Al Mohler On Blogs and Ministry

Dr. Al Mohler was a key note speaker at this years God Blog Conference. He urged bloggers to use this new media as a real means for Christian ministry.

About Dave Dunham
  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    The new media is a missiological opportunity to which we are obligated. We
    need to take the new media seriously. Christian bloggers must: always write
    under their real name; make series arguments; address people “where they are”;
    articulate sound doctrine; have a certain amount of technological sophistication.

    So is it a Baptist thing? Or just a Christian public figure thing? Why is it that whenever big-time Christians have the opportunity (i.e., a willing audience), they seem to feel the need to say What Blogging Should Be. Rather than illuminate opportunities, they speak to obligation. This was one of the things that was noted about the first GodBlogCon (the one I went to way back when).

    We need to. We must. We should. We have to.

    I’ve always been a bit bemused-slashed-frightened that the people with the biggest and most rapt audiences seem to be the people who shouldn’t have audiences. The last thing that Christian blogging needs is a law upon its head. ‘Cause wow, what kind of Christian needs a new Law to follow?

    It would have been nice if Mohler said what worked for him and what he personally appreciated about blogs, but instead we get his Top 5 Musts for Christian Blogging (maybe this can be your next Top 5 list). Must write under a real name? Whyever for? This horse was beaten deep into the ground long before I approached it two years ago. Must make series arguments? What if you’re not making arguments at all? Is making arguments a sixth rule? Address people where they are? Really this is just good sense. IF you even care to address people. Articulate sound doctrine? This assumes doctrine is to be articulated (perhaps a seventh rule?). A certain amount of technological sophistication? I don’t even know what he’s trying to say here. One can’t be a good Christian blogger unless he knows PHP? Or maybe he needs to be running a Linux platform. Or maybe he just means that you have to be able to log into Blogger so you can post to your Blogspot page. But that wouldn’t really make sense since he’s talking to bloggers. And why technological sophistication? Why not aesthetic sophistication or grammatical sophistication or literary or cultural or palette sophistication? Or any other arbitrary choice. I suppose he could have just said that Christian bloggers must be sophisticated and leave it at that. I’d still disagree with him, but then at least his choice would be more readily apprehendable.

  • Alan Noble

    I’m more concerned that Christians who blog carefully consider what the medium of blogs entail.

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    What does the medium entail?

  • Alan Noble

    Clicking, scrolling, phishing, and spamming. But seriously, I’m not sure entirely myself, but I believe it bares some looking into.

  • http://scottedwardschultz.blogspot.com/ Scott

    It entails, at least, infinitude and fragmentation. Which I love. :-)

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    Most of the stuff blogging seems to entail to me (e.g. written communication, internet technology, etc) seem to be pretty surface-evident though – and not the kind of thing that would really lend itself to special consideration (let alone specifically Christian consideration).

    There are other things that some blogs entail that are not necessary to blogging in general that are worth consideration (e.g., anonymity). But those are less aspects of blogging and more just aspects of particular blogs.

  • Alan Noble

    Surface-evident stuff often goes unnoticed in a society trained not to be critical thinkers.

  • David Dunham

    Most of what Mohler is going to be familiar with is blogging particularly related to theological conversation and ministry. Therefore his “obligations” would, I think, have more to do with this kind of Christian work.

    When he speaks of “must” he is speaking, I would imagine, more to those who wish to contribute to the Evangelical/Theological Blogging community, which should have some specific standards.

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    David, I think that may be true if one is compartmentalizing one’s evangelical theology, but if one is blogging their evangelical theology more holistically, there seems less necessity for his rules. And keep in mind that he’s speaking to those who attended GodBlogCon. Hardly a monolithic blogging community (at least if the year I went was any indication).

    Really, if Mohler simply said, “If you want to blog like me…” there wouldn’t really be much of an issue. I just get annoyed when people try to set down rules for How to Blog the Right Way ™.

    Some of Mohler’s advice could be helpful, but each blogger should be able to apply his wisdom as it applies to each blogger’s style and need. But even in the realm of his specific arena of blog genre, not all of his Musts are even necessary.

  • David Dunham

    I certainly agree that Mohler overstated things, he’s known to do that and to some degree he has to because of who he is and to whom he speaks (i.e. the larger evangelical community).

    Perhaps if we generously overlook his imperative force we can appreciate his desire to see responsible Christian interaction with the blogosphere. Which I am sure we all want!

    And I am sure if you spoke with him one-to-one he’d be more inclined to open the doors to another blogging philosophy. His speech may have played a bit more towards the nature of his usual speaking engagements.

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    That’s probably likely and as I said, I do think the principles he touched on can have wide-ranging applications.

  • http://blog.gregwillson.com Greg

    Scott- Mos def

  • Micah

    All of this ranting about what Mohler said about Christian bloggers seems a bit misguided to me.

    Mohler simply articulated an evangelistic opportunity for Christians through emerging media like blogs, etc., which needs to be pursued with gravity and integrity (using one’s ‘real name’).

    Thus, the so-called ‘law’ bemoaned above is nothing more than “a missiological opportunity to which we are obligated.” Evangelistic concern and missiological opportunity-taking hardly seems like a ‘law’ imposed upon Christian bloggers.

    And, as a blog/website emphasizing “Christ” and “Christian faith,” would you not be concerned with articulating sound doctrine?

  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    @Micah – In the very piece you quote, you seemed to miss the bit where Mohler says “obligated.” There are at least twenty-four miles of difference between simple opportunity and obligation. Obligation implies law. Or infers it. Or probably both.

    I would have been fine if he said “Recognize the opportunities you have.” Instead, he went further and declared our obligation to the opportunities themselves. Call it a rant if that makes you feel better about my concern, but don’t try to whitewash over an issue without considering its grammar.

  • Micah

    I certainly don’t want to be bogged down in semantics; my concern relates to Mohler’s overall call for Christian bloggers to use their medium to exalt Christ and evangelize sinners. I’m puzzled why his call for Christian bloggers to make the most of “the missiological opportunity to which we are obligated” offends you?

    Speaking of whitewashing . . . any response to the soundness of doctrine that Mohler was also concerned about?

  • David Dunham

    I don’t think The Dane is offended by Mohler’s emphasis on the “obligation” Christian’s have to seize the missological oppurtunity, but rather the inference by Mohler that such is the only purpose for blogging. When Mohler says “Christian bloggers must: always…” he is, in some sense, imposing a “law” on the users of this medium.

    So, for example, what if you’re not writing about doctrine or theology at all. What if you’re talking about coffee? Do you have to follow these rules? I think that is the question some of us have.

  • David Dunham

    feel free to correct me The Dane, if I’ve misspoken for you.

    Also, welcome Micah, to the discussion.

  • Micah

    Thanks for the insight and perspective, David.

    Also thanks for bringing up coffee, and the (a)theological nature thereof. At least we can say that good theology might happen over good coffee!

  • David Dunham

    Here, here Micah! Mmmmm coffee and theology…a hearty breakfast.


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