Churches are like a Velvet Elvis

June 6, 2005 by

The Detroit Free Press profiled Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich. and his upcoming book, Velvet Elvis, came up as a metaphor for out of date churches. So of course Mars Hill is all about reaching people where traditional churches have failed. And the church is mostly comprised of twentysomethings, the one demographic missing from most congregations.

Bell’s approach is to get back to the basics:

“This journey we’re on at Mars Hill isn’t about numbers,” Bell said. “You’ll never catch me selling ‘Seven Steps to a Mars Hill Model.’ What we’re interested in is real people stepping forward to tell how their lives are being transformed and how they’re building healthy communities.

“Remember what Jesus always wanted to know?” he asked. “What’s the fruit we’re producing? Is justice being done? Are people sharing their possessions? Are the oppressed being set free? Are relationships being healed? To me, that’s the point. Everything else is just chatter.” …

“My theory of church growth is simple,” said Bell, leaning across the table to deliver the coup de grace. “People drive a long way to see a fire.”

(link via CT’s weblog)

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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35 Responses to “Churches are like a Velvet Elvis”

  • Ted
    June 6, 2005

    This is interesting and good – I like to see churches being relevant to the 20-30 bracket. As a 22 year-old myself, I find that churches often-times ignore us.
    That said, I find that in the “emergent church” movement, the standard for success seems to be reaching 20-30 year olds. While I applaud the outreach of a place like Mars Hill, isn’t there something wrong with a church that is predominantly *anything* – that is to say, shouldn’t the church reflect the community, with old and young, rich and poor, everything mixed together? I think that a lot of 20-30 year olds can learn from the older generations – and from the younger. Targeted churches, while useful for reaching under-reached groups, lose some of that diversity.


  • achievable ends
    June 6, 2005

    People Drive A Long Way to See A Fire

    I haven’t visited Church Marketing Sucks in a while (I love that name!!) and came across their link to this great story on Rob Bell in the Detroit Free Press. I’ve been loading Rob’s sermons on my iPod and his


  • Rhinoguy
    June 6, 2005

    Okay, so first I burn down my church … then what?


  • robin
    June 6, 2005

    Velvet Elvis, Dog’s Playing Poker, whatever!
    I think that we often forget that the traditional church still plays as important a role as any in the work of God in the world. Too often we as the “emergent” church/church plant movement think that we have something more valuable than that that was here long before we were. The established church is still a vital organ in the body of Christ.
    I hate that I still seem to be judgmental only it’s been re-focused from those outside the church and more towards other churches/Christians.
    I guess I’m saying that there are still a lot of people that love “Velvet Elviii” (is that the plural for Elvis?). Even if I don’t care for them and am more a “Dog’d Playing Poker” kind of guy.
    Rhinoguy you made me laugh as I pictured you out in some vacant lot behind a smoldering pulpit and preaching about Elijah and the prohets of Baal.


  • Andrea Harris
    June 6, 2005

    “I like to see churches being relevant to the 20-30 bracket.”
    Isn’t that backwards? I thought it was supposed to be the other way around — and for all age groups, not just the 20-30 somethings. But that’s the wall people always hit when it comes to church, or to anything that isn’t centered around “me, and what is relevant to my life,” isn’t it?


  • Ted
    June 6, 2005

    I don’t want you to burn your church down. I’m just pointing out that I see value in a diversity of appeals. What’s wrong with that?


  • ken
    June 8, 2005

    The church body of a community is made up of all the churches in the local area, not just one. If “church A” meets the needs of the 20-30 years olds, and “church B” meets the needs of the 30-50 year olds, then the “church” is as diverse as the entire population.
    Think of the radio stations in your area. Not everybody like the country station. Not everybody likes the rock station. But in most cases, there will be at least one station out there that targets each individual target group.


  • Ted
    June 8, 2005

    To extend (and probably abuse) your analogy, someone who only listens to the local country music station may be missing the musical goodness that is the classic rock station. And don’t you notice radio stations advertising “the biggest variety?”
    But honestly, my point is not that different churches shouldn’t have different appeals. I’m merely commenting on an end result that I’ve noticed – that churches that appeal to a certain age bracket naturally tend to have only people in that age bracket in attendance. That doesn’t cause a cheapening of the relationships in the church, of faith, of doctrine, or anything else. I’m not insulting their faith, their church, or anything else.
    But it gathers together only people who are in a certain place in their lives – and my question is – is that universally good? It has wonderful upsides – appealing to underreached groups is strongly positive. Isn’t there a downside to getting a bunch of alike people together, a lack of exposure to the faith journeys of people unlike themselves? This is what I mean by diversity.


