GD: Hello Paul Wallace, and welcome to Exiled Preacher. Please tell us a little about yourself.
PW: Hello Guy, I’m Paul Wallace, I’m 37 years old, I’m the pastor of Magherafelt Reformed Baptist Church, in Northern Ireland. I’ve been a pastor there since about 2003 but have been in full time vocational ministry only since May 2008. I’m married with three children.
GD: Your blog is called "Reformed and Baptist". What made you start blogging?
PW: I think as with most people there was a combination of reasons. One of them was to provide another route for people to become familiar with our church in Magherafelt. Another was evangelistic, I think blogging can be another way of making unbelievers think of eternal things or introducing them to the Gospel, thus I think it’s good to offer posts on history and geography and any other subject of common interest, who knows but that someone who wants to read about Edinburgh history or the Falkirk Wheel will stay on and read some of the more spiritual posts as well. Use tags wisely!
GD: In a recent post, you wondered if blogging might be past its sell-by-date (here). What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of theology/ministry blogging?
PW: Well I suppose that post sums of most of my thoughts. I think a lot of folks are re-evaluating blogging, I don’t think blogging is past its sell-by-date, but it does need reformation. In many places it has become a pedestal for divisive people to spread their poison, or a medium for overnight character assassination and above all else, an exercise on missing the point. Thus it is virtually impossible sometimes to have a meaningful conversation.
Likewise as Dr. Frame noted the freedom of speech offered by blogging is both an advantage and a disadvantage. To paraphrase the book of Judges, because there is no Internet King every man and women can say what they want, when they want and how they want without oversight or accountability. The biblical reality is somewhat different; most of us would be better off doing a lot less talking or writing and a lot more listening and reading (James 3:1ff.) With blogging one can have a “ministry” now by spending 10 minutes setting up an account on Blogger or Wordpress with zero connection to the Church, with zero accountability to the Church and with no credibility prior to being in what in essentially an influential position.
I also fear that blogging like everything else these days has been afflicted by the cult of celebrity -however in my humble opinion even if you get 20000 hits a day that does not guarantee that you something worth listening to.
That said, there is much edification and indeed education to be had on many blogs. This is especially the case when men have specialist subjects like Michael Haykin (interviewed here) on baptist history.
GD: Which blogs do you find most helpful?
This is however related to concerns I have about the reformed resurgence in general, it seems to be somewhat disconnected from a covenantal understanding of Scripture which leaves a vacancy that dispensationalism will only too quickly fill given such high profile proponents as Dr. Macarthur. Likewise it seems to be a resurgence that is largely unrelated to the historic confessions which are good sentries of what is biblical. I think until these “resurgents” rediscover the riches of a confessional heritage they will lack a permanency of conviction on anything other than the doctrines of grace, which in turn will make the whole movement no more stable than mainline evangelicalism i.e unstable. I fear sometimes that Calvinism for some is a sort of a theological avant garde movement.