(This review I wrote and posted on the Ooze Viral Bloggers site. I receive a book every so often, I read it and then I blog about it here and on the Ooze Viral Bloggers website.)
It has taken me a while to get to reviewing “The Naked Gospel” by Andrew Farley. It took me a while to get through it with my work schedule, my wife taking two classes, and honestly other books taking priority over this one.
On the back of the book Farley says, “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 those words I was expecting a mind blowing, faith challenging, world shifting book. And unfortunately that is not what I experienced.
Now that isn’t to say that I enjoyed some parts of the book. Farley helped me to realize again that it isn’t what I do for God, but that God loves me unconditionally. That no matter what happens, no matter how many times I sin, no matter how I mess up living the values of the kingdom, Jesus’ love is constant. That is a great reminder that we all need time and time and time again. And that it isn’t by our own wisdom, strength, faith, belief, or service that we obtain salvation, but only by the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
My main issue however is a large one. The book is called “The Naked Gospel.” Questions then arise in my mind, What is the Gospel, What did Jesus mean by The Gospel, What do the 4 writers of the “Gospels” mean? All those questions that I have/had, weren’t found in this book. The book relies heavily on the Pauline letters instead of the 4 gospels. I was hoping more for an in depth look on what Jesus said was the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God. It was sorely missing.
I agree with the thoughts of Scott Ziegler (above) when he says, “I found it somewhat ironic that Farley’s new, Naked Gospel was based not on the gospels, synoptic or otherwise, but on the writings of Paul and the unknown writers of other epistles. In fact, I would guess that, though he would never admit this (wait actually he does), the teachings of Jesus are part of the old covenant and not relevant for Christians today. So ‘Naked’ is actually a completely new gospel. Please turn with me to Naked, Chapter 14, verse 4.
The Sermon on the Mount make you feel guilty? That’s ok Farley tells a parishioner. The Sermon on the Mount may have been Jesus’ greatest moment; its principles may have been his ‘stump speech’ through most of his ministry. BUT, says Farley, it was not for you, you in this case being New Covenant folks. It was written for the religious elite and Jews who were still under the old covenant. No guilt necessary because the Sermon on the Mount contains rule and those rules no longer apply.”
I am not saying that this book wasn’t helpful. But for me, I read Paul through Jesus not Jesus through Paul (though I don’t believe Paul and Jesus stand in opposition). Let’s get back to focusing on what Jesus calls the Gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God both now and in the future.