Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile
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Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  4,042 ratings  ·  243 reviews
There is a church not too far from us that recently added a $25 million addition to their building. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago about a study revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty. This is a book about those two numbers. Jesus Wants to save Christians is a book about faith and fear, wealth and war, poverty, power, sa...more
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Published September 28th 2008 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published August 22nd 2008)
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Dan Chance
I just have finished the book and, I confess, I'm in way over my pay grade. The introduction just begins the discussion with a little story of how our misguided efforts to protect ourselves only manages to further dehumanize us and enslave us (leaving little for our known enemies to do that would be more injurious than what we are doing to our society ourselves). It really seems to be a digression from the main point of the book unless you can see it in the light of a world system doing all it c...more
If you are not inspired to live like Jesus over and above living like an American after reading this book, you either completely missed the point or have some serious issues with syncretism to work out.

That said, Rob Bell paints a beautiful, poetic manifesto (for all the reviewers complaining about how 'short' the book was, perhaps a healthy understanding of expectations coming in would have been worthwhile) that far surpasses even his brilliant 'Velvet Elvis'. Bell says so much in so few words,...more

Jesus Wants to Save Christians is a well-chosen, provoking title which accurately hints at its central focus, which is that in many ways the church—and particularly the church in America—has lost sight of what it means to live life in the way Jesus charged us. Beyond this, however, Bell and Golden appear to have written a testimony intended for an audience beyond Christians: even simple contextual points that are familiar to most Christians are observed and their relevance explained.

This easy-to...more
This book presents a great challenge to the Christian church, particularly the Christians that live in America. The book has a great Biblical theme in discussing the history of God's people through the Exodus/Mt. Sinai, Jerusalem, and Babylon. The theme is a cycle of God's people who suffer oppression, are then delivered by a merciful God, then become arrogant and turn away from God, and then suffer oppression again as God brings judgment. The challenge today is which land are we living in? Sina...more
Just minutes after the arrival of Thanksgiving Day 2008, this book serves as a reminder of one thing I’m especially thankful for this year.


My wife and I lived in an “Egypt” for a large portion of 2008.

I arrived in Egypt unexpectedly. I had no idea that I was headed there. Yet I am glad that I did not know. For had I known, I may have changed course, only to arrive there at a later date. Early on, I resisted Egypt, as if in denial of its existence or of my residence there. A time later, I...more
...I'm still kind of waiting for the substance, like maybe if I keep thinking about what I read it will be revealed to me. Perhaps I'm being a little mean, but this book, though given the honorable task of calling Christians back to Christ, attempts this by making naive and indefensible generalizations about politics and history (of which I happen to be a student) through the lens of an only less naive interpretation of the Bible (not that I'm a scholar) which quite happily leaves out things lik...more
This book was a strong, cool breeze. It flows very, very smoothly as it reveals the centrality of the Exodus theme throughout Scripture, culminating in a rich discussion of the Church and Eucharist, all in contrast to Egyptian and American empires. It's aimed at teens and twenty-somethings, and it's initial trendiness might put off older readers (it nearly did me). But stick with it. Look past the trendy formatting. It's clean and simple and profound. In some ways, it parallels Claiborne's Jesus...more
It inspired two of my tattoos- what else do you need to know? I read a review that said it is "a manifesto that packs as much sociopolitical zing as rhetorical punch"- which seriously describes this book perfectly. A favorite quote: "For a growing number of people in our world, it appears that many Christians support some of the very things Jesus came to set people free from." That one quote sets the tone for this entire book. A call to live a life fully awake to the Kingdom, refusing to accept...more
Where was God when I lost my job? Where was God when my father died? Where was God when my son got sick? One of the most cliched answer to this question is "where He was when His Son was crucified."

That answer is true, those who give it mean well, but it is often inappropriate and may come off as very insensitive. In "Jesus Wants to Save Christians", Rob Bell calls Christians to live out the mission they have been saved for. He argues that the best and most effective way to live out the Christia...more
Ryan Fisher
A quick read with a solid theme. There were times in the book that the author belabored the point a little too much, but overall a good book. The epilogue was the highlight. I would definitely recommend that!
His best book yet. The whole thing blew my mind, page by page. Brilliant, Inspired, Mind-Blowing. Rob Bell asks the question others are afraid to. He really gets it.
Too much to say about this one...You just have to read it for yourselves!
Tim Beck
I've enjoyed Rob Bell's previous books as well as what he does with Nooma, so it comes at no surprise that i enjoyed Jesus Wants To Save Christians.

