Write On? – Advice sought….

Write On

A Few Personal End of Year Reflections about Writing

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I am going to take a wee break from writing and for those who read this blog I thought I would seek your advice.  I began writing a few years ago. Or should I say that I began writing in public a few years ago. I had always kept a diary, written personal letters and wrote regular letters to newspapers.   When I was minister in Brora I had a regular column in ‘the Raggie’ (The Northern Times) which quite often saw me get in trouble – I remember two articles in particular that almost got me sacked – one on the Duke of Sutherland and one on abortion.

However it was only about ten years ago that I really began serious writing for public consumption. I had been given a column on the old Free Church website and I noticed that my various musings often got quite a response. In one of those columns I took on Richard Dawkins and this then resulted in the 2007 The Dawkins Letters, which became a surprise bestseller9781845502614. This was followed by Magnificent Obsession, Engaging with Atheists and Quench (a short book about Café evangelism published by Solas). I had earlier written a modern life of McCheyne entitled Awakening.  I continued the letter writing to newspapers, with the only difference being that they were published more often.   But it was the Internet that opened up a whole new world. I found it a whole lot easier to write articles for newspapers and this meant that with a quick response and turn around rate a lot more were getting published. Over the years I had become used to writing two sermons per week, numerous letters, a diary, academic papers, essays and occasional articles for publication.

And then I began this blog. One of my friends wondered whether it was like giving a pyromaniac a box of matches in a gunpowder store…but I began anyway. Initially I did not really think that anyone would read it. I basically wrote for myself – I guess you could say it was like a kind of therapy. I wrote what I felt and tried to think through issues on paper – or at least on screen. Many, many times I got it wrong but there were also times of great encouragement – as I realised that some people were provoked, others challenged, some encouraged and others even changed!   It slowly dawned on me that this was as much a ministry as the pastoral, preaching and evangelistic work I do.

I like facts and figures so I find it interesting how the numbers reading this blog have grown:

In 2013 – 55,524 views –

2014 – 179,023

2015 – 308,553

2016 – 713, 688 (so far)

It also intrigues me where they come from – the top ten countries by views are:

  1. UK
  2. USA
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Ghana
  6. Germany
  7. South Africa
  8. France
  9. Ireland
  10. The Netherlands

In 2016 what surprised me was that I had visitors from 190 countries out of 196 in the world.

And what are they interested in. The top ten articles in 2016 have been: (Click on the links to see each one.

  1. European Referendum – The Tipping Point
  2. Why Creflo Dollar is Not Welcome in Scotland
  3. The Blasphemy of Christian Voice and an Apology to Tom Daley
  4. Scotland’s Shame as Political Leaders Embarrass Ghana
  5. An Open Letter to Creflo Dollar
  6. The Ultimate April Fool – An Open Letter to Nicola Sturgeon
  7. A World Without God – Six Statements from Sally Phillips Documentary
  8. Why I’m Leaving Secular Scotland
  9. David Bowie – the Hysteria, the Sorrow, the Frustration and the Hope
  10. Creflo Dollar and Scotland – The Reaction.

Whereas last year five out of the ten were to do with the Church of Scotland, this year three out of the ten were concerning Creflo Dollar. I received a considerable amount of personal correspondence on this, most of which was very encouraging. A large number were people in Destiny who did not agree with 270ED01A00000578-0-image-a-5_1427485353958the position their leadership took (and who incidentally kicked back pretty strong as they tried to do damage limitation). I was glad to be able to articulate their thoughts and feelings. It’s interesting that these articles still get regular visitors every day from the US…

 

 

By far the most read and influential was the European referendum article that was read on my blog byurl 100,000 people and was passed on to many more. It took a long time for me to research and write. Like Boris Johnson I could have gone either way and almost did the same as him – writing two articles, one either way. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people said the article had been helpful and in some cases even changed their minds. I am glad to have done my wee bit for Brexit!

In writing there is a temptation to write in order to get as many readers as possible, but that’s not my aim. I still write for myself but I hope and pray it is helpful to people. It’s all too easy to write something controversial in order to try and get numbers, but I think I am past that stage. I actually don’t like the controversy and the vehemence, anger, bitterness and hatred that often follow. Several times I have hesitated before posting something because I know that it will offend/hurt/wound some and I really don’t want to do that. My purpose is to challenge but only in order to build up. My interest is in building the Kingdom of Christ for his Glory.

Basically I try to write about what I am interested in, and what I feel…however I am also aware of who is reading and I try to remember that this is no longer just for my own personal benefit.   Journalists, politicians and preachers read this. But for me the most important people are what I would call the ordinary punters. The Christians who write and are thankful that the Lord enables me to express what they feel, those who don’t agree but are challenged and sometimes correct me; and the non-Christians who engage with, question and challenge me.

Of course not every one is appreciative. And that is the way it should be. I don’t really want to upset people but there are some people who, if I did not upset, I would upset myself! – Modernist Liberal Christians, Post-Modern Evangelicals, Traditionalist Christians and New Fundamentalist Atheists!!11984435_747276025376923_1009851302_o

Liberal Christians do my head in…they are usually not very Christian nor very Liberal. They spend their time denying either Christ or his Word and they are very illiberal to those who dare to disagree with them.   But that’s nothing compared with Post-Modern Evangelicals who are basically 19th Century Protestant Liberals in American Evangelical clothing. They are always ‘on a journey’, and they self identify as ‘brave, courageous, challenging’, when in reality they are about as conformist and as culturally safe as you can get. And they use the language of love in order to encourage hate. I have become very wary of people who sign of with ‘blessing and love’ or other such spiritual clichés. They usually do this after they have stuck the boot into you – calling you unintelligent, legalistic, unloving, backwards, out of touch etc. and then they virtue signal to their followers by signing themselves off ‘in love’! A knife in your back is still a knife in your back – even if it comes covered in sheeps wool!

