Nothing Is New Under The Sun, So Can Any Christian Blogger Be Totally Original?

These past two weeks, I’ve been thinking about a short post that Erin Benziger wrote in Do Not Be Surprised recently, explaining her decision to pull back from blogging for a while. You can read her entire article here, as she raises more points than I can comment on in this singular essay.

God used Erin greatly as He led me to the Doctrines of Grace, and I praise Him for allowing her to influence me in those areas. At one point, I followed her around the internet like an eager puppy. As her approach to discernment ministry evolved, I reevaluated my own understanding of Biblical discernment. I reached different conclusions about discernment blogging than Erin reached, and since then she and I have diverged on other issues. Some of her thoughts in her post on her retreat from blogging differ from my thoughts on the topic. And that’s okay. Knowing Erin, I feel confident that she would agree.

But one paragraph she wrote has challenged me in a good way regarding The Outspoken TULIP. Let me quote it, and then offer some of my responses to her perspective.

Content is lacking. It’s my observation that Christian and ministry blogs say the same things over and over and over and over and over. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We all need to hear, read, and process truth and the Gospel daily. But much of the content I’m seeing merely rages against the latest controversy and upholds pet doctrines, even tertiary ones (or perhaps, especially tertiary ones). Who has time for that? I don’t, and I don’t particularly care to associate with those who do.

In a sense, she’s right. Thinking about my own blog, I can’t avoid admitting that many of my pieces are almost clones of previous pieces. Sometimes it embarrasses me to publish something I thought was fresh and insightful, only to look down at the suggested posts at the bottom to discover that I’d written a much too similar blog post years earlier. I moan and accuse myself of being a Johnny One Note. I scold myself for banging the same few drums over and over again.

It’s true that bloggers in my particular niche do tend to repeat ourselves and each other frequently. Sometimes the repetition really does get excessive. When six bloggers say the same things about Beth Moore, for example, without adding anything significant to the conversation, we do our readers no favors. Yes, each of us has readers that the other five don’t have, but the majority of our readers overlap. Most of them already know the problems with Beth Moore. At this point, I trust Elizabeth Prata to report the latest developments on Moore’s antics, so I’m content to leave it with her.

That said, sometimes a variety of articles on the same topic (even one that some people might consider tertiary) often bring helpful insight to readers. For instance, the past two weeks have been filled with countless articles and podcasts about the Southern Baptist Convention and Ed Litton’s plagiarism. And yes, my recent blog post evolved from that controversy. But I appreciate hearing different perspectives on the matter for at least two reasons. Firstly, because I belong to an SBC church, the matter has an effect on me. Secondly, and more importantly, the Lord has challenged me to blog with integrity through all the blogs and podcasts. As with the Ed Litton scandal, God frequently uses a variety of articles on a popular subject to help me think through issues.

As I talked about my response to Erin’s paragraph with John, he immediately thought of 2 Peter3:1-2.

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. ~~2 Peter 3:1-2 (NASB95)

Peter knew the power of repetition in teaching truth. And although bloggers must keep their content free from redundancy, there’s nothing at all wrong with writing multiple posts on the same selection of topics. In fact, one of my college professors taught us (in every single class I took from her) to “write a lot about a little.”

The most successful bloggers, I’m told, limit themselves to just a few topics, and then write many posts exploring various aspects of those few topics. Again, bloggers need to bring something fresh to the table with each post. And yet we must steer clear of adding to Scripture. In these difficult parameters, we can produce essays on our given subjects and still make each essay unique. We write a lot about a little with the confidence that we can help our readers (and ourselves) gain a fuller understanding of the small assortment of issues we address.

We can’t really say anything new, nor should we want to do so. Scripture is sufficient for everything we need (2 Peter 1:3-4), and only false teachers try to introduce novelties. However, we can most definitely remind our readers, even on a continual basis, of Scripture’s great truths. On occasion, we’ll join fellow bloggers and podcasters in analyzing current events through the lens of God’s Word. More often, we’ll elaborate on issues we care deeply about. In all cases, we’ll keep writing with the desire to honor the Lord Jesus Christ and encourage our readers to grow in Him.

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One thought on “Nothing Is New Under The Sun, So Can Any Christian Blogger Be Totally Original?

  1. This piece really resonated with me. I definitely have the same challenges as you when it comes to blogging and the redundancy of topics. I once heard John MacArthur say that he tries to preach in such a way that his work is timeless. So someone can listen to it 20 years later and it is still relevant because it is biblical and not filled with current day illustrations and issues. I’ve tried to follow this model, although I do break from it once in awhile to focus on a current issue that feels like it just needs to be addressed (as you already know!)

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