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.
In “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.
About the author:
Tim 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.