Interview with

Pastor, Nashville, Tennessee

Audio Transcript

Welcome back to Ask Pastor John. I trust your celebration of the resurrection of Christ was wonderful. Today and tomorrow we’re joined by author and pastor Ray Ortlund. Ray, in your excellent commentary on Proverbs, published in 2012, you wrote this: “Twitter and blogs and emails would be cleared of much conflict if we humbled our opinions before Christ. What are we here for, really? What does God want to be stirred up in our hearts? He says, stir one another up to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)” (161). You’re online. So explain the connection and how this works for you in deciding what to post on social media and Facebook.

Social Media Snag

I don’t think of Facebook as a website. It is a land mine, brilliantly disguised as a website. So I got out of Facebook last summer. And I didn’t just deactivate my account; I deleted it. Because I found that for me personally, it started to take too much time. I found it just got me riled up at times in ways I don’t want. It is not hard to find political stupidity. It is not hard to find reasons to get angry over developments in our culture and so forth, and there was too much there that was counteracting my desire to walk with the Lord. So I bailed out.

I still have a blog at The Gospel Coalition. I do use Twitter and I do use Instagram. Those are more controlled environments online, and I can still pursue my purposes more easily there.

Sustain and Encourage

But when you ask what I try to do with social media, I think of a wonderful verse in Isaiah 50:4:

The Lord God has given me
     the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
     him who is weary.

Everyone is weary. We are living under intense pressure. We don’t need more. What we all need is to be helped with a sustaining word. And it doesn’t need to be much. And I can’t ask anyone for their attention for very long. So whether it is a blog post, or whatever it might be, I want to sustain with a brief word the one who is weary. I want to maximize what I can impart to them with a minimum of commitment on their part. So I don’t want to be the online watchdog of the Christian church and the corrector of everything that is wrong. I want to be an encourager. I think the Lord is. I believe encouragement is one of the most important ministries of the Christian church. And I think that is what social media is for.