Jesus wants to save Christians – Rob Bell

11 01 2010

First post of the new year! All right and it’s a quick one too. Having read Bells other books (Velvet Elvis and Sex God) I wasn’t holding my breath for anything good but I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I really liked it. The book deals primarily with the idea, explored by many New Perspective theologians (N.T Wright in particular) and Pauline Scholar Tom Holland, of exodus and exile theology in the Bible. Bell traces the narrative of the Bible along these themes. It’s a critique of “Empire”, and that term is defined as the book progresses. Bell spends most of his time looking at the empires in scripture and compares them to the current American “Empire”. At some points the critique is sharp and hits the nail on the head. At other times I got a sense that it was bordering on Anti-American sentiment. I tire of anti-american sentiment in the same way I tire of american patriotism. Neither are the way forward. I keep coming back to the fact that although America may have many problems, it still sends out thousands of missionaries, and allows the Gospel to be proclaimed freely. However there are many times where the Gospel has been co-opted by the American gospel. Under Solomon Israel became a nation not unlike America, and there were many similarities. Most notably in the fact that Solomon started to amass a large army and built military bases on foreign (or near foreign) soil, not too dissimilar from America’s actions in the middle east or cuba.  One negative thing that continues from Bells previous books are some spurious and weak links to Old Testament e.g. the fact that the ethiopian eunich in Acts was riding in a chariot and chariots are symbols of the empire, so Luke is showing us the redemption of chariots.  A weak link if ever there was one. Following on the theme of exile and exodus Bell makes an excellent point that the heart of every human being is in a state of exile, east of eden, and what is needed is not just a physical exodus from egypt but one that deals with the human hearts exile. Fantastic! That is right on the money. On the whole the book is sound and will show you God’s heart for justice, for the oppressed, and to put the world to rights. I reccomend it!

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