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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  6,427 ratings  ·  300 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, ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 22nd 2008 by Zondervan (first published August 22nd 2008)
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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 ...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 ...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,
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.
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).
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
Ben Zajdel
Second time reading this, still good, still surprisingly relevant.
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.

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
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
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? ...more
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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
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
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“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
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
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 ...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
Z. J. Pandolfino
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
The world is on fire. And Rob Bell and Don Golden want Christians to care. Jesus Wants to Save Christians compels Christians with instantly accessible prose and apt Biblical references to consider both the social aspect of their faith and its roots in Hebrew Scripture. Rob Bell and Don Golden point toward four distinct historical periods – the Israelites enslavement in Egypt, their covenant with God on Mount Sinai, their subsequent prosperity in Jerusalem, and their catastrophic exile in Babylon ...more
Gary Webber
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must read. It made me beautifully uncomfortable and encouraged many unspoken feelings I've had about western Christianity and the church. It is a quick read, and even if you do not agree with all of the books application, it would be hard to argue the theology, which will then draw you back to the very uncomfortable application you may not agree with. This book should come with a warning label for those who may like and want to keep their mainstream consumer oriented Christianity.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Rob Bell's books. His knowledge of Biblical history is amazing and his ability to bring relevancy and a story-like quality to Biblical text is engaging. This book goes one better and challenges the Christian to step out of his seat warming and into the world in which we live to truly practice what Jesus was teaching not just profess it.
G. Lyons
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Slavery. Exile. Empire. Doorposts...

I hear less about this book than the others, but this one was/is by far my favorite. The title is likely more than enough to keep some people away from this book, and that's a shame. This is a well-researched book by Bell and Golden, providing lots of facts and context to supplement their overall message. Loved this challenging book.

5/5 stars
Donny Teeter
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading/listening to Rob Bell's perspective and views about scripture, it opens my mind to really examining the scriptures. I appreciate the fact that he consistently draws in the facts about who the different authors are speaking/ writing to and what their practices and beliefs at that time.
Eleanor Hoppe
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bell's colloquial writing style makes complex theological ideas graspable. This is brave - to posit perspectives outside the mainstream so ordinary thoughtful followers of Jesus can wrestle with those perspectives for themselves.
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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
“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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