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Velvet Elvis Paperback – Aug 25 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan Trade Books; 1 edition (Aug. 25 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310267013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310267010
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,228,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., offers an innovative and intriguing, if uneven, first book. This introduction to the Christian faith is definitely outside the usual evangelical box. Bell wants to offer "a fresh take on Jesus"—a riff that begins with the assertion that Jesus wanted to "call people to live in tune with reality" and that he "had no use for religion." Bell invites seekers into a Christianity that has room for doubts (his church recently hosted an evening where doubters were invited to ask their hardest, most challenging questions). He mocks literalists whose faith seems to depend on a six-day creation, and one of his favorite people is a woman who turned up repeatedly at his church, only to tell him that she totally disagreed with his teachings. He cites his church as a place of forgiveness, mystery, community and transformation. Bell is well-versed in Jewish teachings and draws from rabbinic wisdom and stories freely. His casual, hip tone can grate at times, and his footnotes, instructing readers to drop everything and read the books that have influenced him, grow old. Still, this is faithful, creative Christianity, and Gen-Xers especially will find Bell a welcome guide to the Christian faith. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Joy, awe, raw honesty, and an appreciation for the mystery of faith permeate the pages.” (Christianity Today)

“Bell is at the forefront of a rethinking of Christianity in America.” (Time magazine)

“One of the country’s most influential evangelical pastors.” (New York Times)

“This is faithful, creative Christianity, and Gen-Xers especially will find Bell a welcome guide to the Christian faith.” (Publishers Weekly)

“One of the nation’s rock-star-popular young pastors.” (USA Today)

“Rob Bell is one of the hottest names in contemporary evangelical life.” (Boston Globe)

“Bell presents a fresh picture of Jesus for those who have trouble with the traditional portrait.” (Kansas City Star)

“A sensitive yet radical plea for simple Christian living.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Matt Triemstra on Oct. 26 2007
Format: Paperback
Velvet Elvis Review
(Bell, Rob: Velvet Elvis, Zondervan, 2005. 194 Pages)

As a young adult, born and raised in the modern age, I instinctively understand that while God never changes, culture and time do. I've always wanted to explore and wrestle with my faith but felt like I wasn't allowed because the church always had the final word and that to question that was to question my `salvation'.

Rob Bell is all about questions. In his book Velvet Elvis he asks all the questions I've ever had but have never been able to articulate or ask myself. Just like Rob's painting of the Velvet Elvis is not the final or best picture of Elvis, so to is today's portrait of the church not the final rendition. It will keep changing and growing because it must.

If you've ever seen Rob Bell's NOOMA videos, he writes like he talks. Velvet Elvis is very readable, short lines and paragraphs make this book simple and user friendly.
His personal stories, vulnerability and use of humour help us to identify with Rob and makes the issues he tackles more real.

Rob is not irreverent. He challenges us to look beyond religion and asks why we believe the things we do. What does the Bible actually say? What was the context?

For instance did you know that nowhere in the Bible does Christ say to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners? (Bell,139) And yet this is usually the beginning of every Salvation prayer. You will also not find in the Bible the phrase "inviting Jesus into your heart." (Bell, 109), whish is again another phrase that has become common place in Christian circles. We do need to acknowledge our sin and allow Jesus to work in our lives, but Rob explains to us that there's a bigger picture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Pope on Aug. 13 2010
Format: Paperback
I'll be honest, I read the book with a preconceived notion that Rob Bell is somewhat of a heretic. After reading it, I can no longer say that.

Rob Bell does a good job of raising issues that Christians need to deal with, and some of his information is great. I really enjoyed some of the stuff he shared about Jewish rabbis and it shed new light on some of Jesus' actions in the gospels.

Unfortunately, I found the chapter titles and section headings to be useless. Yes, they were there and they delineated the text, but when I wanted to go back and reference something, I found it very difficult to remember if the chapter I wanted was "Jump" or "Yoke" or one of the others.

Moveover, his writing style bothered me.

It was disjointed.

It lacked flow.

I was frustrated.

A lot.

(You get what I mean?)

Finally, (and this is my only non-trivial complaint) he made some claims that, when carefully considered, seem to be problematic. For example, Rob Bell claims that it doesn't matter if Mary wasn't a virgin when Jesus was born. I would submit to you that it does. His points about the meaning of the Greek words are true, but the angel clearly said to Joseph that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if you reject that Mary absolutely was a virgin, you are saying that the Bible might not be right in that one spot. If it's not right in even one spot, why should you trust any of it? Anyway, it just seems like he is unaware of the consequences of some of his ideas.
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Format: Paperback
There are a lot of comments on here that seem to think that if Mary wasn't a virgin in the sense that we use the word then Jesus couldn't have been divine, he couldn't have been born of God. However the problem that all these reviews have is that they don't seem to understand that it wasn't the virginity of Mary that was responsible for the divinity of Jesus, so Jesus' divinity does not necessitate her virginity. In fact she could have been a very promiscuous woman with two dozen men on the go, the point behind the virginity was more for the society at that time. It was more so there would be a good man around to be a father. Furthermore even if you originate Jesus in the traditional man and woman sperm and egg form it doesn't destroy the fundaments of divinity, all that is required for the divinity of Jesus is the Holy Spirit being involved in the conception with that intention and aim. For instance Matthew Pope referenced when an angel appeared to Joseph and said the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit, that is a miracle so that is all that necessitates the divinity of Jesus. So if we say we misinterpret that verse and what it really means is that the Holy Spirit led Mary to be unfaithful and sleep with another man so as God could implant his spirit within the zygote to become Jesus, or Mary was unfaithful because of her own personal weakness and God used his Holy Spirit to turn a bad situation into a good one, maybe she was raped and God implanted his Holy Spirit, or maybe Joseph and her got blackout drunk and they had sex and somehow don't remember or just deny the fact. Maybe, as Rob Bell muses, it was her first time having sex the term virginity referenced and as such our misinterpretation.Read more ›
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