The Traditionalists are those who profess love for Christ, and for all I know may actually be Christians, but they have got their priorities wrong. They are the people who can weep over a communion table being moved but never shed a tear over lost souls. They are more interested in the finer points of ecclesiology than they are about theology or Christ. Like the liberals and postmodern evangelicals they often couch their prejudices in spiritual language, but the hardness, hypocrisy and unreality is usually just bubbling away under the spiritual veneer.   I have a small following of anti-Catholic bigots who every now and then start up a wee Twitter campaign, just because I dared to cite Pope Benedict without calling him the Anti-Christ.   I feel sorry for those they influence but sometimes they are so OTT it becomes amusing. My favourite? The time a conference organiser was told ‘you can’t sell his book – he’s the spawn of Satan!”….

The NFAs are unreachable. They emote whilst stating that they are the only reasonable ones. They live in their own wee fundamentalist bubble and refuse to engage with anyone outwith it, other than to mock. I guess that’s why they read and re-post my blogs so often. In this respect it’s interesting to note that everything you write on the Internet is there forever!   I have people who are constantly quoting back (often out of context) things I wrote years ago. In fact, right on cue, even as I write this, a message has gone up on social media citing something I said about Islam several years ago and telling me that I ‘entertain’ everyone on Secular Scotland.  Being aware of this, the danger is on the one hand that you can get really bland, trying hard not to say anything, anytime which could possibly offend anyone – which in this post-truth snowflake generation is almost impossible anyway! Or, on the other, you go all Trumpesque, shock jock and say the most outrageous things in order to provoke – but not unto love and good works. I have no real interest in this because I know that I have to answer to a higher authority. There will come a time when I have to give account to Him for every careless word written.  What can man (or woman!) do to me?

I no longer am involved in any of the secularist webpages and social media, mainly because of the vitriol and abuse but also because I came to realize that they actually represent just a tiny proportion of atheists and secularists and my time is better spent with the majority with are much more reasonable. There is a sense in which I think the argument has been won and we have bigger fish to catch!

Let me deal with one complaint. It’s actually two – but they are really different sides of the same coin. There are those who read this and say they enjoy it but could I leave out the religious stuff?! There are others who read and say could I leave out the political stuff? I can’t do either. I just can’t divide the world neatly like that. I don’t claim that my opinions have any authority because they are my opinions. Rather they are just personal reflections based upon my understanding of the world, and the view that the Bible is the only sure and absolute authority.

 

But the Bible is not a political manual any more than it is a scientific manual. The Lord has given us minds to think and to try and work out, in the light of His Word, where we are at and what is happening. That is all I am trying to do. In effect this blog is my thinking out loud, and trying to read the world, in the light of God’s word. In that I believe I am fulfilling not only the Creation mandate but also that of Paul in Romans 12: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

“A wish has sometimes been expressed, than men who, like Owen, have contributed so largely to the enriching of our theological literature, could have been spared the endless avocations of public life, and allowed to devote themselves almost entirely to authorship. But the wisdom of this sentiment is very questionable. Experience seems to testify that a certain amount of contact with the business of practical life is necessary to the highest style of thought and authorship;  and that mind, when left to undisturbed literary leisure, are apt to degenerate into habits of diseased speculation and sickly fastidiousness.  Most certainly the works that have come from men of monastic mind have done little for the world, compared with the writings of those who have ever been ready to obey the voice which summoned them away from tranquil studies to brace the storms and guide the movements of great social conflicts. The men who have lived the most earnestly for their own age have also lived the most usefully for posterity.”   Andrew Thomson on John Owen – Work Vol 1 – LXVIII

I don’t want to be a writer. I want to be involved with life and to change it. But I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword. That’s why I write. That’s why I try to read, understand and listen to as many people and points of view as possible so that I can learn how to apply the Word of God in the context of the cultures that we live in.

How do you do it? This is a question I am often asked. I’m not really sure. I work by inspiration as much as perspiration! If I do not feel inspired I find it almost impossible to write. I usually take one day a week to write – and one hour a day after that. What is more important is what I take in. I try to read at least a couple of hours a day, avoid reading social media (even though I use it) and I try to keep track of anything that is interesting or useful that I could use later. (Evernote has been very helpful). I try to read widely – magazines like The Spectator, Private Eye and The Week. I don’t really bother with newspapers, which nowadays really don’t have much news. Although I do take the Dundee Courier and get some articles online. I read about 100 books per year.  I read historical works, modern fiction, the Puritans, the early Church Fathers, poetry, biographies, and books about contemporary subjects both by Christians and non-Christians.   I need to get my filing system sorted! And most of all I pray that the Lord would give the inspiration and the ideas. For example my latest blog on Prince Charles happened because I saw his talk online, wanted to respond but then thought I shouldn’t. I woke up the next morning with an outline in my head…and after praying about it, just sat down and wrote it straight.

