Review of Rob Bell’s Book

Book Review: Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

I didn’t say which book in the subject line. Aren’t I provocative? We’ll see if there’s anything different in his new book.

Velvet Elvis

29 Responses to “Review of Rob Bell’s Book”


  1. 1 Stan McCullars

    Bell is a pompous ass and a false teacher.

    Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    All the questions drive me nuts.
    Jeff

  3. 3 tim

    just curious: why do the questions drive you nuts?

    and i see stan is as classy as ever. so Christ-like. so loving. so graceful. Col. 4:6 – “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.”
    James 1:19 – “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.”

    Stan – you call Bell a heretic. might you be called a hypocrite?
    do you condone that kind of talk, jeff? i’ve generally looked at your blog as more reputable than that. but i guess these are his words, not yours.

    that aside – i really am curious: why do the questions drive you nuts? like what aspect? is it the fact that Bell questions or is it the questions he’s asking?

  4. 4 Stan McCullars

    Tim the Bell Apologist strikes again. By any chance do you live in your mother’s garage?

  5. 5 Scripture Zealot

    The questions drive me nuts because he never really answers many or most of them. He wants to make you think, which isn’t that bad of a thing, but either non-answers or those that don’t go along with Scripture is frustrating to listen to or read. The Bible answers most of his questions. People want and need solid teaching and I think the Reformed catechisms and confessions do that, while maintaining that there are mysteries that God doesn’t reveal to us. I would love to see him come around like Mark Driscoll did.
    Jeff

  6. 6 Stan McCullars

    Like McLaren, Bell dances around the edges of orthodox Christianity as he leads his followers off a cliff.

    Jeff, I’m not sure if you read this when it was first posted:

    Just one more savage wolf…

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    I hadn’t seen that one. It would be nice if they gave more context to the quotes, but shows enough of what he says and believes.
    Jeff

  8. 8 tim

    i, too appreciate the questions – because i think it can make one think through what it is that they actually believe. many in the world of Christiandom have little substance to their belief. perhaps because they’ve never been challenged to defend it.

    however – i, too, have found that in some of Bell’s writings there are a lot of words – but no conclusion. to be fair – i’ve found that with many books about faith.

    that being said, i wouldn’t call him a heretic. the occasional podcast of his that i’ve heard have all seemed Gospel-centric. i am actually no Bell apologist. i get more disgusted about the fervor in which so many try to bring him down.

    i think what it all comes down to is faith in action – not mere faith in words.

    and that is what frustrates me most about those who are so quick to call out Bell. i read a lot of hateful words. many (not all) scream at the top of their lungs how right they are and how wrong Bell is or they write about things in a book they have not read – or that is even released – as if their opinion is Gospel truth…

    the thing is i rarely see anything Christ-like in their writing.

    does that bug you, jeff? does that bug you, stan? because i think it should. we all have a right to share our opinions publicly – but writing about how Bell is anti-Gospel in a manner that is also anti-Gospel is ironic in the worst of ways.

    how can any of us call out another person and yet do it in such a way that is anti-gospel? some of the words of Jesus and Paul and James’ regularly ignored.

    why can’t we just disagree? why do we have to disagree and resort to anti-Christ-like behavior?

    and so Stan, i don’t understand why you choose to use the words you use to ‘try’ to prove your point. how productive is that?

    you call Bell an ass. you insult me, my mother and her garage. on your blog, stan, you delete posts of people with opposing view points. you use scriptures out of context (such as the Galatians verse you cited).

    why is that o.k.? and yet Bell is bad. if Bell is a heretic what does that make you or any other blow-hard with a blog who speaks or writes the way you do? (about Bell)

    stan, if Bell is a heretic then so be it. tell people about it. but maybe, just maybe there is a better approach to sharing one’s opinions.

    jeff – i think you do a good job writing. i appreciate your approach. thanks for that.

    when we look @ Jesus – he shows us an example of listening, serving and loving.

    for many, that is absent in their rants against Rob Bell or all the other heretics out there. so instead of reconciliation – we have a greater divide.

    there’s a better way.

    lastly, just because any of us think Bell is leading people off a cliff – doesn’t mean that’s the case. in this day in age disagreements = heresy. that is just plain wrong.

    disagreements are disagreements. luther. calvin. wesley. all had differing views on some of the scriptures. but they weren’t heretics.

  9. 9 tim


    a proof text out of context is a pretext. shouldn’t the context always be considered? seems a wee bit unfair, don’t you think?

  10. 10 tim

    - I hadn’t seen that one. It would be nice if they gave more context to the quotes, but shows enough of what he says and believes.
    Jeff –

    a proof text out of context is a pretext. shouldn’t the context always be considered? seems a wee bit unfair, don’t you think?

  11. 11 Stan McCullars

    Tim,
    You continue to solidify your reputation as a troll.

    One can only imagine how many comments you will hit Jeff with.

    And honestly, you have never heard of ass being used in a non-vulgar manner? Please.

