Thursday, April 29, 2010

‘The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church’ by Andrew Farley – Book Review and Giveaway

Buzz this



If one really looks at the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we find that it is fairly simple.  That is the premise of Andrew Farley in his first book, ‘The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church.’  Here is the description of this book from the back cover:




Jesus plus nothing.  100% natural.  No additives.  It’s the truth you may never hear in church.  The Naked Gospel is a chapter-by-chapter assault on the churchy jargon and double-talk of our day.  It puts forth a message that is simple but life-changing.  With a fresh take on Scripture and an unapologetic style, The Naked Gospel will challenge you to reexamine everything you thought you already knew.

And here is Andrew’s biography:

Andrew Farley is lead pastor of Ecclesia.  He cohosts Real Life in Christ, a television program that airs on ABC-TV in the West Texas and New Mexico area.  He is a tenured professor of applied linguistics at Texas Tech University and lives in Lubbock, Texas, with his wife, Katharine, and their son, Gavin. 

Here’s an interview with Andrew talking about his book:







There was a book entitled ‘The Naked Gospel’ by Arthur Bury in 1691.  This is how Mr. Bury explained the concept in his book:

The naked gospel [is] discovering what was the gospel which our Lord and his apostles preached; what additions and alterations later ages have made in it; what advantages and damages have thereupon ensued.

Dr. Farley noted that the original ’The Naked Gospel’ was burned by the church of his day. 

In his book, Dr. Farley offers this invitation:

I once thought I knew all about the Christian faith, but it wasn’t until fourteen years after I’d received Christ that I would begin to grasp the real thing.  I’m not talking about another salvation experience or a second blessing.  I’m talking about a return to the foot of the cross and the door of the tomb to learn all over again.
And for me, there was as much unlearning as learning.
With that in mind, I invite you to dive deeply with me toward the indispensible, powerful core of the Christian faith.  I found genuine answers that don’t disappoint.  I’m excited to share them with you.  I’m betting you’ll be surprised at least a time or two along the way.
The real thing has a tendency to do that. (p. 16)

I liked the sound of that!  I have realized over the last few years that I have been exposed to a lot of false teaching in different churches in my lifetime.  I was anxious to see where Andrew was going to take me with this simple journey.

Andrew makes the point that there is a lot of style over substance in many churches today – just as there are in the world:

There’s nothing wrong with top-quality facilities, creative programs, and a genuine sense of community.  But the fundamental question is, “What message are we sharing in our community and within our walls through our programs?”  I believe it’s our substance, not our structure, that is leaving so many stagnant and dissatisfied.  A church may have polished programs, well-trained staff, and dynamic speakers.
But content is what people walk away with. (p. 27)

Andrew also points out that many Christians live such sad and defeated lives that their lifestyle is not attractive to non-believers.  He proposes another way:

So what if there is another way?  What if we could do away with all of the religious guilt and live from delight?  What if we could enjoy so great an intimacy with God that it would seem he was nearly beneath our skin?  What if we could just go through life being ourselves and somehow express Christ along the way?  And what if all of this could come at no expense of our own?  It would mean the religious things could end.  It would mean we wouldn’t have to analyze ourselves and measure our spirituality. (p. 36)

Dr. Farley differentiates between the Old and the New – the Old Covenant with its innumerable rules and regulations, and the New Covenant – Jesus’ death and Resurrection.  When Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross (John 19:30), He meant it!  Yet many Christians live under both Covenants.  Andrew doesn’t mince words about Christians who make that decision:

It’s preposterous for Christians to adopt portions of the law of Moses as our guide for living.  We’re presuming that God grades on a curve.  But the law is completely incompatible with our other attempts to “do our best.”  Law is a pass-or-fail system.  
And one strike means you’re out. (p. 52)

He goes on to say this about those who continue to keep the Ten Commandments after they’ve been saved:

We may think that placing ourselves under the Ten Commandments is a good way to clean house.  But law-directed living has the opposite effect.  The only sensible choice is to allow Christ to be himself through us.  This is God’s way of impacting our lives and placing his life on display. (pp. 57-58)

It’s also another way for Christians to justify keeping control of their lives to themselves instead of yielding it to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  It is difficult for Christians, especially in the success- and achievement-driven society we live in here in the U.S., to accept the gift we have been given.  Andrew points out what is stated in the Bible on that subject:

The author of Hebrews invites us to rest along with God.  We rest by ceasing from the dead works we thought would gain us favor with God.  Rather than performing religious acrobatics to rid ourselves of sins, we can sit down with Jesus.  We can simply agree “It is finished.”  That is entering God’s rest. (p. 66)

Andrew provides a real-life example of how the Naked Gospel idea changed the life of a lady named Barbara:

…We had examined a few dozen Scripture passages about her identity in Christ, her freedom from the law’s demands, and the boundless forgiveness she has in Christ.  She told me that when she set her mind on those truths, she began to experience some relief from her debilitating depression. (p. 86)

Andrew points out the fact that sometimes Christians have a hard time accepting God’s gift of grace through the sacrifice of Christ.  He considers grace to be the secret formula:

