Rule 1: Love the Lord your God with all your heart.
Make sure your response is how God’s heart would respond. You are not allowed to express God’s wrath upon people. Let God do that when He decides. Just because John the Baptist and Jesus called the Pharisee’s vipers on certain occasions does not give us permission to call a fellow believer a viper or worse. The Holy Spirit is called “Counselor” not executioner.
Rule 2: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus said “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Should be enough said about that. Study how Jesus dealt with his disciples when they were misguided or plain wrong.
Rule 3: Stick to the subject presented
Remember, sometimes we can stray into debating our own world view and miss the authors particular subject or aspect of a subject.
Rule 4: Outside References
Do not include links or website references, unless specifically asked for by the author. This is a thinking forum and not a parroting platform. If you cannot formulate, articulate, and defend your position and must use other websites, then do not state it, it has already been stated.
Rule 5: The unresolvable topics
Recognize that some topics are unresolvable. Some topics have been debated for millennia and this year will not be the end of the debate. Be gracious and just present your point/counterpoint.
Rule 6: Let Cool Heads Prevail
Do not respond when angry or too quickly. Remember the admonition “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Rule 7: God’s Dignity
Remember, you are not “defending” God’s dignity, you are stating and defending your own faith. That takes the burden off your shoulders. God’s dignity is secure whether we, as believers, disagree or not on our different theological/cultural beliefs.
Rule 8: When things do not go your way
If you are a participant in a thread, and you are passionate that you are right, but the moderator just does not agree with your position, think about leaving the thread and starting your own. We are all students of life and of God. But please do not bully or use harsh language. Remember you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You can shut down an author through abusiveness, but you won’t cause a change of mind. Your goal is love and reason with godliness as the goal.