Reviewed by Dale Lewis
Jesus Wants to Save Christians
by Rob Bell & Don
"Be prepared for your comfortable thinking about American Christianity as it is today to be challenged ... a provocative read."
The authors state in their new book that there is a church not too far from them who recently added a $25 million addition to their building while their local newspaper concurrently ran a front-page story about a study revealing that one in five people in their city lives in poverty. Jesus Wants to Save Christians is a book about those two numbers. Boldly, without any sickening sugarcoating, Bell and Golden say, “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.”
It is not a book for the timid or easily sensitive. Be prepared for your comfortable thinking about American Christianity as it is today to be challenged and to maybe even disagree with their opinions.
Within the first three chapters, they seamlessly trace the connection between the distinctive destinations of Egypt, Sinai, Jerusalem and Babylon in the history of Israel. Heavily relying on the narrative, and using succinct phrases, repetitive words, and creative use of white space on the page, Bell & Golden provide a clearer understanding of God’s plan with His people. How we the church have woefully deviated and how we fit in today continues in the remaining chapters.
Some of their poignant questions include: “What do you do when your religion isn’t big enough for God? and “What do you when your system falls apart because the new thing that God is doing is better, beyond, superior, more compelling?”
Their creative chapter titles i.e “Air Puffers and Rubber Gloves” and “Swollen-Bellied Black Babies, Soccer Moms on Prozac and the Mark of the Beast” draws the curious reader to further exploration of their insight.
There are also a few hard-hitting pull-quotes in Jesus Wants to Save Christians: “What he’s (Paul) against is religious rituals that replace the freedom, the liberation, brought by Christ. When people are manipulated with guilt and fear, when they are told that if they do certain things they’ll be illegitimate, judged, condemned, sent to hell forever — that’s violence.”
“For them, blessing is about favoritism. We are chosen and elect and favorite; therefore we deserve certain securities and benefits. They’re still trapped in the entitlement of the old covenant religion.”
As always, in Bell’s books, the endnotes are full, flowing over and useful. You’ll find yourself referencing them to validate where the details listed come from. For a provocative read, pick up a copy of Jesus Wants to Save Christians.