Monday, April 26, 2010

Live By Grace

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

The Naked Gospel
By Andrew Farley

The author of The Naked Gospel warns his readers that they “might throw this book down in disgust…pick it back up again in curiosity…shake your head in frustration.” I have to warn you that I wanted to throw it down in frustration.

He defines the naked gospel as Grace alone. Okay. But he takes it farther even than Martin Luther did when he started the Reformation. Farley says that Christians are not only saved by Grace alone, we must also live by Grace alone. That means that Christians, who are under what he calls the New, must throw out every law in the Old Testament, including the Ten Commandments. We should not keep the Sabbath, or tithe or even confess our sins. In fact, we should not even pray the Lord’s Prayer. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us, and by following any other guide we put ourselves in bondage to the Law. Apparently the Holy Spirit would not guide us to follow any teaching found in the Old Testament. Yet Farley doesn't clarify what means the Holy Spirit uses to guide us.

The reason the book frustrated me so much is that Farley’s apologetics are reasonable. He quotes many verses from the book of Hebrews to support his arguments. He explains the reasons for the Old Testament laws and he explains the meaning behind the original Hebrew terms. His writes well and his message sounds like a profound new teaching that we all need to hear.

Therein lies the problem. There is no new teaching in Christianity. If something seems new, we should examine the scripture to see if it can be found there. If it is found in scripture, it may have been lost by the current generation, but is sure to be found in the writings of the church fathers. In fact, long standing doctrinal statements like the Nicene Creed and the writings of the early Christians should help us determine if the new interpretation is correct. We may find that it is an old heresy in a new guise.

I am not qualified to determine if Farley is teaching heresy. I am just extremely frustrated with a message that denies many of the things I believe. My faith comes from scripture and what I’ve learned about it from older, wiser Christians. If you’re interested in apologetics, or in seeing a new approach to grace and the Law, read it for yourself and let me know if you were disgusted, curious or frustrated. Maybe Farley’s ideas will free you, as he claims they did for him.

Pros: I can’t really recommend this book to believers or non-believers. I can’t give you any reasons to read it.

Cons: It is full of very bizarre teaching about living a Christian life. I believe it is dangerous because its plausible arguments may lead Christian readers astray.

For more information about the book and author, go to Andrew Farley's website.

You can buy the book from Amazon.

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