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

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  6,893 ratings  ·  311 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, saf ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 22nd 2008 by Zondervan (first published August 22nd 2008)
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 ·  6,893 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Dan Chance
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
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
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
...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
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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,
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Once again, Rob Bell is crossing the line of the conservative, American Christian mindset. And once again, I can only imagine the militaristic agenda he denounces will undoubtedly be aimed at him from within the Church. That's why I love this book (and it's Biblical, providing a good slap in the face to dissenters). ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Wow! This is a book that every American Christian needs to read!

I've read some reviews that "complain" that this is really just a written sermon, and, while I agree, I have to ask why that's a problem. Sometimes we need to be told, shown, reminded, "preached to" about what's important. That's what this book does. If the majority of Christians acted on the sermon in this book, Western Christianity might (would?) regain the credibility it has almost completely lost over the course of the past 40 o
Brad Poel
Nov 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
I think this is probably a lower rating than it deserves, but I read it directly after another book of his which was positively impacting. Also, I am reading this many years and deep revelations (for Mr. Bell) after having written it. Good insights,though. I just think both he and I have moved farther down the path. I do wish I would have found this earlier in my journey - I would have known I wasn't alone. ...more
Ben Zajdel
Second time reading this, still good, still surprisingly relevant.
Caitlin Elliott
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had never read this book before, but a lot of what Bell is getting at here feels like it could've been written for 2019 instead of 2008 when it was published. Very insightful. ...more
Abby Stevens
Oct 30, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Phil Whittall
May 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Jesus wants to save Christians is Rob Bell's (he of the Noomas and Velvet Elvis) third and probably most substantial book, co-authored with Don Golden from World Relief.

Its subtitle 'A Manifesto for the church in exile' neatly encapsulates the heart of the book. Church shouldn't be about empire and in the USA it is. Church should be about the mission of God which is calling people and creation out of exile (slavery to sin) and into the new reality of God's purposes.

The book isn't long, 181 pages
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith-religion

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
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bell has the best of intentions, just like Peter Rollins or Brian McLaren or any number of other progressive theologians. But the substance just isn't there. All three of them write books that basically amount to "God is love and Jesus is good and we should imitate them by loving others." Which, great. But not only do they almost never get more rigorous than that, they actively overlook huge swathes of Scripture to make their points.

I was waiting the whole book for Bell to try to square his mess
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
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
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-again
I've read most of Rob Bell's books and this is my favourite. Using the work of Tom Holland as a foundation, Rob and Don lead readers through the cycle of Egypt, Sinai, Jerusalem and Babylon, drawing so many connections throughout the Scriptures I was astounded. How have I never been shown these before? There is clearly a metanarrative at work here and I find Holland's frame of the New Exodus as a strong motif (among others) for understanding it.

The dominant question throughout is, 'will those wi
Nathan Edgell
Not a review, but thought I'd pick out some quotes:

"If you are a citizen of an empire that has the most powerful army in the history of humanity and is currently on the way to spending a trillion dollars on a war, passages in the Bible about those who accumulate chariots and horses from Egypt are passages about you and your people."

"Revelation is a bold, courageous, politically subversive attack on corrosive empire and its power to oppress people."

"How do children of the empire understand the Sa
Courtney Cantrell
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is essential reading for Christians, and that's pretty much all I can say.
Okay, I can say more. But only a little. This book is full of viewpoints that will be offensive to many (most?) humans who belong to a "mainstream" or traditional church. And these viewpoints *should* be offensive, because they are offensive in the way that Jesus of Nazareth was offensive to the people of his time who thought they had life, the universe, and everything completely figured out.
More like this, please. Al
Marty Solomon
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic look as the narrative of the Scriptures as it refers to social justice, the maringalized, and the oppressed. What narrative have we bought into? Are we really a church in exile? Do we represent the people of God or the empires of injustice?
Ryan Fisher
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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!
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too much to say about this one...You just have to read it for yourselves!
Rod Horncastle
Apr 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Sorry everyone, but this was so annoying: I gotta give it one star.

