I had heard a lot about Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Going into it, I wanted to like it. My passion is to go beyond doing church to really being the church. That church isn’t within the walls of a building, it’s the people of God who have been grafted together into one body, a temple of the Holy Spirit built on Christ our cornerstone. The idea of challenging the church intrigued me. I wanted to like this book based on what I had heard. I didn’t.
Rob Bell thinks it’s our role to “take responsibility for who the church is going to be for a new generation. It is our turn to redefine and reshape and dream it all up again.” Is it really? Last I knew, the church wasn’t man’s idea. It wasn’t dreamed up by man, defined by him or a byproduct of his relationship with God. The church is God’s design – His bride. He loves her, cherishes her and sacrificed for her. We don’t need to make the church relevent to make her significant. She is significant because of who she belongs to. The church is relevent as she lives out what God has already said. We don’t have to redefine it. We need to live out the “one anothers” in the New Testament.
We live in a culture that is looking for the next big thing. We need an experience. We need to feel the rush. We need something new that will somehow push the boundaries. When that happens in the church, is it really about God or an experience? Why are we asking to redefine what God has said? Can we somehow do better?
I believe that as the church we can continually be learning what it means to live surrendered lives to God. As we truly learn what that means and live accordingly, our lives are changed more and more. That’s not a redefinition though. That’s sanctification – being set apart from sin and for God. I didn’t agree with his views of the church or the purpose of the church, holiness, heaven….and probably more.
There were a lot of statements I just didn’t like and caused a reaction within me. I just want to mention one more. At one point he said, “Oftentimes the Christian community has sent the message that we love people and build relationships in order to convert them to the Christian faith. So there is an agenda. And when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love, is it?” So God didn’t have an agenda in sending Jesus? He sent His Son to die to save sinners. That flowed out of His love. His character, His love dictates what He does. His agenda, His plan, His work flows out of who He is. I think if we really loved people, it would be our desire to see them come to Christ. A love for Christ and love for people compels us to share Him with others, even if we may not be heavily invested in their lives.
I don’t agree with so much in this book. When man thinks that he can redefine what God has already said, he leaves himself open to foolish ideas. The book featured redefinitions of what a Christian is. I didn’t agree with them.
It is so important to think biblically…with what God has said. Not someone’s redefinition of what God has said. What a reminder and a warning that just because something is popular in “Christian” culture, doesn’t mean that it’s good.
If you’ve read the book and liked it/didn’t like it, I’d appreciate your thoughts. In fact, I’d like to hear your thoughts even if you didn’t read the book.