So where now?  Finally – this is where you dear reader come in!  I am really tired and am going to take a wee break.  When I return I seek your advice…what should I do?  Is it worthwhile continuing to write in secular and Christian media?  Is this blog helpful or do you think it is even a hinderance to the kingdom?  Feel free to leave your comments or to contact me personally.  What ways could I improve?  All suggestions and constructive criticisms gratefully received.   I have no interest in wasting time or mucking around.  Time is short.  The days are evil and I just can’t be bothered with trivia.  I write as a dying man to dying men (and women if the use of the generic term passes you by!).   If this blog helps the Lords people then I will continue…if not, then I would rather stop anyway!  Now is not a time to be self-indulgent.   I am first of all a preacher and evangelist.  I will only write in public insofar as it helps the preaching and proclamation of the good news…

I write on average five articles per week. There is a weekly one for Christian Today, a six weekly for the Scotsman and a weekly podcast for Solas (Quantum of Solas is continuing to develop)…I try to write one a week on politics, one on apologetics/evangelism and one on church/pastoral issues.   I  also try and do a weekly review (books/films/culture).

I am going to take a complete break until the New Year. No blog, no social media, no writing. And hopefully I will come back refreshed. It’s not as if I have run short of ideas….I have a backlog of about fifty articles I want to write.   Some of them will never see the light of day…others I am not sure about. I am greatly concerned about some of the things I see in the church in the UK and wonder if I should write about them. There are also some cultural/political aspects which I’m not sure I am seeing right…but fools rush in…!

A woman who complained that he used far too much humour in the pulpit once accosted Spurgeon. His response was “You may be right, madam, but you should be thankful for what I don’t use!”. In like manner I would suggest that it may be the case that I have been too forthright and blunt, but you should be thankful for what I haven’t used! For example I have a couple of articles about the current situation on the church in Scotland and the UK which I was going to put out last week, but have decided to hold off until the New Year. I might wound some friends but then the wounds of a friend are faithful! I will pray about it over the next few days and may put them out after that.

Anyway if you have bothered to read this far…thanks. If you are a Christian I value your prayers, support and feedback. If you are not a Christian I value your being open-minded enough to read this and I pray for you – so that one day you can pray for me and we can share in the work of the Lord together. We only have one life to live and it is surely best that we live it for Jesus.

If anything I have said has hurt, wounded or offended you – I apologise. If anything has helped and encouraged you I ask you to thank the One who gave the inspiration and the words.   May the Lord bless you all richly over the Christmas period and God willing I hope to see you in the New Year.
David

 

Psa. 45:1    “My heart is stirred by a noble theme

                        as I recite my verses for the king;

                        my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”

 

 

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47 thoughts on “Write On? – Advice sought….

  1. Take a good long break. Until Easter would not be too long. When you’ve reached this point, you are wearier than you realise.

    Your blog has been excellent and valuable. But remember … the graveyards are full of people who knew that they were irreplaceable.

  2. If you’ve thought out something, just before you start ask yourself the question “why am I writing this?” Not “am I right? Is it important? Will it make a difference?” But *why* am *I* writing this? If the honest answer satisfies you then write it, if not then don’t.

  3. David I and others that I know have found your writings challenging and insightful. I agree with 95% of what you write. Please keep writing as God leads you. So often Christians do not want to offend or attract attention. If your writing is God lead and keeps us upto date with what is happening in the world then don’t stop. If it’s for the glory which I do not believe it is then stop. David blessings to you and yours yes take time out for yourself and your family. Philip Rose.

  4. David, I find your blog, and indeed all of your articles so helpful, thought provoking, perceptive and, most importantly, trustworthy. I am so thankful for the gifts you have been given and your willingness to speak God’s Word to a society straying ever further from him, no matter the cost.
    Although it must often seem to you that you are a lone voice, your writing helps readers like me to take a stand alongside you in our own less significant way.

    Please keep writing but take all the rest you need for all our sakes and we will continue to pray for you and with you with gratitude to God for entrusting you with such valuable gifts.

  5. I have benefited from your blog and would be disappointed if you stopped writing altogether. But I must confess I don’t read all of your articles – only those that strike me as particularly significant. This is because I follow other blogs too….. And with the dawn of a new year have been reviewing my use of the Blogosphere….I’m going to reduce my use of these resources and though I don’t expect to read less of what you write, I doubt I’ll be reading more. So, if you feel the need to reduce your output, that’s fine with me, but please don’t stop writing altogether.

  6. Hi David

    There is no question whatsoever that you should continue to write and comment on political, religious and indeed any other type of area the Lord inspires you to write on. Your blog is incredibly helpful and a great blessing to a great many people – many of whom like me don’t always comment positively or negatively but who find it a great blessing just to read.

    I also love to write and would like to do more (my legal background helps) but as someone still getting to grips with being a local pastor of a small church in Troon and raising my still young family finding any sort of time to do so is very hard. I’m also still training with Cornhill’s pTC course which takes up one day a week most weeks. But I find your blog challenging and engaging and would encourage you to please continue with it for as long as you are able.

    One constructive criticism or perhaps hopefully more of a helpful suggestion. As far as is possible don’t write the blog when you are angry or tired. I have sensed on some rare occasions that something has occurred and you have felt the need to respond to it quickly and perhaps in haste. I find sometimes the clarity of your argument and structure can suffer a little bit when it is written while you are perhaps tired or angry about the topic. I know when I am upset or very tired things just sort of get poured out on the page when if I left it a day or so my writing and structure would benefit from it. This may not be something you recognise and may only be my perception so please ignore if that is the case.

    In the meantime enjoy your rest over Christmas and thanks again for your ministry here through the blog.

    God Bless.

    Woodsy.

  7. Thank you, David, for all that you have written over the years. Yes – take a (well-deserved) break, but be assured that your work has been greatly appreciated by many (and quoted by many of us, as well!). I shall probably ‘crib’ parts of this post for my own blog, as you express much better than I some of the rationale behind yours. Be blessed, brother, and have a wonderful Christmas time, and a new year that will bring much joy to your spirit. Shalom.

