Velvet Elvis paints a new picture of Christianity [Excerpts:]
"It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says. We must first make decisions about what it means at this time, in this place, for these people."
— Rev. Rob Bell, author of "Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith."
Yes, the Rev. Rob Bell says with a twinkle in his eye. He really does own a velvet Elvis painting.
It gathers dust in his basement, a kitschy relic of Bell’s days as a guitarist in a college punk-rock band.
It’s also the title of Bell’s first book. In "Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith", published by Zondervan, Bell presents a fresh picture of Jesus for those who have trouble with the traditional portrait.
He dismisses claims that "Scripture alone" will answer all questions. Bible interpretation is colored by historical context, the reader’s bias and current realities, he says. The more you study the Bible, the more questions it raises.
"We want a faith that demands everything of us," he says. "We want it to shake us up and turn us upside down."
Bell also shakes up traditional evangelical beliefs. While calling Christ’s way "the best possible way to live," Bell writes that Jesus did not claim one religion is better than another when he said he was "the way, the truth and the life." Rather, he writes, "his way is the way to the depth of reality" (http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/living/religion/12350110.htm).
[TBC: To the contrary, Jesus stated very clearly that he was "the way, the truth, and the life" and that "no man cometh to the father but by me" (John:14:6). To say that "his way is the way to the depth of reality" is to minimize His words and substitute a vague statement devoid of any reality.]