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Velvet Elvis [Paperback]

Rob Bell
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith 3.6 out of 5 stars (11)
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Book Description

Aug. 25 2005
This is a book for those who know there's a God, who know that truth, beauty, design, and love come from somewhere, but they cannot stomach the current versions of God they find in local churches. They want a life of risk and movement and revolution, but are not finding it in the places they are looking.

Product Details

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

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for small group discussion Feb. 11 2007
Our small group is currently studying this text - it has engaged us all in reflecting upon our beliefs and been the focus for many meaningful discussions. If you are buying this book check out the online book study about to begin at: [...]
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Velvet Elvis Book Review Oct. 26 2007
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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4.0 out of 5 stars book review June 6 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
not as good as Love Wins but interesting nonetheless
rob bell is challenging traditional religious teachings all across the churchs
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5.0 out of 5 stars velvet elvis Sept. 9 2005
By A Customer
Excellent book. Fresh and new. Says alot of what the church has been thinking and not put into word or practice. An exciting book to think about and act on! Love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay... Aug. 13 2010
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Totally agree with Faithfulness Oct. 2 2008
By A Voice
I agree with what Faithfulness said. The Christian Faith and our relationship with Christ must be living and capable to impact culture and not to be constantly impacted by culture. Christian history is very rich in ideas and culture, and it's a shame that Christians in the 21st century are purposely cut off from their rich roots by their leaders and pastors. Regardless of your denomination, dear reader, you must agree that the crisis of 21st American Christianity is one-man ministries. Every now and then someone comes up with a new fad and a new look. We get excited, we follow him. Then we fall back to a culture the values of which are dictated by outsiders to the Christian faith. We hope for the next messiah who will save us from our weaknesses, by a book, a sermon, a show or a megachurch. The problem lies deep. Do you want a fresh look at the Christian faith ? Something solidly Christian, reverent and Spiritual to help you live right and act right ? Are you looking for a good Pastor to counsel you ? I suggest you read someone whose views myriads of good Christian faithful benefited from and followed, regardless of their backgrounds. Check out the classes which used to be offered in Jerusalem to teach new converts about the Lord Jesus Christ in the 4th Century. The good news is that you don't have to pay money to hear the good news, to revisit the Christian faith which never gets old because it's backed up by God who renews your youth, the God who is infinite and always has something new to offer you through the same old teachings: The God who creates anew everyday through the same old Good News of Jesus Christ. Wow this is miraculous!! The same message which when believed in constantly produces fresh and new fruits!! Read more ›
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