  8. Sure, take a break. We all need to come apart and rest awhile every now and then. Maybe even scale down if you need, to focus better and rest properly. But if you’re thinking of giving up the fight with the pen – let’s be honest, it’s not like Scotland is full of men of God with a voice, talking into the important issues that are going on (with any sort of clarity anyway). Sure, God could replace you, and I really hope that other voices are raised with yours, to rather join you than replace. But for now, I think that those who are able (as I think you can) to both *see* the terrible state of the Church and the land AND *speak* effectively into the mess, should keep doing so.
    Basically, keep at it brother. Keep up the fight. That’s my slant anyway. Not that I agree with everything you say (!!) but for the most part you’re a voice of godly reason that often shows very clearly that the Emperor of our culture has no clothes on, and you suggest a remedy!
    Glory to God.
    Dauvit Mac Niel (pal of JC)

  9. Have a rest David ….you deserve and probably need it! However, your prophetic voice is now required more that ever in Scotland. You alone amongst Scotland’s evangelicals have given ordinary under believers a voice by articulating their concerns on a whole range of issues. Given that almost every other evangelical leader has either run away from the fight, or is too preoccupied with self promotion, your voice is a massive encouragement to people like me. Please have a blessed Christmas. My wife and I are praying fervently that you will have renewed strength and vision from the Living God in 2017.

  10. “I realised that some people were provoked, others challenged, some encouraged and others even changed! ” Reason enough to continue , David. I have to say I have benefited a great deal from your writings , becoming all too aware of the danger of climbing on your back rather than standing fast or running my own race. I am also aware that there is a price the messenger often has to pay , and in today’s world that can be high. I am in no doubt that in the cause of Christ it is one which you are willing to pay . May it however, be for the cause of Christ you spend yourself and not for those of us who troll “The Wee Flea” as though seeking a fix , or spiritual high.
    Roger has it spot on , and I too would encourage you to take a lengthier break . Yes ! I shall miss you , but I’d rather know that you were enjoying your God given family, knowing that you will be returning refreshed and stronger in body , mind and spirit . May the Lord bless you and yours at this Christmas time .

  11. Well Well, David Robertson asking his readers what to do?
    That could be interesting !
    It depends who you ask ? Asking some of your readers (especially lovers of CREFFLO) what you should do is like asking the leaders of ISIS, what they think of America and devout Chrstians ?
    It’s because of the revelation of my sin, the glorious Chrits and the regeneration and transformation of my heart and mind that I proclaim Christ. Yet I can honestly say that it is through reading very much of Pastor David Robertsons writings that I can articulate it much better, dialogue and not be afraid of any nasty, beligerent, vociferous hatetheist.

    Oh how spineless, gutless and how I want to make the gospel so paletable pastors could take a leaf out of the David Robertson manuals.
    Please do not stop writing its as simple as that.
    From Western Australia.

  12. Well Well, David Robertson asking his readers what to do?
    That could be interesting !
    It depends who you ask ? Asking some of your readers (especially lovers of CREFFLO) what you should do is like asking the leaders of ISIS, what they think of America and devout Christians ?
    It’s because of the revelation of my sin, the glorious Christ and the regeneration and transformation of my heart and mind that I proclaim Christ. Yet I can honestly say that it is through reading very much of Pastor David Robertsons writings that I can articulate it much better, dialogue and not be afraid of any nasty, beligerent, vociferous hatetheist.

    Oh how spineless, gutless and how I want to make the gospel so paletable pastors could take a leaf out of the David Robertson manuals.
    Please do not stop writing its as simple as that.
    From Western Australia.

  13. Dear David. It is good to have a break. Next year I will be taking a 3 month sabbatical after about 23 years in pastoral ministry. We all need to draw aside – especially for prayer, and time alone with our Lord. I value your writing and this blog very much. My interest is the prophetic voice within the Church – and you have a prophetic calling as well as a calling to teach the faith, which you do with simplicity and clarity. Your writing is needed, and as far as I am concerned, it is a gift to the church. I would urge others who appreciate what you write, to faithfully pray for your blessing and protection. We often forget that we are in a battle (Eph 6) and some are called to be on the frontline. Rest in Christ’s peace.
    God bless you and your family
    Rev Peter J Clarkson

  14. Dear David Really believe the world in general and the world of Followers of Jesus attempting to witness in the public square in particular, would be so much the poorer if you decide not to continue. I personally thank you for you clear biblical leadership which I have so often found crystallised my own thinking on the issues of the day. From my personal point of view an a Christian and an elder in IPC, you are a unique and irreplaceable resource. I refer believers and unbelievers to your writings and I know of no one who whether they agree with you or not , and most finish up unable to disagree with your message are not blessed by your clear proclamation of the Gospel and how it related to the sometimes messy business of life and witness in the present age and the age to come.

    May our great God continue to bless guide inspire and use you for his glory.

    Not that we agree unconditionally with all your Scottish nationalism , but we in N Ireland have no one of your erudition and clear expression to give us a voice- perhaps Peter Lynas one day though I doubt he will write such a masterpiece on covenant baptism as you recently did.

    We are sorry your talks with PCI did not go better recently Maybe in the future? Enjoy your break and take as long as you need, but I shall be sorry if your sword does not rise again in Dundee You are in my thoughts and prayers

    Mervyn Hawe

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  15. Discovered this blog some time after meeting you at a seminar in Thurso in 2012? Have clicked on daily ever since as I have found it most informative; the topics well covered and I am always looking forward to the next article.
    Yes you must take a break if you feel the need, remembering of course that Jesus Himself felt the need to withdraw for a while. If He needed to ‘re-charge His batteries’ then so do the rest of us.
    Looking forward to when you take up your pen again, but not before you have had a proper break.
    Prayers and best wishes.