  • Ted
    June 8, 2005

    In response to Andrea Harris, I could just as easily say “I like to see churches being relevant to the X bracket.” for whatever value of X you care to use. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but it seems like you’re saying that relevance to one group is mutually exclusive of relevance to any other group. I don’t think that’s true.


  • Steven Dilla
    June 8, 2005

    I think many times we go about it backwards. I’m not one to speak on why Rob Bell is effective – but my observation of the Church in our American context, in general, is that we have things mixed up.
    When we attempt to target a group we are responding rather than leading. (I know, you could argue we’re doing what we need to do to lead the way most effectively, but stay with me…)
    Since when was the church called to respond? Shouldn’t we be the leaders? Shouldn’t we be the pioneers?
    The thing is, every church starts that way. Add a little time, any success at all, and the leadership grows tired of taking risks, settles is archaic rump into a rut and waits for Jesus to return.
    The emerging church is growing and making waves right now, not because it is targeting a group “where the traditional church has failed,” but because it is taking risks. The test will come in a decade or so, after the emergent leaders have been through many risks – will we risk more? Will we pioneer more?
    What does it mean for a traditional church? Risk. Stop living off the faith stories of yesterday. Erwin McManus says, “what was faith to you last year is simply belief to you now.” Step out.


  • Ian Soper
    June 9, 2005

    I think that many of us are (including myself) get caught up in a modern pitfall that tells us that we always have to define our target audience and sell to them. I think that recognizing who exists in our community is a great idea, however reducing those people into a “Saddleback Sam” style statistic and then targeting your efforts to them may be very compelling, at first.
    But somewhere down the road the stereotype wears out, or doesn’t quite work. There are always people that don’t fit that. The same problem is true when we try to categorize people by age group only. I struggle with this concept in churches. It seems that churches like hard and cold boundaries (like age groups or stereotypes) to help them govern their flocks. That is helpful to the manager, but I find that sometimes it may not be helpful for the pastor.
    I think one of the reasons that the emerging church is attracting 20 and 30 somethings is their backing away from these modern, compartmentalizing ideas and moving toward new holistic and authentic models. These new ways are uninterested in creating or defining stereotypes and doing a horse and pony show to bring them into the church. It doesn’t rely on age groups, as much, to dictate how ministy ought to be done.
    I see some of those churches recoginzing a thought, concept or style of worship that resonates with a 20 year old, may also resonate with a 70 year old, 13 year old and a 40 year old. And there is something very authentic, something timeless and tribal (if you will) about that. Something that I think a compartmentalized attitude misses out on. I think we may have more in common than we know sometimes.
    Rob’s approach is not about reaching a certain demographic, rather it is about being real to people on what Jesus was all about (his life, ministry and gospel). This is generates organic growth, not controlled calculated growth that we so often go towards.
    Things are simpler that we want to admit.


  • Peter Bishop
    June 16, 2005

    Interesting…. Lots of talk and discusion about targeting etc… exactly what Rob Bell is not doing….I think if you went to Mars Hill or talked to Rob Bell you wouldn’t hear their community talk about reaching this person or that person. They would talk about reaching “people”.
    Look at what Rob says…
    “Remember what Jesus always wanted to know?” he asked. “What’s the fruit we’re producing? Is justice being done? Are people sharing their possessions? Are the oppressed being set free? Are relationships being healed? To me, that’s the point. Everything else is just chatter.” …
    “My theory of church growth is simple,” said Bell, leaning across the table to deliver the coup de grace. “People drive a long way to see a fire.”
    He doesn’t say anything about reaching a certain group. I don’t go to Mars but I do listen to Rob Bell speak weekly via dowloads and in listening to him weekly I can tell you he preaches one thing and that is Christ at the root of all of it and thats about it.


