[the naked gospel] part 2: religion is a headache

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September 9, 2009

by Tim Borntreger

Oh wow—where to begin!  There is no way a short post can do any bit of justice to what I just read! It was this past Monday evening I picked up Andrew Farley’s book entitled The Naked Gospel.  Not sure why I picked it up but as I read the “Fair Warning” section I felt compelled to read more mainly out of curiosity.  Dude!

I’ve never professed to be a writer nor do I think I want to be one.  It was Dan’s intention to have Michele Borntreger with Kaleozone.com write a post but I felt led, as Michele’s husband, to write a post after reading the first few parts of The Naked Gospel.

ot-lawIn “Part 2: Religion Is A Headache”, Farley states, “For many, Christianity is seen more as a cancer…” Ouch! He states that Christians are becoming more dissatisfied with their relationship with God, feel they can’t keep their end of the “bargain” with God and become overtaken with guilt.

Farley goes back thousands of years ago to the time of Moses when all 600 commandments (yeah that right, 600!) received from God where recorded and the Israelites agreed to obey every single one of them.  We all know through reading the Bible how the Israelites continually struggled with living under the Law. The Old Testament records the Israelites failure upon failure time and time again. Even in more recent years, there is written documentation of where Martin Luther and Mother Teresa struggled with their approach to God only ending in failure too.

Farley proposes that we are under the simple and “New Covenant”.  Correct me if I’m wrong but Christians today readily accept Jesus as their new priest.  According to Old Law, priests were to come from the Levite lineage, however, Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah. Thus, ushering in the New—something radically different!  Under the New we have complete freedom because God’s Laws are written in our hearts.  It’s really quite simple we are commanded to love God and to love others.  Jesus said if we love him we will obey his commands (John 14:15).

As Farley states, under the Old, “It’s an all-or-nothing proposition” and “the law continually excites sin”.  He compares it to a person being in prison and awaiting their judgment. A prisoner is ridden with guilt because he is being subjected to the law of our country. That’s the intent of the Old Law too.  Without the Law there would be no guilt. The purpose of guilt is to act as a reasoning mechanism for non-believers so they can discover their life is dead without Jesus.  His “New Covenant” brings life.

As I read the first few sections of this book I can’t be help feel a sense of relief knowing what I have read fits so well with what God has revealed to me over the past year but at the same time I can’t help but question what I’m reading because it is so far from mainstream Christianity in which I have been subjected to for the past 29 years.

I’m almost ashamed to admit, but since 2002, I have church hopped every few years. At one time even quit all together because I was left confused on my beliefs. It seems that today’s church has everything but if you ask the people who are most involved;  they will likely not be fulfilled in their relationship with God.  I know this was my situation; and the guilt that comes with it was all too familiar.

So, if we are under the “New Covenant”, why then do Christians in today’s Church have a double standard?  Why is it taught today that it’s important to tithe or let’s say observe the Sabbath but yet it is okay to not abide by the dietary restrictions or wardrobe restriction of the Old Law?  Why is it okay for pastors in churches to own homes, property or possessions today when this was strictly forbidden with the Old Law.  For me it doesn’t seem okay for the Church to accept some of the Old and mix it with the New according to the conveniences of today. To me it is clear that God intended for there to be a distinct difference between the Old and the New that is ushered in through Jesus’ redemptive blood.  It just makes sense.

Don’t just take what you know to be the truth because it was the way you were raised. It’s healthy to ask why and question your beliefs. In the end it will grow your faith and draw you closer to God. I encourage anyone who wants to be challenged and understand the unique differences between the Old and the New to read this book. 

 

FOLLOW THE PROJECT   |   BUY THE BOOK

 

About the author:

tim-micheleTim Borntreger is a Christ-follower, a husband, and a father. He attends church faithfully at Bayside Community Church in Bradenton, FL. He knows that God has a call on his life, and strives to find his place within His will. You can follow him on Twitter as @timborntreger, or poking around on his wife’s blog at www.kaleozone.com.

8 Comments

  1. twistedxtian

    I love where Farley starts to take people with this section. He leads them away from the guilt that is associated with imperfect people trying to live up to a perfect set of laws. Guilt has no place in Christianity, and it kills me to see people feel guilt before Christ. Christianity is all about a loving relationship with Christ, not one where we feel we can never measure up, and this point can't be stressed enough.

    Farley does a great job of getting this point across, but I think by saying that the law is “all or nothing,” it leaves us in a bit of a lurch. The law has a number of great moral standards that are the basis of our society; things like don't kill, lie, or steal. I don't see how we can throw these away, or how the Holy Spirit that is within us wouldn't lead us down a path of a life that demonstrates this. I agree that we shouldn't be picking and choosing which laws to follow at our convenience, but I also don't understand how we can throw them all away. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what Farley is saying, maybe someone else can clarify.