  12. 12 Stan McCullars

    Jeff,
    Did you see Al Mohler’s recent post on the Bell issue?

    In it he nicely summed up a big problem with Bell and others who try to be cute with theology:

    Now, Rob Bell and others within the Emerging Church movement represent what can only be described as a new form of cultural Christianity. Bell plays with theology the way a cat plays with a mouse. His sermons, videos, books, and public relations are often more suggestive and subversive than clear…

    Time is running out on the Emerging folks. They can play the game of suggestion for only so long. Eventually, the hard questions will be answered. Tragically, when the answers do come, as with the case of Brian McLaren, they appear as nothing more than a mildly updated form of Protestant liberalism.

  13. 13 Scripture Zealot

    I don’t think I saw that one. I listed one on FB which was a little kinder but still really said the same thing. I think Mohler has a good point. People want answers, not questions.

    We did a seeker sensitive group Bible study, even though I protested, and it was very similar. If I was seeking I wouldn’t have gotten much information I could use. And as people who are supposed to be sensitive to seekers, we really learned nothing.
    Jeff

  14. 14 Stan McCullars

    Rob Bell sounds like one of the gullible women mentioned in the passage below:

    They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:6-7 TNIV)

  15. 15 Stan McCullars

    Tim Challies has posted a review of the book.

    Very interesting.

  16. 16 Scripture Zealot

    From that review we can see he’s saying and asking the same old stuff, which doesn’t take another book to know.
    Jeff

  17. 17 Mike Gantt

    If Rob Bell knew that there was a biblical case for believing that everyone is going to heaven (http://wp.me/PNthc-i6), would he be willing to preach it?

    And would he be willing to preach that everyone should repent – even Christians?

  18. 18 Scripture Zealot

    I’m not sure what you’re asking but I suppose so. I can see you’re a Universalist and I’m not much for debate.
    Jeff

  19. 19 Mike Gantt

    These questions just occurred to me as I was pondering the subject of your post. I suppose only Rob Bell can answer them, but they’re also questions we can ask ourselves. Even you can answer – because the questions don’t presuppose that everyone is going to heaven. They only ask “If there was a biblical case for it, would you be willing to preach it?”

    Of course, they’re meant for reflection. I’m not suggesting you owe me an answer.

    As for debate, I don’t like it either.

  20. 20 T.C. R

    I read this book. I remember liking the beginning but thought it went in a direction that I didn’t particularly appreciate. Sort of strayed. I was looking for more.

  21. 21 Scripture Zealot

    Mike, for some reason I understand your question now. I consider it moot because there are no grounds for it in Scripture. Maybe the question could be, “If you were wrong, would you like to know?” And I would say yes. I want the truth. I’m not a preacher but I think you would mean to proclaim it. I think I would have to.

    I went from Arminianism to Calvinism even though that’s not very popular in my circle of Christians I would fellowship with. I went to it kicking a screaming, but I now see it all over Scripture. So I’m going the wrong way anyway even if I’ve softened a little on some things.

    TC I almost read Velvet Elvis from the library a long time ago but never got to it.
    Jeff

  22. 22 Gary Simmons

    Mike, I totally wouldn’t preach it. Why bother?

    I mean, it’ll just lead to strife. And hey — if it’s true, then it’ll be a very happy surprise for everyone!

    Of course, I’m not a universalist, so it doesn’t matter. :)

  23. 23 Stan McCullars

    I read enough of Velvet Elvis to not be surprised by his latest heretical contribution to landfills everywhere.

  24. 24 tim

    oh yeah? what page did you stop on?

  25. 25 tim

    and i saw that you said that in Love Wins, ‘Rob Bell has once again gone public with heretical doctrine. This time he is denying hell.’

    can you back up that statement with a direct quote from the book in which Bell specifically states ‘there is no hell?’

  26. 26 Stan McCullars

    It is sad to see how so many have been deluded by Bell’s false teaching. The church is in need of much discernment.

    My prayer for the deceived:
    And it is my prayer that their love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that they may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:9-10 ESV)

    Bell is so obviously a snake it’s hard to believe people have fallen for him. Alas, our senses have been dulled by sin so we are all susceptible to being duped. I know I have been.

  27. 27 Mike Gantt

    Jeff,

    You said, “Maybe the question could be, “If you were wrong, would you like to know?” And I would say yes. I want the truth. I’m not a preacher but I think you would mean to proclaim it. I think I would have to.”

    I like that.

    Gary,

    You said, “I totally wouldn’t preach it. Why bother? I mean, it’ll just lead to strife. And hey — if it’s true, then it’ll be a very happy surprise for everyone!”

    The proclamation of truth always leads to strife (as we see so clearly in the lives of Jesus and His apostles). Therefore, if we are unwilling to endure opposition, we limit the amount of truth we can find in this life.

  28. 28 Stan McCullars

    Mike,
    The proclamation of a lie, which is what you’re doing, leads to far worse that mere strife. Thus tought Jesus and his apostles.

  29. 29 tim

    stan, do you ever give any substance to back up your opinions?

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