Friday, November 04, 2011

Book Review: God Without Religion

Andrew Farley has followed up his previous book, The Naked Gospel, with another brilliant turn in God Without Religion. Farley has the gift of making profound things simple - and nothing is more in need of simplifying than religious teaching about the gospel that persists in keeping Christians in bondage.

The central point of God Without Religion is that Christians now live under the New Covenant which has jettisoned the Mosaic Law and replaced it with a new ethical foundation in the gospel of grace soaked in the power of the Holy Spirit. For Farley, many Christians have not grasped the freedom they have in Christ. They are bound up (the original meaning of the term from which religion is derived) in the oppressive belief that the have to keep the at least some of the Old Testament laws.

Of course, many will object to this message of grace plus nothing and frequently appeal to NT passages about behavior, law, and obedience. But one of Farley's gifts is to exegete Scripture and he looks at these common passages, teasing out there actual meaning in their literary and historical contexts. His explanations are clear, simple, and penetrating and I often sat breathless as I wondered why I hadn't seen these things before.

If you are living a religion that insists on defining rules or laws for you that you must live by then you must read this book. St Paul, in Galatians 5, provocatively drives home the fact that the whole point of Christ's ministry was to bring freedom. And the only way to live as a Christian is to live by the Spirit - not by being lashed to the Mosaic Law. As Farley points out, the law can only provoke us to sin. It was never intended as a tool for Christians to live their lives by. The fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, and so on) are produced in us quite separate from law.

God Without Religion is a stunning second book from Farley. He uses analogies and stories to good effect; he makes the Bible come alive; and he makes controversial issues, that have plagued the church, practical and relevant. Get this book without delay and come to know God without religion.

Book details: Farley, Andrew (2011). God Without Religion. Baker Books.


  1. Wow, interesting! Has anyone else come across the same thing compared to this? I am curious where to find more responses on this matter…

  2. Thanks for taking the moment to consider this, I believe powerfully about it and love learning more on this topic.

  3. We were warned about people like you preaching "Cheap Grace" by misusing Paul's writings. Peter refers to you people as "unstable" and "unlearned". But this preaching of "Cheap Grace" is nothing new in the Church-Just ask Jude...

    ....even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things;
    * in which are some things hard to be understood,
    * which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,
    * as they do also the other scriptures,
    * unto their own destruction.

    Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
    2 Peter 3:15-17

    *For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, Jude 1:4 OR in the NLT I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. OR in the NIVUK For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God.... OR in the AMP For certain men have crept in stealthily [[gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality,