Thursday, December 17, 2009

SI Survey, “SAYS…

The pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron blog has been conducting a fact-finding survey. SI has suffered huge losses in membership, dwindling participation in its threads and has been publishing appeals for funds to cover financial shortfalls. If it wasn’t for the SI moderators accounting for the lion’s share of thread commentary the site would very possibly grind to a halt. With these and other issues in view SI publisher Aaron Blumer is looking for some way to rejuvenate SI, encourage participation and attract advertisers.

In Blumer’s first survey update (posted 12/17) he reveals some of the current survey results and general commentary from some who have participated in the survey. Among other comments the following were included:
…It is apparent to me that being too honest on this site is not generally welcome by the new publisher and owner. BTW, the site has noticeably deteriorated in the past year in debate quality and thought-provoking information provided. Hence, even though I have considered posting, I have resisted. And to further clarify FYI, I do consider myself a historic fundamentalist even though I share a YF view.”

You’re talking about censorship, you have moderators deciding who is ill-informed, and personal bias often gets involved, SI has a history of allowing non-Fundamentalists to join.”

In the past there were times when accusations and slander against individuals being discussed was permitted; I haven’t seen it in a while.”

It also seems like (especially in the Filings sidebar) that this blog is turning into one of those ‘watchblogs’ where all we like to do is talk about the evil in the apostate churches and the unregenerate world and get all excited about how terrible it all is. Why is that so exciting?”

While this survey might be helpful to you, the horse left the barn. You already lost virtually every non-Calvinist, balanced Fundamentalist. You have little idea how many have been driven away by your hosting, backing and running interference for Bauder. You aren’t going get any one back and the rest aren’t going to join SI as it is still moving toward evangelicalism and promoting those views and practices. You’re too late! No one believes SI can be returned to a balanced, biblical Fundamentalism because under Janz it never was in the first place and is still moving away under Blumer. You’re too late!”

For the balance of this article I will excerpt a selction of comments from the discussion thread under the survey update.
I was surprised that only 44% (total) claimed to be either 4 or 5 point Calvinists (I am a 4). Reading the posts, one would think that it would be more like 85%!”
Agreed, because about all SI has left on its rolls are those who are Calvinistic in their theology.
I also think SI should advertise itself as a “Fundamentalist/Conservative Evangelical” site to attract more participation.
SI had been advertising itself a place for *Fundamentalists of the “conservative” evangelical variety. Even before that transparent disclosure SI had long since made it clear that is was very fond of and biased toward the “conservative” evengelical camp. That is one of the primary reasons why SI has lost virtually every balanced Fundamentalist that used to or might have participated.
As for talking Bible content, it’s true we used to have a handful of folks who really enjoyed discussing exposition and these are, for whatever reason, not participating anymore.” (Aaron Blumer)
The reason is very simple: SI moderator’s Calvinistic biases; SI site tolerance for besmirching Fundamentalism, its bent toward the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism steadily drove off virtually every non-Calvinistic fundamentalist. I can name three men who until mid-2009 were discussing exposition. SI lost them and will not get any of them back or new participants to replace them or the many others who left SI prior to 2009.
I didn’t mention it in the main post, but there was also alot of votes for structured debate with selected participants. So that idea has promise. The challenge there is finding people with the right qualities to participate.” (Aaron Blumer)
SI is highly unlikely to get any participants from a non-Calvinist, pro-dispensational view. SI can’t even get a decent debate going on Calvinism since SI drove off every non-Calvinist member who once enjoyed and would participate in the debates. I have advised as many as I can to refrain from participating at SI. To participate only draws attention to SI and that means they have more opportunity to promote “conservative” evangelicalism, its growing ecumenism, aberrant doctrine and pattern of worldly methods of ministry.
And, if you say that you’d rather have CE’s than those kinds of Fundamentalists, you’ve really raised the question whether SI Fundamentalists are distinguishable from CE’s.”
Exactly the point! Pretty much all that is left of SI participants are those who have become conservative evangelicals, which is why you can’t distinguish between the alleged SI Fundamentalist and the “conservative” evangelicals.

This was IMO one of the most poignant comments to date:
If SI Fundamentalists cannot be differentiated from CE’s, then one of two things must be true. 1) SI Fundamentalists are really CE’s, not Fundamentalists, or 2) CE and Fundamentalist are at least partially overlapping terms. If #1, then SI’s posturing as a site for Fundamentalists is a farce. If #2, then SI is operating with a vocabulary significantly different than most Fundamentalist institutions....”


*In the SI FAQ section, until recently, you would have read this statement
The site has four thousand members (several hundred active) who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.”
The FAQ statement has been revised as follows,
The site has over a thousand active members who identify with Fundamentalism (more than four thousand archived members).
*Since June 2009 SI had for months misrepresented its actual membership count, which as of 02/03/10 is at just over 1,000. Until recently, when the FAQ had been revised, SI was claiming to it advertisers, “4,000 members (with) several hundred active.”

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