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Are You Tweeting a Half-Baked Gospel?

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Can you tweet the gospel? Can you summarize the good news of Christ reconciling sinners to God through his work on the cross and his resurrection and ascension in 280 characters? Can you explain the gospel in 60 seconds?

Christians ought to know the gospel well enough to clearly and concisely communicate it. And know the gospel full enough to know when a key element is being left out. Every summary fails its subject at some point. No gospel explanation exhausts the gospel, but many gospel explanations neglect key components.

In Titus 3 Paul reveals the gospel foundation of our Christian conduct in the public sphere. Having called believers to be submissive to rulers and authorities and to be kind to all people (Titus 3:1-2), he explains why. Having called Titus to remind them of gospel conduct Paul reminds them of gospel foundations.

Paul writes,

  • For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” (Titus 3:3-8)

Here is a rich gospel presentation.Timothy is to “insist on these things” (Titus 3:8). John Stott summarizes, “Paul isolates six ingredients of salvation — its need (why it is necessary), its source (where it originates), its ground (what it rests on), its means (how it comes to us), its goal (what it leads to) and its evidence (how it proves itself)” (201).

Christian you may or may not cover all six ingredients in your next gospel-centered tweet. But ask, “Am I neglecting critical ingredients? Am I digitally serving a half-baked gospel?”

A half-baked gospel will produce half-baked Christians.

The Danger of Gospel Summaries

In Acts 18 we read of Apollos who was “competent in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24) as he spoke and taught in Ephesus. Though competent he was not yet complete and Priscilla and Aquilla explained to him the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:26). We are not told where Apollos was insufficient or in what ways he had truncated the teaching. We are only informed that he only knew the baptism of John (Acts 18:25).

Perhaps Apollos was unclear on his doctrine of justification. Perhaps he misunderstood the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. In a recently circulated video clip, Alistair Begg pokes fun at our intellectual habit of complicating the gospel while missing the simple mercy of the Lord. And while Begg points us to the man on the middle cross and calls us to a childlike faith in him, we’re not meant to remain elementary in our understanding. The man on the middle cross has a name. And we are meant to know it.

Bill Reidel warns that, while considering the popular gospel outline of creation, fall, redemption, restoration, some want to summarize the gospel only with creation and restoration and others want to summarize the gospel only with fall and redemption. Both summaries neglect key aspects of the gospel.

Some summaries neglect key doctrines on purpose. They believe it is more evangelistically effective to avoid sin, hell, wrath, and the like. Some summaries get hyper-focused on secondary issues. They are more concerned with winning someone to their view of the rapture than a biblical view of Jesus.

Praise God for those who leverage their digital platforms for gospel purposes. Praise God for those who tweet truth. And praise God for those who write lengthy works on deep truths. We need both.

Know the Gospel Fully and Make the Gospel Fully Known

A half-baked gospel will produce half-baked Christians. Praise God He can grow mature believers from immature beginnings. But we are not meant to remain immature.

Paul prays,

  • That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.” (Eph 1:17-20)

Such knowledge is not satisfied with half explanations of the gospel. We do not want to dabble in the hope to which he has called us; we want to fully enjoy it. We are not meant to jingle coins in our hands but to know the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints. And even our tweets ought to point to the fullness of the gospel.

Stott writes, “Once we have grasped the all-embracing character of this salvation, reductionist accounts of it will never satisfy us. We shall rather determine both to explore and experience for ourselves the fullness of God’s salvation and to share with other people the same fullness, refusing to acquiesce, whether for ourselves or others, in any form of truncated or trivialized gospel” (Stott, 208). Christian, beware of merely tweeting the gospel.

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Jeff Mingee

Jeff Mingee is the pastor of Catalyst Church in Newport News, VA. He serves as a Church Planting Strategist with the SBC of Virginia, overseeing church planting throughout the southeast region. Jeff received his M.Div from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his D.Min. He is the author of 'Called to Cooperate: A Biblical Survey and Application of Teamwork' as well as other books. Jeff and his wife, Lauren, are the glad parents of Aiden and Carter.

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