The core of Rob Bell's message is this: like a painting of Elvis, the Christian faith is a work of art - a product of human imagination, of human self-expression. However, humans of every generation express themselves very differently. Therefore, it is necessary that every generation re-imagine, or repaint the Christian faith for themselves. He clarifies that, "By this I do not mean cosmetic, superficial changes like better lights and music, sharper graphics, and new methods with easy-to-follow steps. I mean theology: the beliefs about God, Jesus, the Bible, salvation, the future. We must keep reforming the way the Christian faith is defined, lived, and explained." (p. 12) In this book, Rob Bell provides the framework for such a re-invention, then constructs a new version of Christianity and, in the epilogue, provides an impassioned plea for conversion to his faith. IN-DEPTH OVERVIEW "Velvet Elvis" is part systematic theology, part missionary tract. In it, Bell presents a complete, coherent system of theology. Fascinatingly, he proceeds exactly as any theologian would, in laying out their theological works: Jump - the Prolegomenon, or "how I think you should think about theology"
My own journey with "listening prayer," however, began when I was in my mid-teens. Upon reading a book called, "Help me remember, help me forget," I was exposed to the life of a person who daily lived in a conversation with God. I have sought this ever since and have, in a very small measure, achieved it - although I am continually seeking more. Along the way, I have found many pitfalls, and have found Scriptures exceedingly helpful in finding my way out of these many pits. The purpose of this post is to first prove that the Bible promises an internal voice of the Holy Spirit, and secondly the cautions which it gives along with that.
A compass which points first this way, and then that has ceased to be a compass. Detached from its fixed point of reference and distracted by some new, closer attraction, it is worse than broken – misleading and deceptive. A navigator who, when asked for direction, indifferently shrugs, humbly admits “I don’t know,” or compassionately asks “which way do you think is right?” has ceased to be a navigator. He is not even being a friend – especially not if he secretly knows the way, but cares too little for your well-being, and too much for his own comfort to speak truth.
The lyric "I did not make it, oh it is making me" is completely opposite to what Rob Bell proposes in Velvet Elvis. Rob Bell would have to write "I made it, oh, I am making it..." ....Is this difference inconsequential or essential?
Eventually, however, I began to see some flaws in Emergent, and I eventually realized that Emergent was not for me. Since then, I have been on a journey to understand the Emergent church (see posts on Emergent here). Things began to come clear for me when I heard Mark Driscoll divide the Emergent Church into four categories, with the latter category associated with "Liberalism" (more details here). I then began a year-long study to understand Liberalism...
The key spokesman and leader of the Emergent Village, Brian MacLaren is one of the primary leaders in what Mark Driscoll calls (in his highly illuminating chapter on the Emergent Movement - see review here) the "Liberal-Emergent" branch of the Emergent Movement. Maclaren is a very prolific author: however, it is in "A New Kind of Christian" that the main core of his theology is laid out: therefore, a close examination of this book provides a clear look into the center of this influential man's theology, and the intellectual DNA of this branch of the movement.