The Internet has been growing at a remarkable rate, largely because of its unprecedented ability to deliver every conceivable type of information or service worldwide almost instantly. Many of our members already use it on a regular basis. Many web sites are dedicated to glorifying God through spreading His word and edifying the saints. Email has become a valuable communication tool, particularly for foreign missionaries.
Unfortunately, the Internet is also one of the greatest moral snares facing Christians today. Even the government recognizes the danger to children, but there are serious dangers for adults as well. For a Biblical perspective on the dangers of the Internet, see the companion publication Christians in Cyberspace. In spite of these dangers, it is the belief of the Mount Calvary leadership that in many cases the Internet cannot be avoided and therefore must be carefully controlled. To promote safe and careful use of the Internet, the Mount Calvary leadership has adopted a policy which is summarized below.
The policy is motivated by these concerns:
- To protect our church from moral danger and unnecessary exposure to evil.
Pure religion is... to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).
- To guard our testimony.
A bishop must be blameless (Titus 1:7).
- To establish a workable policy that even the most non-technical of our church members can abide by.
- To establish a flexible policy that accommodates our legitimate and diverse needs.
- Email - The simplest and best approach is to simply delete all inappropriate email as soon as you recognize it is inappropriate, without reading any further.
- Internet "browsing" - We recommend using some type of filtering at all times when viewing web pages.
- Chat Rooms - We do not believe that there is any compelling need to participate in chat rooms or other public Internet forums. This does not apply to private interactive services where the participants are limited to people you know.
- Privacy - Computers used for web access should be in a room freely accessible by other members of your family. We discourage using the web when you are at home alone.
- Passwords - If a password can turn off or override your filter, it is best to use a split password (i.e., you and your spouse or accountability partner each know only half of the password).
- Most companies provide filtering or monitoring for employee Internet access. Check your company policy; if they don't, encourage them to do so. If they do, use it.
- If your company does not filter or monitor, but they will allow you to install a filter on your computer, you should do so.
- If your company prohibits filtering or monitoring, or the nature of your work requires unfiltered access, we do not believe it is wise for you to access the Internet at home alone or at work behind closed doors.
For legal as well as moral reasons, most companies that provide Internet access to employees are also providing filtering or monitoring. It is not in any company's interest to have employees using company time and resources to access materials that are offensive and often illegal. If even secular organizations recognize this, a Christian organization can do no less.