April 29, 2010

Book Review: The Naked Gospel

I wanted to like The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley. Really, I did. The book makes a great first impression. From its very clever clear plastic cover to its intriguing subject matter to the exemplary referrals from respected writers.  

The Naked Gospel centers on the premise that Christianity is anchored by grace—not laws, rules, morals, deeds or ethics. It puts forth the concept that Jesus plus nothing is the totality of the New Covenant. The back cover promises to tell truth—stripped of compromises and clich├ęs—“that we might never hear in church.” It’s geared toward those who are “burned out on experience-chasing, ceremonialism, or legalism.”

While I don't fit into that category, I started the book expecting I’d be shaken up. With each turned page, I hoped for the “aha” moment. And I kept waiting to challenge myself—as the back cover promised—to re-examine everything I thought I already knew about the Christian faith. But that moment never came. The book didn’t present much that rattled my beliefs.

Perhaps instead of offering that thought as a critique I should offer thanks that I’ve been churched in the message of grace and "Jesus plus nothing." Apparently many haven’t.

In its defense, The Naked Gospel has challenged me to look at the Old Testament with fresh eyes and presented concepts I want to explore further. Although I did find some of Farley's propositions confusing, like the idea of forgiveness as a once and done action.

Grace is the one thing that sets Christianity apart from all other religions. On the one hand it is an incredibly simple concept. On the other it defies logic and human thinking, making it very hard to comprehend. If The Naked Gospel helps a believer break the shackles of legalism, good deeds, morals, etc. and brings them one step closer to understanding God’s amazing grace it’s a good thing.

Check out the author's website or go to Amazon to purchase the book and read more reviews.

I received a review copy of this book free from Zondervan.


Runner Mom said...

Doesn't that disappoint you when you get all excited about a book...and then...mercy, it's not what you had hoped! Thanks for sharing it anyway, Kelli! Go to my blog today and see who has a book published!! (No, not me!!)


Sue J. said...

I think there are probably a lot of folks in a position to read this book and gain a new perspective. Indeed, praises that He has brought you to this level of understanding before this book. Now, will those who still follow the gospel of "good works alone" pick up this book to read?