Because Rob Bell doesn't seem to know what a Christian is. And I have no idea what Don Golden knows - or why he put his name on this?

Is it possible for me to write a polite review lovingly pointing out the issues I had with this babble? I'll try. My patience has been pushed to the limit (Yes, this was my third Rob Bell book as well).
Honestly, I do love Rob's complete waste of space in his pages - makes me feel like an ambit
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rob Bell Book Tour #3

Jesus Wants to Save Christians is Rob Bell's third book (he co-authored it with Don Golden, the Vice President of World Relief) and is a bird's eye view of the Biblical narrative. Using the "New Exodus" framework, Bell shows how the Christian God is a God constantly "hears the cries of oppressed" and seeks to rescue his people from bondage.

Honestly, this is a pretty great book. If you've ever been confused and bored when reading the Old Testament, Jesus Wants to Save Christi
Matt Fisk
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you’re only willing to read one Rob Bell book, read this one. Anyone who has rejected him wholesale because of “Love Wins” is really missing out on this short powerhouse of a book.

The first few chapters is a recap of the grand over-arching story of God and his creation, his people, and the world he is trying to build. If you’ve listened to the BEMA discipleship podcast the first few chapters will be very familiar.

To sum up, the authors urge Christians to live a life of “eucharist” in Greek
Carôle Ceres
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A Call To Arms!

I read the audiobook of this title. I have listened to this 3 times already back to back, before writing this review. It’s THAT GOOD!

First of all, I really like the way that the authors both read it. Their transitions were seamless (apart from when they were conversationally discussing or clarifying something & that made it more engaging)!

However, it is the content that is powerful. Not preachy, conversational. They made many eye opening and thought provoking comments and observa
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
As always, Bell's unique way of conveying deep theological messages in such simple and direct ways makes any Rob Bell book a must read for those wanting to get a broader picture of the cultural and historical context of the Bible. The message that stood out to me was this continuing cycle of slavery, exile and redemption; historically and today. Not only that, but our urgent need to remember our enslavement and the enslavement of others, whatever that may look like. The minute we lose sight of t ...more
Ricky Balas
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
It has been a while since I read this book (and the other two Bell books I'm adding to my 'read' shelf), but I remember enjoying them at the time. I don't think I'm ready to revisit them quite yet, but I suspect my analysis may have changed some with maturity (last read in my late teens early 20s and now a decade later, I am married with kids and attending a more traditional Anglican church rather than the charismatic evangelical one I use to be in). Bell has become a controversial figure since ...more
Jake Harris
It’s interesting to read this now, in 2018, 10 years after its publication, and see where Bell was coming from. America is still in the wars Bell decries here; we are still as enamored with our view of American exceptionalism as we ever were; and progressive Christianity has mostly stayed the same.

I kept waiting for the larger point to be made, but the crux of the book boils down to: America is the Empire, live like Christ by seeing Christ in others and be revolutionary. Was a nice read though.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
written in 2008, I didn't read this until now (2017) and it remains troublingly relevant. Each chapter is written as a sermon, which can be easily devoured in one modest sitting. Insightful, to the point that stories I've known my whole life suddenly had angles that I hadn't noticed before.

Don't let the naysayers have their way; this book highlights Bell as a compelling, thought-provoking, and hardly-at-all controversial preacher for the modern day.

A favorite quote: "The church is an organizati
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Rob Bell is a bestselling author, international teacher, and highly sought after public speaker. His books include The New York Times bestsellers What Is the Bible?, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Love Wins, as well as The Zimzum of Love, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars.

At age 28, Bell founded Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, and under hi

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17 likes · 5 comments
“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.”
“This is how you remember God: you bless those who need it the most in the same way that God blessed you when you needed it the most.” 2 likes
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