Velvet Elvis

I decided to read Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis, mainly to see for myself what kind of teaching he lays out.  I wish I could say my review is entirely unbiased, but unfortunately Rob Bell is well known and comes with a reputation.  For someone who values truth and clarity, that reputation is a tarnished reputation.  I’ll do my best to be fair and balanced, point out the good as well as the bad, and not miss the point of the book.

I’m writing this review one chapter at a time as I read the book, so I expect it may be a lengthy review.  Perhaps when I’m done I’ll do a second review that is more of an overall picture instead of an in depth analysis.

INTRO: “Welcome to my Velvet Elvis”

Bell begins the book with the explanation of the title, a Velvet Elvis painting in his basement, representing one artist’s representation of the King.  He explains that the Christian faith is like art, always changing, always a different perspective.  Just like an artist’s attempt to convey something meaningful in a way that connects with his audience, so our faith should adapt and change in order to be relevant to the current generation.

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Wild at Heart

It seems that whenever someone or something becomes popular, it’s never long before the attacks begin. The Christian subculture is no exception. Perhaps the logic goes something like this: “I’m teaching the truth, and I’m not popular. Therefore, the truth cannot be popular. Hence, if something is popular, there must be something wrong with it.” Another possibility is that sometimes a new perspective challenges people to change what they are doing. If someone is convinced that they are doing things the right way, then they may feel the need to poke holes in the viewpoint that expresses a need for change.

I can’t defend everything John Eldredge says, and I’ll admit that some of what he says leaves me a little uneasy. I’ve also been challenged and refreshed by the two books of his that I’ve read (Wild at Heart and Waking the Dead). After reading a very critical review of Wild at Heart, I wrote the following response:

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