Don’t judge a book by its cover…or its title! Velvet Elvis is Rob Bell’s first book, and, with its publication 15 years ago, his leave-taking from conservative Christianity began. Once “the brightest star in the evangelical cosmos,” he, in this book, “actually ends up throwing the entire Christian gospel up for grabs,” according to Baptist Church minister Greg Gilbert, who adds: he is “in many ways taking the Christian world by storm.”
In 2017, CNN called him out, given his association with emerging church theology: “Outlaw pastor Rob Bell shakes up the Bible Belt.” And Time referred to him as “the hipper-than-thou pastor.” Once minister of a megachurch in Michigan, he, considered “a brilliant communicator,” came to be judged “the 10th most influential Christian in America.”
To say that reviewers of this book disagree is understatement: “It is a sharp departure from any form of orthodox Christianity,” the website presbyformed declares; “…this is a faithful creative Christianity,” Publishers Weekly counters, “and Gen-Xers especially will find Bell a welcome guide to the Christian faith.” In it, he searches for “a more forgiving church,” The New Yorker explains; he challenges “Christian belief in hell and the cross,” Christianity Today has it.
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
By Rob Bell
[The previous Featured Book, In Defence of Doubt: An Invitation to Adventure, by Val Webb, is now available in the Library.]