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Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile [Hardcover]

By Rob Bell (Author) & Don Golden (Author)
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Item description for Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell & Don Golden...

A church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently added a $25-million addition to its building; meanwhile one in five people in Grand Rapids lives in poverty. This book about those two numbers tells what happens when Christians support and participate in the very things Jesus advocated.

Publishers Description
There is a church not too far from us that recently added a $25 million addition to their building. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago about a study revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty. This is a book about those two numbers.Jesus Wants to save Christians is a book about faith and fear, wealth and war, poverty, power, safety, terror, Bibles, bombs, and homeland insecurity. It's about empty empires and the truth that everybody's a priest. It's about oppression, occupation, and what happens when Christians support, animate and participate in the very things Jesus came to set people free from.It's about what it means to be a part of the church of Jesus in a world where some people fly planes into buildings while others pick up groceries in Hummers.

From Publishers Weekly
The author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God teams up with fellow pastor Golden to write a manifesto that packs as much sociopolitical zing as rhetorical punch. If Americans today miss the central message of the Bible, say the authors, the reason is that the United States is an empire like those described in Scripture that build powerful armies and seek to protect what they accumulate rather than promote justice and mercy. Chapter titles such as "Swollen-bellied black babies, soccer moms on Prozac, and the mark of the beast" will provoke many readers. Likely to get a bigger rise is the suggestion that when the Bible says enemies will one day worship together, that includes today's enemies, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The writing is frequently paragraphed into very short chunks of prose. This dramatic book is politically charged but not party-bent, bearing a message evangelicals need: that Jesus didn't come just to save people for heaven someday but to transform his followers and the physical world now. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   218
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.52" Width: 6.42" Height: 0.78"
Weight:   0.99 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2008
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310275024  
ISBN13  9780310275022  
UPC  025986275020  

Availability  0 units.

More About Rob Bell & Don Golden

Rob Bell

Rob Bell lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he's the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. Rob is the author of Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars. He also appeared in a pioneering series of twenty-four short films called NOOMA, as well as in longer version DVDs-- The Art of the Sermon, Everything is Spiritual, The Gods Aren't Angry, and Drops Like Stars. Visit the author online at

Rob Bell was born in 1970.

Rob Bell has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Nooma

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

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Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus Wants To Save Christians?

Just A Start (and some random thoughts)  Apr 3, 2010
I identify myself as a compassionate conservative on my FB page. I don't really watch much TV and watch a little FOX and MSNBC business. I am 57 years old and have been a Christian 39 years. My wife and I share teaching duties in a Nazarene Sunday School class for mixed ages. I love this book because it is creating all this dialogue. I just want to suggest that we are really just coming to a point where the Church is opening up to dialogue. Also, America is a young country trying to come to grips with all this power and wealth. I feel this book is going to strike a resonant chord in a nation that has had it all and still is feeling a little empty. With the proliferation of the internet, these ideas are like seeds that will produce an incredible amount of fruit. Francis Schaefer popularized the saying, "Ideas have consequence". It is exciting to see a book like this at a time like this. I have listened to it twice so far and will listen to it several more times to fully grasp it. I downloaded it from itunes and burnt it to CD. Rob and Don just read it out loud into the mike. I am an audio learner and this suites me well. I find that when I loan it out a lot more people will actually listen to it that wouldn't read a book. This way I am creating a group to discuss it with. I am also processing this book in conjunction with the audio book the "World is Flat". They compliment each other well. We have a long way to go, but this is a good start. The only reason I didn't give this book a five star rating is that there are still a lot of unanswered questions to be worked out. I doubt I will agree with everything as time reveals more wisdom. I plan on reading all the reviews and comments pertaining to this book. I think it is important enough book to warrant my effort. Let's all keep the reviews and comments comming. I will actually review the book after I have read all the existing reviews and discussed it with friends and family and also listened to it a few more times. This book could be pivital. I recently caught his Drops Like Stars presentation in Columbus, Ohio in December. It was very good. I hope this helps in some way. Thanks for reading.
NOT for the Closed-Minded  Mar 4, 2010
Go to the one star reviews of this book and you will see closed-minded people who didn't even finish the book (lol, seriously at least half say they couldn't finish it). If you are a hardcore conservative christian who listens to nothing but Fox News and refuses to even encounter ideas that are even slightly different than yours, you will not like this book.

Mainly for two reasons:
First, they feel Rob Bell has misinterpreted the OT (of course a casual reader has a right to question a pastor who has actually gone to seminary and is very familiar with Hebrew, but do they have a valid point? They have no problem with how he interpreted the OT in Velvet Elvis or Sex God, but as soon as it starts to point to flaws in their beliefs that they are not open-minded about Bell is misinterpreting scripture)
Second, they feel Rob Bell has twisted politics and religion. If you read this book, you will probably agree that only about 5% of this book is actually political, but that is a big 5% if you refuse to hear anything that doesnt support your beliefs. (just curious, when Fox News twists religion and politics their ratings sky rocket, why is it such a crime for somebody who actually has religious credibility to do it?)

But if you desire a new perspective, or don't feel completely threatened by a new perspective (and its not even that different! it emphasizes the same things Jesus did) then this is an excellent book.

Both the ideals of this book and the practicality of this book make it a must read for every Christian.

Good text layout, good cover design, some good messages, that's it.  Feb 28, 2010
I got this book because I wanted to challenge myself and my thought process. I get exposed to other people ideology and theology quite a bit and I wanted to see if I was missing something, I wanted to see if I was taught wrong from when I was a child. I opened this book, loving Velvet Elvis, and with an open heart and mind. I was ready to challenge myself. I went away disappointed. Disappointed so much that I couldn't even finish the book.

