Justin Taylor Q & A part 1: the blog & more

Communications Staff — November 12, 2009

Justin Taylor has served as editorial director at Crossway Publishers in Wheaton, Ill., since 2006 and previously worked for Desiring God Ministries in Minneapolis, Minn. Earlier this year, he became an elder at Grace Community Bible Church in Roselle, Ill. He began the ultra-popular blog Between Two Worlds in 2004, a daily blog that points evangelicals to a myriad of biblically-sound resources. Taylor and his wife live in Chicagoland and have three children.

Question: My first stop of the day on the web is usually your blog. Did you anticipate it taking off in popularity like it did?

Justin Taylor: When I started it, I remember thinking, ‘Everyone already has a blog, I am getting in it too late.’ But the Lord seems to be using it in whatever ways He sees fit and if it equips people and encourages people, then I am happy. You always simply hope you have more than your brother and your mom reading your blog, so I didn’t anticipate more than just a handful of friends reading it. You hope that it will have some degree of influence and if it does that’s great.

Q: How many daily readers do you have?

JT: I don’t check it very often and I just moved over to the Gospel Coalition, but I’d say I have about 8,000 readers per day or something on that scale.

Q: What does a typical day look like in assembling the blog?

JT: Sometimes if I have some free time and I get inspired, I might have a whole slew of posts and I might just schedule them over a week. Even as we are talking right now, there may be something going up on my blog that I found three or four days ago and just scheduled it because I am traveling right now. But I don’t ever get up in the morning and try to plan the blog. I don’t ever have this feeling that I’ve got to get something up there. A lot of times it just overlaps with the stuff I am already reading or I am already doing. I just do it when stuff comes to me and it’s not usually planned out in advance.

The biggest advantage about what I do is that I’m not a content producer, but am a content pointer. I think that was one of the happy little discoveries I made a few years ago is the Lord is not calling me primarily to be a pastor, he is not primarily calling me to be a professor producing fresh content for people all the time, but the Lord has gifted me to recognize good content in things done by others. So it seems like He has giving me the gift of pointing to resources like CBMW, lecture series or developments at a place like Southern Seminary, such as Tom Schreiner having a new book that has come out or Bruce Ware having a new MP3 that is online. I am just happy to point other people to good truth that is on the web.

My goal is to get truth in front of people’s eyes every day. It’s like slides: I know that people are going to be on the web every day and if we can just get Gospel truth in front of their eyes over and over every day … I think that is just a small part of where God has me in the kingdom.

Q: As you travel around the country and speak, are you encouraged by what you see in terms of younger people tracking with sound doctrine? Where might be some blind spots in what has been called the “young, restless and Reformed” movement?

JT: I think it is a tremendously encouraging time in evangelicalism. Any time you have a season of encouragement, there are also warning signs of danger ahead that we can see God at work and start to take credit for it and good doctrine can itself become idolatrous. We can approach others who don’t understand God’s truth, not with a humble and broken spirit, but with a condemning, judgmental spirit. So, I think that is always the danger.

Yet, we don’t want to be such pessimists that we minimize the legitimate work that God is doing and we need to be praising Him for that. I think the thing that most encourages me these days is the renewed emphasis upon the centrality of the Gospel – that the Gospel, to use Tim Keller’s phrase, is not just the ABCs of the Christian life, but is the A to Z of the Christian life. That the Gospel is not just the entry point of how you become a Christian or just the exit point to where we are going someday, but in the here and now, the Gospel should be affecting the way I relate to my wife, the way I relate to my kids, the way think about my job, the way I think about my culture and the way I think about my church.

People like Keller, C.J. Mahaney, Paul Tripp, David Powlison and Albert Mohler are helping us to see how the Gospel should impact every single facet of our lives. There is a new flavor upon the lips of younger evangelicals and it is not just about affirming the five points of Calvinism, but it is about ultimately glorying in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t think there could be anything more encouraging than that.

Q: What are you reading right now to yourself and your family?

JT: I am reading through Tripp’s book that will come out next year on marriage called “What Did You Expect?” and I am letting the chapters of that book convict me and instruct me. Working for a publisher, a lot of my reading is books that currently don’t exist, but will down the road.

Another one is Greg Gilbert’s “What is the Gospel?” which will be in a 9Marks series. It will be a small book that will be helpful for pastors, but is written on such an understandable, accessible level that it will be helpful for many Christians. That is the sort of book that I need to be re-reading. You can’t read too much on the topic of what is the Gospel? I have let Greg, who is a friend, instruct my soul through the pages of that.

Anything by Paul Tripp; I am in a season right now in particular where Paul’s writings are helping me, and things by Piper.

I am reading “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones to my children. We try to get into that as much as we can. I remember when that book came out, Keller recommended that book, not just for parents, not just for kids, but also for pastors, because it shows you the way in which, as the subtitle suggests, the stories of the Bible all whisper the name of Jesus. To see the joyful effect that book has had on our kids has been great.

And we are reading stuff that is not biblically-centered per se, but is just good literature. Our kids are six, four and one, so they are at that young stage where they are enjoying the imaginative world of good literature.

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