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Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith Hardcover – July 31, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780310263456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310263456
  • ASIN: 031026345X
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (475 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.)
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Review

'God doesn't change, but times do, and Rob Bell, founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, believes new times call for us to remain open and flexible, living with passion and conviction....An advocate of a postmodern approach to faith, Bell is vulnerable about his own struggles with doubt and understanding Scripture. Joy, awe, raw honesty, and an appreciation for the mystery of faith permeate the pages.' -- Christianity Today <br><br> (Christianity Today)

'Rob Bell is able to draw more depth out of the New Testament than I thought possible....I would have finished this book in record time if I didn't have to put it down so often just so I could sit back and process what I was learning. Buy two copies, one for you and one to pass around.' -- YouthWorker Journal <br><br> (YouthWorker Journal)

More About the Author

Rob Bell is a bestselling author, international teacher, and highly sought after public speaker. His books include The New York Times bestseller Love Wins, along with Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars. At age 28 he founded Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, and under his leadership it was one of the fastest-growing churches in America. In 2011 he was profiled inTime Magazine as one of the 100 most inuential people. Rob is also the featured speaker in a series of spiritual short lms called NOOMA. Currently, he is working with former LOST producer Carlton Cuse on a television series and will be releasing a new book in 2013. He and his wife Kristen have three children and live in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

His writing style is very engaging and thought-provoking.
Alan Wylds
I didn't know anything about Rob Bell before I read this book, but now I can say I have a deep appreciation for His insight.
bleach802
Didn't they have faith that was more like bricks than trampoline springs?
Stephen Bang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

258 of 279 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Lyons on December 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
First off, I am somewhere between a 4 and a 5 (call it 9 of 10) on Velvet Elvis, though my tilt moved it up to a 5.

From reading this book, I see that Rob is really trying to "jump-start" the conversation about what faith is and is not, and to help those of us in Gens Y&X - inheritors of the post-modern worldview which incubated in the 60's - see how the Jesus is just as relevant today as he was in His own time.

My favorite quote: Christian is a great noun but a poor adjective.Too often, the church of the previous generation has been too accepting of mediocrity in a plethora of areas because the label "Christian" has been slapped on the package (whether it's music, media, or day-to-day programs/initiatives).

While I do not agree with him on everything (I think he could have expanded on many of his ideas to give them clarity and to cut down on misunderstanding. Granted, from reading many of the other reviews, it seems some people deliberately misunderstand and take Mr. Bell's positions to illogical extremes), I believe that he is on the mark with what is required for the church to remain relevant and resonant with today's Western culture.

From reading VE, I don't think he was saying that the Bible isn't 100% true - I think he was suggesting that it is pretty arrogant of any one person to assume that they know what "100% true" is. Western thinkers, who see things in literal definitions and bullet points, have a difficult time reconciling this concept - particularly when it deals with a book (actually a collection of books) written primarily to an Eastern audience, whose world-view is shaped by experiential learning, based on what can be seen, heard and touched.
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70 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Marvin on July 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After reading this book - in a day - I knew that if I read the Amazon.com reviews, they would be either 5 stars or 1 stars. R.Bell really goes out on a limb, and will probably be hearing from both reviewers personally. Some will think he is spreading terrible ideas, while others will think he really gets at their heart.

If you read the book, and I do recommend it, you have to be prepared to be challenged. I have sat under Rob's teaching for 4 years, and every chapter's main point I have wrestled with myself already. And I do mean wrestled with. Rob seems to like to walk to the edge of the cliff (metaphorically speaking), look over, and return to safe ground. It's somewhat scary for a dogmatic like myself, but can be freeing.

If you want to knee jerk react, you will have a lot to react to, but if you seek to understand the points, you will be challenged. Just because Rob takes it to the edge, does not mean he does not hold as strongly to True doctrine as Calvin, Luther, or St. Paul himself.

The idea of the book is not to re-prove theological points (that's been done in thousands of other books) but to walk the reader through a movement....the whole Christian movement as well as your own personal movement as lived out in Christ (he uses his own life experiences through out.)

In the end, if you are looking for a strong systematic theology, your looking in the wrong place. If you are looking for how theology lives itself out in every day life, you may have the right book.

You will have to respond, however, and my guess is you will be either a 1 star reader, or a 5....

Personal note:

Rob Bell has challenge me personally to seek answers to some very tough questions.
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220 of 270 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
American pastor Rob Bell is a leader in the Emerging Church movement, and this book seeks to apply the principles of postmodernism to the contemporary church. The result is a mixed bag. Much of the book is simply a call to love Jesus more, to rediscover the wonder and mystery of the faith. As such, it is just another book on Christian living, and cannot really be faulted. But it is the over-reliance on the postmodernist framework that is cause for concern.

This comes out most clearly when Bell speaks of our understanding of scripture and truth. Consider statements such as this: "we have to be honest about our interpretations. Everybody's interpretation is essentially his or her own opinion. Nobody is objective"

Here the PoMo/DeCon idea that there is only interpretation, never final and knowable truth, is unnecessarily embraced. Yes, it is always true that none of us have the whole picture, that all our views will be slanted to a degree. Given that we are fallen and finite, this must be so. And we did not need postmodernism to tell us that.

Yet what about the other side of the coin? What about the many passages which speak of truth, and our ability to know it, and seek after it, albeit imperfectly? What about where it says that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth? Is there no place for objective truth?

Again, no one has all the truth, and all of us need each other as we seek truth. But the overemphasis on our inability to fully understand God's word, to fully comprehend truth, is simply unbalanced. We acknowledge our need to be humble, to be constantly on our knees, to recognise our limits, yes. But we also have a God who is true, and who seeks to convey truth to us.
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