…as most of you know, is the title to Rob Bell’s newest book. I just purchased the book yesterday and plan on posting some sort of reviewy thingy once I finish it. Until then, I wanted to share my thoughts on the title and extend an invitation to you.
First, my thoughts on the title. Like any good title should, Jesus Wants to Save Christians begs for attention and further inquiry. But I also think this brilliant title does something much more important: It reveals how much pre-meaning we as Christians place on certain words. This title gets us all in an upheaval, steaming and venting, “What do you mean, Rob? How dare you say that traditional Christians don’t have a relationship with Jesus and are going hell!! Who are you, oh high-and-mighty-Bell? Are you so arrogant to think that your new camp of ‘Jesus’ followers are the only ‘Christians’ who have it right? I’ll tell you who is going to hell, Mr. Bell, you and your cronies. Jesus Wants to Save Christians…hrmph, Jesus wants to save pagans, of whom you are the worst…” and on and on they rant.
I love it. ‘Cause all the ranting reveals an emerging point, that our theology is grossly shaped by our particular culture and the meaning it gives the words we use. A perfect example is this title. Whenever most Evangelical Born-Again Christians read the words “Jesus” and “Saves” in the same sentence—whether in the Bible or elsewhere (such as a book title)—they immediately impose their predisposed definition: A salvation by Jesus from a flaming Hell and separation from God. This title is brilliant because it plays with and reveals this faulty tendency.
So when you read a title like Jesus Wants to Save Christians, ask yourself, Could it be saying more than our initial knee-jerk reaction might lead us to think? Could there be other things Christians need to be saved from by Jesus? Could “save” and “salvation” and “saved” might have other meanings than those we impose on them given our particular 21st Century Christian culture? What might we as Christians need to be saved from?
Great food for thought.
Which is why I believe Rob Bell titled his book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians: To shake us up and get us thinking.
My invitation to you. I invite you to share your thoughts about the book. You may have read it or simply heard about it, but what are your thoughts about it? If you read it, what did you think? What grabbed you? What challenged you? If you haven’t read it, from what you’ve heard about the book, what are your thoughts? As you share, please let us know if you have or haven’t read it. And if you haven’t, do you plan to or not.