Velvet Elvis Has Left the Building-IV

I stumbled across my copy of Velvet Elvis and decided to finish it and complete my postings on it- you can read the others elsewhere on my blog. What I read in the concluding chapters alarmed me but did not surprise me in the light of the earlier chapters. His suggestion that at the heart if the gospel is the message that Jesus believes in me and God has faith in me is just downright unbiblical. What did Jesus say, ‘The Son of Man came to help mankind fulfill its potential’? No,He came to seek and to save the lost. What did the early church proclaim, ‘Believe in yourself and everything will be fine’? No, repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Bell’s message is a travesty of the gospel.

The chapter where he then goes on to tell us that hell is full of forgiven people who have chosen to live outside God’s story is another travesty of the gospel. As is his half-baked suggestion that hell is this world gone wrong and that we are created to bring heaven to earth. This a shambolic distortion of the gospel.

Whilst I appreciate his call for the church to seek to make the gospel more of a practical reality in the world I disagree that the church has been created by God to serve the world. No, the church has been created by God to worship Him. Also his suggestion that the early church did not preach the resurrection because everyone believed in gods dying and rising displays a basic ignorance of Scripture. (What Scripture Bell uses throughout usually displays his complete inability to handle Scripture accurately).

This book is simply a terrible book and I continue with that sense of alarm that it is being widely promoted in Christian book shops. Much of what Bell says is simply not Christianity. I know some of you will think I’m too hard on Rob Bell. This is not a personality thing. So if you want to respond to this post don’t try to defend him as a great guy- I’m sure he is. But let’s deal with the ideas he is pushing in the name of Christianity.

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6 Responses to “Velvet Elvis Has Left the Building-IV”

  1. Alastair Says:

    I don’t agree with you (albeit it has been a while since I read the book).

    But thank you for presenting your views with passion and strong words, but without self-importance or arrogance.

  2. sibbesian Says:

    Thanks for the comment Alastair. My concerns about Rob Bell are genuine concerns. So I am interested in hearing specifically why people agree with him as it runs contrary to much of what I understand to be biblical Christianity.

  3. Brandon Smith Says:

    I see what you mean, but I don’t think Rob meant that Christ just expects us to reach our potential and believe in ourselves, but merely that we should know that you don’t have to be perfect to be saved and that Christ has hope in all of us because he died for all of us. Basically even though we are sinners and need Christ, that you don’t have to be perfect to be saved, just like Christ called everyone – high society and low – to follow him. That’s what I got from it, anyway.

    I also have many issues with Rob Bell, but I think his criticism does sometimes get a little over exaggerated, which I don’t think you did here.

    Regardless, great blog. Check mine out sometime if you’re interesting and I hope it will bless you!

    Brandon Smith

  4. sibbesian Says:

    Thanks Brandon for the comment. I hope that all Evangelicals are clear that you do not have to be perfect to be saved- if that were the case heaven would be a pretty empty place! Part of my problem with Bell is if this is what he means why not state it plainly? Why use terminology which only creates confusion? Thanks too for the link I’ll check it out.

  5. Steve Swartz Says:

    Gidday from Central Australia. I’ve just stumbled across your blog while searching for Dr. David Wells’. Yours looks very good. I have just started blogging at

    Keep the faith entrusted to you, brother!

  6. sibbesian Says:

    Steve thanks for the approval rating! Your blog is developing nicely- keep it up.

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