Bell and co-author Don Golden paint a nice picture of the dysfunctional first family found in Genesis and about how God provided a 'better way'.

Compare that with the story of Exodus, the story of those opposed to Jesus and the story of today's 'church'; God has been, throughout the history of our existence, showing us a better way... and time after...more
This book takes a stab at showing how the Old Testament story of Israel mirrors (to some degree) our lives individually and collectively today.

The storyline is as follows:

The Egyptians oppressed the Isrealites as slaves and ruled over them ruthlessly in order to protect the empire. The Egyptians placed slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor. This is a key example in the Biblical story of sin manifesting itself in the form of empire. God heard the cry of the Israelites and lib...more
Abby Stevens
I've really wrestled with many things in this book. It seems to me that the overall message Bell and Golden are sending is good--but there are moments in the book that made me stop and reconsider everything they'd just said. There were some leaps in logic that I wasn't able to get totally on board with.

Just like Velvet Elvis, I think this is a book to which I'll return to chew on some more. Until then, I'd recommend it to the critical thinking Christian who isn't afraid of the questions it leav...more
Scott Heaton
“Jesus wants to save our church from the exile of irrelevance.”

Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell and Don Golden is a cool looking book. Let’s face it, the way Bell packages everything he puts out makes you go: “Oooooo neato!” With its hip lime green pages and mysterious puzzle cover, you are almost obligated to take it off the shelf and have a look at it. But does its attractive appearance reflect the content within the pages?

Recently I’ve been a par...more
This is Rob Bell's third book and his first time collaborating with someone, that being Don Golden. I know that Bell has been a controversial figure since. Here is a founder of a large church and he uses short videos and speaking tours to tell people about the Gospel. His actions regarding the Gospel don't exactly match up with how things have been done in the past. At first I was skeptical of him and now here I am having read all three of his books and saw him during his God's Aren't Angry tour...more
Adam Parker
If you have ever seen any of the Nooma videos, then you will be able to relate to the content and writing style of this book. Rob Bell and Dan Golden present the story of exile from the Garden, to historical Israel, to Jesus, and finally to the modern church in such a profound and eye opening literary style it was awe inspiring. The authors drew connections between all of these different exiles throughout history and brought them all back to the message of Christ. To the death of Christ. There w...more
Lee Harmon
Ouch. Several months ago, Harper One sent me a short collection of Rob Bell reprints to review. I slowly worked my way through them, enjoying each one, and somehow left this one sitting on the shelves. Too many other obligations. I just now picked it up, and read it in one sitting.

I couldn’t put it down. Forget Velvet Elvis. Forget Love Wins. This 180-page sermon, this little obscure work, is for Bible groupies Bell’s real masterpiece. It’s definitely my new favorite, so maybe that says somethin...more
The first 2-3 chapters were really, really difficult to get through, but it started picking up and definitely ended on a high note.

This definitely isn't as good as his latest (Love Wins), but if you can make it through the first quarter of the book, it ends up being pretty solid.

Oddly enough, this is kind of lining up with a lot of stuff that I've been thinking about lately. I'm a big fan of David Foster Wallace, and I've really been ruminating on his stance on entertainment- about how we're lit...more
Kelly Hager
Okay, this book was amazing. And I'm going to speak in generalizations now, so I'm not saying this applies to every Christian and/or every church. I DO NOT MEAN YOU. :)

The general gist is that modern Christian churches are more concerned with big, fancy worship spaces and preaching that anyone who does not believe or do x, y, or z is going straight to hell. There are debates about whether or not drinking is okay or dancing is okay, but not debates on how best to serve the communities they are se...more
Matt Black
I have read many of the books that Rob Bell has written and every time I read another, I find myself captivated by the ideas and thoughts he portrays in his writing. The things he puts down on the page make me think.
I enjoyed this book a lot. Bell makes good connections with the Old Testament story beginning with creation to Cain and Able, from Egypt to Sinai, Babylon to Jerusalem. Then the prophets come into play and last but not least--Jesus. You feel a part of the story as he is walking you...more
Book Review:

Jesus Wants to Save Christians
A Manifesto for the Church in Exile

By Rob Bell and Don Golden

The authors in their introduction explain that this book (published in 2008) is an attempt to explain a specific theology or way to read the Bible sometimes known as the New Exodus perspective.

