I was in a conversation recently and we were trying to decide how we could best sum up what the gospel is in as few words as possible. How about the following?
“Reconciliation is now available between a lost and sinful humanity, and the holy God.” 84 characters including spaces.
Of course that misses out how it is possible, through Jesus allowing himself to be put to death on our behalf and all that he accomplished by his death and his rising from the dead afterwards. And it misses out the detail about being saved from the wrath to come, or judgement.
My Twitter gospel attempt also misses out the elements often stressed by evangelists concerning the huge benefits that a person gains through having a relationship with God. These gains are often summed up by using the word ‘grace’ which can be explained as God’s riches at Christ’s Expense. These benefits are often underestimated by people who think they will give up more that they will gain. They will not! Such amazing grace is beyond quantifying.
I think my attempt is better than Rob Bell’s in an interview that he did in Christianity Today.
“I would say that history is headed somewhere. The thousands of little ways in which you are tempted to believe that hope might actually be a legitimate response to the insanity of the world actually can be trusted. And the Christian story is that a tomb is empty, and a movement has actually begun that has been present in a sense all along in creation. And all those times when your cynicism was at odds with an impulse within you that said that this little thing might be about something bigger—those tiny little slivers may in fact be connected to something really, really big.”
I don’t even understand that one! We were talking about it in the office and we have concluded that Bell’s message is not a global one, but that he is very much preaching to North American Christians.
I watched a video by Rob Bell that seemed to suggest a very odd gospel [you can see it here]. What he said makes sense if he was consciously and deliberately addressing himself to people who are already Christians. If he was addressing it to the lost it would merely be a social gospel, that the gospel is people being nice. And plenty of non-Christians do nice things. Or is it just old-fashioned universalism?
Perhaps I am misunderstanding Mr Bell. I decided to go to the Mars Hill website and read their statement of beliefs for myself. Problem is, it is all in code.
So, anyone want to try a gospel small enough to Tweet?