Rob Bell’s New Book

I think my feelings about Rob Bell are pretty similar to my feelings about rap music when I was in high school… I liked the style and the way it was trendy, and it stirred up emotions in me, and told stories about our world and what is bad and what needs to change… and I also felt guilty because of the profanity and the mental images is stirred up.

Mr. Bell definitely isn’t profane, but I still feel guilty for liking the guy. I guess this is because he is so good at showing what is broken in our world and especially in our American christian church. I agree with him on almost all of the things he articulates so well about the heart of Christ for the lost and needy. He points out our need for Christ so well, but seems so bad at ever mentioning the big ‘R’ word: repentance.

I have never ever in my life heard him utter the word or the notion.

Nevertheless, I’ll probably read the new book, “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”.

…and I’ll probably feel guilty for liking it :0)

Do you think you’ll read it?

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8 Responses

  1. Yes, but you probably already knew that.

  2. You obviously must not read his books or listen to his messages, because repentance is all he ever talks about. I am at a complete loss at why people say that (you’re not the first one I’ve heard say this, so don’t worry).

    And I’ve been listening for years, and have been an attender at Mars for two years.

    I can tell you countless of stories of people at Mars who have been living repentance out.

    A person in my seminary class said the same thing, and I think it’s b/c he doesn’t use the same terminology that most people do when they talk of repentance. Aren’t there songs that talk about God without ever mentioning his name?

    My question to you is, what do you want him to say? You say that Rob acknowledges that our world is broken and that things need to change, isn’t that a call to repentance? Or am I missing something here?

    I’m not sure why you’re feeling so guilty for things you are hearing that are obviously having an impact on your journey. That has the “notion” of repentance written all over it (did you read the Tshuva part of Velvet Elvis?).

    Please don’t take this as mean-spirited. It is not meant to be (that’s what sucks about blogs), but I can’t continue to see people continually fire away at our community thinking that we are not one of repentance, and there’s no doubt it is preached every week here.

  3. Check out the “Jesus Wants to Save Christians | Rob Bell & Don Golden” Facebook Group for updates & news on this book in the coming months:
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12053387658

  4. Hi Mike!

    Thanks a ton for your comment. I’m really excited to actually connect with someone from Mars Hill Church. I’ve always wondered what kind of stuff goes on in terms of small groups and classes and stuff, compared to just what I hear on the podcast.

    To ease your mind, I actually have read ‘Velvet Elvis’ three times, and I read ‘Sex God’ once.

    I enjoyed them both, and even though I don’t totally agree with everything in them, you’re right: they definitely have positively influenced my journey. In fact, if you click the ‘facebook’ link (on here somewhere) you’ll notice that I have several quotes from ‘Velvet Elvis’ on my profile.

    I have also listened to at least 40 or 50 podcasts over the past couple of years.

    I also agree with you that I am speaking about a certain kind of ‘repentance’. There’s not doubt that Rob does a great job of teaching that we need to repent of our lifestyles, or indifference to the world, our religiosity, our un-Christlike attitudes and judgments…

    The repentance that I’m referring to when I say that I have NEVER (not even once) heard Rob refer to it, is the once-and-for-all repentance of original sin. It seems to me that Rob’s message is, “The world is bad and we can make it better by being good through God’s power.” But it seems to me that the Gospel is “The world is bad because all people are fundamentally bad. Christ came to make it possible for each person to have a new life through the blood of Jesus Christ, and having that door opened, for God to redeem the world by living in us in the person of the Holy Spirit.”

    I’ve never heard Rob talk about the need for the cross, and I’ve never heard him talk about how we have to trade in our lives for the new life in Christ. I’ve never heard him talk about the Holy Spirit. I believe that if Rob Bell was the only exposure I have ever had to the teachings of Jesus, I would never know that He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and noone comes to the Father except through Me.”

    As someone who is much more familiar with Rob Bell and Mars Hill, can you set me straight? Is your experience different than this? Can you point me at a specific podcast or teaching where Rob actually teaches the Gospel?

    I would love to be proven wrong here!

    I look forward to hearing from you!

  5. Zack,

    Yea bro, glad we can connect.

    Rob did a 4-part series a few years back on the cross, and it was pretty incredible…honestly much better than how you couch the mantra above. I’ll see if I can hunt it down and maybe send you the mp3s. That series was where the “Love Wins” came from (from 009 Bullhorn NOOMA).

    I think the problem here is not necessarily with your description of repentance, but maybe salvation. I have a blog post on Rob’s take on salvation (It’s called “Rob Bell on the nature of salvation.” It’s in 2 parts) that he did at a conference a little over a year ago. I think that would be helpful.

    I also think you are still falling in a trap of semantics. The cross is where it starts for everything here. I have listened to almost every message given at Mars Hill (including the infamous Leviticus series) and again, there is no doubt that trusting in Jesus for salvation is preached.

    In the regards to the Holy Spirit, what do you want to hear? Instead of saying “That voice you hear telling you not to do that, that’s God saying you don’t have to live this way anymore…you can be free,” you have to say, “When you hear that voice saying you don’t have to live that way anymore, that’s the Holy Spirit convicting us.” What’s the difference?

    And I don’t have to prove you wrong but what I argue with my words. Come here to Mars Hill and you’ll see everything you’re talking about in the flesh. I continue to be saddened by those who continually listen to our teachings (not including you brother) and bash us for you fill in the blank and don’ t even have a clue what’s goin’ on here in GR.

    Thanks for the thoughts…feel free to email me too, or we can even talk on the phone if you have time. I’d love to chat more.

    For the record, I think the gospel is MUCH bigger at Mars Hill than many of the churches I’ve seen. The gospel that I think you’re referring too is way to small for God. Just my opinion of course.

    Talk soon bro.

    Mike

  6. Hello new friend,

    I quickly stumbled upon your blog as I am getting excited for my friend (Rob Bell) and his conversation at the Seeds of Compassion conference tomorrow in Seattle.

    Yes, I will read your book. Yes, Rob talks about repentance. And yes, I hope you find his book mentally stimulating, but more then that – that it encourages you to join God in what God is already doing in the world.

    Love wins.

    Jes

  7. Amen Jes

  8. Hey all you disciples of Rabi Bell :0)

    Thanks for the comments.

    Mike, I would love to come visit, except I live about 900 miles away in NC. But I would love it if you could send me those talks you mention.

    Jes, I will definitely pick up the book when I have a little extra cash, which is seriously short supply :0)

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