  • Rebecca
    June 21, 2005

    I appreciate your comments Peter.
    I am a member at Mars Hill.
    We are not just a bunch of 20 somethings although we do have 20 somethings in our midsts. We are young, old, rich, poor, short-haired, long-haired, hymn lovers, hymn haters, with and without children and grandchildren, Republican, Democrat, Independent, burned, burned-out, new, weathered, married, unmarried, divorced, widowed, diseased, oppressed, powerful, etc, etc, etc.
    The one thing that we have in common, in a world’s-eye view, is that we are striving to learn more about this Jesus who we are intrigued by and loved by and invited by…and in the meantime, most of our hope is that others like us will also feel like they are in a church setting that encourages questions, honesty, and the integrity of the search for Jesus no matter what your background or where you are at in your journey today.
    Rob’s dream and vision are apparent if you listen to his messages: they have nothing to do with reaching a certain demographic or marketing to anyone at all. I believe that is why Peter Bishop’s comments were so well-rounded: because he has spent time listening to Rob’s heart through the messages posted on http://www.mhbcmi.org and can tell that this guy just genuinely loves Jesus with his heart, soul and mind and hopes that he can play a role in the reconciliation of Jesus’ gospel message of Love with His (Jesus’) bride, the church. To say that Rob and Mars Hill is lead by marketing research and built on the precepts of “the emergent church” is laughable. If you spend some time really learning about his leadership, you will be compelled by his obvious leading by the Holy Spirit and his unwillingness to follow the status-quo for the status-quo’s sake.


  • Ingrid Schlueter
    July 27, 2005

    I get a kick out of those who say that church marketing stinks so the solution is to go to the completely contrived “Emergent” churches because they are more authentic and real. And the publishing companies are marketing the heck out of Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Brian McLaren and all the other uber hip Emergent Pastors. It’s just another desperate and contrived attempt at marketing and packaging something for yet another demographic. As one commenter said above, shouldn’t there be more generations represented than just a bunch of 20-year old kids in funky black glasses and hip clothes? Where are the elderly and disabled? Why do the websites for these churches show nobody but fashionable, healthy, beautiful young people? It’s marketing, friends. Just Disney church with another twist and publishers like Zondervan who just published Velvet Elvis are laughing all the way to the bank.


  • Don Solin
    July 27, 2005

    I’m hearing you– big time! You are right on– it’s like– wow a new deal! Lets get this new thing marketed– soon, very soon, we’ll see all the new stuff being made fun of on Bob and Tom and all the other secular people that “we” will never reach with the new before it was trendy approach. Pretty soon it will be in the Whittenburg Door for the green weenie award. (is that still around) Crazy man, crazy


  • Nick
    August 1, 2005

    Remeber back when people used to judge other people without ever doing research? Man, I’m sure glad that doesn’t happen in the Christian community any more.


  • Dean Ohlman
    August 4, 2005

    The church I attend was the parent church to Mars Hill: Calvary Church in Grand Rapids. Rob Bell was tutored by Ed Dobson at Calvary. Both are committed to biblical preaching and the fundamentals of orthodox Christianity. And they have both generally shown due humility in spite of “fame.” My prayer for Rob is that his humility will increase with his popularity. Money and fame are terrible burdens that few can handle well.
    At 63, I am a frequent visitor at Mars Hill. I always find Rob’s messages challenging and biblical. But I do think he too frequently makes statements primarily for their shock value, not for their capacity to convey the truth. I have not read the book yet, but am sure there are some “shock” words there as well.
    Like many on this forum, I too am disgusted by church marketing and have always felt uneasy about publishers making hefty profits from marketing the word and The Word. But I do think we need to be realistic. Jesus said that the laborer is worthy of his wages. And what better job is there than working to spread the truth? The big question that remains is what “excess” in financial gain is turned back into ministry.
    May God bless Rob and Zondervan, and may they both be sensitive to what they pocket as worthy wages for themselves and what they give out-of-pocket to those in need.
    I like what George MacDonald said about money:
    “FRIENDS, cast your idol into the furnace. Melt your mammon down, coin him up, make God’s money of him, and send him out to do God’s work. Make of him cups to carry the gift of God, the water of life, through the world.”


  • emergent mosaic
    August 15, 2005

    no velvet for Rob bell

    Rob Bell (pastor Mars Hill Bible Church right here in GR) is getting no love,  on the heels of the relase of his new book Velvet Elvis (read a review)
    First a couple of local atheists interviewed by our local newspaper descri…


  • Jen
    September 12, 2005

    When I first found this site I had to laugh. Mars Hill is far from a marketed church. The building does not even have a sign! No mars hill bumper stickers or bill boards and a very plain web site. Yes, Rob’s book was marketed after all it is a book and what company would publish a book and not market it.
    We do have both old and disabled people and we love and embrace them and would not be Mars Hill without them.
    It is obvious to me from your comments that you have never been to mars hill. I would simply ask that you come and see what Mars Hill is like before you talk about it, then at least you would know what your talking about.


