Andrew Farley’s Naked Gospel is an invitation to celebrate the newness we receive in Christ, to learn who you really are and to just be yourself. For many, this book will likely shatter paradigms, illusions and preconceived ideas about who we are and what we are “supposed” to do as Christians.
Farley reminds us that “the old has gone; the new has come,” and, as Christians, we live under the new. That means, folks, that we don’t answer to the Law. We live in the Spirit just as the Spirit lives in us. We are born sinners and that’s just part of our make-up. What we don’t need to do is spend all our time self-flagellating and “getting right with God.” All of our sins–every. single. one.–were wiped out on the cross. We’re wasting our time and denying the saving work of Christ when we fixate on our flaws, shortcomings or sins. Unfortunately, most Christians focus there and not on the resurrection that happened three days later. Farley points out that “we’re inundated with a lackluster gospel that advocates partial forgiveness, a pressure-filled motivation for behavior change, and the promise of earned rewards in heaven or a cash return while on earth” (p. 192).
Farley helps to liberate the reader from this lackluster gospel, providing a new way of thinking about the message and work of Christ. And, if we take the time to adjust our views, liberated we become. When we stop focusing on the inevitable (that we will continue to screw up), we can focus more on the important things of loving God and people–which is really what it’s all about.
This book is an easy read, though the language may not be as accessible to those who are not Christians. It assumes that the reader has a Christian background–whatever form that background may take. For me, personally, it helped to articulate and even put a scriptural basis to what I was already thinking and the way in which I viewed God and what I should be about as a Christian. It’s Christ in and through me theology. The question is whether I (or any of the rest of use) will live fully in this new paradigm, this new covenant.
Farley’s examples were, at times, not particularly useful or fell short of the point he was trying to make. The book wandered quite a bit and I found myself wondering how much longer would this go on. However, the message is worth reading, and the implications are worth considering.
The Naked Gospel is a call to differentiation, to embracing who you are as a person created by God, to liberating yourself from the list of things all “good Christians” should do–from prayer to confession to tithing. This book is a reminder that Jesus liberated us from the restrictions and limitations of the Law to provide us with the freedom to love God and love people.
For my anti-religion/anti-things Christian readers, I apologize for all the God talk. However, I’m also up for loaning out the book or having a conversation about it.
Thanks to The Ooze for a copy of this book!