Chasing God: An Interview with Joseph Solomon
The first thing you would probably notice about Joseph Solomon is that he’s tall.
At six foot, seven inches, he tends to stand out in a crowd. But, once you’re in a conversation with Joe, it’s his warmth and love of Christ that begins to stand out. And if you’ve spent any time on Joe’s website, Chase God TV, you’ll know that his humor tends to run a close second. I’m actually new to Joe’s videos, in spite of the fact that we attend the same seminary here in Houston and they have come highly recommended for months, but once I did tune in, I realized what an encouraging example they could be to so many others.
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Joe about spoken word, RAAN, and his passion for spreading the gospel and encouraging other believers.
So, when did you come to faith?
I can’t give you an exact date, but Fall 2010 is when I believe that I seriously came to the faith. I was raised in the church and actually had a love for the Lord when I got to college, and I had a time when I had a real zeal for holiness, the Word, and prayer, all of these things that I believe are fruit of being a believer. And yet I walked away from the faith in 2006 –I had a lot of doubts, I had a lot of questions, and I wouldn’t have called myself a believer then, nor did I live as one. It wasn’t until spring 2010 that I felt drawn to “try church.” Fall 2010 is when I was overwhelmed by the grace of God and heard the Gospel more explicitly from reading a book by Tim Keller. I’m definitely a sinner who has had setbacks and has been humbled, but I’ve not looked back since then.
What is your understanding of Reformed theology?
When I first started finding my way around Reformed Theology I thought it was simply TULIP -doctrines of grace -Calvinism. However, as I’ve grown, my understanding of it has broadened. I would now describe Reformed Theology as covenantal. It is a Christ-centered way of seeing God creating covenant with particular groups of people, and He is the One who sovereignly takes the divine initiative through it all. It puts God in the driver’s seat and completely in control of saving sinners. I think the young Calvinists will do well in explaining Reformed Theology to others by realizing it’s not just about Calvin. It is Calvin, but it’s also Luther, it’s Augustine, it’s Paul, it’s covenantal, it’s biblical.
[Tweet “”I would now describe Reformed Theology as covenantal.” – @WhatIsJoeDoing”]
[Tweet “Reformed Theology is not just about Calvin. It is Calvin, but it’s also Luther, Augustine, and Paul.”]
How did you learn about RAAN?
I actually heard of RAAN when I first went to Reformed Theological Seminary to try to sign up for classes. I checked them out and was really encouraged. I had been feeling like a loner because I didn’t really know of many Reformed black people. It was really encouraging to see the links that they posted, and the fact that they weren’t always specifically geared towards black people.
[Tweet “On RAAN: I had been feeling like a loner b/c I didn’t really know of many Reformed blacks.”]
When did you start recording your YouTube videos?
June of 2012. That’s when I made my first video, and it was on grace. I wanted to use that first video to set the tone for all of the rest. I wanted everyone to see that the things I want to say might sound different than what they’re used to, but they’re all couched in the grace of God.
I was a blogger, I was a tweeter, and people liked those blogs. I was actually going to do a local TV show in Houston called Good News, but the show fell through. After that, I decided to start recording the webisodes in my apartment, and I still do.
What inspires you to do your webisodes?
The answer to that question is multifaceted: the main message is that I do have a desire for the gospel to be shared, and for people to see different topics in a gospel-centered light. I’m not the first person to make Christian YouTube videos, but a lot of them are more inspirational than sound in doctrine. Some of the videos out there are really good, but I just wanted to add my own flavor to them. I’m a silly guy, I like to be blunt and funny sometimes, and I like to bring my unique flavor to the other solid, biblical approaches that are already out there. Ultimately, I think the Lord has gifted me to speak to people. I was a speech and communications major in college, I was onstage hosting shows all the time, or doing standup comedy. I was always on stage in front of people. The Lord has gifted me with a personality that draws people, and I wanted to use that for his glory.
[Tweet “The Lord has gifted me with a personality that draws people, and I wanted to use that for his glory.”]
What is one thing you want people to take away from your ministry?
Well, the Gospel is my default answer, obviously. That’s my primary purpose here on earth. My secondary answer would be practical ways to live out the Christian life. I think that there’s a lot of ideas that we have about what things should look like that we’ve been presented in church, but then we get home and we don’t know how exactly to do that. They want to live a particular way, but they don’t know what that looks like. I want people to be encouraged to live a godly life out in their particular context.
What drew you to spoken word?
I started doing that about the same time I started doing webisodes. I’ve been going hard ever since. Jackie Hill was actually the first Christian poet I ever saw, and she inspired me to want to do poetry. I like rhetoric, so when I saw spoken word, I thought it was a really neat way to present a particular topic in a way that I’d never seen before. I like rap, but the thing about rap is that, in a public setting, you don’t always hear all of the words the performer is saying. But with spoken word, you really have to sit there and listen, and I was amazed at how they used the English language in a way that I’d never thought of before. I was always a stickler for lyricism, and so spoken word is just that: lyricism.
[Tweet “”I was always a stickler for lyricism, and so spoken word is just that: lyricism.” – @WhatIsJoeDoing”]
What would be your encouragement for a brother in Christ who wants to equip himself to minister to other believers the same way you do?
My admonishment to other brothers who are interested in similar ministry would be to humble yourself. Ultimately, God determines how large or how small your platform will be. We should be grateful for whatever He gives. The best thing you can do for those listening to you is to not neglect what you’ve been called to offstage/offline, like holiness, worship, discipleship, community, and evangelism. The fruit of that will show in public.
[Tweet “My admonishment to other brothers who are interested in media ministry would be to humble yourself.”]
To learn more about Joseph Solomon, check out his website Chase God TV (http://www.chasegod.tv/).
3 thoughts on “Chasing God: An Interview with Joseph Solomon”
He’s really dope!
@ Samantha, I concur! Gotta love this guy and his genuine passion for serving Christ : ) Stumbled upon his videos this week.
I love his YouTube videos! Thanks for the interview