  • Pete Gall
    October 12, 2005

    Rob is doing great things in an arena (myopic youth-oriented emergent definition by rejection Christianity) of tremendous import in the current evolution of the church.
    One thing that has been missing is the voice of African-Americans in the emergent world (this is true of nearly all diversity in the emergent world…other than the diversity that says it’s okay to LOVE both Jars of Clay AND DC Talk).
    A prime voice looking at what the African-American voice has to offer is found at http://theomoments.blogspot.com. The host is talking about the move from emergence to CONvergence, and is using the metaphor of jazz vs. classical music to make his point.
    This, by the way, is NOT QUITE what Don Miller is doing in his jazzy blue way…
    If you enjoy Bell and see the value in what he’s doing, you owe it to yourself to see what JazzTheo is writing at http://theomoments.blogspot.com
    Pete Gall


  • mr bigg
    October 19, 2005

    Rob Bell is a false teacher . see OT and NT of false teachers etc.
    I have read VE (blashemus to my bible)and attended mars hill. (see website: realtionalconcepts.org)
    (and go to 8 page editorial of Velvet Elvis). good stuff but Rob’s spacley sprocket -robots wont like it.
    For now my “journey” and “community” as Rob Bell echos are from the pages of the OT and NT.


  • dale
    November 10, 2005

    i have visited the website mentioned above and it seems as though there are many questions that are posed and not answered by Mr. Bell. sometimes we can so desire to see people healed from their pain or freed from their chains that we begin to step out further from the truth. i sincerely hope that his ministry or whatever he desires to call it will reach people with the truth of the Gospel and not some experiential journey that hurts and misleads more than it helps and gives hope. i am in the same journey of ministering to people but i have chosen to take the biblical standard to people who don’t know their needs and show them there is “a” Way and His name is Jesus.


  • Christian
    November 18, 2005

    Read 1st Timothy. I wonder how much of Rob’s church actually lines up with the sound biblical teaching of how a church should be run. He has no elders or deacons or accountability. I know. I’ve seen it.


  • Unashamed
    December 5, 2005

    (WARNING, this response actually contains Bible verses!)
    Readers need to beware of Rob Bell. His methodology is the same as past heretics in church history. It’s called “pragmatism.” Pragmatism is doing what visibly works. The problem with this is that Rob Bell is doing what works in his own eyes, not God’s. Look at the prophet Jeremiah. He preached for 30 years and didn’t have one convert. Was his method wrong? What did God call the prophet Ezekiel to do? What did Paul call Timothy to do? Look at Jesus Christ, he drew a crowd of 5,000 hungry people who left as soon as he preached the true Gospel. Did Christ screw up? Rob Bell is sacrificing the one thing that God promises to bless – the Gospel. Sure, you may get huge numbers on Sunday, but so does any wordly show with lights and music. God tells us what works is His Word. “Faith comes from hearing and hearing the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) “God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (I Cor. 1:21) Evidently Rob Bell does not believe God when he says these things. Rob Bell thinks his method is better. Well, I guess we will all see who’s method is better someday.
    We are called to preach the full Gospel. Not a watered-down, culture-saturated methodology. God calls us to give the message of the Gospel, “not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (I Cor. 1:17) I call Rob Bell to “preach the Word, in season and out of season.” (2 Tim. 4:2) If he cannot do this then he is unfit for the role of pastor. Satan’s biggest lies are half-truths.


  • Zack
    December 23, 2005

    I think Jesus was preaching the true Gospel when He attracted the 5,000 as well as when the 5,000 left. Jesus loved them, healed some of them, had compassion on them, and even fed them. Mark 6:45 tells me Jesus sent them away. Matt. 14:23 tells me the same thing. Jesus needed to seek the Father. Just as Rob Bell does… just like you and I both do. It’s there that we find God’s wisdom.
    The Gospel is good news! It is interesting to note in Luke 4:18-19 how Jesus chose to reveal that Good News.
    “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”


  • Ryan
    January 10, 2006

    This website is a great piece of marketing by the way.


