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A Poor Quality Tract

Posted by Matt Postiff October 16, 2014 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology 

This past summer, I ran across the tract pictured above, written by the folks at I cannot recommend it. The purpose of this post is to point out some serious problems with the tract.

The picture on the front is cute, but it trivializes the important subject matter at hand: the gospel. The illustration about Santa is well and good, but the message starts to go off the tracks when the author writes, "They [children] want to get what they deserve." The fact is, children want what they want; they want to receive far more than they deserve. In fact, if they were to be judged on their performance, they would deserve little if anything.

The tract has a jarring transition with the sentence "Why is hell necessary?" With this sentence, a heavy emphasis on hell comes to the fore, with no emphasis on heaven or a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

It offers some true statements about sin and the penalty for sin, but then it says, "God invites us to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, accepting His death as the full and just payment for our sins." This makes it sound like we accept the full and just payment for our sins, but that is not the case. The right way to explain it is that God has accepted Christ's work, and we are to exercise repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to believe in his resurrection from the dead in order to be saved (Romans 10:9-10). The author of the tract seemingly avoids calling upon the reader to acknowledge that Christ is Lord, something that is essential to a proper gospel response.

The tract adds what seems to be a definition of the word saved when it says that those trust Christ "will be saved, i.e., not go to hell." That is hardly a sufficient definition of the idea of salvation. What of heaven? What of union with Christ? What of a personal connection to Him? Reconciliation? Forgiveness?

Thus far, we might think to excuse some of these problems because of necessary brevity in a small tract format. I am inclined, however, to think that the errors we see indicate a deficient theology of salvation.

Finally, the last sentence says that a perfect gift is awaiting, "but only if we do what he tells us." We have to be so careful about using words like "do" in a context like this. It is far better to say "but only if we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Bottom line: take care what you pass out as part of your evangelistic ministry. Not all tracts are created equal. A better option would be the Bridge Tract.

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