my name,
you are very welcome to disagree with me as strongly as you like, and I
will not take it amiss. I may respond by defending my view, but that will
not be an attack upon you. I will almost certainly learn something from the
exchange and maybe others will also. Certainly, I will never attack or
impugn you because you differ from me, and if you argue against me I will
not take this as a personal attack.

That's a promise.


Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email:

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