Where to jump in?
This caught my attention…
A Christianity Today interview with Rob Bell has apparently kicked up some dust, particularly his response to the question about twittering the gospel. I will quote that portion here:
How would you present this gospel on Twitter?
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.
Aside from the fact that this is much too long to be a single twitter, I don’t have a problem with it. My intention with this post is not to have a discussion about Rob Bell and his theology.
Most of what I read accuses Rob and his answer of being completely lacking in gospel content or understanding. And most of those responses imply that a gospel presentation without the proper theological buzzwords and appropriate sequence of steps is not a “christian” gospel.
However, I am reminded of how often Jesus’ own presentation of the good news likewise didn’t follow the evangelical methodology of a sufficient gospel presentation – even the adulteress with whom He had ample opportunity to present a clear message about sin, repentance, and forgiveness.
So rather than look for what is lacking in Rob’s message, perhaps we should look at what he is saying. This is my paraphrase of his comment:
There is a purpose to the story in which we live. The inclination within you to believe and hope that there is something more and better than the reality in which we currently live exists because of the Spirit of God, and this is evidence of His desire to know you. You can trust that hope.
The Christian story is that the tomb is empty, Jesus was resurrected. This is a turning point in the story and plan that God set in motion from the beginning of time.
Even though doubt pulls against the impulse of hope in your heart, believe the impulse! It is put there by God Himself and connected to the amazing story and plan of His love for you and the world. Your inclination to believe in something bigger, beyond your current reality, is true! Trust it, explore it, follow the One who is drawing you.
That sounds like good news to me.
Jesus is alive.
His kingdom is real.
God’s love is true.
You can know Him.
Sadly, many religious people seem to insist that the proper message is “turn or burn”.
Anyway, I think it’s time we begin to view sharing the gospel as an ongoing aspect of the way we live and a continuous conversation with the people around us rather than a religious presentation filled with theological terms and a high-pressure close that must always result in a decision.
We need to learn to follow the Spirit and enter into the process of what He is doing in the lives of others – yes sharing truth, loving them, and joining in with the work of the Spirit in their lives – but ultimately trusting in His timing and ability to “seal the deal”.
So how would you twitter the gospel? What are the minimum essentials that should be included? Give me your examples in the comments.
1. Twitter the gospel as you would for a theological quiz.
2. Twitter the gospel to someone who doesn’t know it without using Christian terms that they won’t understand.
(140 characters is about two full lines in the reply box which will post as short of two full lines on the blog.)