Posted in theology, writing

The Writer’s Responsibility

By Elizabeth Prata

Christian books, pamphlets, blogs, letters, reviews, essays…it’s all so much. It is so easy nowadays to start a blog and begin writing. I’ve mentioned before about authorial skill, ministerial calling, and tone. But now let’s speak of the responsibility writers have.

What is the responsibility of a writer, his or her ethics, so to speak? All people are accountable in their work, career, or hobby. Writers write with their audience in mind. They write to persuade, inform, or entertain. This three-fold purpose is universal. EB White eloquently opined on a writer’s responsibility from the secular side, in his piece from 1969. I recommend it. Here is one quote:

A writer must reflect and interpret his society, his world; he must also provide inspiration and guidance and challenge. Much writing today strikes me as deprecating, destructive, and angry. There are good reasons for anger, and I have nothing against anger. But I think some writers have lost their sense of proportion, their sense of humor, and their sense of appreciation

Add to that, Christian writers write for the glory of God and to share edifying content to the transforming mind. Christian writers have a responsibility to be clear, straightforward, and to keep God’s glory in front at all times.We know that teachers of the Word have a responsibility, one that is so weighty that the Bible advises that “not many” should be a teacher. (James 3:1). Writers teach, especially if they have a public platform. By default, unless you’re writing in a lockable diary, your writing is public and someone will be learning from it. If not the words, the example you (I) set. Christian writers are by default, teachers.

Derek J. Brown, a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and now a pastor, wrote in 2012’s essay “Clarity: The Responsibility of Every Christian Writer,

I am also convinced that Christians have the responsibility—if we are going to write about Biblical truth and important theological issues—to cherish clarity above all other literary qualities.

As I look back over past entries, some of what I have written causes me to grimace. In several posts, clarity was sacrificed for cleverness; precise statements gave way to long, cumbersome sentences; and healthy content was smothered under a thick layer of syrupy rhetoric.


I hope that what I have written does not cause anyone to grimace for the reasons stated above. I know that my theology has improved since I started this blog ten years ago, and I’d grimace over older essays that I wrote in zeal without knowledge. But I hope that I have not written cleverly for the sake of being clever. I hope I have not covered up any pointing to the Lord for the sake of syrupy rhetoric.

Derek Brown goes on in convicting manner,

What this does mean is that we should labor, every time we write, to make sure that what we write is clear, and that our communication has not been hindered by silly word games. Practically, this will mean carefully choosing words that enable learning instead of words that only show off our extensive vocabulary. It will mean spending more time over fewer entries to ensure that what we post falls under the category of quality rather than mere quantity. And it will even mean that we are willing to risk being regarded as unsophisticated and unscholarly by some of our readers because we desire their spiritual good far more than we covet their admiration.

The reader’s understanding of an important point should be the first motive of the writer. I hope I never set clarity adrift for the sake of words that display the authors’ skill.

It’s easy to use big words and make much of your vocabulary. It’s hard to use fewer words, and clearer words, because that means one is squashing one’s pride and removing ego from the piece, on behalf of the more important sake of the reader’s understanding and ultimately, God’s glory.

When you choose to spend your limited time reading any material, but especially blog posts, think about if the writer has carried through his first responsibility: clarity. See if you can intuit what should be his/her motivation; glorifying God. In sum: ask yourself, Does this piece clearly make a point that helps my understanding of Jesus, and does it glorify God- or does it glorify the author?

Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).


Posted in theology, writing

Real Talk and Upcoming posts

Hello Friends,

Thank you so much for reading! In a few short months I’ll have been writing daily at this blog for ten years. That is a testament to the Holy Spirit and His Word that there is so much information to plumb in one closed canon!

When blogs first came to the fore, I was delighted. I’m a writer, though I’ve never managed to make a living at it. I have always had the urge to write-write-write, but publication avenues for me, the little guy, were tightly held by publishing gatekeepers.

So when the gates opened and publishing on a global platform became available via blogs, I was thrilled. However, the dangers only grew, because now my one and only “client” is Jesus. In addition, I need to write what He would want me to write, but I need to study in order to learn what would please Him.

One danger of long-term blogging is complacency. It would be terrible to take advantage of Jesus’s love and forgiveness and write sloppily about Him.

Another danger is marginalizing Him. Writing about my own desires and interests would be terrible on a blog devoted to exalting His name.

An additional kind of danger to writing for years is casualness with Bible verses. Vigilance is required in the Christian walk and that goes for everything we do, but especially what we do specifically in His name.