The book gives a broad overview of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and the profound meaning for us today. The Book of Genesis describes the transition from a pastoral, nomadic society to an agricult...more
Interesting. Speaking broadly, I do not often find my politics in agreement with the evangelical church. Obviously, I am generalising. Yet, in many aspects I am in agreement with much of the ideology of the book.

The writing, however, is in danger of being pedantic. I do fear much of their target audience could be put off by the overall tone. Thus, the very Christians this book is trying to speak to, will not read it - or simply put it down and walk away in disgust.

Yet, the sparse "building blo...more
Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell and Don Golden wasn't what I expected. What I mean is that I was two-thirds through the book before what I was reading matched the description on the back. And then it was done. Hmmm.

But I liked what I didn't expect to read. What I expected was a list of reasons why the church needed to be more generous, committed to social justice, and so on. I didn't expect that Rob and Dan would first develop a theological framewo...more
Adam B.R. Clarke
Mar 30, 2010 Adam B.R. Clarke rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Jesus Wants to Save Christians...from themsleves

A review by Adam B.R. Clarke

First off, I’d like to state that although I am extremely positive about this book and the author, I did indeed read other reviews to consider some other perspectives. So, in retrospect, my views are not completely unaffected by outside sources. On that note, my favorite quote comes from Chapter Six where Rob Bell states: “A church is not an organization that surveys its demographic to find out what the market is deman...more
David Campton
Not sure what I expected in terms of content when I started this, given the title, but was fairly confident as to what the style would be, having read some of Bell's other stuff and watched a number of his NOOMA pieces... And I certainly wasn't off beam on the latter. In my mind it was a little bit of style over substance, but it was generally well received by our book group, probably because he was doing something that many other Christian writers don't do, which is integrating what he had to s...more
I didn't plan my reading this way, but this turned out to be the perfect book for me to read during Passover. The authors make the argument that the story of Exodus is central to our understanding of who Jesus is and what He is doing, and provides spiritual insight into our circumstances as Christians, with particular applications for rich American Christians who meet in air-conditioned churches and never miss a meal.

The Israelites were enslaved and oppressed but God brought them out to freedom,...more
Dean P.
The foundation of this book is the theology of the New Exodus (Mars Hill, Bell's church, discusses the idea here). In short, the idea is that we are sinners and, like the Israelites, need to be "called out" of our bondage (in this case, our slavery to sin). Bell draws parallels between Old Testament Egypt, Babylon, Rome and America, arguing that a focus on empire in any case is a slavery and pulls us away from God.

I don't mean to belabor their empire point. They have a lot to say in the book, an...more
This is the third book by Rob Bell. And I think it may be his weakest. In Jesus Wants to Save Christians, Bell draws comparisons to the current political activism of some Evangelical Christian circles and Rome, The United States and Rome. Both Rome and The USA are "empires". Both use the expression peace through force. Both were occupying another country.

Whether you agree with Bell's accusations, his conclusions bring out some great thought and debate. Check out some of these stats:

Every 7 secon...more
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Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of the bestselling Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars. A graduate of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, Bell speaks to large crowds around the world and has appeared in a pioneering series of short...more
More about Rob Bell...
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality What We Talk about When We Talk about God Drops Like Stars

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“Most of the Bible is a history told by people living in lands occupied by conquering superpowers. It is a book written from the underside of power. It’s an oppression narrative. The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires, from the Egyptian Empire to the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire to the Assyrian Empire to the Roman Empire.

This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Without careful study and reflection, and humility, it may even be possible to miss central themes of the Scriptures.”
“The priest's work, the priest's service, was understoon as an act of worship. Theis was God"s desire at Sinai - thst everybody would understand their roles as priests. Thst everybody would worship God by serving each other.” 0 likes
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