    Steve Oliver

  16. Your blog has been very encouraging and has helped clarify my thinking about a number of issues, political, social, and spiritual. It is helpful to me as a young Christian to have someone who engages rather than dodges a lot of issues and who explains things from a solid Christian worldview. However, it is up to you to seek God’s will in whether to continue or not. We appreciate you but you have lots to do and only so much time.

    As someone who writes like I breathe, my advice would cautiously be that if you cannot ignore the desire to write then you shouldn’t try. If you find that it doesn’t bother you not to write then it is no great loss. You can hear the difference in the writing if someone who writes out of duty and someone who writes because that is what they do.

  17. Dear David you are as a voice crying in the wilderness. There are not many others and I have enjoyed your blog, please do not give up. Do have a rest and follow the way that God wants for you.

  18. Please, by all means, take a break and come back refreshed. It isn’t only Scotland and the UK that need your voice. You are the voice of Christian reason around the world in areas that are becoming more secular and libertine by the day. I learn a great deal from you, not just from your ideas and opinions but also how to write in a way that is less inflammatory than my current direct style. David, you may feel like the voice of one crying in the wilderness, but rest assured your cry is being heard.
    Eternal God and Father,
    by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed:Guide and strengthen your servant David by your spirit that he may get the rest of body and mind that he needs, and that he may return to the harvest field ready and willing with both word and pen to serve you as you would have him to through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

  19. Thanks David. I trust that you and yours enjoyed celebrating the Saviour’s birth yesterday, and hoped for some to come to saving faith in your worship service and in all your preaching and writing ministry.

    I deeply value your cogent analysis of issues like Brexit and the LGBTi ‘debate’. I, along with so many others I’m sure, would feel grievously bereft of your counsel should you feel that the Lord is calling you to take a permanent break from public writing, blogging, etc. At times your robust apologetic has bordered on being just a tad OTT but I have prayed for you, recognising the enormous pressures upon you from all the vitriol and hatred that has been aimed at you. I think that there is evidence that the Lord has been hearing and answering those prayers in recent weeks and months by helping you to express yourself with greater restraint and grace. You have a unique gifting and, I believe, prophetic calling, and I for one would encourage you to seek to continue to exercise those gifts and that ministry in the public sphere, despite the personal cost.

    With warm regards and best wishes for 2017

    Yours in Christ,

    Keith Rowbory

  20. You write well. Write what is on your heart and people will read and listen. You are a bridge between secular and sacred thought. Christians should have a comment on everything in creation. You direct us to helpful comments! Just because some people don’t appreciate it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear it.

  21. David
    I only really got introduced to your writings (mainly blog) in 2016 and have been inspired and challenged by what you have written. I am a bit of a novice when it comes to trying to articulate in a clear and coherent way a Christian voice into increasingly perplexing challenges and changes within our society. Yours however, is both helping me and is a voice that STILL needs heard. I cannot fathom how you are able to write in as prolific a way as you do other than to see it as a gift you have been given by the grace of God. Personally, and it is only a personal opinion, I would like to see you continue. I am aware that the call to pastoral ministry is a calling to many sacrifices which though are nothing compared to Christ’s sacrifice, are still personal and at times painful. You have endured much vitriol for your writings and if I or others can help share in that burden then please let me know how best to support you – I mean that!!! These, for what they are worth are some suggestions which may or may not be of value: 1/ If your writing work load does not impinge upon the time you give to your wife and family and your many other pastoral requirements then keep at it, though you may be better and stay fresh for longer focusing on 2-3 rather than 5 weekly commitments 2/ While this may initially be a bit more work is there someone you could either mentor or designate (as you oversee) to take on the responsibility of some of the more local writing stuff? Is this even something SOLAS can do? 3/ I have caught glimpses of your wit in your articles and think there is a place for more of it that would not undermine in any way the seriousness of what you say. 4/ Given your service to the wider church could your local congregation (if they don’t already do so) allocate 2-3 weeks in the year for writing leave. I think Timothy Keller is given a month off in July to focus on sermon preparation for September onwards and then is given August for his holidays. You might argue that you are Timothy Keller but then I will only argue Timothy Keller is not you! I have read his books and your articles and you both have unique styles, each as helpful as the other! 5/ As one person commented, I think you should give yourself a good amount of time to rest from and reflect on how much you should write. I do not doubt that you should continue writing but heed your own advice and don’t rush in. I usually sign my letters, texts, emails etc to people with ‘Blessings’ but not sure I should do it now (ha ha). Please note it is not with a dagger in the back but hopefully from the sword of the Spirit to the heart – Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

  22. Please have a good rest, but please do not stop writing. We need articulate evangelicals who can stand for biblical truth against the unrelenting pressure from the LGBT/secular voices, and there are too few of these in the media. God bless and refresh you

  23. Thank you for your very interesting articles and thoughts David. I hope to hear you and read you after a very well deserved rest!

  24. Hi David,

    Have a restful break.

    Continue writing, and perhaps more importantly, continue your activities in the media sphere. Yours is an important voice amidst the relativistic guff that is often spouted.

    Keep going.