Anyway, you get the idea. I want Jesus to be the forefront of all I write and do in life and on the blog.

Below are some topics I plan to write about in upcoming days. Have a blessed weekend and week ahead everyone!

The Great Banquet (Man-made weekend retreat, not the biblical promise)

The Origin of Satan

The End of Satan

Slavery: Ancient and Modern

Kay Cude Poetry

A Day in the Life of A: Potter

Sunday Word of the Week: Immutability

jesus lily 6

Posted in blogging, spirit, writing

My top posts of the year

I’m preparing my annual earthquake update chart, comparing the number of quakes in the 5, 6, 7, and 8+ magnitude range to USGS annual benchmark, from 2001 onward. I publish that annually on Dec 31. Meanwhile, I’m looking over the past year or two in terms of what interested people and what brought them to the blog. I don’t tailor my writing to keyword entries or search engine optimization, I just write what I’m burdened to write, but I am curious to see where the Spirit leads people and what blog entries are read. What is on people’s minds?

The posts which receive the most views always surprise me. They’re never the ones where I’d shed the most tears in prayer and anguish writing them. They are never the ones I felt were spiritually necessary. They’re never the ones I think will be the most edifying. They are always a surprise.

Blogger gives you the option for seeing statistics for the month, day, week, or all time. Not the year. So in looking at all-time posts here is the skinny.

ChurchChannel TV

The top posts of all time come from 2013 and 2011. I write in three categories; encouragement, discernment, and prophecy. Regarding discernment, I write about many famous individuals, comparing their doctrine to the bible’s to see if they are presenting orthodoxy, heterodoxy, or heresy. To that end, I’ve looked at famous Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Sarah Young, Rachel Held Evans, and Billy Graham. The post in which I wrote about a person which received the most views are none of those. In 2011 I wrote about Jentezen Franklin and it is the post about him which still lingers near the top for most hits ever. Surprise!

Remember the Daniel Plan? Not Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan, Jentezen Franklin’s. It was a heavy fad in 2011. I wrote about the Plan and about Mr Franklin’s book in November 2011 and we were off and running.

Jentezen Franklin and his false teachings about fasting.
I started it this way:
There are many churches today participating in the current fad known as The Daniel Fast. This is a man-made so-called spiritual activity that is supposed to automatically draw you closer to God by eating things that are on a list and not eating things that are not on a list.

My church at the time was one of those participating in the ‘fast’ and flogging the book from the pulpit too. Heavily. I thought the only book that should be promoted from the pulpit should be the bible, and was concerned that the leadership was falling into false doctrines put out there by a known word-faith, liberal preacher by having us sign legalistic contracts committing to the fast and other things which were of concern. I shared these concerns with the leadership and learned first-hand about Mark Driscoll’s method of dealing with members who ask questions: either you get on board unquestioningly or you are thrown under the bus with the other dead bodies that had been thrown there. This was Bevere’s ‘Covering Theology‘ on steroids. I was summarily fired from all the ministries I’d been involved in for years, told I was a critical troublemaker led by the devil, and disfellowshipped the same day. No one ever sought reconciliation, or even told me what my sin was.

So the Jentezen Franklin blog entry’s high number of hits shows me that others are concerned, also. The Lord is gracious and wise, and I’m forever grateful for the experience I learned at that time. He gave me an opportunity to speak Holy Truth to carnal power, to learn many things doctrinal and heretical, caused me to search out the truth about this flavor of false doctrine, and help other people who struggled with the devastating effects of spiritual abuse.

In 2011 I also wrote about the people who spent all their savings ahead of the Doomsday date that the now-deceased Harold Camping predicted (May 21, 2011).
Facepalm: man spends all his savings in advance of (false) May 21 rapture date

This is still the second most looked at blog entry. People are inordinately curious about dates, looking for clues as to “when”, and constantly seek after people who claim to “know.” (1 John 2:20). Many sought after Mr Camping when he said that he had unlocked the secret date from the bible, that the rapture would be May 21, 2011. His heart was in the right place, he sincerely wanted people to repent before it was too late, but his methods got tangled up. Later Mr Camping repented and apologized.

However, some sold all they had and waited, in vain of course. That was what the blog entry was about, that we all have the same Spirit and no one knows the date of His coming. No one has different knowledge than another who can also appeal to Him for illumination of His eternal truths. (1 John 2:20, John 14:26).

