The printing press revolutionized the way that we transmit texts. There were monasteries full of scribes, diligently copying the text of the New Testament so that word of God would be preserved. Other books were transmitted in the same way. If you want a copy of something, somebody would have to sit down and actually copy the text from somebody else who copied it. Many individuals did not have access to their own copy of the Bible. The printing press changed that. The Internet provided the next revolution in transmitting text. If you want a copy of something, you only need to login to your computer. If you have thoughts to share, if you have insight, then you can start a blog. Throughout this article, I will outline some of the pros and cons of being a Christian blogger.
I should also point out that many of these points are not necessarily unique to being a Christian. Some of the points that I will raise are relevant to anybody who is considering a blog. But as most of the people in my audience are Christians, I am targeting them in this post. Before beginning my assessment, I want to summarize by saying that I believe that having a blog is a good thing. You should start one, even if you are not sure if you are talented or if you will get many readers. In general, the pros outweigh the cons.
The Pros of Being A Christian Blogger
It provides personal, spiritual opportunities.
Many of us are not paid ministers. Christians often work secular jobs, come home, and just get caught in a cycle. If you read books regularly or if you are always learning more about the Bible, you need to have an outlet for your knowledge. I made this point in an article that I wrote titled Why Does My Life Sometimes Seem So Pointless? Christians are not immune to this feeling. While we know that God gives us a real purpose in life, sometimes the cycles of life make everything feel pointless. We feel unproductive, like we are not contributing anything. Having a blog can help you to overcome that feeling, especially considering that the following sections will demonstrate how you really can make a difference as a blogger.
Second, you will have the opportunity to grow spiritually. I have learned a lot doing research for my blogposts and while writing and editing. It causes me to contemplate the things I have learned and to provide my own unique insight. When I am reading a book, I am more careful than I would be if I did not have a blog because I am looking for something that I could share, hone, or critique. Being a blogger can make you more thoughtful and open to correction because you know that you are responsible for what you share with other people. So, in summary, even if you do not have an audience, or if you are unsure about your abilities, you should start a blog anyway because it will help you to grow.
Change The Culture
When somebody leaves the church, they often recall it in a very negative way. They remember people who were mean, small-minded, unwilling to think or listen, who do not understand the long intellectual tradition of Christian theology and philosophy and generally do not represent the height of Christian intellect. This is the caricature of Christianity that is held among many secular individuals. It is usually drawn from their own experiences of the church. After they leave, they assume that all Christians are just as shallow as the church that they left behind. As a blogger, you can help to shape their image.
You might be thinking, “I cannot change the culture. I am just one person, and my blog would only be one.” Well, that is something like thinking, “My vote does not matter. I am just one person.” If everybody thinks that their vote matters, then their vote will matter. If there is a host of Christians who recognize that their voice will be heard, then their voice will, in fact, be heard. If you start a blog and represent the intellectual tradition of Christianity, then you will help to shape the culture. You will be able to show people that not all Christians are mean, stupid, shallow or dim-witted. Show the nuances of Christian theology that many have overlooked. Demonstrate that there really are good answers to difficult questions.
The Opportunity To Reach Individuals
As you are writing, you will find that there are people who are reading your blog. Even if you do not have a thousand or two thousand people per day, you will still be able to reach some. Sometimes it takes awhile to build your audience. When I started this blog in 2011, I rejoiced to have ten views every day (mostly because I was excited that people were going to it). As time passes, you write more and you market your blog, you will see more traffic. But these are more than statistics. They are people who are reading your blog. There are (broadly) two types of people that the Christian blogger hopes to reach.
First, unbelievers, secular individuals, backslidden Christians and those who are not sure what they think will read your blog and they may be moved by it. The gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16) and if you share it, then God could use what you have written. If you answer a difficult question, then God could use what you have written to soften their heart so that they may turn to him in repentance. Second, you will be able to reach other Christians to strengthen their faith. When Christians see that there are good answers to difficult questions, then they will be more bold, less doubtful, and it may even prevent apostasy.
The Cons of Being A Christian Blogger
People Do Not Listen
This is one of the frustrations that I have had as a blogger. If I publish something, many people will skim through it, read the headers, the words in bold, maybe a few words of the first and last paragraph, and leave a comment as if they know what I said. These are very easy to distinguish, as they will typically raise an objection that I rebutted in the article as though I did not raise it. It is fine if people do not read my posts. But if you do not read it, there is not much benefit in trying to rebut what I have written. This frustration has been shared by many bloggers.
