Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Book Review “Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile” by Rob Bell and Don Golden

Rob Bell is a very popular writer and speaker. He is well known for his Pneuma videos and his two books, Velvet Elvis and Sex God. I have not watched many of the Pneuma videos, but his other two books are worth reading. For some Christians, Rob Bell boarders on heresy and for others, he is a true prophet. I am not familiar with Don Golden except that he was the lead pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church, which is the church Rob Bell started.

Jesus Wants to Save Christians is an intriguing title and makes us ask the question, "From what?" Bell and Golden to a good job of not answering the question in the first chapter and making the reader wait to the epilogue. They do a nice job of presenting "Biblical Theology" in which they draw on some themes that they see woven throughout the whole Bible, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation. The gist of the book, without giving too much away, is that the Exodus story of exile, redemption, and covenant play itself out over and over again in the bible. The Israelites were in slavery in Egypt to a foreign power and they cried out. God heard their cry and delivered them from slavery so that they could be God's representatives in the world. Several hundred years later, Israel begins to be the new Egypt and when God hears the cry of the people, Israel goes into exile. You can see the cyclical pattern. Bell and Golden use this as a way of saying America has become an empire, like Egypt because we have failed to hear the cry of the needy around the world. Christians are called to be Christ's representative in the world and we need to listen and respond. We need to be saved from exile and be what God intended us to be.

I think the topics expressed in this book have been beaten to death in the last few years. Brian McLaren wrote a similar book called Everything Must Change which I felt was a little better and much more in depth. However, I do believe this book and Rob Bell are important to Christianity today. Rob Bell reaches a unique group of people and I find that he "hits the nail on the head" so many times. It is great that someone of his caliber is being read by such a diverse group of people. If you read his end notes, you will notice that he reads good books, which makes his book worth while. I highly recommend this book and I hope it will be eye opening for those who read it.


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