I would like to say that Christian authors should stay away from politics, but being a political junky myself I know the importance of discussing both politics and religion. Rob Bell did challenge my thinking of politics to a certain degree, but I challenged every scripture he quoted, or every idea he had just to make sure he was creditable. This is where I was furious with the book, he misquoted scripture, and forgot other scriptures. Let me explain...

Rob Bell goes into talking about how the Israelites forgot about their past. Solomon was building a magnificent kingdom, one so very great. "The Bible Tells the story: "Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord's temple, his own palace, the terraces, and the wall of Jerusalem."" He uses that, 1 Kings 9:15, as his quotes when the Bible actually says in that scripture, "And this is the reason for the labor force which King Solomon raised:..." Notice that it didn't say "forced labor" but labor force. Two totally different things. The bible version I used was the NKJV and yes other versions of the Bible do say, "forced labor", but Rob bell is trying to make a point by saying," Another word for forced labor is, of course, slaves."

It seems that Rob Bell didn't use a lot of study time when he wrote this book. I think be may have written it in a day or so. The reason I say this is because 2 Chronicles 8:9 says, "But Solomon did not make slaves for his work from the sons of Israel; they were men of war, his chief captains and commanders of his chariots and his horsemen."

Christians need to take the Bible very literally, and when something seems to contradict in the Bible, such as forced labor in 1 Kings 9:15 and the statement that Solomon didn't use slaves in 2 Chronicles 8:9, further Bible study is required. I am further disgusted that Christian authors such as Rob Bell can write whatever they want in a book and the readers will actually take every word literally like Jesus Wants to Save Christians is an extension of the Bible itself.

Bottom line is I wouldn't want to waste my time with this book or put a penny in the author's pocket. If you must buy it, buy it used so you do not support the false accusations of Rob Bell. Pick up Velvet Elvis instead if you must read something by him. If you choose to read this or any other piece of Christian literature, please make sure the author is using the Sacred Scripture right. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." ~2 Timothy 3:16
Jesus Wants to Save Christians: Challenging  Feb 15, 2010
Title: Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell and Don Golden

Pages: 218.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 10 months.

Days spent reading it: 1 day.

Why I read it: Rob Bell fascinates me. He often challenges my view of Christianity. He makes me think about the how and why of Christianity today. And I like his odd writing style.

Brief review: Rob Bell and Don Golden walk through the story of the Bible with a particular eye towards how God frees the oppressed and is opposed to oppressive empires. According to the introduction they take their cue from what is being called the "New Exodus" perspective. Basically, I think they see the Exodus as the primary imagery for salvation in the Bible (almost more so than the Cross, which is slightly disturbing).

There are some creative and good ideas in this book. Bell and Golden made me think deeply about what it means to have power and wealth. Some questions I tried to think through while reading this book included: How have we (Americans) obtained power and wealth? What are we doing with this power and wealth? What can we be doing differently? Is the way that we have obtained power and wealth by oppressing others? And if so, what should we do about that? Is America really an empire? Is it comparable to Rome during Jesus' time? What would Jesus think about America? How would he correct us? How would he commend us?

I appreciate the creativity of Rob Bell. I think this book is an interesting look at the overall story of the Bible. My only problem is that in a book like this, Bell is forced to downplay important elements of the Bible in order to make his point. For instance the title of the book is "Jesus wants to save Christians." But a much better (though less provocative title) would be "Jesus wants to liberate Christians." Salvation in this book is much less about a relationship with Jesus (however you phrase it), and instead liberation from oppression is the driving metaphor. I do not disagree with the metaphor Bell uses, but it leaves the title a little misleading. Of course, Rob Bell would not be Rob Bell if he was not probing and provoking and making the modern Christian rethink how we relate to the post-modern culture. So he has to have a provocative title about Christians being saved.

This is one of those books I would like to read with a group of people. Some who really like the ideas in the book, some who really hate the ideas in the book, and some who fall between these extremes. I think this book would be fascinating to discuss with others who were interested in it. As a theology student, I also think it would be interesting to do a research paper in an advanced theology class comparing and contrasting Bell's views with Liberation theology, or looking at his view of the atonement. There is plenty of material to read through and think about for a paper like that (and countless other papers if one was interested). Bell is not the originator of many of these ideas, but he is a popularizer of ideas. He is a master at presenting ideas. He is very creative, keeps your attention, and he knows his audience.

I would recommend this book to most people, but not everyone. I think it was interesting to read and think through. Not everyone is going to like Bell's take on things (I know I often do not), but at least he makes us think about what we believe. And that is always good in my book.

Favorite quote: At the height of their power, Israel misconstrued God's blessings as favoritism and entitlement. They became indifferent to God and to their priestly calling to bring liberation to others.

There's a word for this. A word for what happens when you still have the power and the wealth and the influence and yet in some profound way you've blown it because you've forgotten why you were given it in the first place.

The word is exile.

Exile is when you forget your story.

Exile isn't just about location; exile is about the state of your soul.

Exile is when you fail to convert your blessings into blessing for other people.

Exile is when you find yourself a stranger to the purposes of God.

Stars: 4 out of 5.

Final Word: Challenging.
A perspective...  Feb 6, 2010
Very good book, with some answers and some questions. It puts into words questions you have but can't express (the "something is wrong with this and I can't put my finger on it" feeling), and gives you an answer that leads you to ask other important questions- like "what can I do about it?" I think the answer to that is in there as well.

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