Even worse, though, many people will only read the title of the post and just respond to that. If I were to title a blogpost something like, “Should Abortion Be Legal?” and then provide a thorough treatise about why I think that abortion is absolutely evil and should be regarded as homicide under the law, people will respond as though I were advocating for abortion. They will read the title, make an assumption, and then respond. When I call them out on it, they will usually not say anything else. Ask any blogger about this. This is one of the main frustrations that we have. People just do not listen.
It Can Become An Excuse For Not Being Evangelistic
If you are a Christian blogger, then the gospel should be central to everything that you write. If you are answering a question about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the gospel should be central. That is not to say that you have to find some way to tie the gospel into every single post that you write. But that should be the purpose of your blog. However, with that being the case, it can become easy for us to make excuses. We think that in writing these posts, we are fulfilling the Great Commission. That is a mistake.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), he told his disciples to go and make more disciples, face to face. That is how the gospel is shared and how you reach people. No matter how much I write or how big of a fan of mine somebody is, it will never be as potent as if I knew them in person. Second, there are other aspects the Great Commission that we just cannot complete with a blog. I can share the gospel, but I cannot disciple somebody. I can share principles about discipleship, but I do not know them as individuals or their personal struggles. I also cannot baptize them. If you have a blog, do not overestimate the value of it. It is not a fulfillment of the Great Commission. It is something good, but it is not that.
Everything Has Been Said Before
If you conduct a Google search of the topic about which you are writing, you are likely to find some other articles on that very topic. People have said it before. If you are writing about the Kalam Cosmological Argument, then you are probably going to begin with, “Everything that beings to exist has a cause…” How original. That is not to say that you need to improve upon it. But it is to say that much of your content is not going to be unique. It really depends on what you are writing. If you focus a lot on apologetics, then you are going to produce something that many others have said. That is why this blog focuses on both apologetics and theology. With that though, we still have the same problem.
You can begin to overcome it when you get into the nuances of apologetics and theology. When you investigate the arguments and the counter-arguments and address them in your post, then you will provide something that everybody else is not saying. There are more than enough “Does God Exist?” posts on the Internet. But that does not mean that you cannot write about it. If you want to publish a surface-level article to begin with, then you should do that. But as your blog progresses, know that you will need to traverse that barrier. Go beyond the surface. Write about the objection, the nuances, and the different ways that the argument has been treated.
Changing Your Position Is Not Always Easy
When I started this blog, I was an Arminian by default. I did not really know much about Calvinism. But somebody presented it to me and I said something like, “That’s not correct.” Now, I am a Calvinist. Prior to my becoming a Calvinist, I had a few arguments for Arminian tenants on my blog. Since I was (and remain) a fan of William Lane Craig, I was also a Molinist. It was more difficult for me to become a Calvinist and a determinist precisely because I was publicly a Molinist and an Arminian. If you have a blog, you have a reputation, a brand, and you cannot just shift between different positions, as though you were being thrown to and fro by every wind of doctrine that passes your way.
Think of it like this. If Richard Dawkins were to ever consider becoming a Christian, he would have a significant challenge to overcome. He has spent much of his public career criticizing religion. He wrote a New York Times Best Seller criticizing religion. If he were to become a Christian, he would have to say that he was wrong about almost everything that he has ever said. That is more difficult for people who have an audience. That applies even when you have a small audience. Now, that does not mean that it cannot be done. I wrote a blogpost repudiating my posts about Molinism (letting those older posts stand for research purposes). But it does mean that you have to be more careful. It is not just a matter of how you arrange things in your own mind. It is a matter of what you are teaching people, how you have branded yourself, and whether you want the body of Christ (and secular folks) to think that you are being thrown to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
The Pros And Cons of Being A Christian Blogger
As I said in the beginning, I think that the pros provide enough incentive for you to become a blogger. There are a lot of considerations, and probably more pros and cons that I did not list here, but this is enough to get you started. I recommend becoming a blogger. The only caveat is the issue of maturity. Some people, especially cage stage Calvinists, should not be bloggers (if you are not sure if you are one, see my post How To Tell If You Are A Cage Stage Calvinist) because they cannot conduct themselves properly. But if you are not hostile or mean-spirited, and you want to share the gospel in charity, to answer difficult questions, to express yourself and what you have learned, then you should be a blogger.
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