    I'm also not so keen on the idea that, “law causes more sinning.” (p53) Sin has always existed, the Law just gave words to it, and told us what we already knew in our hearts was wrong. Yes, children enjoy doing things that they know are wrong in order to push the envelope, but I don't think the same is true for adults. Sin will happen, we are sinful by nature since we've been born in the image of Adam, but I don't think that knowing what the law is makes us want to sin more.

    Again, I love the ideas that Farley puts forth in this book, and it can't be reiterated enough that guilt needs to be stripped from our religion. These are just the two points that I've come across that I'm having trouble with.

    Reply
  2. kristabelieves

    What a great review! I have been talking with Dan about this blog project quite a bit. If I wasn't compelled enough before to read this book I am now!

    I have often questioned the old law and how it is relevant to today, and why we follow some of the law, but not other parts. I can totally relate to how you have felt going into churches where it seems like they have everything, and everything is masterfully organized, yet there is a sense of unfulfillment.

    I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK! I have a feeling I'm gonna get rocked, and left searching the scriptures as if they are completely new to me. 🙂

    Reply
  3. kaleozone

    Wow! What a great post baby! And thank you so much for taking the lead on this one. I just couldn't do it.

    I think you did an excellent job and I really feel you “hit the nail on the head” and I think that is why so many have problems with the church. Even Christians. I know for us, there was a reason why we “church hopped” for so many years. I would love to see all of us stop “doing church” and start being the church!

    Reply
  4. glennthomas

    I think some of “God's laws” which are written on our hearts are also part of the Old Covenant law. To love God and love one's neighbor are two of the 600 plus Mosaic laws. The rest of the law is really fleshing out the details of these two great commands. Holy Spirit guidance and context is everything and I think we can know which parts of the Old Covenant law transcend the Old Covenant into the New and which parts are ancient and do not apply today. To say God abolished all 600 plus commands and started from scratch in the New Covenant simply isn't biblical!

    Reply
  5. BibleDude

    You make a great point!

    This is exactly what this whole conversation is about! You stated, “To say God abolished all 600 plus commands and started from scratch in the New Covenant simply isn't biblical!”

    Paul, repeatedly taught that Christians are no longer under the law. When the OT Law is mentioned, it is in the context of being something that convicts the unbeliever of their sin.

    Our churches often preach that we are no longer under the law, but then we still teach about all of the things that Christians must do. And I think that is the point of this book… it is the idea that Christianity does not come with a list of requirements that people must live up to, In my opinion, if it did, then we would ALL be in some serious trouble!

    The author of the book that we are working through here just commented on the next post in this series, and I think that his comment may further clarify his position in relation to the points that you make here…
    http://bibledude.net/2009/09/the-naked-gospel-p

    Thanks for being a part of the conversation! I think that this is an important one to have!

    Reply
  6. glennthomas

    I think some of “God's laws” which are written on our hearts are also part of the Old Covenant law. To love God and love one's neighbor are two of the 600 plus Mosaic laws. The rest of the law is really fleshing out the details of these two great commands. Holy Spirit guidance and context is everything and I think we can know which parts of the Old Covenant law transcend the Old Covenant into the New and which parts are ancient and do not apply today. To say God abolished all 600 plus commands and started from scratch in the New Covenant simply isn't biblical!

    Reply
  7. BibleDude

    You make a great point!

    This is exactly what this whole conversation is about! You stated, “To say God abolished all 600 plus commands and started from scratch in the New Covenant simply isn't biblical!”

    Paul, repeatedly taught that Christians are no longer under the law. When the OT Law is mentioned, it is in the context of being something that convicts the unbeliever of their sin.

    Our churches often preach that we are no longer under the law, but then we still teach about all of the things that Christians must do. And I think that is the point of this book… it is the idea that Christianity does not come with a list of requirements that people must live up to, In my opinion, if it did, then we would ALL be in some serious trouble!

    The author of the book that we are working through here just commented on the next post in this series, and I think that his comment may further clarify his position in relation to the points that you make here…
    http://bibledude.net/2009/09/the-naked-gospel-p

    Thanks for being a part of the conversation! I think that this is an important one to have!

    Reply
  8. PriestSevina

    My opinion is that many people have started to get lost in religion and I think that the word “law” doesn't come with religion. God is offering choices from everyone of us. The law just offers one choice and that is simply wrong. I am under the christianity religion because my parents are. I realised that my religion was fake when I was about 10 years old so I guess that if a child can spot that, an adult should do that too. At the age of 10 I raised so many question that my school priest talked to my mother. My mother is a very open-minded woman who was on my side and she replied to him: “I'm sorry about that, but he is a kid and kids ask many question. Maybe you should pray to God and he will help you answer his questions”.

    Reply

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[the naked gospel] part 2: religion is a headache

by About Guest Blogger time to read: 4 min
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