“Why post on Southern Baptist blogs?”
Sometimes I am asked, “Why do you post on Southern Baptist blogs?”
First, for those who aren’t “frequent flyers,” let’s address “What is a Southern Baptist blog?” A blog is a regularly updated personal journal or diary on the World Wide Web (though it kind of morphs into other things). According to LifeWire.com, a blog is:
“A blog (also called a weblog or web log) is a website consisting of entries (also called posts) appearing in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first (similar in format to a daily journal). Blogs typically include features such as comments and links to increase user interactivity.”
A “Southern Baptist blog” is a blog that is run by an individual who is a member of a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention or small group of such Southern Baptist individuals. It could be primarily a personal blog that is run by someone who is Southern Baptist, but usually it intends to focus on issues that are important to Southern Baptists.
Second, I am not a Southern Baptist. I regularly read certain Southern Baptist blogs. Why? Since Southern Baptists are the largest group of Baptists it follows that the largest group of Baptist blogs are likely Southern Baptist as well. This is an issue of access. Further, since I share theological beliefs, ecclesiological practices and moral principles with Southern Baptists, we share some of the same interests. Finally, there are some Southern Baptist bloggers who are faithful students of the Bible, careful thinkers and provocative writers. So with “Southern Baptist blogs” there is access to well written themes that interest me. I apologize to neither friend nor foe for that.
OK, so I read. But someone will think, “Since you are not Southern Baptist, I don’t understand your posting here.” I get that. It may be confusing, because people will assume that you are Southern Baptist if you post at a “Southern Baptist blog.” I have been blogging since late 2005. I have been posting comments on Southern Baptist blogs for at least ten years, probably longer. I don’t remember for certain, but I think Bart Barber’s Praisegod Barebones blog may have been one of the first I discovered.[i] We have a mutual interest in Baptist history. He is one blogger who I believe is a careful student of the Bible, a clear thinker and effectively communicates through his writing (You can pay me later, Bart!). I have quoted Southern Baptist blogs on my blog and have had Southern Baptists quote mine. Way back when I stated I clarified that I was not Southern Baptist; long term bloggers I have interacted with know that I am not.[ii] But over the ebb and flow of the years there are those who come along and assume I am Southern Baptist, and the confusion is renewed. With that large front porch built, I add this small house of explanation.
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because they offer an open forum for discussion. Up until now those on which I comment/interact have not made being Southern Baptist a requirement for posting (though it might be an unstated preference for some). For the most part I comment on theological and moral topics important to Baptists. I am cautious, but do not completely abstain from posting on topics specific to the Southern Baptist Convention. Though the details may be specific to Southern Baptists – e.g. IMB & ERLC and amicus briefs – the topic may be relevant to all Baptists – i.e., religious liberty vs. spiritual adultery.
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because as Baptists we share many of the same interests and same concerns, from baptism to biblical authority to abortion. In sharing these interests and concerns, we can benefit from one another. Issues relevant to Southern Baptists aren’t necessarily relevant to only Southern Baptists.
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because they often discuss topics on which I believe I can offer valid observations based on experience, faithful teaching based on Bible study, and even support for the opinions expressed by others.
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because Southern Baptists influence other Baptists, and we can and should in turn influence them (for good, we hope). We don’t live in a vacuum. Some of my family are in your churches and some of your family are in mine.[iii] (Curiously, I have found some of the SB’s most ecumenical toward non-Baptists to be the least open to non-Southern-Baptist Baptists.)
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because they can benefit from the observations of an outside observer. Sometimes one can’t see the forest for being in the trees and can use the insight of one outside the forest looking in.[iv]
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because some Southern Baptists are individually closer in doctrine and practice to my non-Southern-Baptist Baptist church than they are to other Southern Baptist churches.
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because Baptists love controversy, and where else can you find more of it?
- I post on Southern Baptist blogs because I am a Baptist preacher – and as Bart Barber recently wrote – “I’ve decided that when nothing more needs to be said, I’m just the guy to say it.”
[i] It definitely was “one of the first,” but may not have been the first; but who has any better blog title that that!
[ii] The SBC Heritage blog (now defunct) posted some of my historical blog articles, though they clearly understood I was not Southern Baptist.
[iv] For example, I have studied a lot of U.S. Baptist history and know more about Southern Baptist history than many Southern Baptists.