The top blog entry this year and also tops all others in terms of hits, by a lot, is the Sideways Necklace entry. I’m astounded at this. Of all things I’ve written about, prophetic, discernment, or encouraging, that this should remain the most looked at blog entry of all. I wrote it in March of this year, and despite its newcomer status, quickly outstripped the Ghost Horse of Tarhir Square, The Harold Camping rapture date debacle, and the Jentezen Franklin Daniel Fast, all of which were written several years ago and are also near the top in views.

When Egypt erupted in a violent overthrow
and its government fell in Spring of 2011 (Arab Spring)
some say they saw on video a Pale Horse ride
in Tarhir Square. No one debunked it, ever, and you know
how they love to do that

The latest Christian fad- Is wearing a sideways (horizontal) cross good, or bad?

I wondered, is it because it is about jewelry and probably mostly women read this blog? Is it because (one may hope) that Christians don’t want to bring shame onto the name of Jesus or His symbol by doing something wrong with it? Is it a cultural fad that goes deeper than I thought? Is it spiritual warfare on a scale I don’t understand? All the answers to these questions I ask about this blog entry escape me. All I know is the blog entry caused and is still causing a stir. It sparked a forum war on the women’s scrapbooking discussion page Two Peas. Twice. It was linked to on a Yahoo discussion page. Every day if I look at the stats page, there it is, topping the list. There is no doubt, a LOT of people want to know what the sideways cross means.

All this teaches me that there is no essay I can write about Jesus in His name or for His name that I can take for granted. NO! It teaches me caution, humility, and carefulness to a higher degree.

I was listening to a John MacArthur Q&A recently. Someone remarked to Dr MacArthur that all his sermons are online, the sermons he’s preached since 1969, as well as commentaries, essays, and other writings. It is a massive volume of material that is accessible to the public, for our edification. He praised the Lord for the ability to reach people in this way, but then said with a seriousness to his voice, “It’s a lot to be responsible for.”

He sets a good example. We will be called to account for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36) so please let none of these words be idle. I should be just as careful to represent truth as best as I know and in grace and humility (but firmly) as I did when I started this blog 5 years ago. Let not familiarity with writing about Him ever breed contempt! Each and every word I write, no matter what the subject, which aims to edify, encourage, or rebuke should be done consciously and carefully.

Ultimately it’s not a lesson in hits or views but a lesson in the road the Spirit takes. Some entries edify only a few people but in a deep way. That is satisfying. Some entries seem more superficial to me but affect many more people for longer periods. That is satisfying too. In the end it doesn’t matter, because the Spirit is in charge and all He does, and all I hope to do through Him, is point to Christ. Jesus is the only subject that matters. Every subject is about Him. If anything I write, from jewelry to the Resurrection, points to His glory, justice, beauty, mercy, grace or any other attribute, then it is well with my soul.

Top posts of 2013

The latest Christian fad- Is wearing a sideways (horizontal) cross good, or bad?

Pope Benedict resigned

Why are there so many false prophets?

Part 1- Discerning a Gnostic conference called “Passion 2013,” Jesus Culture and Kim Walker-Smith

Famous for being famous, some live unreal life on reality tv

Rachel Held Evans asks “What if my son or daughter were gay…” and gets a response from Dr Joel McDurmon

The rapidity with which the world is descending into chaos is amazing

Top number of comments

The Sideways Necklace and Jentezen Franklin posts received many comments, which I enjoy as an opportunity to point people back to Jesus and/or the scriptures, to correct misconceptions about the scriptures, or to learn something from readers. After 70 or 80 or 90 comments, though, I employ my old newspaper standard on whether to allow any more. If everything has been said, if the Gospel has been shared, if a wide range of questions has been asked, representing the likely range of future questions and comments, I turn comments off. I’ve done that for only a handful of posts, though. Including the Sideways Necklace and J. Franklin posts, the most commented posts were:

Pope Benedict Resigns, garnered the most buzz this year. No doubt because I’d stated that Catholicism is a false religion, AND I mentioned the Malachy thing. I wish I hadn’t.

Rachel Held Evans asks “What if my son or daughter were gay…” and gets a response from Dr Joel McDurmon

People were really concerned about Comet Elenin. Many people commented.

Thank you brethren, mockers, atheists, and friends who read this blog. Thank you for commenting and most especially for praying for me! I’ll be here at this blogspot for as long as the Holy Spirit can use me or wants me to write. Happy New Year and may 2014 be the year of the Rapture.