  • Jules
    April 28, 2006

    Velvet Elvis is a wonderful book! People should go to Mars Hill before critcizing it. Mars Hill has people of all ages in the congregation. Mars Hill doesn’t ever advertise, it is not a marketed church.


  • Laura
    May 11, 2006

    Okay, just because Jeremiah’s method didn’t work, doesn’t mean that Rob’s can’t. Don’t look down on him because people like his church. Could that possibly be a sign that they are seeking God? Rob’s “method” is no method at all. He only challenges whoever will listen to question religion and live according to the truth. He does not claim to know everything. Far from it actually. He states that he has as many questions as he has answers… and only asks us to think. I (along with our very diverse community) attend Mars Hill regularly and always fing Rob’s sermons very thought provoking. Please read the book before you judge it. You can also listen to his sermons at http://www.mhbcmi.org


  • Wesley Dickens
    September 6, 2006

    I think all the chatter about marketing here has been good. As far as finding a church like Mars Hill that is doing so much good, heck why not give the Jehovah’s Witness a shot, I never seen a commercial, newspaper add for them if non-marketing is a sign of doing things god’s way then they must be rocking. And then The LDS church has some great commercials that can bring tears to my eyes and warm burning in my bosom. They seem to offer all that Mars Hill offers. I’m sure we can all find local pagan gatherings that will gladly esteem the christ-spirit and the sacramental readings of scripture to unite us in harmony for the good of earth and personkind so that god may one day find us worthy through our deeds to honor us with his/her presence.


  • Robert Leffel
    October 17, 2006

    To: Unashamed, and anybody else here bashing Rob Bell.
    The spirit of your comments and lack of substance behind your points shows your true colors. Rob Bell is an honest man who is seeking after the God of the Bible, whom he believes to be bigger than what most people believe. He does not have a METHOD, so stop saying that he does. If you read his book, AND UNDERSTOOD IT, you will realize that what he is doing is what Christ told us to do, he just isn’t wrapping it in Churchisms like every other church out there, even so called Emergent Churches. What is so wrong with loving people without an agenda? What is so wrong with humbly asking God questions? Stop hating, people. Many of your are talking about the guy like is secretly trying to infiltrate the church with false doctrine and lead us all astray. Give me a break, you take yourselves way too serious.


  • BrotherPhil
    October 29, 2006

    I think we have problems of symantics in this entire discussion. I’m just a little older than Rob Bell, and I remember all the discussion about “homogenous units” in years past. I didn’t hear anyone going bezerk about churches proclaiming that their homogenous unit was “this group of people, or that group of people.”
    Why is it, that young mega churches, being let by young church leaders (Rob Bell, Andy Stanley, Ed Young, Jr, Erwin McManus, etc) are being attacked for the same things other, more aged pastors once proclaimed as the way of the church.
    Why, even PAUL (and Peter) went into a city and FIRST looked for people like themselves (Jewish Christians, Jews, THEN Gentiles)!!! So, why all of the hubbub over the ASSUMPTION that Mars Hill is “targeting a group of people who tend to be unchurched at the moment”?
    Doesn’t it MAKE SENSE to do that??? Or would you rather have Mars Hill doing what most TRADITIONAL churches do these days — steal sheep? Believe me, between sheep stealing churches who are stagnant and unchanging or a church that is aggressively striving to do everything they can to be relevant today and for days to come, the first is the one who should face the brunt of criticism, NOT the second!
    Shame on all you scribes and pharisees for attacking someone who hasn’t even said that he targets an age group for doing something he feels led by God to do: reach a younger, previously unreached, audience rather than steal sheep from other churches who do not have the financial or visional resources to do what Mars Hill is doing today.


  • Nick Allen
    November 15, 2006

    I think you should read the book before this ongoing debate continues.
    It’s incredible, whether or not 20 somethings go or not.