  25. I read and comment on your various writings because I mostly disagree with it. Not your religion (and I hope I have never been too strident or mocking your written word purely based on religion) but how and where you seek to apply it – especially on those who do not agree with you and do not share your faith. As I have said to you before, your debating style is fairly unique so its good mental fun as well. We disagree on so much (Brexit for more than religion probably which is a little odd) but I always find it interesting to read what the other side say about the things that are important to me.

    That said, I don’t know if what you right is a hindrance or not. If I were to offer a point of view, nothing you have written about your faith has ever given me pause for thought. A lot of your output is ideal for those who believe as you, or perhaps want to believe as you do and need help getting there. I have read all of your articles here and other media and listened to your podcasts and other radio appearances. You are the walking embodiment, a clear stereotype of your position on your faith. I can see and read things in the media and think – thats going to vex David. And lo, there is a tweet or paragraph about it in your next blog or in a podcast. The prism through which you view the world is so clouded that you ignore, insult or impugn vast swaths of humanity. If they are not for you, then they are probably against you it seem.

    Which is a small tragedy really. There is so much you care about that can be called out without framing it as a faith thing. Educational attainment can be addressed without needing prayers on the curriculum. We both agree schools should and can do better but you’ve never explained (or answered my letter) about why *only* God in the classroom can achieve this. We both agree on poverty, we both agree on capitalism and greed, we agreed on things like Castro and we can agree on so much more. But how we look at things is different. You can only see the problems of the world through the context of the Bible. And you can only see Biblical solutions to these problems. I see the human beings and want to help them reach their fullest potential. Not for biblical reasons but because it is the right thing to do.

    If I were to offer a suggestion for change I would ask that you consider using your personal faith to drive your prodigious output into helping people rather than bludgeoning people with your faith in the hope that changes them for the better.

  26. I’m a fairly new comer to your blog and I don’t always agree with all your articles, but that makes me stop and think “why” don’t I agree with someone who is obviously following the Lord and is gifted in spreading his word. Is it ideology differences or misinterpretation of scripture. I’d like to see you do a series on moral law in today’s society linked into scripture.

  27. David,

    I find your blogs a great blessing, and to a certain extent a valuable rarity in that they challenge the uniformity of our militantly secular age. Woe betide those who dare challenge our evolved and refined modern values (just don’t ask how we philosophically justify these).

    Perhaps if you find yourself struggling to meet the demands of your vigorous schedule (which I find, quite frankly, unbelievable), you could seek to reduce the frequency of your blogs, and find more time for rest, recuperation and reflection?

    The frequency with which you currently write and issue your blogs I find greater than the time in which I (as a full time worker) find to read them.

    “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those that love him.” James 1:12

    Warm regards,

    Michael Wright

  28. Hi David
    Thanks for much for your blog, videos, debates and commentaries over the years. They have all been so helpful to me and I have often thrilled at the way you have engaged with atheists, proudly proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, even when the audience was hostile. Never doubt that you have been, and are, a blessing to the body of Christ. Everything you write has been encouraging and founded in the truth of the Gospel, which this world needs more than ever at this time. So, I do hope you continue your blog and other activities. I think the body of Christ needs your voice, urging us on, challenging us and encouraging us to proclaim the Lord Jesus, even as so many turn against His message. Everyone needs a break from time to time, so take that break for as long as you need. Then perhaps slowly come back, e.g. perhaps only the blog for a month or so, then broadening out into your other activities – such as writing to newspapers, debates, etc. Remember to look after your health … easy for us to say we want you to continue but only you know how much you can continue to take on. I hesitate to make this suggestion but as you take a break, perhaps dive into the book of Jeremiah – a prophet of his time who was burdened by his role as a voice in the wilderness of his time, whose messages were sometimes met with antipathy. I am sure you will be able to resonate with his feelings and no doubt you know that book in the Bible very well. Praying for you and hoping we do see you back, writing and commenting again, after your time of refreshment. All blessings to you …

  29. Breaking news from The (Virtual) Church of Scotland…

    “Broken feather brings an end to the querulous quill as David Robertson quits. Yippeeee There is a god of good news after all. Well, maybe.”

    But some random thoughts from me.

    1 You are not a writer, but you are “I am first of all a preacher and evangelist. I will only write in public insofar as it helps the preaching and proclamation of the good news…” You write as part of that ministry.

    2 Your desire, concern and motivations are

    2.1 “I want to be involved with life and to change it”

    2.2 “The Lord has given us minds to think and to try and work out, in the light of His Word, where we are at and what is happening. That is all I am trying to do. In effect this blog is my thinking out loud, and trying to read the world, in the light of God’s word. In that I believe I am fulfilling not only the Creation mandate but also that of Paul in Romans 12”

    2.3 “But for me the most important people are what I would call the ordinary punters.”(Christians). This is in opposition to those in particularly in leadership, liberals, former evangelicals ( Chalke, Tullian, Bell, Campolo) elder sons. In short, all those undermine the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who confuse and lead the sheep astray, and devour as wolves, those who implant heresy into the church. They have done and continue to do great damage and confusion to the body of Christ. So it is a concern that extends beyond your geographical reach and denomination. Do you have that responsibility? Is it a burden our LORD has placed on your heart? Basically it is a one of doctrine, scripture and belief, of which God.

    2.4 Urgency: “Time is short. The days are evil and I just can’t be bothered with trivia.”

    3 While you rightly say that what is written on the net is permanent, I find that there is a tendency and temptation to indulge in and respond to the relentless transient instant of social media of here today, forgotten tomorrow, similar to yesterdays newspapers. For me, an example is your apologetics series, which didn’t figure high in your stats, (though the cumulative number for the whole series may be higher). Generally, I’d be referring someone to your book in preference to searching it here. To me,that has more permanence but that may be a generational thing.

