Hard to Categorize? But not Reformed?

Hard to Categorize? But not Reformed? September 23, 2012

Kent Shaffer posted his Top 200 Church blogs, and Ed Stetzer made these observations:

Seven of the top ten are decidedly Calvinistic, most aggressively so, (Interestingly, Michael Hyatt is Eastern Orthodox (of the Antiochian Sea) which is fascinating. Scot McKnight is hard to categorize, but not Reformed.

Now why is it so hard to categorize someone who is an Anabaptist Anglican type?

My observation: Early in the blogging world, say 7-8 years ago, the blogging world was much more into emerging blogs and, at that time, many Calvinist leaders were wary of blogs, bloggers and the distraction blogging was. The tune and tone have changed.

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  • Brian

    And by “of the Antiochian Sea” he means the See of Antioch.

  • scotmcknight

    I figured Ed was having fun with Antiochene, too.

  • One thing that is a little bit scary about the Calvinistic blogs, if my assumption is correct, is that I doubt they attract a very diverse readership. Is it possible that this is a relatively small group of people who are spending a lot of time talking among themselves?

  • Aaron

    I was thinking the same thing Chaplain Mike. How many of those calvinistic blogs are bolstered by pretty much the same group of people?

  • scotmcknight

    Any blog of a reasonable size forms a tribe, including this one. When the emerging blogs were the bigger blogs, we got cross-pollinating traffic but when the Calvinist blogs grew and grew those folks joined their tribe.

  • It is ironic that the great sixteenth century appeal of sola scriptura as the basis for discussions about fundamental orthodoxy has been subverted into sola Geneva. The question Protestants must face is whether the Reformation was a conclusion or an appeal. Your approach joins others is asking the church to reframe the Good News in ways more authentically rooted in the Jesus of scripture. it is perplexing that such a position would be seen as perplexing.

  • RJS

    Ed also asks:

    3. Where are the women? The first woman you see is at #16 Rachel Held Evans, though there are occasional women contrutors to some of the blogs listed. The list really lacks female voices, perhaps because of the nature of the focus of the list.

    Perhaps most of us are too smart (or involved with people) to get involved? Ok – I don’t really think that’s the case. I, of course, contribute here regularly.

    I can make a few observations –

    Church blogs are leadership focused and most of the leadership is male.

    Most of the top blogs involve groups of people and several of them are of a “tribe” that does not really empower female contribution on an equal level.

    Maintaining and building a top blog is a lot of work. I would find it too much work to maintain a blog of my own, and in the current structure of most of the church would also not attract much of readership without connecting with Scot.

    But note to Ed – I am more than an occasional contributor. I will admit, though, that I don’t think my primary contribution is to bring a female voice – but to bring a Christian voice from academia and from mainstream science.

  • RJS

    Scot (#5)

    Forming tribes is normal – and although there is flux it certainly happens here as well as at the other blogs on the list. I think it is unfortunate. We need to be able to converse with each other better, for cross pollination of ideas and to understand each other. We need to be able to present our ideas civilly and interact with differing ideas without the first response being to take offense.

  • scotmcknight

    RJS, BioLogos’ decision to interact with creationists is a great example, though it is harder to maintain on blogs.

  • DRT

    661,665 seems to be unusually represented in the list. Oddly specific, yet common, hmmm.

  • DRT

    Figured it out, all the Patheos blogs have that same number.

  • Robin


    I am surprised that you consider yourself an “Anabaptist Anglican type.” I get the anabaptist part, but I don’t see in what sense you are an “anglican-type.” Unless something has changed you attend a very un-liturgical mega-church and I am curious to understand what dimensions you seem yourself hewing closely to Anglicanism.

  • Scot, I agree with the “tribe” comment. But on your blog (and on IMonk) there is at least some robust discussion from a variety of viewpoints, something which, it seems, is not highly valued at the more dogmatic blogs, particularly those of Calvinist bent.

  • “We like BOTH kinds of music,” bragged the rural bartender in The Blues Brothers, “Country AND Western.” The first challenge in learning to listen to each other is probably to expand our horizons enough to understand the theology that is prevalent in other “tribes.”

  • P.

    I have to agree with Chaplain Mike that this blog (#2 – pretty good!) does attract all types of people and not just those of the same persuasion congratulating themselves for being chosen while others aren’t. I’m also glad to see Ragamuffin Soul and Without Wax on the list – great blogs! Internet Monk too, of course.


    I hate autocorrect.

    Some of my family are Antiochian Orthodox so I have to hide this typo and am correcting it on my own blog. 😉

    BTW, you are hard to define. I was going to write Anabaptist, but I don’t think that works. I know Anabaptists and, well, that does not adequately describe you.


  • Paul W


    I do not consume much in the way of blogs but without a doubt you are my favorite female blogger (and along with Scot are in my personal top two).

  • Mike M

    Ed: run with it. In addition to being a theologian, you are now a cartographer who has named that part of the Medterranean Sea that abuts Turkey as the Antiochian Sea. Autocorrect be danged.
    Dr. M: how did the Emergent movement become Anabaptist/Orthodox? Or Anabaptist/Anglican?

  • #2 is more than “pretty good!” (P. @ #15, 11:02 p.m.), it’s phenomenal and well-deserved, even if Scot does turn out to be an Anabaptist-Anglican.

    But I am shocked, shocked I tell you that my own blog was not one of the Top 200 Christian blogs. Well, not really. After all, there are easily ten thousand times ten thousand Christian blogs. Mine is more of a “blog by a Christian” than a “Christian blog” but it has its moments and I count several atheists among my readers.

    Therefore, since Hezekiah 3:16 says, “He who tooteth not his own horn getteth his own horn not tooted,” here is my current post.

  • Bill

    What in the world is a “Christian blog”? When did “Christian” become an adjective? Tribes; what is wrong with tribes because there are at least two I know of and those would be Jew and Gentile? And the Anglicans, I dig on them but the notion of an Anabaptist Anglican messes with my head. Is that anything like an Anacircumcision Jew? Just wondering.

  • With the heavy Calvinist presence, I would have hoped the Society of Evangelical Arminians site (http://evangelicalarminians.org/), which delivers its content through a blog on its front page, had at least made it into the top 200! At least Roger Olson made it into the top 50. That’s some consolation. It’s also nice to have Scot at # 2. It seems relatively objective measures were used, so there doesn’t seem to be any bias. Hopefully we’ll make it in next year. I’m not holding my breath though!

    BTW, I think the internet is one of the biggest factors that has fostered the growth of the current Calvinist resurgence. Calvinists have dominated the internet among evangelicals, though that has been changing as something of a counter-resurgence has been underway for some time now.

  • So I just checked the criteria more closely, and it seems that the Society of Evangelical Arminians (SEA) site does not qualify for inclusion anyway because the list concerns blogs that focus on ministry, ministry leaders, or living out the Great Commission, whereas SEA focuses on soteriology. Good thing I was not going to hold my breath for next year. That could have been dangerous!

  • Ben Thorp

    Adrian Warnock followed up this list with the top 100 bloggers ranked by the number of their twitter followers: http://adrianwarnock.com/2012/09/top-100-christian-blogs-ranked-by-number-of-twitter-followers/