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Twitterpated

by Tim O'Hearn

#Everybodyisontwitter. Or at least it seems like everybody, except a few old fogeys. Twitter, and its accompanying hashtag, has become the social media of the attention deficit generation. If it cannot be reduced to 140 characters, it is not worth mentioning. And yet, everything from breakfast (#Cheerios) to fashion is worth mentioning. (#brownshirt #bolotie #fedora). Star Wars nerds know of the Clone Wars. Twitter nerds are familiar with tweet wars. In New Mexico one such war made the news, when the television show “Better Call Saul” (a spin-off of “Breaking Bad”, which took place in Albuquerque) moved its location temporarily to Omaha. That set off a twitter war between the Omaha and Albuquerque minor league baseball teams. If Twitter is ubiquitous, how would we reduce something important, like the gospel, to just 140 characters?

To start, we should define the gospel. Paul did it in a few more than 140 characters.

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Cor 15:1-8)

To Paul the gospel was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the fact that there were witnesses to the resurrected Christ. To that, some would add that he ascended to heaven, but is coming again to take us to be with him. (1 Thes 4:15-18) That part of it is also good news.

The group known as We Care Ministries has reduced that much of the gospel into five symbols. The symbols below appear in tattoos, on utensils of daily life, and sometimes in the sand along beaches or in the snow.

the gospel in symbols

Another consideration might be that where there is good news, it is often considered good because of its contrast with bad news. The bad news, the necessity for the gospel is sin. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Rom 5:12, 18) In that sense, then, sin is part of the gospel, not because it is good news but because it is the reason for the good news.

Now that we have defined the gospel, it should be easier to reduce it to a Twitter feed. Below it is reduced to 61 characters that you can copy and paste into your Twitter account. That leaves 79 characters for further explanation, like maybe a link to this page on www.minuteswithmessiah.com.

#gospelinatweet #sin #Jesus #deathburialresurrection #comingagain