Grace is the system that the Holy Spirit uses to counsel and teach us on a daily basis.  Grace is in place, whether or not we’ve sinned recently.  We worry that an absence of law will result in a lifestyle that is out of control.  This concern is natural.  But it contradicts what the Scriptures say about the effects of grace.  Grace isn’t just a treatment for sin; it’s actually the cure for sin!
…Our greatest fear is that we’ll be out of control.  But we were never made for control.  Self-control has always been a natural attribute of the Holy Spirit.  The reason he lives within us is to produce the self-control that we’re afraid we lack under grace. (p. 91)

Dr. Farley points out the biblically sound way to live:

Living a life of dependency on the Spirit is really more than being ourselves.  We were built for it from the ground up.  After all, we are now God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).  We’re designed for walking in the attitudes and actions that God has already prepared for us. (p. 115)

Dr. Farley sums up ‘The Naked Gospel’ this way:

In short, the real gospel is a bulletproof message that is essentially spiritual common sense from every angle.  It makes biblical and practical sense, and there is no verse in the entirety of the Scriptures that ruins its splendor. (p. 218)

And he expresses what he thinks the apostle Paul would tell us today (p. 208):

          Celebrate the New!
          Learn who you really are!
          And then just be yourself!

I greatly appreciate what Andrew shared in this book.  This basic information is rarely shared in most churches today.  I am grateful I attend a church in which the teaching is solidly biblical – plus we have an awesome building and great technology (I love serving on the Video Tech Team).  I am grateful that Andrew is filling that large void – and pray that many lives will be changed by being made aware of the truth of the Gospel.  I give this book the highest recommendation.   It is biblically based and solid – and provides the truth for the problems of this world – the person of Jesus Christ.

You can download a sample of the book here.

You can order this book here.


This book was provided by Zondervan for review and giveaway purposes.  I am pleased to be participating in the Blog Tour Spot blog tour with these others bloggers.
________________________________________

I have a copy of this book that I would love to send along to one of you! 

There are several ways to gain entry:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, telling me what your thoughts are on this book and its message.  Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com.

2) Follow me on Twitter; I will more than likely follow you back!  If you are already a Twitter follower, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

3) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

4) Become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

5) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

So there are five chances to enter!  Please limit one entry per option.

This giveaway is for U.S. residents only.  The deadline for entry is Thursday, May 13 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Friday, May 14, 2010 and will be contacted via email.  The best to all of you!

31 comments:

Linda said...

This sounds interesting. Would love to hear his ideas of the Naked Gospel. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I follow on Twitter.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I'm a Google friend follower.


desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I;m a friend on FB.


desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have heard many good things about this book but have yet to read it. I would love to win your copy. I find that once I heard the whole Gospel...embracing the exchanged life of Christ as my own...that the "good news" got really good! I also find it helpful, though, to keep these types of teachings in front of me (as in a book such as the Naked Gospel) because it keeps the message fresh and alive!

Tara tforsburg[at]yahoo[dot]com

Andrea Schultz said...

Great comment, Tara! Thanks for stopping by!

Judylynn said...

Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Judylynn said...

I am a Twitter follower

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Judylynn said...

I am a Google follower

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Judylynn said...

I am a Facebook friend

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Judylynn said...

I am a NetWorked blog follower

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Steve Capell said...

I have a theology degree and I would like review this book and see how it fits with scripture. After reading your review I am very interested in what the author has too say.

steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

It sounds like it cuts through the fancy talk and gets down to the nitty gritty of what the bible was meant to mean.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Carol Fleisher said...

This sounds like a interesting read. Please enter me. Carmen sent me. Thanks.

Hope said...

I'd really like to read this book...so many times our Churches are more concerned with image rather than following the Bible!
onepilgrim86[at]yahoo.com

Hope said...

Blog follower!
onepilgrim86[at]yahoo.com

MoziEsmé said...

I'd love to read this!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

enyl said...

The interview has definitely piqued my intrest.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

GFC follower.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

Following on Twitter.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

Facebook friend.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

NetWorked Blog follower.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Friends -

Thanks to everyone for coming by!

Blessings -

Andrea

Esther Y.M. said...

I would like to read more about what he has to say on there is more style than substance in churches nowadays.

Please enter me

estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

p/s carman sent me

Esther Y.M. said...

I am a google follower

estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

Debbie F said...

I just found your blog thru Carmen. This books sounds like a great read and I would love to win a copy. Thanks for the opportunity

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Anonymous said...

i'm interested in reading this book...thanks for the chance :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

BookMarc Blogpants said...

It looks like a very interesting book...the kind I would discuss with a pastor or in a group meeting.

mckelly74 at gmail dot com

BookMarc Blogpants said...

Following on Twitter @MarcinMD

mckelly74 at gmail dot com

BookMarc Blogpants said...

Following on Google Friend Connect.

mckelly74 at gmail dot com

Misusedinnocence said...

This sounds wonderful. I would love to read it.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

 
Clicky Web Analytics