    4 There are two role reductions this year in your life which may be significant – the end of your term as Moderator and ceasing to be director of Solas. In worldly terms, this may reduce the weight given to your voice and like any significant role reduction may take time to work through and reassess.

    5 Stats: It may be significant that Bretix and Dolar are “one off’s”, but with continuing effect. So the key interests of the readers were politics (a one off, but much more than politics) and the church. And they were at the time you were Moderator, I think. But overall the main categories over two years seem to be the church, politics, morals (Sally Philips).
    Do they reflect your key drivers, motivations, concerns?

    6 Significant, to me, absences from the stats:
    6.1 Apologetics series
    6.2 Revelation series – there are not many comments here. So comments may or may not be an indication of popularity. The series is great, and a counterbalance to other theologies.

    7 Other blogs/sites comparison. I don’t view many, some permit and respond to comments, others don’t. Some are high brow theology, some simplistic “news”. Some are in the middle. Yours is a voice of involved “authenticity”, you write as you speak. WYSIWYG. Authentic seems to be something attractive to younger generations. Well, perhaps, insofar as they agree with you. Perhaps you should close down the comments.

    8 Keller. Keller “horizon scans” culture and underlying philosophy, In a recent podcast interview on his recent book he described as a practitioner rather than a theologian. So it all in furtherance of his preaching/teaching ministry, as is his writing, to enable him to effectively communicate the gospel. Significantly, he seems to stear clear of secular media, politics and even morals, leaving it to other voices. Do you see this blog as being in furtherance of your concern for “ordinary punters” and your primary role as “I am first of all a preacher and evangelist. I will only write in public insofar as it helps the preaching and proclamation of the good news…” To that extent you are similar to Keller. – a practitioner.

    9 Where next? You have already indicated you were looking to do what you described as prophetic, next year. Perhaps you are having deeper, second thoughts, as you are having concerns that you may not be right in viewing the direction of humanity.

    10 I have your books, read the blog, listened to your teaching, preaching and apologetics, but for me it came together best at the Solas Inverness Conference, when you were the last speaker of the day, in the “graveyard slot. You pulled together all the apologetic teaching of the day with and through scripture, Hebrews. Similar, but different to Keller, a practitioner first and foremost. (As a friendly piece of advice a short course in power-point presentation would be of benefit),

    11 You seem to be able to move quickly from topic to topic without effect but it may be taking its toll, and you are at the forefront of a spiritual battle. May you find rest in God, may He give you the wisdom and direction you seek, close and open doors.

    Yours in Christ.

    Geoff

  30. A very thoughtful analysis , Geoff !. It seems to me that your concern reveals that you are a lot more closely intertwined with David than I’d previously thought .
    I was reading Keller last evening and wondered if one of his articles had triggered David’s decision on this break . We can unfairly expect too much from our gospel ministers , not just asking their attention but demanding that they tell us what we want to hear. The burdens they carry are often our expectations . Anyone who accepts Christ’s call and wondered at Matthew 11 :30 will have undoubtedly from time to time , have to seek direction and examine themselves in the light of their call . My grandfather had to repeatedly rest the scythe , pick up the pumice stone and resharpen the blade . Without the rest and honing it would tear the stem and cut nothing .

    Many years ago I sought the advice of an old but wise Christian lady . This concerned life direction and I wanted her to confirm my future actions. To my disappointment she replied “God will show you ” . As I walked away I had to admit to myself that God had already answered my question but I wished confirmation from her . It may be that God has already shown you the path to take and like Geoff’s and others our prayers are with you .

    ..

  31. Gylen – not sure either David, or I, would approve your description. Guidance is a difficult topic, and we have sanctified common sense.

    Some further thoughts:

    Practical: you may consider restricting your blog posts to once per week, or fortnight, or month.

    A Better story: In a lecture this month, Glynn Harrison traced the movement of sexual mores from the 1950/60’s and suggested we need to admit where we got it wrong, and emphasise that we have a better story than that on offer today.

    Today’s peddling of Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism is not the Good News of Christ, This seems to have moved from earlier moralistic deism, that passed for the Gospel in former generations. Try harder, Stop it. Christians are known for what we are against, not what we are for, We have a better story than merely, STOP IT. (But this is not to buy into Tullian’s overblown teaching that was part on his sad undoing.)

    Thomas Chalmers grounded this in a famous sermon, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. What we are against has to be woven into the better redemptive story, of Jesus Christ.

    And you have not really given up social media – you are still moderating this post. STOP IT, cut it out if you can. It looks like you are in deep and need all the help you can get. You know a better story and His expulsive power.

  32. David,

    I would miss reading you blog it dose inspire thought and generate debate. But given how you are coming across I wonder if you might not best care for yourself by taking sabbatical.

    I recall hearing to speak one time at a CMT gathering and saying about someone complaining with offense and you saying about that “so what. get over it”. I now see you concerned about causing unintentional offence. Well what about it not being bout whether people like or don’t like what you say but rather where Christ is in all of that, some people taking offence at the gospel, others finding it encouraging an blessed are you if you are not offended by Jesus?

    The other thing about the kind of thing you doo, frankly it takes balls of steel is bound to be tiring and you are not invincible! Remember when Elijah overcame the prophets of Baal at Mt Carmel, outrun chariots and then was burnt out under a tree wanting to die? When God said rest to him and eat and the animals brought him food?

    So when I have heard about the abuse and vitriol you have alleged at before times well I have had an inclination to hold a mirror up to you and come back at you with your own words “so what, get over it”. But now I am wondering, is it symptom of you becoming tired and need for rest and recuperation as we all need sometimes. For are we all not to consider that if we are hated because of Christ to consider it a blessing and great is our reward in heaven?