  • Todd S. Erickson
    January 7, 2007

    “And they shall know us by our love”.
    But, of course, anybody reading this forum will instead know that we are judgemental, hateful, backbiting, accusatory, always looking for the next anti-Christ…
    What Rob Bell and others like Him acknowledge is that the truth of Christ’s message, the Gospel, existed before the “approved version” of the bible did, and that Christ’s message can be freely told, and even more freely testified, without having to say everything in the king james language (which nobody understands) or in the methodology of peasant farmers (which most of the US isn’t, and has no idea about).
    The Truth is that Christ died for our sins, sanctifying us through grace and faith, not of ourselves, not of our works, not of our lists of rules or approvals.
    The truth is that the heart of all of the laws is to Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself (requiring you to be able to love yourself.)
    The Truth is that this is exhibited by Christians who speak love and compassion for each other, who say things like “I don’t understand what you’re saying, and I’m fearful of it’s consequences, so I pray that God will continue to fill you with love and conviction, and keep pulling you to Him as he does me, that we both may experience true Repentence (which is the changing of hearts and minds to God’s image, not mere behaviour), that we may further love and change the world together, bringing God’s Kingdom into being here on earth, now.” rather than “you’re a hereticial antichrist SOB and I hope you rot in hell with all of the other people who aren’t white republical readers of the King James version only”.
    If Christ said that the only true LAW is love, acting in love, acting in agape, showing His spirit here on earth…if he truly said that if you speak to others, but your heart does not speak with love, then it is empty and he is not in it, then how can you so degrade and tear down your brother in Christ?
    What family are you truly a part of???


  • JC
    January 23, 2007

    2 Tim.2:15 “study to show thy self approved to God” before you open your mouth,all of you…your reading the wrong book.


  • Nick
    January 29, 2007

    I haven’t finished reading the book yet… I’m working my way though it slowly because I’ve had so many people tell me how great it is and how it has gained so much traction… that its bringing so many people in to understanding our role as Christians.
    It sounds good, don’t get me wrong, I guess I just get cautious when I hear things like that because Jesus say’s we will be persecuted and hated for sharing the truth… and when I see the new hip and cool movements attracting so many, I get cautiously curious because the popularity tends to go in the opposite direction of what Jesus say’s it will.
    Again… not saying its wrong… I just have to approach it cautiously.
    So far with my reading… I kinda have a sick feeling to be honest. Not towards Rob yet, as I really don’t know what he believes. I see and hear what Rob is saying in the beginning sections about our interpretations can only be based on our opinions. And to be honest, I feel he makes a good point in some cases. But again, what I really don’t get is what Rob truly believes. He’ll make a one line comment on a “oh by the way.. I believe this” type of note, but he won’t expand that to WHY he believes it. He spends a lot of time telling us that our traditional understanding of the bible is rocky at best, and to question everything. But spends almost no time on defending the ABSOLUTE truths that Christianity is founded on… that Absolute truths that should remain the solid foundation in any new movement.
    For example… Rob has a section that talks about Jesus being the “way, the truth, and the light”… and comments that we’ve all traditionally interpreted that wrong. My background teaches me that the focus of that line, and I apologize but I’m going to add then next line of scripture, “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody gets to the father except through me.” means that belief in Jesus Christ as the ONLY connection we have to GOD and the faith in his example to live by will be the only means to salvation. So much as that we strive for a relationship with him in that way. What I feel Rob did is skip the key part of that verse. Now again, he might have been assuming that the second part is a “known”… but leaving it out and continuing to talk about the flexibility of our interpretations creates a VERY dangerous path for people who don’t know any better to walk. Talking about the “how-to’s” is good… but don’t forget to explain the “why’s”.
    Again… I haven’t finished reading and I’m hoping he solidifies things further down the road, but my initial reaction is that the book, not necessarily Rob, is opening very dangerous doors for deception and misguidence. Jesus himself say’s… when I return, will I find faith?
    Another reason I’m already skeptical after reading just a section is that what I’m hearing so far parallels the effects I would expect to see as it becomes popular. The beginning section gives people an “out” to the conviction that scripture should also bring. If someone is struggling with sin… and doesn’t want to believe it as sin… they are free to assume that the interpretation of the bible that would bring conviction is just someone’s opinion.
    Again… I have to keep stressing this… I’m not accusing Rob as intentionally doing this, he might very well have my same foundational beliefs. But going back to the conviction example… even if there was truth in those interpretations when looking at the DEEP context, most people don’t want to or have the desire to dig that far. So freeing the population to question it all can very easily lead to a shrug off of scripture.
    This is where I see a parallel to the popularity of this movement. People don’t want to feel convicted… and if someone giving them new ideas that make them not feel convicted, they are more likely to accept it.
    I’m going to try and finish the book with an open mind. But I am really starting to see the build up of a path that can lead many into deception.



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