When I think of blogs that are going to have a long-term impact, two qualities come to mind: they must be insightful and edifying, and they must be entertaining. Dull blogs will capture some people for a long time, but not many. It is the bloggers who are able to engage anyone who will develop large readerships for long periods of time (one way, I think, of measuring impact).
No one has been able to have both of these together like Joe Carter of evangelicaloutpost. Joe has always been at the forefront of Christian blogging, and there’s little wonder why. His writing is more Chestertonian than any writing I know (which, I think, is the highest compliment I can pay to it)–varied, entertaining, extremely funny, while also being incredibly insightful. His analysis of Dr. Reynolds demonstrates this so well that I quote it in full:
Some professors and teachers can use the Socratic Method but John Mark Reynolds is different: he is Socrates. Like the ancient Greek, Reynolds is energetic, engaging, and constantly throwing out questions that make you think. He’s the type of philosopher that you dream of becoming during the early days of your intro to philosophy class, when you still think that the subject has some relevance to real life. When you listen to Reynolds teach you realize why they have to keep him locked up in the Ivory Tower. His love of Truth and Beauty make him far too subversive to be allowed to roam the streets. If the authorities ever catch on to what he is doing at Torrey, the way he “corrupts the youth of Athens” by teaching them how to think for themselves, there will be a hemlock cocktail with his name on it.
I can’t understate this: if you read one blog per day, read Joe’s. With content that is intellectually rigorous and writing that is perpetually entertaining, Joe is a blogger with with few equals (such as my brother, who is actually the only other equal to Joe that I can think of offhand).
Joe and Evangelical Outpost are great examples of what blogging has added to the dialogue about faith taking place in the Public Square.
Here is a man who writes clearly, is amazingly well-read, is intelligent and engaging — and, he maintains an unswerving commitment to a living Christian faith. If it weren’t for blogging, how would the ordinary person have a chance to read Joe Carter?
The Public Square needs many more Christian voices besides the few famous pastors who are always quoted by the media. Blogging has given a great many gifted and godly men and women a way to have their voices heard above the din of the crowd, and I think it’s a good thing for our faith.