    The other thing with categorising people into NFAs, postmodern evangelicals etc. (the latter is the first time that I heard that one) is, alright we are by human nature naturally tribal and I guess it’s understandable – we can all have a sense of belonging to a particular tribe. But in accepting this reality it can be easy to slip into acting superiour to the other rather than embracing difference, of discriminating rather than speaking truth. For there is good and bad in all of us. Do we see the person or the label? And if we see the label, then how do we get past our prejudice to seeing the person rather than letting our prejudice develop into discrimination. I’m not using the term “prejudice” here pejoratively, we all naturally have presumptions and assumptions than lends us naturally to view some with a halo effect and others with horn effect. In doing so we may miss out on the kind of paradoxes that Jesus came across with for example finding a lack of faith among his own people and being amazed by the faith of a Gentile centurion and a Canaanite woman.

    Again I’ll miss your posts if you take break but, please, do whatever is best for you and whatever you chose, all the best!

  33. Like some others here, I pick and choose what to read (I live in London, and tend not to read the posts that appear to be mostly about Scotland). But I am always grateful for your incisive reflections, and pray for strength for you as you seek to serve faithfully in what often sounds like hostile circumstances. I trust you feel refreshed from your break, however long that is, and look forward to reading your posts as and when and how often you decide to write. Many thanks.

  34. It’s normal for somebody in your position to feel shattered at the end of busy, fulfilling, Word-filled and Word-filling year, so a break is well-deserved, but your writing is just so easy to read, easy to understand and edifying, and I for one would miss it if you were to stop, so I pray that God will continue to provide the wisdom, strength and stamina you need to carry on.

  35. David, I run my own blog on a different, non-christian subject, but it can also raise opposition, indignation and so on. That in some sense motivates me and the only way is to meet people on the common ground of logical discourse. That is, some will never accept what may be called faith, trust or a priori statements, but if you put together a reasoned argument and take the debate back to the middle ground, that is something.

    However, I only engage in such ongoing debates if I enjoy it. If it wearied me, I would at least step back and reduce the number of posts. Having said that, I regard your blog as a source of the latest news. For example, I had no idea Parliament was debating gender recently and that alerted me to prayer. In that respect, keep it going, David.

  36. Please don’t stop writing!! I listen to you on Janet Parshall and read your blog when I can. God has gifted you with speaking truth and speaking on issues that many of us have no idea how to address, issues that come up that aren’t on mainstream media. You teach us from a Biblical perspective and I so enjoy that. I learn from it, forward your blogs on…. Take a rest and please please please do not stop posting. Also, it is a comfort knowing that many people feel as you do whether here in the U.S. or over there in Scotland/UK… We are not alone in our concerns, the craziness of our governments and their decisions, wondering how to teach our children who have become so liberal in their ideology though brought up in true Christian homes, schools that are squelching freedom of speech and thought. I could go on but won’t. Thank you and God bless you for all that you do. I pray that God gives you the rest that you need and the desire to carry on!!

  37. I’ve been meaning to compose a response both useful and sensible, but one thing keeps springing to mind, “Do whatever He tells you.”

  38. As a fairly new comer to your blog I can only say I find it extremely beneficial and would encourage you to continue. However I really wouldn’t want you to burn yourself out and so I trust that by seeking the Lord in prayer and getting feedback from your readers (as you have requested) you may know the way forward. It is also our (your readers) responsibility to pray for you too. This we shall do. Thank you.

  39. As a Christian minister I appreciate your blog as it helps to keep me aware of some of the trends in our society and where some of the attacks we currently face are coming from. For that reason I would be disappointed if you stopped writing. If you want to cut down, then here’s my suggestion for where you could cut down (please take this as it is meant to be, friendly advice): sometimes your writings sound rather self-defensive; if you considered whether what you are writing is self-defensive and then cut it out, this might reduce the length of some posts and might result in some subjects being dropped sooner. I hope you recognise that this isn’t asking you to tone down your attacks on error. I do appreciate your writings.

  40. Hello David

    Just a brief note to answer the question Write On? The answer is an emphatic YES!

    We have been so encouraged by your blogs, comments articles etc in recent years, so please continue as you have. You just say it as it is and you have been given a gift by God to engage in the way you do for a reason. You could do with a rear gunner or two and maybe side gunners as well! We know you have wonderful people supporting you but it would be nice to have other Bible and Jesus centred people up front supporting and speaking out with you.

    Thank you and may God continue to give you and all at Solas wisdom and guidance in all that you do in Jesus’ name.

    May God continue to bless you and your family.

    John and Carole MacDonald

    Muir of Ord

  41. David – I hope you will continue to write your blog in some way or another. If it’s too much of a workload, perhaps less often? I’ve received great encouragement from your writing, it’s given me more courage to speak out and up for our Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t agree with everything you say – what a boring world it’d be if I did! – but what you have to say is always stimulating and encouraging. Please keep on keeping on!

  42. David, please keep writing. Your posts are often long, but always valuable. They help shed light on issues that otherwise aren’t discussed as well as help me think through implications. I like the range of topics your posts cover. think it’s important to consider why YOU feel called to write. Are you a slave to your readers, popularity, or are you obeying God’s call for you? You have a knack for drilling down gospel principles into facets of public life which others are either unable or unwilling to do. God may raise up other people to do so, and the growth of Solas is encouraging in this regard, but so long as your posts are helpful to others and proclaim Christ – keep at it.

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